No, it’s not a good move. It’s a GOD move!

When I first started this job as Academic Coach, I hated it- I hated being back at home and in The Delta, I hated traveling to two schools, I hated not being able to work directly with children…and the list continued. I can be honest right? Soooo, yeah, I hated it. One day after work, I was on Shelby County’s website reapplying for Kingsbury and preparing to move back. In the midst of reapplying, I heard God say, “Are you going to trust me or are you going to trust your emotions?” Then He gave me specific instructions. He told me to start declaring, “I love my job” every time those feelings of hate surfaced…and I did just that. Then He said, “This may not feel like a good move right now, but it is a GOD move. Trust Me.” 

…and between then and now things shifted. I’ve grown to LOVE my job. I love being back in the house with my parents and in The Delta. I get cooked meals, free car washes, and I get to save (a little) money. Then, I’m especially excited about the visions God has given me concerning ministering here. I love working at and traveling to both schools- it gives me time to collect myself when I’ve become overwhelmed- like a mini vacation sort of, and while I don’t get the chance to work with children directly, I do get the chance to impact the lives of those who directly impact the lives of children. 

You see the change of perspective? The job didn’t change. I did. A lot times God isn’t interested in changing our circumstances. He is interested in changing us. 

…and I mean I really really LOVE my job now.  One morning, my mom jokingly said, “Erica, in all my years, I’ve never gotten up excited for work like you do.” 

While we are focusing on what doesn’t feel right, God has a greater purpose. 

Let me encourage you. I don’t know where you in your life or what you are facing, but  tune out your emotions and trust God. His promises don’t waiver. If He has led you to a place and now you’re doubting if you heard from Him, be still and trust the process. Don’t allow the enemy to attack your victory.Just as He spoke to me- this may not feel like a good move, but it is a GOD move…and when it is a GOD move, you cannot lose. ❤

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…but what have you been instructed to do???

Transparent Moment (It’s long…as most of my posts are…lol…but seriously, this will bless you.) 
As June 8th approached- the date I was scheduled to move “home”, I’ll admit- I became unsure…uneasy, wanted to change my mind several times…wanted to rescind my resignation at Kingsbury…wanted to contact the leasing office at my apartment to sign a new lease…wanted to cancel my U-Haul and storage reservations…ALTHOUGH I AM POSITIVE I HAD HEARD FROM GOD that He wanted me back at “home”…and even still, I was toying with the should I go and the should I stay. All I could think about was, “I am comfortable here”…but then I heard God say, “Being comfortable is okay except when you’re comfortable, I can’t do very much with you.” 
So, as I was saying, I became unsure…uneasy as my “move out” date approached. I kept asking myself, “What happened to the certainty that you’ve had for the last year? Moving “home” is what you wanted, it’s what God wants for you, and it’s what you’ve prayed for.”…and I couldn’t come up with an answer. So, I pushed my feelings to the side and decided that I was gonna go where God wanted me to go. 
So, let me tell you how when your steps are ordered by God, distractions become plentiful. I interviewed at a charter school earlier this year, even before I interviewed in Sunflower County. It was a loooong interview process too. You have to do a meet & greet, a phone interview, an in-person interview, plan and teach a lesson, and a post interview. About a month after that process, I gave up on that because I had not heard from anyone. I thought, “Maybe I am not what they are looking for.”
As I was saying about distractions becoming plentiful- FOUR DAYS before I was scheduled to move out my apartment, I received a call from the principal of that school where I interviewed months ago, asking me to check my email for an offer letter. I checked it, and I stared at the salary, $5-,—.– . I was like, “but God, this is more than what I have been offered in Sunflower County.”


 Immediately, I heard, “Don’t fall for the bait.” So here I am, in Indianola, back “home.” I start my new job here July 10, 2017. The salary at the charter school is more, but my salary in Sunflower County is still an increase from last year.

Hmmmm….

See, if the enemy can’t get you off God’s path one way, he’ll go to the extreme. He tried to use money (his most used distraction) to get me to do the opposite of what God has told me to do. It may be less now, but it’ll be more later. I trust God wholeheartedly. There’s a reason I am here. 
I don’t know why God placed this on my heart to share tonight, but I know there’s a reason. Whoever you are, do what God has told you to do. You may not see the benefit right now, but it’ll pay off in the long run. Sometimes, you have to take a loss now to win LATER. Stay on God’s path. That’s where His grace resides. ❤️

Get Through It…

*This post is shorter than usual, but I still wanted to share as it was put on my heart to…*

For two nights, we have been without power. I have suffered through the heat  (and anybody who knows me knows that I hate heat. I use my A/C year-round.) I have not suffered through the heat because I have to, but because I’m trying to teach myself how to deal with less than desirable circumstances. I could have driven home to my parents, my brother and my sister-in-law are in Southaven, several of my Kingsbury coworkers have offered their places, one of my Facebook friends even offered her place, or I could have gotten a hotel room. Instead, I have decided to stay where I am. I am not about to die, so I will be okay. Is it uncomfortable? Absolutely!…but sometimes, we need to be reminded. The things that we THINK are a given like food, shelter, clothing, air in the summer, heat in the winter, we tend to take for granted. We have been forced into thinking that we are not blessed if we do not have the big houses, fancy cars, and flashy clothes & shoes. 
My point? We have to learn to deal with some things and get through it. While we are always busy looking for an escape route every time a difficulty occurs, God wants us to not only go through the process but also trust that the process is working for our good. This time without power has allowed my cellphone to die on several occasions and has allowed the TVs to be turned off. As a result, I have spent less time on social media, have not indulged in the Law & Order series, and have spent more time on my face seeking God. As I posted this morning, even the worst set of circumstances has good in them. Life is not so much about what happens to you; it is more so about how you respond. If you’ll change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. ❤️

#MondayMessage #ItIsAllAboutYourPerspective #BeGrateful #ItCouldBeWorse

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.