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Broken and Poured Out

Many of us, myself included, are ashamed and afraid to be seen by others in our broken stages. Often that is when we can be poured out before God and be used the most by him.

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When I hear the word “broken” it’s usually about something or someone that is damaged, not fit for use, or able to fulfill its designed purpose. Broken means reduced to fragments, not functioning properly or out of working order, weakened in strength or spirit, and having given up all hope or being defeated. That’s basically the opposite of being complete, connected or wholesome. The Bible, however, gave me a different or should I say better perspective of brokenness.

Psalm 34 verse 18 says, “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”. This verse is referring to our hearts being broken over our sins. When we are truly sorry for our sins, which is brokenness, the Lord is present according to this verse. How awesome is that? To know that God is present in my brokenness. I believe for this to happen we must spend time getting to know Jesus and building an intimate relationship with him. This kind of response to sin is a result of time spent alone in God’s word and presence.

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“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”. Matthew 11:29

A broken heart and spirit is an acceptable sacrifice to God. Outside of this biblical or godly context, it’s unacceptable. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”, Psalm 51 verse 17. God desires a repentant heart. A heart broken with sorrows for sin. Just as King David was in Psalm51 after the prophet Nathan came to him after he sinned with Bathsheba. True worship in spirit and in truth comes from a heart broken over sin and poured out before God.

There’s purpose in being broken and poured out. God will show up to heal us from the wounds of sin, forgive us, comfort us from our sorrow, then bind up our wounds. His presence can then fill us up with truth and righteousness. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds”, Psalm 147 verse 3. Being broken and poured out results in us humbling ourselves before God.

Once we are broken we can empty ourselves and allow the Spirit of God to fill us. We can then pour out in worship and be an effective vessel to demonstrate God’s love, goodness, and mercy. God allows us to be broken to rebuild us for his glory. Our brokenness is supposed to draw us to the presence of God as he is near. Too many times we tend to hind in shame or fear. Pride can easily cause us to miss his presence!

In Psalm 34 verse 18 brokenhearted in its Hebrew origin “nishbar lev”, the one with a broken heart, is referring to our inner life, our affections, mind, and will. We can submit these things to God when we are broken and poured out before him. Our inner life of thoughts and feeling is usually expressed in our actions. When we are inwardly shattered we need God’s divine help and deliverance. Hence why he is near, but we must pour out and allow him to fill us up. We will miss him if we are full of ourselves and everything else contrary to his word. A heart that is humbled at God’s displeasure for sin is tender and willing to bend to God’s will. Then, God “will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit”, Psalm 51 verse 9.

Unfortunately, it does take an actual heartbreak sometimes to get us into the state of brokenness. However we get there, God will be near. “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, Matthew 5 verse 3.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 1 John 1:9

 

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15

 

My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2

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7 Online Shopping Hacks

I love to shop. I enjoy shopping. Whether or not I’m buying anything it’s just something I like doing. I enjoy it even when I’m shopping online. It’s spring, a lot of people, myself included, like to spring clean our closet. If you haven’t read 12 Fashion Staples for Your Closet you are doing yourself and closet a disservice. Before you go on a shopping spree or on a hunt for replacement pieces read it and find out why. Thank me later.

I believe there’s an art to shopping. One does not simply walk into a store and buy the very first thing your eyes land on. Unless you’ve been eying it for a while, it’s a must-have that’s on sale, or a once in a lifetime deal you won’t get anywhere else. I take my time to look around, find the sales or clearance section, look at prices, compare prices of various brands and retail stores. I take time to enjoy the different fashion and styles displayed for the season. I look at colors, patterns, fabrics, and the quality of the clothes (cheaper prices aren’t always worth it). I take in as much as I can, from how the racks are positioned to the set up of the store. Shopping is an experience! This sounds great when you’re shopping at your local mall, retail or thrift stores, right? It can be just as enjoyable online. It’s a matter of mindset. For me, online shopping is equally fun and enjoyable. Depending on your view of the internet world and shopping, online shopping can be an intimidating experience at first. Once you get the hang of it or a feel for it you’ll realize how easy and convenient it is.

Here are some tips from my online shopping experience to help you with yours.

  • Shop at a secured website
  • Know your measurements
  • Read the reviews
  • Know the company’s shipping terms
  • Know the company’s return policies
  • Look for coupon offers and discount codes
  • Set a budget

 

  • Shop at a secured website
    • You want to always shop at a website that will allow you to use a secure payment method. If several things appear to be out of the ordinary don’t trust the site. It will lessen your chances of identity theft and your funds getting jacked. Make sure the website is legitimate and secured. I like using PayPal as my payment method. It gives me buyers protection and protection against fraudulent activities. It’s also important to check the website’s reputation. You don’t want to shop somewhere that has terrible reviews or customer service. Make sure you can contact someone through email AND phone in case you face any issues while shopping or if there’s something wrong with something you purchased. You especially want to make sure you can speak to someone on the phone if the issue is with your money.
  • Know your measurements
    • Clothing sizes vary depending on clothing brand or merchant. It’s important to know your size, especially in centimeters and inches. The online store usually displays them as such instead of the expected small, medium, and large size. You can use a measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, hips, and inseam. If you’re not sure how exactly to do this there are YouTube video tutorials that can help you. You can also visit your local seamstress or tailor to figure this out. While some clothes are true to size others are not. You need to know your size to determine whether to stick to your exact size, buy a size down or buy a size up. THE SIZE CHART IS YOUR FRIEND! Please use it. It may vary slightly depending on the brand or company but is fairly the same overall. It’s a useful guide.
  • Read the reviews
    • Customer reviews in the online shopping world are gold. Take some time to read some. You’ll get a real perspective on whatever it is you’re interested in buying. Ads can be deceiving. Most buyers will include photos with their reviews which is even better. Look for reviews that include comments on the size, fit, and material quality of what you want to buy. It’ll help give you a better idea of how something will fit, if it’ll be true to size or if you’ll need to buy a size up or down. Remember ads and online model displays can be deceiving and hyped up so don’t just go off that alone.
  • Know the company’s shipping terms
    • A lot of online stores in the United States offers free shipping. Other stores, especially if your shipment is coming from overseas, charge a fair shipping fee. If shipping isn’t free your shipping price is usually based on the shipping option you choose, standard, express or overnight shipping. If shipping is free it’s always my option. Costly shipping is not worth it in my opinion if getting it later than sooner is the only downfall. The length of delivery is often based on the carriers the company uses. i.e. FedEx, UPS, USPS. It shouldn’t take a company more than 2-3 day to ship your package to you. Be sure to check if tracking is provided for you to track your package (s). Some carriers will require a signature or someone to be present at the time of delivery.
  • Know the company’s return policies
    • It crucial to know how, when, and if you can return or exchange what you purchase. You might not like what you purchase once you receive it or it might not fit properly. You want to be able to return it. Check the return policy before placing your order. Check how long you have to return things, how much it’ll cost you or if returns are free. You also want to check if you can make exchanges, get your money back or get store credit.
  • Look for coupons and discount codes
    • Coupons and discount codes will save you a lot of money on your overall purchase at checkout. Always check out the sales and markdown items. If you can get coupons and discount codes on top of whatever sales offered, it’s worth celebrating. Your bank account and husband will thank you after checkout.
  • Set a budget
    • You know your shopping habits and how often you shop. Unless you are a millionaire or have money to blow give yourself a budget. If you’re disciplined in your spending you won’t mind a budget. You want to be responsible with your money. It is easy to overspend and get carried away when your shopping online. It’s much easier than at a local store. It’s really like throwing it all in the bag. It’s not possible to feel the weight of everything you added to your cart. Treat yourself if you can but buy what you need first. A budget will help you smile when you click on your cart and not have to explain to your spouse where all these packages are coming from.

BONUS: sign up for emails and exclusive offers from your favorite stores and company. You will be among the first to know of special offers, discounts, and sales.

Three of my favorite online stores are ASOS.COM, SHEIN.COM, and LOLASHOETIQUE.COM. ASOS is especially great for high-quality clothing and designer’s brands at affordable prices. SHEIN has a lot of trendy clothing at some of the lowest prices in the market. While some of their clothes are exceptionally excellent quality material for the cost others not so much. Don’t expect Louis Vuitton quality material for an $8 dress.

I hope you enjoyed these hacks! If you have some of your own, please share them with me.

12 Fashion Staples for Your Closet

Make day to day dressing easier, fun, and enjoyable for yourself. Replace your “I have nothing to wear” in my closet with these 12 wardrobe staples.

 

  1. PROPER UNDERGARMENTS!

I can not stress enough how important this is. Give some thought to your undergarment and avoid embarrassing fashion crisis. The wrong kind of undergarment can ruin your outfit. Things like a T-shirt bra, versatile bra, the right kind of underwear, a full body slip, and shapers are essentials in a woman’s closet. Proper undergarments are the foundation of a great outfit and feeling confident in your look. I know you love your striped Victoria Secrets bra but try not to wear it underneath your crispy white tee. I have done this. Cringe! Embarrassing.

  1. A LITTLE BLACK DRESS (MODEST BLACK DRESS)

Every woman should have a LBD. It is chic on its own or can be fun with a couple of accessories. It’s a perfect go-to for any occasion. Find one that compliments your figure.

LBD

  1. A TAILORED BLAZER

A tailored blazer is great inside and outside of the office. It’s flattering on any size or silhouette. It’s perfect during the cool springs or over a nice cocktail dress.

  1. A BLACK PENCIL SKIRT

A black pencil skirt works well for a quick business formal or casual, and Sunday evening service look. You can dress it down with a chic striped shirt or tee shirt. You can add a blazer for a more sophisticated look.

  1. A WHITE TEE

You can’t go wrong with a nice white T-shirt. It is versatile. You can wear it as is, with a trendy skirt, layer it, or throw a leopard scarf over it. It’s perfect with an oversized or plaid blazer.

  1. A MIDI SKIRT

A midi skirt is very flattering, womanly, and modest. It’s perfect for church and the workplace. I have long legs and honestly think I look the best in midi skirts. It’s very flattering to my long legs.

  1. THE PERFECT JEAN

Every woman needs a couple of flattering jeans. They’re great for your day to day schedule, grocery store runs, casual outings, and semi-formal wear.

  1. A CLASSIC WHITE SHIRT

The possibilities are endless! Whether it’s for the office, a day around town, or your favorite Sunday skirt, a classic white shirt adds simple elegance.

  1. A TRENCH COAT

Trench coats are a classic. You can wear it over just about anything, look and feel comfortable. It’s an investment.

  1. AN EVENING BAG

You don’t NEED a closet full of purses if you have the right kind of purses. A chic handbag or clutch is great to have. It’s perfect for your evening events and girls’ night outs.

  1. BALLET FLATS

You can still look chic or “dressed up” in a nice pair of ballet flats. They great for long days. You can transition from day to night in them. They will look good with your jeans and button-down blouses.

FLATS

  1. DAY TO NIGHT HEELS

A pair of neutral hue heels is a must-have. It could be black, grey, or nude. Get yourself some classic pumps, strappy heels or sandals, or some ankle boots you can transition from a daytime look to night time wear.

 

“Buy less, choose well.” – Vivienne Westwood 

MY SON

Precious Oziel Joel Adams

I love the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It’s like “Life Principles 101”. I made it a goal back in college to read it every year. This year on the Bible app, I found a plan that allows me to read it in a loop for the entire year. I had four more days until I gave birth to you, my firstborn. I was super excited. The anticipation to meet you was nerve-racking. Anytime I said “my son” or referred to you, it reminded me of Lady Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. I felt like I was about to drop some wisdom or say something of importance to you. Being able to say “my son” really warms my heart and make me smile. You are my miracle from God. The thought gave me an idea to write a letter to you using the “My Son” sayings I read in the book of Proverbs. This won’t mean much to you now as a newborn baby, but I hope you come across it later in life and it serves you well.

 

My Son,

Listen when your father corrects you, and don’t neglect my instructions.

Ignore the temptations of bad companions.

Don’t waste time listening to them.

Take to heart the counsel I’m giving you.

You will live a long life.

Don’t be angry when God corrects you.

God loves you.

Hold on to common sense and discernment.

You will have a long, good life.

Listen carefully to my wisdom and wise counsel.

Stay away from immoral and promiscuous women.

Find a wife.

Don’t make promises impulsively.

Follow your father’s advice and consider my teachings.

Carefully treasure my advice.

Don’t stop listening to instruction, you need knowledge.

When your heart becomes wise, my heart will rejoice.

Wisdom will point your life in the right direction.

The knowledge of wisdom is good for your soul.

It will give you hope and a bright future.

Fear God, don’t be defiant, your life could turn upside down.

Find wisdom, it’ll make me glad.

Don’t waste time on women, and alcohol.

Don’t waste your treasures.

Speak up for the voiceless.

Help the poor and helpless.

Do not withhold good when it is in your power to do so.

My son.

Son of my womb.

Son of my vows.

Start with God.

Fear God.

Bow down before God.

That is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom.

Love mommy.

 

Share Your Love

LOVE

 

 

Life on earth is short. One day each one of our lives will come to an end. As written in the Bible, we’re a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Our lives are frail and not one of us know our end. We don’t have the slightest idea when our spirit will return to God and our bodies back to dust. I encourage you not to wait until it is too late or no longer matters to express love, care about others, and show kindness. Be concern now. Love even when it’s not Valentine’s Day or considered love month. Don’t get caught up being bitter, prideful, petty, holding grudges, bickering, or being selfish. Now is the time to show concern and pray. Share your love now when others can receive it. Be intentional about loving.

 

Share something in the comment section that reminds you of love or reminds you to love.

 

Your favorite verse on love

Your favorite song of love

An act of love

Your thoughts on love

Your Valentine’s Day

 

One of my favorite songs of love is “Forever Yours” by Smokie Norful.

https://youtu.be/1V8y2qLuaHA

Finding Love

I’ve heard them say that love is blind.

Deceitful hearts blind them from seeing true love.

The love I know gave sight to the blind.

He sees all things.

God, is the love I know.

So, you see…

Love cannot be blind.

Love saw me when I believed love was blind.

Love saw me when I believe love hurt.

Love saw me when I couldn’t love myself.

I was so far from the truth, blinded by disappointments, hurt, and heartbreak.

My emotions and what I chose to believe made me blind to love.

Rejection hurt, lies hurt, hurt people hurt other people, manipulations hurt, deceit hurt, anger, and bitterness hurt.

Love, love doesn’t hurt. Love isn’t blind.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is humble.

Love forgives.

Love heals.

God is love, love cannot be blind.

The thoughts of a younger me after finding love for the very first time. I found love in Jesus. It took getting my heart broken to know God is love. That doesn’t have to be your story. Struggling to deal with my broken heart, confused about the true meaning of love, in my quest to find comfort no one was able to offer me, I discovered 1 John 4 verse 8: “but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love”. Truth be told, I didn’t know God. That scripture captured my attention and I became determined to know who God was. I wanted to find love. If he is love as the scripture said, I would find it once I find him. The more I knew God the more I understood love. I realized searching for love in all the wrong places and people. I searched for romantic love, but God’s unconditional love was what I needed.

My parents did the best they could as parents to raise me. They did everything they knew to the best of their abilities but even their love (Storge) was not enough for me. I gave myself to romantic love (Eros). Too young, too soon. I was left at my darkest. It was never the will of God for me. Romantic love is great when it’s done right and shared with a deserving person. In the present, I can say I am happily married and can experience romantic love the way God intended. I’m not at all implying my marriage is perfect or easy but I know I chose to share my love with someone who deserves it. He knows God and understands love. While I am content with my husband’s love, it could never replace the love of God. We are growing in love. Our love would be weak and meaningless if God wasn’t our main source of love.

I found God searching for love, and unconditional love in God. He is the beginning and author of familial love, brotherly love, and even romantic love. To manifest his love toward us, God wrapped himself in flesh as Jesus to die for us (1 John 4:9). Because of his love I can love myself, my family, my friends, and community. Love came down to rescue me. He sacrificed himself so I can have eternal life (John 3:16). His love is selfless and sacrificial. A person can give without loving but it is impossible to and not give. Because God is love, love is patient, love is kind, love is humble, love forgives, love gives, love keeps no record of wrong, and love is not easily angered. There is no greater love than the love of God (John 15:13). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, Romans 5 verse 8. There are so many circumstances that can change or get in the way of romantic, familial, and brotherly love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

 

While you are out enjoying Love Month and Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the greatest love, God’s unconditional love.

 

The Adams
The Adams. Photo captured by Life With The Crooks Photography lifewiththecrooks.com. Dress and Bow tie made by Kylia Campbell Designs, LLC kyliacampbell.com

2 Forms of Love Mentioned in The Bible

Many worldwide consider the month of February as the “Month of Love” or “Love Month”. I always viewed it as just another month because I want to be shown love on a consistent basis, not just when February comes around. I am here for the celebration though, I’m not mad at it. I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I love when I receive roses, chocolate, or a thoughtful gift. I enjoy dressing up and going on a nice date. However, I don’t restrict or bind love to this one month or day of celebration. I am not at all suggesting that’s what others do. I’m not mad at anyone who does. When my husband and I were just courting he would surprise me in the most unexpected ways. It was our first Valentine’s Day and I wasn’t expecting anything. He had the second key to my car. I woke up that morning and found my car washed and cleaned, the most beautiful dozens of red roses, a nice card he wrote in, and my favorite chocolate., and a full tank of gas. I woke up feeling super spoiled. I loved every minute of it. What was special about it wasn’t the fact that he showered me with so many gifts in one day or that it was on Valentine’s Day, it was the fact that this was a regular habit of his. He always found a way to surprise me and didn’t always have to spend any money either. There was a huge my size teddy bear along with the other gifts that I did not care for. A lot of women I know love them, but I am not fond of teddy bears or stuffed animals at all. I had to find a kind way to communicate to him my dislike for them and balloons to avoid getting more in the future. Of course, I did this after I expressed my appreciation for him and what he did. Can you imagine how disappointed and upset I would have been if my hope for love and expectations of him was placed in that one day of celebration?

JOHN 3

So, let us talk about love. I think it’s safe to say love is important to us all in some way, shape, or form. The problem is many of us are confused about love, what it is, how to love or be loved. Some people might say they have never experienced real love. While many others are stuck fearing love.

 

LOVE DEFINED

  • An intense feeling of deep affection
  • A person or thing that one loves
  • Sexual passion or desire
  • Deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone

RELATED WORDS

  • Adoration
  • Very strong liking
  • Affection
  • Appreciation
  • Delight
  • Emotion
  • Zeal
  • Fond
  • Infatuation
  • Enchantment
  • Lust
  • Worship
  • Yearning
  • Weakness

 

The definition of love and related is very interesting. It will all sound strange if one doesn’t know or understand that there are different forms of love. Ancient philosophers identified four forms of love: Storge, Philio, Eros, and Agape.

  1. STORGE: essential, familial love, natural affection.
    1. The love of a parent(s) for their child.
  2. PHILIO: friendly virtuous love.
    1. Loyalty to one’s family, friends, and community which requires virtue and familiarity.
  3. EROS: romantic, passionate love.
    1. Sensual desires or longing felt for another person.
  4. AGAPE: a pure type of love, divine love.
    1. The love of God for humanity.

The Bible mentions only two of the forms of love identified by philosophers. We can find “AGAPE” and “PHILIO” in the New Testament portion of the Bible. Agape love is described as unconditional, selfless, and charitable. Jesus is the prime example of agape love. It’s the kind of love Christians aspire to have for one another. Especially for a person that is an enemy. Philio love is described as “brotherly love”. It’s our human responsibility for one another. Our delightful commitment and loyalty to our family, friends, church, and community.

The Bible teaches us God is love (1 John 4:8). We can’t have agape or philio love apart from God. Love comes from God and he is the source of love. Through Christ, we can have an unconditional love for others. That includes love for ourselves and people we are not fond of. Jesus told us to love our enemies, bless those that curse us, do good to those that hate us, and pray for those that use us (Matthew 5:43-48). When we are truly saved we can not love just the people who love us or make us feel good. That is what the world does. Unconditional and brotherly love requires us to be like Christ. Jesus made it clear in Mark 12 verse 28 to 34, that we must love others the way we love ourselves. He said it’s the second most important commandment. The first being loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul explained to us if we don’t have love we have nothing. It doesn’t matter what we do, without love it is meaningless. Love is the greatest. His explanation helps us to understand the nature of love. John, in 1 John 4 verse 17 to 11, reminds us to continue to love one another because love comes from God. If we cannot love other people, then we don’t really know God. He went on to say, real love is not us loving God but God’s sacrifice of himself to take away our sins. For that reason, we must love others.

 

God is love… 1 John 4:8

Love is… 1 Corinthians 13

Love is the greatest… 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love others… 1 John 4:7

Love covers… 1 Peter 4:8

There is no fear in love… 1 John 4:18

Do all things in love… 1 Corinthians 16:14

 

ROMANS 8

 

PATIENT ENDURANCE

What does one do when you pray, and pray, and pray and cry tears like you never had before and all you hear from the Lord is “Patient Endurance”?

You Endure and patiently wait on God.

I don’t believe there was anything that could have prepared me enough for how my year was going to transition from the year of 2016 to the year of 2017. I was not ready for the loss and grief I was going to face. All on top of what I had already lost during the year. I never imagined I would come face to face with anxiety again. I blogged about being anxious back in college here, “Anxious?”. Click on the link if you want to read it. I could not fathom the humiliation I was going to feel, the fears that would overwhelm me, or the ugliness God still had to uproot from my heart. I knew I was in a rough season. I felt like an unexpected storm had caught me by complete surprise. I was so uncomfortable I did not get much rest. In my attempt to look for an exit out of my troubles I panicked realizing there wasn’t a way out. I had to go through to get through the storm. All along God’s plan was to strengthen me and fill me with wisdom through my troubles. Through God’s silence, I learned to endure and trust him despite how I felt.

 

Patient Endurance

 

My husband got married May 20, 2016. He is a better man than I ever imagined I would be bless with as my husband. Our troubles haven’t change that fact. We were off to a great start. Losing everything and having only God, and one another to hold on to in the end brought us closer. It was the catalyst of us truly becoming one and operating as a team. Within just one year of marriage things got worse before they got better. However, God was in control. I loss my job while we were still on our honeymoon. I was promoted and received a raise the week before our wedding. It just did not make sense to me. We started our marriage one income, but we needed both. I was bummed, and finding a decent job with a good pay after that was the ultimate struggle. My husband suggested we pray and he tried to be uplifting about the situation. A few months later while we were driving home from church we found out my husband’s license had been suspended. An officer pulled us over and made us aware of our predicament. We had a car full of children we normally pick up for church. These children were terrified, especially because of what they were used to seeing in the neighborhood they lived in. They thought for sure we were all going to jail. The officer looked at us and said you guys look like good individuals doing something positive in the community, I’m not going to mess you guys up or give you any more financial troubles to deal with. I knew that was the Lord stepping in. He gave my husband instructions to follow to fix the issue and reinstate his license. It turned out he had some traffic light tickets we weren’t aware of that went unpaid, resulting in his license being suspended. A few weeks later we received a letter informing us my license would be suspended if I didn’t pay the amount listed including late fees by the given deadline. It was about two days before the suspension date. It turned out I had a traffic light ticket that went unpaid. We didn’t know because it was send to my old address and never forwarded to us. I thought someone out there was trying to play a sick joke on us. I wondered if maybe God was punishing us for any unconfessed sin. Thankfully that is not how God operate. If that wasn’t enough, by the time the year was over we accumulated a lot of medical debt going to the ER for different health issues. Neither one of us had health insurance. I already had poor credit from student loans. My husband did his best and worked hard, but it just wasn’t enough. Our bills and needs were far greater than our income. Just when I thought I had found a dream job I loss it due to some unfortunate events. We ended the year facing an eviction. We paid late, and our landlord showed no mercy. By January 10th, 2017 our landlord wanted us out. Not long after our car was repossessed. I had never lost so much in my entire life. I was scared and devastated. I felt hurt, low, broken, and humiliated. It took me a while to realize how much more difficult our circumstance must have been for my husband as a man. Our troubles may appear to be nothing and bearable compared to what others go through, but it was hard for us. It was hard especially for me, but I learned humility on a whole another level in the process. Thankfully we had friends that opened their home to us as they felt led by God to do some. It was a humbling experience.

 

Patient Endurance

 

I knew I had to pray then more than ever before and trust God if we were going to make it through. I felt weak and weary, but church and the work of God was still a priority for us. I began to study more deeply parts of Abraham’s life, the book of Job, and the book of Hebrews. Through that and prayer, God encouraged and strengthened me. I managed to keep it together openly but privately I cried non-stop. I cried tears I didn’t even know I had in me to cry. It wasn’t because I was pretending to be okay. I was simply determined to glorify God no matter what and not complain to anyone. Many times, my prayers were just hot burning tears as I didn’t know what else to say to God. I felt like David did in many of his Psalms. “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: my eyes fail while I wait for my God”, Psalms 69 verse 3. “And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily”, Psalms 69 verse 17. “Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I look for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none”, Psalms 69 verse 20. “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily”, Psalms 83 verse 3. “Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayers; and attend to the voice of my supplications”, Psalms 86 verse 6. Also like David, I was determined to “praise the name of God with a son, and magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalms 69:30).

 

PATIENT ENDURANCE

 

While I was driving one day I had a panic attack and almost got into an accident. I was so overwhelmed with fears and anxiety. I was losing control of my thoughts and emotions. I felt the knots of anxiety building up in my stomach. As I was shaking with fear, I thought to myself, I am falling apart God, where are you? Psalms 61 verse two immediately came to my mind, “from the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I”. I drove to one of my husband and I favorite places to go. A humongous rock facing the ocean. I sat on the rock, staring at the ocean, I told God I had nothing else to say I just wanted to hear him. I imagined the humongous rock I sat on to be the Lord and the ocean before me to be all my troubles. Tears streamed down my eyes and I felt the presence of God with me. I thought to myself, Lord you are greater than this vast ocean before me, I trust you. It came to my mind to read the book of Hebrews. As I read it the Lord ministered to me. After reading I mediated on what I had read. The words “Patient Endurance” came to my mind. God reminded me of faith and endurance (Hebrews 6:12). Throughout the book, there was those who suffered and went through, by faith they endured and received God’s promise. They learned patience and obedience from the things they suffered. They endured. God had me focused on Hebrews 10:36 “patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he promised”. By faith Abel’s sacrificed, Enoch was taken by God, Noah built that boat, Abraham obeyed God when called and waited patiently, Gideon, David, Samuel and all the prophets, and so many others endured and receive the promise of God. I had to activate my faith. I had to continue hoping. I needed to trust God and keep moving forward. It wasn’t about what we were going through. God had a greater purpose for our troubles. I could never in my right mind say I lost as much as Job or more than Job. Our losses had me feeling like Job, but I couldn’t have imagined being in his shoes. By the grace of God, we had people who cared about us and encouraged us. Job’s wife was terrible, she advised him to curse God. His friends weren’t any better. In their attempt to comfort him they blamed him for his suffering and accused him to have sinned to be suffering in such a manner. One even though his punishment wasn’t harsh enough. The word described Job as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God”, yet it was in God’s will to allow him to suffer. Despite everything Job still hoped in God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him”, Job 13 verse 15.

I remembered receiving a phone call one day from someone who shared with me a vision God gave her concerning my husband and I. she wasn’t sure when exactly to share it with us but figured when she did was the right time. She told me while she was in prayer God had her interceding on our behalf. She explained to me, “a vision of you and Justin on a roller coaster came to me. You guys were side by side going with the ride wherever it went. Then I heard a voice saying, “I am the operator, soon this ride is coming to a stop”. Then the two of you were at a table feasting and I heard the scripture “thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies””. She said whatever is going on, God is in control. I was encouraged but I didn’t know what to say. I asked God to help me to have faith like Abraham did. God called him from among everything he knew and was familiar with to a place he would show him (Genesis 12). Abraham, known as Abram at the time, obeyed. God never gave him specific details or told him exactly where he was taking him. He simply told Abram he would show him and he blindly trusted God. God took him through so much from that point on just to bless him. I could only say I trust you God and reminded myself “Patient Endurance”.

 

Patient:

“Bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, or anger”.

“Quietly and steadily persevering or diligent”.

“Having or showing the capacity for endurance”.

Enduring, Forbearing, Long-suffering, Persevering, Persistent.

Endurance:

“The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions”.

“The fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships”.

“Lasting quality”.

“Something endured”.

Patience, Holding up, Perseverance, Persistence, Bearing, Courage, Enduring, Forbearance.

 

Despite our circumstance, troubles, and struggles God wanted us to endure. He wanted us to persevere through them. His plan was for us to take heart and last through it all. No matter how long it took for things to get better, we had to be patient and trust God. There was no easy or quick way out. He never allowed more than we could handle. He gave us the strength we needed to not faint. We had him t lean on and one another to hold on to. I had made up my mind to stop crying, complaining to God, and feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to be better and allow God to strengthen us and our marriage. I was choosing to no longer be in distress, unpleasant, or continue having a cast down spirit. I woke up every day and intentionally put on the garment of praise. I was going to be thankful and praise God despite how I felt. I was not going to let the spirit of heaviness keep me down. I began to see God in my weaknesses; how he was molding me and changing me. I was able to thank God for my pain, my troubles, and the things he brought out of me through what we went through. I was thankful for the wisdom God poured into me from my troubles. I was humbled God trusted us with trouble and gave us the strength to endure. In the end, we were still standing. I didn’t give up even when I wanted to. God made me stronger and wiser. My praise increased. My worship went deeper. I gained some things in Christ I can’t even put into words. Before we knew it, things got better. We ended the year of 2017 in victory. Our circumstance didn’t destroy us nor did the enemy triumph over us.  I give God all the glory!

 

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”.

 

Hebrews 12:3 “Think of all the hostility he (Jesus) endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up”. Focus on the things that will last. Run with endurance and keep your eyes on Jesus. Troubles don’t last always. If Jesus is in your boat, it won’t be shipwrecked. There is a calm after the storm.

REJECT REJECTION

Do you ever ask yourself, what is it about rejection that hurt so much?

I can still recall the very first time I felt rejected. At the tender age of ten. I experienced rejection from someone I was supposed to look up to as my role model. This person was supposed to make me feel loved and protected. It sent me on a mission to prove that I was worthy of that person’s love and approval. That mission was short lived. My heart was filled with anger and resentment. I put up a guard and promised myself to never allow anyone else to make me feel that way again. I felt like if someone close to me could hurt me that way others would attempt much worse. I became very defensive and critical of myself. My emotions spiraled out of control and my self-worth diminished. I lost count after that of how many more times I was rejected and rejected other people myself. I didn’t know the God who loves me yet and how he was going to wrap me in his arms to restore everything in me that was shattered, stolen, and broken. Today, I can say hallelujah thank you, Jesus! He thought I was worth saving. He changed my life. I am saved, free, and whole. I no longer fear rejection. At the age of ten, I didn’t know how to deal with being rejected or how it could possibly make me better. As I got older, I learned how I felt after being rejected did a lot more damage than what was done to me. I had more control than I realized. I was able to learn from being rejected after that and become better. I learned not to get caught up with what did or didn’t happen to me and press forward. I learned to not allow my emotions to control me. I had to stop allowing what happened to me determine what happened in me.

Rejection is defined as “the dismissing or refusing of a proposal or idea”, “the state of being rejected”. To reject is “to refuse to accept, consider, receive, or hear, submit to or take for some purpose”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to feel ignored or feel like I’m being dismissed. Being rejected is a part of life. It’s a small part of life in my opinion but it can cause so much damage. Many of us after being rejected are left with a damaged mood, unstable emotions, filled with anger, and a low self-esteem. We become very critical of ourselves and other people. Often, we develop a strong need to belong or be accepted. The truth is you will be rejected many times, not every everyone will like you or accept you, and that is okay. Many people in the Bible dealt with rejection. God’s prophets were rejected by his very own chosen people, the Israelites. They were hated and killed by them for giving them the word God gave them. The people didn’t want to hear them or listened to them. The Apostles faced many trials and rejection. Jesus sends them out and warned them that they would be hated and rejected by the world just as he was. Jesus, who is God, came among us to save us and he was rejected and crucified. If we can all be honest we have knowingly rejected other people. At some point in our lives, many of us rejected the call of God to save us, even though he died for us while we were yet sinners. He chose us, and we rejected him. Too many of us today are still rejecting his call.

“He came to his own people, and even they rejected him”. John 1:11

“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weakness he carried; it was our sorrows that weighted him down. And we thought his troubles were punished from God, a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all”. Isaiah 53:3-6

“if the world hates you, remember that it hated me first”. John 15:18

The next time you feel rejected:

  • Pray and give it to God. He cares!
  • Read the word. Redirect your thoughts to what God said.
  • Make your rejection a redirection.
  • Build your self-worth.
  • Work on improving your life.
  • Understand you’re not always rejected because of you.
  • Make a conscious decision to not live for another person’s approval.

In 1 Peter 2:4 Peter said, “you are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, be he was chosen by God for great honor”. Other people can reject you, but their rejection may be a part of God’s process to process you for greatness. It could just be God’s plan to redirect you and use you for a great honor. God will not reject his people, and you can give your cares to him (Psalms 94:4; 1 Peter 5:7). You can rest assured, in the end, “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”, Romans 8:28.

 

REJECT REJECTION!

A JOURNEY OF FAITH: Baby Adams

 

My husband and I discussed having children before we decided to get married. We talked about whether we wanted a child, how many children we wanted, and how soon or late in our marriage did we plan to have one. We took the road least traveled by many newlyweds. Neither one of us wanted a honeymoon baby or a child in within our first year of marriage. However, I didn’t start taking birth control pills until after we were married. I guess you can say I was playing with fire, considering it takes birth control pills about 3 months to be effective. We planned to have a child within or after 3-5 years of marriage. In the meantime, we had plans to travel, budget and save money. I thought we had the perfect plan to grow as a couple and be prepared by the time we have a child. Right off the jump, life threw us many curveballs, and God reminded me “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). We can make plans, and we can pray for our choices and decisions but God has the final say on how we get to whatever is destined to be.

 

Since my early teenage years, I struggled a lot with terrible cramps and sharp abdominal pain. Some people advised me it was normal, while others advised me to see a gynecologist. My pain worsens over the years. My doctor had me on prescription drugs because the typical 200 mg over the counter painkillers did not work for me. I had a tough time believing any pain that has me in a fetal position and in tears every month is normal. I have done blood work, Pap smears, and several other tests. Everything always came back normal. My body was telling me otherwise. I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what exactly. Of course, I didn’t stay off google so you can imagine my thoughts once I started reading all sorts of crazy diagnosis that matches my symptoms. My husband and I made an appointment with my gynecologist so I could get started on my birth control pills. I was not too fond of birth control pills but once she mentioned it would help relieve my pain, I was on board. She scheduled an ultra sound for me to attempt figuring out the source of my pain. While birth control pills work great for some women, it was a nightmare for me. I was in pain, my appetite changed, I was moody and irritable, I had daily migraines, and I no longer had a monthly cycle. The list goes on. I tried different pills and the side effects went from bad to worse. The side effects from the pills were more than I could handle, I eventually advised my gynecologist I no longer wanted to take them. Justin and I went in for the Ultra sound results. It turned out all these years I had been suffering from a complex ovarian cyst. She advised me all they could do at this point is monitor it then decides what action to take. I would either bleed out from it or need surgery to get my ovary removed. During that time, I went to the ER several times. They prescribed some pain killers and told me things I already knew. It was frustrating. I started thinking the absolute worse. Since I was being monitored, my gynecologist scheduled a follow-up ultra sound appointment.

I went home wondering, God why me? What sin in my past did I commit to deserve this? I couldn’t stop thinking about my situation and started imagining the worse. I was consumed by “What if” thoughts. There I was talking birth control pills to not have any children, for the time being, just to face the reality I may not be able to have any. It was a tragedy for me. One of my biggest fears in life was not being able to have children. I had enough and cried out to God for healing. I told God I refused to see another doctor, I need him to heal me. In December 2016, one of the ministers (Jamal Crook) at my church made an altar call for anyone that needed a healing from God. I went to church that night expecting something from God. The word he preached spoke to my need at the time. My husband and I held hands and went to the altar. Minister Smith walked over to us to pray with me. She asked me, what did I want God to do for me. I told her what I needed healing for. She touched and agreed with me against the spirit of infirmity that was attacking my body. I went home believing I was healed. I made a fleece to God that night and asked him for three specific signs of my healing. It was not long before it was that time of the month. I felt some pain but I rebuked the pain and remind my body the Lord healed me. I did not accept the pain. The pain I felt stopped instantly. I went day after day, no pain. I was so peaceful and pain-free I forgot what time of the month it was. My husband in disbelief kept asking me if I was okay. This was unusual for me. The first part of my fleece was answered. I had asked God that the pains I have experience would stop completely from the day I was healed going forward. It did. I am pain-free until this day.

 

 

December 22, 2016, I went to my OBGYN follow up appointment. They did an ultra sound. My husband and I waited in my gynecologist office for the results. After what seemed like an eternity, she walked in ready to discuss the results. I had no doubt God did what he did but I was super nervous. I had made up in my mind no matter what she told us that day I choose to believe and trust God. She sat down and opened her file. After a little casual conversation, she reminded us a complex cyst usually bleeds out or must be surgically removed. The damages can leave a woman sterile. She told us in my case my complex cyst was completely gone. It was 100 percent gone. I shouted with joy, thank you, Lord. God did it. I prayed for healing at church and God healed me. My second fleece to God was that he would remove whatever mass or infirmity I had on my ovary and restore me entirely. God did it. This was just a beginning to an amazing testimony from God I did not deserve. Then there was the third part of my fleece which I mentioned I would share soon enough. I didn’t know when or how but I trusted God would finish what he started.

One of the most annoying thing for me as a newlywed was people constantly asking me am I pregnant yet or when are we going to have a baby. I don’t think I will ever understand why people think that is an okay thing to do. Pregnancy is so personal but not too many people respect that privacy. I had gained some happy weight as a newlywed and to my amazement, different people would just rub my belly and asked me if I was pregnant. It was so embarrassing for me and made me very self-conscious. I knew I had gained some weight but I didn’t realize it was enough to make others assume I was pregnant. Not to mentioned it was now a sensitive subject for me. My husband and I were already facing pressure and trials no one would really expect within a year of marriage, this was icing on the cake. We lost a lot and I felt pressed on every side. God took me through the book of Job and Hebrews to keep me encouraged. No matter how hard and how much I prayed all I got from God was “patient endurance”, just trust me. I would love to tell you how strong my faith was, especially after God miraculously healed, but that was not my story. I struggled a lot to hold on to God’s promises. My prayers were no longer words or in the Spirit, I would simply cry. I was crying more than I was praying. I was very frustrated and saddened. I was at war with my mind and the word of God. I was somewhat angry with God because all I would hear from him was “patient endurance”, let go and trust me. I did not understand and I wanted to be in control. Everything seemed to be outside of my control and I had to depend entirely on God. There was not a thing I could do to change anything, except trusting God. It was difficult!

 

 

It has been a journey of faith. There was a point in the process I truly felt like Job. “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true”, Job 3:25. God told me no, what you feared most is going to be a testimony for my glory, trust. In other words, shut up Tara, shut your emotions up, you don’t know what you are talking about. I learned to praise God on a promise. I learned to see through the eyes of faith and God’s perspective. My circumstances said no but God said not yet, my timing. I studied every scripture I could on faith and trusting God. We prayed. When I couldn’t pray, I cried and let the word of God minister to my spirit. The book of Hebrews, Job, and Abraham’s story ministered to me in ways they never had before. The things we were facing didn’t disappear but I was able to focus. I could hear God during the storm. I could take my eyes off our circumstance and thank God for what was already done. His word strengthens me. I could let go of my fears and have faith in God’s promises. No matter what, I knew his timing is perfect.

 

 

Towards the end of last year, my friend Marie Houston and I was hanging out. She told me she had a dream to share with me. God showed her something concerning me. She told me God showed her myself and two other ladies pregnant around the same time with baby boys. She said I believe what God showed me and you need to believe it too. You guys will have a baby soon. I love Marie and I trust her. She’s one of my good friends but I laughed. She laughed with me then said Adams, I’m serious. I strongly believe when God says something, he will confirm it and it will happen. In my mind I thought, she doesn’t know the half of what I have been dealing with. Marie being Marie, never failed to remind me. In May of this year, after a church service, Demi told me by this time next year I’ll be holding baby Adams. Once again, it was laughable to me. I call her Dr, so I said whatever Dr. She told me I should get ready. When I was praying she prayed for me and God told her Hannah and Abraham’s wife. I was no longer laughing. I went home and meditated on what she told me. Both women experienced the miraculous and have an incredible story of faith (Genesis 18, 1 Samuel 1). I started thinking about what the two women had in common and how that could possibly be me. They were both barren (Sterile, infertile), could not have children and God blessed both with a promised child. I thought to myself, so I am barren and God is going to give us a promised child. I did not know what else to think. Like Sarah, I laughed when God said I was going to have a child. I decided maybe I should try what Hannah did instead. I prayed and cried to God. I poured out everything I was thinking and feeling. I even repented if I doubted in any way. About a week later, my husband told me God showed him what he needs to do for me. He told me God told him to anoint me and my womb then we’re going to have a baby. I said okay if that’s what God said. June 7th of this year, I received a message from my friend Jasmine Gilkey. She lives in Kansas and didn’t know anything about what was happening in our lives. She told me the Holy Spirit led her to pray for my baby, that my faith would be strengthened, that I would be encouraged by the stories of other women in the Bible of his power. She told me she kept praying for my faith to increase regarding me being blessed with a baby. She said she messaged me as soon as she got out of prayer because if that was truly from God she needed to let me know so my faith could be strengthened and know that he heard my plea. She expressed how shocked she was because she’s all the way in Kansas and God had her praying like that for me. She encouraged me to anoint my belly, pray in faith, and speak life that the fruit of my womb will be blessed. She reminded me I would have a testimony of faith to share with others. I shared all of this with my husband along the way. While I struggled, he was always full of faith and hope. On June 18th of this year, Akil Thompson was at my church preaching. It was an on-time word and as usual, I made my way to the altar. It wasn’t concerning any of my circumstances. I was simply touched by the word and wanted to be at the altar. While I was on my knees praying in the Spirit, Amanda Jordan was next to me and started praying for me. Whenever anyone prays with me at the altar, when I’m able to, I try to quiet myself down to hear what is being prayed over me. If you know anything about being at the altar, you will understand. She prayed that my womb would be open, and she prayed against any lies and attacks coming against my mind. I spoke with her after service and she told me God told her to go pray for my womb. She said she went where Justin and I normally sit to find me but I wasn’t there. The Holy Spirit told her to follow him and he will show her where I am. She said she walked around and when she got to where I was the Holy Ghost said, there she is. She did what God told her and prayed for my womb to be open because he wants to deposit something in there. She said I don’t know what that means to you but pray and ask God. I knew exactly what it meant. Justin and I went home that night, he anointed with oil then we prayed. If God didn’t already do enough, my friend Shanette Hyacinthe texted me early June 20th “had a dream you were pregnant with a big baby boy!!”. She texted me at 7:13 AM. I was quite amused and I told God, not another person Lord I have no doubt. While I was laughing, I remembered my conversation with Demi, she laughed and told me I would be pregnant by the end of June.

 

 

Justin and I found out we were pregnant at 4 weeks, July 20th. By that time, I had my suspicions but I didn’t want to take the test. The first thing I experienced was a process in early pregnancy called “implantation bleeding”. When that happened I said to myself, oh my it’s really happening. It wasn’t long before that was followed with me falling asleep everywhere at random times, I was super tired even when I got adequate sleep, then nausea, and the most obvious my cycle was missing in action. Even then, I refused to test. When I finally build up the courage, it was a big fat positive. We conceived in June. My plan was to find out first then surprise Justin. I always imagine how cute and awesome that moment would be. I couldn’t keep my cool, screamed and rushed him to join me. We were both full of shock and joy and more shock. I eventually disappeared to be alone and cry. Justin found and told me it’s our moment I can’t cry alone. My favorite part in all of this and what truly melt my heart was God’s faithfulness. Everything happened as he said it would, in his timing, his way, and his will. I’m thankful because my Lord is faithful. He alone gets all the glory. Perhaps you can relate, maybe not. Your mountain may be different from mine but faith in God alone can move any mountains.

 

“With God everything is possible”

Matthew 19:26