When the Darkness Ends

Four years have passed. Four years have passed and the view of my life has drastically changed. I’ve drastically changed.

To say I’m the same person I was when dad got sick and died would be a lie because life and death have altered my experience on Earth.

You see in four extremely short years my foundation and security have been completely restructured. I feel like God grabbed me by one foot and shook me upside down, leaving only the things of Him on me. Everything else has simply fallen to the ground, and been scattered to the wind.

And it hasn’t been all that fun. Losing my foundation was a scary process. One that’s continuously required my full surrender to God, even when He’s had to take certain things without forewarning.

And I know it all sounds a little dramatic… I’m still a little dramatic at heart. However, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve been through for anything. Even my darkest days are worth more than anything of monetary value because they’ve helped cultivate my very heart and soul for the better.

And I don’t know where all of this leads next. I do know that life, life for me, my mother and my sister is transitioning and moving forward. We’re all three setting sail towards new adventures in different places. Places that will for sure be filled with good and evil of all sorts.. However, I’m excited. I’m excited about the challenge ahead and the unknown. And more than anything, I hope to encourage others to just keep moving forward. Even when the possible seems impossible, it’s important to just keep moving.

And sometimes movement is no more than a prayer and a positive thought for the day, but I promise it’s helpful to your heart and soul. Because eventually the darkness ends, the lights come on and you just sit there in awe of how good God has been to truly bring you through the things you thought might’ve destroyed you in the pitch black.

Downfall of Me

Forward doesn’t seem as scary as it used to. You see forward with the Holy Spirit used to cause great fear, anxiety and worry inside of me because I constantly looked around at the lives of others and how I didn’t match up. I was obsessed with the reality that I wasn’t getting what I wanted in life because I was choosing to follow through with His will and His plan.

However, 2018 has been a new year for the way I choose to do life. God has constantly and consistently backed me into a corner and removed fear, anxiety and worry from my heart.

And He’s actually taught me that the greatest thing I can choose to do with my life is follow Him and His complete will.

Now before this year I would’ve told you that I knew how to follow the will of God over my own. I probably would’ve tried to convince you that I was good at it too.

However, I’ve learned that I was so wrong. Wrong because to actually follow what He wants for our lives is challenging. It’s definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever consistently done.

Because He constantly asks that we set down our own agendas, pride, fear and dreams to follow His divine will and plan.

And if you’re anything like me, well it’s easy to live in this selfish world and whine about His request to abandon your own will for His.

But, in doing so, I’ve found more peace, more hope, more love, more grace and more actual fulfillment than I ever did living life the other way.

So… I’m happy to report that it might seem peculiar and uncommon to completely surrender your wants, dreams and ambitions to God. However, it’s worth it. It’s worth every heart that you encounter that needs to see a little piece of Jesus. It’s worth letting go of selfishness and self-centeredness to be all that He needs us to be and nothing more or less. Because, at the end of the day, I believe His plan and will is all that truly eternally matters for us.

Victorious Life

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. Being in full-time ministry, I continuously heard her speak to people about living a victorious life through Christ.

She always spoke about the trial and tribulation we go through in life, but how He brings us through and causes us to be victorious through Him alone.

Well, until this year I never really understood what that meant. You see my entire life I’ve grown up believing in a lot of things I’ve never truly experienced. So, now as I begin to experience real trial and tribulation in life, it’s like these truths in my life are really put to the test and I’m left to discover how real they actually are.

Time and time again I’ve found myself in dark and dreadful situations. Dangerous places that no one would willingly walk into. But, then in the midst of them all I find God, and He gives me the power, faith and authority to stand up to the death and darkness so I can walk out the victor.

Truthfully without His help I’d be the loser. The one who didn’t conquer the dead and dreary. The one who’s been beaten up and destroyed completely; however, I now see that He wants us to live a victorious life.

I believe that Christ died so that we can walk through the ugly parts of life but come out on top. I believe that He is about us reigning with Him in victory. You see, being victorious is a lifestyle. It’s actually a cultivated lifestyle we come by when we choose to just follow Him where He leads. And yeah, sometimes His direction seems poor, confusing and misleading. But I’m learning that He is always right and true and faithful through it all.

And that if we can just remain diligent to Him and His ways. If we can simply praise Him and remain grateful in the midst of what seems painfully dark and challenging, well we will eventually walk out a champion and victor of life.

And, well… Who doesn’t want to be the victor?!

She Swings a Sword

Have you ever willingly walked into a season of life before unaware of what’s ahead? Knowing deep in your heart it’s the best thing you can choose to do, but then also hating the fact that you have to set aside your own life?

That’s where my life has been for a year and a half… Completely glued to the reality that my family lost more than we could seemingly navigate through on our own.

And yes, I’ve complained for a good portion of this journey at home in Shreveport. I’ve been angry and frustrated with God. I’ve questioned Him up and down for His plan and way with my life.

You see, for almost 8 months now I feel like I’ve been at war with God. An inward struggle has been taking place inside of me. A real wrestling with the Almighty that’s caused me to hold Him to His words about life, truth, grace, restoration and Jesus.

It’s like He’s been standing in front of me on a training field with a sword, pushing me every way possible to learn how to fight back and defend myself with His truth in my hands.

And I’m not entirely sure what the training ground is preparing me for because I haven’t seen the battlefield He’s taking me to yet. But, I do see that the world is the darkest version of itself it’s ever been. And so I know that a great war is eminently approaching.

So, more than anything, I’m grateful that He’s pushed me past my limits. I’m cheerful for the opposition that’s taken place in my soul. And though He’s never harmed me or taken me into a truthfully harmful place, He has positioned me to become a warrior… A warrior who gracefully, yet powerfully swings a sword of life and truth in the face of fear, darkness, death and destruction.

Immovable Mountain?

What happens when the situation… When the problem… When the mountain wouldn’t seem to move?

How do we react when we know God is working, but we can’t seem to understand why He can’t show off and make the big problem instantly disappear?

All these years of following and He still continues to be the strangest, yet most fascinating mystery to me. I’ve never met anyone like Him, and I hope I never do.

Since the year’s started I’ve gotten pretty adjusted to living in today, without planning ahead. Each day is basically a mystery waiting to be solved. However, the sell of my family’s home still continues to baffle me. It’s still ours. We still live in it and pay for it. We are still patiently waiting for the buyer to come.

And though I’ve spent a good amount of time wrestling with God over His lack of “magic,” I’m now coming to a place where I’m actually grateful it hasn’t sold yet. Because, rather than see the mountain disappear, I’ve had to follow God up and over it. Which has been a wild adventure for my insecurities, fear and shame.

You see it’s been a steep and very challenging mountain to climb. One that has required more of me than I ever imagined I could give. And, just when I begin to think I can’t take another step forward, I look down and remember who’s holding my hand. I remember that I’m following the steps of the God that is greater than all of the problems in front of me. And though I’d like them to disappear, conquering them with His help has been so much more fun!

He’s shown me that there’s nothing to really, truly fear at all. Nothing can destroy me when He’s got my back. And I believe my time in Shreveport has become a place where I’ve had to wrestle with God over who He actually is. And as the wrestling is coming to an end, I am able to step back and realize this is the very place He’s always wanted me to be. In a place where I will not stand down because I will hold Him accountable to His words and promises as He pushes me to be the very best version of myself possible.

And I don’t know what this entire season of life is meant for in my future. I keep telling mom I don’t understand why it’s necessary to be so strong in Him and His ways. But, I do see that His lack of moving this mountain of problems is quickly becoming the greatest mountain of purpose.

Cake Box Love…

 Love… What is it?… We all crave it… We all innately need it in the core of our very being… Spirit, soul and body, we are longing for love…

But not the love that we are so earnest to spread right now… The type of love we are so eager to spread right now is cheap… It’s surface… It’s not nourishing us on a spiritual level…

Think about this…

When we bake and then eat a box cake (you know like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines), we are mainly baking it and eating it because it is simple… It’s easy to for us to whip up, throw in the oven and then eat… But the downside is, box cake is addicting… It’s filled with refined sugar and white flour… It might be really appealing and pleasant in the moment, but it really has no nourishing effect on our body…

But… When we take the time to bake a cake from scratch, using all natural ingredients… Our experience is different… Because the time we take to use natural ingredients ensures that our bodies will be nourished…

And… This… This is how I think of love…

Right now, we stand at a time where we are purchasing “cake box” love… Cheap, addictive love… Love that doesn’t truly nourish us on the inside… This love seems like a good thing… It’s cheap to make, cheap to consume, cheap to give and cheap to the soul…

However, there is a love out there, a love that surpasses this instant, cheap and ever addicting “cake box” love we are creating, consuming and passing around…

This love is truly authentic…

It hasn’t been changed by man… It hasn’t been wrecked by religion… It is clean… It is nourishing and uplifting to our soul… It is good… It takes time to cultivate… It, in it’s very essence, is from the very heart of God…

And I don’t mean to be the one shinning a light on this “cake box” love… But it has got to go…

We now need, more than ever, to find a way to create, consume and give away authentic, long-lasting love… Because this cheap “cake box” love will never truly be enough…

And, so if you see at all what I mean by this, I genuinely hope a spirit of authentic love comes into your life and that you feel inspired and motivated to give it away to those you come in contact with… Because this love… This love is always good… It is constantly consistent to our soul…

Battle of Passion and Purpose…

Passion and purpose… Two things I’ve, at times, desperately searched to find… To make sense of… To discover within my own life…

And I’ve come to a place in my heart… A place where I am completely confident that I have discovered both… But, well… With this discovery I question, “Now what? Now what do I do with them?”…

I’ve found my passion to be the pursuit of Life and God… I say the pursuit of both because I believe they are both very interchangeable… That Life and God are very similar in their teachings and wisdom… And that they work together for the good of the earth, the tangible and mankind…

And I love my passion… I constantly get lost in thought and obsession over it… Trying to voyage forward in discovery of more… How to gain more and how to then give more…

And I say give more… Because my purpose is Cultivate Life… To put together a place for people of all walks of life to discover Life, God and health… To encourage and inspire others to find truth within the goodness of Life and God…

img_5254But my purpose isn’t something I love to approach everyday… Because it doesn’t drive me… My passion drives me… And so, well I let my purpose kind of just sit sometimes… It makes me nervous… It makes me anxious… I get fearful around it…

And I constantly have to remind myself that my purpose and passion are both God-given… That they can and will work together for good, the more I choose to work with them…

And… Like I said, sometimes it’s a challenge for me to embrace my purpose… To actually place myself out there into unknown territory and move with where my passion is leading me…

Because sometimes my passion leads me to unfamiliar places in life… Places that encourage me to actually use my purpose…

And I don’t know if anyone feels this way in their heart today… Like they are constantly struggling to find a balance between passion and purpose… But I believe that passion needs purpose… That passion is fuel for the fire that is purpose… That we need both to be successful in our destiny in Life… And that we need to embrace both whole-heartily to feel complete and whole… To actually flourish from the inside out…

And, so… I hope that anyone reading this feels encouraged to know that you aren’t alone… Even if you’re still searching for your passion and purpose, please know that they are both out there… That they are both waiting to be discovered… That we all have them… And, quite possibly, they are found in the things we love the most… The things that purely drive us every single day… The things that are pure in our hearts… That we simply can’t ever stop talking about or get enough of…