I will come back and do another blog post soon. In the meantime, please check out my video about discernment.
For the past couple of months, I would get stressed out when I listened to or watched constant news coverage about COVID-19, numbers of deaths and infected persons, business closures, job losses, possible food shortages, etc. Even now, I sometimes think, “Wow, I can’t believe we’re going through this” because I never imagined seeing anything like this occur in my lifetime. However, things may be getting a little better–Illinois has allowed restaurants, businesses and stores to re-open on Friday. Indiana has allowed some of their stores and restaurants to open back up; this past weekend, I went to a Goodwill store in Indiana which had re-opened, but their restrooms and dressing rooms were closed to the public. All (or most stores) are requiring everyone to wear face masks and to practice social distancing, which is the new “normal” for now.Continue reading
I’m sure you all have heard about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which started in Wuhan, China, and has spread to various countries and nationwide in the United States. People have died from it, but others are recovering. Celebrities such as Tom Hanks and his wife, Idris Elba, and some NBA players have also contracted the disease. Store shelves are empty, schools and restaurants are closed, and most people are working from home while others have lost their jobs. Events have been canceled and even the NBA has canceled its games. The Center for Disease Control is recommending that we practice social distancing and stay at home.
As I mentioned in another post, I had bought a sewing machine (Singer 3342 FashionMate) last summer and had been taking sewing classes. I was enjoying making different items and recently started making small tote bags. About a week ago, I started working on a tote bag and noticed that my white thread had run out, so I decided to use another spool of white thread that I purchased from Walmart. I noticed that the thread was a little thicker (the label said it was craft and sewing thread) and hoped it wouldn’t cause a problem with my machine, but I decided to try it anyway.
So today is the first day of 2020 and 2019 is over! It seems like the year went by so fast!
This makes me think of 2 Peter 3:8-9: “…With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The older I get, the more time seems to fly by. There are times when I hear about a news story that occurred five years ago and I think, “That was FIVE years ago?!” Where did the time go?
Today, I read the story of Joseph and the Potiphar’s wife (for some reason, this story has been on my mind the past few days). Joseph had been sold by his brothers into slavery and Potiphar bought him and had him living in his home. Potiphar noticed that God was with Joseph and caused him to prosper at everything he did; therefore, Potiphar made Joseph in charge of his property, administrative affairs, and his household.
Potiphar’s wife also noticed Joseph and tried to seduce him, but he refused, saying that he wasn’t going to sin against God. She continued her attempts to seduce Joseph day after day and he continued to refuse; he even tried to avoid her! One day, when no one else was around, Potiphar’s wife came on to him again and grabbed him by his cloak; Joseph ran away from her, leaving his garment in her hands. Since she couldn’t get what she wanted, she lied and told everyone (including her husband) that Joseph tried to rape her. When Potiphar heard the news, he became furious and had Joseph thrown in prison.
It’s interesting how when you’re determined to do the right thing, there’s someone who wants to try to get you to do the wrong thing. Potiphar’s wife was only focused on her own desires but perhaps she wanted Joseph to slip up so she could “prove” that he didn’t have a good character after all. If someone has ill intentions and you refuse to participate in their schemes, they may get angry and plot revenge because they can’t use you/have their way with you. Perhaps Potiphar’s wife was jealous of Joseph’s character and integrity because she didn’t have those qualities. Joseph was more faithful to God than Potiphar’s wife to her own husband. I find it admirable that he appreciated how God gave him favor in Potiphar’s home and Joseph didn’t want to do anything to taint that.
When Potiphar’s wife couldn’t have her way with him, she decided to punish him. Her true personality is revealed in Genesis 39:14 when she tells the men of the house how her husband “…brought in an Hebrew into our home to make a fool out of us…” It sounded like she was blaming Potiphar, but not to his face. Then of course when she talked to him face-to-face, she said, “That Hebrew slave that you brought into our home tried to rape me!” (Genesis 39:17).
Someone can falsely accuse you of the worst thing and unfortunately, others may believe him/her, despite witnessing how you have always acted with integrity. How could Potiphar believe his wife’s accusation after he placed Joseph in charge of everything in his home? He trusted Joseph enough to give him authority over all his affairs. Although Potiphar could see that the Lord was with Joseph and caused him to be successful, perhaps Potiphar was blind to his wife’s true character.
It seemed like doing the right thing had a price—Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife’s advances, tried to avoid her, and even ran from her, and yet he was still thrown in prison. However, making the wrong decisions does have its consequences. If Joseph had’ve willingly slept with Potiphar’s wife, she could’ve gotten pregnant; Potiphar could’ve been furious enough to kill him, which would have cut his future short. Potiphar’s wife could’ve still made up a lie on Joseph, especially if he would’ve tried to end the affair. Worst of all, he would’ve sinned against God, and perhaps he would’ve lost his favor and had to face God’s wrath.
But despite the serious accusation against Joseph that was designed to cause major damage, God worked it out for his good. Joseph became the ruler of Egypt and ended up helping his brothers during the famine, the ones who were the reason he was sold into slavery in the first place. Joseph was able to forgive his brothers and help them once he saw that they had changed. Ugly circumstances led to a beautiful ending. In his different trials, he was always placed in charge of others and he never used his position as a leader to take advantage of others.
I pray that if you’re in a situation where someone falsely accuses you, may God come to your defense and use that situation to your advantage. May He give you strength, comfort, and courage during that ordeal. Don’t let your circumstances stop you from doing the right thing in everything you do.
Today, I stopped by my local Walmart to pick up a few things after work. As I headed towards the entrance a man stopped me and asked if I could give him a couple of dollars. He explained that he found out that his mom/mother-in-law passed away and he was trying to gather cab fare (he said it was $37 dollars and he was a couple of dollars short) to get to the hospital. The man also stated that his wife and someone else (daughter? can’t remember) were sitting outside the store but may have went into the restroom. He kept saying he wasn’t making it up/wasn’t on any B.S.
I felt bad for him and wanted to help but part of me wondered if he was telling the truth. I hesitated and asked, “Where’s your wife?” He stated that she was sitting nearby but she may have went into the restroom. He claimed that he asked a white woman who said she doesn’t help “n******.” The man also claimed that he asked a guy who had a fat roll of money and a nice car for help, but the “rich guy” pulled a gun on him and refused to help.
Still, I hesitated and asked again, “Where’s your wife?” I didn’t see anyone sitting outside. What if his wife didn’t even exist?
The man began to get irritated. “Really?! You want to wait for them to come out? Either you help me or don’t do it all! Don’t disrespect me.” When I remained silent, he yelled, “Boy, I tell you about n******! This b****….blah blah blah.” At that point, I was done and started to walk into the store. He came up behind me and said that his wife was in the restroom. I made no reply and he said, “F*** you, you bougie b****!” I turned around and said, “And since you wanna be ignorant, forget you!”
Maybe the Lord had me hesitate so this guy’s true colors would be exposed. Come on, now…do you really think I’m going to help you after you disrespected me and gave me an ultimatum? Now I’m convinced that you spun a tale, dramatics and all (cue the violins). But because you didn’t get what you want, you think you can manipulate me into giving you something? Nope. Even if I would’ve said “no” immediately, it still would’ve been a problem for this jerk.
Lord, thank you for showing me the truth via this guy’s response. And thank you that I’m learning who am I and I refuse to accept any negativity spoken over me.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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)!
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.