Can you imagine waking up and being upset with God? The Almighty, loving God that woke up? That was me the other day. Yes, I was mad at God. We could all agree that’s silly but Jesus understood.
We all go through difficult things and seasons. It’s a part of life no amount of money or earthly wealth can shelter any of us from.
I woke up thinking, God surely you’re ignoring me. I know for a fact you have heard our prayers but you are clearly choosing not to answer. Make it make sense Lord, make it make sense. Then came the flood of tears. Followed by the massive headache I had to take some ibuprofen for later on. If you haven’t been there, teach me your ways.
In my mind, I felt like Jesus if you’re trying to break me, I’m already there. Broken and hurting. What else? What is the meaning of all of this? As if knowing the “why” would make me say, yes Lord I will take these sufferings and enjoy them.
My rant continued. God you must’ve cursed me and I’m just now realizing it. Otherwise, why would you continue to allow me to suffer these crazy situations? By the end of the day I had to tell myself, Tara you just need some food and a nap, like the prophet Jeremiah did.
I don’t know about you but prayer is one of the many and most effective ways I fight my battles. I didn’t even have it in me to pray. I thought to myself, I just might lose this battle.
Here’s the best part in all of this and why I had to share it with you.
That night I texted my dearest friend, “pray for me, I need it”. To which she immediately responded I was on her mind all day long but she didn’t know why. I briefly spoke explained to her how I was feeling. She went on to tell me, “I’ve been interceding all night not even knowing what was going on. I fell asleep on the floor praying for y’all and woke still interceding. I had no idea what is going. So the fact that God had me crying out for y’all not even knowing what was going on means he still cares and He still sees. This is just y’all test before you get to where God is going to take you and your family.”
Whewwwwwww!! I mean, I was silent. I didn’t have words. For starters, God shut me up but I felt his love. I was reminded that he got me, like ALWAYS. To know that at my lowest he already planned my victory. Before I was even faced with that problem, He knew how I would be effected and already had another one of his own praying and fighting for me. How amazing is that?!! If that isn’t the love and mercy of God I don’t know what is.
I don’t know the details of God’s will for our lives but I know his plans are great. No matter how hard the journey gets, they are perfect. Romans 8:28. I know no eyes have seen nor ears have heard them.
The enemy can’t undo what’s already written by God. His Word is final. I was down but He showed himself mighty.
Let me also say, thank God for friends that are submitted and prayerful to be used by God.
Whatever it is. God cares! More than any of us could ever imagined.
Hopefully this was encouraging to you!
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” —Isaiah 43:2
What have I been up to? I’ve been around the hood of MOTHERHOOD where there are no short cuts. I had to embraced it along with all of the unexpected challenges.
I was on rest with my second pregnancy due to my cervix thinning at 24 weeks. I used some of that downtime to do some reflecting and house-cleaning. I’ve done lots of natural cleaning, emotional cleansing, and ongoing spiritual cleansing, which is always on my house-cleaning list. I even did some blogging clean up.
This year, my focus was to work on perfecting what I already have and not so much put out new content. I wanted to focus more on “my niche” and write more blogs highlighting it. I was able to do a lot of editing and CTRL-ALT-DLTE. If you’re able to figure out my niche, share it in the comment section.
7 things I did during my resting time that’s still helping me today:
1. I was more open about my experience & accepting support when it was offered.
2. I let go of “control”. Baby steps became my comfort. I was still moving forward, just at a much slower pace. I smelled the roses I would have otherwise overlooked.
3. I discovered creative ways to still pray and worship. This was important while I was preparing for 2 under 2. As Vesta Mangun would often say, if all I can do is wave a finger, I am going to wave that finger and let the devil know I am still against him!
4. I checked my priorities to ensure that God and my family were getting the best of me. No matter what changes I don’t want to give them what’s leftover or whatever I don’t have much use for. I eliminated some things temporarily and others permanently so that I could keep the key things the main things.
5. I did what I could when I could. I was intentional about not missing the opportunity to do one thing because I couldn’t do another at that time. I can’t stand long enough to wash all of my dirty dishes today but I could fold my last load of laundry. I didn’t wake up for the prayer line this morning but I have time right now to pray for 15-30 minutes. I couldn’t take my son to the park today but I can let him use my legs as a racetrack for his toy truck.
6. I purposefully did things I enjoy. I was starting to feel like my goals and dreams were slipping away from me. I felt like my pregnant season was taking over my life but on the contrary it opened up a lot of unexpected new doors for me. Instead of giving in to my feelings entirely I chose to make the best of the hand I was given.
7. I chose to see the good. Looking for the good allowed me to also see God’s grace in the process. I noticed how I often encourage my 18 months old son to do things by highlighting his successes when he does. Even if it’s something deemed silly or unimportant. I figured I could use that same concept for other areas of my life. That even taught me a new way to uplift my husband. Highlighting the good no matter how small it is breeds an atmosphere of growth.
Fun fact: When Eli came out of the womb he didn’t cry. Nothing was wrong. He bit the doctor’s finger when he was pulling him out.
She is beautiful and she is HANDY! I am such a “fan” of her work. I hope you enjoy this interview with My Design Rules (https://www.mydesignrules.com/) blogger Kenyatta Harris as much as I did. You are missing out on amazing “Principles for Decorating Life” if you haven’t been following her blog. Once upon a time, when I had cable and watched TV often, I would watch HGTV religiously. Every now and then I’ll catch some of my favorite shows (Property Brothers, Love It or List It, and others) on Netflix or YouTube. Seeing her work and reading her posts is my fix of HGTV. I just love seeing things being transformed from an ugly duckling to a beautiful black swan. Anyone with the funds can go to the store and buy high-end décor. There’s something special about seeing the handmade process of something more affordable that looks just as good. Even better at times. I love her projects because they really are that good and I always learn something. Click on the links and take a look for yourself. If you already know her than you know DIY home décor is one her many talents. One of my absolute favorite projects was the baby boy nursery for her sister, SIMPLE DIY ROOM DÉCOR FOR YOUR BABY NURSERY — https://www.mydesignrules.com/baby-nursery-diy-room-decor/. It was simply beautiful. Every detail looked so well thought out. I loved the bookshelf and wooden framed animal photos. Yes, she made the frames herself! The room had just the right amount of decor with lots of room for growth and play. Another favorite of mine was her Kitchen makeover, VANILLA LAMINATE KITCHEN MAKEOVER — https://www.mydesignrules.com/laminate-kitchen-makeover/. I followed that project from the planning process post to the final finished project post. It was quite the journey! A satisfying one. I looked forward to every update. During our interview, I was amazed at how similar several of her decor principles were to some of my fashion principles. It was exciting to know that I can apply classic fashion hacks to DIY home decor projects. I gained a new perspective on home decor.
Tell us something about My Design Rules not already known to the masses?
“Well, it’s kind of interesting. I started in September 2016. I didn’t post until March 2017. I choose the name to blog about all things design but realized people may not be interested in all that all at once. So, I decided to stick to home décor. I found my niche.”
Where have you worked as a décor designer or enthusiast?
“I am not an enthusiast. I have zero training in interior design. Interior designers have a license and can tell you where things go. I’m a DIY blogger who loves DIY décor. I hope to teach others you can do things too and not live with something you don’t love. I have never worked as a décor designer. I have plans to take a course.”
What are your best beginner tips for New DIYers?
“Learn how to paint. You can learn anything if you can learn how to paint. It’s a lot of prep work. Learn how to sand things smooth. I redid my kitchen, sanding helped get rid of the imperfections. Buy the best supplies you can afford. The better the paint brush the better the paint turns out. If you can afford the better don’t go with the good.”
Anything surprising you’ve learned while working on DIY projects?
“It’s not as easy as it looks. I consider myself a fast learner but a slow doer. Slower because things don’t come together as I would like.”
What was the most challenging project you worked on?
Adding shaker style trim to my cabinet doors when I redid my kitchen.
What was your worse DIY turnout?
“I would have to say my kitchen light fixer. My kitchen backsplash. I ignored a few things I shouldn’t have. If you look closely, it’s not leveled because I didn’t sand properly. I was too impatient. If you rush the process your project will look like my kitchen backsplash.”
Any favorite food?
“No favorite food. I don’t have a favorite anything. My mom was like that too. I used to say purple was my favorite color as a kid so I wouldn’t sound weird. I’m fluid in my liking. It depends on what I’m into at the moment.”
Do you watch HGTV? What’s your favorite show(s)?
“When I can. We don’t have cable, so I watch it when I can. Property Brothers, like home décor and home renovations. Cool fact, I was watching them, and they installed my backsplash in someone’s kitchen in season 5.”
What’s your dream job?
“What I’m doing now before I was blogging, marking for NLT (New Life Tabernacle). Now I can do both, blog and work part-time.”
Any fun or unusually experiences we can all relate to?
“I have a lot of bloopers. I mess up a lot but at the end of the day, I learn how to fix it. I am not naturally creative. Doing DIY made me realize I am more of a fixer than creative. I figure out a way to fix things. I’m creative to fix a problem. I’m a critical thinker.”
Any brands you can’t live without?
“No, I’m not a loyalist. I am an equal opportunist. Besides my Hynes’ Ketchup, I am going where the deal is, as long as the quality is good. I really like Behr’s paint. It’s really good quality for the price.”
What’s your most expensive “totally worth it” purchase?
“This is going to be weird but the fabric that I have in my bookcase. At the time it was a splurge. It was $25 a yard. I needed a yard and a half. My $250 kitchen backsplash which was a fail, and $300 appliance.”
Any décor items you could never compromise on?
“My overall philosophy, I would rather wait to afford something I really want than settle.”
If you could travel right now, where would you go?
“I would go somewhere in the Caribbean. I haven’t been somewhere tropical.”
Any other thoughts?
“Design your home and your life for you and your family. My home is nice, but I don’t sacrifice style for my family’s comfort. I’m making a home. It’s all about my family.”
“If you can afford the better don’t go with the good.” Kenyatta Harris
Connect with her through Facebook: Kenyatta-My Design Rules, Instagram @mydesignrules, and Twitter @MyDesign_Rules for updates and any other questions. You don’t want to miss out on her amazing library full of FREE tools on https://www.mydesignrules.com/.
I’m excited to share with you all what some of my goals were for the year and some of my plans for the upcoming year.
I started this year believing that it was my winning season. It has been just that. My winning season. Did I win every battle? No, I haven’t. Did I overcome every fear? No, I still have some struggles. I experienced a lot of growth; as a wife, mother, sister, woman of God, and I as a person. I worked on some character flaws I became aware of. I am no longer mad at the pain, people, and problems God used to process me.
I wanted to get somewhere this year. I wanted to accomplish certain goals. I wrote down my vision and made it plain. I took steps towards each one of them at the appropriate time.
Each year toward the end of the year I pray and hope that God will give me something to carry me through the new year. Sometimes it comes through a song or thought but usually while I’m praying and reading my Bible. While my husband and I were driving to Tampa to our mother church (New Life Tabernacle UPC) for watch night service (2017) the Lord gave me “VICTORY”. The word played over and over in my mind as we were listening to “I Give You Glory” by Jonathan Nelson featuring Tye Tribbett. Amazing song! Listen to it. I put on my garment of praise and praised God. My husband had no clue what was happening in my mind at that moment. It happened that this was one of the songs led by our pastor for service that night. I was like, YASSSSSS, come on through Holy Ghost. My soul was blessed. It dawns on me 2018 would be my victory year, my winning season. I didn’t know in what way, but I believe what God told me. One thing I knew for sure was no sweet victory comes without a fight. I prepared my mind to fight for everything God already destined to be mine. I wanted every victory that belonged to me.
I wanted to love more and forgive more quickly. I had to be intentional through constant prayer not allow past offenses to dance in my mind. Whatever came up I would tell myself let it go and be free. I love to read. I really enjoy it, but I never considered how difficult it was going to be to read as much as I used to with a newborn. My goal was to read 60 books out of my list for the year. I wanted to read at least 2-3 books a month. Let me just say I’m not even halfway there. One book took me an entire month to get through. Even though we have a little less than 3 months left the goal is still 60. I will take this same goal into the new year but I’m glad to just be reading each month and making a habit for my son. Social media cheapens the quality of time we spend with family and friends. I didn’t want that to be the case this year. I was more intentional about family days and spending time with the ones I love. I called some, texted others, went on lunch dates with a few, be an encourager or listening ear when there was a need, and prayed for them as the Holy Spirit let me to. I made the decision once to go social media free for an entire year. I deleted all my accounts and apps off my phone. It was one of the best decisions and year of my life. I became a brand ambassador for Sarah Danielle Apparel (sarahdannielleapparel.com). They have beautiful modest skirts and dresses for girls and women. In petite and plus size. Let me not fail to mention at affordable prices. Use my code TARALRA20 for a 20 percent discount off your order.
I have been so proud of myself for accomplishing the majority of the blogging goals I set for myself. It wasn’t easy. None of this has been an easy thing for me. I consistently published a blog post every other week. I published at least 2 blog posts each month, a faith blog and a fashion blog. Later in the year, I incorporated interview blogs. I plan to include more interviews for 2019 and vlogs. I took a liking to video blogs. I did a couple of test vlogs. The responses were good. I planned to produce more quality vlogs for next year. I knew if I blogged consistently and build connections the likes and follows would come naturally. They did, and I exceeded my goals I set in that area. While working on my goals I came up with amazing new content and ideas I can’t wait to share with you all. I made an impulsive decision trying to buy a limited time blogging tool offer another blogger shared with me. Time was not on my side and I didn’t have the money. I decided to hustle for it. I was able to come up with half of what I need but not the other half on time. I realized I should have just focused on the tasks I had before and add that tool to my future needs list. I invested in a good planner that allowed me to write everything down and plan to ensure I had a good start and stayed focus. I can’t tell you all how many times I thought about quitting but I never did.
I dedicated the last three months of the year to other priorities and to plan for the upcoming year. I was supposed to publish this blog the last week of September, but I was in two beautiful weddings. Then I got lazy and put it off until the beginning of this month.
I feel like God has stripped me of a lot this year physically and emotionally, and left me with just the things I needed. I learned not to internalize other people’s actions. I reminded myself it’s not about me. Don’t make it about me. I don’t communicate as well as I thought I did. I either withdrawn entirely or snap eventually. I decided to read books and scriptures on communication to help me. I decided not to have any unspoken expectations of my friends and family. That was easier said than done. If we’re too focused on ourselves, we will always assume other people’s behavior and actions have something to do with us. I became a new mom. I learned to love better, be more patient, listen more, speak less, be more understanding, show more compassion and pray better.
The number of goals I accomplished would all be meaningless if I didn’t seek God’s kingdom first and his righteousness.
Many women in the Bible were hardworking women. They worked hard for their families and the kingdom. These women were go-getters. They didn’t sit around and let life happen to them. They worked hard and make things happen. They were a blessing to those around them. Their legacies live on even still today.
Let’s look at the Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31:10-31). It was said of her that she was a “virtuous woman”. She never once praised herself. Her handwork and those she was a blessing to saw it fit to acknowledge her as a woman that is “far above rubies”. She was not lazy, she was trustworthy, she was a good negotiator, she was hardworking, she was generous to those in need, she took diligent care of her family, she didn’t bring shame to her husband, she was kind in her speech, and most importantly she feared the Lord. Her works were evidence of the type of woman she was. She was never identified by name but many women, myself included, aspire to follow her example of handwork and consistency.
Another successful businesswoman in scripture was Lydia (Acts 16:11-15). She was very diligent in business. She was a successful seller of purple. Purple was a very expensive product in her time that was in high demand. As a part of her success, she lived in a large house and had many servants. However, “she worshipped God”. Her success did not prevent her from worshipping God. She was never too busy with her business affairs to seek him. She always found her way to the riverside to pray. Which was where she was converted. Although she had remarkable success Lydia was humbled. She was open to hearing the truth from the Apostle Paul to be saved. She was clearly a woman of major influence because her entire household was converted following her conversion. She was a well-known businesswoman and being saved did not make her less of a successful woman. In fact, she was hospitable and a blessing to the kingdom of God. She was kind in opening her beautiful home to those that were traveling to preach the gospel. Her home was a place of fellowship with other saints. She was a successful businesswoman among the Philippian saints.
Lydia and the Proverbs 31 woman are just two examples among several other successful hardworking women in the Bible. Let’s hear from a modern-day hardworking successful businesswoman.
We are honored this month to have with us the beautiful business woman Terika Haynes. Terika Haynes along with her husband are owners and founders of Coupled For Wealth. Coupled For Wealth is a successful “business and career consulting firm”. Their mission is a commitment to “empowering, and equipping, individuals and couples striving to launch a new business or take their career to the next level”. They “provide customized coaching that maximizes value for their clients in a take action and prosperous atmosphere”.
Terika is full of faith and energy. She is a go-getter make it happen type of woman. We are excited to have her as a guest at Chazaq Rose. Her spirit and business mindset are encouraging. She is driven to say the least.
1) What is Coupled for Wealth?
“That is a great question! “Coupled for Wealth” was given to me, by God, in a dream one morning before work. The name itself is a mantra which means, together, we are meant for prosperity. This idea holds a twofold purpose. First, it’s a confirmation for both Orlando (my husband) and myself. Secondly, it’s an assurance between us and our clients. We are a career coaching and consulting firm. It’s our mission to partner with aspiring entrepreneurs and career-minded individuals and couples to support them on the journey to success and prosperity in their endeavors.”
-Thank God for that. That’s inspiring!
2) What role does your faith play in Coupled for Wealth?
“Faith is an essential part of our business. It’s like wind to be a hurricane; without it, hurricanes could not exist. It took faith for me to share my dream with my husband. I tell you, I thought he was going to burst out laughing, tell me to go to work, and he’ll call me later. Instead, he embraced it immediately! Orlando quickly began working on developing a plan and set it in motion, allowing me to be able to fully focus on my corporate position at the time.
It took faith to believe that anyone would even take us seriously and to my surprise, we received our very first client, Works by Dina a week after we launched. I was encouraged, but soon after, my faith was tested when I had to choose between Coupled for Wealth, this so-called dream of mine, and my current career, which meant financial security. This was tough as I had worked hard in my career for seven years.
Thankfully, being apostolic has afforded me to not only have true salvation but a powerful covering that I am aligned with. Through my submission to my husband, my bishop, and my pastor, I have a solid support. And so because of my faith, success for Coupled for Wealth is undeniable.”
-It’s always a blessing to have God as the center and the covering of your leaders. Having the support of one’s spouse can make or break things. Beautiful testimony.
3) What drove you and your husband to start Coupled for Wealth?
“DESIRE! The desire to equip and empower those who simply want more. More in their career, more in their business, more out life period. Also, our own personal desire to build more than just a marriage and a business, but a desire to leave a legacy of success, love, unity, and prosperity.”
-That is beautiful and powerful! Wealth transfer.
4) What is the strangest thing you’ve gotten inspiration from?
“I get inspiration almost from everything but the strangest thing that has ever inspired me was getting a cavity filling. That’s a long story in itself.”
-That is interesting. I think I’m going to look at one and see what I come up with.
5) Why was it important to build Coupled for Wealth with your husband?
“He is the number one man in my life and is second to none when it comes to wanting to see people succeed! He is fine! Very well spoken, respected, extremely brilliant, an all-out silent assassin! I am glad I got him before someone else did, as a business partner of course!” *winks*
-I have no doubt he is thankful and appreciative of that. When I first graduated college he was the one that helped me find a well-paying job through his agency. The two of you work well together. *winks*
6) What does a woman like yourself wear for business as usual?
“99% of my closet is business attire. I have blazers in almost every color. Of course, every businesswoman needs at least one power suit. My button downs always with a fun pleated skirt seems to do the trick. Oh, and a pair of closed toe four-inch pumps.”
-Yes! Dressed for success. I like that, “power suit”. My business ladies invest in your power suit.
7) How do you ensure you look modest and professional?
“Cover everything so that there are no distractions, especially when you are in business with a lot of powerful of men. The only thing I want your peers to focus on are the words coming out my mouth. Unfortunately, many women miss this important lesson, it is hard to take us seriously, if we’re dressed as if we’re heading to a sleepover or out for a nightcap.”
-This is so important! Especially when the business world is said to be male-dominated. Not only that, women are expected to sell their bodies to gain corporate success.
8) How often do you wear blazers as a business professional?
“4 out of 5 times. It’s my guilty pleasure. They always fit great. They come in many styles and colors. A true business staple that can be beautifully mixed and matched with anything.”
-Absolutely a business staple! It’s hard to go wrong with one.
9) In what ways as a saved woman do you dress differently for business?
“I am not wearing any plunging necklines, high splits, miniskirt or dress pants. You can be fashionable while remaining modest.”
-I agree with this. Modesty is beautiful, even in business.
10) What advice would you give a future business owner?
“Invest in yourself and get a coach! Even Michael Jordan had a coach! It is one of the greatest R.O.I (return on investment) your business will ever have.”
-Very well said! It’s my goals list for this year. A couple more months and I’ll be there.
11) Who is your role model?
“My role model is Sheryl Sandberg and Daniel Davy.”
-I know one of the two for sure to be an amazing leader. I don’t doubt the other is one also.
12) What’s your appetite for risk?
“Starving like Marvin; I’m never satisfied.”
-There’s always room for growth and improvement.
13) In relations to business, what is your greatest strength and/or weakness?
“My greatest strength is getting down in the trenches. My weakness is that I can sometimes be a perfectionist.”
-And that is why you do what you do and excel!
14) What is a business fashion “don’t” for you?
“Backless dress shoes! Please don’t do it.”
15) Where do you see Coupled for Wealth in 10 years?
“A billion-dollar company that has completely altered funding the kingdom of God as we know it today.”
“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” Proverbs 31:31
I aspire to be a woman that works hard, flourish in my gifts while serving others and being a blessing to the kingdom of God. We should enjoy what we do and take pleasure in them. We are women. We are strong. When our hearts are filled with love and kindness it will be evident in our works and surroundings. Invest in yourself to be a blessing to others. As my husband would often say, I want to die empty. I don’t want the things God placed in me to be buried with me. There’s no use for them in heaven. I want to pour out the gifts God has blessed me with in this world where it will be useful to others. When it’s all said and done no matter how successful we are, it means nothing if we don’t fear God and lose our souls. If we want to achieve true excellence in the things we do it starts with God. Our actions will speak for us. Like these three women, we want to be successful in our endeavors with Jesus at the center, not apart from him. We want our gifts to serve others and the kingdom of God.
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Songs of Solomon 2:15
The context of the verse is Solomon and his bride delighting in one another, which started in chapter 1 of the book and carried on to chapter 2. Verse 15 of chapter 2 caught my attention. I was wondering what the little foxes could be and how they would ruin their vines. Foxes are animals usually symbolic of deceit. They’re known for being subtle and crafty. Does this remind you of anyone? There are diverse ways this verse could be applied. I thought of it in terms of relationships. My relationship with my husband, my relationship with God, and The Church’s relationship with Christ.
“take us the foxes”
Whatever the foxes are, this right here is telling me that I can’t catch them on my own. It’s implying teamwork, “US”. Like Solomon and his bride, my husband and I need to strategize as a team against the foxes.
“the little foxes”
This tells me “the foxes” isn’t one huge fox or many huge foxes but several small ones. The trivial things. The petty things that are subtle. The things that get brushed off or go unnoticed but has lasting and damaging effects.
“that spoil the vine”
These little foxes apparently can cause some considerable damage. When something is spoiled it just needs to be thrown away. It can no longer serve its purpose. It’s no longer fit for use. We really need to beware of these little foxes; intentionally paying attention.
“for our vines have tender grapes”
“Tender grapes” here to me implies something that is already fruitful. It’s delicate, growing, and maturing. Unless the little foxes are caught those fruitful vines and tender grapes will be spoiled.
Solomon and his bride compared their relationship to a vineyard that is fruitful. His bride concluded that if they don’t come together to protect it, it will be ruined by the little foxes. Likewise, my marriage and my relationship with my husband will be ruined if we don’t work together against the little foxes that can destroy a marriage or intimacy. The same is true for my relationship with God. God is faithful in doing his part. I need to stay alert and beware of the little foxes that can destroy my relationship with Christ. I don’t have to do it alone either. I have his Holy Spirit to help me maintain our relationship. Both relationships need to be guarded against the forces that will stunt their growth and fruitfulness.
The following 7 little foxes can spoil any good relationship:
In my relationship with Christ these little foxes can be sinful appetites, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, the pride of life, comprise with worldly standards, disobedience, and indulgence in the desires of the flesh. I’m thankful for the power of the Holy Ghost to help me overcome these things in our relationship. He helps me to live a godly lifestyle that will keep our relationship growing and thriving.
This scripture can also be seen in relations to “The Church” (Bride of Christ) and its relationship with Jesus (The Groomsman). There are many little foxes that will attempt to spoil this relationship. The primary little fox in relations to this specific scripture is false lying prophets. The prophet Ezekiel talk about them in Ezekiel 13:4-16. The Apostle Peter also talk about them in 2 Peter 2:1-3. These are people who come in the name of the Lord and claim God said things he had not said. They cause people to believe the lies they are speaking and hope in them. God is against them. They seduce people away from the truth of God. The false teachers that are teaching heresies and their own truths that cannot be found in scripture. They will not go unpunished. God cast the angels that sinned down to hell for judgment. He will do the same with all false teachers and lying prophets that are deceiving his bride. They’re mentioned again by John in Revelation 2:2. These are people claiming to be an apostle but are liars who will be exposed by God in the end. Foxes are known to be destructive to vineyards. If the church is not cautious these little foxes can spoil many in the church through false doctrine and teachings.
TEAMWORK, unity, is one sure way to catch the little foxes and destroy them. Whether it’s alongside your spouse or with the Holy Ghost, we need more than just ourselves to prevent our fruitful vines and tender grapes from being spoiled. We might be able to identify the little foxes individually, but it takes working with one another to conquer them. Solomon’s bride realized what they had was special, but it would take the two of them to protect it.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
Son of my womb.
Son of my vows.
Start with God.
Bow down before God.
That is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom.
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.
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.
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).
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”.
“Bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, or anger”.
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.
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.