Lessons From Rudolph…

Lessons From Rudolph…

“Then how the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history…” 

And just like that, another Christmas season is upon us! My how fast 2019 came and went! So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to share an account that I had with my dad a few days back.
I overheard him having a conversation with someone about how Rudolph the red nose reindeer is just like the story of Jesus. And to be perfectly honest I just brushed it off because if you know my dad, he’s always making jokes. But when I really stopped to think about it, it actually makes perfect sense. Let me break down the story of Rudolph just in case you are unfamiliar 

Rudolph was a reindeer that was part of a collective group. However, the one thing that set him apart was the fact he had a very red shiny nose. 

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This was a point of ridicule for him. The other reindeers didn’t like him. Perhaps they thought that Rudolph thought he was better than them. Maybe they simply didn’t like him because he was different.  Point of the matter is, they just didn’t like him because they just couldn’t see his purpose. 

Nevertheless, there came a time where the weather wasn’t cooperating for the reindeers to pull the sleigh for Santa to make his deliveries. He had to utilize Rudolph and his red shiny nose to guide the sleigh and ultimately save the day. Thus fulfilling his purpose.

Santa saw Rudolph’s purpose long before anybody else did. After Rudolph saved the day, everybody loved him and finally were able to accept, respect and value his purpose. 

To me, Jesus is a lot like Rudolph. He came into the world with a purpose.  He was born for the sole purpose to be the saviour of the very world we live in. In fact, His entire purpose was set before He even set a foot on this earth… and people hated Him for it! He came knowing who He was and His purpose, boldly proclaiming it and people didn’t take to kindly to that.  He was often shunned, dismissed and ridiculed. 

After years living here on earth, there came a time where He had to fulfil His purpose, which he did with such grace. With that, the name Jesus was forever etched in history.

Just like Rudolph, we may not know or see what our purpose is. But just as Santa saw Rudolph’s, Jesus sees ours! In fact, we were created for a purpose.  We were created to stand out, to be set apart. Our uniqueness is what Jesus may use to guide people to Him. Just as Rudolph used the light of his nose to guide the sleigh, let the light that shines within you lead people to the saviour- the greatest gift of all…

Matthew 5:16- In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Have a very merry Christmas blog family!

xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

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!

 

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

adjective

Reckless:

to be reckless of danger.

characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Hey guys,

So I was reminiscing with a friend the other day and they asked me, ” What was the most reckless thing you did as a child?” Automatically, my mind took me back to a crisp fall day in 1997 ( dang I’m aging myself here LOL)

I love to rollerblade, even to this day. But when I was in middle school and had to walk to a school that was a considerable distance away from my home, my mother absolutely forbade me from rollerblading to school. Being an adult now, I can understand why she encouraged me not to do it. However, being the stubborn child that I was, I went ahead and did it anyway.  The route that I chose to take to school on this particular day was out of the ordinary for me. It took me longer to get to school this way but the only friend crazy enough to join me on this great expedition, lived closer to this direction. So naturally, we met in the middle and off we went…. rollerblading down an extremely steep hill…. with oncoming traffic all around us. Not a care in the world.

Now I’m not sure  if you truly understand how steep this hill was. It was so steep that in order to stop myself from blading directly into oncoming traffic, I had to reach out and grab the stop sign pole that was to the right of me  to slow me down ( I am actually shuddering at the thought of this) After I successfully finished my ride, I looked to the left of me and BAM! My mothers good friend was stopped at the bottom of the hill I had just descended. It appeared at the time that she didn’t see me and so I thought I was in the clear!  I later learned upon getting home from school, that she did see me and had promptly called my mother at work. I was properly disciplined Jamaican style ( I’ll leave you to use your imagination lol) This experience was one of the most reckless things I did in my childhood.

Reminiscing about this experience, had me think about that word “RECKLESS”. Let’s look into it for a moment.

The word reckless as defined above means “utterly unconcerned about the consequences  of some action.

I began to look at the word reckless in correlation to our relationship with God. The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Ashbury really helped me put my thoughts together. Mind you, I absolutely HATED this song the first few times I heard it years ago because I didn’t take the time to decipher the message in the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics in particular that I want to take a look at today:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

I was speaking with another friend about how love by today’s standards are truly a gamble. You win some and you may lose some too.  But in order to really experience it you have to be willing to take that risk.

God truly took a risk on us and chose to love us recklessly, without another thought. Even  with Him being the creator and having the ability to see that we were going to hurt Him time and time again , He still CHOSE to love us recklessly! He loves us through our mess. He loves us even when we choose to walk away from Him over and over again.

There is nothing we can do to “earn” the love of God. God’s love is open and available to anyone who sets themselves in a place to receive it.

The part of the chorus that says “leaves the ninety nine,” brings me back to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, specifically the depiction detailed in Luke 15: 1-7 :

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This parable brings to life an analogy of how God views us. We at some point have been that one sheep that has wandered astray, and God has dropped everything to go out and call out us and beckon to us. He rejoices when we are found and boasts about it!  Now common sense would say “Its just one! Leave it and cut your losses”.  But no, this is another example of How God’s reckless love abounds.  He honestly could have said oh well another one bites the dust, but he didn’t. He is openly distraught when one sheep (us) is missing from the flock. It feels unnatural, incomplete until the lost one is returned to the flock.

The bridge of this song has lyrics as follows:
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

To continue to love someone who continuously  walks away from you, turns their back on you, treats you with disregard is truly a reckless and careless move.  But as the aforementioned bridge says, there is absolutely NOTHING that can keep our God from loving us without limits!  Now this doesn’t mean that God is reckless. It simply means that the depth of His love is.. without thought or caution or rhyme and reason!

God’s love to the carnal eye of man is foolish. It makes no sense. In many ways His love is as pure and innocent as the love of a child. His love loves without barriers. His love is the type of love that never gives up. His love tears down walls. His love heals trauma! His love allows you to see the bright patch in a season of dark places…  His love in a nutshell is RECKLESS and I for one am eternally grateful for God’s Reckless Love! Oh to love and BE LOVED by God. Its truly a remarkable phenomenon.

 

Be blessed today and always!
Til Next Time,
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway2019

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Hey y’ all!

Quick post today! These past few weeks have been pretty stressful. It seems like I just can’t catch a break! Work has been super busy, I’ve been dealing with some health issues and I’m just burnt out emotionally and physically and even a little bit spiritually.

For those of you who have a relationship with Jesus, Do you ever feel like He’s not talking to you? No matter how much you seek Him, you just can’t hear from Him? That’s how its been for me for the past couple of weeks.

But over the weekend I was reminded of some of the passages of scripture they spoke about at a retreat I went to put on by my church organization. The theme of the retreat was, “Yet, I will rejoice” and one of the scriptures they used to highlight this theme was Habbakuk 3:17-18 and it reads:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

So even though your situation may seem bleak right now, rejoice anyway! The same God that has been there for you before, is still there for you right now…even if you can’t hear Him. Keep trusting! Keep seeking and most importantly…REJOICE!

This song has really been speaking to me over the past few weeks! Be blessed 🙂

 

xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

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Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Hey loves,

Is it just me or does anybody’s calendar sometimes overwhelm them? Honestly, since the top of the year I feel like I’ve just been like a hamster on a treadmill; non- stop go, go go!

While I wouldn’t say I’m a people pleaser, I would say I have a strong desire to make sure those in my circle feel supported whether it be emotionally or as it most often ends up being my physical presence is there when they need it.

I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I said: ” no” to more things and that, I would be “selfish” this year and look out for me. My favourite phrase was geared and set to be ” Sorry, I’m not available,,,”

But as things kept coming my way and I formed my mouth to utter the words, “Sorry I’m not available”  I began to ponder one thing… and this one thing  stopped me dead in my tracks:

“What if God decided to have a selfish year and not be “available” for my needs?”

Ouch… talk about a slap in the face!

It has been this long since 2019 started:

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If I really take stock of how many times I have run to God in this time, and every time I called on Him, He was available, It would be impossible to create an accurate tally.

As a Christian, we are called to be Christ-like. That includes with our time, more specifically with our service.  One of the most important roles in His short time on earth was one of a humble servant. And while I’m sure  He would have much rather been given a different task to complete, He took on His role as the Saviour with grace.  And now, that same grace, because of the great sacrifice of Himself, has allowed us to live an abundant life.

John 10;10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” English Standard Version

Herein lays my dilemma. How can I so flippantly dismiss people and what they may need from me, simply because I don’t feel like it? I can’t…

What I can do is to utilize the wisdom that God gave me and be wise about how I delegate my time and… most importantly use the time I have wisely.

This means before making myself available to Sue, Jim and Jenny, I need to make myself available to Him.  To not neglect to make real time for Him. Not just the leftovers.

The song ” Available to You ” has always been one of my favourites but something about the words today  ( specifically this verse) really hit me:

Now I’m giving back to You
All the tools You gave to me
My hands, my ears, my voice, my eyes
So You can use them as You please

I have emptied out my cup
So that You can fill me up
Now, I’m free, I just want to be
More available to You

It’s my desire to be available to God to be able to use me whenever He needs to- in whichever capacity He sees fit.

If it means being a shoulder for that friend to lean on.
If it means being that praying voice someone needs to hear.
If it means sitting on someone’s couch sharing about the love of God.
If it means feeding the hungry.
If it means sacrificing my WANTS  to meet someone’s NEEDS….. ( ouch soph.. really talking to yourself here!!)

Then that’s what I need to do.

I just want to be as available to God as He is to me… and while they may be impossible ( you know with Him being all-knowing and omnipresent 🙂 ) I certainly want to be available for Him to use me in any capacity.

Let’s make 2019 a year where we are available!

xoxo

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​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

Great Things…

Great Things…

Hey loves!

Quick post tonight!

Sorry… I know its been awhile since I posted but I kinda took a little bit of a social media break while on my 21 days of fasting. Well, we are winding up this fasting at the end of this week, so it’s time to get back to the grind! Thank you for sticking with me 🙂

I was scrolling through my instagram and an  old Ricky Dillard song popped up. The song “Great Things” really had me reflecting.  The lyrics are so simple yet so powerful:

God has so many great things in store for me
Can’t you see, many great things in store for me

Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard
Great things, great things in store for me
I’ll trust His word, and believe
Great things, great things in store for me

The one part of the song that stuck out to me was the lyric, ” I’ll trust HIs word and believe…”  That’s one thing I often have trouble doing. I like to believe I have crazy faith… but in reality,  it’s more like “Hail Mary” faith :  faith because I’ve already run out of options….  so why not trust and believe??? ( smh)

That’s not the type of faith I’m walking through 2019 with. I want to journey through this year with faith being my ONLY option.

Now I don’t know about you but for the last couple of years I’ve been hearing, ” This is your year!”, and after the past 5 years that I’ve had chiiiillllleeeeee …. forgive me for rolling my eyes when I hear this. Now 2018 wasn’t a HORRIBLE year but it definitely wouldn’t have qualified as “my year”… until the last 2 weeks of the year. In my previous post I spoke about 2018 being my “refining” year, but in the last two weeks God truly showed me that not only was He listening to my prayers , He was doing His best to make sure I was prepared for what I had been praying for.

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Oftentimes we pray for things that we are in no position to receive! In order to receive “great things” you need to get yourself to a “great place” mentally, emotionally, physically and most importantly SPIRITUALLY!

One thing I’ve learned is that God will never give you anything you aren’t prepared for…

Romans 8:28 says; (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

Everything that you have ever wanted or desired for yourself absolutely pales in comparison to what God has in store for you… if you’ll just step out in crazy faith and trust Him… and His TIMING!

pray-for-it-then-prepare-for-it-god-has-great-13295241

 

What is really helping me activate my faith this year is digging even deeper into God’s word and resting in knowing that His promises are true!

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,  and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[a]

I’m anxiously awaiting the great things that God has in store for me!
I think I’m QUITE overdo! 😉 ❤

Til next time,
xoxo

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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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Make Room

Make Room

Jonathan McReynolds has a beautiful song called “Make Room” that really speaks about making room for God in your life. About preparing your heart for God to dwell there. This is the song that really inspired this post. During my summer travels, as my friend and I drove through the lush greenery that is the state of Tennessee, God dropped this song right into our laps and for 3+ hours from Chattanooga to Memphis this song was on repeat. We worshipped, we meditated on the goodness of God and for me… I felt convicted…  I need to make even more room for God.

I am a LOVER of schedules. I have a planner that each week is updated with my plans and commitments for the week. Colour coded so its easy to see what things are a priority and what things can be shuffled around and done on another day.

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It seems that time is something that we never have enough of. Somebody will mention that they need help with something at the church, or your neighbour may need a hand moving and out comes the classic line, “Oh I don’t have any time to do that.”  Yet oddly enough if its something that we feel like doing or are super intrigued by, magically the hours for productivity suddenly appear? Funny how that happens!

Recently, an acquaintance of mine and I were making plans to hit up the gym together, I suggested we meet up in the evening after work and she wanted to meet up in the early morning . While I’m not particularly fond of getting up early, my body wakes me up at 6 am rain or shine, sleet or snow, vacation or work day. So naturally, knowing this , she thought that  going to the gym in the early morning would seem to be of no problem to me right? Wrong. It’s in that early part of the morning that I like to spend my quiet time with God in prayer and bible study as it’s the time of day that I feel that I can give God my  undivided attention and frankly I’m the most alert. When I explained this her she responded,  “Well can’t you just do that later?” Ok I thought, just this once I’ll move things around  and spend time with God later. And you know what happened, Later on came… and so did the sleep….  a day of sweet commune with God missed, never to be regained.

In that moment it dawned me; it shouldn’t be so easy for me to rearrange my schedule when it means bumping God out of the priority spot.  We often rearrange our time with God for something as trivial as a television program.  I can vividly remember in junior high and high school being so mad at my parents for making me go back to church on a Sunday evening when all I wanted to do was stay home and watch the Grammy’s or the BET awards ( remember this was in a time where live streaming and PVR weren’t an option, so if you missed it you missed it!) where as now I could care less!

What if God rearranged His schedule to only be available for us when He felt like it? This society would be even more in shambles than it already is ( hard to imagine!)  We oftentimes take for granted the gift that is Jesus. Someone who is always available morning, noon or night to hear our EVERY need. All He wants from us is for us to make room for Him in our heart and in our lives.

How many times have we prayed this prayer: ” God if you just give me one more day, I promise to  be better to You than  I was today. To give you all of me not just the leftovers?” Then tomorrow comes and again out of mouth comes the exact same words? I don’t know about you, but there are only so many times I can eat leftovers before getting sick of them and before they get stale. In the same way we don’t want to eat leftovers everyday, we need to stop giving God our leftover worship and our reheated praise! Come guys we have to give Him something new to eat once in awhile! There is nothing better than fresh food!

How do you make room for God in your life? Here are 4 ways to make room for God in your everyday life :

Make time for Him:
Make God a priority. The new Netflix series will wait. The phone call will go to voicemail. Give God your undivided attention.

Get rid of and negativity:
Make your heart comfortable for God to enter in. It will be hard for Him to navigate through negative space.  Release and let go of anything that is holding your heart and a prisoner to anger or resentment.

Physically create space for Him:
Find a room or a closet; perhaps your bathroom. Create a space where you will not be surrounded by any distractions, where you can have some personal alone time with God.

Meditate on His word:
Seeking out and studying the word of God is a good way to get to know Him, to learn from Him and to hear from Him.

Where I live, the children are heading back to school today. I am an Educator so this means back to work as regularly scheduled for me as well. ( farewell leisurely summer days 😦 lol )  This is a challenge and reminder to me ( and you) that no matter how hectic life gets, how busy our schedules may seem, make room for God FIRST!

 

 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ( Matthew 6:33)

Have a blessed day!
Til next time…
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway