He makes me lie down in green pastures….


He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (Psalms 23:2)

This passage is a part of the most well-known Psalm and has summarized this  season of my life. I actually didn’t want to share this until I knew it was concluded so, I sat on it for two months. It is my awareness that I’m closer to the end than the beginning that permits me to write about it now.

“He makes me” – or in other words – He made it so…He arranged and aligned the circumstances to befit this period.

“…lie down in green pastures” –  he has ordained a season of rest, and in your rest he will provide, cover, and keep you.

“He leads me beside still waters” – often times life can be tumultuous and you don’t know if you are coming or going or know which way is up/down, right/left. But when you are placed near still waters there is Peace. I used to work near a lake and one day I was walking in the morning and there was barely a ripple going across the surface and I began to sing “when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul”. Peace will settle your heart and mind when the enemy expects you to be anxious and confused. You can rest in the Peace of God.

Here are just a few captions of what this season of rest has looked like for me:

  1. He made it so that I would lie down (or rest) in the place of my provision, the place where my trust in him is stretched to believe continually that all I need, he will provide.
  2. He made it so that I would find rest. Exhaustion can come in many forms: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. Rest is the only remedy for it.
  3. He made it so that I would reflect on the beauty of His goodness.
  4. He made it so that I would regain my strength and focus.
  5. He made it so that I would be still and know that He was God alone.
  6. He made it so that I would explore and accept who he has made me to be… I’ve asked myself “God, is this what you had in mind”? I strive to be the finished concept He has pre-designed.
  7. He made it so that the sun would illuminate the shadows of my life, so I would not be afraid.
  8. He made it so that I would learn to hear His voice again, to look for the messages in the simplicity of life.
  9. He made it so that I would go from running to rest.
  10. He made it so that I would no longer be a passive bystander of my life. And in order to do that, challenge the mentality that keeps my mind from being free.

Rest culminates the end and preludes the beginning. It is an ordinance of God – on the seventh day, or completion, He rested.

I will cherish this time that many do not get, God really does hear our prayers and answers our requests.Whatever you’re doing that is not invigorating you, not effective, not efficient, not exciting may very well be an indication that you are on the verge of burnout or a system overload.

Rest prepares you for the next season,the next moment, the next experience that is to come. As with soil and crops, good planters know when the soil needs rest in order to maximize  the production for the next harvest. As I am on this fitness journey with my husband, I had taken about a 3 day rest unintentionally last week, and when I returned to the track I was able to go further than I had in all the previous weeks.

Recharge, Renew, Restore, Regain, Reignite, Reinvest, Reset…. All of those things require Rest – a time to press Restart; a time to Reboot the system. God’s timing is perfect.

 

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When the anesthesia wears off…

As humans, we react differently to varying degrees of pain. I’ve heard women compare the travail of child birth versus the agony of a toothache. Before birthing my own child, I would say hands down that the excruciating pain of an inflamed nerve in your tooth that involves unyielding discomfort to the head, neck and ear – coupled with the inability to sleep was misery at its finest. I also experienced the debilitating nerve and muscle pain from my lower back, shooting down my leg, leaving me unable to walk, sit, or stand, known as sciatica. As time would tell, my body was likely responding to the shifting of my uterus as I found out that I was expecting. The difference between the two is that enduring the pain of pregnancy had a promise and a purpose attached.

Any pain causes you to immediately seek out some sort of relief. With the toothache, there was nothing over the counter that could touch the pain. I remember my parents taking me to the emergency room in the middle night while we were out of town. The Doctor took a vial full of a potent liquid encased in this large metal syringe with a long needle on the end and inserted it directly through the tooth cavity into the nerve site. I wanted to punch him but couldn’t for hollering.  Within seconds I was sedated. I nearly forgot what the pain felt like and wanted nothing more than to just sleep, and I did. But, just a few hours later, the anesthesia wore off and all of the agony returned. Somehow, I endured the six hour drive home the next day to get the necessary antibiotics and treatment to remedy the situation.

Have you ever gone through periods of life sedated? Out of it? Numb? Those previous examples were physical and treatable. But life has a way of making you feel pains that you cannot name. We live in a society where the pharmaceutical industry makes it so that you don’t have to feel anything if you don’t want to. These drugs have their place when used temporarily or as a means to extend the quality of life for those suffering with incurable illnesses. But the danger is when you get used to being numb that you never address the real issue. When the injection wears off and the medication runs out, your still hurting and in pain. Being numb allows you to survive, but healing will give you the determination to live. It’s pretty amazing what you can do when you are in pain but can’t feel it. However, the longer you go without care, the more damage can ensue.

The physiological response “fight or flight” kicks in when there is a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. Losing my father was a pain like no other. The aftermath, even worse. At the time, I did not see that my pain had purpose. I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling, see what I was seeing, or hear what I was hearing. I didn’t want to nor did I know how to fight that fight. Flight was my numbing agent and I took off. Eventually I was awakened by the uncomfortable throbbing within, demanding my attention to decide if I really wanted to live. The purpose of pain is to alert your senses to a need, identifying a failed function so you can take corrective action to remedy the situation.  Ready or not, my anesthesia wore off and finding my purpose was the only antidote.

 

 

If you had one dream, one goal, one idea to accomplish – what would it be?

With that one thing in mind – what is stopping you from pursuing it? What has delayed your progress of taking steps toward fulfilling that goal? Many times in life we wait on our circumstances to be perfect and the time to be right in order to move towards our dreams and goals. But what if the circumstances as you see them never align, or if no alarm ever sounds to say that now is the time? What do you do?

There is a parable in the Bible that speaks of three different characters each given a set of talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this story we find they were each given according to their ability and would one day return for their reward. One buried his talent and waited for the owner to return. His lack of effort was despised and he lost out on the inheritance. What did he do wrong? He did nothing, adding no value to what he was given because of his fears based on an inaccurate assumption. If we had to choose which character we wanted to be, I bet no one would chose to be like him, but in all reality, that may be exactly what happens when we wait. Anything unused begins to collect dust. Before you know it, things get set on top of it and it is concealed under things we deem to be more important. I’ve been there.

So what are some reasons we wait?

  1. Not knowing where to start.
  2. Worrying about what others might say.
  3. Not having the resources we think we need.
  4. Being afraid of failure or possibly of success.
  5. Being too busy with the stuff that does not matter.

I’m sure this list could get quite long, but I don’t want to waste any space listing the excuses we make. Rather, I want to encourage you with some things that I have come to grips with.

  1. Believe in yourself. You would be surprised that we hear this all the time but have no idea how to do it. Whatever you’ve been entrusted with, you can handle. You’ve got what it takes to do what you need to do.
  2. Find someone who believes in you. We all need someone in our corner pushing us to become better, and empowering us with the right tools. Someone who won’t let you off the hook and will remind you of your own dreams when you forget. I’m so grateful for those who have believed in me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself.
  3. Research. This is the information age. Anything you want to know you can find out. If you don’t know how, someone else does. Be willing to seek out new information.
  4. Unbury your dreams and revive your vision. Write down what it is and what you can do with what you have. Pray and meditate. Clear your mind of the clutter. You have a God-given assignment.
  5. Press the mute button on your fears. Challenge the negative thoughts and feelings. Don’t let their voice dominate, distract, or deter you. After all, there assignment is to keep you from yours. They only win if you let them.

Looking over my life, I remember when my father prayed for me one day. He simply laid his hand on my head and said “little becomes much when you place it in the master’s hand”. So give God something to work with. After all, He has already put it in your hand. You can never finish what you won’t start.

Lessons of Transition

The process of transition is one that you don’t really comprehend until one day you stop and realize that this place, this unfamiliar zone is just that… the space between where you were and where you are going. I’ve made many transitions in my life, and usually once you get to the destination, you forget about the pain of the process. This particular transition has been elongated which gives me an opportunity to really just accept the process and accept who I am in this process. I have experienced many emotions, thought long and hard about decisions that needed to be made, sought spiritual guidance through the Word of God and prayed prayers that I’ve never prayed. Transition has many lessons for you to learn if  you are willing. Here are mine so far:

  1. The path you are on is for you. Find your route.

    This just simply means that the path that God orders for your life is one that only you can walk. The compilation of your experiences all uniquely define the way in which you are created to impact this world. I could never be you and you could never be me. Therefore, you can never do what someone else is designed to do the way they do it. There is no sense in wasting any time imitating someones life to attempt to walk their path – that is impossible and you will FAIL. It will rob you from your true purpose and rob the world from the gift you have to offer. I’ve embraced the fact that this is my journey and this path is designed specifically for my feet to leave their prints. The light of  my path is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I have no doubt that I will get to where I am supposed to be, to do what I am supposed to do.

  2. You can need deliverance from things that you are not even aware of needing deliverance from.

    I know that was a mouth full, but here is what I mean: I had a dream one night that I was sleeping and everything around me was just the way it was in real life. As I was laying on this couch, I was trying to talk or move and I couldn’t (some identify this as sleep paralysis – you can look that up). There was only one person in the room, a familiar face, but he was not facing me directly so I was flailing in a way trying to get his attention. When I realized my efforts in moving and talking or screaming were failing, I began praying in my head – like screaming in my head “God, deliver me….God, deliver me from…” and before I could really think about what I was even trying to say, the words “deliver me from the spirit of religion” came out of my screaming thought! I woke up tingling and heart racing trying comprehend what just happened. I was not at home so I just looked around the room until I was fully conscious. I believe, that in that moment I received my deliverance. Now awake, I repeated “God, deliver me from the spirit of religion”.

    I was raised in the church ALL OF MY LIFE. I never knew or studied anything about the spirit of religion. In that moment I found out two things: 1) Religion was a spirit and 2) that I needed deliverance. So I began to search on my phone “the spirit of religion” and found many articles that described it, identified characteristics, specified how to tell if you were dealing with it … so on and so forth. I was stunned! Me? Really? Yes! Some of the descriptions were almost too close for comfort.  Others were just behaviors and attitudes you pick up in “church” as I recognized and identified their existence in my experience. So I prayed for forgiveness and for God to continue to show me more about this so that I would never operate in that spirit again. I realized that there first had to be a change in my mindset in order to eradicate it once and for all. This leads me to the next lesson I learned…

  3. Sometimes, it takes shifting and transitioning to see YOU.

    Transition offers a period of reflection. You get to see who you are right now and what has influenced you by looking at how experiences shaped your thoughts, your behavior, and your perspective of the world. Then you get to decide if you are satisfied with who you are or if there are changes that need to be made in order to become who you were born to BE!
    For me, transition has demanded I check my temperature to gauge how close or how far I am away from being my authentic self. Upon writing this I thought about a chameleon – a uniquely designed creature with God-given capabilities to change its color based on various factors of its environment such as temperature, threat from predators/survival, and even social signs to other chameleons. Some people would proclaim to “keep it real” wherever and whenever, but there are instances where we as humans adjust to situations. It is in those times, if you’re not paying attention,  you can lose the sense of your identity by trying to appeal to everything around you.  Transition is a sobering moment of self-examination. Certain attributes were killing me. My fear of rejection was something I had to face head on, and it started by accepting me and accepting my truth.

  4. Speak Your Truth

    In the processes of self-examination, you find your true voice. You find an inner truth and speak it. You no longer suppress what you were afraid to say. You face the giant of REJECTION and refuse to give it any more power over your life.  The fear of rejection will cause you to lose your voice. You start sounding like other people when you speak because you see that their voice is accepted. Now, you may speak a lot or you may speak a little, but you never really get to say exactly what you mean. I realized that many of the decisions that I made were out of trying to be accepted. It is so empowering when you learn to accept yourself! Your voice is valuable. What you say is connected to what you see – “The power of life and death is in the tongue”.

  5. Regaining Vision

    So there came a point in the last few years that without knowing, I lost my vision. I really could not see beyond the day or the week. My creativity became stagnant. I kind of excused this as me being a project-oriented person, meaning, I think only about what is directly in front of me at the time. That wasn’t the reason. My next excuse was as a married woman my husband is the one who has the vision for my family so I don’t need to “see” I just need to carry it out. Wrong again! My husband ALWAYS challenged me  to have a vision for my life and I did at one point but it was no longer clear. As a couple, your visions will coincide, but it was necessary for me to bring something to the table. I couldn’t remember what happened, all I know is that I COULD NOT SEE! I’ve received more prophecies than I can count and although they were realistic in most respects, I could not see to allow them to be realized. To not have vision also means that your purpose is not clear either. I heard someone say that “living without purpose is like dying”. My will is for God’s will to be done in my life and I have to participate in it. I was reminded that He created me with the power of imagination, the ability to dream, and a mind to think BIG! Finally, after much prayer and processing, the clarity of vision is returning!

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What has transition taught you?

The meaning behind “My Alabaster Box”

An alabaster box was used to store precious, expensive ointments that some theologians say valued a years wage during the time Jesus walked the earth. It was a treasure that had a seal in order to contain the fragrance of the oils until the designated time of use. I look at myself as being a container that is filled with precious gifts & talents hand picked by the Creator. You are too! Each vessel has a purpose and fragrance to be released. Shana Wilson and Julie Meyer perform a song entitled Alabaster Box which speaks to releasing your fragrance unto God.

Before I ever heard of Shana, one of my favorite female gospel artist caught my attention with the story of the woman in the Bible who anointed Jesus’ feet. Actually, there are two different women in two different instances that did this. I remember singing this song for the first time in church one Sunday morning as a teen. This song and the story is the inspiration for naming this site and will forever influence my life.

Growing up, music was a huge part of my life. As early as I can remember, I woke up to gospel music playing on Sunday mornings. My father was incredibly gifted on the piano and organ and had perfect pitch. He pastored and taught the choir until my oldest brother took over the music in his early teens. They planted and watered the seed in me early on. As God would have it, I would marry a musician whose passion was infectious. Together, we release the sound of God’s love for us.

This site is created as a symbol of my willingness to embrace who God created me to be and share what He has placed inside of me. I pray you are encouraged and your thought provoked to think deeper about who you are and why you were placed on this earth as you follow my posts in this season!