When I Sat in Seat 29D

Ever have those moments where you’re faced with two choices, but have to make a decision within a split second without much thought at all?

Seat 29D was one of those for me.

I was traveling home from Chicago on September 21, 2019. One of my coworkers happened to be on the same flight, and I almost offered her my seat to trade because the circumstances may have been more convenient for her. Within the moment I was about to offer, something in my spirit nudged me like I wasn’t supposed to. I had no idea why, but I just had this discernment not to — it was just a seat anyway, right?

As we took off, nothing appeared out of the ordinary, and I just rubbed off the feeling of needing to be in this seat for some distinct reason.

Midway through the flight I took out my book, Faithfully Fervent, and began to take notes on certain quotes I could make teaching or inspirational points out of. I could feel the gaze of the man sitting directly to my right, and he inquisitively asked me what I was reading. In my response of telling him it was my story I wrote, he appeared to be taken aback. He shared with me that the back of the cover was what initially caught his eye because of the words, “It’s Time to Stand”. Once he peered over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of my chapter on radical love, he stated he felt inclined to inquire.

He shared, “We need more of this bold faith in the world.”

As he asked me to share my story, we mutually were stunned because he proclaimed to also walk an incredibly similar journey to mine. The man unraveled the details of his testimony, and I came to learn he became a pastor that traveled all over the world to share the gospel. His opportunities he had been blessed with all derived from his bold decision to ask God to use him and his story – for HIS glory – and He DID.

I will never forget the most powerful thing he spoke over me. He said,

“You just watch. Your faithfulness and obedience is about to open doors you couldn’t imagine. God’s going to use your story. You can quote me now.”

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

There is no other explanation for this encounter on my flight other than God. All I can say is I’m glad I chose to keep my seat after all.

Sometimes it’s a scary thought to want to share our story. It’s vulnerable, it’s messy, and it’s real. With our story we will face opposition and more than likely condemnation from some.

But let us not forget that our most difficult opposition will never equate to the power behind an even greater opportunity.

The opportunity to share the gospel. The opportunity to bring hope and healing by pointing people to the ultimate healer. The healer who resurrects even our darkest deepest pains and shames. The opportunity to show people what true freedom is — Jesus.

Gladly take the seat God ordained for you. You never know just who may be sitting next to you as you share your story, and how His glory will be brought out of you.

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Faithfully Fervent: On Sale Now

Summary:

Faithfully Fervent takes you along the journey of how Christ resurrected a once-dead life inside and invigorated a radical fight for love and redemption. This journey is rooted in what it means to truly stand for Christ and His promises when faced with the most debilitating adversity. Faithfully Fervent takes you through a transformative process to equip you to stand firm as a child of God despite the world’s invitation to run.

This book empowers you:

To say yes to becoming a fierce warrior.

To run your race with endurance and chase the prize that is Christ.

To faithfully choose to become victorious when, against all odds, the world pressures you to do otherwise.

Strip off all your pride. Deny self, Pick up your cross. Get ready to live free and do a mighty work to bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Your story serves a mighty purpose because God isn’t finished with you yet.

Come along on the journey to being Faithfully Fervent.

Continue reading “Faithfully Fervent: On Sale Now”

Lay It Down

What does your crown look like?

Are you securely fastening it to your head?

Would it be insane to ask if you’d be willing to lay it down, instead?

The crown of logic filters and shields to protect the heart.

The crown of planning keeps the focus forward to prevent from failing.

The crown of free-will declares things will happen in my time and my way to prevent the agony felt in the wait.

What if Jesus told you, “lay it down”.

Oh, but the crown…it feels confidently sure…it fuels determination of worth…it protects against the hurt…

Over time that beautiful, glistening, tempting crown…fades away.

It instead becomes a crown of thorns; pressing in and keeping you captive in your bondage — day, by day.

——— What if I told you there was another way.

Jesus laid down His crown for dark, depleted, desolate sinners because He knew the price He had to offer: light, fulfillment, redemption, and freedom.

If He laid down His crown for me — an imperfect sinner who could do absolutely nothing worthy to deserve it — can I not lay down my crown for the infinitely perfect King?

My plans, my will, my way — are what I have to die to every single day.

What is The Lord calling you to lay down today?

Lay down your crown, and pick up your cross.

You can confidently trust, genuinely declare and believe that, “Jesus has me”, and walk away completely free.

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

The Vanity in Victimization

Very few people have learned my story of being physically and sexually abused in the past. In extreme transparency I open up about the dangers of falling into the trap of living in a state of victimization, and how powerfully Christ can redeem trauma by transformation.

Vanity manifests from victimization because your focus is only on YOU.

Your pain. Your burdens. Your unfairness.

Victimization breeds bitterness, resentment, a constant state of suffering, and completely prevents you from healing.

It becomes all consuming, exhausting, and isolating.

Instead of dealing with my trauma, I chose to repress it.

As a result this is what happened to me:

  • I longed for control in any area of my life because at one point it was robbed from me
  • I struggled to cope when things didn’t go as planned because I couldn’t function when control was taken from me
  • I built up walls that were once seen as “protection” that lead to defensiveness and victimization
  • I couldn’t sit still or have any “free time” in my life because it served as my outlet to compensate for actually processing my pain
  • There was little room for grace because any pain inflicted upon me convinced me to believe that person had to automatically be against me
  • When I was abandoned in my marriage, I had the prime opportunity to feed that deeply engraved victim role. Instead, God took hold of my heart and told me, “I’m going to use your pain as a trajectory”.

    See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” Isaiah 48:10-11

    I realized there was something rooted within me that allowed me to always feel like the victim, and as if the world was falling apart every time control was ripped from me.

    I prayed for The Lord to reveal everything to me. In turn, through my dreams, He replayed my traumatic events before me that I fought for so long to run from. I finally had understanding.

    Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

    I decided I was going to be done with being the victim, and choose to take the stand as a victor. I could stand confident as a victor because Christ already declared it into existence before me.

    I was a survivor. I was rescued. I was healed. All because I allowed Jesus to reveal the hidden root, and with open palms welcomed redemption to begin.

    Are you going to be the person who points the finger? Or are you going to fight to be the person who draws the circle? The circle that says, let me step back and examine ME.

    Develop an acceptance and awareness that each and every one of us is fallen and broken because of sin. We are not perfect, and that’s completely okay.

    What’s not okay is to blame someone else or the circumstances you’ve faced in your life for the state you choose to live in.

    Yes, I said choose. Because it’s our choice.

    People and situations are not responsible for how you respond.

    Tragedy can become a trajectory because of the power behind Christ’s mighty love for you.

    We can either be free and believe the truth that Christ will heal me, or succumb to the lie and blame the people or places around me.

    Our circumstances don’t define us when Christ defied our circumstances by His sacrifice on the cross.

    Stop living in the blame, and instead ask God to reveal how He can utilize you through your pain to bring glory back to HIS name!

    Yes, the trauma or pain you have endured be so dang difficult to fight through. Friends, remember there’s absolutely nothing you can’t do with Christ walking alongside you.

    Your pain will NEVER go to waste. Your pain has purpose.

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

    Once you shift the “why me?” to the “how can you use me?”, you will see freedom and healing and transform that victim into victory.

    Surrender before our mighty defender, and expectantly watch your beautiful transformation unfold right in front of you.

    Materialism Manipulated Me

    Investing confidence in financial or materialistic things robs you from the freedom Christ died to bring.

    Don’t get me wrong, having or desiring really nice things are not always a bad thing. While I say that, it’s imperative you sustain an awareness of it not taking root and becoming a heart issue.

     “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

    Keep in check where your driving factors come from:

    Does it drive you closer to Jesus, or dig the hole deeper into sin?

    Does it drive you to work hard to convince people you’re happy, when reality is you’re nothing but empty?

    Does it drive you to be selfish in places you should be selfless?

    Does it drive dependence in the world or on the One who created the world?

    It’s important to keep tabs on the places you find your deepest drive in selfishness. It’s in those places that God is trying to show you that there is something in you that needs to be humbled and renewed.

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

    The scary thing about glorifying our lives with worldly things is you end up preaching the wrong gospel.

    You proudly preach, “look at me – then you’ll be happy”. By this people start to believe success, money, travel, and materialism really will satisfy.

    Reality is, it’s nothing but a massive lie because we know the truth is this world can never satisfy.

    “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

    Don’t let materialism manipulate you

    Instead, we should be more proud to say, “look at what Jesus has done for me, within me, and what He can also do for you – so you can find freedom too”.

    I had my own fair share of battles with financial status and security. It became an ugly idol. This idol conformed my identity to the likeliness of the world, and made me my own enemy.

    • I was driven to have my dream car (Explorer) because it looked like a Range Rover.

    • I was driven to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner for better hours and higher salary.

    • I was driven to believe going on fun trips would give me the opportunity to escape problems or things I was avoiding.

    • I was driven not to tithe because I was so worried about building a significant financial security blanket, yet I made sure to have money for things I deemed “worthy” – superficially.

    What a stab, worthy. Isn’t is sad how easily we find ourselves just so entitled and worthy. Truth is, we deserve absolutely nothing, but our Savior gave us everything.

    How is it that I could be so consumed in doing what was “best for me” while I completely neglected praising my savior for how HE blessed me.

    He blessed me so I could bless others, not to live for self.

    “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

    While sometimes having and doing nice things can be fun or de-stressing, I allowed myself to get carried away to fill the void of needing Jesus.

    *Enter conviction*

    I started tithing. I sold my dream car. I withdrew from NP school. I moved to the suburbs, and gave up city life.

    When my paycheck comes, my first 10% is now immediately tithed before any other financial obligation – no matter how scary it may seem. I can affirm without a doubt God will provide and bless me. Scripture says so.

    He knew I didn’t need the fancy car. He knew I wasn’t meant to be a NP, but instead, He wanted me to pursue ministry. He knew I didn’t need a high-rise because He wanted me to have an extra room to better serve HIS people who may have a need.

    I gave up several material things that were significantly driving me, and today I feel freer then free.

    My prayer is that you too will search your heart, and ask Him to reveal if there’s anything that could use a little “less of me”.

    Trust me, God has no problem giving us a dose of humility. God convicts us each differently, but longs to do it lovingly – to give you freedom.

    Let’s spend less time making our lives look pretty, and instead make our hearts and how we steward others pretty.

    Be financially free and trust God will make you rich by the grace of His promises.

    “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

    Raw + Real

    Being a Christian isn’t about pretty, put-together, prayers.

    It’s raw. It’s real.

    Sometimes, if not most times, filled with the honest gut-wrenching tears.

    We live in this false pretense that it gets easier when you decide to become a believer.

    It’s easy to pull scripture + pour out truth when you’re not the one desperately grasping for an ounce of a breakthrough.

    It’s easy to say, “trust God” when you’re not the one hanging by the thread of only having “just God”.

    It’s easy to say, “I’m doing okay” to fight off the pride in humbly saying, “I honestly don’t know how to make it through another day”.

    But amidst the brutal, honest, tears, you end up being met by the God who knows exactly how to calm your fears.

    “Cast your cares on The Lord and he will sustain you; he will not let the righteous fall” Psalm 55:22

      The God who hears you.
      The God who sees you.
      The God who believes in you.

    Maybe right now you’re not okay.

    Maybe right now you need to hear it’s okay if you’re really not okay.

    But I will FIGHT to tell you, God with his goodness, mercy, and faithful heart never intends for you to stay that way.

    There will be a day your tears of mourning radically become transformed into tears of rejoicing and those that are adorning.

    Some days + nights you may find yourself clenching your Bible, and earnestly seeking a place to rest your head.

    My beautiful friend, it’s completely okay because it’s in the midst of the raw, real, dependence, you become a witness to experiencing His fulfillment of promises.

    “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears. I WILL heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5

    ————————————————————

    Many days + nights this was me.

    In full transparency, it still can be me.

    Your growth in The Lord shouldn’t make you more confident in self, but drive deeper the roots in dependence on God himself.

    I’m okay with this every once in a while being me, but Lord how I PRAISE YOU and THANK YOU for knowing you’ve set this captive 100% free.

    My prayer for you too, my friend, is to rejoice in the gift of freedom – freely gifted upon you, to heal you.