I started the journey of writing this book approximately 2 years ago after God spoke the vision for it into my spirit. It was not the first time that He spoke "Vision" into me. Matter of fact, God shares the plans and purpose that He has for me quite often. But He always leaves it up to me whether or not I am going to obey. After discovering the scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 and studying and understanding the depth of it's meaning...why wouldn't I obey? The central theme throughout the book of Jeremiah focuses on reminding us that we are all born with a purpose and as long as we stay focused on God, despite any opposition that we may encounter; you will prevail in fulfilling your God ordained purpose.
Don't get me wrong, by no means am I remotely suggesting that this is easy to do because nothing can be farther from the truth. If I am being honest with you and myself, at times it can be an almost insurmountable task to look fear in the face and keep moving forward! Lord knows I know this feeling all too well! But, it was during my most challenging times that I was reminded about the promises of Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." WOW!
Without a doubt, forgiveness is one the largest struggles that we face. Why is it so hard for people to forgive? In my opinion, I think that it is largely due to the fact that when our pride or self-esteem gets injured, the result can be that our dreams are crushed leaving us hurt and disappointed. It is part of our human nature to seek vindication. This was challenging for me because I am an emotionally driven person by nature and struggled with the need to have the last word. I have since been delivered from this and know that it should not be my goal to return "evil for evil." After all God is a defender of those who choose not to defend themselves. I learned that there is a blessing in the persecution that we receive from others. When we are persecuted for righteousness sake, and allow God to defend for us, we set ourselves up to receive the blessings that God has for us. Do yourself a favor and let go and let God! Don't block your blessings by holding onto bitterness and anger from past experiences that have long been forgotten by the perpetrator.
Allow your heart to forgive and live free from the pain of the past.
I know that what I am asking you to do is a lot easier said than done. Believe me I am not asking you to do something that I have not been challenged to do in my own journey. Let me share my most recent personal testimony with forgiveness. Just recently, I was given the opportunity to create an additional stream of income (or so I thought) in the course of performing specific tasks that I was asked to do, suddenly I could feel a shift in the atmosphere. I guess the best way that I can explain it is that at a certain point it felt as though I had a target on my back. Long story short, the individuals who hired me tried to push every button that I had to get me to respond ugly for ugly. Let's just say that in all my years of working, I have never been spoken to or treated this way! Now for those of you who know me, there was a time when I would have gone off! Everyone knows that I have never been one with a shortage of words! LOL! However, in this particular situation, something in my spirit said "No, I got this." I knew that it was God speaking peace into my spirt. I had to allow Him to work. To tell you the truth, I feel as though it was a test to see if He could trust me with what He has for me.
I will be the first one to admit that I felt like I had the wind knocked out of my sails and it affected me emotionally because I did not deserve the treatment that I was getting. My integrity and character had been challenged by people who really didn't know me. Although the old me would have retaliated with a vengeance and held on to the bitterness, somehow I felt a need to pray for these people and forgive them for the pain and hardship they had caused. Let me just say that I made the right choice because God ended up turning what the enemy meant for harm, into good.
We find ourselves once again in full swing of the holiday season. A time when most people think about giving or helping others. For me, it is a time of reflection and a time to really think about all the many blessings in my life. What does it mean to be thankful? By definition, it means: "It is a time to be aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful." Simple enough right? Wrong! I say that because although it may sound simple, in my personal opinion, there is a serious lack of gratitude not only in the world but also in our everyday lives. I'm guilty too of not taking the time to stop and smell the roses from time to time and complaining about what I don't have verses what I have already been blessed with. Shame on me.
I truly believe that it's just part of human nature for us to from time to time, want more than what we already have or to want what somebody else has. But that doesn't make it right. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but it becomes a problem when we allow that desire or want to consume us and to steal our happiness if we don't get what we want. I came across this quote which seems to sum up everything that I am trying to say here that I want to share with you. It simply states that , "Happiness isn't about getting what you want all the time. It's about loving what you have and being grateful for it." Bam! There it is in a nutshell! I mean just stop and think about that for a moment and what it means. When you think about it, this is a reality check and a very powerful statement!
In my heart I believe that we block our own blessings because we don't know how to appreciate what we do have. This is a life lesson that parents, including me, oftentimes struggle to teach their children. Largely because we want to give them all of the things that we didn't have growing up which then leads to over indulgence. So what I'm saying is that we can't blame our children for something that we allowed to happen. Ouch, that one hurt! But it's not too late to turn it around, especially if you have young children.
One sure fire way, of teaching yourself and your children, to learn to appreciate and be thankful for what you have, is by reaching out and helping others. Just recently I was blessed to meet a young woman who like me, has unfortunately been affected by a layoff. Although, she has struggled with dealing with the emotional impact that this life altering event can have on and individual, she has not allowed it to change her heart for wanting to serve and help others. In the short time that I have been privileged to know her, she has had such a profound impact on my life with regards to what community outreach really means. Her life is a shining example of how, despite her personal circumstances, helping others has opened up a window of opportunity, that I personally feel is leading her towards her God ordained purpose and destiny! "Thank You" for inspiring me to be a better me in the upcoming new year!
I had the fortunate opportunity to share her story on my talk radio show and I would like to share it with you. So please take a listen!
Just recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the "Oprah's Life You Want Weekend Conference" courtesy of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). The first stop on this powerful tour was none other than the great city of Atlanta! Let me just say that the women and men (yes, there were a few brave souls in the audience) of Atlanta showed up and showed out as we welcomed Oprah and her team with open arms and hearts! The synergy and excitement in the air was nothing short of spectacular. DJ Kiss helped to keep the energy flowing as she spun our favorite old school tunes!
On day one, Ms. Oprah herself, addressed the capacity crowd as only Oprah can. And I quote: "Thank you for joining me on what I know will be a wondrous two-day journey. I'm happy to be here with you to share what I've come to understand about the things that matter in life...things like joy, resilience, awe, connection and gratitude. You live, and if you're open to the world, you learn. And what you find is ...YOURSELF."
Oprah's conference team, whom she referred to as her "Trailblazers," consisted of Deepak Chopra, MD, F.A.C.P., Founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and who is a world renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation; Elizabeth Gilbert, who is most famous for her international best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love, which has made her a household name and a beloved sister/friend/role model to women and men around the world; Rob Bell, the author of many books and founding pastor of Mars Hill, an innovative church in Grand Rapids, MI; and last but certainly not least, Iyanla Vanzant, the star of OWN's "Iyanla: Fix My Life" a New York Times best-selling author, and prominent spiritual life coach who has captivated and inspired audiences around the world.
The main focus of the conference is on helping others to realize "What have you been called to do?" Which seems to be a resounding theme these days. Defining your life's purpose can be one of the most difficult challenges if you are not willing to open up your heart and soul to listen to the "whispers" that God sends to us through the Holy Spirit. Oprah stated that what she has come to know is that every time she doesn't listen to those "whispers" she gets herself in trouble. Sound familiar? I call it my "God Voice" but it is often referred to as "That still small voice."
Throughout the conference we were encouraged to "Create the highest, grandest vision for your life. Then step and move in that direction" by each of the trailblazers. Something that is not always easy to do but for me it has become an easier task as long as I reflect and meditate on what it says in Jeremiah 29:11 which states: " For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." This scripture alone lets me know that God always has my best interest at heart and not only sees what I am now, but also what I can become.
So step out on faith and push past the fear (F-alse E-vidence A-ppearing R-eal) in your life and learn how to do it afraid. Let your light shine to the world!
Wife and mother of two, pursuing my life purpose after getting laid off! Read more on my About Me page.
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