He is a God of second chances. I got mine tonight. It started when I felt overwhelmed by the stress someone close to me was causing. The previous night, I prayed and asked the Lord to help my situation, I put it in His hands. I sobbed my heart out as it ached for relief. I decided to trust Jesus more. To have faith in His will for me. I didn't see a way out. I didn't see any other way to a solution besides seeking divine intervention. God intervened alright, and I was blown away.
This morning I had an emotionally charged dream that the world around me was in chaos. Without realizing it, I became a hybrid human and my eyes changed into yellow cat eyes very briefly. My vision became foggy and I saw the reality around me differently. I was in the midst a young group of troublemakers. I left their group and found myself running into my older brother on the street. He was accompanied by His children. I was scared, but he reassured me that I was okay, and that I wasn't bound for hell after all. In the dream, I was horrified that because I wasn't a pure human anymore, I was going to go straight to hell. I followed my brother and his family to stay safe. I felt relieved and at peace with him. This was a trippy dream to me that I didn't quite understand, until I realized why I saw what I did. It was a foretelling of what the day would bring.
My brother visited me and spoke in depth about every single issue I prayed to God about the previous night. I was in shock and in utter awe. I am very familiar with this kind of experience, but it has been a while. I have seen it with others, but not so powerfully specific in my own life. I realized that God had sent my brother, who is also my pastor, to answer my prayer. My brother told me about ideas and concepts I deeply care about. He reassured me about the restoration of my walk, the direction I need to go, and where I would end up whether I chose to do so or not. It gave me the confidence in knowing what I need to do to find true peace. The dream I had was symbolic of the role that my brother played in reassuring me that I didn't have to be afraid of hell because God was still mindful of me. Everything I ever did to please God has not been forgotten. It has just been stored away. Ready to be revisited and restored whenever I'm ready. I received the very things I needed to move forward. I don't feel so stuck anymore. I can hope for a beautiful future that I never imagined for myself. I can walk into a territory that is only mine to claim, without the stress that I've recently encountered. I just have to sift through the remnants of righteousness and revive them.
I feel incredibly humbled that the Lord heard me, took my burdens, and is fighting for me. I thought I had lost my place and assumed I was not worthy to ask anything of God. He showed me how much of a lie I was blindly believing. I understand most of my life better now, and why struggles have gripped me the way they have. Most of my struggles were lessons, and still serve as such. I can say with confidence that I am filled with purpose, appointed solely by God. There's no other way I can justify who I am; despite everything that has served as distractions and obstacles to the righteousness I still yearn for. It means so much to me to be able to still say that I serve a great God. A God of mercy. One of the best songs that I can relate to this experience is Find You on my Knees by Kari Jobe.
*Originally written July 20, 2015
I like watching videos of Tony Robbins on Youtube. They are pretty informative and just as encouraging. I've taken notes on what stood out to me in some of the videos I have watched. I felt that these points were worthy of my consideration and are the highlights of what I took away from his teachings.
I was reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and came across the first scripture reference on pg. 10 which says:
“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do.”
I looked up the scripture it was referencing. It was Romans 12:2. What the book said didn’t sound right to me, so I looked it up in a King James Version bible. Romans 12:2 in the King James Bible states:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
What the book says seems way off from the original message of the scripture. So I followed references to get a better understanding of what it meant in Romans 12:2 to "prove". I was led to Ephesians 5:10, 17. Ephesians 5:10 says,
“Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:17 says, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
How is that similar to what the book states? This is what bothers me about bible versions that translate verses so differently from what they were originally meant to convey. And even more so when publications emphasize those misinterpretations. This is why I question and study the way that I do. It's worth the search to get to truth.
I found myself out on the streets with my daughter when she was two years old. I had no support from anyone and didn't have any income at the time, so I opted to apply for aid from the government. It was my only choice. That day, with only $16 to my name, I went to the welfare office and took advantage of their emergency homeless aid that can only be used once in a lifetime. I was able to get a hotel room for my daughter and me so that we had somewhere safe to sleep that night. I struggled to feed my daughter while we were waiting for our food stamps to take effect. I was entirely new to the system and didn't know how anything worked. So it took me a while to get the hang of things. I remember that as soon as I walked into the hotel room with my daughter, I got on my knees and thanked God. I was so grateful that we didn't have to be on the streets, especially because we did not have anywhere else to go. It was my first time being on my own. I was completely isolated and needed to fend for myself. I was adamant not to let anyone know what was happening unless it was necessary. I felt the pressure to provide for my daughter, so I scrambled to find us a place to live. We had a two-week limit to stay at a hotel, but that didn't matter, I needed a place now! I was able to find us a decent place to rent within three days. It was the beginning of my independence and the process of my growing up. Until then, I was accustomed to being guided by others on how to take care of bills, look after my family, and manage my day to day life. I was faced with many difficult decisions to make by myself, and that was intimidating.
There were some issues with the home I found to live, so I spent some time at a friend's house to figure out what I was going to do. It seemed too much of a hassle, so I ended up settling for my initial find. I just didn't like the constant moving around. It was too unstable for my daughter. I remember feeling so scared that I called a few people for advice and was able to get guidance from them. I felt pretty insecure, but I still got left on my own. I got advised on how to make my decisions, which wasn't easy. Inevitably, I made some pretty stupid choices. I learned to deal with the consequences of my decisions, and that was most likely what helped me grow the most. I couldn't deal with being homeless, especially having my daughter with me. It was completely unacceptable. So I did what I could to secure a place to live and then go from there. For at least a week I struggled tremendously with anxiety about where we would live. I had to choose wisely even with the limited resources and time we had. I did the best I could, and we turned out okay.
I had spent time on the streets on my own before, but it was nothing compared to having a young child with me, all I could think of was her well-being. My instinct to protect her was in super overdrive. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life to live through that process, but I am so grateful for it. I learned to be a responsible adult very quickly. There was no room for errors, and I knew that if I were careless, I would inevitably find myself overwhelmed. I couldn't accept defeat. I had a little girl to take care of who was entirely dependent on me. She didn't understand what was happening, so I comforted her so that she wouldn't be traumatized by the experience. We had a rough start to our journey. Eventually, things got better, and we found stability.
Living on my own was how I learned to take responsibility for my life and everything in it. I was tired of answering to others who despised me. I grew up, pushed away negativity and relentlessly went for anything that helped me achieve my goals. I had a new outlook on life. It was scary to leave on my own, with my child, by myself, making decisions without anyone's input. I had to navigate life entirely on my own at the time. I had to figure out everything by myself. I made mistakes; I had victories. I discovered so much about myself and enjoyed my freedom as well. I came to love my independence and was well on my way to feeling more of an adult. I began to shed my insecurity. Of all the major changes in my life, this one was significant for my growth because I was finally able to do all of the things that I needed to do to nurture and care for my family. I became a hero in my daughter's eyes. I was her whole world, and she was mine. There was something so sacred about being that alone and isolated with my little girl. Being able to appreciate her more and instill my values into her. Living entirely on my own humbled me and made me much more mature about how to go about everything I would experience. After that, no matter how overwhelming any situation felt or became, I felt more equipped to face it head on and deal with it with greater wisdom.
I came across an inspiring paragraph written by an anonymous author, an excerpt:
Those of his followers who truly love Him will be lifted up (like a grapevine on a trellis, so that it gets more sunshine) and made to bear fruit. If we try to bear fruit on our own without allowing God his own time and plan, we are playing God ourselves -- the original sin. To insinuate we're in competition with other believers is heresy. Paul tells us that we are God's workmanship -- and because of this we can't rush what God is doing in our lives and in our hearts; we can't earn His favor, our salvation, or membership into a special club of elite believers. NONE of us can boast, because every work we do is like filthy rags to God when we're trying to impress him. God rewards FAITH above all else. When we do a work of love because He first loved us, that is an act of gratitude and demonstrates that we truly "get it". But if you do it to get brownie points, you're going to be disappointed. You can't rush the work God does in you to get you to the point where you bear fruit. The reason allegories of plants are used so frequently. There is a seed which must be planted, it must germinate and spring forth, mature, THEN bear fruit. Artificially inducing plants to bear fruit prematurely makes the fruit taste terrible, and negatively affects the health of the plant. God is the good gardener... He knows better than anyone else what each plant needs.
Amen. That clarifies a great deal. He tends His garden as He sees fit. Some of us grow weak and crooked; some of us grow strong and beautiful. We grow anyway. Whether you bear good fruit or bad fruit is up to you. I believe it depends on how much of His living water and light you decide to soak up.
I have loved playing piano since I was a young girl. I have owned a few keyboards in my life, even though I don't really like to be traditional in my style of playing. I borrowed a keyboard, and I created this melody spontaneously after a bit of practice and decided to call it Moving On. Please excuse the tapping you hear of my fingernails hitting the keys.
This is a vague piece of fiction I wrote based on a real encounter I had last year.
Jean was standing on the sidewalk, observant as usual, when something in the grass caught her eye. She only looked up for a second, and there he was... walking toward her so nonchalantly at the end of the street. He had just turned the corner and was looking right at her. She looked back down dismissively before lingering a few seconds more and turning back around to head home. She wanted to greet him, close the gap, and possibly reunite, but wisdom said to leave him be. She thought she had avoided him by leaving before he had a chance to get close. But as she reached her door, she pause to turn around look back. To her surprise, he slowly followed her from a distance. She glanced, making eye contact for a moment before finally entering her home. She noticed his piercing gaze as he diverted to see a neighbor instead; satisfied that he was able to express an interest in regaining her favor. That made her nervous, but because he flinched, she knew he was just as anxious.