Tag Archives: Friendships

How God Used Web Development To Prune Me

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

It’s about time I talk about my journey in Web Development. If you follow me on twitter, you will see tweets about events I’ve attended, splashed here and there.

My journey started in late 2017. I learned HTML, CSS and JavaScript fundamentals in a class setting. It was an amazing experience. I fell in love with code: mainly design (JavaScript kicks my butt, but I haven’t given up) and I’m now learning WordPress and PHP.

I learned so much over the span of this experience. It was difficult. At first, it was like a dream. I was excited and dedicated. Then life hit me, and I had to make decisions that challenged my faith.

I mentioned in a previous post about attending a Boot Camp. Well, that was an eye opening experience in itself. I want to start of by saying that the aim of this post is to serve as a source of  encouragement and also a teaching lesson. I almost lost everything – including my life – BUT it was all God’s plan and it was only at this moment that I could fully accept this as truth.

You might remember my angry posts. My posts about not being happy and losing joy. I was in a very dark place. I was worried I lost everything – all that God had given me – over something so stupid.

I won’t get into details over what that thing was but the root of it was – I wasn’t solid in my understanding of who God is. This was a teaching moment for me and God was going to let me fall on my face so I could understand.

We must be rooted in God’s love for us. My greatest fear happened to me and I was thrown off course. I was upset – I questioned God. How could He allow the very thing I was trying to avoid. I was content with where I was and where I was going. I was content with the future I had planned out for myself. It was as if God led me right into my fears and then left me alone to see how I would respond. Prayers were not answered: I ran to and fro to anyone that could give me counsel. I was embarrassed and ashamed.

by: Tim Mossholder

by: Tim Mossholder

I began to doubt God’s love for me and my heart grew dark. I was angry with God. I wanted to shut down my blog – I felt as if I was living a lie. How could I write about joy when my joy is gone? I knew I had to be honest. I knew I couldn’t lie about how I was feeling.

The boot-camp was not the thing that made me angry with God, but because I was angry, I couldn’t hear God’s voice. God’s voice leads us in our choices in life. Well, my spiritual ears were blocked so I couldn’t hear or recognize that God was telling me not to go.

I worked so hard for this opportunity. Every door slammed in my face during admissions. I finally made it to the end and awaited judgement. Verdict: access denied. I was so upset. I worked so hard just to push down every door that closed in my face. I received a call back, saying a spot was opened that I can fill. I accepted but I wasn’t able to celebrate with sincerity. Honestly, at this point, I was so upset with God that I threw everything out the window. I stopped praying, etc and I was beginning to revert to a part of me I didn’t like. I tried to tell myself this was a miracle – but deep down I wasn’t so sure this was God opening a door for me. It felt more like He gave me what I wanted because I threw a horrible tantrum.

Everything was fine in the beginning. I had this major distraction in my life. It was a person. I realized that every time I’m about to do something important in life – a distraction comes my way in the form of a person. This person undermined everything I sought out to accomplish. At first, person was nice and sweet but over time, person began to chip away at my core beliefs. Person tore me down. I made excuses for person. I thought person was my friend and had my back. I want to warn you: be cautious of who you allow in your inner circle. Be cautious of who you share your inner thoughts and feelings. Some people may appear to be kind and loving but their agenda is to destroy you. They might not even know that they are doing it. Remember, we are fighting a spiritual battle. Sampson , a mighty Judge , was cut down and his destiny cut short because he allowed Delilah to wear him down and expose his weakness. Our enemy is Satan. He sends people – like the Philistines sent Delilah – to uncover your weaknesses. They pose as a friend or a lover – someone you should trust.

Everything became chaotic in my life. It has always been chaotic but because I had lost sight of Christ, the chaos began to affect me. Let’s just say I was a mess. At this point, I wanted to give up on life. I had reached my limit and I was tired. It felt as if all of heaven and earth was against me and I was fighting to survive. Desperate – but cautious – I visited a local church because people were nagging me to fellowship with other Christians. This too was another distraction. You might say : but isn’t fellowship with other Christians a good thing? Not always. Again, not all people that say they are Christians, really are. Christians are also human beings that struggle with sin tenancies, some that are not too pleasant to be around. Then there are others that believe in false doctrine.

Honestly, I believe what happened to me was for a reason. I had to see first hand a lie that is floating around in the Body of Christ and allow God to show me the truth in his word. Some churches are so focused on hyper spirituality that they forget to serve the people. Assembly line prayers – I reached out for prayer and all I got was judgement. Prayer full of judgement and when I sought out a listening ear I was told that I needed to sit down because I was already prayed for. I was appalled. I left the building with a sense of emptiness. It was then that I grit my teeth and said to myself : WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!!!

I got really quiet in my spirit and started cutting people out of my life – again. One by one, I closed the door without a word. I did not care who was confused or upset. I was not concerned with pleasing others – I was focused on getting better. While I was cutting people out, I dropped out of the boot-camp. At the time, I was very sad but I knew I had to. It was the best decision I made that year. I spent 2 months recovering – I stopped coding, tended to my weary body and started praying again. It was a painful process – I was very run down.

God began to speak again, or rather, I was able to hear his voice. He comforted me in ways no one else could. When I opened my heart to see the filth inside of it, God cleaned it up and then told me what He was doing. You see, it was his plan the whole time. I had a lot of inner issues I needed to deal with. I realized I had a lot of beliefs that were not really my own. I just accepted them because I accepted the label of Christianity. I learned about the bondage of guilt and shame and that Christ died to get rid of that. He doesn’t want us walking around with guilt and shame. He doesn’t want us to repay for our sins – he already paid for it. But I was walking around with so much baggage – trying to live holy, not because It truly came from my heart, but because I thought it would compensate for my short comings. I also allowed people to heap on burdens on me. I allowed people to wear me down. God held up a mirror and showed me my true identity, outside of the garbage people kept dumping on me. It was then that I knew what He wanted me to do. The vision of my life became clear and my joy returned.

Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

Now my joy is rooted and grounded even more in God’s love. God was pruning me. It is an unpleasant experience but don’t give up. God showed me my growth: instead of completely running away from him, I told him that I would wait for him in my anger. I had to go through the pain and turmoil of my negative emotions. I didn’t run away.

I can now share this experience with the hope of encouraging you to keep the faith. Embrace the pain, the frustration, the anger and the confusion. Like David said ” wait on the Lord.” Sometimes you do everything a good christian is suppose to do and it’s not enough. We cannot manipulate the situation – all we can do is wait on God to teach us and renew us in time.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

God is refining us. I am no longer bound by the garbage people try to throw at me. I am no longer bound by my preconceived notions about how my life should be – I’m free to accept every good blessing from God. I am free to be myself without shame. I was willing to lose everything I worked hard for to have God and he turned around and gave me so much more.

Love, peace and joy are worth so much more than money and prestige. It’s worth more than any earthly relationship and it’s a true blessing from God. Seek after it with all you have and you will have all that you need.

Please let me know in the comments of how God has pruned you? What did you learn?

Until next time,

Friend or Foe?

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Man oh man!

I’m sorry but excuse me? How did I not see this coming? It’s okay though,  I understand now.

CYCLES! History constantly repeats itself until you get it!

Step 1: Identify your weak points and discipline yourself to strengthen them!

That means removing triggers, being aware and slowing down when making decisions!

Step 2: Identify those that undermine you and by all means throw them in the trash!

You are not strong! Don’t try to put up with it, rationalize it out of existence or make excuses for this person. Get rid of them at all cost. There is no negotiating or pleading with these people. Feelings don’t change overnight. You will know a malicious person, set to undermine you when:

1. They put you down whether overtly or covertly through insults, comparisons, or dismissive behavior.

2. You notice you become confused, sad, resentful and private.

Why? Because their aim is to make you feel WORTHLESS!

3. This will happen for the rest of your life so get use to it.

4. Slowly build a support system that will surround you and uplift you during your times in need.

By all means shun every single church, or person that doesn’t fit this qualification. There are churches out there that will make you paranoid, zap you of your life and vitality and make you walk around with constant guilt. Be patient and take your time creating this circle. State what you expect ahead of time and watch people carefully. Circumstances and situations will expose a person.

You deserve to be loved and honored. Don’t settle for less than that! Your inner circle should be people that would even lay their lives down for you and vise versa. Not people that just want to be around you and have a good time, or hear your woes but don’t actually want to root for you and uplift you as a person. This means a lot especially when you are low.  No one will always be happy and full of joy and on cloud 9, 10 and 11, so you need a system of people that will encourage and push you forward. Job had horrible friends. God knew that too and Job had to pray for them, so God would forgive them for judging him and speaking falsely on God’s behalf. But then we see Jonathan, who was not only willing to give up all he had for David, for He understood the calling on David’s life, but was supportive and spoiled the plans of his father Saul to protect his friend. Your friends are LOYAL to you and do not want to see you harmed.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get this right, right way. I wanted to feel guilty for allowing certain people in my life but what will guilt do? Guilt just robs you of your vitality and hinders you from growing and learning. For some, this comes naturally, for others, not so much.

Be willing to walk alone for a season until you find those that will surround you with the love you deserve and help you reach your goals in life. We need each other, but we need the right people!

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

Daily Ramblings – The Perfect Person

ben-rosett-10613

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

I admit defeat.

I admit that I have hit a brick wall and don’t know how to climb it. That brick wall is a thought or even a belief. Something I’ve observed in my life from birth to current time.

Is there a perfect person to be found?

Someone that has all the qualities we admire and desire in a person?

People are on the quest for love and friendships. Dating and marriage advice plagues the internet, marriage coaches can be found on every IP address, relationship guru’s at every turn. Even sermons about friends, “frenemies”, toxic people etc.

Is there ever a perfect person? Can we ever find the perfect match? Someone with all we want and more?

I can’t offer answers, just questions. People say they’ve found the one. A man or woman that fits the list of all they wanted in a person, but what if that person fails? What if they don’t love you? Do you still chase after them simply because they fit your list,  or because they are accepted by everyone as being perfect for you?

Then we hear advice from 90 year – olds or people in decades long marriages and they say it takes hard work and commitment. That the person is completely different and yet they work hard at coming together with understanding. The highs and the lows of their relationship is met with the determination to never give up. These set of people focused less on the check list of a perfect person, but more so on the hard work and dedication it takes to love someone.

Another powerful testimony of love demonstrated by a father – who prayed 7 years for his son. He didn’t throw a tantrum at God asking why his son was bad and faulty – he simply prayed. He prayed, he said, even when things were getting worse as he prayed. Eventually his son turned around for the better.

Love without expectations, limits, unconditional love. In this world, what does that even mean? We can’t find this kind of love being encouraged anywhere,  but I think of the love God has shown me.

Let me share a personal story. There was a time when I turned away from God because of the weight of guilt and seeking perfection – doing works to gain God’s love.

When I returned to him, I would throw tantrums and hide whenever I was disappointed, mad or confused. I remember one day, while being very ill, laying in bed and feeling as if God was right there with me. I said to myself :  wow, I cannot hide from God. He is everywhere. I close my eyes and I hear him. I close my ears and I see him. I shut down my senses and He visits me. I cannot shut God out! He pursues me constantly. 

I was messed up, broken and hurt. I was ill. To the world I was worthless in every way. People could say : well she has nothing to offer society so why should anyone love her. Find a more suitable woman or friend. However, God didn’t say that about me. Time and time again I’d hear him say ” I know your heart”. He’d remind me that my worth did not come from how perfect I was – a job, education, social status (how many friends I had), how often I didn’t sin, how I looked etc,  but simply based on the fact that I am a being created by God. He said he saw my heart and with a heart like mine, he could work with it. He could break it down till it got soft, and then with his bare hands mold it and shape it.

Then he said something to me recently that was even better than before : that he is NOT judging me and that he will give me a new heart. Trust me guys, I read my bible and I knew I read that somewhere, so I did a quick google search and found it.

Here’s what that passage says:

Ezekiel 36 : 25- 27 (NLT)

 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations…”

I admit defeat. I cannot predict what God will do. I cannot predict what God will show or teach me. All I can do is have my questions and wait on His answers.  As I go through life, learning about Him and having experiences, I know I will know what I need to know. Ultimately, God is in absolute control. I just want a soft and responsive heart to hear his voice when he talks to me.

Till next time,

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Tug-Of-War

Sometimes it must all crash down before you can move on. Just like Paul and Barnabas and their fight before their seperation, we too will go through seperations. Seperation from people, thoughts, beliefs, circumstances that have become outdated, clash or is simply toxic. God did not reprimand those two. There was no part in the bible where God said what had happened was incorrect. They had a fight too. Have you ever felt guilty for arguing with someone? Sometimes I ask myself why? We as human beings will disagree. We will fight and argue. But one thing you must ask yourself: am I and this person willing to come to an agreement? Are we willing to fight for each other. To understand one another? If not, seperate. No hard feelings, just go. When you’ve reached the end of the line, when you can no longer bear the stress of that tug-of-war just simply let go. There is nothing in the bible that condemns us if we decide to leave a very unhealthy relationship. You trust and serve God not man. God might call you to witness to many people but the dynamics of witnessing and a relationship are very different. If two people are not willing to put in the work, if there is always strife, always tears, always fear;.the bible says it is better to live in peace than to live in strife. It doesn’t make you a wonderful person by continously going back to someone who you will eventually fight with. Kindly say to yourself “This is it.” It is done. It isn’t hate or a sin to remove yourself from bad or toxic company. Don’t let guilt or fear keep you from surrounding yourself with people who will bring out the best in you.

You will know when there is love around you. Paul describes love for us: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) 

Just ask yourself: are my relationships reflecting the love that paul describes? Have I tried to communicate these things and were they reciprocated?

If not, you must evaluate if this relationship should be continued.

Don’t Be A Know-It-All.

It is way too easy to become a know-it-all. Sometimes we can get so caught up in proving that our way is right that we forget that we don’t always know everything. Hey, we might even be right but that’s not the point. The point is expressing your views with love and care but also knowing when to walk away.

Sometimes we need to step back and let everything  speak for itself. I found joy in the realization that showing concern and love for someone was way better than proving my point. . I realized that it’s not always beneficial to prove a point or feel as if I know what is right or wrong.

What makes a know-it-all automatically wrong is their attitude and intention. Why are you expressing your viewpoint? Is it because you feel as if you are a veteran so you know more, or maybe it’s because this person is just too stupid to know better? ( I hope that’s not what you’re thinking). Are you emotionally attached to the topic at hand?

What it boils down to is this: in everything we say, say it with love. Love is all that matters. We are not required to change a person, or make them see our way but to let them know we love them.

This is why I have a big problem with the way some people share the gospel. They shove it down people’s throats or guilt trip people into accepting grace. ( Doesn’t work that way.) Refer to John 3:16-18.

This is also why I had to take a step back and reflect on my own behavior. Most of the time I do it because i’m concerned but when it comes to love, it’s really NOT love unless it’s shared and OPENLY expressed. No one can read minds or really see a person’s true intent. So make sure that your intentions are known and displayed.

A New Beginning/Answered Prayer.

I didn’t expect that God would answer my prayers so swiftly but it came in the form of a man. He came to me with a message that was meant to set my heart free.

I didn’t expect God to surprise me, turn my world upside down and put me on my head, blood rushing to my brain. I didn’t expect it to feel so good but hurt so much at the same time. I didn’t think such a time for introspection was needed. I thought i was headed in the right direction. Well, as I mentioned in my previous blog posts, something bigger than me was unfolding in front of me. Questions I’ve never thought i’d care about were bombarding my thoughts. For so long I didn’t realize i was running from my own fears. As soon as I opened my heart to speak God came swiftly with an answer. However, it came in the least likely way. At first, I was in doubt. I couldn’t believe it.

It amazes me how much God loves us. He doesn’t leave us hanging and has perfect timing. He was preparing me for this time. Change doesn’t happen over night but I know for a fact that he’s caught my attention.

To completely surrender brings true freedom. Easier said than done right? Well, maybe. But surrendering means just that: stop resisting. I suppose i’m a natural fighter? Or maybe a natural runner ( lol).  Either way, my point is this: God can bless us while teaching us a lesson. Surrender to him. It’s to draw us closer to him. Pay attention to all the cues and signs that God gives us when he is about to do something in our lives. Had I paid more attention, i’d be better prepared.

While on the path of righteousness, God will stop us dead in our tracks-knowing it’s time for the next level. He will prepare us for the pain and the labor, but if we miss it, we will flap around like fish out of water. Nothing in this life is perfect. Nothing is guaranteed to be pain free.

I’ve learned a lesson about true friendship and even love : Being defensive keeps us away from love. When we are so caught up in protecting ourselves we are incapable of expressing love. We become selfish. My relationships are changing. I am beginning to see the beauty in everything around me. There is a sense of freedom that I haven’t truly experienced before. I will continue to learn as God continues to remove the thick walls around my heart.

There is Joy in every painful experience. There is peace in every new beginning.

Questions

Have you ever pondered the true meaning of friendship? Lately, that’s all I think about and I can not find a real, honest and pure meaning of the word.

What about the meaning of surrender? When they say SURRENDER and REPENT. What does that REALLY mean? Do I even know?

Sometimes I wonder If I, or anyone, REALLY know what anything means.

What does it mean that I’m even thinking about these things?

Endless sea of questions but I think I might be opening the door to something bigger than myself.

Clouds Will Go Away

Clouds will go away

Once you stop feeding them the rain

You feed laughter with joy

And you kill anger with kindness

There is a cycle for everything on this earth

Sometimes, there is a time for people to fall apart,

So that they can grow and become who they need to be.

A tug on each end, opposite directions

You realized you have outgrown a friend.

And nothing you both do can rewind broken time.

A screeching halt and your ears start to bleed

You don’t want to hear it…

That it’s time for the end…

But leaves must fall so new ones can be ready for spring….

By: Merrishel