Random Thoughts/Updates–What I’ve Been Up To

  • My favorite show is Death in Paradise on channel 11. It’s a mystery/whodunnit type show in the Caribbean where the detective figures out who killed who by the end of the show. I like the characters and the scenery reminds me of when I went to Jamaica years ago.

 

  • My hair has grown quite a bit since I chopped my locs off last year. I can’t believe that next month will make 1 year! Caring for my hair at this length has been waaaaay less time consuming.

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  • I’ve been longing to get back to creative activities and to find things to do so I won’t be constantly stressed out about worrying about work (I work in the social services field and things pile up. I HATE that but I’m learning to stop letting it stress me out). I took a sewing class almost 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it! I made a pillow (see below) and bought a sewing machine because I’ve always been curious about how they work. I can’t wait to see what else I can create!

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  • I’ve also been looking for interesting events to attend/things to do. Last month, I saw Shark Tank the Musical and went to the African Festival of Life. I took a belly dance class last night which was fun! In addition to learning the techniques, it was a great workout. I have another sewing class this weekend and a painting class in a week or two. I also joined a bowling meetup group where you meet up with other people to do certain activities together. So far, we’ve done bowling and miniature golf which has been great!

 

  • I had ANOTHER setback in regards to frustration and getting mad at God because I was struggling with a certain issue (a crush on someone); I thought I was over it because I’d been through the same thing before (and God helped me before!). I kept trying to change my thoughts, use scripture, pray for help, and give praise/thanks at times, but I seemed to have only temporary relief. The thoughts would pop up repeatedly and got on my nerves. The word “deliver” would come to me but I thought “WHEN?! Nothing’s happening and you’re not doing anything!”

I thought God was playing games with me and I ranted/raved and said all kinds of things. I was fed up and started feeling hopeless again (there were other things that had been building up which led to the explosion). I didn’t want to talk to Him or hear anything from Him.

I started looking up info online–a blog post or article to see if someone else had a similar experience. I came across a blog post that basically said that when we don’t trust God/when we’re mean to Him, that hurts his feelings. I thought, “Huh? God has FEELINGS?” It was such a foreign thought to me. I never thought of Him as having feelings. Maybe I’m still thinking of Him as a drill sergeant or task master. Seeing this post written about Him struck me…I wouldn’t talk to a friend or acquaintance that way. There have been so many times I’d tell myself I’m not going to behave that way anymore. But let anger and doubt creep in and BAM! off I go.

I prayed, repented and asked God to forgive me. I want to stop getting mad at Him and blaming Him for nonsense when He’s the one who’s helped me through various situations. I’m reminding myself that the enemy’s main purpose is to cause confusion and deter me from getting to know God and remembering His promises.

Please pray for me in this area–pray that I will truly get to know Him and not have the wrong view of Him.

Lessons From The Ten Commandments

meet the ten commandments

 

Last month, I watched “The Ten Commandments” on Easter Sunday. I had forgotten that it airs every Easter and even though it’s a few hours long, it’s one of my favorite movies. As I watched the movie, there were a few things I hadn’t noticed before:

 

  • Pharoah decreed a plague to kill every first-born child of Egypt; he thought that Moses’ son would die, but Pharoah’s son died. Pharoah’s own decree fell back on his own family. This scene reminded me of how our enemies might speak something negative over us, but they end up being affected by their own words. We should watch what we say about others and ourselves because our words may come back to haunt us.

 

  • Dathan (the chubby, dark-haired guy with a goatee who used to work for Pharaoh) reminded me of our negative thoughts; in the scene where Pharoah’s chariots were chasing the Israelites towards the Red Sea, Dathan was constantly stirring up confusion and fear: “We’re gonna be buried under Pharoah’s chariots!” Every time Moses reminded the Israelites how God helped them and how God was on their side, Dathan always had a negative response. This scene also reminds me of how we’ll use God’s word to come against negative thoughts or fears and the devil will bombard us with negative memories or fearful thoughts—in my case, I’ve had negative memories pop up from years ago that I had forgotten about. I’d think “Really?! I wasn’t even thinking bout this!” Whenever the enemy pops up with fears, worries, and negative thoughts for you to meditate on, just keep using God’s word and keep fighting.

 

  • My favorite scene in The Ten Commandments is when God used a pillar of fire and parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from Pharoah’s chariots. At first, it looked as if the Egyptians were going to catch the Israelites after God parted the Red Sea; the chariots had made it half-way down the path but then they were covered by the sea. God allowed the Egyptians to think they had the upperhand, but He gave the Israelites the victory; He also did the impossible—providing a way of escape when there was none.

 

  • When Moses and the others were waiting for the plague to pass over their home, they sang/mentioned certain lines such as: “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler,” “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day,” and “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” I realized that these lines are in Psalm 91; this realization touched me because it was amazing to learn the significance behind those verses.

 

  • There’s a scene where Moses throws his staff on the ground in Pharoah’s palace and it turns into a serpent. One of Pharoah’s men throws two staffs on the floor and they both turn into snakes. However, Moses’ serpent devoured the other 2 snakes. My mom mentioned this scene to me yesterday when I was feeling a little down spiritually; when I thought about the scene, it reminded me that God’s power is greater than the enemy’s—the devil can only do so much; your trials and circumstances may make the enemy seem bigger, but he’s really not. God is more powerful and in control.

 

Overall, these different examples show how powerful and mighty God is; these scenes also show how God protects and cares for His people. When we go through trials or challenging circumstances, we tend to forget how God has helped us in the past and how good He’s been to us (I know I have!). He’s been reminding me to not focus on my circumstances and to remember His promises. He will still be there for you and work all things out for your good (Romans 8:28)!

 

 

 

Saved from Temptation

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A few weekends ago, I found myself missing a previous vehicle that I traded in—a 2015 cayenne red Nissan Altima. I had purchased a compact SUV several months ago and while there were a few minor nuisances that I wasn’t fond of (aka first world problems), but overall, I was happy with my purchase. I had gotten the SUV because I wanted something that could handle the snow; I also wanted something that could haul thrift store purchases—tables, chairs, etc.—whenever I went shopping with my mom. There were technological features that I wanted—remote start, blind spot warning, all around camera, and all-wheel drive—but I couldn’t afford those. I didn’t do enough research on the new vehicle (re: ratings/reviews) and bought it when I took the Altima in for an oil change. A salesman had approached me about buying a new vehicle and although I was a little nervous (“Am I making the right decision??”), the timing felt right.

But on this particular weekend, several months later, I was bombarded with thoughts about the Altima: “I should’ve never traded it in!” “Maybe I made a mistake getting this other car,” “The Altima was gorgeous! I wish I still had it!” “Maybe I could go to the dealership and trade this new vehicle for a used Altima?” “Whhhhyyy did I trade it? Maybe I wasn’t really “finished” with it yet!” “Did I buy this new vehicle for the wrong reasons?” “I should’ve did more research! It’s soooo sloooow!” I even dreamt I was telling someone I was unhappy with my new vehicle—was this confirmation to get rid of it? The minor “issues” with the SUV were:

  • it has less horsepower than the Altima, but I KNEW that before I purchased it.
  • It didn’t have a small area for my CDs like the Altima had.
  • The center console is smaller (the Altima had a larger/longer one).
  • Car note is higher (well, it is an SUV!) but it’s still affordable.

I started looking online at various Nissan dealerships in my area to see if they had a cayenne red Altima for sale with a decent number of miles. I saw quite a few vehicles and all I had to do was call and ask if they still had the one I wanted. But did I really NEED to do THAT? Did I really need more debt? “Weellll…I could work more overtime to save money for a down payment,” I thought to myself. And what would happen if I did trade my SUV for another Altima? What if I started having mechanical problems with the used Altima? Or would I regret trading the new car and then beat myself up, thinking that I should’ve kept the SUV instead?

Despite me trying to think practically and talk myself out of this crazy desire, I STILL wanted the car! I asked God what I should do. I noticed that every time I had these thoughts about missing the Altima, the words “thief,” “deceit,” and “deceive” would come to me so I believe the enemy was up to his old tricks as usual. When I woke up the next morning, I felt like the Lord had said, “Keep what you have and pay it off.” I had a sense of peace following this realization. But then I started thinking about the other car again. “Noooo, I want the Altima! I’m not happy with this new car!”

And the online searches resumed.

Yet there was something that bothered me: I had this car on my mind—I want it, how can I get it, etc.—more than God. I didn’t want to make this vehicle an idol but that’s what I was doing. Not only that, but I was having constant anxiety about this—”What if I make a bad decision? Is God telling me to do this? To not do it? How can this be from the enemy? Aren’t these my thoughts/desires?” I asked God to help me to figure this out.

On that following Monday, I did some thinking and God helped me realize that the enemy was definitely behind this. After I bought the SUV, I did have a couple of thoughts about missing my previous vehicle, but I was enjoying the new one. I hadn’t been thinking of the previous car that much. And then months later, the thoughts/feelings came back with a vengeance. He also led me to Psalm 90 which talks about how He’s been around forever and His kingdom has been established forever. Now I realize that the Lord was saying that my emotions were unstable but He’s not; He doesn’t change. I can’t let my emotions dictate my actions. Did either of these vehicles comfort me or lead me to Psalms in my troubles? Did these vehicles give me wisdom or insight about certain people or situations? Nope. It was the Lord who helped me.

With this realization, the anxiety stopped and I felt at peace when I decided to keep my current vehicle.  But guess what? Those blasted thoughts about the Altima are popping up AGAIN. So all I can do is ask God to give me strength not to fall into this trap. I know He’ll come through for me like He did last time.

Thoughts on Surviving R.Kelly

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After watching 2 episodes of the documentary “Surviving R.Kelly” yesterday, I woke up early this morning feeling unsettled and troubled, remembering things that were mentioned. The women in the documentary all had the same, horrifying story—they met R. Kelly when they were teenagers and once they became involved with him, they fell prey to his controlling and domineering nature (he seemed nice at first)—he kept the victims isolated and didn’t want them to look at or speak to anyone else except him. If they stood up to him, their rebellion was met with a smack across the face, belittling, etc.

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Welcome to 2019!

Man Leaping into 2019

Thank God for allowing me to make it to a new year! The months of November and December have been difficult spiritually—the enemy was whispering various lies in my ear and as a result of not having God’s word/truth rooted in me, I started questioning and doubting my salvation. I even questioned God’s character because I thought He was instructing me to do one thing (He would tell me to “stand up” against the lies and deception) and then saying I should do something else (the words “sit down” constantly came to me, especially when I would use His word to come against the lies that were hurled at me. Wasn’t I supposed to fight with His word? Was I supposed to be completely passive and wait on Him to do everything?).

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Lessons from the Wizard of Oz

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On Thanksgiving Day, I watched the Wizard of Oz and noticed some things that reminded me of my walk with Jesus:

  • When Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion made their way down the yellow brick road to see the wizard, they encountered obstacles—the Wicked Witch of the West made them sleepy with poisoned poppies; she also threatened to turn Scarecrow into a mattress and Tin Man into a beehive, and she used her flying monkeys to capture Dorothy and her dog Toto. They were frightened but they kept going. Those scenes reminded me of how we’re on our walk with God and we face trials that are discouraging, frightening, or frustrating. We may get distracted or knocked down but we’ve got to get back up, realign our focus, and keep going.

 

  • In the scene where Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion fell asleep after running across a bed of poisoned poppies from the Wicked Witch of the West, Scarecrow and Tin Man cried out for help and Glinda the Good Witch caused it snow so Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion could wake up. This reminded me of how we call on God to help us and He’ll come to our rescue.

 

  • Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow were rescuing Dorothy and Toto from the Wicked Witch’s castle and the witch set Scarecrow’s arm on fire. Dorothy grabbed a bucket of water to toss on him and some of the water hit the witch, causing her to melt. This scene made me think of the various psalms in the Bible (or even Bible stories) that refer to our enemies scheming, plotting, or planning to hurt and destroy us but they end up falling into the trap they set for us (Daniel chapter 6, the book of Ester, where Haman was killed by the pole he set up for Mordecai and psalms 7 and 9, to name a few).

 

  • Dorothy wanted to return home to Kansas, Scarecrow wanted a brain, Cowardly Lion wanted courage, and Tin Man wanted a heart. I remember someone (on TV, online, or was it my mom?) saying that the things they were asking for were already inside of them. Sometimes were constantly searching for someone else to give us things we desire—validation, happiness, etc. but we have to seek God for those things. Our validation comes from Him (he loves and approves of us) and not from the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, and the people we associate with. Our happiness comes from Him when we focus on how He’s helped us in our lives and how He’s been good to us.

The trials or obstacles that we face in our lives show us what we’re really made of. Our trials reveal our weaknesses (complaining, shrinking in fear, etc.) and we tend to think: I don’t know how to deal with this, I don’t want to deal with this. At times, it may feel like we’re being torn to shreds. This is why we need God’s help and strength to get us through every obstacle because He’s the only one (not money, fame, etc.) who can get us through it.

Whatever you’re facing, let God help you through it. He’ll give you the strength to keep going.

 

 

Changes Part 1–Cutting My Locs

Sorry I’ve been away so long—there’s been a lot going on (stress at my job, spiritual warfare, and changes that God has been telling me to make, etc.) and I didn’t make time to write.

Since last month, God has been instructing me to make some changes in my life. One of those changes was to cut off my dreadlocks that I had for 8 years. I’d actually been thinking of cutting them off during these past few months (and maybe the year before) because the maintenance became too time consuming and doing certain styles were too uncomfortable for me:

  • It would take four hours to retwist my locs and I found myself avoiding retwist sessions.
  • When I styled all of my locs in an updo at the top of my head, I would get a headache; as a result, I didn’t wear updos as much.
  • I’d have to lean my car seat further back to be able to drive without my hair scraping the roof of my car (and to be able to turn my head back and forth to check traffic)—it felt so awkward!
  • Whenever I washed my dreadlocks, it took ALL DAY for them to dry; sometimes I had to use 2 towels to help them to dry.
  • There’s been a few occasions when they’ve gotten caught in my car door or a door at work. Ouccch!

But I talked myself out of cutting my hair—after all, I’d had long hair all my life: long virgin hair (no chemicals but straightened with a hot comb), long permed hair, long natural hair, and long dreadlocks that reached my rear end. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to have short hair and was afraid that I wouldn’t “look right.” Plus, I felt sexy with my long locs. They were my stylish accessory. Maybe I could keep them and just find some tips online that could help me better care for them.

Last month, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to cut my locs. I was alarmed—was He really telling me to do this? Was God serious?! Well, I might as well—I’d been thinking about doing it anyway! I prayed and asked if I could have a few weeks to mentally prepare myself. I just couldn’t do it ASAP. So I started wearing my locs pulled back away from my face to get an idea of how my TWA (teeny weeny afro) would look since I had some new growth (a.k.a fuzzy roots). Ehhh, I don’t know. Not sure if I like this. Ugh, I feel so exposed.

I started looking at several Youtube videos of women cutting their locs off, which inspired me. They looked beautiful with their TWAs and faded cuts. I also looked at various photos on Pinterest which were also inspiring. I kept praying for God to give me the courage to do this. I had urges to cut my hair sooner, but I wanted to make sure I was ready; plus, the word “wait” kept coming to me. But on Saturday 8/18/18, the Lord spoke to my heart again in the early morning hours: “I told you, do what I say.” I realized that “wait” wasn’t coming from God but the enemy; the devil always wants us to doubt and second guess what God says. I got up and started cutting my dreadlocks off, one by one. It was strange to see the pile of locs grow bigger and bigger and not attached to my head. The process took about an hour and a half. I put my locs in a bag and noticed that they felt slightly heavy since they were no longer attached to my head (but they never felt heavy when they were on my head, which was weird, except when they were wet). I cried a little but enjoyed how simple it was to wash and dry my hair in a shorter amount of time.

When I went to work that following Monday (and for the rest of the week), everyone was shocked (they were used to seeing me with my long dreadlocks), but I received a lot of compliments, which I appreciated because I was SO nervous! I still had to get used to the shorter look. At times, I wondered if it made me seem less feminine or less attractive (you know what they say: “Men looove long hair!”).

Now, a month later, I’m learning to love my TWA; although there are no more long locs to toss over my shoulder and I can’t feel them swinging against my back when I walk, I realize that even with long hair, I was only hiding behind it. But I love the low maintenance and the simplicity of my TWA! I also like how I can see my facial features more! I just feel freer and not weighed down by my hair. Lord, thank you for giving me the strength to cut my locs. Maybe this realization was what You wanted me to see.