Fences: Seeing Things I Cannot Reach

I know that there are things in life that are harder to achieve because we live in a society that creates fences for minorities that prevent them from being able to reach anything. I have made this phonetography series as a visual representation of how I use to feel and how some people may currently feel about being able to achieve more in life.
This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Europe. During my trip, I was able to visit nine different countries. As I traveled around Europe, I began to thank God for this fantastic opportunity and realized that I was very fortunate to have been abroad for various reasons. One is that many people like me (a Young African American that’s not in the upper-class category) will almost never have the opportunity to go on a trip like this.
I have always wanted to travel the world, but for a long time, I did not believe I could. But I remember one day in church our pastor was talking about making a list of things you want/want to do, praying over it and believing in God for it to come to past. I was hesitant at first to do it, but I thought to myself “It’s not going to hurt to try.” So I made my list, and just about every night I would pray over and thank God in advance for fulfilling the desire of my heart. Four years later an opportunity came up at my school for my program to study away in Europe. On this trip, I was going to hit just about 80% of the places I’ve always wanted to go. Timid at first, I prayed and asked God, “If this is meant to be, then let it be.” I filled out the paperwork, submitted and a few weeks later I got an email about an interview for the trip. I was still nervous because I still had to get through the interview. Part of me wanted to change my mind and say nevermind, but I had to check myself and say “I’ve made it this far in the process for a reason, so there no turning back now.” Long story short I did my interview and got into the program! I can honestly say that I am so happy that I trusted God in this process and did not let the opportunity He put before me pass me by.
Today, I want to let people who feel like traveling the world or doing the things you want to do is impossible, know… IT IS POSSIBLE! When you put your heart and mind into the things you want to achieve and put your trust in God, anything and ALL things are possible! Don’t let those fences stop you from reaching where you want to go. For every fence, there is a ladder (God) to help you climb over the obstacles that try to stop you.
Let this series be a reminder to you that every day you could live your life looking through a fence; longing to be able to touch or even see up close what’s on the other side of that fence, even if it’s just for a moment. OR you can go out, put action and prayer behind the things you hope for and believe that God will make a way even when there may seem like there is no way.
I encourage you to go after those things they say you can not achieve and take ahold of the ladder in front of you. Go out, touch the things you’ve only been able to see glimpses of from behind the fence.
And once you make it over, never forget where you came from. Be grateful for what you have been able to accomplish and help inspire others to overcome those fences so that they too may join you in the beauty beyond the fences that hold them back.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart
-Psalms 37:4 (NIV)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
-Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

2020!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s not just another new year, but it’s also a new decade! I believe that the year 2020 will be a year of seeing. Seeing things/people for what/who they are. Seeing things that you never thought you would see. Seeing what you knew was there but have turned a blind eye to for so long. This year you will SEE like never before.

The year 2020 will not just be about seeing in the natural but it will also be about seeing in the spiritual too. The eyes of the heart will be open (Ephesians 1:15-18). You will begin to see how God’s word is moving in your life (Psalms 119:18).

The Bible says that “death and life is in the power of the tongue” meaning that what you say has power. I believe that what you SEE has power too. Not only should you SPEAK things into existence, but you should SEE things into existence in this new year too. That new car you’ve been trying to get, SEE IT. The peace you’ve been praying for, SEE IT. The new job you’ve been applying to, SEE yourself in IT. The spiritual break through you’ve been waiting for, SEE IT. The financial break through you’ve been waiting for, SEE IT.

It will be 2020 vision all year long! 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. This year, 2020, will be a year of clarity and the sharpening of vision. No glasses needed to see what’s coming ahead. I encourage you in this new year to open up your eyes and take a look around. See what has been done in your life and look towards what God is about to do in this new decade. See God for who He is and how He’ll always be. This year, is your SEE IT season!

“do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”

-Ephesians 1:16-‬18 NKJV

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

-Ephesians 1:15‭-‬19 MSG

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

-Psalms 119:18 NIV

I learned…

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to continue my education at a university. I learned so much not just in the classroom but outside of it too!

College is where I learned how to becoming organized. I learned how to work hard and not rely on just “natural talent”. I learned the importance of studying, asking questions and looking things up for yourself but more importantly I learned about myself.

I learned how to love myself; my natural hair, my natural beauty, my body, my smile, my forehead, my personality… I learned to stop being afraid of what people might think about me or my opinions. I learned how to fight for what I want and what is right when I know it’s the right thing to do. I learned how to advocate for others and for myself. I Learned that I deserve to be valued, treated with respect and love and that I shouldn’t settle for anything less than what a Queen (like my self) deserves. I also learned to encourage other Queens/Princesses and Kings/Princes to do the same.

I also learned about the people I want in my life. I learned that friends are suppose to be there for you, support you, want to see you win, encourage you, listen to you, give advice, sit with you in times of sadness, happiness, etc. I too learned how to be a better friend! I learned how to look at people and situations from different perspectives. I learn to be more open, welcoming, friendly to people who don’t look like me or share the same story as me… I also learned how to be more observant and a little more cautious when it comes to letting certain people in. I learned that not everyone is for you… And not everyone is against you. People do want to see you succeed and there are some that don’t.

I learned that some people are only in your life for a season and they can’t go where you’re going and that’s ok. I learned how to forgive those who have hurt me. I learned how to let go and move on. I learned how to express how I feel to others instead of just holding it all in.

I learned that there are people who truly love me for me and care about me (other than my family) and I’m thankful for them all.

I learned a lot about free will and that I went through A LOT things that I didn’t have to go through. But I’m glad that I did because I learned from my mistakes and I’m extremely grateful that God kept me safe during those countless mistakes. I learned that I am not perfect and that I shouldn’t put pressure on myself to be. I learned not to judge others for their mistakes because I can’t point out the splinter in there eye when there is a plank in mine.

I learned the value of relationship; with people but more importantly with God. I learned that I am nothing without Him and I could not have accomplished all that I have if it wasn’t for Him.

And most importantly I learned that I am still learning and will always be learning!

The things I’ve listed are just a fraction of what I’ve learned during the 4 short years I was out of my safety bubble of being home. Every time I think about who I was before going away to college and compare it to who I am today, I am truly amazed and in awe of myself. I can honestly say that I love who I’ve become and I’m excited to continue to grow and learn in this next chapter of my life! The woman I am today is becoming a better woman each and every day becuase I choose to continue to learn.

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

-Job 12:12



I’m Desperate!

Do you ever wonder why you’re going through what you’re going through? Do you ever feel like you’re in a place of desperation, waiting, searching, pleading for a change to happen? Do you often seek fulfillment from materialistic things or people? For the past few months, the answer to all of these questions has been a yes for me. I have faced many moments of questioning why am I here, when will _________ happen to me, how will I get through _________. There were nights of crying quietly to myself. Days where I would not want to be bothered by people (which says a lot because I am a very relational person). I had numerous conversations with friends who all felt the same way I was feeling about life lately. We all felt like we were stuck in this rut and no matter how many times we tried to climb up out of it, we would slide back down into it.

Last night, as I had another one of our “stuck in a rut conversation”, I began to reflect on the past few months and I realized while I have been stuck in this rut, I wasn’t calling out for help. Sure I would occasionally talk to a friend or two about it but that wasn’t asking for help, that was me wallowing in my “sorrows” saying “woe is me, why has my life not been going the way I want it to or the way other people’s lives are going”. And this where I interject and tell you what I was doing wrong (and what we as people often do wrong). There are three problems in this particular crying and complaining.

  1. The first problem is wanting what everyone else or someone else has. The Bible clearly talks about not wanting what your neighbor has (Exodus 20:17 and Romans 7:7). The Bible also talks about our motivates when we do want things (James 4:2-4). Therefore, sometimes you must ask ourselves, why am I so desperate for this thing to exist or happen in my life? We should remember this: What is for someone else may not always be for you. But what is for you, is for you and it WILL all happen in God’s timing. (Key words here: GOD’S TIMING!).
  2. Secondly, Matthew 6:25 say “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (NIV). This means that we should not be worried about what will happen to us. God knows what we need, when we need it and how we need to receive it. Our only jobs are to not to worry, trust in Him and be patient (Proverbs 3:5-6 and Jeremiah 29:11).
  3. Lastly, I was so focused on trying to figure it out why I was in this rut asking “Why me God, why is this happening to me?”. I thought asking God why and being upset with Him would get His attention to get me out of the place I was in but it didn’t. And last night, I had this epiphany. I didn’t need to ask God why, that was the wrong question. God doesn’t need to explain His plans for you, to you. He doesn’t need to tell you why you are going through what you are going through. What God wants us to do is to draw near to Him during these hard times. He wants us to ask and actively seek HIM for help.

In times of desperation, we need to be desperate for help from God and not answers. We all go through things that may seem like they’re impossible to overcome.  Sometimes you feel like there is no hope for you. Today I want to encourage you to cry out to God in desperation, asking Him to hear your plea, to hear your cry for help. I want to encourage you to trust in Him with every fiber of your being while you’re in this rut because the only want to get out of it is through God’s help. He hears your cry. He is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Be patient. He will answer.

 

Just food for thought…

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

 

In my distress I cried to the Lord,
And He heard me.

Psalm 120:1 (NKJV)

 

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Be THANKFUL for ALL Things 

We live in a world where everyone is always wanting more. More money, more clothes, more cars, bigger houses, etc. And no matter where you go or how much you try to tune it out, the message “You NEED it! You have to HAVE it! You’re not good enough if you don’t have______!” it’s always there. Its on social media, it’s in the music, it’s in the ads on TV, billboards, conversations and sometimes it’s even promoted in the class rooms and at work. We have been so consumed with trying to get more that we fail to be thankful and grateful for the things we do have! Sure you don’t have that new Audi A8 that you’ve been seeing advertised on every channel you’ve been flipping through for the last month. Instead of crying about not having it or over working yourself by having 5 jobs just so you can buy it and keep up with the payments for it or being envious of those who do have it, instead be thankful for your little 2010 Toyota Corolla. You know why? Because there are people out there who wish they had the car you have or a car period (even if it was a 1982 Toyota). And trust me I would know about not having a car but of course I’m thankful anyhow regardless of not having car because I know that one day I will (in due time because I know that God shall supply ALL of our needs and He is ALWAYS on time with His shipments!). 

NEWSFLASH: You will never be happy if all you seek is more things. You’ll end up spending all your time and effort on trying to obtain more that you won’t even get to enjoy what you already have. And no matter what “they” say, true happiness (and I mean REAL DEAL THE DEVIL CAN’T STEAL HAPPINESS) lies in being thankful for what God has already blessed you with. And if you can be thankful for the little things, God can bless you with bigger things! This concept isn’t just for material possessions either. This goes for things like being thankful for your health (just being alive in general), your family (no matter how much they may get on your nerves sometimes), your friends (even if you have one friend), etc. Be thankful for what you have because I guarantee that there are people out there who wish they had the “little” that you have.

So you didn’t get that promotion at your job, you should still be thankful that you have a job because currently there are roughly 95 million people in the US that don’t have a job (CNBC). And maybe (like in my last post) it’s not your time to get that promotion, maybe God has something better for you coming but until then you just need to be thankful. Be thankful through the good times, be thankful through the bad times, be thankful when the light bill is due but you still have the water bill and the car note to pay for. JUST BE THANKFUL because there is a joy that comes from being thankful, an unspeakable joy that can get you through it all! And if you don’t believe me, then just try it out for yourself! 

Oh, give thanks to the Lord ! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Psalms 105:1 NKJV

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 5:20 NKJV

Just Food for Thought…

THINK before you SPEAK 

Often times in life we are so quick to say/speak without even thinking. Little do we realize that when we “Say what we think” instead of “Thinking about what we say” we can cause a lot of unnecessary problems for not only ourselves but for others as well. My pastor said something really profound about the word THINK. He shared with us this acronym:

T– is it TRUE

– is it HELPFUL

I – is it INSPIRATIONAL

N– is it NECESSARY


K
– is it KIND

This means that when we get ready to fix our mouths to say something we should as ourselves these 5 questions.

  1. Is what we are about to say true? And if it is true, doesn’t mean it has to be said (especially if it is something that will hurt others). 
  2. Is what we are about to say helpful? Meaning will it impact someone’s day or life positively or negative and will it hinder them from something great or push them towards something great. 
  3. Is what we are about say inspirational? Will it encourage someone else or will it discourage them?
  4. Is what we are about to say necessary? This question is in conjunction with the first three questions. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s necessary to say especially if it’s not helpful or inspirational. 
  5. Is what we are about to say kind? Everything that comes out of our mouths (especially as Christians) should be kind words. It should be thoughtful and sensitive to the nature and the relationship person(s) you’re having conversation with. 

Only after asking yourself these 5 questions should you prepare yourself to speak because there is a lot of power in your words. Sure many people say “sticks and stones may break my bones but words never hurt me” but that’s not true. There’s power on words! And it is up to us to use the power of words to impact people’s lives in a positive way! This also goes along with how we have conversations. We should always listen to understand people and not listen to reply. Even when you may not agree with someone it is important to try to see things from their perspectives before you have to put your 2 cents into the conversation. The Bible even tells how we should have conversations with one another and how powerful those words we use in conversations can be. 

Not only is it important to think about what we say to others before we say it, it is also vital that we do this for when we speak about ourselves. Speak positivity in your life. Declare and decree good things in your life and whole you confess them to yourself and God match those proclamations in your conversations as well!!! (i.e. Say you are believing for a new job, match that in your conversation by saying that you are going to get a new job even if you don’t know when or how. Don’t say you are believing for a new job and tell your friends that all hope is lost and you’re going to be stuck at your current miserable job forever). Like I said, and the Bible says, there is power in your words therefore use them wisely and THINK before you SPEAK!!!

Just food for thought…

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
James 1:19 NIV

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

Your time will come 

Do you ever feel like you’re in a place where nothing bad is happening but nothing great is happening either. It’s like everything in your life is static. Your friends and family seem to be accomplishing great things in life or may be reaching major milestones while you’re just sitting there (happy for them of course) wondering ok… When is it my turn to reach those milestones/where’s my blessings? Well I’m here today to tell you not to give up hope. Sometimes we go through seasons of our lives that I call Waiting Season. During this time in your life it is important to be patient and not to lose hope. There are three IMPORTANT things to do if you’re going through this Waiting Season. 

  1.  Work on yourself. Something big is coming your way and you need to work on yourself, build yourself up (rather that be in Faith, in emotions, in self esteem, etc.) so that you may be ready to receive what is coming your way.
  2. Don’t give up! Even though it may seem that nothing is working out or going your way, you shouldn’t give up! Maybe right now isn’t your time, but it will come as long as you keep trying and don’t loose faith in yourself, in man or God (mostly God and yourself though).
  3. Focus on the present! Now I’m not saying spend all your life savings on that fancy sports car you’ve always wanted because who cares about tomorrow when you can live today. What I’m saying is don’t get caught up in worrying about your future. Worry about what you’re doing now, the decisions you’re making now, the friends,  family, co-workers, etc. you’re interacting with now. Because when you’re so focused on the future you miss out on the things that are happening right in front of you. 

So even though you may want to give up on things ever happening on life, you must remind yourself that this is the time for you to build yourself up, work on you, enjoy the things that are present in front of you and to never give up because YOUR  TIME WILL COME!!! 

Good things come to those who wait

-English Proverb 

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Hebrews 6:11‭-‬12 NIV

Just food for thought… 

Dating 

Dating is a lot like investing into a company. When you invest in a company you don’t just invest all of your money into because it looks good or it’s the popular company of choice. No, when you invest into a company you do some research. And by research I mean you find out what the company (he) is all about. You find out where (he) the company came from, what its (he) doing now, where does it (he) want to go/what is the company’s (his) goals and what steps is the company (he) taking to reach those goals. (Also asking yourself are these goals realistically obtainable). Not only do you do research on a company’s surface level, you also dig a little deeper into its track record aka its stock (dating) record. If you find out that the company (he) has a terrible stock (dating) record (i.e. He’s making/made bad decisions in relationships or he’s “dated/been with/slept with/etc.” more people than the square root of 9)that should be a factor in how much money (time, energy and sometimes money) you’re willing to invest in this company (person). If you see that the company (his) track (dating) record is one that seems worth the investing into (i.e. Hes made mistakes in the past but has truly changed by the grace of God/is saves sanctified and filled with the holy ghost and is trying to live a life that is holy and acceptable unto God) and looks to be promising over time then you can add it into the list of things you should consider before taking all of your precious money (time, energy and sometimes money) into this company (relationship) because if you just blindly invest into company you may end up losing a lot more than you initially put in and sometimes you incur a net loss (of time, energy, money, and emotions) …. 

Just food for thought…