Reflections, Changes, Passions

The past few days I have watched my Pastor and his family gracefully walk through the loss of a loved one.I have peered through the windows as many others have and what I have taken away from all of them and the loved one they lost is to live my life with greatness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have also been watching YouTube videos by His and Her Money and trying to figure out this thing called finances. In one of their episodes, they spoke about the habits of the rich vs the habits of the poor with Tom Corley. There were many things that jumped out at me, but one such thing is that the rich read at least 30 min or more to learn and they do what they are passionate about, not what they have to do to make a paycheck.

So with these 2 things I began to realize, 1 I am NOT living a life full of greatness and worthiness of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 I began to ask myself what I am passionate about and what others see in me as my passions. And 3, I have never willingly read to learn, I have always read for pleasure, enjoyment, and escapement from my reality.

In 9 days I will be 47 years old. Life is steady passing me by and time has been wasted that I absolutely cannot get back. I have lived a life of mediocrity, fear, and now of regret. Over the last 5 days I have begun to re-evaluate my life and what I am doing and how I am living, the example I have been for my children and the legacy I am creating for the generations to come after me.

To say I got depressed for a moment would be an understatement. I have literally wasted 47 years of my life not living up to my full potential, but more than that, not living up to the fullness and purpose that God created me for. However, this I know, it is never too late to begin. And as Joel 2:25, God will make up to me for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust. God can do the impossible, including restore to me the years that I have wasted, given away, or that have been stolen from me.

Now for this half of my life, I must act with urgency and make the most of the time God allots for me. I have much to make up for and only God knows how long He has given me. I have things to change for myself, my children, and my grandson and any future grand-children.
I have to get out of debt and stop being a slave to others…which is essentially what debt does to you. I want to go after my passions and not just work to make a paycheck. Yes, I know that for now I must work to pay my bills, but I can also work towards learning all I can regarding my passions so that when I switch my career to walk in my passions I will at least know what I am doing and what I am talking about. I have things to change and I don’t have much time.

So with all of this, I began to question what am I passionate about? And how do I get out of debt? How do I live my best life now? What will I do to reach these answers?
How do I live my best life now? Keep seeking God and He will walk with me and equip me to live my life to the fullest. I have to be in the moment, live on purpose, and be intentional about all that I am doing.

What am I passionate about? Well, I felt that I was passionate about sewing and gardening, but to make sure that I was not biased, I asked a few people in my life that are pretty close to me and know me rather well; my daughter, sister and best friend. They all said the same thing….sewing/gardening, along with God, my family, my children, my nieces/nephews, clean eating, teaching others, and so forth. My dream job is to work for myself doing those first 2 things, gardening/sewing. So now that those things have been identified, I can begin to read for the sole purpose of learning those things as well as reading more to learn more about God and drawing closer to Him.

How to get out of debt? I have been watching His and Her Money & Alyssa Nicole on YouTube. I am writing out my vision and plans so that I can begin to implement them into my day to day financial life. I am noticing that some of the things they speak about are things I had begun to do while in Virginia and had no idea it was a strategy to getting out of debt. I just knew it was working for me and I was indeed slowly climbing out of debt. I was on the right path and had no idea it was a thing others were actually doing and using to become debt free as well.

Don’t ever think that it’s too late and time has run out for you to make changes. As long as God gives you breath, you have time to start now and make changes. You can still live your best life now, you have to be willing to work for it and you may have to make some sacrifices for it, but it IS possible. Don’t let another moment pass you by, don’t walk in another moment of regret. God has not called you home so live today like there is no tomorrow and you have a job to accomplish before He does.

A Big, Big God!!

God has really used the current situation with my Pastor’s niece passing to get my attention and I have been able to focus on the things that are most important.

This morning before work I was able to have my quiet time with the Lord. It was partly sorrowful as I prayed for the Pitts & Evans family and then there was much gratitude and rejoicing. I’ve gotten back in the habit of journaling this year and it’s freeing to write out my thoughts and prayers to the Lord and release them and let them go. I was able to look back on the ways I have wasted the last 365 days wallowing in self pity and depression over things that I did myself or circumstances I had no control over at all. I thought I learned from losing my mother and my nephew to not focus on the minors of life, but to keep my eyes on the major things in life; building relationships, making memories, living life to it’s fullest, and doing life like there is no tomorrow. I made a declaration after my great depression with the loss of my mother that I would live and not die, just as God’s Word says. But I, like most people, allowed life to throw distractions and obstacles in my way. My focus got off. I took off God’s glasses and began to look through my human eyes again.

Death is tragic and the Bible says we should rejoice at death and mourn at birth. However, we typically do it the other way around. I totally understand why we should mourn at birth….part of me does with each one. These innocent babes are born into this dark, dark world and they will be faced with oh so much. And when there is a death, that person has stepped into the presence of the Lord and the cares of this world are no more for them. They are in perfect peace, a new body. It’s hard to think that way though when you are faced with it in that very moment.

What death has done for me over the past 8 1/2 years was to shake me by the shoulders to realize that tomorrow is promised to no one. Every breath is a gift. Not to sweat the small stuff. Trust God with EVERYTHING. and to Lean on God for all things and in all things. To stop being in such a rush. To focus on the people in my life that are more important than the things of this world.

I just heard a lady explain this and I am floored because of the truth that she spoke. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. But the reality is he is not after our things, he is after our worship, and if he can get us to question God and accuse God for the things going wrong in our lives then he can say see they don’t love you and they don’t worship you God. But even in the loss of my Pastor’s niece, with the car accident and having to come up with the money to get the car fixed, with the delay in returning to VA, with a marriage that is broken and dead, with dreams that are dead, I will lift my hands and worship my Savior. He is worthy of my praise. My God is good even when all things around me are falling apart and I’m struggling with broken dreams, a dying marriage, delayed plans, finances down the tube, and questions swirling in my head. I serve a BIG, BIG God and He is in total control!! There is nothing He cannot do, there is no mountain He won’t climb for me, and no enemy He won’t fight for me.

Encountering God

To say that service was good this morning would be an understatement. It was definitely a message that answered lots of questions for me that I had asked just last week during my quiet time.
Many times as Christians we blame the enemy for some things that God himself has allowed. He allows us to be boxed into corners sometimes or caught between a rock and a hard place so that we can come to the end of ourselves and realize that God is our answer and deliverer. This has been true for me over the last 6 months. I thought I was in the middle of His will. I thought I had heard clearly from Him to do certain things and once I did them, nothing happened as I had anticipated it to.

In Exodus 14 we find the Israelites leaving Egypt after the plagues were brought upon all of the Egyptians. God first does not allow them to take the shorter route to the promised land so that they would not be tempted to return to Egypt at any time. So they are out in the wilderness along the long route that causes them to come up against the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh and his army behind them. The Lord hardens Pharaoh’s heart (made him more rebellious than he already was). God hardened his heart so that His will, purpose, and plan could be fulfilled.

Pharaoh sees that the Israelites are basically in a cul de sac. The only way out is the way they entered in. It is in the cul de sac of their situation that they experience an encounter with God. The Israelites cry out to God and yet they complain to Moses…”you should have left us in Egypt to be slaves and die there. We told you to leave us alone and let us be, we were fine being slaves”. (my translation)

Moses tells them to not fear? To stand by and see the salvation of the Lord. Yet the Lord replies to Moses ” Why are YOU crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. Moses was preaching the truth but he himself was also scared. So as they were complaining to him and He was speaking confident truth to them, he too was also afraid. Sometimes we have to do things afraid even while we are confident the Lord will make a way or fight the battle.

The Israelites were in the middle of the will of God and they were confronted with a dilemma. It is often that way for us as well. We hear from God and we are in the middle of His will for our lives and yet it seems all hell breaks loose. It is in the dilemma that we have that encounter with God and experience Him in ways we could not have imagined.

The Israelites cried out to God, but they also complained to Moses at the same time. We tend to do the same. Get caught in a dilemma and we are crying out to God, yet we call our girlfriends on the phone or meet up for coffee and pour out our complaints about what our kids are doing, our spouses, or the hard hearted boss we have. We get others to speak into our misery and chime in with their 2 cents. We can’t cry out to God AND complain to man at the same time. In verse 14 Moses tells them, “the Lord will fight for you while you keep silent”. In other words….SHUT UP!!!!!!
Cry out to God and if you “need” to speak to someone, find someone who will help you to see God’s perspective. (which means, they too must be chasing after God and in His presence on a daily basis, not just on Sunday morning).

Then God tells the Israelites to go forward. Faith is in your feet and not in your feelings. When God tells you to move forward, have faith to do just that and know that even though His instructions may not make sense, it is when we operate in faith that the miracles come forth, the supernatural takes place. Until God see’s you operate in faith, He will do nothing.
So as they go forward, the wind begins to blow and the sea splits causing a wall of water on each side and the ground to dry. They are then able to walk across the middle of the sea.
They experienced an encounter with God that allowed them to see the mighty power of the Lord in their dire situation.

So what I thought was isolation from the enemy at first was just that. However, God told me at the beginning of this fast to be quite and seek His face. As I have done that in just this first week, I have seen the power of the Lord in my situation and new hope to blossom. I will cry out to Him and shut up talking to others about the dilemma the Lord has allowed me to be in and while He has given no directions yet, I will stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. When He tells me to move forward, I must be ready and be obedient to take the steps He directs me to.

I hope this has blessed you as much as it blessed me. Leave your comments below. I’d be more than happy to pray for you if you’d like to leave your prayer requests in the comments as well.

God Bless!!!

Your Why

I mentioned in the previous article that you need to identify your why. Many times we do things because we see others doing it or it’s the new fad.

Dig deep, okay, well maybe not that deep. Why are you wanting to eat differently or try vegan, or change your eating habits, or exercise? What is your why?

I began to keep a journal of my day to day life…I just simply do not do well keeping a food journal. That’s boring to me and time consuming with all the other journaling I do. So I kept a life journal. How I was feeling. What I was feeling. What I did during those feelings. My conclusion was that I had a serious food addiction. I ate when I was happy, sad, depressed, angry, joyful, etc. I was an emotional eater, but I also ate when I was bored. It did not matter if I just ate and was full, I ate until I hurt. I simply ate. I also loved to cook and bake, so anything my heart desired I made it and I ate some more. So fresh baked bread, homemade tortillas, casseroles, cakes, pies, you name it, I made it all from scratch. Went out my back door and gathered fresh eggs, chickens, ducks, goats, lamb, fruits and veggies and we ate…. real good!!!!

And then…My best friend, my father, 62, died on February 2003.
Dead of a heart attack while singing lead to his favorite song in the choir stands at church. He had his first heart attack weeks earlier, but this one he would not survive. He complained about the turkey bacon he was told to eat, the oatmeal, the walking, and so forth. He said he’d rather die full and happy than eat cardboard and mush. He was still so young and so vibrant. And I began to think of his family history….his father and ALL his brothers died of the same thing. One of his sisters suffered over 30 strokes and several heart attacks before dying many years later (she was stubborn). 🙂

So we ate more veggies, but still all the other junk. Not a whole lot changed.

And then… My best friend, my mother, 67, died in December 2009.
Dead of a stroke during surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
She had tried to make changes in her eating, but still hung on strong to the meats, dairy, butter, and so forth. She too was still so young and so vibrant. And I began to think of her family history….she was a breast cancer survivor, and most in her family died from various forms of cancer.

So I began to take a really hard look at what was the common factor here. And my quest into what we eat and how it makes us sick began. I learned that dying of these diseases is not hereditary. It only becomes a life cycle if we continue to perpetuate all we’ve known all our lives. If Grand mama and them ate xyz and died, they taught mama and them to eat xyz and they died, and now here we are eating xyz….ummmm we will die too. Now I know God has an appointed time for us all to die and we neither know the day nor the hour, let alone the how, but if I can do something in the here and now to live life to the fullest, shouldn’t I at least try?

So watching both my parents die of diseases they MAY have been able to reverse by changing their eating habits was and is my why. But I would digress every now and then because I “missed” this or that so much.

And then…My first nephew, 28, died in March 2014.
Dead of a massive heart attack brought on by undetected high blood pressure and obesity. So young and so much life ahead of him. A new son and a few weeks prior celebrated his daughters 4th birthday.

This is when things kicked into over drive for me and my why became even greater. What if what we are eating IS killing us sooner than our time? What if we are contributing to our death by what we eat? Is it worth it? For me the answer was and still is a resounding NO!!! I became determined to live life to the fullest and enjoy as much as I can. And I don’t mind at all changing what I put in my mouth on a daily basis.

So MY why is to be as healthy as I can and live life as long as I can and to the fullest. In my younger days it was to be skinny and sexy. To have that flat tummy and toned body and wear clothes that hugged my body. As I have matured, my why definitely changed. Over these years I have learned that not necessarily every thing good TO me is good FOR me, and I am grateful I still have the time to make changes and teach others as well.

So now the ball is in your court. What is your why? Why are you on this journey? Is it just about a number? Is it about living a long vibrant life? Is it about reversing diseases? What is YOUR why?

God’s bountiful blessings to you. I’ll see you in the next article. Praying you great success in your journey.

Tasha