When it rains…
…An urge to get outside and stand at the edge where the falling raindrops land, always rises within myself. I am compelled to watch as a storm makes manifest the presence and wonder of God and His creation. Perhaps that is a stamp that has been placed on my life since childhood, when I was sure to find my Nana standing out on the porch at some point during a storm and even hurricanes. And growing up in the panhandle of Florida, there were plenty of hurricanes. I’d like to think that she was watching God in those moments. It was like a ritual that she never failed to complete. And each chance I got, I was right there next to her, gazing out into a gloomy sky. As the world around us tumbled and rolled about in response to the fierce storms before my eyes, I was not shaken. As a child, all the comfort needed was standing tall next to me in all that my grandmother represented. Back then, she was a perfect peace in the midst of storms. Having grown older I see that now and forever more, that is what God is. The perfect peace throughout all storms.
I captured a moment today during a freshly erupting thunderstorm. I suppose I stood, pulling myself as tall as I could to match the stance of reverence that my Nana would have taken. And I watched quietly, as countless raindrops splashed against the ground, like a see of sputtering hot grease on a stove. I had to smile to myself. In that moment, it was as if my Nana was standing there right next to me and I was taken back. At that point, the past and present met me at the center of my being, allowing a very bright hope for the future to shine through. It was divine. And that is what beholding God does. As I stood outside to take it all in to myself and feel the cool mists of rain caress my cheeks…I suddenly began to see it as something sacred to my existence now. It reminds of my grandmother, one of the greatest figures on Earth that I first came to know. It reminds me of all that she was and still is in the spirit that she left behind. Wrapped in a package of memories and visual images, this was a beautiful gift from my past to my present. And a gift that I will carry into my future. At the moments when needed most, I will be grateful to God for bestowing it to remind of His presence that is always surrounding. I will continue to be grateful for His presence in my Nana, nature, and even during the storms.
“God is with us in the minutest details of our lives. Whatever we’re facing, God has a way of surprising us with his presence and reminding us that nothing escapes his notice.”
As each new year begins, resolutions are made. We speak of giving up and quitting certain vices and picking up new more favorable behaviors. We resolve to eat healthier and excercise. We set plans for goals that we hope to accomplish. And perhaps for the first five days of the year our determination stands against the small voice that tells us to forget and step off of the path to improvement. Now, after a week into the new year of 2015, I wonder how many of us have dropped the ball or haven’t even picked the ball up to start. I must admit there have been several new year resolutions in my history that disappeared from focus like a rabbit in a magic show. Fortunately, it is never too late to make a change.
Recently, I had the opportunity to do a short bible study and one of the notes that stood out to me is this:
Self-discipline is essential to the success of my life. -Titus 1:7-8
A very impactful and simple perspective that I am learning is that to succeed at accomplishing any goal and reach improvement, we cannot not simply pursue in thought or give a half-hearted attempt but we must approach with a disciplined pursuit. This means dedicating yourself to pursuing passions and goals while being obedient enough to discipline yourself. The discipline comes in focusing your energy into the intentional pursuit of goals and not wavering. It is not enough to just speak goals and write the visions out, although that is a good start. Sustained action has to follow. Time must be invested. For the longest, I’ve professed a passion for writing and often I have said that if given the chance, I wouldn’t mind writing as my everyday work. And perhaps I could have already accomplished that by now, but my discipline to write everyday and better my craft was missing. So this year, I am approaching each of my goals with a disciplined pursuit. I encourage anyone reading this to join me, regardless of what your goals maybe. Whether you hope to be better singer, a stronger athlete, a better spouse, to be healthier….whatever it may be. Success will come when we lean into self-discipline and challenge ourselves to obedience. Do not just have wishes and make goals…follow with a disciplined pursuit.
“This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one”
-George Bernard Shaw-
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Resonating from the center of my heart and the seat of my soul is the desire to travel into the world, on a journey to share God’s love with empty and broken hearts. I believe wholeheartedly that love is transforming and God’s love is perfecting.
I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to be a part of a missions trip to Honduras this April! I am excited to share as this will be my very first experience serving outside of the country and I am eager to offer myself as a vessel to share the light of God’s love with the hearts of those in need. The primary goal of this trip will be reach the lost and restore hope where there is hopelessness through talents and testimonies.
The trip is April 9-21 and I will be serving alongside Christafari. While in Honduras, I will work as support staff during mission concerts, take part in feeding programs, work with at-risk youth and other compassionate ministries.
I am happy to share this journey with you. I welcome any gift that you feel led to bestow, whether financial gifts or gifts of prayer. All is needed to reinforce this journey. I am ever grateful for your support and prayers!
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I wonder what love would be and do in the world if each of us practiced it as an art. If more souls purposely sought to mature in our offerings of love, what great transformation would occur? I place emphasis on giving, because love is better as an action that we take, rather than something that we just let come to us however it may, while offering nothing of ourselves.
Love tends to be one of those things that we all seek and desire, yet when exposed to love, we are often hurt and broken by it. Perhaps all of this is because we don’t devout enough time to study and develop a mature sense of this incredible emotion. We misuse it. I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by love and all that it can evoke and become.
So over the course of this year, I’ve decided to study love and learn as much about it in order to practice love in a way that feels more correct to the ideals the word holds. You may ask, how can we know what is the correct fashion to love?
I believe the best way to gain understanding is to go directly to the source of love…Lean into God and use his love for each of us as the perfect example. Unconditional love is what we should strive for. Begin with the source: find the incredible strength and comfort there and make love our greatest aim.
We must love in the fashion that we expect or hope to receive love. Life is built around
reciprocity. Everything behaves in a cycle. It is push and pull. The energies that we
push out into life are the type of energies that are eventually pulled back to us; it is like a
yo-yo or boomerang. We all know the saying, “What goes around, comes back around”.
Love and unity is imperative not only in times of crisis, but in times of triumph, moments
of unrest and periods of peace.
Too often we feed negativity. Instead of congratulating the achievements of others, or
encouraging their journeys, we become critical.
Celebrate life. Learn from diversity. Grow from challenges. Most importantly, love
yourself and give love.
I am coming to love quiet moments….when thoughts in my mind are easy, my breaths are steady and I am completely at ease. Quiet moments are necessary. And it never fails, that when I venture into nature I can find this spiritually therapeutic place. When I smell the grass, feel the caress of the wind against my cheeks, and become aware of the textures of earth beneath my feet, I find a peace. My spirit embraces the warmth of the sun and I can feel myself rising to a higher place. Nature feels divine. It is like going home in a sense and reconnecting with the Mother and replenishing my life force.
Yielding to a higher being and acknowledging the soul of the world, puts life into a different perspective. It is easy to lose focus. Sometimes to see the forest you have to enter it and feel its power. It acts as a reminder of how immense this world is and we are but a smaller part of it. It definitely makes all the other worries we carry seem like a grain of sand next to the huge ocean that is the life of the universe.
A year ago I crossed paths with a wonderful stranger, and to this day, I carry within my soul the exchanged energy and the inspiration bestowed. It was one of those moments of elevated existence that forces our egos to bow down and acknowledge spirit. Being available to this kind of awareness is a blessing and a skill we should all practice because it is through this awareness that we touch the divine. And that day in early March it was certainly a divine encounter.
I was catching a train to south Florida and it felt very much like my life was following the sequence of a movie. You know the one where it opens with a young adult beginning a journey, and we watch as they stare out of a window while a countryside rolls past, lost in reverie. Well, that was me. I had been waiting at a train station for about an hour, watching unknown faces roll past and gather in the lobby awaiting the next departure.