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A Little Help From My Friends

I get by with a little help from my friends….

 

So goes the line from a popular song by the Beatles. The song goes on to say I get high with a little help from my friends. Now I’m not sure what type of high they are talking about but the friends I have help me go higher in Christ. My friends pray for me when I have no words, they make me laugh, they selflessly help me and they love me.

 

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

 

Friendships have always meant the world to me. I have been so blessed throughout my life to have great friendships. From friends that were only in my life a short period to having a life long friend. My bestie and I have been linked together for 35 years now.

 

Friendship is close to the heart of God. We see many examples in the bible of friendships. One example is that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan even risked damaging his relationship with his own father out his loyalty to his friend.

 

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24b

 

A friend corrects when necessary, sharpens, encourages, listens, builds up and loves unconditionally. In good times and bad, a friend is your corner man who cheers you on and patches up your bruises.

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

So to all my friends, you know I love you a ton. I thank God for you in my life. There’s a saying, which says to have a friend you must be a friend. I believe friendships are a necessary part of life and makes traveling the road of life easier. Give the proper investment of time to nurture your friendships. I know there will be seasons that you will be more available or less available than others, but friendships are reciprocal and require maintenance.

 

Since I’ve been blogging, God has connected me virtually with some new friends. I am truly amazed at how God transcends time and space to connect spirits in unity to worship the King and to further His agenda here on earth.

 

I’d like to invite you to visit a few of my blogging friends. With some I connect as a mother, a wife, or a ministry leader. With some I connect over shared experiences. But with all these ladies, we share a deep love of Christ and use the blogging platform to spread the Good News. So pay a visit to my girlfriends and leave them a comment. For indeed the Lord says it is good and pleasant when we dwell together in unity. Like Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms, ladies we are victorious when we hold one another up. So here’s to iron sharpening iron and for being my sister’s keeper.

 

Brandi Jefferson-Motley @ Encouragement for Your Journey

Brandi sings like an angel and prays like a warrior. Her nuggets of encouragement make you want to give the Lord a SHOUT!

 

Tai East @ A SPIRIT-Kissed Soul

Mmm…Tai’s hunger and thirst for God and examination of scripture leaves me looking forward to my quiet time with God, excited for what new revelation I’ll receive.

 

Kelly Balarie @ Purposeful Faith

True humility here. Kelly unabashedly lays out her heart and when she does, God’s love floods her and the reader.

 

Candace @ Candace Creates

My sweet friend Candace is demonstrating that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. She candidly shares her testimonies and is helping others be free.

 

Susan B. Mead

Susan is a living witness that God gives beauty for ashes and joy for pain.

 

Thanks in advance for visiting my blogging friends.

 

In what ways will you nurture your friendships today?

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

 

Photo Credit
Happy to also connect with these friends sharing the Good News #WordsWithWinter Purposeful Faith, #LifeGivingLinkup

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Healthy Kids Lunches

Tater Tots

 

Fries steamed in a plastic bag with wholes in it

 

Rubbery hamburger

 

Beefy Mac

 

Sloppy Joe

 

Pizza

 

Fruit cups

 

Cardboard tasting chocolate milk

 

This is what I remember about school lunch. Then in high school I moved with my vegan father and began packing my lunches daily. Tempeh sandwiches and wraps became my new favs.

 

back to school lunch bags

 

When I had just 2 children, their lunches were Pinterest worthy. They had bento boxes laden with artfully decorated food.  I used molds, animal toothpicks and cutters. Well, 3 children later, I’m just looking to get something healthy in their bags that they won’t throw away. For more on getting kids to eat right, check out one of my most popular posts by CLICKING HERE.

 

So PBJ’s aside, here are some of my go to healthy kids lunches for my tribe of 5.

 

Beverages are limited to water and rarely chocolate almond milk. I used to give 100% organic juice but stopped that to cut down on sugar.

 

Burritos

Leftover Chipotle At Home comes together in a tortilla for a quick and easy lunch.

 

Burrtios

 

 

Pita pizza

I always keep whole wheat pitas in the freezer. This is a lunch the children can make and pack themselves.

 

Pasta salad

Make one big bowl and the family can eat this for a few days. The variations are endless. HERE is an easy one that my children enjoy.

 

Corn muffins w/ string cheese & carrot sticks

Use THIS vegan Corn Muffin Recipe

 

Taco Salad

I can remix this from some of the above Chipotle At Home ingredients. Or you can try THIS recipe.

 

Side Bites

Fruit

Mini cucumbers

Carrot sticks

Cherry tomatoes

Hummus

Nuts

 

Snack

Make THESE healthy bars to replace sugary granola bars

Popcorn

 

 

I’m always looking for inspiration. What are some of your favorite healthy kids lunches?

 

IMG_1770

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Back To School Prayer

Supplies?

 

Check.

 

back to school backpacks

 

 

back to school lunch bags

Uniforms?

 

Check.

back to school uniforms

Haircuts and hair dos?

 

Check.

 

From the looks of things four of my five children are ready to begin another successful school year. But temporal things aside, I don’t know if my mama heart is ready to release them back to school. Each year I feel like I’m sending my precious little flock into a den of wolves. Coming out from under my safety and protection, I willingly hand them over to be influenced by peers, taught by people who may not share my values and exposed to all manner of who knows what. Oh, my mama heart is rent in two. To be in the world but not of it is difficult enough for the mature believer, but how is a child to navigate this treacherous terrain? Even if your children aren’t leaving your covering for school, they are growing and maturing each day and will one day leave the nest.

 

Mamas let us cover them in prayer. Let us hedge them in. Let us instill His Word in their hearts that they may not sin against Him. Let us dwell with them in the shelter of the Most High. And let us stand on God’s promises regarding our children. Sit with your babies and prayer this back to school prayer with them.

 

Mama’s babies:



I love you so much. Oh how I thank God, Most High for trusting me enough to be your mother. We serve a God who is all knowing, all-powerful and all loving. He loves you and I with an everlasting love. God’s plans for you are for good, not evil to give you a future and a hope. The steps of a good man are ordered and I’m delighted to witness you taking steps toward your purpose each and every day. You will not walk in the path of evil but you will walk in paths of righteousness for His namesake. And when you do that, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. You will be mindful of what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear. You will grow in wisdom and in stature, in favor with God and with man.

 

God has given you a brilliant mind. Use it to its maximum potential. Take firm hold of instruction but above that get wisdom, as it’s the principal thing. You are an obedient child who has great respect for those in authority. You will be quick to listen and slow to speak. When necessary you will calmly make a wise appeal if you disagree, standing up for righteousness sake. You are the salt and light of the earth. Let your light shine bright so that your teachers and classmates feel and see Jesus’ love in you. Don’t hide your love for Jesus. Let it show through your gratefulness, your kindness, your joy, and your self-control. While there may be many distractions at school, focus your attention on what is right, true, honorable and praiseworthy. You will not seek to fit in but will recognize you’ve been set apart by God. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. God has given His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. Continue to love God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your strength. I am blessed because of you. The world is blessed because of you. You are blessed TO BE a blessing to others. I give thanks in advance for your amazing 2016-2017 school year.

 

(For my non-parent readers, you can pray this with a relative, God-child, neighbor, etc. Hey you can even pray it over yourself)

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with friends sharing the Good News #WordsWithWinter, Purposeful Faith, #LifeGivingLinkup, Grace & Truth, Dance With Jesus

 

The Dirty Little Word

We hear the word and we cringe.

 

It evokes feelings of loss of control, being weak, giving up or giving in.

 

Poor thing, it has a bad rep.

 

But truth be told, it’s the road to redemption, the pathway to freedom, the lane to liberty.

 

SUBMISSION

 

Truth be told, it’s the road to redemption, the pathway to freedom, the lane to liberty: SUBMISSION Click To Tweet

 

We dove into this topic with Part I of this series The Way Of The Master. You can read that by CLICKING HERE. So here I’m picking up where I left off with the HOW. I am a person that is open to learning. But I need to know HOW to do what you’re suggesting. So here’s my take on how we can submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ.

 

Humble Crucifixion

 In order to submit, we have to acknowledge that our way isn’t the only way. We have to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. Our minds tend to think we know a lot and pretty much have it together.

 

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God;

it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:7-8

 

But true humility knows and recognizes that we have nothing and are nothing apart from God. And as a Believer, my life is not my own anyway because I was bought at a price so I ought to just take up cross and follow Him. When we humble ourselves, He exalts us in due time. When we submit to one another, we demonstrate the love of Christ and He is glorified.

 

True humility knows and recognizes that we have nothing and are nothing apart from God. Click To Tweet

 

Consider The Source

Recognize the authority, HIS authority in your life. When you respect a person and consider them credible, you listen to them and take their advice. My former co-worker, Mrs. Delia, patiently, lovingly spoke into my life. I considered her credible as an authority on parenting as she had successfully raised several children. I knew her to be a credible source of information on marriage as she had navigated the highs and lows of married after having been wed to her beau for nearly 50 years. And I also listened as she shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her love for the Lord was evident in her love, patience and compassion for others, including myself. She truly modeled Christ’s love and when I was ready to taste and see, it was she who walked Roman’s Road with me. She indeed was a credible source to whom I listened and acted on her advice.

 

Consider your standing with Jesus and His track record. A ruler divine from the beginning of time. All knowing, all-powerful and everywhere all at the same time. He kept you from disease when you were promiscuous. He kept you from hurting yourself or others when you thought you could take no more. He kept you alive when you were driving in unsafe conditions. He answered your prayers for salvation, healing, provision and protection.

 

I would say He’s more than credible.

 

Have Ears To Hear

Since we’ve already established that we don’t know everything, we don’t have all the answer and there is ONE who is credible that does, let us hear what He has to say. Hearing from God requires us to be still, minimizing internal and external distractions.

 

Be Quick To Obey

I tell my children, “Delayed obedience is disobedience. Slow Obey = No Obey.” Then the Lord gently reminded me that I had to take my own words to heart. As a journalism student I was taught to always gather the 5 W’s & the H. And I try to execute that same strategy with God…It doesn’t work that way friends.

We are not only to be hearers but doers of the Word. And that doesn’t mean DO only after you have all the answers. Besides, you’ll never have all the info upfront so get to moving. When you plan a vacation a year or more in advance, do you have every bit of information upfront? Do you know the exact weather forecast for the second day of your trip? Do you know exactly what you’ll eat on the 4th day? Do you know who will fly your airplane? NO! But you book your flight, your hotel, and your ground transportation and may even buy new clothes not knowing exactly what’s to come. So why do we demand so many answers from our Heavenly Father who knows all, sees all and loves us with an ALL-consuming love? Mmm…

Let’s learn to trust and obey friends. Here’s a little nugget on obedience.

 

 

If you’ve turned over the reins and Christ is guiding your steps, kudos friend. I’m praying for your continued obedience to take Him at His word. For those on the fence, what’s standing in the way of your total submission to Christ? Let me know so I can pray for you.

 

Submission is not actually the dirty little word after all but a means of experiencing Christ in a deep, meaningful, transformative way.

 

Take a knee and submit today.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit

Happy to connect with friends spreading the Good News #DanceWithJesus, Grace & Truth

The Way Of The Master

A lone man methodically hanging laundry.

 

Unassuming yet powerful.

 

Those around him know there is something more beneath that quiet demeanor, something special, something deeper. After a personal attack, his true identity becomes known. A legend turns real. He is a master, the master. A young man falls at his feet in total surrender asking to be his pupil. He says to the teacher, “If you desire master, be my teacher.”

 

The scene is one from a movie called Ip Man II about the trials of a martial arts instructor. How striking it was to observe this student readily fall at the feet of this respected teacher in total submission. To come under this master’s authority, the pupil would receive guidance, training and instruction and the pupil had absolute faith that the master would deliver skills needed for survival.

 

It would behoove us to take a lesson from the student in this movie. Oh that we would be quick to fall at the feet of Jesus in total submission. Friends, that we would be QUICK to obey the Lord. As we fall, let us surrender our will and prepare our hearts to receive instruction from him. When the young man fell at the Sensei’s feet, he wanted a piece of the master. He wanted to learn how to be disciplined like him, how to fight like him, how to be like him. And as Christ followers, we to ought to want to look like, walk like and talk like Jesus.

 

A disciple is not above his teacher,

but everyone who is fully trained

will be like his teacher.

Luke 6:40

 

Likewise we must bring ourselves under the subjection of our Master. As I was working on last week’s post on discipline, it got me thinking about people we view as disciplined and martial artists came to mind. You can read that post by CLICKING HERE. In addition to being disciplined we view martial artists as obedient. The master is held in great esteem for his knowledge, skill and ability. The master is often seen as having quiet courage, gentle fierceness and absolute discipline and self-control.

 

Doesn’t our own Master possess all these qualities and then some?

 

Is Jesus not all knowing, all-powerful and everywhere all at the same time?

 

Is HE not the bravest of the brave?

 

Is HE not the sacrificial Lamb and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?

 

Is HE not one who always does the right thing at the right time?

 

Submit to God and be at peace with him;

in this way prosperity will come to you.

Accept instruction from his mouth

and lay up his words in your heart.

Job 22:21-22

 

We obey our bosses, law enforcement officers, coaches, and doctors. We would do well to have at least that same level of obedience to Christ, submitting to Him wholly, without reservation. How many of you have received a prescription from a doctor, taken it to the pharmacy, paid your hard earned money and taken the pill all without asking the doctor any questions, without seeking alternative treatments, without researching the medicine or even reading the literature that comes with the medicine?

 

Yet our flesh screams in opposition to fully submitting and obeying Christ. Even now you might be mad at me and ready to close this post. Our flesh, the carnal man, the SELF that needs to be tamed is always at enmity with God, but praise Him that greater is He that is within YOU! The spirit at work in you enables you to submit to Christ’s authority in your life. If you are a kingdom citizen you come under the subjection of your ruler, Christ and you are expected to adhere to His commands. And Jesus himself showed you that even He submitted, doing the will of Him who sent Him. When you gave your life to Christ, you surrendered your rights.

 

I have been crucified with Christ;

it is no longer I who live,

but Christ lives in me;

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me

and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

 

Many see submission as:

Bondage

Prison

Suffocating

 

Submission IS:

Freeing

Liberating

Security

Protection

 

And submitting to Him, as scary, daunting and crazy as it may seem, is a sure way to be led in paths of righteousness for His namesake. It is a surefire way to have goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life. Submitting to Him is a mark of a true disciple.

 

Stick with me on this journey because I have a feeling we’ll need to dig deeper in this topic as we fall in total submission, following the way of the Master.

 

I know…this can be a tough one. Let us pray.

 

Lord you be high and lifted up above all the earth. Father I thank you. You are good and your mercy endures forever. You are faithful and communicate your love to us time and time again. Without you God we are nothing so I thank you for your promise to never leave nor forsake us. Only You can create in us a clean heart and a right spirit and that is what we need in order to fully submit to your Lordship. Without your guidance and leadership we are as sheep without a shepherd. But praise be that you are the Good Shepherd. Let us be obedient sheep that know, hear and follow your voice as you lead is in THE WAY everlasting.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Purposeful Faith

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Walking On Water

I am honored to share this space today with my sweet friend, Brittney Carlson. A worship leader at my church has a new song out called I Am (Miracle). Part of the chorus says, “I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking, moving miracle.” And this is what I see when looking at Brittney. I have witnessed her live out her faith. When faced with life threatening illness, I have seen her look death in the face and proclaim, “Oh death where is your sting?” Whether in a class to grow, teaching students & adults or serving, Brittney consistently ministers grace to those who come into contact with her.

 

Having grown up in a broken, dysfunctional, blended family, Brittney discovered the hope, peace, love and security that can only be found in Jesus Christ. With a heart for at-risk youth and broken women, Brittney serves nationally and internationally. This past year she resigned after dedicating 11 years to teaching at-risk children here in the states to pursue her dream of returning to Japan to share the gospel.

 

The Lord had recently been speaking to me about water. So when I read Brittney’s recent newsletter about walking on water, I knew I just had to share it with you. It was confirmation of what the Lord is calling many disciples to in this season. In fact, I was attending an aerospace convention just yesterday and a woman I just met there relayed that she too was trusting God and walking on water!

 

The spirit is moving friends!

 

So let’s hear from Brittney.

 

Stepping out onto the Water

 

But Jesus immediately said to them: 

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied,

“tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said. Matthew 14:27-29

 

The story of Peter stepping out of the boat is always brought up in discussion on stepping out in faith vs. waiting and preparing. For the past four years I have gone back and forth wondering if it is time for me to step out in faith. Each time I decided to be smart and practical. I thought about the security and certainty of the things I had: a home, stable salary, medical insurance, retirement, benefits and more. I overanalyzed all the things that could happen to me without those things. As a result, each summer I resigned my teaching contract and each year since has been like Ground Hogs Day. For the past four years, I have moved houses and changed jobs hoping that would settle my restlessness and silence the tugging on my heart and mind, but it didn’t and it hasn’t.

 

I keep hearing God’s voice: “Come. Step out of the boat. Trust me and come.”

 

So I am.

 

So I will.

 

As of June 24th, I chose unemployment; as of July 1st I chose homelessness; as of Oct. 1st I will chose to be uninsured… I chose all these things to free myself to step out of the boat. After four years of hesitation and storms, I step out in faith, confident in God’s promises. Though like Peter the winds are strong and the voices of nay sayers can be heard… “What are you doing? What about a salary? What about insurance? Where will you live? What if you don’t raise the funds? What will you do? Maybe it is not your timing? Why don’t you wait another year? Get back in the boat! What are you thinking”… I am stepping out of the boat and trusting God to guide, provide, lead, and catch me if I start to fall.

 

I am stepping out onto the water. Keeping my eyes on Jesus. Praying for God’s help as I try to ignore the sounds of the wind and waves around me. Reaching out to Him as He reaches out to me calling me to “Come”.

 

Your Sister and Friend in Christ,

 

Brittney

 

Brittney

 

 

To learn more about Brittney and to partner with her in sharing the gospel with the 2nd most unreached people group on the planet, please connect with her by visiting:

 

www.BJC2Japan.org

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

How To Be Disciplined

Separating the good from the great, the almost from the achieved…

 

DISCIPLINE

 

We admire people we consider disciplined: athletes, soldiers, super heroes, martial artists, actors, and models. We may even think to ourselves, “If I could just be like them”.

 

Well let’s shed the light of truth here. To some degree we are like them. It’s not that they are necessarily smarter or more gifted but they tend to demonstrate the ability to be focused, determined, and strategic and all that requires discipline.

 

Successful people are disciplined people. Successful people not only make plans but also follow through with those plans. And discipline is the secret sauce that compels one to follow through.

 

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

~Jim Rohn

 

Webster’s defines DISCIPLINE as:

Training that corrects molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character; control gained by enforcing obedience or order; orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; self-control.

 

An obsolete definition of discipline is instruction.

 

I am a disciplined person. There are times where I can allow fear to impede me from moving forward or following through but in general, everyday situations of life I am disciplined.

 

I am disciplined with my eating, time, money, relationships, and exercise. Even though discipline comes natural to me because of my personality type (A-Type, concrete, sequential, linear. But life has taught me to be flexible so I’m changing J), there are still plenty of times that I too have to WORK diligently at being disciplined.

 

One day my 11-year-old daughter and I were at a food buffet and I chose sautéed green beans and veggie sushi out of the plethora of fried, greasy, cheese, yummy options. She said, “Oh Mommy it’s just easy for you because you are so disciplined”. I told her, “Um…Not quite my dear. Actually I would love love love to have that mac and cheese but I CHOOSE to honor my temple instead.” I had to share with her that making that decision was not easy for me. The smells were intoxicating. In fact, there were several delicacies I wanted to get but I’d made my decision. And I walked away from that buffet feeling victorious that I had made a decision for my health, for my family and for our future.

 

Since discipline is what separates the rookies from the pros, how do we acquire it? Here are a few suggestions on how to be disciplined.

 

Keep Your Goal Before You

In being disciplined with my eating I keep my goals before me. One of my greatest reasons for choosing to eat right is to reverse my family medical history of illness and disease so that my children rewrite their DNA and with each successive generation we can eradicate certain diseases right out of our DNA. And each choice I make today contributes to or detracts from me reaching that goal so I keep that at the forefront of my mind at all times. There are times I fall short but I still aim for the target.

 

But I discipline my body and keep it under control,

lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27

 

Positive Self-Talk

Think little train…”I think I can. I think I can.” The power of positive self-talk is transformative. Tell yourself who you are and what you CAN do. I can eat well. I can save money. I can bring my dream to fruition. God says speak those things that are not as though they were. And by His power and might, according to His will, they shall come to pass when you speak life.

 

Set Up Barriers

We all need guard rails. They are not there to hinder us but to protect us. Establishing systems and parameters keep us from straying. Budgets help keep our finances on track. Meal planning and preparation keeps our eating on track. The disciplined person always has an established set of boundaries. Even times for sleeping and waking, these all contribute to being disciplined.

 

Accountability

This is a huge piece missing from the puzzle of discipline. To whom do you report when you have not done what you said you would do? Will they hold you responsible for keeping your commitments? Will they dole out correction when necessary?

 

Keep Doing It

Discipline is not acquired after doing something three, four or five times. A successful pattern of behavior is established after doing it over and over and over. Because there will come a day when you really just don’t want to. Believe me, been there done that and have the blog post to show for it. You can read it by

CLICKING HERE. Practice may not always make perfect but practice, practice. practice will get you to your destination, imperfect and all.

 

Discipline is a thing that doesn’t always feel good at the moment. But fortunately we are not a people who allow our feelings to dictate our actions. We make decisions based on principles not on feelings so we discipline ourselves to choose well even when it hurts.

 

For the moment all discipline seems painful

rather than pleasant, but later it yields the

peaceful fruit of righteousness to those

who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 11:12

 

Think about a person you admire for their discipline. In what area(s) are they disciplined? Where do you think they got the will power to be so disciplined? What separates you from having that same level or even greater discipline?

 

You have it too. Just dig deep into THAT place. Commit to following some of the steps above for acquiring discipline. I’m here in your corner cheering you on. I know you can do it. And I don’t want to hear, “Oh Tyra, that’s good for you but I just can’t, ” Uh-un I don’t want to hear that. I can’t isn’t permitted here. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

 

Let me know how I can pray for you.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News #DanceWithJesus, Grace & Truth, WordsWithWinter

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Life Is Fleeting

The antiseptic smell.

 

The incessant beeping of monitors.

 

The constant flurry of scrubs moving back and forth and back and forth.

 

Being in a hospital is quite unnerving. Even walking into the building is like being cloaked in a shroud of darkness. As I have a close relative in the hospital fiercely fighting to live, I am reminded of the fragility of life.

 

My birthday is in less than a week. Each birthday is a reason for me to rejoice, having lived to see another year. Again I am reminded of the fragility of life. My own mother died at 39. I was a freshman in college. I had just seen her as I had gone home for a holiday weekend. Sunday I said my farewell then Friday as I was planning my weekend fun I got an urgent call from my cousin telling me I had to come home again. My school and home were 500 miles apart. I told her I had just left there a few days ago and it wasn’t feasible to be running up and down, back and forth up the East Coast. Again she stated more forcefully that I HAD to come.

 

So I went to the ATM machine, withdrew money, packed a little bag and proceeded to the bus station. Little did I know I that little bag I packed wouldn’t be enough to carry me through staying an entire month. Riding that bus those 500 miles was the longest single event of my life. On that Greyhound I felt mature yet babyish, strong yet fragile as I travelled not knowing what I’d find on the other end.

 

In New York I had a bus transfer with a few hours layover. During the layover was the loneliest I have even felt. Thousands of people moving in and out of Port Authority, and here was a frightened 18 year-old girl, alone, trembling with anxiety at the thought of what awaited at the end of my destination.

 

As I took that final leg, I had an intense argument with God. I guess it was less of an argument and more of a tantrum on my part as God didn’t participate in my rant. I told God I would hate Him forever if He let something happen to my mother. I cursed Him for potentially letting something happen to a mother and her two young children. At the time I had no personal relationship with the Lord. My only connection to Him was going to church on Easter and all that meant to me was the coveted “Easter outfit”. There is an old quote that people often think is scripture though it’s not which says, “God protects children and fools”. Well He certainly protected me, as I didn’t not understand what I was saying and was speaking merely out of hurt and anger.

 

When I arrived at my destination I knew something was amiss. I stepped off the bus and saw my father standing there. I hadn’t talked to my father in a few days. “How did he know I was coming home?”, I thought. He then took me to my grandmother’s house, which again I thought was quite bizarre as it was just after 6:00am. Then they delivered the dreadful news. In fact, my mother had already died when my cousin had called me the first time to tell me I had to come home.

 

My mother who I had just spent the last weekend with.

 

My mother who had been stolen from me by drugs and alcohol, but recently given back was snatched right out of my grasp once again.

 

Why, you do not even know

what will happen tomorrow.

What is your life? You are a mist

that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

James 4:14

 

Here one day, gone tomorrow.

 

Life is fleeting, but a vapor.

 

As such, let us be reminded to:

 

Love deeply

 

Give generously

 

Show compassion

 

Dole out grace liberally

 

Take eye off self

 

I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

 

So as I prepare to celebrate another birthday, I give thanks for LIFE. And out of my gratitude I am prompted to be more loving, more gracious, less impatient and less knit picky.

 

While our days are in short supply, our love should run long.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit: My Dad

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Purposeful Faith, #LifeGivingLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday

Go Deeper

I finally broke the pattern in my dreams. I used to have a pattern in my dreams where I would consistently be late for or miss something entirely. From missing a mid-term to missing a flight, this theme had recurred in my dreams for years. In 2014, I embarked on a healing journey with 6 other women. One of our exercises was to write down and consider our dreams. Through this exercise I came to understand why I was having those dreams. But that story is one for another day.

 

This story is one of breaking the pattern and completing what I started.

 

I dreamt that I had to swim across this vast ocean holding onto a mini replica of my car. In fact, when I went to pick up my car, it wasn’t there and I was instructed by the Director to take any car of my choosing. I chose a Mustang (I am so NOT a Mustang girl, more like a Volvo/Mini Cooper hybrid; conservative yet energetic). Nonetheless I took my Mustang in hand and began to swim across this wide channel. I started out strong, arms slicing through the water like a Ginsu knife through a tomato. I just knew I was strong and powerful and I believed I could and would make it across. Then the Lord spoke to me and said, “Come deeper”. I couldn’t make sense of that. Even though dreaming, I thought I couldn’t go deeper. I thought I wouldn’t be able to breathe, just keep slicing through the water I told myself. Again the Lord said, “Come Deeper”, to which I quickly obey.

 

And wouldn’t you know, I could breathe underwater. And instead of exerting all this energy stroking through the water, I began to do the dolphin kick. My legs seemed to become as one and my body arched up and down in a fluid motion propelling me right through the water. I went deeper still and continued the dolphin/mermaid swim. I could breathe, I could feel the depth of cold of the water but I was making it across that great expanse. With the car held in my two hands out in front I me, I rocketed to the other side. I obediently went deeper and the pattern was broken.

 

For months the Lord has been calling me to come deeper.

 

When He had stopped speaking,

He said to Simon, “Launch out into

the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Luke 5:4

 

 

I believe it is the mark of discipleship to have an ongoing, vibrant relationship with the Lord in which He continues to make mysteries known to you. He wants to lead you and guide you in paths of righteousness for His namesake. And to traverse some of those paths requires us to go deeper. And when we obediently take up our cross and follow Him deeper, He makes His mysteries known to us.

 

Diving deep into the ocean we find mysterious sea creatures that stand in stark contrast to their present reality. In the inky blue/black of the deep sea live bioluminescent sea creatures. 12,000 feet below are astounding animals that shine bright in stark contrast to their dark surroundings. Chemical reactions in their bodies cause them to glow.

 

As you go deeper in the Lord, His glory shines, flooding you with light and causing you to glow even in the inky blue/black situations of life. Because of your willingness to follow Him into the deep, He makes the mysteries of life know to YOU. This type of revelation is not for all but for His TRUE disciples because TRUE disciples follow and obey His commands

 

 

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given

to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,

but to them it has not been given.

 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;

for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men

desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear,

and did not hear it.

Matthew 13:11, 16-17

 

This topic of going deeper isn’t new to me. In fact, one of my top 5 favorite movies, The Abyss is about going deeper.

 

In the movie, one of the lead characters, Brigman goes deeper than deep to detonate a nuclear bomb. He thought it was the end for him. In fact, he said going down deeper was a one-way ticket. And we may feel like that sometimes when trusting God and walking in faith. We may feel like we are plunging into darkness with no way of escape. But as happened with Brigman, he was standing right on the brink of breakthrough. He was just feet away from the light. Saving himself, his loved ones and the entire planet was within his reach.

 

Oh friends we would do well to trust God. To walk out in faith and not give up before our breakthrough. It’s right there on the brink. You are standing on the precipice of deeper revelation, deeper knowledge, deeper love.

 

In addition to Israel Houghton’s Deeper, I’ve been blessed to have a song that encapsulates this journey of going deeper. The song is called Oceans by Hillsong. The lyrics read:

 

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

 

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

 

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

 

So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

 

Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!

 

I will call upon Your name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

Yes. That’s where we find Him, in oceans deep. Feet may fail in oceans deep but faith equips us to breathe underwater. Totally immersed in the rivers of living water is where I want to be.

 

Last year He told me, “I need water walkers”. And like Peter I walked out to meet Him. Since then, He’s calling me deeper, deeper, deeper.

 

Yes Lord, I am coming.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

P.S. This subject of living waters started out as a single post but it just would let me go. This is part three of the series on Living Waters. Read parts 1 & 2:

Rivers of Living Water

Tapping Into The Source

 

PhotoCredit

 

Happy to connect with friends sharing the Good News #DanceWith Jesus, Grace & Truth

Eat Your Water

Since water comprises 60% of your body weight, you can’t live without it. The body goes through a constant cycle of losing and replenishing that water. Water helps your organs function as designed, eliminate waste, regulate body temperature, aids in digestion and more. Ensure you keep hydrated and supply your body with this necessary fluid.

 

We’ve been taught to drink 64oz of water a day. But drinking water isn’t the only way to get your water intake. Water intake varies for each individual based on height, weight, environmental conditions, health and more. We’re accustomed to drinking our way to hydration, but let’s add eating to that equation.

 

Eat Your Water

 

Fruits

 

Watermelon

About 92% water per volume.

High in lycopene and highly alkaline this fruit is a summer staple. So refreshing and cooling on a hot summer day, it’s a fan fav at BBQ’s and summer parties.

 

Strawberries

About 92% water per volume.

High in antioxidants and vitamin C, also a good source of vitamin A, manganese and potassium, these sweet, succulent berries are best when consumed in season. Their softness, ripeness and sweetness in season can’t compare. One cup of strawberries contains 160% of your daily value of vitamin C. And you were always told to eat oranges for C. Eat these and get your C and water in one swoop.

strawberries 1

Grapefruit

91% water per volume

When eating grapefruit you not only hydrate but also burn fat and control cravings. Now who doesn’t want that?! And grapefruit are encouraged for heart health.

 

Cantaloupe

90% water per volume

One serving will not only hydrate you but also give you 100% of your daily value of vitamins A & C. One of my favorite ways to enjoy is having cantaloupe/sweet potato juice.

 

Vegetables

 

Lettuce

95% water per volume

While iceberg gets a bad rap, it is the lettuce with the highest water content. Other lettuces have slightly lower water but are more nutrient dense. Most lettuces have are high in vitamins A & K and high in folate. From salads to smoothies and juices, lettuce has many uses.

 

Zucchini

Over 95% water per volume

A good source of vitamin C and potassium, this versatile vegetable can be added to nearly everything. From raw noodles to juicing, when these are plentiful during summer, make full use of them. You can even shred one and add to pasta sauce to up the nutritional value.

 

Celery

95% water per volume

High in water and very low in calories rich in vitamins A, C and K. It hasn’t always been one of my favorite vegetables because its flavor is so strong but I always keep it on hand because I know how good it is for me. From soups to juices, celery is a household staple.

 

Cucumber

96% water per volume

High in vitamin K and powerfully fighting free radicals this vegetable is also an anti-inflammatory food. Research even shows that drinking watermelon or cucumber juice after a workout is twice as effective at hydrating the body than water. So post workout grab your watermelon/cucumber juice and drink up. (And it isn’t surprising their so hydrating. They belong to the same botanical family as two above items: zucchini and melons).

 

For more on water, check these out:

8 Benefits of Lemon Water

Life Water {Coconut Water}

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!