Empowerment, Faith

The Little Things Add Up

Ever notice when you indulge a little in life, slowly you’re looking at yourself wondering “when did this happen”. This happens when you indulge in too much food and overtime you don’t notice it, but one day you put on jeans, a shirt, or get on a scale and you’re like “WOW”! Or when you’re in school and you have your routine to study, then you indulge in social activities more frequently than before, less on studies and more on social stuff, until the end of the semester comes and you don’t get the grade you thought you would because you don’t know everything you thought you did.

It’s so much easier to just keep up with your routine and not sway too far from it because the little things add up and eventually the small habits you create become your lifestyle. It’s so much easier maintaining a healthy diet, maintaining great study habits than it is trying to come back from a deficit. It requires dedication, mental, and emotional, and even physical strength but at anytime in your life you can look at your life and smile because you feel good about where you are. Walk by a mirror and see if you don’t look twice because you know you’re looking good. Take an exam and try not to have a silent “yes” because you did well. It’s the little things that add up. But indulge in fat foods, sweets, two or three times portion size and see if you walk by the mirror and feel the same way. Go out with friends all day or all night or hang out with family and leave your laptop closed and see if you get a silent “yes”. Yes, sometimes it even requires limited time with family.

For anyone that has ever tried to lose weight after unhealthy eating habits or even having a baby, you know it is HARD work. You might even begin to say something like, “I can’t believe I let myself get this big”. Now you’re causing yourself to bring shame into you life, causing you to feel depressed and making the struggle to lose weight even harder because it’s not just physical now, it’s emotional. In school, when you get a bad grade and your GPA goes down, it take a lot of hard work in future classes for several semesters (each semester is about 4 months, so if it took you 1 year that would be 8 months) just to bring your GPA back up only .3 or .4. That’s a lot of hard work.

Isn’t this similar to our walk with God? We can do the work everyday and create a lifestyle around God’s Word, God’s Ways, and God’s Will and at anytime look at our life and think “Wow, I’m truly blessed and highly favored”. But the minute we start to indulge in worldly experience, we sometimes continue those small habits and eventually it becomes our walk, it becomes our lifestyle. It’s the little things that add up. It’s not always one big grand action. And with the shame, disgust, helplessness, hopelessness, we are in an emotional battle along with our spiritual battle. . . and sometimes a physical battle depending on what you’ve done.

Ask yourself, is it worth it to indulge in the little things? Things you once missed, you won’t anymore because the trade off is so much greater. And if you do indulge and get out of your spiritual routine, don’t let negative emotions keep you down, remember YOU are loved, unconditionally, and YOU have grace and mercy. We all fall short and I thank God that He is there even when we have loosened our fingers with his. So today, make a decision…..get back into your routine.

Look in the mirror, make a declaration in your faith walk that you will no longer indulge, even in little things. Use those spare minutes to write a prayer for someone, thank God that you are able to get an education, thank God for your job, thank God for your kids, your health, your car, your eyesight, being in your right mind.

Empowerment, Faith, Youth

Building a Strong Bond

mother daughter

Motherhood is one of those life experiences that is scary, wonderful, stressful, and fulfilling. Some might question how it can be all of that in one and for every Mother her response will be different. I know having my daughter at the age of 21, not being married or in a stable relationship, was the scary part. I have always known I have the ability to do great things in life; however, I never really dove into that potential. That was, until I had my daughter. Once I knew I was pregnant my whole world shifted and I was determined to line everything up the way it should have been. Even still, it was not everything I had hoped it would have been but it was the best I could do with what I had and the circumstances I was in at the time. Fortunately, during our first year I was able to work graveyard and spend my days with her having picnics in the park, swimming, and sleeping.

As my daughter grew older I knew I wanted to be a positive role model for her so I decided it was time to go back to school. I started community college and realized the journey would be very long with a full time job and a young child; so I researched other avenues to obtain a degree. I ended up finding Axia College, a community college through the University of Phoenix Online. I completed my Associates in Psychology in 2009. While the degree was a personal accomplishment, the doors of opportunity did not suddenly appear. I decided to continue my education and pursue a Bachelors degree. Life has so many obstacles and I was not able to complete my Bachelors degree on the first try. I had a son and again found myself in that scary situation with some added stress because I was now a single mother of two children. But, I knew that I was suppose to be doing something greater than what I was doing, so I figured out a way to get back into school. In 2012 I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. It was not an easy journey and I will be the first to admit to any person that balancing a full time job, two kids, school, and a household is work. It is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. There were times I felt guilty for using Saturdays to study and work on assignments instead of taking the kids to the park or to the pool. Other times, I was up all night with sick kids and my homework was on the back burner. I stressed about passing my classes. I stressed about being the best mom I could be.

While there weren’t handfuls of careers opportunities flying my way when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, I was able to secure a position doing something I love, working with people to increase their potential and help them build their self-esteem before they venture off into the “real world”. With this job I have had the opportunity to network with various community organizations. The best part of my job is the flexibility and work-life balance. When my kids have school picnics, awards assemblies, or are sick I am not ridiculed or reprimanded for taking care of what matters most to me: my kids. My kids have participated in work events and spent the day with me at work. It is a great experience to have them see their mother doing something for others and share in that experience.

Through everything I do, I want my kids to know that they matter most. Motherhood is scary, but those days when my kids run to me, hug me, and say “Mom, I love you”, “Mom, I missed you”, “how was your day”- there is nothing more wonderful in the world. Having a positive attitude throughout my journey and knowing deep down I was destined for something greater than the path I was leading was what got me through. Regardless of your story on how you got pregnant, where you are in life now, or what you do in your job, it is important to remember:

  • “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
  • You have the power to decide what type of bond you want to have with your child(ren). You can choose to let the fear and stress overpower the wonderful fulfillment or you can choose to be fulfilled and seek out ways to build the bond through the stresses.
  • Children grow so fast. Take the time when they are young to build the foundation of love, trust, compassion, and affection because they will venture off into the world, where you once were, and they can get lost if they don’t have an anchor, their mother.

Are Blessings a Priority in Your Life?

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33

So often in our lives we go after things we believe are for us and the belief is often misguided. The belief comes from familial obligations and overcoming strongholds as well as societal values and standards; rather than focusing on what The Word says is for us. Different perspectives play different roles into the beliefs since not all individuals walk according to faith; they walk according to their faith. See, there is a difference between God’s definition of faith and what we, as human beings, try to call faith. Faith only works for us when we understand it, when we see how it will work out, when it works with what we have already believed to be ours. We cannot have faith and doubt simultaneously because doubt strips faith of all hope that something is about to happen.

So then, where does our belief need to come from? Our belief needs to be aligned with our priorities in life. What do you believe is a priority of life? Where do you place God in your life? Is God at the top of it all, or is money at the top and God is after the money, because with money now you can tithe; now you can give to church? Does God come after your career? The talents that God has given to you, do you see them as God-given gifts or do you believe that you developed those all on your own? Yes, you went to school, yes, you paid for the classes, yes, you applied for the job, and yes, you interviewed for the job. But you see, God allowed for you to have a brain that functions the way that it does so that you can learn the skills you learned. God knew the gifts He wanted to give to you and knew the purpose for your life. He lined up that job, He prepared you for that opportunity; yet, without a physical being in your face, it’s easy to miss the help you’ve received from Your Father. It’s so amazing how God uses our beliefs to test us, to test our faith in ourselves and our faith in Him.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.                              ~ Matthew 6:30-33 MSG

Go after God first. Put God first in your life. Build your relationship with Him and in doing so, you will see how the closer you get to Him, the things that once mattered; the misguided beliefs are no longer the priority of your life. They are just extra blessings on top of what God has already entrusted you with. What do you believe to be true? While you walk around trying to please your parents, friends, colleagues, and spouse; priorities must be realigned to place God first and all of those other relationships will work themselves out. The Word is the truth; it is the walk and the talk. Let God use you. Stop stressing over your misguided beliefs and turn to The Word, if all you have is your faith; stay strong it in and do not waiver.

Do you trust in God? How do you define trust. . . .