Life After Loss

What do you do when life throws you a tragic curveball? How do you pick up the shattered pieces of your life when the one thing you’ve prepared for and dreamed about suddenly slips through your fingers as wind-driven sand?

We all have faced some type of crisis, whether it’s a failed marriage, children on drugs, breast cancer or other illness, loss of a job, wrong choices, the sudden death of a loved one, etc.

In 2009 our family home was annihilated in a fire. I mean utterly destroyed! I mean there was nothing left! We lost EVERYTHING! Or so I thought.. you see, we lost all our clothes, shoes, furniture, etc, but we didn’t lose our hope.

The way to overcome every unforeseen crisis is found in the One who is the overcomer:

Jesus.

When the storms and tribulations of life come crashing in upon you, you can be anchored in Christ and His promise to cause all things to work together for your good.

God has promised to release His power and wisdom to overcome difficult and seemingly hopeless seasons in your life. Taking hold of this promise from God creates confidence and perseverance instead of anxiety and fear of the future.

The correct response to crisis produces perseverance, character, and hope!

You must know that surely there is a hope and your future will not be cut off!

You will survive.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

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Have You Hit A Wall?

In life at times, you may hit a wall. It seems like nothing is working out, it seems like things have gone silent and it feels like God can no longer hear your prayer.

Today, I want to encourage you to hold firmly to the Word of God. What does this mean? Practically, it means pulling out your bible, notecards or copy and pasting scriptures into your notepad on your phone. When you get attacked with thoughts like, “What are you going to do?” “Nothing is going to work out.” “God has left you.” “You are going to fail.” and whatever other lies from the devil, you FIGHT BACK.

Here’s a few go-to scriptures. 

Jer 1:12…….. “I am ready to perform My Word.”

Jn 16:24……. “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Mt 21:22………”…whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Jer 33:3……… “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things…”

Jn 14:14…….. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

Jn 16:23…….. “…whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

Jas 5:16…….. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Job 22:27…… “You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you…”

1Jn 5:14…….. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

1Jn 5:15…….. “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Jn 14:13…….. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Isa 55:11……. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Jn 15:7………. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Mt 18:18…….. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Mt 18:19…….. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”

Jn 15:16…….. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

Jer 29:12…….. “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

Isa 65:24…….. “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear.”

Ps 91:15…….. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”

So write your scriptures out. Speak the word over that situation and say what you WANT to see vs. what you are seeing. Renew your mind in God’s word! We walk by FAITH and not by sight.

God loves you like crazy!

 

PinkyPromise

“What Happened To Us?”

“What happened to us?”

That’s what the text read. The text from now a stranger. I tried to ignore it but couldn’t help but read it over and over again.

“What happened to us?”

I stared at the message until my eyes were streaming with tears. We were best friends. We did it all together. We were inseparable. We promised to always be there for one another. Regardless of how heated our arguments were we’d take some time to cool off and be laughing soon enough. Truth is, we were attracted to each others dysfunction and we remained loyal as long as we stayed dysfunctional. How could I have guessed that loving me would mean losing you?

“What happened to us?”

Well,  I realized our relationship was poison to my destiny so I chose me! Choosing me meant letting our relationship expire. Choosing me meant walking and staying away. Choosing me meant a new beginning. So many words left unspoken. I was tempted to reply but I can’t connect with you unless I’m willing to go back to who I used to be. The thing is, I’m not broken anymore. I’m not the same Karla you knew. I came to God broken and He put me back together differently. So when I said “see you later” I should’ve said “good-bye.”

Does God Have Someone For ME?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever wrestled with the question, does God have someone for me? Hear this, if you have a desire for marriage, I truly believe that it’s something God has placed in you for a reason. If you weren’t meant to marry, that desire wouldn’t burn within you. God is not a mean god. So, yes, God has someone for you! But what are we to do until we meet the person we are to marry? Well, we prepare. Preparation is an external and internal process.

One of the first things I had to work on was becoming emotionally stable. Scripture tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in ALL his ways (James 1:8). And that was true for me. The first relationship I was in damaged me and I made every man I dated after that pay for it. I thought that real power was in getting even, in making them hurt like I was hurt. Then one day a church mother told me, “it takes power not to do to others what has been done to you. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. It takes a strong woman to hold her composure.” Her words pierced my heart and changed me forever. (Side note: ladies, get around some church mothers! They are wise! They don’t always tell you what you want to hear, but they’ll tell you what you NEED to hear.) It was fear that that drove me into relationships too soon, and what kept me in bad relationships too long. I was the problem. I needed to heal.

I was very immature and the emotions of deep like, love, infatuation, and strong attraction began to cloud my judgment and impair my romantic vision. I lost sight of my purpose and traded my identity in relationships just for “security.”

Once God dealt with me and completely healed me, I realized that it was now time to start preparing to be a wife. Proverbs 18:22 states that He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Ladies, I know we hear this all the time and most point out “He who finds a wife” which means we are not to be looking for him, which is very true; however, the part I want to emphasize is he who finds a WIFE, not a side chick. (Side note: ladies, God is NOT going to send you someone else’s husband. Leave that married man ALONE!) Not a special friend with benefits. Not someone he can call when he’s in town. Not someone he can chill with when he’s bored. Not someone who wants to keep you a secret. A WIFE!

We have to use this time to prepare for the future. I’ve learned to be patient and spend this time in getting closer to God. To get to know me. To read. Spend time with my closest friends and family. To try new things. To volunteer in my community. Get more involved at church. Travel. Workout. Get a degree. It’s imperative you stay busy! Idle moments are when we start getting into trouble.

Also, take this time to pray for your future husband. Praying for the person you are going to marry is one of the most important things you can do for them during your season of singleness.

Most importantly, don’t allow anger, bitterness, or jealousy overtake or control you. Wait on God. The reason so many people miss out on their blessing is because they decide to settle for a microwave dinner instead of waiting for the feast God has for them. The best things take time. It’s important to remember that God is not only preparing your future husband but He is preparing you as well and when it comes time, He will bring you together.

Determine to be your most beautiful self as you go after God. You deserve what God has for you. Know that He won’t short-change you. Till then, wake, pray, slay 😉

Heavenly Father,

Prepare every person that has taken the time to read this post to be a good wife/husband. Cultivate our heart, that we may become all that you have called us to be. Strengthen and mold us into the spouse You’ve purposed for us to be. Prepare us for all that is to come. Let each step we take be taken in favor and grace. Help us dwell and remain in love. If we are ever offended, give us the strength to let any and every offense slide. Let us not cling to pain, and instead to Your love. Help us to love our future husband/wife through pain and give us strength to forgive. Bless our future spouse financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. In Jesus name, AMEN!

The Other Woman… -__-

Standing there preparing food for the homeless, volunteering, minding my business, when all of a sudden she walks in…. The woman who had caused me so much pain. The woman who caused me to question my self-worth. The woman who made me VIOLENT. The woman who had me feeling some type of way when I’d watch “Snapped”…. (Don’t judge me! Lol) This woman hurt me.

 I had been with my now ex-boyfriend for two years when I found out he was cheating on me. He had been cheating on me with his neighbor for at least six months!

When I found out, I obviously got the crazies. (Yes, I love Jesus but I still get the crazies! y’all pray for me. haha) I cursed him out and when I couldn’t think of any more curse words, I made some up. I wanted him to feel what I felt. To hurt like I hurt.

I was damaged. I was broken. I was hurt. I was angry!

He was my first love and in my eyes, our relationship was perfect.

But in reality, it was FAR from perfect. I didn’t get it then, but I get it now.

Truth is, our relationship was faulty from the start. We were both broken trying to build on a shaky foundation. So here I was, in this relationship, broken, but still trying to keep my composure so that we could work things out. I knew what I was getting myself into but I still blamed him. He was the easiest target. The other women were the easiest target. Because it was easier to attack them than to accept that I had put myself in this situation.

I got so far from who I was. It wasn’t until I gave my heart to Christ that I was truly healed from all the pain they caused me. The pain I caused myself.

And then something CRAZY happened.. I forgave them both! From the bottom of my heart forgave them. Not because what they did was ok, or because I’m weak, but because they had too much control over me. Every time I thought about them I’d get the crazies! I couldn’t live like that anymore.

You know how I know I’m really healed and over it? Because when I saw her standing 4 feet away from me, I didn’t get angry. I wasn’t hurt anymore. I didn’t care! I seriously considered talking to her. Like I almost said hi to her. I kept looking at her but she never looked my way.  She stood there for a few seconds before leaving. After she left I got a little upset at myself for not saying hi to her. For not telling her that I had forgiven her.

I’ll be volunteering at the same place next week. maybe I’ll tell her then…

Matthew 5:44.. 

Letting Go Is Hard, But Holding On Is Harder.

How many of us are holding on to people, things, or goals that should’ve been utterly destroyed?

That doesn’t mean just let go, but it’s the things that you know that you know THAT YOU KNOW you have no business being connected to. But you do it anyway out of fear of loneliness, rejection, or the idea that you might have to actually be on your own. We’re so afraid of the idea of having to do it on our own that we settle for the company of people that should’ve been cut out our lives. Isolation terrifies us. So, even if you break me ‘I’ll hang on to you. Even if it utterly destroys me and utterly destroys everything I know to be true about God, and everything I know I love, I’m gonna hang on to you. Because I’m comfortable here.

What if the fact that you’re losing has nothing to do with you and everything to do with what you’re holding on to?

As women, we have to stop trying to force relationships that do not fit. It is imperative that we stop prolonging relationships that are clearly not a match just for the sake of looking a certain way and portraying a certain status for people that could care less.

 A forced relationship encompasses a substantial amount of stress. Never hold onto a relationship that outwardly appears to be perfect but is inwardly doing damage. There is not a lover on the planet that is worth self-destruction. Trust God enough to walk away from anything that isn’t in His will for your life.

Prayer: Father, teach us how to love ourselves beyond the distorted perceptions and false beliefs we have created about ourselves. Teach us how to love ourselves beyond the judgements we may have held about ourselves and against ourselves. We open our minds and hearts to receive Your love and loving guidance now. Help us let go of those who have already let go of us. Help us walk away from anything or anyone that wasn’t sent by You. Amen.

One Man, Two Baby Mommas, and A Wife!

I know what you’re thinking… DRAMA!!! But, not so much..

My brother was 19 years old when his girlfriend found out she was having a baby. Now, when you’re raised Apostolic and your mom is super saved, having a baby out of wedlock is a big no no! When he told our mom he was going to be a father, she took a literal interpretation of the Bible and did not spare him from the rod. Lol.

When things didn’t work out with his firstborn’s mother, he got into a new relationship and had another baby. So now here he is, 24 years old, with two children from two different women.

Things got ugly!

But not for long. He understood that he had to make things right. It was no longer about him.

Dealing with an ex when you have children together can be difficult, but not impossible. Being parents means putting your child’s best interests above your own, and that means finding a way to form an amicable relationship with your ex as co-parents.

My brother isn’t perfect. Things with him and his exes didn’t just fall into place, they had to work at it and most importantly, pray about it.

Then enters his new girlfriend who is now his wife. It take a STRONG woman to enter a situation like this and stay! Not only does she love his daughters as if they are her own, but she loves and respects their mothers also. All three women get along… God is a bad boy ya’ll.. Lol.

I admire my brother, his wife, the women, and their husbands, because they were able to turn such a dysfunctional situation into a beautiful blessing. I now have an extended family and my nieces are happy.

I admire the fact that they didn’t let their problems affect my nieces.

I asked my brother how he did it and he said, “One thing I knew was that I was going to have to find a way to make it work. I don’t want a court system to determine how often I get to see my children.”

Well done, brother.

I take away a couple things from this situation.. One, God is able! God can and will fix ANY thing as long as we give our problems over to Him. Nothing is impossible for GOD! Two, forgiveness is KEY!

Ladies, gentlemen, remember this: the key is for you and your ex to take the high road and truly make sacrifices for your children. It isn’t only self-indulgent, but self-destructive for you to thrust your children in the middle of emotional crossfire. You wanted children, and now you have them. The fact that your relationship didn’t work out is unfortunate, but it’s not their fault.

Brother, I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the father that you are. I’m proud of how far you’ve made it. I’m excited about your future!

Healed people, heal people.

How do we use the forces of a difficult time to help us grow? There are many ways, but the first way, the gateway, is to know that we are not alone in these endeavors. Everybody has a struggle!

One of the greatest problems of human behavior is the way we isolate ourselves from each other. It’s ok to keep some things private but there are things we need to share. In our misguided perception of separation, we assume that others are not sharing a similar experience of life. We imagine that we are unique in our failures or longings. We feel like everyone else has it all together and we’re the only ones struggling. And so we try to appear as happy and consistent as we think others are, and we feel shame when we stumble and fall.

When difficulties come our way, we don’t readily seek out help and compassion because we think others might not understand, or would judge us harshly or take advantage of our weakness. And so we hide out, and we miss out.

But what if we started opening up to one another?

What if we stopped judging each other and started embracing one another?

Instead, when people ask how we’re doing we say “I’m doing just fine” or “I’m good.”

What if we were honest enough to say, I’m struggling a little bit. My kids are misbehaving or my relationship isn’t too well.

We pretend we’re fine and people walk away wondering how we have it all together. How come her life is so perfect? What’s wrong with me?

When we don’t share with others our pain and fear, we’re left to deal with it alone.  The irony of hiding the truth of our humanness is that our secret is not really a secret at all.  Everyone has a similar secret. Everyone isn’t “fine” or “good”.

When you go through something and grow through it, don’t keep it to yourself. Someone else is struggling with what you grew through. Help them!

I’ve always been loved.

When you’re a child of divorce or come from a broken home, when the people who are “supposed to love you” don’t, you find yourself making desperate decisions, just to feel loved. We tend to get antsy and lose our courage, strength, and patience to wait for the love we deserve. We falsely believe that we don’t deserve love – so we take what we can get.

The problem is that when we begin to feel like we don’t deserve love or the idea that we cannot be loved, we start planting seeds in the form of self-hatred. We disguise self-hatred with make-up and nice clothes but still end up feeling empty inside. When someone attempts to love us, they see that we don’t love ourselves and take advantage of that.

I remember staying in a relationship longer than I should have because anything was better than being alone (sad I know!) Seeking to be loved, I lost myself. Lost my identity. I got so far from who I really was.

I had put myself on clearance. I had changed the definition of love..

It all started one compromise at a time.

I eventually let it go. Moved on. And now when I think back, I get so mad at myself for allowing that relationship to disvalue me.

But then I realized that there are lessons that we are supposed to learn when we find our mind constantly drifting to an experience that we’d much rather forget. I had to push through and allow myself to hear the moral of the story.

I asked God for the wisdom that I was supposed to gain from the situation and I found His response in,

1 John 4:19 ……..He first loved us.

I have always been loved. The God of the universe, has always loved me. Never again will I change the definition of love.

Solitude

It amazes me how much time I spend alone…. How much I like it.  I remember being in a place where I HATED being alone. I dreaded being left alone in my thoughts. Solitude terrified me! My biggest fear was silence. I refused to turn off my phone, log off Facebook, walk away from my computer, and just sit in silence because in those moments I might actually have to face up to who I really was.

Then, a few years ago, something changed. I started to embrace solitude. I now find inner fulfillment in what once terrified me. I went from being out at clubs and parties all the time, to enjoying nights alone.

I’m so different than I was before. Prayer and meditation have become my medication.

I now understand that my time alone has been preparing and strengthening me.

For growth.

To get to know myself, every part of me.

Embracing and loving who I am.

Knowing my worth.

Finding stability in myself.

Learning how to nourish my own emotional needs.

For being able to forgive those who hurt me.

To accept apologies, I’d never receive.

To let go of those who have already let go of me.

And most importantly, drawing me closer to God.

It’s my time alone that has taught me how to enjoy and love and find the makings of me.

I love me.

I love what God is doing in me.

For the first time in a long time, I know I’m on the right track.