7 More Days!!!!

We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!

Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional

Have you pre-ordered your copy of Tea for Two? You do not want to miss out on this 30 Day devotional filled with encouraging words and various teas that can be used as natural remedies to everyday health issues.

Pre-order your copy now at Smith Publishing and Amazon!!!

A Lesson in Faith and Obedience

faith and obedience

Have you ever been to The Cheesecake Factory and faced the tough decision of which cheesecake to select for dessert? I mean there’s about a million selections of cheesecakes from Oreo cheesecake to carrot cake cheesecake so how am I supposed to choose just one cheesecake? Maybe you just go with your favorite like I do or maybe you contemplate trying something new. Deciding on trying a new cheesecake can cause much anxiety. You’re sitting there thinking well if I choose this cheesecake I’ve never had before, I will either love it or absolutely hate it. It sounds good on the menu, but how it sounds on paper and how it actually tastes are two completely different things. So what do you do? Do you just go with old faithful or do you step out on faith and try something new?

Sometimes following God’s will for our lives can be a lot like choosing a slice a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. We’re often faced with life altering decisions, but how do we know which choice is the best, which choice will keep us in God’s will for our lives?

This is something I’ve been facing lately. In April, I began working as an assistant director at a preschool. In the beginning, I was so excited. Everyday I went to work with joy in my heart and a smile on my face looking forward to the workday. But as time passed and I began to see things I didn’t like, things I didn’t agree with, to hear constant complaining, gossip and negativity, I started to question whether or not I was still in God’s will for my life, whether or not I had made the right decision. There were days when I would go home crying because of the stress of everything. I would cry out to God more and more, but I couldn’t hear His voice. I just didn’t know what to do anymore, but I continued to seek Him. I began to seek Him even more. Talking to Him continuously about everything, seeking Him in His word.

As time went on, I began to pray about relocating to LA because I desired to be closer to my boyfriend and my close friends, plus I was ready for a fresh start. I even started applying for jobs out there. I ended up getting an interview for a position I really wanted. This position would prepare me for the career I was working towards, the pay is much more than what I’m making now, the benefits are great, there are constant opportunities for advancement, and it would allow me to live in LA. I went for the interview early one morning and then went to work after the interview. I promise you, a few hours after interviewing, I got a call from the director who interviewed me offering me the position. To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was thinking, “Yes! I knew God didn’t forget about me.”

The only thing left to do was turn in my letter of resignation on my current job, but I didn’t want to do that until I received my letter of employment from the new job. The director said that they would have the letter of employment for me by the end of the week. So I went ahead and wrote my letter of resignation, and waited to turn it in until I received my letter of employment. Well, the end of the week came and I hadn’t received my letter of employment. I started getting anxious and began to worry. I contacted the director to follow up on the letter of employment, but she never replied. Then, to add to the confusion, my friend contacted me about a part-time teaching position at one of the local community colleges. I had asked her a while ago if there were any openings and she had told me that they had filled all of the positions for the next school year. But then, when I was already confused and it was utter chaos, she texts me to say they have an unexpected opening. I honestly didn’t know what to do, but I went ahead and applied for the teaching position even though it didn’t make sense to me since I was still hoping for things to work out with the position in LA. I started to get so frustrated because I didn’t understand what God was doing, and I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to make the wrong decision, but at the time I didn’t know what was right. I only knew what I wanted. I told God, “I thought this [the position in LA] was what you had for me! I prayed that you wouldn’t allow me to get it unless it was what you had for me. So why did you allow me to get this position if it wasn’t what you had for me?”. I battled with these thoughts the entire weekend. I had no peace, my joy was pretty much nonexistent. I felt so down and discouraged. I started questioning what I was doing with my life and I honestly felt like a failure. Now that I look back on this, I know I was overreacting, I was letting my emotions rule me, which was not wise.

At the start of the following week, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I poured my whole heart out to God and decided to be still. He began to minister to me. He showed me what He wanted me to do. He told me to stay put on my current job because my assignment there was not complete. He began to show me all the changes He wanted me to implement and gave me so many ideas. The next step was to present these ideas to my current director. I honestly didn’t know how she would respond, but I prayed for God to soften her heart and that He would allow her to like my ideas and be willing to implement them.

That week God began to do some amazing things. He allowed me to get an interview for the teaching position, which I was so nervous about because I had to do a brief presentation on my favorite theory of development. Well, I had my interview and let me tell you, the Holy Spirit worked through me and allowed me to do an amazing presentation. I mean the interview panel was even impressed with how I explained certain concepts in a way they had never heard before, but made so much more sense. You know it’s something when you stump someone who has been teaching college courses for years and has their doctorate, but that’s how God works! I left that interview feeling so amazing, but most importantly I had peace. I didn’t feel anxious and I didn’t worry. I rested in God knowing that His will was best and that’s what would be done. When I get to work after my interview that day, I decided to meet with my director. I told her about my ideas as well as the possibility of me teaching at the community college part time. She completely supported me working part-time as an instructor, and she absolutely loved my ideas and decided to start implementing them immediately. One of my suggestions was holding a staff development because there’s so much that needs to be discussed and brought to light in order to improve the school. That same day she created a flyer informing the staff that we would be having a staff development in a couple of weeks. Also, she wanted me to be responsible for some aspects of the meeting. I honestly was not expecting that, but I’m excited because this will allow me to further develop my leadership skills.

So things really began to turn around. I was being presented with some incredible opportunities and I was walking in obedience to God. I was also stepping out on faith and trusting God to work things out according to His perfect will. At that point, I had forgotten all about the job in LA; however, the director at that site hadn’t forgotten about me. She emailed me out the blue asking me if I received my letter of employment. I simply replied that I hadn’t received it. Once again, I didn’t know what to do. All this time I had assumed that she decided to go with someone else so I figured the job wasn’t mine. Part of me wanted to renege on what I told God and my director what I was going to do, and take the job in LA because that’s what I wanted and thought I needed. But the thought of doing that did not bring me peace. Then I started talking to God and told Him, “Lord, if you allow me to get this part-time teaching position, then I will email the director of the job in LA telling her that I will not be accepting the job offer.” Side note: Isn’t it funny how we try to negotiate with God instead of just doing what He told us to do with no questions asked?

I went ahead and decided to go with my plan that I presented to God, but once again I didn’t have peace. I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart and showing me that I wasn’t walking in complete obedience to God. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. Finally, I sent an email to the director over the job in LA informing her that I will not be able to accept the position. The day after I sent that email, I received an email about the teaching position at the local community college offering me the job! I mean all I had to do was walk in obedience and trust God, and He worked everything out. In addition to that, my current director is all on board for me teaching at the community college. Everyday leading up to this offer, she would tell me that she knew I was going to get the teaching position. She is so supportive and encourages me constantly and knows that I’m destined for greater things. She’s truly a blessing. And did I mention that she is also a Christian?

It’s so amazing how when we surrender to God, walk in obedience, and trust Him, He literally allows all things to fall in place. I am so amazed by what God has done in the span of two weeks. I mean He has moved so greatly in my life, but He has also helped me to see things in a whole new light. I no longer dread going to work. Now I’m excited and I look for ways that I can help this school grow. I’m so excited for this new journey in my life and I can’t wait to see how God is going to turn this school around as well as use me as an instructor at the community college.

With that said, when God is showing you to do something, just do it. No questions asked. No trying to think of a better way that will work for you or will be more comfortable to you. Simply trust God, and do what He is showing you to do even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Remember “Obedience is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Be Still.

be_still_be_happy

Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of something great…on the verge of a breakthrough? Things in your life are going fairly smoothly, you are getting on your face before Jesus daily, Jesus is speaking great things in your life, and you can literally see little by little Jesus making moves and setting things up for His plans for you to come into fruition. And then all of sudden Jesus is quiet. You call on Him, but you don’t hear His voice…

This is the story of my life right now. At the start of the year, I went on a fast and I grew even closer to Jesus, went even deeper in my relationship with Him, and He started giving me a glimpse into His plans for me. He didn’t reveal everything, but what He did show me left me so in awe…left me literally speechless. I even started seeing Him, little by little, put things in motion. But these last couple of weeks, Jesus has been fairly quiet. It’s like everything is at a standstill. This caused me to become anxious. I started questioning myself, asking myself if I have done something wrong, if I have pulled away from Him without even realizing it. That wasn’t the case. Then I started asking Jesus, “What’s going in? Why have things come to a halt?”

This morning the Lord told me,

“Be still beloved. I am right here with you. Right now it seems like I’m not doing anything, but I am doing many things in the spiritual realm that you cannot see in the natural. Right now I want you to focus on resting in Me and trusting Me even when it seems like nothing is happening. The key to you successfully fulfilling My plans for your life is your trust in Me and you keeping your eyes on Me. Once you stop trusting Me or take your eyes off of Me, everything around you will begin to fall apart. You need Me every step of the away along this journey.”

Be still. Two simple words, yet they hold so much meaning. Hearing that from the Lord was hard for me to accept. I don’t want to be still. I want to start living out His plans for my life right now. I’m tired of waiting. Although I want to keep moving ahead in God’s plans for me, He tells us in His word “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7).

God doesn’t tell us to be still for no reason. He tells us to be still because He sees the whole picture while we see only a small portion of it. There are things that He has to develop in us before He fully moves us into a position to do these great things for His glory. If we run ahead without Him, it’s only going to end in disaster. King Saul is the perfect example of this. In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul was instructed to wait 7 days for Samuel to come to offer a sacrifice to God. Saul waited but started to get anxious because the men in his army started getting anxious. Instead of waiting and fixing his eyes on God, he started to look at what was going on around him. This lead him to take matters into his own hands and offer the sacrifice even though he knew it was against God’s will. As soon as he offered the sacrifice, Samuel showed up. And then in 1 Samuel 13:13-14, ‘13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”’

King Saul was destined for great things, but because he stepped out of God’s will for his life, those plans for him would never be fulfilled, and his life continued to get worse and worse. It is a challenge being patient, especially when God gives you a glimpse into all that He has in store for you. It’s even more challenging when you feel like you are so close to those plans coming to fruition, but they are not happening soon enough. Although it may not make sense as to why the fulfillment of these plans are taking so long, put your trust in God. Keep your eyes on Him and trust His perfect timing. Ultimately He knows what is best. Don’t try to take matters into your own hands because that will force you out of His will for your life. His will for your life is perfect. Do not be anxious or worry that His will for you will never manifest. Remember Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Every promise God has ever made to you, He will fulfill it. BUT it will be in His timing.

A Message to Women

Image

Why is it that we as women often approach a relationship with the mindset that we have to prove something to a man…that we have to earn his love and affection? We jump through hoops and try to do the impossible all to earn the love and attention of a man who never had any true intentions of pursuing us. No more ladies…no more. As single women, are focus needs to be on becoming the woman God created us to be. We are not called to pursue a man. We are called to be a woman of God, a daughter of the King. I get it…I understand that being single is not always easy, especially when everyone around you is getting in relationships, getting engaged and married. We have to remember that God has not forgotten about us. If you have the desire to be married, God placed that desire in your heart and He will fulfill that desire. He will not leave you hanging.

Numbers 23:19, God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”

That’s the amazing thing about the God we serve, He is a good God and He desires to do good to us. If He has placed a desire in your heart, He is going to fulfill that desire, but it will be in His perfect timing. Those relationships you are pursuing, are those God approved relationships? Did God show you that man was the one He has for you? Or did you just take matters into your own hands? One thing I know for sure is that God is not a God of confusion. When God brings you the man He has for you, you will know it…it will be crystal clear. That man will pursue you like his life depended on it because he will not want to risk losing you. The perfect example of this is Adam and Eve.

Genesis 2: 15, 18-24, “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it…

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’ So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.’At last!’ the man exclaimed. ‘This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’

My pastor taught on these verses before and put things into perspective. Basically, before God brought Eve into Adam’s life, Adam had to get a job (hello, a man can’t provide for his family if he doesn’t have a j. o. b.). We also see that it’s God who said it’s not good for man to be alone. Adam and Eve had no say in this. We also see that God is the one who determined when Eve would come into Adam’s life. Once again, Adam and Eve were not the ones in control, God was in control. Lastly, where is Eve in all of this? Is she trying to woo Adam or prove anything to him? Nope. She didn’t come into the picture until God brought her into the picture. Our job as women is to pursue the calling God has given us and become the women He has called us to be. Take this time to become the type of woman that attracts the type of man you desire (godly, pursuing his God given calling, etc.). Work on becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. Yes, that woman sounds perfect; however, she has excellent qualities as a woman of God, a wife, and a mother that we should strive for.

I was reading an article one day, and the author said something that really put things in perspective for me. They said, “This type of woman [Provers 31 woman] can only be revealed by God, and He will only do this when it is the right time. She is hidden by the Father because He loves her, and He wants a great man for her.” This is something I read every night as a reminder and encouragement. I love the fact that God has me hidden. I love having such an amazing Heavenly Father that seeks to protect me, that seeks to be my covering. You see, God is not going to let any relationship that’s not of Him work out. If that’s not the man He has for you, then honey it’s not going to work. The more you try to take matters into your own hands, the more heartache you’re going to end up with. Rest in God. Allow Him to prepare you and your future husband and simply don’t worry about it.

Don’t Settle

Image

(Originally Posted January 7, 2012)

Isaiah 4:1,

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread and provide our own apparel; only let us be called by your name to take away our reproach [of being unmarried].”

Whenever I read this scripture, it wrecks my heart. This is exactly what’s going on in the world today. We as women are so desperate for a man that we settle for any old thing. It doesn’t matter if he’s already in a relationship, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have anything going for himself, or it doesn’t even matter if he’s saved. We just settle for any man just to say that we have one. I hate this so much! I see so many beautiful women with so much going for themselves settling for any man that comes their way. You see, I expect this from the world, but when I see one of my sisters in Christ doing this…it breaks my heart. It’s like we have forgotten who we are in Christ. 

 

Psalm 139:14,

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” 

 

It’s like we have forgotten the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are one of God’s marvelous works, that we are one of His precious jewels. I know it’s hard not to settle, especially when everyone around us is starting a relationship. However, settling for less than God’s best is just wrong. God created each and every woman for a certain man. When God created you and me, He had a particular man in mind as He shaped and formed us with His very hands. Isn’t that amazing!?!?!?! Yes, waiting for that man to arrive may be taking longer than we want, but hey all that means is that God is still working on us and the man He has for each of us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the man that God has for me arriving any sooner than he’s supposed to. I want to be ready when he arrives and I want him to be ready as well. So yeah, it may take a while, but the waiting is a good time to develop patience. God revealed to me that the waiting is an important period. You see, if we can’t wait for the man to arrive, then what are we going to do when he does finally arrive and we are ready to get married? Are we going to hound him about proposing? Are we going to leave not so subtle hints? See, waiting is very important. But most important of all about the waiting period is that it gives us time to truly fall in love with Jesus and develop a close, intimate relationship with Him. That’s the most crucial period because if we don’t know how to love Jesus, then we definitely won’t know how to love our future husband.