Tag Archives: Faith

2016 Was Not So Bad Regardless of What Facebook Says

2016 has been a trying year for all. There have been disappointments, deaths, and disasters. Not to mention the rise of the Donald. Social media posts show heartbreak over celebrity deaths. Someone has created a GoFundMe account to protect Betty White. Many people are eager to see 2016 go in hopes of a better 2017.

If you really think about it, there have also been joys, births, and good times. Isn’t every year a mix of triumphs and disappointments? It is called life. We as humans increment the vastness of time into yearly increments. Perhaps it gives us some sense of control over the uncontrollable. The truth is – bad stuff happens and so does good stuff. Your happiness cannot hinge on the nature of what is happening around you.

I have been cooking lately. Well, learning to cook. Yesterday, I decided to do it big. The meal planned – fried pork chops, mashed potatoes from scratch, and roasted garlic asparagus. I prepared by reading highly rated recipes. I watched how-to videos on Youtube. I was PREPARED. Armed with ingredients, knowledge, and determination – I was ready. I started cooking. Everything seemed to be going great. Food looked good, smelled even better. After much sweat, I was finally finished. I fixed my plate. It looked good enough for Instagram. I cut into the perfectly browned pork chop. It was too salty. I felt the wind escape from my sails. I was not only cooking for myself but for my boyfriend, too. I was near tears. My friend said that is was okay. He stated that the only way to learn is to try. I began to feel less terrible.

That is my 2016 in a nutshell. It started with great aspirations. I even had a plan, a vision board even. I tried my best and still some things failed – relationships, promotion attempts, finishing my second book, weight loss. It was like those Facebook videos you watch of someone taking off in a race and then some invisible leg extends in front of them and they trip and fall. It feels like the fall is so hard because the person running was moving ahead at full-speed expecting to finish first.

I had started writing a great story based on my childhood adventures – over 10,000 words. I had written some wonderful poetry almost 30 pages worth. I went to Texas for a work conference and lost my thumb drive. Talk about tripping over an invisible leg. Man, I was hurt. Thankfully, the 10,000 words had been backed-up on the cloud. The poetry only exists in my head and heart.

I am ready to start again.

If you have been graced with another day of life, you have another chance to get it right. Some failures require some hard work. Others require some downtime for healing. No matter how comfortable, resist the urge to stay here. This place is meant to be temporary. You have to get up and keep running.

2017 is what you make of it. Start again. Be enthusiastic again. If you should fall, get back up and continue.

Moving Mountains

This has been a trying week. In the middle of preparing to move to a new state, I was scheduled to work a week in Idaho. Specifically, I was working in the Idaho panhandle. After my 5 hour flight (including layover), it was an additional 6 hour drive (with the road construction) from the Spokane International Airport to Clarkston, WA where my hotel was located.

I didn’t want to eat at the airport because I have been trying to make healthier food choices. I get my rental car and start driving only to realize I am in the middle of the mountains and there are not a lot of pit stops. I see a sign for a Subway and take the next exit.

Back on the road again, I run into road construction. The two-lane highway became a one-lane highway. I was stuck for 30 minutes while the opposing lane passed. This happened twice.

 In the last 30 minute leg of the drive, I had to cross a mountain. The kicker, I didn’t realize I was on a mountain until I happened to look over and see NOTHING. No trees, no guardrails – just a thousand feet drop if I veered to close to the edge. I was driving on the outer lane. I nearly panicked. I felt dizzy. I felt pressure in my ears. I had to quickly refocus and concentrate on the car in front of me.

MOVING MOUNTAINS

Continue reading Moving Mountains

The God of the Mountain Is the Same God of the Valley

My pastor uses that quote frequently in his sermons. I read a blog post about God granting a husband and wife a new house. I sat thinking about my life where I am at this moment – with so many dreams yet to be fulfilled – and this phrase came to mind.

I started this blog over six years ago when I first moved to Texas. I believed – and still do – that this was a journey that would take me to some unfamiliar and exciting territory. *insert Abraham reference Genesis 12* Like Abraham, moving took a lot of faith. I only knew a couple of people in town and I was essentially starting over in a new 'land'.

Like the story of Abraham and many stories in the Bible, God makes a promise and then there is a waiting period until its fulfillment. Let us call the waiting period 'the Valley'. Abraham, Sarah, David, Joseph – the list goes on and on – all waited on God's promises to be fulfulled in their lives. I particularly like the story of Joseph because, like me, he was a dreamer. They all had faith in God, they all obeyed and yet, they all waited. In some cases, decades passed.

 Why do we believers love God? Is it because we think if we love Him enough He will give us our hearts desires? Is it out of fear or obligation? When we don't get what we want, do we love Him less? Why is it so hard to wait?

The truth is waiting, hoping, wanting all hurts just a little. In doing so, you are acknowledging that something desired is lacking. Let us look at the story of Hannah who wanted a child so much that she wept bitterly and did not eat. (I Samuel 1-20). The wanting of the child that she was lacking caused her great pain.

It is the pain that is difficult to acknowledge and, therefore, face. Like, the previous post, "Has Marriage Become Dirty Word?", the original article seemed to deride the women who professed openly a desire to be married. Why? I knew someone with a long-term live in boyfriend who also discounted her desire to be married only to profess later her desire for it but her mate's derision for it. She had lied to me or herself because facing the fact that what she wanted did not align to what he wanted actually hurt. 

Proverbs 13:12 states, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."

Ain't that the truth. 

Isn't that what we all want? Life, abundantly. It is okay to hope, to dream, to desire. When the pain becomes greater than the fear that has kept you stagnant, you wll make moves toward your goal. 

Hannah's pain caused her to pray silently while moving her lips in the house of God. The act caught the attention of Eli the prophet who accused her of being drunken. She answered how she was praying out of angush and grief, i.e., pain. The man of God told her to go in peace and may God grant her what she had requested of Him. Nine months or so later, Hannah gave birth to her son. 

May it be so with those of us who believe and hope in God. 

 

I Have but One Rule of Friendship.

You MUST be Team Felicia.

I am going through life just like you facing challenges that are personal, familial, and professional. I do so with grace, faith and a little blog. Friends and my readers make the journey a bit more bearable.

I have had several incidents with people who claim to be friends who continually speak negative things over my life. Get thee behind me!

I was talking to a 'friend' and explained how I believe God for the husband of my dreams. I want to have that level of faith. This person got highly-offended that I would dare to ask God for what I want and not just accept any old man because, 'Maybe that is God's will for you.'

Again, get thee behind me!

The Word of God says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. " Psalm 37:3-5

No caveats. So, why are you mad? Are you upset because I do not agree with you or are you upset that you fell for the enemy's deception and excepted good enough when God has promised His children 'Good Things'?

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:11

Please do not start me to preaching on here.

Having this level of faith is not easy. It has been birthed through trials and tribulations. Through reading, accepting and believing God's Word. I will not – cannot – let anyone shake my faith.

My faith has gotten me to Dallas. It is by faith that I am writing this post. That I have written my book. That I still have dreams of acting on stage.

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:5

My friends, who I have known the longest, would have offered words of encouragement. They would have even quoted scriptures I may have forgotten. I am told by them that I am smart and beautiful and deserve the best. So, why are you mad?

My friendships are not one-sided. The reciprocity being I am pro-my friends. I would never try to embarrass you when a 3rd or 4th party is in our presence. If anything, I will talk you up not talk you down.

God has been dealing with me in the area of boundaries. It is time that I start enforcing them. If you are not Team Felicia, please keep it moving.

 

 

My Totally Insane Week

INSANITY

I started the past week with high hopes of finally going HAM on this workout thing. I and some girls from church decided we are going to do the 3-month Insanity workout challenge. Day 1, I thought I was going to pass out. Day 2, I nearly cried real tears. Day 3, I had acting class and missed the group session. No sweat, I came home and did the Billy Blanks Bootcamp. So, i am feeling good. Day 4 i am getting stronger the workout isn't nearly as grueling as Day 1 and 2. 

HIT AND RUN

I am all, I am woman hear me roar and whatnot leaving this girl's house. I am driving and hear something scrubbing my tires. I pull over thinking it's like some cardboard or something. Then I realize someone has smashed into my car, dented the gas tank and fender and apparently kept driving.

I was beyond hurt. I totally panicked. I was scared to drive it because now I am thinking the gas tank has ruptured and the car is going to explode. Just in a panic.

 I went through this range of emotions. Crying, hurt, anger, despondency. I was so emotionally drained and I could not even sleep. Saturday comes and I am tempted to just skip choir rehearsal, church and just lie in my bed all day feeling sorry for myself.

A FRIEND IN NEED

Then I thought, this is just what the enemy wants. To get you off your grind, to cause you to lose focus, and to ultimately fail. After a pep talk from a good friend. I felt better.

The hardest part of the ordeal for me was reaching out to others for assistance. Pride is one heck of a barrier. My praise and worship leader's wife picked me up for rehearsal. My friend, previously referenced on this blog as 'The Kid" drove me home. On the way home, he looked at me and said, "Aww my friend is feeling down." I commented how I was feeling down because during a crisis my family is so far away. He then stated that my church is my family, too – an extension of my family. I am like really, Kid, sometimes you can say the most profound things. It didn't really hit me til later on.

LESSONS LEARNED

I have learned that I had some hidden pride. It is okay to ask and receive help from others. I know now that I am not alone because God is ever with me and so is my church family.

So thanks hit and run driver. In it all you allowed me to see God and praise Him the more.

In Life, What Is Your Motivation?

I remember reading a story during the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake that children were so hungry that they had taken to eating dirt cakes. Literal cakes made of salt, dirt, and oil that are then baked in the sun and fed to starving children. Needless to say that this desperate act caused a multitude of harm to  those ingesting it but the cake would ease the hunger pains. My point being that a need can be so great that it will compel you to do harm to yourself to fulfil it. Our needs are very real – food, safety, shelter. There are other, higher needs- belonging, family, and love. These needs can be as strong and painful as hunger when they are not being met.

I was feeling very strong desire for change. I believe in being very self-aware. I wanted to know the motivation behind my own behavior and desires. It is not enough to just feel what I feel. When I really examined my own motivations, I was being led by loneliness and fear.I am not ashamed to admit this. I am proud that I can identify my own motivations before making a rash decision.

 

I am learning that loneliness is a powerful motivating force. It makes people marry someone they do not love and stay long after they have both realized it. Tom Hanks in Castaway created and befriended a volleyball. When Wilson fell off the raft, Hanks' character dove in after him nearly drowning. So, is it so unreal that people will do self-destructive things in response to loneliness?

Loneliness and fear will compel you to call when you should not, stay when you need to leave, and pursue when you should be still.

 Let me suggest faith as the antidote to loneliness. Faith as defined as Complete trust or confidence in God. The thing you desire (if in His will) he will grant to you. I am learning that you do not have to give in to the pressure of someone else who would like you to compromise your beliefs in order to be with him/her. God is in control.

I was at church and was reminded by the Holy Spirit how a previous manager thought my promotion was up to him. He suggested we hang out and be friends after work. I explained that I prefer boundaries. I told God about it. Within months that manager was out and I was promoted. I am learning not to fear. I am also re-learning that I am never alone. What I desire, God has in store for me. Like my promotion, it is not in the hands of man.

 

 

 

Devon Franklin Unashamed To Admit His 10 Year Celibacy

Being a celibate Christian is not crazy, it is the sanest, most incredible gift that you can give to yourself.

I was preusing the internet as I am want to do and I came across a video discussing my favorite Christian couple – Meagan Good and Devon Franklin. Mr. Franklin reveals that he had been a celibate Christian for over ten years! (Join the club!) What followed were a bunch of negative comments about this man for actually, unashamedly, proclaiming that God was able to keep him until marriage.

 

His experience is not unique. The world has become so twisted that promiscuity is promoted while celibacy is abased. I think the stigma is harder for men. You always run the risk of being labeled soft. Women can often times feel pressure to be that seductive vamp that men drool over in music videos. The Proverbs 31 virtuous woman is viewed as a relic of old time values. Even some Christians believe that you cannot date and be celibate.

I can tell you from experience that this is a lie from the very pit of hell. I cannot begin to tell you how being celibate, even through the most trying temptations, has kept me from so many pitfalls the enemy had set for me. My mother told me recently, if you mean to do right, God will always reveal the truth, protect and watch over you.

Perhaps you have never heard that you are valuable. That your existence was planned before the foundation of the world. No one may have ever told you that you are beautiful and that you are worth the wait.

Well, I just did.

I am not speaking of myself. I am speaking from truths I have learned over years in my Christian walk. The chief being – God loves me.

Yes, folk. The creator of the universe loves me. He loves the imperfect, sometimes contradictory, me. He loves you, too. If you meditate on this truth, I mean really know it experientially, you will never give yourself away in a an ungodly way. You are just too precious.

Do you believe it? Well, here's the proof:

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

Wow!

Christian Friends and Accountability – Act I

I am learning that we as Christians need Christian friends to encourage us and hold us accountable – in the love of God!

As you all know, I moved to Dallas and away from my family. My mom is saved. We went to the same church that my extended family and some neighbors attended. It was easy to be in the presence of someone who would encourage you and hold you accountable even if they were just a bit too nosy. lol

Here in Dallas – the home of the mega church – it is so easy to get lost in the shuffle. No one knows if you are there or not. No one calls just to say that they are praying for you. When you are used to that type of connection, being without it is quite palpable.

Christian_friends

God has placed a few people in my life that I can talk to about how I am feeling, why I feel that way and we laugh, pray for and encourage one another.

I think it is a grave mistake for Christians to go it alone. You are too susceptible to the enemy who as a roaring lion goes about seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) If you constantly hang around your non-spiritually minded friends, they cannot hold you accountable and sometimes even want you to fall. It is not that they dislike you but your following after God's example convicts them of their own lifestyles. I hear all of the time how a Christiam will have a friend who will encourage her to do whatever and that whatever is contrary to the will of God. A godly friend will ecourage you to fast, pray and do what is right. The Bible discusses how if two are walking and one falls into a ditch, then the other can help him out of it. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

Continue reading Christian Friends and Accountability – Act I

God’s Promises are Yeah and Amen

Usually this blog is all about me – what I am doing, what I want.This time I wanted to celebrate someone else.

Many of you know that I have journaled my experiences in Dallas, TX since I touched down nearly five years ago. Today I attended a graduation of a friend who moved to Dallas, TX about 1 month earlier than me.

 

I sat and marveled at what God has done in her life. I have told her that I remember our conversation that we had when I had first moved here and she was showing me around town. She stated how she wanted a husband and family. She was in seminary. Here I was sitting, today, in the audience as she received her Master's Degree with her husband and baby sitting to my left.

Godspromises

I marvelled at how faithful God is. I know that I am single with no children but seeing God fulfil promises for others lets me know that he is a promise fulfilling God.

 

I am just glad I was around to see it.

 

Smile, It Is Your Birthday

My sister woke me up with a phone call at 6:16 AM singing, "Its ya birthdya, it's ya birthday!" lol In my family we have an unofficial contest about who is the first to wish someone a happy birthday. So suffice it say, this year she has won.

In typical my-life fashion, the buildup to this day was drama filled. For 3 days last week, every time I looked at the clock the time showed 1:17. Like seriously. 

Then 2 nights before, I lost my file at work and had to redo an entire exercise that set me a full day behind all of my fellow trainees. 

Last night, some neighbor was blasting Indian rock. Yes, like rock music with a flair of India. 

I kept my cool. I was determined not to let the devil steal my joy because that is what he is – a thief.

A girl at work gave me a neat idea. Instead of going out and spending money on a birthday celebration day, treat myself to dance lessons. I may do acting classes or something equally fun! 

Happily Ever After

Happy, Happy, joy, joy! My joy belongs to me – a gift from God. I was extra joyous when I found out at the end of the day that on my next paycheck to expect a RAISE!!!

HALLELUJAH! Happy Birthday to me!