Are you an “on surface” cleaner? 

As I was cleaning this morning, I found myself cleaning like my mom – behind the refrigerator, inside the oven, inside the microwave inside the cabinets, behind the couch, under the pillows on the couch, and inside drawers. 
As I finished cleaning inside this and under that, I notice that “stuff” was still everywhere although I know had been cleaning for about two hours. Then, I realized that most of the cleaning I had done was “under the surface”- not visible to the eye. Then, I thought about something my mom would always say – “If you really want to know how clean a person is, move their appliances and look under the pillows on their couch.” She prides herself on NOT being an “on surface” cleaner. 
When I was a child, I used to clean my room by piling clothes under the bed and in the closet, not straightening up the sheets before pulling the comforter up, and making everything else look extra neat and pretty on the outside. My mom would come in and pull everything out and then say, “Now clean this room.” I’d be so mad, mumbling under my breath, but I’d clean it though…the right way. Lol 
Hmmmmmm….
How often do we clean up the “outside” and ignore what’s under the surface? 

Ladies, we’ve watched makeup tutorials and have mastered how to do the “perfect beats.” Guys, you go to your barber three times a week to get a fresh line and black paint. We browse Pinterest and come up with the perfect outfits. We post perfect selfies and every perfect moment on social media and forget that when we log off, we have a reality to face.
Starting today, I advise you to be like my mom and do some “under the surface” cleaning. What’s in your heart? What’s hoarding your space? Are you harboring unforgiveness? Are you broken? What is it about you that “needs cleaning” that’s not visible to the eye? 
Take it to God with a sincere desire to want to be cleaned. He’ll cleanse you, but your first step is to stop pretending like everything is okay. GOD CAN’T HEAL WHAT YOU WON’T REVEAL and HE CAN’T HEAL THE PERSON YOU’RE PRETENDING TO BE. ❤️

How many fights have you won? 💪🏾

I’ve been in several physical fights in my life. I started in 3rd grade and I think my last physical fight was in 2011 or 2012. (Thank God for growth. 🙌🏾) I lost some. I won some. *Ok, I won majority of them. #ABeast #AskAboutMe 😂*
Seriously, out of all the fights I’ve fought in my life, the fights I’ve fought through prayer have been my easiest battles. I wish someone would’ve told me that in the 3rd grade. That would’ve saved me a lot of time, energy, he say she say, scratches, suspensions, and bald spots. (Females love pulling hair in fights. 😂😂😂😂) 

A lot of you are drained because you’re fighting the wrong way. The most powerful weapon one can use in any battle is PRAYER. Stop fighting fire with fire. That only creates more fire. I know how difficult it is to be silent and not respond when someone keeps “coming for you”, but whether you realize it or not, when you choose to be the bigger person, you have the upper-hand. (Any time, you do what God instructs you do, you have ALREADY won.)

Today, I challenge you to withdraw your fist, your harsh words, your clique, your guns, your ill intents, your evil heart, and anything else you’ve been fighting with…and PRAY ABOUT IT- PRAY FOR THR SITUATION and MOST IMPORTANTLY, PRAY FOR THE PERSON OR PEOPLE you have the conflict with…and watch things start to turn in your favor. ❤️❤️❤️

Jesus, take the wheel…

***THIS IS LONG, BUT IT’LL BLESS YOU.**
I remember when I was learning how to drive. My dad would sit comfortably in the passenger seat and let me steer the wheel whichever way I wanted, adjust the speed how I saw fit, and let me turn left or right. Sometimes I’d steer perfectly, other times I’d end up on a curb…or two…but he never grabbed the steering wheel. If he saw something that needed to be corrected, he’d gently correct me. Each time I learned and drove better than the time before. I never wrecked and always got us safely to our destination. 

My mom on the other hand- lol- She’d sit straight up in the passenger seat yelling, “Slow down, Erica.”…”Speed up, Erica” “You see that car don’t you?”… “You see that speed bump right?”…”Turn this way.”…”Don’t turn that way.”…and the ones I hated the most, grabbing the steering wheel and telling me to stop because the green light was ABOUT TO change. Lol 

After about 2 or 3 times with my mom, I remember crying and telling my dad I didn’t want my mom to take me anymore. Lol I remember one time, she made me pull over, and she drove. LOL 😂 

Now, as I look back- both of them taught me a valuable lesson about driving. My dad taught me to loosen up, not to be nervous, and to go with the flow. My mom, on the other hand, taught me to drive very very very carefully and to drive not only for myself but also other drivers. 

When I finished quiet time this morning, I thought about that. Initially, I did not know why. I laughed about it, moved on from it, but then God brought me back to it. 

Here’s the revelation I received…

So many times, that’s exactly how we are with God. We pray for God “take the wheel” and lead us, but then we don’t trust the plan God has for our lives so we are how my mom was in the passenger seat- Sitting straight up because we are afraid and nervous, grabbing the steering wheel, & dictating the journey. God tells us to go right, we go left. He tells us to slow down, we speed up. He tells us to keep going and ignore distractions, we stop and address every meaningless thing…

…but God wants us to be how my dad was, sitting comfortably and trusting the driver. Trusting the driver doesn’t necessarily mean that we may not hit a curb or two or go full speed over a speed bump (lol), it means that you trust the driver to be with you through the bumps and off curbs and TO GET YOU SAFELY TO YOUR DESTINATION. 

Hmmmm…how many of you can relate? 

Listen, if you’ve cried out and have asked Jesus to take the wheel, give Him complete control. Stop trying to dictate the journey. I know it can be scary venturing into the unknown and not knowing what is going to happen next, but He’ll be with you. You are going to run into a few bumps and may run on a few curbs, but He’s still with you. Trust His way! Trust His plan! ONLY WHEN YOU SURRENDER AND LET HIM TRULY “TAKE THE WHEEL”, THAT IS WHEN YOU’LL SAFELY GET TO YOUR DESTINATION. ❤
Thank you, Holy Spirit. 🙏🏾

Are you a slave to your past? 

Stop allowing past regrets, past let-downs, past betrayal, past struggles, past relationships, past friendships….interfere with the possibilities of what the future can hold. 
When I moved to Memphis and started teaching at Kingsbury, I promised to never befriend or become associate with coworkers….simply because a PAST betrayal of a “coworker turned friend/associate” at my last job. 

As expected, I walked in with my guard up, ASSUMING that your coworkers can’t be trusted…ASSUMING that any coworker who was “friendlier than normal” had an ulterior motive. So, I spent most of the time on a “hi, bye, and keeping it moving” deal. 

I started at Kingsbury in October (2014); in December(2014), one of my coworkers approached me about a taking a trip with her and couple other coworkers in March (2015). Immediately my PAST said, “Don’t do it. Remember, your promise when coming. It’s going to end just like it did at your last job.”

I told her I’d think about it and let her know. Of course, I prayed about it. After getting the OKAY, the trip was booked and paid for a week later. 

Here it is March (2017), I have taken several trips with with coworkers…who I can now TRULY call friends. We have taken two cruises and have traveled to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Myrtle Beach, and we are leaving for San Diego next week. Just last night we had a girls’ night/ sleepover. 

In these three years, there has not been any drama, fallen outs- just great times, many many many laughs, and awesome memories.

Contrary to popular belief, everyone isn’t messy or full of drama. There are people with pure hearts, free of evil intentions. 

I said all of that to say- Listen, everyone doesn’t want to hurt you or betray you. There are actually people who desire healthy relationships/friendships. Don’t allow your past to make you ASSUME that everyone is out to get you. The wall you’ve built to keep the wrong people out also keeps the right people from getting in. I know they say those who truly want to be in your life will tear down that wall, but the truth of the matter is- Everyone doesn’t have the energy to fight you to be a part of your life. 

We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all been let down, we’ve all been disappointed, we’ve all experienced some form of betrayal…THAT’S LIFE. You can allow your past to make you isolate yourself and be bitter or you can let it make you better and get out there and LOVE like you’ve never been hurt. 

Had I listened to my PAST, I would’ve missed making so many great memories with great people.❤

Prerequisite for THE PROMISE

Life happens to us all. None of us are exempt from some form of suffering. My suffering may not be yours and yours may not be mine, but we all have those days…those moments…those seasons that are draining, tiring, painful, and uncomfortable.
The real issue is, “How do you respond to those times?”

Do you walk around, with your head down? Are you mad at the world?…at God? Do you throw pity parties? Are you making others lives difficult because your life is? 
What do you do? 
Life is only 10% of what happens and 90% of how you respond. So, you hold the power. You make your seasons 10 times worse than it really has to be when you spend time complaining, throwing tantrums, and focusing on and living in your circumstances. 
Yeah, this may be a tough season, but please know that there is someone, somewhere going through and experiencing much worse. Please know that there is someone, somewhere praying for your circumstances. No, things may not be the best, but be honest- things are not the worst either. 

 

Instead of asking, “Why is this happening TO me?” Look at it as this is happening FOR you. Those tough times are necessary. They had to happen. 
This reminds me of my Freshman year of college. I was told I had to take a remedial math course because of my low score on the ACT. I begged, screamed, and pleaded not to be placed in a remedial course. My reasoning was I did not want anyone to think I was slow. 
The advisor told me, “This remedial math is necessary. It is put in place to prevent you from failing later.”
So this is to help me? My advisor replied, “Yes. It’s allowing you to get the skills you need. It serves as a prerequisite for College Algebra.”
My point for sharing? Hmmmm, having to take and sit through that remedial course was disappointing and embarrassing to say the least, but when I got out of my feelings and starting looking at the course as help instead of harm, it became beneficial to me. In fact, it turned out to be what I needed. 
The next semester, I passed College Algebra with flying colors…and check this, people who were not required to take the remedial math because they had the high ACT score, struggled, some even failed, but I did not, and it was because of that remedial course I fought against. 

Listen, this tough season is necessary. Stop fighting against it. It is a PREREQUISITE for the PROMISE. Change your perspective and go through it. See, the enemy thinks this is going to harm- decrease- demote you, but God is so strategic- He’s going to use this same season to help- increase- promote you. 
Be ENCOURAGED. ❤❤❤❤

…in the end

For the past six or seven months, there has been road construction on Covington Pike here in Memphis. I used to think, “Man, when are they going to finish working? Nothing in the world should take this long.” 
Having one lane open in Memphis’ traffic is frustrating and even more frustrating on the mornings when I changed outfits four or five times (😬)and left my apartment after 6:30 a.m. See, I remember Covington Pike before they started the work and it was fine- no potholes and the traffic flow was very steady. So in my mind, they should’ve left it alone, especially since it’s a popular route for travelers who work. Why fix something if it isn’t broken, right? If it’s working, leave well enough alone.
Well, yesterday, they finished one side. NOW (catch that), I understand what took so long. Instead of the two lanes that were there before they started have been converted into three lanes. The traffic flow was good before the work, but MY GOD, it is even better now.

As I traveled through yesterday and admired what they had done thus far, I reflected on all my frustrations over the past six or seven months. Before I knew it, I said, “Oh yeah, I like this.” See, I had been complaining for the last seven months, and the construction was working in my favor. (Catch THAT!) 

Soon after “Trust The Process” dropped in my spirit.
My point?

Sometimes, we reach a place of contentment and comfort in our lives. Yeah, everything is working just fine and everything is all good, BUT are we being stretched or challenged? Then, God comes along and shakes things up because He wants us all to reach our full potential and He knows we’ll never get there in our comfort zones. So, we are pulled out our comfort zones. The pouting and whining start, “Lord, why? My life was good”…..

…you know like Covington Pike was BEFORE the construction. 

Then, when we finally stop fighting against what God is trying to do, the work in us and around us start. Sure it’s frustrating and uncomfortable, but if we’ll TRUST THE PROCESS and go through it, it’s going to work for our good…IN THE END. The life we thought was good before doesn’t even compare to what God has in store for us. Like me, you’ll find yourself saying, “Oh yeah, I like this.” See, God doesn’t just want us to live a good life. He wants to us to live the BEST life. 

Listen, TRUST YOUR PROCESS. Don’t be afraid of your uncomfortable season. You can’t see it NOW, but keep pressing in. Press and praise, praise and press…your way through.It’s not happening to you, it’s happening FOR you.

BE FLEXIBLE 

Last night before setting my alarm, I had a plan in place. 

1. Quiet Time

2. Breakfast

3. Gym…

4. …and then get dressed and be on time for work. 

This morning, my alarm sounded at 4:15. I wanted to press the snooze button, but I didn’t. I jumped up and proceeded with my plan..

When I finished PMS (Prayer, Mediation & Study), I “Herbalifed”, dressed, and left for the gym in my complex. [I promised myself I’d be more disciplined with working out when the school year starts.] Anyway, when I arrived at the gym, my gate pass would not allow me to gain entry. Usually, when I swipe it, it turns green. This morning, it kept giving me the “red signal.” I did it a couple more times. Still, no luck. 

“Ugh,” I thought. “I really wanted to work out.” …and I’ll admit, that made me feel some type of way. I wanted everything to go according to MY plan. 

As I drove back to my apartment, two words dropped in my spirit. 

“Be flexible.”

Initially, I did not pick up on it. 

The Holy Spirit spoke again. “Be Flexible.”…but this time, with clarity.

When I walked in my apartment, I grabbed my iPad, opened the You Tube app and searched for Leslie Sansone and proceeded with my work out…and that workout was better than any workout I had ever done at the gym. (Catch THAT!)


There’s so much revelation in this. 
My point? 

Too often, we get so fixated on our plan for our lives…and then when something does not  go as we planned, we get so frustrated and we give up. Then, we start to feel sorry for ourselves…and then, we start throwing a pity party…and then, we start complaining…and then, we become ungrateful…and then, we become envious of those who we feel plans have worked or are working…and then, we become mad at the world…and then,…on and on and on and on.

You see the cycle? 

This is much deeper than my workout plan failing. I don’t know who this is for, but God is telling me to tell you to “Be Flexible.” Things may not have gone according to YOUR plan, but things are going according His plan. His plan is always in place, always prevails, and if you’d trust Him, it’ll be much better than any plan you’ve could have ever constructed on your own. (Did you catch that?) 

Be flexible! Get up and get back in the race, and Trust where He is leading you! He has a plan for your life. 

“…but I love it, God.”


During my quiet time this morning, the message this image depicts dropped in my spirit.
We are afraid to release that and who we know are not for us because our little to no faith does not allow us to believe that God has more for us…..so we hold on to those people and things…because in our minds, we’d rather have something, even if it doesn’t amount to anything…because it’s better than having nothing at all right?
Wrong.
So as I was saying…we hold on…to that man or woman when God has clearly shown us that he/she is not for us…to those random text and call buddies that you only text and call when you’re bored and being attacked with the spirit of loneliness because you don’t believe there’s a woman or man out there that God has prepared JUST FOR YOU…or to that job that doesn’t bring fulfillment because you do not really believe that God can blow your mind and bless you to work where your passion lies….so as I was saying…we hold on…

…like the little girl in this picture….because we THINK we love what we have, but truthfully….
….some of us are so unhappy and we’re praying for God to do something NEW, but how can He when you refuse to release the old? 
Oh, wait. I get it….we want God to show us the NEW before we release the old?….but nooooooo, He doesn’t work that way. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to operate in FAITH…and He says all we need is FAITH the size of a mustard seed…that’s it. That’s the size of the tip on a ball point pen. That’s it!
So, go ahead and release it; God wants to do something new. 

“Just Trust Me.”- God 
Lord, I thank you for not only using me to minister to others, but using me to minister to me. #SpeakLord #LordIHearYou

“I got you.” -God

Okay, so I’m in line getting ready to pay for brunch, $35 + tax. My face was buried in my Facebook app posting my usual statuses. 
*Before I continue, let me give you some background information.*

This morning after I finished my quiet time with God, I paid tithes, rent, and two other bills. Then I logged into my Regions app; I had an unexpected expense to post on Friday that was not supposed to clear until the end of the month.

Immediately I thought, “Ugh. There goes my extra money“, but the Holy Spirit redirected my thought. 

“Give thanks,” says the Holy Spirit. 

Truthfully, my flesh didn’t want to, but I was obedient.

So, I thanked God for that unexpected expense. 

In the midst of me praising and thanking God, the enemy still tried to interfere. 

Why do you pay tithes?” I immediately shut that thought down and continued praising God. 

Then, Matthew 6:25-26 dropped in my spirit. 

““That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”

Now back to me standing in line…

As I was saying, I was getting ready to pay for brunch, not looking around or anything. Just slightly moving up as the line slightly moved…posting statuses. 

A lady walks up to me, “Excuse Ma’am. Can I pay for your brunch?” It caught me by surprise and she must’ve noticed the puzzled looked on my face…so she asked again, “Can I? Nothing fishy. Just let me pay.” 

I responded, “Sure.” She paid, I thanked her, and we went our separate ways. 

My point? This may be minor to some, but it’s major to me. That was God’s way of saying, “I got you” and confirming the verses that dropped in my spirit while I was praising Him.

Listen, refuse to be controlled by your finances. God has you. Money is limited and can only do so much. God is limitless and can do ALL things! Trust Him!!!!