In the eye of the storm…

Ever since I was four years old, I’ve lived in the Midwest. While I’ve experienced my fair share of tornado warnings and basement nights, I’ve never had to experience what it’s like being in a hurricane. My parents, on the other hand, grew up in the Caribbean and have stories of what it’s like. But just because I’ve never experienced a physical hurricane doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced an emotional or spiritual one.

It’s pretty much inevitable that throughout life, we’ll weather many storms, some of which are of our own volition, but some that are out of our control. While every storm is different, there’s one thing that’s consistent among hurricanes: the eye, the center. In the midst of every storm is a place of calm, a rest from the winds. God never promised smooth sailing, but He has promised that we can find peace in the midst.

Some people would rather brave the winds than make God the center, but I won’t take my chances. Choosing anything but Him will ultimately shipwreck us, if not in this storm, then in the next. He doesn’t cause the storms, but those to run to Him can find protection and strength in the midst of them.

Right now, I feel like I’m the eye of a storm, watching the winds and waves churn, but knowing that I’m anchored in place by my hope in Him. I feel the peace, and I know that even as the other half of the storm moves closer, the end will be a time of rebuilding and restoration. With every storm, I learn something new that helps me when the next storm shows up on my radar.

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The God of Psalm 23

We’re all sheep, sheep who are incapable of functioning well without the Shepherd. We depend on Him to fulfill our every need, and in His goodness, He even gives us the things we desire when we put Him first. He is abundant in provision and is the source of peace. We will never be left thirty when we follow His leading.

He’s constantly restoring my soul and renewing my strength as He teaches me His ways of life, revealing Himself in His Word. Though darkness may taunt me and death may threaten, I have no fear because the Shepherd goes before me with His comfort and guidance.

My enemies gather around spewing their lies of doubt, but You allow them near enough only to demonstrate Your overwhelming victory. Right where they can see, You anoint me with Your Spirit of overflowing life and power. They are defeated and silenced.

I will always dwell and abide in Your presence, the house where Your goodness is poured out. As a result, Your goodness and love will follow and overtake me every day as long as I live, satisfying my every desire with the shining light of Your face.

When we put God in a box…

God is a very big God, so big that our minds could never fathom Him. By giving us His Word to read, He’s inviting us to get to know Him, to try to understand how He thinks and how He moves. He tells us that He is good, that He saves, that He heals. But we live in a world where many of us have put Him in a box, a box that’s not Scriptural and in no way represents who He really is.

One thing we know for certain is that God is always the same. He tells us that, and I believe it. A God who is the same then as He is now is a God who still does the miraculous. Not only that, but He’s a God who uses His own people as conduits for the miraculous. There is no situation that He cannot touch or change.

But He’s also a God who gave us freewill, and unfortunately, many have chosen doubt and unbelief over faith and hope. Sometimes, God will override those things to demonstrate who He is, but more times than not, people don’t get the breakthroughs they need simply because they don’t believe that God can and will do it.

At the end of the day, there’s a clear difference between those who really know God and those who just think they do. The ones who really know God have a faith that’s unshakable and a hope to see anything and everything. Even when impossible situations come, they know God will change everything. And for them, He will. I never again want to limit what God can do in and through my life.

Them’s fighting words

Anger isn’t a common emotion for me. Annoyed, yes, but actual anger is reserved for the rare occasion when it is warranted. When I say anger though, I’m actually talking about righteous indignation. And it’s usually a situation that’s contrary to the Word and character of God that gets me riled up.

A few months ago, a financial situation came up, and it made me angry because it felt like an attack against my finances. That anger led me to push, pray, declare, and fight, telling the situation to line up with who God is as my Source and Provider. Anger fueled me to fight for what needed to happen in the situation.

There are only a handful of things that ignite the fighter in me. One of those is barrenness. One of the original things that God spoke over creation was to be fruitful and multiply. When I see someone who can’t conceive, I always want to fight by speaking life and fruitfulness. It’s not complicated; it’s just speaking Scripture into the circumstance.

The biggest difference in how I fight is when something like sickness and lack affect my life. Suddenly those things are no longer just an inconvenience. When it becomes personal, I’m reminded and remind others that those things are illegal in the Kingdom of God. And those are fighting words, the kind of words that bring victory.

When the truth changes everything

I’m going to come clean and just admit that over the past few days, I learned something that required a change of perspective on many levels for me. It’s the kind of revelation that changes not only the present, but also past memories and potentially the future. But it’s also the kind of situation that challenges my faith, testing what I believe as truth. It’s the difference between fact and truth.

Cancer exists. Accidents happen. Those are facts. Many people have accepted that as their truth. But truth, real truth, is a statement that lines up with the Word of God, the Ultimate Truth. For instance, “God created the earth.” Truth. Truth never changes with circumstance or time. Facts change.

God never told us to ignore the facts. In fact, Romans 4 even says that Abraham faced the facts that he was too old to have a child. Faith isn’t ignorant of the circumstance. Real faith looks at the facts, but has confident expectation in the outworking of the truth. Sickness is a fact; God is Healer is a truth. When faith activates what’s already been established as truth, it has the power to change everything.

What would the world be like if we stopped letting the facts be our truth and started speaking the Truth to change the facts? Everything could be different. Our entire future can change by grabbing onto the truth today. The same truth that worked for Abraham still works today, changing everything.

When you find your tribe…

Growing up, I went through phases and seasons where I felt like I either had a lot of good friends, or I felt like I didn’t really fit in. Sometimes those seasons even overlapped. When I was younger, I went to the same school and church with many of my friends, but as I grew older, they slowly started going to public school (I went to a private Christian school up through high school), and my family started their own church. Suddenly, everything was changing.

Another factor that changed how I viewed myself was that I went to a school that had slightly different interpretation of God and the Bible than what I was experiencing at church. I had to learn to discern what was truth from what was religious tradition and dig into the Bible for myself. As a result though, I found myself believing differently than the kids I sat next to at school. I fit in sometimes, but other times, I was different. Many of my friends at church were either in public school or homeschooled.

As I neared the end of my high school career, my closest friends were homeschooled. I may not have spent hours everyday with them, but we had similar views about the Kingdom of God. If I hadn’t gotten close to a homeschooler, I never would have heard about World Revival Church. When I finally attended my first service over five years ago, I knew I had found my home.

Things haven’t been perfect. I’ve had to fight loneliness and isolation, even in the midst of being surrounded by people that I do life and church with. But I know that I’ve found people who have the same goal and desire for the presence of God. I found my tribe, my family, the people that I’ll be connected to for the rest of my life. When you find your tribe, you know that you belong.

The art of preparation

I’m single, a choice I’ve made for the season that I’m in for various reasons. I have a lot of friends my age who are also single for some of the same reasons. Actually, I know so many amazing single women who want to get married, it’s ridiculous. But they also know better than to settle for less than they deserve. Just because I’m not engaged or even headed in that direction doesn’t mean I can’t prepare for the season when I will be.

I love that I go to a church where we’re encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to come and transform our character. Week after week the presence of God changes us into women of character (and it also makes people better looking too!) Letting God form our character BEFORE dragging another person into our lives can save us from so much disappointment and hurt later.

At the same time, I know some girls who may be ready for a husband spiritually, but still have room for growth in the day to day life. I got a late start when it came to learning some life skills, mostly because I had a dad who always took care of things for me. In the past three years though, I’ve learned how to steward both a household of girls and even my own health. I’ve mastered laundry, cooking, dishes, and even organizing my room as well as implementing shopping for healthy food and exercise routines.

Maybe it’s “outdated” for women to learn how to run a home. But our daily, everyday habits when we’re single are carried over once we get married. Yes, I want to make sure I’m allowing God to refine my character, but I also want to establish the habits that will make me a good wife one day, starting with right now. It’s about preparation. It’s about faith.