Frolic. Finagle.


Following a favorable faith

Rooted in Victory: Seeing is NOT believing

I love how the Lord deals with me. Many times, it’s through songs. Lately, the songs’ themes have been victory, reaffirming that I am victorious through Christ Jesus. I thought I was going crazy for several days because I repeatedly heard the same lyrics and desperately wanted my internal player to stop. I found myself whispering, “Thank you, Lord, for the reminder. I have victory in you.”

As much as the lyrics replayed in my mind, I had to release any anxiety attached to wanting to SEE the victory in my life. Seeing is NOT believing. Believing is trusting that something exists when you have every reason not to. My resolve is to know I have the victory even when I don’t see it. Approaching life from this angle is a major test of faith because anything or anyone could distract you toward disbelief.

Gratefully, the root of my knowing is in God Almighty Himself! He is Victory deified and remains constant infinitely. I can maintain my belief as long as I focus on him. He is vast enough to keep me occupied as He blossoms victory in my life.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.                        ~ Isaiah 55:8-11

If you want a good book to finish off your summer, try this one — Illusion by Frank Peretti. Lots of twists and turns navigate you right back to the real heart of real life. It’s Christian fiction with a sci-fi edge.
If you’ve read it before or if you have any other great page-turners to suggest, I’d love to hear from you.
Enjoy the rest of your August and summer!

If you want a good book to finish off your summer, try this one — Illusion by Frank Peretti. Lots of twists and turns navigate you right back to the real heart of real life. It’s Christian fiction with a sci-fi edge.

If you’ve read it before or if you have any other great page-turners to suggest, I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy the rest of your August and summer!

Capacity for change

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since I last posted, so please forgive my ramblings. I’m going to have to be more scheduled about writing.

This year has been interesting, to say the least. Challenges and opportunities have been chiseling away at my comfort zone. Change is sure and staring me in the face. I’m fighting to maintain eye contact and not back down.

No matter how much I want people, places, and things to stay the same, they won’t. And by things, I mean the good things, the things that are comfortable and pleasant and serve a cozy purpose for the time being, yet they fail in comparison to the greater unknown things up ahead.

My prayer is that God would help me to function in his grace and capacity for change. His strength is constantly with me, whether I realize it and “feel” it or not. Repeatedly rehearsing this fact to myself is my new norm: God is with me, God is here, I’m not alone, I’m strong, I can do this, etc.

Thankfully, I’ve seen small victories along the way. God has used life to make me trust him more and trust the voice He has given me. It’s one thing to believe in God, and it’s another thing to believe that you are who He says you are and to speak accordingly to adversity.

I am grateful that my past, present, and future will not be identical. I look forward to turning inside out until I am completely used for God’s purpose.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31

"Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’" ~ Robin Williams

I am LOVING this warmer time of year with friends and family. I hope you are too. If not, start today with one of the following ideas:

Stop and bask in the breeze. It’s beautiful! #myfavthing

Visit a new restaurant, or at least one that’s new to you.

Check out an arts festival, outdoor concert or a museum.

Have a picnic.

TRAVEL — whether by plane, cruise ship, or ROAD TRIP!!!!

Hang out on a patio or balcony with a good book and a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade.

I’m sure you can take it from here… whatever you do, enjoy being in your own space. Do something that makes you smile.

Here’s to loving life, peace of mind, and joyful frolicking!

Why don’t I just give up?

My control, that is. I was neither created to, nor am I required to handle everything — despite any desires to want to fix problems, like hurt, pain, and anguish. But MAN, I often wish that I could because it’s hard to endure hardship and to witness anyone else going through it. VERY HARD! But God uses the craziness to reveal things about me.

Two totally different circumstances jacked me UP recently — adjusting to the death of my sweet, innocent niece and observing another’s negative self-image. Both of these surfaced my desire to fix things, but each circumstance left me with no answer except to turn to God. Talk about a humbling experience!

A. Death can bring such unexpected yet enduring grief that all I want to do is ease the blow and lighten the load for my loved ones, so this grief wouldn’t last any longer than necessary. But that’s not how the process works. Grief always finds you out — no matter how much you think you’re “handling” it. (Insert a side eye with a “hmph” right here!) Adjusting to death is also a part of life.

2. Hearing a gorgeous person disclose that one hater’s comment changed the way she viewed herself broke my heart. I wanted to muster up all the right words to say, so she could leave my presence smiling, with the reassurance that she IS BEAUTIFUL and WORTHY of love, kindness, and all good things. That didn’t happen.

I had no successful words, which made me feel like I failed. I was angry about it. I cried. My tears about not being able to “fix” the gorgeous one’s problem quickly revealed the root of my helplessness about losing a loved one. As much as I want to be helpful and make sure everyone is truly feeling okay, only God can provide spiritual, emotional, and mental comfort and wholeness. That skill set is beyond my superpowers — as it should be.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me when to hold on and persevere, and when to let go and cast my cares on you for PEACE OF MIND. With hands raised and backing away from the problems, I release all control and admit my inability and insufficiency to be omnipotent. I resolve to stay in my lane.

Prayer I can do. A smile or a hug? I gochuuu! Run some errands? I can do that too. Hanging out and laughing? I’m yo’ GURL!

We all need each other, but we need the Lord most. If you can relate, let me hear from you. How have you had to GIVE UP control?

Deduce This

For many years, I have dealt with fear. No, not the fear to sleep in the dark or paranoia, but fear of failure and the unknown — fear of taking risks when I don’t have or am uncertain of all the details. It’s like I’ve always needed someone’s approval or a special guide to hold my hand through the process. “I can’t” was my response to avoid messing up and to avoid any ridicule for not getting something right. As I’ve gotten older, I am analytical, weighing all options, often to a fault. Paralyzed. Stuck in limbo. WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO?

What’s wrong with choosing something and figuring out later that I went the wrong way? EVERYTHING!!! everything!!!

But not really — just like hitting a dead end or making a wrong turn, I can make a U-turn to the main road or the right direction. I CAN CHANGE MY MIND. I can reconnect with what works for me as I go in the right direction.

I often deduce problems with “No” or “not this, but that.” Yeah, Yeah, it sounds negative, but sometimes you have to clear the dust to get to the diamond in the rough!!! (Ha! I just rhymed. J) Weed through all the things that absolutely don’t work, are unstable, and are in the way, taking up space, until you uncover the beautiful, shiny, clear ROCK! It has weight and depth; and you can always enjoy its splendor.

But you have to press through the fear first — all the unknowns and all the “Nope, not that one.” You have to clear the dirt surrounding the jewel. Successful discoveries take trial and error and TIME. Celebrate all your effort. You are your best investment.

I would love to hear from you. What are you discovering about yourself? What have you tried that is working? What have you realized doesn’t work?

Happy Finagling!

Purposeful Gratification

Your heart is searching and wondering when the moment will come. Your mind is trying to remain hopeful, but nothing is visible – no one in sight. You anxiously get to the point that your brain gets stuck, repeating when, where, how, and who will fill the details of love coming into your life.

You say that you’re optimistic without going overboard, but beneath all the smiles and positivity lays a deep-seated truth. You’re haunted by it without ever speaking it. You’re afraid that love will never come your way. You’ll never be in a relationship with “the one.”

The proof of this fear is in every tear that falls when infatuation isn’t reciprocated and full rejection brushes your shoulder or SLAPS you square in the face. WHAT THE HECK???!!!

Hurts, don’t it?

Yep, there it is. THE TRUTH!

This fear is a trick to get you operating in your own strength or lack thereof. Your own efforts (Colossians 2:8) to have or create (ehh emmm, MANIPULATE!) a romantic relationship would be the sum total of your anxieties and insecurities. You will operate from a point of weakness; and that’s not a good look. Seriously! You will look so desperate and unappealing (Proverbs 3:35) to a potential spouse.  EPIC FAIL!!!

So let’s abandon that plan and yield to all that is sound, powerful and loving (2 Timothy 1:7). Be honest with yourself! In all of your searching, who exactly are you looking for? Who holds the full span of all that makes you happy? Let’s start there.

Our heavenly father promises an abundant life (John 10:10) and our heart’s desires if we delight in him (Psalm 37:4). We have to go to the source of love to have real fulfillment in our lives. IT IS HARD, since he’s not always handing out instant gratification. He’s not gonna give you something you’re not ready for, no matter how much YOU think YOU ARE. He’s not the father of the impatient but of the faithful (Psalm 31:23). That’s right — faith.

He’s always aiming to develop FAITH IN YOU and your love for him. If he’s going to send a spouse to you, He has to be a part of you AND this close, intimate relationship (Psalm 68:6). LOVE. GOD. FIRST! (Matthew 22:37-38) Be faithful to him FIRST (1 John 5:2). Give your heart with all sincerity to him FIRST (2 Thessalonians 3:5). Live by and trust his word FIRST (Proverbs 3:1-12).

Still there? I’m sorry if you’re not trying to hear me; I mean you no harm.

Ok. So while you and God have a thing going on, consider another person you need to consult while you’re waiting for love to come to you. You should love YOURSELF right after God and before you expect anyone else to. You can’t give, or receive, a love that you’re not used to (Matthew 22:39; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 4:16).

HOW ARE YOU TREATING YOURSELF? Self-hatred is not from Jesus, and neither are self-sabotage, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, etc. (Proverbs 23:7) You are supposed to be your biggest fan, not in a prideful, everyone-else-is-worthless-compared-to-me way (Romans 12:3). The love of God should extend to you loving yourself with kindness and grace, treating yourself with proper time and care (Psalm 139:14). We can often get so busy with caring for other people that our business and ultimately our health and well-being can be neglected (Ecclesiastes 8:5).

1 Corinthians 13 applies to self-love too. Think of a child crying when other kids don’t like her and behaving differently to fit in with them. Do you give yourself kindness and patience, or are you your worst critic and heckler? Are you able to love and believe in yourself, especially with Christ dwelling in your heart? His love doesn’t allow you to abandon yourself but celebrates you where you are (1 Corinthians 13:11). Self-love is always about celebrating you in balance with God’s love for you.

Make time for you and being in your headspace, whether at home or not. A sure sign of enjoying yourself is your ability to hang out with yourself AT HOME. It’s easy to be around others in a public place or at someone else at their house, but how long can you bask in your spot? It’s your retreat and sanctuary. Maximize the space and do you! Who’s going to stop you?

·      Rest and veg in front the TV (I’m an expert at this!!!)

·      Work around the house or on some new project (DIYs are so gratifying!)

·      Plan your budget, family gathering, career or vacations

·      Whatever else you want.

So when God finally adds another person to the celebration and balance of love, you can incorporate “the one” into an appropriate space among your relationships. All of the preparation of loving God and loving yourself can now be shared with building a courtship and ultimately a marriage. When you are able to check off the MARRIED status box, you’re already familiar with creating a home environment where you and “Boo” can escape and regroup from the outside world.

The Father’s delayed gratification is purposeful (Jeremiah 29:11). Enjoy the wait; the journey is scenic with blessings and lessons along the way!

Where are you in the process…Rejected? Loving God? Loving you? Or checking off that MARRIED status box? What would you keep about the journey, and what would you do differently? Can’t wait to hear you chime in.

Happy Finagling!

Bringing up race at church →

Here’s an interesting article to consider. One of the quotes I like: “Affinity space with other women of color continues to be a high priority for me – and one of my greatest joys. But I also feel called to being a part of the diverse community of the local church, to challenge the notions of stereotypes, build relationships cross-culturally, and work toward racial reconciliation.”

"I am WILLING"

"Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the man was cured of his leprosy."

Today, I am thankful (with grateful tears) for God’s willingness to love me. He loves me unconditionally without my having be like anyone else. The idea that He is WILLING overwhelms me.

He WANTS to love me. He WANTS me to succeed and enjoy good things in my life. He is WILLING to hear the cries of my heart! He is WILLING and DESIRES a relationship with me.

And not just me, with all of us! So much, that he sent Jesus to be born into time and space on the earth. He was so WILLING that he lived and experienced life as we do, so he could relate to us. He WILLINGLY understands temptation and trial, pain and anguish, destruction and, temporarily, death.

For our sakes, He WILLINGLY endured the shame and devastation of the cross, processed through the tomb, and then resurrected, so we could understand the WILLING, GRACIOUS POWER that only comes from Him.

I am so grateful and humbled that God through Jesus Christ willingly loves a random person like me and went through such great lengths to show me. I love you Father and Friend!

I pray this Christmas and through the new year we celebrate His WILLINGNESS by intentionally and WILLINGLY loving those who are nearest and dearest to us.
#bestgiftever

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

Nelson Mandela

#restinpeace #changeagent #rolemodel #iconicleader #onepersoncanmakeadifference