Encouraging thoughts for a discouraging time

Encouraging thoughts for a discouraging time

Encouragement has been hard for me to muster this week. I am usually the first to be bright-eyed and positive. I always have a word for those in need. But, this week was hard for me. Since it was hard for me, I know that it has also been for so many of you. Clearly the issues in the Middle East affecting persecuted Christians, the shooting death of a young black man in Ferguson, MO, and countless other issues in our world affected me. (Maybe they also affected you) As a Christian, my heart hurts for people period. I have and had a deep hurt that just wouldn’t/won’t leave for what is happening to women and children and people period all due to their personal religious beliefs. As an African American woman who is a parent, seeing what happened in Ferguson over the weekend and waiting on confirmation of what happened had me on edge. I was sad for the family, angered by what happened, afraid for my children growing up in a world that shoots before asking questions, etc. I mean, isn’t it normal to hurt for people you don’t know? Well, I think so. I have to live in this world, my kids do, you do and your loved ones. It is outrageous! We should all be upset. Most of us are.

I was so sad that I had to leave social media and pray. In prayer, I was able to remember that GOD truly has all things under control and it is in Him that I put my trust. I know my situation is not that of the parents mourning the loss of their child or the citizens who feel like prisoners in their own city, or the thousands fleeing their homes for fear of death. But, the impact of their trials affected me. It saddened me. My spirit was low. I wanted to help my brothers and sisters. What I could do in that moment was pray. I prayed and that encouraged me. I am so thankful that God is there no matter in what situation we find ourselves. I am so glad that His word is a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:05). His word is life, encouragement, air. So, I come today with no solution to actual problems. I cannot bring anyone back, I cannot provide safety to those who have lost it all, but I can pray that the ONE who has the solution and is able to hide us in His secret place will do so. He can hide us in His arms, in His secret place (Psalm 91).

I have to believe that justice will be served in this life. As in past cases, when it is not, we go on peacefully trying to change laws to protect us and spread awareness to help others. But, we know that in the life to come, God says vengeance is Mine, I shall repay. And it is in that I put my hope. It is not ours to decide what we go through, but we know somehow we will make it. Just knowing that God has it under control puts me at ease. I can keep doing my best in a world that doesn’t always treat people the way they should. I can continue raising my boys to be the best citizens I can and yet teach them to protect themselves against possible police brutality, abuse, misuse of power. I can encourage someone today who is down because I have been and now have hope. Let this be your encouragement in the midst of your day. God will provide. Put your hope in Jesus for He cares for you.

Five ways to survive your storm

Five ways to survive your storm

Every person wants to have the good life. But, no one wants the not so good parts that life has to offer. It’s easy to give up when life isn’t playing nice. I know. I’ve been there many times. Keep reading if you want to know how to not throw in the towel.

Step 1: Have a little faith.

Without faith, you float through life with no idea how things will turn out. With faith, you can muster energy to try again when that idea fails, when the disconnection of your electricity is imminent, when everyone you thought was with you walked away, etc. With faith, you know God is looking out for you. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Step 2:  Love you.

No one will do it for you. Love you enough to say “No” to every request that comes your way that isn’t about your purpose or your destiny. Take time to invest in you. Read your favorite book. Visit a place you’ve always wanted to but never had the time. If nothing else, get some rest. It will do you good. You deserve it.

Step 3: Friends are for the journey.

Everyone needs a group of friends in their corner. Whoever makes up your support group, cherish them. Life can be tough but if you have cheerleaders in your corner, you can make it through the toughest times. I have girlfriends from 30 years back almost and some as recent as this year that support me. Time is not the best indicator of friendship but 30 years ain’t bad!

Step 4: Know this is not the end.

It may look like this is the only opportunity you will ever have to seize that goal and now it’s gone. But take heart, this is not the end. You have got to know that you are made of tougher stuff and for a purpose. And defeat is not one of them. I once heard a quote that read, “If it is not all right, then it is not the end because in the end, everything is all right. Words of wisdom. Keep living.

Step 5: Think about your life’s goals and purpose.

Doing this step will help you put things into perspective. You have to have a dream and goals to stay focused on the positives in life. Your passion and purpose are what drive you to get up every day. Do not lose them. Pursue them. This does involve work so get up and get to working! Fight for your dreams until they are real. And remember, you deserve it.

Well, there you have it! Five easy ways to help you weather the storm. Remember, it has to rain in order for the grass to grow. Your trials are making you stronger and building your character. Go be great!