Perfect Love

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." (1 John 4:18)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18)

 

“Fear separates us from God’s perfect love. We doubt His intentions and then take back the control for ourselves; our imperfect, broken selves. Don’t let fear motivate or direct you, but allow your identity to be so steeped in the perfect love God has for you, that it doesn’t matter what voices or visions of fear are presented, you know that God has you and will lead you into a future that is good.” (@pocketfuel on Instagram)

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Just to Be Clear

Everyone needs forgiveness; the kindness of a saviour.”

 

I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was open the Facebook app on my phone–mistake right from the start. There’s nothing like a good ol slap of reality to the face to make you realize or feel that your life is moving nowhere when clearly, everyone else’s is. All I’d manage to do was torture myself with countless engagement and wedding pictures. I see everyone getting married, going off to college, graduating college, becoming successful, being happy. Then, as any normal person who’s feeling discontented with themselves, I take this huge inward look at myself and feel nothing but incompetence. Incompetent to life in general and everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing because, now I feel that it’s all too late. Everyone I’ve ever known has already progressed with their lives and I still seem to be stuck in this place that I can’t move forward from. I feel like I’ve somehow failed myself and everyone around me because I haven’t changed; everything is still all too familiar and redundant. I let my mind overtake me and I become this self-loathing person who doubts herself. How have I managed to let everyone and everything pass me by while I remain yet the same?

I begin to tell myself that maybe I’m not cut out for the kind of life people only dream of, that there isn’t this “greater purpose” to my life. Maybe I’m just a simple person meant to come and go, make the most of my life and be content with simpleness; settling. I get myself so stuck in a rut that everything I do now is questionable. “Am I doing this motherhood thing right?”, “Can I really, truly be someone who my sisters want to look up to?”, “Have I even remotely made my parents proud?” Haven’t we all been here a time or two? Of course we have, but the tricky part sometimes is figuring out how to get out of that place, that mindset.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m giving professional advice, because I definitely don’t have any degrees in psychology or any behavioral sciences for that matter. What I do know is that the typical trial and error thing actually works–I’ve done it a few times. The best thing I’ve ever learned to do is to release. Something that seems so simple can actually become the hardest thing for you to learn to do. As people, we sometimes tend to hold things inside of us because we don’t want to feel a burden to others or even to ourselves, so the things that bother us become buried and forgotten to us for a small while, yet the problem still remains. Let it all go; release it. Cry it out if you must because you must. Cry for your self doubt and your fears. Dear God, scream if you have to, but release it. Find your way of release, a healthy way, whatever it is and turn to it when you feel so overwhelmed and down. I tell myself to let go of these things because I know that I want better, and I know I can have better.

“Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.”

Self-conflict isn’t something to be ashamed or afraid of. In fact, I find it to be a very commendable trait of character. If you don’t question or test yourself how can you expect to move forward, unless you’re completely content with where you are. It makes you take a look at yourself, to change the things about yourself that you can better. I had to come to terms with that fact that, yes, everyone is indeed doing different things with their lives. Some that I’d hoped to have done by now as well, but the beauty of all this is that no one can be the same. We can’t all live the same lives and be successful or happy in the same ways. We have to do that on our own, in our own time–we all move in different paces. 

Instead of focusing on everyone else’s lives and trying to determine where I wasn’t in mine, I decided to focus on the present, on what I have now. Somewhere along the way I got to become the mother of this child who only God himself could have blessed me with, and everything about her has made everything about me the best that I could have hoped to be. I have an amazing family, and while that may not sound like much of an accomplishment or success I could not be more grateful–I’m proud to have them. It’s so hard to feel blessed about what we already have when we keep looking for the things we don’t have. It’s not that we’ll never have them, because anything is possible, we just need to learn to how to embellish in the many blessings and happiness that we already have. Don’t become so bothered and focused on what’s going on around you with everyone else. Take some time, figure out what it is you truly want to become of yourself, your life, and take that and let it inspire you; how you live and in the things you do. 

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(Photo taken by, Jasmine Ross)

Who You Marry Matters

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2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 

Saw something about this topic on instagram today (so, let’s blame them yet again) and it really resonated with me. Since I was old enough to understand that boys had cooties, I’ve always dreamt about my perfect guy and what he’d be like, and most importantly who he’d be. That sounds about right for most of us, right ladies? I mean, c’mon, half of us are already “pinning” our wedding dresses and other minor details to Pinterest. The important thing, though, about finding the husband we’re destined to be with is all in trusting God.

I remember thinking for a very long time, that as long as I’d date a really nice guy who always treated me well, I’d be fine. Sure, that’s not bad qualities to look for in your significant other, but that won’t always be enough. Not if you’re a Christian, and especially not if you plan on truly having a God-fearing marriage.

I’ve gotten to a point and maturity level in my life where I realize that I can’t be with someone who spiritually drains me. The person who’s been specifically hand chosen for me, will be nothing less than a spiritual partner who helps build me as a Christian and a person. He’ll be someone who brings out the best aspects in me; someone who leads me closer to God, not having to bring myself to my knees desperately crying out for deliverance. He’ll be able to reassure me when I’m not sure of things or myself. He’ll know me and seek my heart the way only God himself knows. Most importantly he’ll be the man God has called him to be, and we’ll walk in our purpose together, seeking God first and then turning to each other for strength and comfort.

Where’s all this coming from? I blame Jane Eyre and Mr. Edward Rochester–and maybe they’re not too bad of an example to look at. Looking past the almost 20 yr age difference, and their completely different ranks in society, I’ve come to understand something quite beautiful. Jane didn’t come to love Mr. Rochester because of his looks, she actually says he’s not handsome at all, or because of the money he had. She knew she loved him when she understood that he was like her. She came to love him for the man he was; how he talked with her and understood her even when, in certain moments, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything at all. They felt akin to each other, in ways that few people who find someone to really love them beyond a physical matter can experience. At one point in the book Jane becomes so overwhelmed with passion in speaking with Mr. Rochester that she tells him, “It is my spirit that addresses your spirit;” and he understands her; he knows that their spirits are connected, because his spirit too longs for her.

Aside from Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, and wedding dresses on Pinterest, I’ve undoubtedly made a conscientiousness decision to refrain from silly and pointless encounters with men that I know better of. I don’t know where my husband is, but I do know that I already love him–if that doesn’t sound completely silly–because if he loves God the way I do, there’s nothing less that I could ever hope to receive him with than open arms and an open heart. He’s somewhere waiting for me so, I too, shall wait for him.

Breathe

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t seem to understand people who do things that are rendered stupid and ridiculous to me. I seem to think they’ve lost the ability to think with common sense and then I realize that I’m grateful that I don’t understand them or their actions, because would that not make me too just as stupid and ridiculous as them?

I’ve always heard it told that “actions speak louder than words,” and my-oh-my how loud actions can truly scream a very certain and specific message. Always think things through before you decide that something, which may not seem like such a big deal for you, isn’t trivial to the other person’s perception. For instance, don’t assume that just because you haven’t talked to or communicated with your best friend or significant other for a week that they’ll just let it easily blow on by, especially if there’s usually always a steady flow of communication with you two. I’d assume that the person on the other end of this situation would think that one was being ignored or hidden from something. Maybe I’m wrong, just going out on a limb there. Anyhow, I’ve seemed to have lost myself in thought there for a brief moment, but isn’t that quite alright, because who’ve I to impress in the first place.

With all that being said, I’d just like for it to be known that, I’m not a foolish girl. We as women, fortunately and unfortunately have this wonderful gift we were blessed with, it’s called intuition. We happen to perceive what’s going on around us usually before it’s fully manifested, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a good grip of what’s going on here. Not that anything needs to be made an ordeal of it but, I am rather peeved with the situation. You just continue to deal with yourself in the manner you feel is best for you though, I won’t dare stop you from that.

I realize, sometimes things are better left the way they’ve happened to play out, because maybe someone who’s hanging out upstairs is watching out for you and generally knows what’s best. That’s the only way I can usually find solace in knowing or trying to understand why people have done the things they have, whether it be to myself or someone else. I tend to, as any human would, get so emotionally stirred about personal matters and small things that I can’t control. I truly think, we’ve got to understand that unpleasant things will happen to us, and that people will hurt us and try to break us. We get to choose how we cope with all of that though, and that’s the beauty of free will. No person, has control over your emotions or your life except yourself. Of course, it won’t be easy, but then again that’s why God invented this really cool thing called prayer. I know for a fact, that some of the things I’ve personally had to go through in my life could have destroyed me had I not turned to Him with every single burden and depressing aspect of my life at the time. Constantly, I have to take time and sit alone and release every heavy thing on my heart and give it to Him. It feels hard to do at times, because we like to keep our issues strong, but why, when you don’t have to.

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I receive daily devotionals from an app called Word powered by @pocketfuel (they’re instagram account) and this was the one for today.

Ezekiel 37:13 (MSG) I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. 

It talked about how Ezekiel was give a vision by God of a valley of dry bones that were so dead, there was no trace of life in them. Until the Spirit of God breathed on them, and bone by bone, the became a strong and mighty army that was very much alive. The breath of God carries the spark of life and He gives that to us.

You see, I can’t simply choose to let such simple and unimportant situations, that may hurt for only a while, set me back from what I was meant to do, and that’s to live. To be what I was destined to be and to fulfill a purpose that I was created for. Don’t let people, or situations caused by people stagnate your life or compel you to forget that you were blessed with it.

A Small Momentarily Moment

It’s 3 ‘o clock while I’m here sitting at my job, listening to a playlist of what sounds like sunshine and blue clouds on a perfect summer day. And in this moment, for a small momentarily moment I’m content. I’m not sure how long it’ll last and, honestly the length of it doesn’t matter, just that I get to remember that in the midst of what can seem like the most uneventful of days, there’s still joy. It’s everywhere; joy. You can find it in anything, anywhere if you seek it out. I don’t always choose to do that—sometimes it seems easier to sulk in your miseries. What’s the point of it though, to remain so unhappy and feeling as if you’ve lost faith in the world and yourself, when you can choose the exact opposite! If you’re feeling bad about something, take a simple moment to do something that gives you that momentarily happiness until you find that you’re constantly able to make yourself happy at all times! YOU, not someone else. Ironically enough, this doesn’t always mean running off to the Bahamas for a week long vacation. As nice as that sounds, I’m sure most of us aren’t able to drop everything going on in life to up and leave just because we’ve had a bad day, much less afford it! There’s simpler ways though, don’t get discouraged!

How to boost your mood:
Smile! [:

Listen to happy, upbeat music

And then dance! Even at work! Move yourself out of your funk and into something better

Sketch. Even if you’re not “artistic”, because everyone has some sort of creative bone in their body, and art is never wrong! It’s simply based on how you feel and what YOU want to create! If you’re angry, sketch it! And it may not look pretty or presentable but, now you’ve transpired all of that anger onto a page that can be kept or thrown away. It’s all up to you!

Did I mention dancing already?

Ok, well sing! Anything! But, belt it out and sing it like you’re doing karaoke or American Idol or something!

Hang out with friends, or people, anybody really. Suggest a group of you go to the movies, or bowling. Something that gets a group of people together where you can all share in the same fun activity! Someone’s bound to be hilarious, it could be you.

Read! And I mean books. They’re actually very interesting for the most part, and it’s so easy to lose yourself and become a part of something that you can make perfect in your mind. It’s wonderful.

See, it doesn’t have to be something so complicated to make you feel a little happier. Joy is in everything, just look for it hard enough. You can find it, grasp it. Don’t make it so hard and tell yourself that you can’t be. Open your mind and your heart to free itself from such discouraging things and want your happiness. If you don’t want it, how will you find it?

Embrace Thy Family: The Eleventh Commandment

My, oh my! I’m telling you guys right now, if you don’t already, cherish your family. You should have the greatest appreciation in the world for them. I know everyone has that moment when they’re like “there’s no possible way in the world that I’m related to these people.”, but trust me, that crazy uncle that gets too drunk at all the holiday functions, or the aunt that acts like she’s one of the kids, that’s what sets you apart from every other family in this world and you should embrace every part of it. It actually kinda makes you cool!

The amazing thing about it is that no family is the same. You obviously already knew that though didn’t you? Just like no two people have the same DNA, no two families are ever going to have the same dynamics. That’s why I can’t seem to understand why people strive to have this “normal” family that in no way exists at all. What exactly is normal? Like, someone go ahead and define that for me. We know that you think your best friend has the most put together family “like, ever!”, but I almost guarantee your best friend wishes for an ounce of ridiculous dysfunction to spice up her boring family’s “put together-ness”.

You’re all probably like “What IS she rambling about?! She knows nothing about my family.”, and of course you’re right! I’d be some weird stalker type person if I did, and quite honestly I don’t even know who all reads my blog which would make that situation a whole lot more creepier. I do know though, that everyone at some point in their life sometimes wishes they had a different family, or are at least positively certain that they were snatched by the wrong family in the hospital, so now they need to go on this amazing odyssey where they’ll find that they were actually born into this amazing/perfect family that they’ve dreamed up in their mind. Right, keep dreaming sweetie. 

The point of all this, is that I just want you guys to embrace all that craziness, weirdness, boring-ness, all that extra “ness” that your family was specifically designed to have, and just LOVE it! Love all of it! I’m 21 years old and I’m just learning to do this. It’s hard when you’re a teenager and you think you know everything and mom and dad are just “absolutely horrid” and they “never ever everrr” understand you. That’s how I felt at least, anyway. But I’ll tell you this, growing up and actually having to be a mature adult, you learn to look at things in the right perspective. Any different perspective beside your own is always a good thing to explore, and when you learn that your’s isn’t always the right one, you enable yourself to grow and become a better person. (I swear if one of you guys take that and make it a quote for facebook or twitter or instagram you better cite that properly and slap my name at the end of it. I know it’s amazing.) When you learn to do that, you’ll understand, and you’ll be able to embrace your family for exactly who they are, not who you want them to be.

My family is simply one of the most amazing gifts that God himself could have chosen to give to me. Yes, we have our issues. Yes, dear lord, they drive me to wits end sometimes, but at the end of the day blood is blood and we share it together and I couldn’t have picked a better group of people myself.

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(left to right) Jessica, Aliyah, myself, Jamee, Mom, family friend, Dad