Uniquely You – How Your Choices in 2018 Will Be Part of Your Life’s Story

do all thingswith love

 

Happy New Year to you.

Wow! It’s 2018! Can you believe it? It’s a blessing to have made it to this year. Christmas was spent with sweet lingering smells of holiday cooking which included jollof rice, my family of five posing in front of our decorated Christmas tree for our annual Christmas photos, and visiting wonderful friends. Some days later, the new year swept us off our feet and with feelings of anticipation, we prayed, did a countdown, and finally screamed, “Happy New Year” while watching the famous ball drop in New York right from our TV set.

Once more, most of us have gone into a deep reflective mode to consider what we want our 2018 to look like. If you’ve said, “This year, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z,” then you are in the right place. You’re part of the gang. However, before you read further, I want you to carve something really important inside your heart – God alone sees the vantage point. He saw your story even before it was written. He knew your story before you were born, He knows the intricate details of where you are right now, and He is ordaining your story for the future. What an amazing God if we can just trust Him with our lives.

Still, You Need to Make Choices

Now, let’s get to it. God has the vantage point, but He created us in His image and He wants us to make choices. Trusting in Him is not enough. Faith without action is unbelief. When you believe, you will take one step forward with Him.

But how will you make the right choices? You may be asking this question right now.

The Answer Lies in Your Uniqueness

I’ve noticed something very unique about me. Whenever I try to fit into somebody else’s pants, it doesn’t work out. Whenever I am not myself, it backfires. But whenever I listen to the voice of God, whenever I meditate on what God wants me to do to fulfill my purpose in this world, that’s when everything starts to make sense. You know, the peace of God is always there when you’re walking in His will, but when you choose to ignore Him, you will find that everything will become chaotic.

So in 2018, what scenarios do we really want to experience and what temperament do we want our hearts to be in? Would we prefer our hearts to be totally submerged in the peace of God or to be engaged in a series of unsettling chaotic warfare? The answer lies within you.

Today, I am going to show you how what you will do this year, 2018, will be part of your life’s story and I’m going to explore this by comparing your story to one woman’s story and how she affected what happened a certain night when Jesus was in Bethany at a friend’s house for dinner some days before his death (Matthew 26:6-13).

One Woman’s Choice and How it became Her Life’s Story

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Jesus was having dinner at Simon’s house and, all of a sudden, this woman comes dashing through the doors with only one mission in her mind. Bold-faced, set like a flint, her single mission was to pour a very expensive jar of oil on the head of the Son of God.

So she walked right to where He was seated, not minding the horrible stares she got from people. Imagine the looks on their faces. The shock. The disdain. She took off the lid, tilted the jar, and started pouring this really expensive oil on the head of Jesus. Keep in mind that in this setting, pouring oil on someone’s head was highly symbolic. It was considered as a preparation for an important role, for example, a king’s head would generally be anointed with oil before he was given access to his throne.

She was obviously showing respect and honor. At that very hour, she felt so strongly that this was the right thing to do. And she did not do it cheaply. I understand this woman because many times in my life, I’ve felt so strongly about something I had to do that it made my heart feel like it was on fire. I’ve felt so strongly about things I had to do that are not considered to be the norm. Things that would make you turn your head, but I just knew I was meant to do them.

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So let’s continue our story.

After she poured the oil on His head, the disciples started complaining. They murmured amongst themselves that she should have sold the oil in the market and the money should have been given to the poor. They asked Jesus, “Don’t you think what this woman did was wasteful? Why would she do such a thing?” But Jesus simply told them that she did it to prepare Him for His burial. He added that wherever the gospel would be told in the future, what this woman did will be mentioned to remember her. Hmm.

Are You Getting the Picture?

A lot of times, we want to stick to the traditional practices (which may not make much sense to you) that have been going on for years and years. We don’t want to do anything differently that will be frowned upon, and we fear that what we do would be considered weird or crazy.

Please, let me ask you today. Was that woman crazy? Or did she do what no one else had done to fulfill her own purpose? What will you do in 2018 that is “uniquely YOU?” Ask yourself, “What can I do that God wants me to do in 2018? What has God specifically called me and just me alone to do? What can I do for my home (or family, or career, or brand) that God wants me to do in 2018?”

You Are Not Other People

It doesn’t matter whether other people have done it before. It doesn’t matter whether people have not done it before. It doesn’t matter whether it’s part of a tradition. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sticking to the same things that people have done over centuries or if you’re suddenly breaking away this year.

What matters is that your heart is totally submerged in the peace of God and that there is no chaos surrounding your decision. That’s all that matters, people, in the large scope of things. Think about the big picture. Think about your legacy. God’s peace concerning your decision is all that matters this year.

Finally, I want to encourage you to really meditate on what will be part of your life’s story as a wife, as a mother, as a woman, as an individual, and let me tell you something…girlfriend, just do it. Be like that woman who poured oil on Jesus’ head. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. But you owe it to yourself to be who God has created you to be.

Take Action: Many years down the line, what you will accomplish in 2018 will be part of what people will say about your overall story. You only have a window to do it, so I want to encourage you that you should go forth and do what God has called you to do and be everything that God has called you to do in 2018.

Happy New Year everyone. I look forward to writing more Blog posts in 2018. God bless you. I’d love to read from you. How was your transition into the new year? I pray that as you read this, it ignites a level of boldness you didn’t know you had in you.

Love, me.

What Spring Cleaning Reveals About You

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Most of us can be so set in our ways that we can’t smell redemption even if it’s right under our noses. No one likes change. No one likes to have everything they’ve ever known their whole lives dismantled to start a new journey.

Yet, redemption is always near. Look at the palm of your hand and find that God has already given it to you. What redemption? I write about redemption in terms of acceptance of change, receiving newness of life, a breath of fresh air, something better than what you have right now. You may have achieved a lot already, but have you reached God’s best for you?

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Spring Cleaning

The months of February through May are for spring cleaning — that old-time culture of getting rid of old unwanted things; deep cleaning the hidden nooks and corners of your home; a new season of reorganizing your life. Exciting, right? Well, the end-result is what most people like. The process to get there is a whole different ball game; it could be quite a challenge.

But it’s a hopeful time. Winter months spent holed up in a corner hiding from the light are over. Cold days spent indoors are officially out. The grass is evergreen again. Flowers bud and spring up after hibernation. Spring is here. Warmth has arrived. Praise God!

Have you been thinking about spring cleaning? What can spring cleaning reveal about you? Let’s see. I’ve listed three categories you can identify with, and in discussing these categories I’m going to create parallels to your spiritual life that can get you thinking.

There are three emotional states that spring cleaning can reveal about you.

1. Fear:

A lot of people can identify with fear. You constantly fear that you’re not good enough to do the work. That you can’t face the competition. That you can’t accomplish what you desire. That you can’t do this whole Proverbs 31 thing.

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What if you don’t have what it takes? What if you were not “called”? What if you fail? What would you do if you don’t get it right? What would people say?

Questions upon questions ravish your soul. You don’t want to get rid of old items because you don’t know if you will need them in the future. You don’t want to reorganize because you don’t know how to do it. You don’t want to change. You just want to remain in your comfort zone.

What you don’t know is that if you don’t take a plunge you will never find out how good it feels to be totally submerged in water in a cool spring in the heat of summer. CLICK TO TWEET THIS.

Fear is dangerous. It hinders you. It’s like a stop light that never turns green. You will never find out God’s purpose for you if you never make a move. Take all the old things out already. They’re piling up in your home. The thing about fear is that you can become a hoarder of things from the past. Likewise, if you are afraid to have a deeper relationship with Jesus, you will not get to the next level.

2. Acceptance:

This is when you finally come to the conclusion that you need to make a move. You realize now that you don’t want to be a hoarder of your past. You need change. Yes, you need to do some intense deep cleaning.

You haven’t made a move yet, but at least you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s a great thing to reach acceptance. It means you’re ready to take an inventory. That you’re ready to search within yourself to find out what you need to get rid of. You’re ready to start making a list. And you’re ready to take action.

3. Bravery:

This is when the orange light turns green and you press your feet on the pedal. Yay! This is where you want to be today. The witnesses in heaven are standing up to cheer you on toward victory. This is when you reach spring cleaning day and you rise up to start getting rid of old things and start reorganizing your life. You act upon the Word you’ve received. You tell yourself, “I can do this.” Then you whisper, “It will not be by my power, but through Christ who strengthens me.”

Being a Proverbs 31 woman

So whatever you are afraid of, it’s time for a spring cleaning. First, accept that you need it. But don’t stop at acceptance, dear. Set a date. Be actionable. It’s time to go forth and do. Spring clean your homes if you haven’t done so yet.

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But more importantly, spring clean your heart. For God does not focus on your outward appearance, He focuses more on what’s inside your heart. For me, I’ve learned that this annual rite of deep cleaning reorganizes not only my physical home but my spiritual mindset.

Ladies, what emotional state do you think you belong to right now? Fear, acceptance, or bravery?

Action: Don’t be afraid. Accept that you need change. Be honest with where you are right now. Then be ye brave to go forth and do! Yeah, you can do it! You can be everything God has called you to be, including that modern-day  Proverbs 31 woman. Let’s go there!

How to Embrace the Beauty within the Mess

 

I used to be a stickler for clean dishes and having absolutely nothing in the sink. Then came three kids, homeschooling, and freelancing, and I learned that there’s beauty in my mess. Two days ago, I was loading up the dishwasher and laughing at myself. At how much I’ve changed. And I just had to write about this mess.

Yes, in the midst of pots clanging and banging, dishes brown with dripping stew, a morning workbook half-done, kids running around in circles, a baby taking a two-minute nap and not a second more, and deadlines hanging over your head like a chandelier, there IS beauty in all that good mess.

You just have to be able to see it.

It may look like a storm has passed through your home sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world. Focus on your priorities and set a time later for cleaning up and getting back on track.

After a Storm Comes Peace

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Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Texas – states in the US recently shaken by severe storms and tornadoes. Leaving vicinities homeless. People lost. Homes that are no longer humane, muddy uprooted trees, cars swept away and broken into pieces, and sadly lives lost tragically.

Children ask, “Is God angry with us?” And you stare back at their innocent faces and with all the faith you can muster, you gently tell them through grief-stricken tears, “No, baby. God’s plan is never to bring us harm.” Because indeed, God’s plans for us are good and not of evil. But the enemy often will throw chaos at you to rattle you. You are victorious in Christ daily.

-Before you get your heart's desire, you need to get the skills to maintain the desire when it shows up at your door.- @lightherlamp

 

After the storm passes, there will be an indescribable peace and quietness. You will walk around putting broken pieces together. Time will pass. You will begin to re-build. You will roll up your sleeves and do the work of hammering, renovating, resurfacing, polishing, painting. You will pull through and eventually find beauty in your mess.

In my lighter scenario of dishes all over the sink, I have learned to see that the beauty is in knowing my priorities. Knowing what’s more important (our joy, our health, our brains, our tummies) and knowing that they matter more than anything else. In learning to prioritize, I have seen beauty in my accomplishments. I have learned to “receive” God’s grace.

Here are 3 things you should know about beauty and mess:

1. There’s No Beauty Without Mess

The next time you ask yourself, “Where’s the beauty in all this mess?” consider this:

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There’s no beauty without mess. See, God created the earth out of voidness. Emptiness. Nothing. There were no samples to inspire Him. God inspired Himself. The earth was “formless” and the Architect created something beautiful out of it.

So this chaos, this mess, is the ingredient you need to create. Create what you want to see. But don’t get shaken by the mess. Out of it will come your vision for your home and your goals.

2. Clay is Sticky and Messy

Clay means “sticky earth.” Yet, look at the work of a potter. He molds a fine vessel out of clay. Remember Jeremiah? God sent him to the potter’s house to observe something (Jeremiah 18). When he got there, he noticed the potter was making something out of clay and it turned out this thing was marred (disfigured) in the potter’s hands. Nevertheless, the potter began to do something. He began to rework it into another vessel that was better looking.

You are the clay and God is the Potter. He can never ever leave you marred.

3. Roses are from Thorny Bushes

A woman walks down the aisle holding the most enchanting bouquet of roses you’ve ever seen. Beautiful, right? But consider this: roses are found amongst the most prickly thorns. But when they are put together, the mess can never be seen in all that glory.

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There’s beauty in your mess. When life seems chaotic, just hold on and let the Potter work on you. Don’t worry. Don’t stew. Ignore the mess. You will get to it when you get to it, and it will eventually be eliminated.

Happy International Women’s Day

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“I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.” – Maya Angelou.

Happy International Women’s Day, my dear readers.

We are so strong, dear women. Never forget that. Each of us is only one person, but we wear many hats. Wife. Child-bearer. Nurturer. Rock. Friend. Sister. Encourager. Planner. Teacher. Entrepreneur. Prayer-warrior. Confidant. A helping hand. Mountain Climber. Overcomer. So much more.

So if for any reason you feel any less than you were created today, I’m here to tell you to lift up your head.

You are unique. You are strong. You can do this. Because God created you as a woman for a great purpose (“For You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14a).

Today is a celebration of our many conquests. Today is a day of gratitude to the Father for allowing us to get here. To win big despite all odds. For every time you’ve cried but lifted yourself up again. For those days you smiled at an aha moment. For those minutes you spent kneeling down in prayer. For those times you stayed up all night re-strategizing, re-organizing, re-scheduling, re-thinking. For every second you’ve encouraged yourself in the Lord.

Today, I celebrate you. And more than that, God who created you to be ‘woman,’ He loves you for who you are and is very proud of all your accomplishments.

XOXO.