Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Hey y’all,

As many of you probably know, Kanye West released his long-awaited gospel album. Kanye, last year began a spiritual journey, which has led us to where he stands now: a self-proclaimed born again Christian and ambassador for Christ. Now, if you know the Kanye that I know… The Jesus Walks to Gold digger Kanye, the words Kanye and Christian are not synonymous. In fact, they are as far apart as can be.

So where do I stand? Where should we stand as Christians today? Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head over the past year:

I must admit I have been watching Kanye’s transformation very closely. When he first started doing his Sunday services I was extremely skeptical. Not because I thought the transformation wasn’t possible, but because of the way it was being implemented. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought they this was just another ploy by his famous family to get ratings or another breakdown of his mental health.  The way his Sunday services were being implemented at the beginning of his journey, bordered on cultish behaviour in my personal opinion. ( in a dome, all dressed alike etc..)

Mind you, I made these assumptions long before I ever watched a full service. I saw clips of him taking secular music and mixing it with gospel music and right away my Jamaican Pentecostal upbringing had me denouncing it and him. Mind you, Mr Vegas ( a Jamaican dancehall artist) has a rendition of the gospel reggae track ” I am Blessed” that I had absolutely no problem with. (it’s been played at every single Jamaican CHRISTIAN wedding I have been at in the last 10 years lol)  and I myself used to turn secular songs into Christian songs by changing the lyrics all the time! Why fault Kanye if I wasn’t going to fault Mr Vegas as well?

So finally I watched a few of the Sunday services in Atlanta  Chicago And Detroit. And what I saw in place of Kanye the persona I knew, was simply a soul searching, seeking and trying to find its way home.

What I saw was Kanye’s heart. A man who is truly on a journey to find God and learn how to use his gifts to serve a greater purpose.

When I had this conversation with a group of peers, there were varied opinions. Many statements were made about being aware of false prophets. Which I think is a valid point. The bible does speak about this in 2 Timothy 4 where Timothy is encouraged by Paul to preach the gospel of  Jesus Christ because there is coming a day where the people will not want to hear sound doctrine but will gravitate towards preachers or teachers who tell them what they want to hear. It also says that people will denounce the faith and will run after myths,( 2 Timothy 4: 1-4) and to be perfectly honest when you look at Kanye and the following he has and has garnered through this spiritual journey, it seems like he is a perfect example of the people Paul was warning Timothy about.

But honestly, after watching his services, and leaning into my own relationship with Jesus, Kanye is no different than myself or anybody who has made a choice to follow God, to be honest. Kanye is just at an unfair advantage because of the persona he has created for himself and because he has made such a drastic declaration, it is really hard for people who have seen him one way for so long to truly believe the change is real.

But y’all this is why grace is so powerful. It overshadows everybody’s perception of you. God sees you. The true you. He sees the willing heart even if the world isn’t ready to accept it.

So, like I mentioned before, Kanye released his album and one track in particular really spoke to and convicted me, “Hands On” which features one of my all-time favourite gospel artists Fred Hammond. On this track, there is a line that really made me check myself as it should many people who call themselves a believer and follower of Christ:

“Told people God was my mission/What have you been hearing from the Christians/ they’ll be the first one to judge me/ make it seem like nobody love me”

This is exactly what many of us believers do. We judge people by their past and the persona first forgetting that grace extends to everyone… to celebrities too.  The same grace we live under is the same grace that Kanye has access to through Jesus Christ.

You may not know Kanye personally, but now is the time to pray for him! He is clearly on a journey and needs some guidance to keep him focused on the gift that is eternal life. This is a man who has had the entire world at his fingertips and is now in a place to give that all up in order to serve the one true and living God. To me… that’s commendable.

What the world sees as a plot or even as mental health issues, is really God taking back His child.  Putting him back on track to walk in the purpose that he was created for which is worship…

I’m not God and I can’t say with 100 per cent conviction that this a true declaration that Kanye has made forever. But what I can say right now at this very moment, is that I respect the fact that he has so boldly declared his desire to serve God. All we in Christendom can do is pray for discernment and pray that God will align Kanye with good shepherds that will walk alongside him and guide and help keep him on the path of righteousness.

So I say, welcome home brother Kanye. I’m praying for you!

 

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s my birthday y’all…. and  this year I just wasn’t too excited about it; and if you know anything about me, its that I LOVE my birthday.  I had a few weeks of deep contemplation about what I wanted my next year of life to be like. Here ‘s what i’ve been pondering on the last little while.

Have you ever thought about the word inheritance and what it means?

Recently, the subject of inheritance has seemingly been all around me. This summer, Disney released the live action version of The Lion King. There is a scene in the movie where Mufasa (father) has a conversation with his son, Simba. He explains to him that everything the light touches belongs to them and that one day Simba will inherit all of it.  Watch the full scene ( from the original Disney motion picture film) down below:

What does it actually mean to inherit something?  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word inherit as, ” : to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion”.

Simba didn’t have to do anything to receive what Mufasa had to offer him. He was told that it belonged to him just becuase he belonged to Mufasa. It was his right as Mufasa’s son to inherit all that Mufasa had..

Hmm… think on that for a minute.

I was raised as an only child and I am my mothers only biological child. My sibling(s)  on my father’s side are much older than me and so I grew up always knowing whatever my mother had, and most of what my father had  would one day become mine. I didn’t have to do anything to earn it. My only job was to be born into the particular family that I was. It is my rightful place to one day take possesion of the things they have promised me.

I think I see a trend here….

Let’s look biblically for a second. The story  of Abraham is a great depiction of inheritance in direct corelation to us. God promised Abraham that if he followed His lead ( Genesis 12: 1-3) left all he knew behind he would bless him in ways that he couldn’t even imagine. God made a covenant with Abraham when he was old in age (75)  He, at the time was childless and God promised him that he would sow an heir and that his descendents would outnumber the stars in the sky.  (Genesis 15: 5) Abraham would  become the father to genrations of people who would go on to inherit the promised land.. and in latter days, inherit the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Abraham didn’t have to do anything except follow God’s direction to inherit all that God promised to him.

That’s so relatable to us today and our relationship with  Jesus. God sent His son  (Jesus) as a sacrifce, to die on a cross just for us! We didn’t have to do anything to be worthy of such a sacrifice. The benefits of this sacrifice are eternal life. if we just take the step to join the family of God, wholeheartedly, all He has promised us is ours for the taking.

All He asks of us in return is to love Him and to serve Him in spirt and in truth.

Belong: We belong to God
Be in a Family: Through Jesus we are a part of the family of God 
Follow: Follow Jesus to inherit the kingdom of God and in turn eternal life

I was visiting with some friends a few weekends ago, and we were having some pretty deep discussions. We began to discuss how we often doubt God and all He has promised us. My big bro turned to the group and said ( paraphrasing )  ” Why do we act as if the inheritance isn’t ours?”

Wow…

That was like a big slap in of reality in my face. A staement that was so simple , took on a very profound meaning for me. For too long I have “known” that all God promised me, belongs to me, but never have I really taken the time to examine what that really means and BELIEVED IT!

Why am I worrying about trivial things when God already has my inheritance waiting on me?  Why am I doubting that what is for will always be for me? Why am I becoming frustrated with the timing of the inheritance’s delivery?

Because I am a fleshly human, flaws and all!

But, this year I’ve decided to walk in my inheritance! It’s already mine so I need to act like it! Everything that God has promised me, I’m claiming it this year! This is the time that my faith gets stronger and deeper and I stand with arms and heart wide open ready to receive. It’s time to live in the overflow of my inheritance.

I must admit, I was not excited for my birthday this year. I am coming off of a few years where God has really been stretchng me and grooming me and pushing me and pulling me and…. you get the drift. It’s been a season of growing pains. But after this conversation, a fire has been light under me to once again start speaking blessings over my life! Year 34 I’m claiming victory! I want the blessings of Abraham to flow all over me!

( This one of my favourite songs! It’s so appropriate for this post and I’m about to make it my theme song for this entire birth year! Anytime I start to lose sight of my inheritance, I’m going to through this on and worship all doubt away 🙂 )

Pray for me y’all (cause the devil stays lurking!)

I hope everyone has a blessed day! I’m off to the airport!! Let the birthday celebrations begin!

God bless you all!
xo

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I Am Who He Says I Am…

I Am Who He Says I Am…

” I am chosen Not forsaken I am who You say I am… You are for me Not against me I am who You say I am…”

Loser…

Ugly…

Disruptive…

Stupid…

These are some words that have been used to describe me at one point or another in life.  I’m sure many people out there can relate to having words spoken about them that were extremely hurtful and that have probably left invisible scars on their self-esteem.

This weekend I attended a ladies retreat put on by my church organization (COGOP). The theme for the weekend was, “Yet, I will rejoice “. While the overall theme was rejoicing in your circumstances, quite a few of the session speakers and evening ministers really touched on the topic of mental wellness and knowing who you are through Christ.

I was having a conversation with my sister-friend this weekend, who shared with me an incident where an older church sister had made mention of her nose piercing. This particular sister told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to remove her nose ring and that it was “demonic”. My sister-friend shared with me how the sister made her feel so bad about herself and her choice to wear the nose ring, by basically discrediting her ability to have a relationship with Christ and minister ( she’s an amazing musician) because of it.

My sister-friend has spoken with me openly ( and I with her) about the struggle we have at times to maintain mental and spiritual wellness. Well as you can imagine, this older sister’s words didn’t help with her spiritual self-esteem: feeling worthy of acting in ministry because maybe the nose ring really did make her “less than”.

Unworthy

Distracting

Disobedient

In another event, I can recall being in the bathroom ( restroom for my American readers lol) and overhearing two sisters having a conversation that was so discrediting to my character that I won’t repeat it here. If I was a different person I would’ve let their words send me down a downward spiral. Thankfully, It had the opposite effect and I can still hold my head high knowing I’m still ( by God’s grace) proving them wrong.

Failure

Disappointment

Worthless 

We humans often forget that words are powerful! They have the power to uplift and they have the ability to tear down, as do the people who say them.

This is why I am so happy that God has left us some words of affirmation in His word (The Bible) that can remind of who He has made us!

1 Peter 2:9-  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.

Romans 8:17 -And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-  We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.

The theme song for the weekend was Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am”

The lyrics are powerful and the ones that really stuck out to me are:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Christ has given us a title that nobody can take away. A title that nobody’s words can cancel:

Chosen

Special

His Child

Heir

Friend

Loved

I want to remind somebody that they are a product of God’s promise! The preacher Angela Grant had a tagline that she used in her message on Saturday night at the retreat. She reminded us ladies that we are ” CHOSEN NOT TOLERATED”

You are who God says you are. He made a choice and His choice was to LOVE US and make us HIS OWN.

You are loved!

You matter!

Take two minutes out of your busy schedule today and remind them of special they are! Take a look in the mirror and encourage yourself!

If you don’t hear it today: I love you and GOD LOVES YOU TOO!

Be Blessed!

xoxo

©justlovethemanyway

​Monday Motivation: Still…

​Monday Motivation: Still…

Hey Y’all,

So… I almost drowned about a week ago…   twice! I mean it would have been one hundred percent my fault but let me backtrack a little.

Last week I was on vacation in Rio Hato, Panama. This part of Panama is surrounded by the Pacific ocean. Being a girl of Caribbean descent, and one who is naturally prone to travel to the Caribbean islands which are surrounded by the Caribbean sea, I am not particularly fond of the Pacific. I find it a little too rough for my liking and honestly, just not as beautiful! ( Sorry my Pacific Ocean lovers!)  But nevertheless, I love water and I will always take advantage of any opportunity to be near it.

However, the beach at my resort wasn’t too bad! Now if you travel to beach resorts, you will know that the lifeguards have a flag system that they use to notify the patrons about the conditions of the water.

Image result for flag system at beaches

So now to the topic of my nearly drowning.
(I can actually swim pretty well so this was not a factor in this near-death experience LOL)

All my friends were over at the pool. I wanted to take a quick dip in the ocean. So with no volunteers to come with me, I took it upon myself to just pop over to the beach and do just that. I saw the flags, waving bright and boldly in all its yellow glory. Medium hazard? I thought what could possibly be the harm? So bravely, I walked into the ocean…

it was at that moment I knew… I’d made a very poor decision. It was also in this moment that I learned that rip tides are REAL!

What’s a rip tide you ask? A riptide is:

  1. a relatively strong, narrow current flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone and presenting a hazard to swimmers.

So as I began to splash around, I noticed that the waves were extremely rough ( duh soph! Hence the warning flag) I started to attempt to make my way back to the shore, my toes were still touching the ocean floor at this point… until they weren’t anymore. Instantly my fight or flight instincts took over and I began to tread water like crazy and tried to propel myself towards the shore.

I couldn’t. I began to get weary and think to myself, “Really Soph, you’re gonna come all this way to drown alone in the ocean?”  So I began to fight! Another riptide bashed me again, this time knocking me backwards and then finally it subsided and I was able to crawl my way to the sand and leave the ocean!

The next time I nearly drowned/died was on a water slide. I’d consider myself pretty adventurous and so when I saw this waterslide, I knew I had to try it! There were two different slides to choose from. I naturally decided to do the fastest one because I’m a G! ( lol I’m not really, I’d just like to think I am:) )

So I get situated on the slide and push off. At first, it was going really well… until it wasn’t! I approached one particular part on this slide where the water completely blinded me and suddenly I was taking the rest of the ride with no clear vision of when the end of the slide would come alongside my inevitable entrance to the pool below.  Well, boy, did I enter the pool with a big splash… and was so shocked that I couldn’t catch my bearings to get myself back up to the surface! Thank God for the lifeguard at the bottom who literally put his hand on my back and guided me up to the surface safely!

Being back for a week now, I have had time to reflect on all the hidden lessons my experiences on this trip taught me.

Life sometimes comes at us like a riptide or a crazy waterslide.  We oftentimes put ourselves in situations without thinking things through and then are shocked when life hits us with a big splash!

Sometimes we enter situations that are out of our control and end up really feeling out of control! It sometimes feels like we are being carried away with the undertow of the cares of life. But just as with the riptide I faced in the ocean, it will subside. It is up to you to decide if you’re gonna tread water and fight against the current or give up and let it overtake you! Just like my experience on the waterslide, sometimes we need a helping hand to help us find our way to the surface.

For me, that helping hand, that motivation to tread water and keep fighting is rooted in the fact that I serve a God who promised to never leave me or let me down!

If you are currently feeling trapped in the riptide, be encouraged! Strong currents won’t rage forever! Calm seas will reign again!

The song “Still” by Hillsong United always provides me with comfort whenever I find myself in the undertows of life. Have a listen down below:

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Be Blessed!
Til next time…
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway

Monday Motivation: The Reason…

Monday Motivation: The Reason…

Hey loves,

Super quick post today ( spending time with the family ❤️)

With only one day left until Christmas, today has been a day of last minute errands and non stop running around. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of this holiday in particular, but I really want us to remember the reason for the season.

Many years ago, before any of us were even a thought, the Almighty God saw fit to send a saviour to bear the burden of sins we had yet to commit. So , as we take December 25th to commemorate the birth of our Savior, take a moment to reflect on the magnitude of how great our God is!

There’s a song they sang at church yesterday that I hadn’t heard in awhile that has been replaying in my head all night, that I think is fitting to share with you all today.

https://youtu.be/ifdCGNUwvtQ

The lyrics just really serve as a reminder of who God is

“You are the lord of lords, you are the king of kings, you are my everything, I give myself to you”

It’s not about the gifts or the food or even about the family gatherings. It’s all about Jesus. He is the reason for the season. Give honour to whom it’s due.

May your holiday season be blessed!

xoxo

May Your Bad Days Prove That God is Good…

May Your Bad Days Prove That God is Good…

Hey loves!

As 2018 is drawing to a close, I have been doing some reflecting ( as most of us do). I began to think about my year.. and honestly how “bad” it’s been. At the beginning of the year I had multiple people from different areas of my life tell me that “2018 is my year” and let me tell you after the past few years I have experienced,  I was in need of “something good”. But in no uncertain terms was 2018 my year. While it wasn’t my worst year, it wasn’t what I would   refer to as “my year”.  I was still met with exceeding disappointment, overwhelming anxiety and “unanswered prayers.”

It was in talking with a friend, that caused me to really take a step back and reevaluate what “my year” really meant. I was looking for the physical manifestation of my prayers while not really taking into consideration the work that God was doing on the inside of me.  I spent too much of 2018 in anticipation of the “what’s coming for me” and not enough time in the awe of “what God is doing for me right now”.

I look at 2018 as my year of refinement. What does it mean to be refined?  According to google dictionary ,  to be refined is defined as

” with impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing.”
“elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, or taste.”
“developed or improved so as to be precise or subtle.”

This year forced me to take stock of all the parts of myself that needed refining. There were several areas of my life that God really needed to refine within me this year and while it may have seemed long and tedious, or that God wasn’t hearing me this year, He had to take me through the process.  The refining process is not a simple or quick task. It takes time! We live in this microwave generation where we want everything in 2 minutes or less. But God doesn’t work on our time schedule. He takes His time refining His people because He wants us to be the best version of ourselves, which in turn is the best representation of Him.

So yes, while 2018 was filled with “bad days” it has taught me so much about myself. It has always caused me to reflect that my bad day is a walk in the park for somebody else. Yes, I know that’s cliche to say but it’s really true. I have a friend ( I won’t name him because I didn’t ask permission to share his story… hopefully in the future I can interview him) who has battled more in 2018 than I probably have in my whole life and He still manages to lift his hands in worship to the almighty God. That has inspired me and blessed me in more ways than you could ever imagine. As I look at him, the song “God is Good” by Jonathan McReynolds  comes to mind.  The song is simple prayer:

May your struggles keep you near the cross
And may your troubles show that you need God
And may your battles end the way they should
And may your bad days prove that God is good
And may your whole life prove that God is good

May your bad days prove that God is GOOD! Even in the “bad days” God is still God. I’ve learned to stop asking God why and when things will happen for me and learned to trust His timing. Also, to take stock of what He is refining in the process!

Trouble with your health? (yup have that) GOD IS GOOD
Sick loved ones? ( yup have that ) God IS GOOD
Relationship disappointments? ( going through that) but GOD IS STILL GOOD)
Anxiety? ( yessssssssssssss) GOD IS STILL GOOD
“Unanswered prayers” ?( yessssss lord lol) HE’S STILL GOOD

End of the story is no matter what you’re going through,  GOD IS STILL GOOD! Refining hurts sometimes but it is for your betterment in the long run!

I encourage anyone out here reading this to not lose hope during the refining process! Trust that you will come out of refinement better than you were before. New, refreshed and ready to tackle anything that comes your way! I pray that your 2019 is a year of blessings in abundance and overflow for you!

2018 was the year of refinement for me. 2019 is the time to shine! May my whole life prove that God is GOOD!

A huge shoutout to everyone who played a part in my “refining year”. I couldn’t have survived this year without your help. prayers and sometimes strong reprimands that knocked some much needed sense into me!

Onward and upward from here on out! 2019 lets get it!!

Take a listen to this song by Jonathan McReynolds. I hope its simple yet powerful message speaks to you as it has spoken to me ❤

Blessings!
Til next time,
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

It’s Your Breath In Our Lungs…

It’s Your Breath In Our Lungs…

“It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only….”

Hey y’all

I don’t know if anybody reading this know what it feels like to not be able to breathe. Like to the point where you see stars and the room around you starts to look dim…. Up until a week ago I would’ve able to confidently say that I didn’t know what it feels like either…. until it happened. I had been battling flu like symptoms for a few weeks and any time that the weather gets pretty cold my asthma starts to act up. So flu like symptoms+ asthma equalled a recipe for disaster.  I went to bed like any other night, but during the night I began having trouble breathing . I tried propping myself up on pillows , sipping water, essential oils… to no avail. Around 3 am I again woke up and tried to take a breath… and could not. My lungs were so restricted that the air was having an extremely hard time getting through. So naturally, reached to my bedside vanity for my inhaler… no inhaler. Crawled out of bed to my purse… could not find an inhaler. Somehow in the fog I remembered I left the inhaler in the family room… upstairs…. 

Long story short I was able to crawl ( yes literally crawl) up the stairs and get some assistance and my inhaler. But the few moments where air wasn’t getting through, I saw my life literally flash before me. In that moment I realized how much I took something as simple as breathing without restriction for granted. 

This past weekend I went to a Young Adults Retreat my church organization put on, which I sang on the worship team.  Flu like symptoms+asthma makes it pretty hard to sing as you can probably imagine. On the Saturday evening I began having the same reaction except this time my inhaler was giving me no relief. I didn’t share this with anyone but my roommates/ church sister friends knew something was up.  I kept getting up to go outside to get air into my lungs.  Rough night of sleep ( as my roommates could tell you ) but I woke up Sunday fed up with feeling crappy. 

The worship team sang a song that morning  where the lyrics of the chorus are ” It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only..”  Coincidence? No I think not. I’d like to think it was a little nudge from God of what I needed to focus my prayers on that morning. As the speaker made an altar call, he called for us to anoint ourselves with oil and pray in earnest for what we needed.

Naturally, I began to cry out to God for my health issues and also the health issues of my parents.  Would you believe when I rose from prayer , and I went to go and sit beside my homegirl ( hey dreadie!) she said she had felt a desire to pray for me since Friday evening.  Keep in mind I had not shared any of my health struggles of late with her. Would you believe that her obedience to pray for me, led her to pray literally the exact prayer I prayed for myself!??!  She prayed out fears about myself that I had not shared with ANYBODY on earth. Nobody can tell me that God isn’t real and that He isn’t listening to prayer and the cries of your heart.  Almost instantly after she prayed for me I felt like a weight lifted off of my chest and I COULD BREATHE FREELY! I have never experienced anything like in my life. Who else but God? To top it off I have not used any inhaler since Sunday! God is good!

This is my praise report! I have felt God’s healing hands on my physical body. This entire experience served as a reminder that the air in my lungs are gifted from God. I will forever pour out praise to God for what He has done and will continue to do for me! 

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

Great are you LORD!

 

Take advantage of the breath in your lungs. Time is not promised to anyone young or old. Use it for its intended purpose. To worship. To speak life not death. To pour out love everywhere you go…  To Just Love Them Anyway! ❤

Be Blessed Y’all!
xoxo 
©justlovethemanyway

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