Where is MY husband and children?

On yesterday, I had a moment where I fell victim to Erica’s time.
And let me just say this, I struggle, I grow weak, I encounter difficulties so when I reach out for encouragement, it’s not that I don’t practice what I preach, but because I’m human and even the strongest person needs an ear sometimes and simply needs to hear everything will be alright….even though he/she already knows everything will be alright.

But anyway, I sat at my desk yesterday and reflected on life and as I did, I found a list of goals I had set for myself six years ago, at age 22. As I perused this list, I noticed that I had also put in parenthesis the age where I would accomplish each goal.
When I came to the end of the list, I noticed that I had accomplished each goal and at the age I said I would. The last goal on my list was, “Obtain a doctoral degree (30-31)”…
Okay, I’m 28, will be 29 in June so basically, I have 2 years to get this completed…
and then what…..
On yesterday, I asked myself, “After that’s accomplished, “What’s next?”

And that’s where it all started…
All my life, I’ve put myself on this schedule. “By this age, I will have finished this. By next year, this will be completed. By next month, I can scratch that off.”

Now that I’ve scratched basically everything off my list, the question is what else do I want….and as I sat and thought for a moment I realized that the last two goals or things I want to accomplish are …..1.Have a FULFILLING marriage. 2. Have children.
Those two things are definitely attainable but the problem for me is I can’t put an age in parenthesis beside either……simply because this won’t happen in Erica’s time, but in God’s time!
…..and that’s where this discouragement and frustration set in…..not because I doubt that God is going to do those things for me, but because I don’t know when…..completely opposite of other goals I’ve set in the past.

(And let me just say this, I could marry and be pregnant by next week if I wanted to but it wouldn’t be MY husband….and it’ll end just like the first one. A lot of us are married to someone else’s husband and we don’t even know it. I’m not saying that to be mean but to be honest and also speaking from experience. I married a man who was not my husband because that’s what WE wanted. Long story short- We divorced! God is not going to help you along a path He didn’t choose for you and he is not obligated to bless what he did not initiate.)
Anyway….
I was at work yesterday and couldn’t get to my closet, but oh boy when I did, God spoke to me so vividly!

As I meditated on scripture and sat in silence, He began to speak.
“Erica, I’m preparing this husband and child(ren) for you but in the meantime, I need you to shift your focus. Instead of trying to put Me on a timeline, focus on getting prepared to receive your husband and child. Ask Me to show you areas that need the ‘preparation.'”

Oh wow!
Immediately, I began to pray!
“Lord, prepare me for MY husband and children and grant me patience in the process…..”

Now, you can take two lessons away from this.

Lesson 1: Patience- God’s timing, not my timing! Very simple!

Lesson 2: See, we go throughout life wanting this and wanting that, accomplishing this and accomplishing that, but the most fulfilling things in life can’t be accomplished but rather given… as gifts from God.
So we can work our butts off, stress, cry, scream, jump up and down, fall into self- pity like Idid yesterday, but that’s not going to make it come any sooner! That just makes the process more agonizing!

I know it’s difficult sometimes, but trust Him! Abraham and Sarah waited years and years and years to bear a child, but it happened! God’s promises don’t come with a timeline, only FAITH!

Don’t fall victim to “Your Time.” Wait on God’s timing!

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SHAKE IT OFF

Have you all ever read the old parable about the donkey and the well?
If not, here it is…

~A donkey fell down into a well that a farmer had accidentally left uncovered. The donkey cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so he got
his neighbors to come over and help cover the well with dirt. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit the donkey’s back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As they continued to throw dirt on the well, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up.
Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!~

Now that donkey had a choice. He could’ve continued to cry and be a victim in his own story, but he didn’t. He chose to come out victorious.
There are times in our lives where we are going to feel just like that donkey – trapped and buried! That’s life! Life is going to do exactly what the farmer and his neighbors did- SHOVEL DIRT ON YOU! People will count you out and people will do anything in their power to bring you down!…..but just like that donkey, you can rise above it!
The parable says that the donkey eventually quieted as they continue to throw dirt. Hmmmmm
That donkey was smart enough to realize that he had to come up with another plan.
Stop responding to negativity in the expected way. Use the “dirt” life throws at you to build your “escape plan.” The donkey used the very same thing that was used to decrease him as a strategy to increase him! But GOD!!!!!!!

You can rise above anything that life brings with God! For each shovel of dirt that life throws your way, SHAKE IT OFF and take a step upward. What happens to you is not nearly as important as how you respond!

~Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you respond.~

SHAKE IT OFF!!

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Shifting Your Focus

Almost two years ago, I was stripped of everything…..from my marriage right down to my self-esteem….and had to start all over. I had to move from Belzoni to Greenville, start a new job, get acquainted with new coworkers, and a new environment—which made the pain from my circumstances even more trying and agonizing.

I was angry at everybody- with myself, with my parents, my ex-husband, but mostly with God. Often times, I’d think, “God, if you love me, why am I in this place?”
I’d wake up crying and go to bed crying…and In between, I dressed up, did my makeup perfectly, put on my tallest heels, and took the perfect “selfies” with captions that portrayed that I was okay and living the “perfect” life….
when in reality, I was broken and at that time, couldn’t see where I could ever be repaired.
….and because I thought I was broken beyond repair, I turned to meaningless relationships, alcohol, spending money I didn’t have, traveling all over the world, and anything else I thought would feel the void….only to find myself more broken after each encounter.
I suffered in silence through it all…and can I be entirely honest? I would pray and ask God to take me and even contemplated suicide not once, but several times.
It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t cry anymore and I saw that as the only way to end the pain.

Almost every night, I’d lay awake dreading the day ahead, tossing and turning. One night in particular, the pain was so intense and
I was desperate for relief. I had heard people talk about a prayer closet. So, I went in my closet and told God I wasn’t leaving until He moved for me like some of the stories I had heard.

In that moment, as I sat in the darkness and silence, I was moved to pray. As the words flowed from my mouth, I didn’t even recognize the voice. It was like someone was speaking through me. I think I was in there for almost an hour. In that hour, I cried, I sobbed, I cried some more, and I released.

I came out of that closet totally different. Someone I didn’t recognize. I felt refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on the world. From that moment, I adopted my closet as my “safe haven.” What I experience when I’m in there can’t quite be put into words.

Am I saying that my situation changed immediately that night? Of course not.
The pain was still there. My circumstances were still the same. The only difference was my focus had been adjusted. My focus was shifted from my problems to my problem solver!

Problems are a part of life. Find you a “safe haven”. Pray. Shift your focus and watch those problems and situations that once held you captive grow dim. You don’t have to be held as a prisoner by your problems, and you don’t have to suffer in silence and alone like I did. God is your present help! He’s waiting on you!

You can either be a victim in your story or you can share how you came out of your story victorious!!
Your choice!

Your pain is your preparation!!! Stay the course!!!! It gets greater later!!!!

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So, this is the end? Okay.

In the past, I’ve had trouble accepting when relationships…of any kind….ended in my life. Now, I accept it as God’s will and move on…

For about a week I had been trying to use my microwave, it’ll work for two seconds, power off, and then “throw the breaker”; thus, affecting the power in my kitchen, living, dining, and hall areas. Within that week, I tried it countless times. I even moved the microwave to try it in different sockets, same results- I unplug it from the power socket, plug it back in the power socket, press start, after 2 seconds, powers off, “throws breaker” and I’d reset the breaker and try it all over again, hoping that it will eventually work. Simply because I didn’t want to purchase another microwave.
….and truth be told, I saw it coming. I saw the signs about two months ago but totally ignored them.

Before I got out of bed this morning, my mind was drawn to that “powerless” microwave sitting on my kitchen counter.

The Holy Spirit spoke.

We go about life in the same manner. When something has run its course or when God has told us to release something, or maybe that something shouldn’t have ever been in our lives to begin with, but we keep trying to make it fit….by any means necessary, simply because our focus is too fixed on our plan for our lives and disregarding His plan.

When something is not a part of God’s plan for us, face it- it’s not going to work. We can try it a million different ways, on different days. We can tweak it, ignore that it’s not working, or pretend that it does, but the obvious can be ignored only for so long.
And because we hold on to those things after He has told us to release them, it starts negatively affecting other areas of our lives.

Just like my microwave….
Because I didn’t want to accept that, that was the end, I gave what wasn’t working the power to affect what was working, like the “power” in my living area, dining area, and hall area. (Somebody missed that. Catch it!)

Let’s get personal for a minute. My marriage, for example, was that “microwave” in my life for four years. We tried it so many different ways, but because it wasn’t God ordained from the beginning, it was destined for failure. (It’s the truth. Although it took us a while, we’ve accepted it.) Regardless of how uncomfortable it was, we found comfort in it because we didn’t want to start over.

How many of you all are in places where you have found comfort in uncomfortable situations? You hold on because you fear the “what ifs” that come along with starting over.

Well….
God is not going to help you along a road that He has not chosen for you. #FACT

You hear Him speaking. What is it in your life that has run its course? What is He telling you to release?

Obey Him! There’s a harvest of blessings on the other side of obedience!!!

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PREPARATION

How many of you all watch the weather channel every morning or night to prepare for the day ahead? If rain is predicted, you prepare to leave home a little earlier and pull out the rain gear. If a sunny day is predicted, you put that big coat away and grab that small jacket. If sleet or snow is predicted, you avoid areas where it may stick and you search for the safest route to work….and although the meteorologist’s predictions aren’t always accurate, we still do these things because we want to be prepared….just in case. Think about this- How many times have you put an umbrella in your bag or purse, but it never rained?

Hmmmmmmm
So why do we not prepare for life in the same manner? It seems that we’ve only prepared for the “sunny days.” As long as everything is going the way we think it should, we’re good. As long as our finances are up-to-par, we’re happy. As long as our children are making good grades and doing everything we ask and expect of them, we’re at peace. As long as our spouses/mates are doing all the things to keep us happy, we’re on top of the world. As long as we’re receiving all the things we are praying for, we can go on.
But what happens when these things take a turn? What do you do when money is running a little low? What do you do when your child’s teacher calls about constant misbehavior? What do you do when you just can’t get through to your spouse/mate? What do you do when you’re praying but aren’t seeing immediate results?
All throughout the Bible, rainy and stormy days are predicted, yet we still don’t prepare. His word says (not verbatim) the good and bad will suffer. No one is exempt....so that includes me, you, believers, non-believers, EVERYONE!
See…
(Matthew 5:45…..For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.)
So why do we fail to prepare for these times? Where is our “rain gear” for the rainy days?
I encourage you to get in The Word and develop an intimate relationship with God so that you may be able to stand during tough times. Ask Him for strength to weather the storms of life….because they are coming!
During those rainy seasons, He is the same God who was there with you during the sunny seasons. He doesn’t change!!!!

He never said weapons wouldn’t form! He just promised that they wouldn’t prosper!!

Now, get your “gear” so that you can be spiritually prepared for whatever life brings…..whether it’s sunny days, cloudy skies, or rainy days! He desires us to be content through it all. 🙂

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