What are you wearing?

Last night, my coworker and I ate at Joe’s. Just as we were about to pay, an older gentlemen walked over to us and asked me, “What color shirt is that you’re wearing?” I looked down at my shirt and responded, “Purple.” Then he pointed at his friend who also had on a purple shirt with the “Q-Dogg” letters and asked, “What are those letters?” So I responded, “Y’all are Q- Dogg’s?” He said, “No, we are Omega men.” There’s a difference. (Catch that) Then, he said, “Just because you are wearing purple, I am going to put this on your bill.”

Weird huh?

Well, not really. I’m going to tell you why in a few.

…and let me just add this, the amount he gave was the difference I had to pay because the rewards I had earned on previous visits had covered the other portion. Hallelujah!!! That alone blessed me as well, but LISTEN!!!!!!….

The encounter with this guy ministered to me in a way like no other. First off, it was unexpected, but this morning as I was reflecting on that situation again, I heard God say, “Because NOW you are wearing what you are SUPPOSED to be wearing (catch that…and I am not talking about clothes either), I AM about to release some unexpected blessings your way.” Hallelujah!!!!!!! Glory to God!!!

Can I be honest? See, until we put on what we are SUPPOSED to be wearing, there are a lot of things God will withhold from us….until we get it right…because Lord knows, in the last months or so, I had put on some STUFF that I know I should not have been wearing…but because God is a merciful and graceful God, He helped me undressed and then redress. See, we cannot keep serving Satan but expecting an overflow from God. It just will not happen. There are some things that you are going to have to cut off and there are some people you are going to have to say “bye bye” to….Yes, it may break your heart but to be in RIGHT STANDING with Jesus makes it all worth it!!!!!

Listen, ya’ll! I pray this blessed you as it blessed me. I do not know about ya’ll, but I want ALL God has for me….and to receive that ALL, we have to be wearing a “specific garment”; we cannot wear just any old thing; we cannot look like the rest. We have to STAND OUT! The ROBE OF RIGHTEOUS is what we have to be wearing! ❤️

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Rerouting…

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but I use my GPS even if I know where I am going; I like to know what time I’ll arrive. This morning, I was en route to work. In the middle of the route, the GPS rerouted me. Rerouting usually happens when you take a wrong exit, but that was not the case. I was following the route given “To a T.” When it rerouted, I hesitated for a minute and even thought about not following the but then, I took the new exit in the 0.6 miles as I was instructed to. Now, what was even more puzzling, the new route delayed me for about 8 minutes more than the usual route. Of course, frustration set in and I’m thinking, I know I should have followed my initial route, but I kept driving. As I continued, the arrival time kept increasing. I’m like, “Really????” I picked up my phone to text the principal and every time, there was a distraction. So I just threw my hands up and just accepted and embraced this NEW route and said, “Whatever happens, happens.” I arrived at work at 7:58, 8 minutes earlier than the arrival time stated…AND when I arrived at work, the parking lot was not as full as usual. I learned that there was a bad accident on 240 W (the route I usually take) and over half of my coworkers were stuck in traffic…and to jump forward, most did not arrive to work until 9:20. Wow. Stuck in traffic for a whole hour and some. Yikes!!!

My point?

Sometimes in life, things will be going smooth and then all of a sudden we will get “rerouted”. We won’t always like it nor will we always understand it, but we have to accept it and embrace it as God’s will. When we fight against it, we found ourselves stuck, going nowhere, feeling frustrated, feeling purposeless because we are traveling a route outside of God’s will. Just think, had I fought against that NEW route because the old was familiar to me, I would have, too, been “stuck”, going nowhere, in stand still traffic for over an hour. Because He sees what’s ahead, we have to trust Him. Yes, I know we like the familiar and like being comfortable, but sometimes the NEW…and REROUTES are for our good. Sometimes, God comes along and shakes up what we are used to, to get us to where we are supposed to be, when are supposed to be there…if we would trust His leading. ❤️

AT YOUR PACE…

Oh my!!! Let this bless you!!!!!

This morning when I walked in the gym, the only available treadmill was beside this woman who appeared to have the treadmill on a speed of 12 and an incline of 12 as well. She was getting it!!! I was hesitant about getting on the treadmill next to her because her speed and incline would put my speed of 3.5 and incline of 1 to shame….but I did anyway.

I started…and about a half mile in, I glanced over at her treadmill readings and she had burned nearly 500 calories while I burned 50. 😩 I would have to walk 5 hours at my pace to get there. So I upped my speed to 4.5 and incline to 3.0….and picked up the pace. Toward the end of my first mile, I glanced over at her readings and she was nearly at 700 calories…sooo I upped my speed and incline again…and about one minute later, I had to completely stop my treadmill because I was short of breath, felt like I was about to vomit and pass out…while she kept going…(Catch that)

My point?

So many times, in this walk of life, we try to “keep up” with others. We see someone else start a business, then we want to start a business. We see someone else buy a home, we want to buy a home. We see someone else get married and have a baby, we pressure our boyfriends and girlfriends to marry and have babies. We see someone else get a promotion, we want a promotion…when really we don’t know what they have done, how much they have prayed, or how much they have sacrificed to get to where they are. Just like the woman next to me, I don’t know how long she has been working out to build her endurance. All I wanted to do at that moment was KEEP UP…when I know I have been inconsistent and have a jacked up diet. (Catch that) We want God to give us the world when we have not sacrificed a town.

On this walk, it’s important to keep our eyes on our OWN walk and move at the pace God allows us to move. When we take our eyes off our walk, we start comparing…which starts the slippery slope to an ungrateful, envious, and jealous heart.

Walk your own walk….at your own pace. When you move ahead of God, His GRACE for that walk and for that time gets left behind as well….just like it left me this morning. God has us where we are for a reason. Some are farther along than others…and some move faster while some move slower.

Wherever you are on your journey, TRUST IT…and keep moving…at the designated pace. ❤️

God is a PROMISE KEEPER…

Yesterday, I had a moment. After work I sat in my car for about 30 minutes and boohooed like a baby. I always sit in my car after work for a while; I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. That gives me a moment to collect myself and make a mental list of things I need to complete before bed.

Anyway…

As I sat in the car yesterday, scrolling through pictures from last night’s Data Night, I kept scrolling and somehow I started looking at pictures from six years ago.

…and that’s where the boohooing started.

It was this one picture where I was, too, sitting in my car after work. I remember so vividly because I remember the shirt I was wearing and how I had soaked it with tears and makeup and the makeup would not come out.

As I looked at that picture,I remember that I had just left my husband and moved to Greenville. I had just started a new job so I was full of doubt. Along with the doubt from the new job, I was hurt, embarrassed, depressed, and broken…spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially….but no one had a clue, no one but me. I had mastered the art of pretending to be happy…but I was a total wreck. I was crying myself to sleep every night, battling with suicidal thoughts, battling with low self-esteem and low self-worth, and was completely lost.

So here I was yesterday, feeling completely opposite of what I felt six years ago- at PEACE, full of JOY, WHOLE, and FREE, and it was in that moment that I was reassured that GOD IS A PROMISE KEEPER.

Let me encourage those who may be today where I was six years ago. You do not have to pretend to be okay. You can actually be okay….but God cannot heal what you will not reveal. I have traveled this road and I know how painful it is. I know exactly how you are feeling and what you are dealing with; however, this is NOT your final destination. You are just passing through. This pain is only temporary, and God is going to give you beauty for your ashes.

See, you cannot appreciate the sunshine until you have gone through the storms and rain…you cannot appreciate being WHOLE until you’ve been broken…you cannot appreciate a full night’s rest until you’ve tossed & turned all night…you cannot appreciate crying tears of joy until you’ve cried tears of sorrow…you cannot appreciate the PEACE until you’ve endured mental & emotional turmoil.

Go through it!!!

Starting today- be honest with yourself and with God about what you are feeling. He loves you and He cares…and you will, too, be able to look back and cry….tears of joy…because you are not at that place anymore….and it will be in that moment that you will understand why you had to go through this and will, too, realize that God is a PROMISE KEEPER. ❤️

The Wait…Ugh…

Y’all remember Hannah in the Bible? She was one of the wives of Elkanah. Elkanah’s other wife was Peninnah. Hannah had no children and Penninah did…and Penninah, with her little mean and dirty self, taunted Hannah because of this. Penninah knew how badly Hannah wanted kids, and I can imagine how badly Hannah felt. The other wife (which I could not have dealt with- Thank God I was not born back then. Lol) had multiple children by THEIR husband and Hannah could not conceive even one.

Stay with me…I promise you I’m going somewhere with this….

Putting myself in Hannah shoes, I’m sure she often wondered what her purpose was and felt upset, embarrassed, worthless, frustrated, impatient, anger, and probably even envied Penninah and her husband’s relationship a little….or maybe a lot. I would’ve been all up in Elkanah’s face asking, “What you doing to Penninah that you ain’t doing to me?” 😂😂😂

Okay, let me continue…

…but you know what I love about Hannah, even with all these emotions she must have been experiencing, she never stop clinging to God and she never stopped praying that God would give her a child. Even with all these emotions rising, she still had FAITH. She knew God would do what He promised. If she didn’t believe it, she would’ve stopped praying…

……like most of us do. Hmmmm…

See, when you are experiencing tough times is not

the time to run away from God but to run to Him. God cares about our emotions and what concerns us. Having emotions do not make Him upset. It is dealing with those emotions in an unhealthy manner- turning to temporary fixes, pretending we are okay, resorting to unbelief- that makes His heart grieves. He wants to hear about all our troubles, although He already knows.

Let me encourage you- you may not be like Hannah, waiting on a baby but whatever you are waiting on, I encourage you to keep waiting. I know how you are feeling and how frustrated the wait has been, but allow those feelings to push you deeper into God. Allow those feelings to make you cling to God even harder. People may be taunting you, mocking you, laughing at you, may think you are a fool to still be waiting, and may have counted you out, but you keep pressing into God…until the PROMISE manifests.

and you’ll be like Hannah one day, able to rejoice and be a witness to the world that God is ONE who does not lie. God eventually blessed Hannah with a child who she named Samuel who went on to be a world changer.

Trust God’s timing. If He is making you wait, He has good reason. Don’t trade God’s timing for your deadline. ❤️❤️

Bloom where you are planted…

Thursday when we boarded the ship, I was surprised to hear an African American’s voice over the loud speaker welcoming us as the Cruise Director. Surprised, simply because out of the many cruises I’ve been on, this was a first. Alriiiggghhtt, Carnival! Lol

Anyway, sooooo…

Yesterday evening after one of the many shows on the ship, the cruise director, Tevin, opened a short Q and A with the audience to kill time before the next show.

Someone asked, “Where did you start?”

*Before I continue, let me give a little background about cruise directors for those who have not been on a cruise. Cruise directors are the face of the cruise. They are the only voice you hear. Their sole objective is to make sure the guests enjoy the cruise. They have to love people, have a welcoming personality, have to be extra funny, and their salary averages about $60,000 per year. *

After repeating the question back to the audience, “Where did I start? Hmmmmm”

He went on to say, “I started in housekeeping. After applying for this job several times and not getting it, I made the most of where I was…in HOUSEKEEPING (with Carnival.) While being a housekeeper, I behaved like a cruise director would. I made sure my guests were happy, I entertained my guests- making them laugh, making sure they were comfortable to the best of my ability…and then after receiving sooooo many 5 star reviews from guests, they CALLED me to apply for the cruise director position again and decided to give me a shot.”

Ha!!!

Stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this and this is sure to bless you…

A lot of you have given up on your dreams because you have not gotten your big break yet. So you are bitter, working a job that you have settled for because you didn’t get the job you wanted. So you treat people mean, you half do it, you complain all the time, you come late, leave early…unlike Tevin.

Instead of Tevin being bitter, being mad at the world, treating guests nastily, half doing his job, or even quitting Carnival, he became the best housekeeper there was…and most importantly, Tevin did what Colossians 3:23- 3:24 states,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

‭‭

Tevin became a Cruise Director before he actually became a Cruise Director. (Catch that…)

I don’t know who this is for, but if this is you…

Delayed does not mean denied. Just because you have gotten NO after NO after NO does not mean that, that YES is not coming. While you are WAITING, make the most of this season; go ahead and become what you aspire to be- BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED…and your Father in Heaven will make it where people cannot help but to notice you.❤️

Where is your focus?

Yesterday evening, I drove to Memphis after work for an appointment. I left around 3:30 pm which placed me in Memphis around rush hour. With all the construction on the interstate, that made rush hour even worse. To add, I had an appointment at 5:45 pm that I HAD to make. If I was a minute late, it would’ve canceled. That was explained to me before I accepted it.

Anyway…here I was at 5:20 pm, still 30-35 minutes away from my destination according to my GPS, still stuck in rush hour traffic. I was frustrated, antsy, and angry that it was a possibility that I had driven two plus hours… for nothing.

“Ugh”, I thought. “I hate Memphis’ traffic”, I blurted out.

But it wasn’t the traffic that was bothering me. It was the fact that I would be late for my appointment and miss it…and I had no control over it.

At about 5:30 pm, I guess, one of my favorite songs played on the radio which sent me into a full dance routine. I mean I was getting it.

Obviously, that took my focus off of the bumper to bumper traffic. Shortly after the song went off and I caught my breath from dancing, I noticed traffic was flowing.

Hmmm….

Stay with me. I’m going somewhere…

It was in that moment that I heard-

Difficult times become even more difficult when we are focused on them. It isn’t so much about what is happening to us that gets us; is the extreme focus that we give those times that makes us angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, feel powerless, and forces us to want to throw in the towel.

When that song played, I completely forgot I was in traffic that was barely moving. As a result, I unconsciously calmed down, drove, trusted the process…(catch this), and things flowed and worked out exactly how they were supposed to- I made my appointment at 5:43 pm.

Let me encourage you…

I do not know what’s before you- it could be financial problems, it could be trouble on your job, it could be your children who are going down the wrong path, it could be problems in your marriage, it could be problems with school…

Whatever it is, I dare you to take your focus off of it. Instead of worrying and stressing which are unhealthy, consume your time with other healthy things…and before you know it, things will start flowing and work out exactly how they are supposed to….

God bless you! ❤️

#TakeYourFocusOffOfIT

Are you Successful?

In the picture below are two of three of my college degrees. Now, I also have an Educational Specialist in Administration and Supervision. I aspire to be a principal one day. Many probably would say that I’m pretty successful huh?

And I agree-d

…at one point.

To many people success means multiple degrees, a flourishing business, a nice home, nice cars, a husband, children, and money.

That’s what success meant to me, too, and years ago, I was well on my way to success.

At least that what I thought anyway. I had a Master’s Degree from a well-known university, working on a 3rd degree, had a husband, cars, in the process of buying a house, money, and traveling often. The only thing I was missing was my child.

I praised those “things” you see in that picture because I felt that, that they made me “successful.” I felt that my education had gotten me to where I was.

Whenever someone said, “Tell me something about you.”

My first statement, “Well I have two degrees from Delta State….”

I was a two-time college graduate! You couldn’t tell me nothing!

Humph!

Guys, the world has deceived us. We chase the money, the cars, the houses, the degrees, men/women, and all this other stuff that the world defines as success.

So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. (1 Corinthians 10:14 NLT)

All of those things are nice; in fact, God wants us to be successful, but He doesn’t want us to lose sight of Him.

Anything you worship and chase more than you worship and chase God, becomes your god.

Delta State was my god.

My degrees were my god.

Traveling was my god.

Money was my god.

My marriage was my god.

Everything was my god but God himself…

And when God sees that you have idols, He’ll strip you of it all to get your attention.

So, he did just that. He took it away.

They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall. (Psalms 106:36 NLT)

Here I am at 31, I don’t have half of what I have then, but for the first time, I feel that I’m successful.

I have a genuine, growing relationship with God. God is my main entree and all that other stuff are just sides. So with or without the sides, my appetite is filled. “FULL”filment is found in God and God alone.

Now, when I’m asked, “So tell me something about you?”

I respond, “I’m God fearing….” and so forth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still proud of my accomplishments because I worked very hard, but now God comes first in my life and I acknowledge Him in all things.

Let nothing or no one will stand in the way of you succeeding in Christ.

THEY want to “kill” you…

Do you all remember Joseph, the son of Jacob in the Bible?

Joseph had been having dreams that he would one day be King. He was excited about the dreams…as he should have been. He did what most of us do- get excited, then run and tell everyone what God has revealed to us.

Sooo….Joseph shared the dreams with his BLOOD brothers, who secretly despised him. They felt Joseph was favored more by their father, which held some truth…but Joseph did not have control over his FAVOR, right? Wouldn’t it have made sense to despise the father? Anyway, that’s another message. So as I was saying…Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers…

“His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.”

Genesis 37:8 NLT

They despised him even more after that and eventually made plans to kill him.

Awful right? His blood brothers?

“Erica, where are you going with this?”

I’m glad you asked…

Stop sharing your BIG dreams with small minded people. Everyone cannot handle the call that is on your life. See, it was not Joseph the brothers despised. Had Joseph been a “regular” person without favor and a major “calling” on his life, the brothers would not have been intimidated by him or jealous of him. It was the favor on Joseph’s life and where God was taking Joseph that the brothers wanted to kill.

Beware!

People will go to great lengths to “kill” what God has placed on the inside of you.

…but as the story continued, the brothers’ plan to kill Joseph, failed. They sold him into slavery- so they thought. Joseph was taken into Egypt where He earned the FAVOR of the King there. The King then put Joseph in charge of the entire land.

Ha!!! That’s another message! -When God is for you, it does not matter who is against you. That will be my next post! I just love The Bible- written sooo many years ago but sooo relevant and timely!

It’s nothing new under the sun…❤️