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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Easily Broken.....This Time Around!!!

I believe that it is destined for everyone to experience a "church" hurt in their lifetime. Why? Not quite sure, but I believe it may have something to do with building character and showing you how much you have grown as a person. If you have been any where near a church, I'm sure have a story or two to share. I'm no different. But I must say that I can't remember having one hit home as close as my latest experience.


So often we get caught in situations that we look back on and wonder, "what in the world was I thinking!!"  We let people into our mental space and give them access to control our thoughts and actions. And often don't realize it until it is too late. So who do we blame, them or ourselves?

I have realized that everyone has at least one Judas on each level that you are advanced to. I was elevated, by God, in the ministry that I serve in at church. Very excited about this promotion but I was not really prepared for the Judas' (yeah plural) that would be attached to it.

I had the opportunity to meet and journey with a great group of ladies. As you know, when you first meet people you have to feel them out before you begin to openly share yourself with them. So we are getting to know each other and breaking some ice along the way which is awesome. When I look back at this experience all I see is Jesus and the scene when Judas kisses him on the cheek. It seemed to happen to me just like that.

This woman was constantly telling me to my face that she loved me and was excited about our journey and looked forward to growing with me and the group. Yet, she was pulling me down and inflicting fear in me about what God was telling me to do with the group that He had put me in charge of. And she did it all in the name of Jesus! Because of her title, I allowed her to put me in bondage with ease.

When I tell you that I struggled for weeks with this issue. I questioned myself as a leader, I questioned God's decision to elevate me, I started doing "safe" things when God was clearly pushing me to do very radical unsafe unconventional things with this group. I was terrified and in serious doubt of all the plans God had given me.

You know how we do, well I do this, "did God say that or was that me telling me what I want to do?"

Well, sad to say, that I held up the progress and true growth of my group because of my doubt. I sat and allowed the Holy Spirit to really speak to me. He revealed so much!! Now it was time for me to make a decision. Was I going to do what "thus saith the Lord" or what was safe? Hmmmmm......

I did what thus saith the Lord! I called my team and I shared what God told me and informed them of what our next step would be and how we would move forward. Oh yeah, my actions affected my teaching team as they were following my lead. So we prayed and fasted and prepared to get back on track and move in the direction God had planned for us in the beginning.

Now I am of the belief that God knows all my moves before I make them. That He is never disappointed in me with anything that I do as He already knows how many times I will fall before I can get up and stay up. So I am aware that He already knew this would stump me, but only for a short time.

Well I stood before my group and with tears in my eyes, I apologized to them for not giving them all that God had given to me to share with them. For our team not being obedient to God, since our first meeting, and coming at them raw and hard as God had promised them He would do. What a freedom, what a blessing to my soul. The group received and appreciated my apology and honesty. Our group hasn't been the same since!! The ladies began to open up and share and release things and heal from past deep rooted hurts. True liberation for the entire group!!!

In my instance, I accept responsibility for allowing this person to hold my thoughts and actions in bondage. I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. I wasn't focused and paying attention like I should have. Because of their title, I trusted their words before seeing their actions to back them and give them truth and substance. But this hurt was necessary for my growth.

Because she played her role of "Judas" in my life, it forced me to seek God more, pray more and release my obedience and submit to God's authority like never before. Know that your Judas is there on purpose. The enemy will try to break you, but he can't kill you. You may even break, but God is in control of the breaking so you won't be destroyed. The enemy doesn't win!!

Keep pressing forward. Don't give up when it appears that your back is against the wall. Believe that God has His hand on you and He won't let you fail.....not this time around.

Love You!!
IB



Thursday, February 17, 2011

You Used Me....But Don't Forget Me!!

A while ago, this guy introduced himself to me. We started chatting and things were going along pretty cool. I enjoyed talking with him…it was different. I hadn’t experienced such easy “new” conversation like this in a while. He was very interesting and he openly told me about himself without hesitation. I had no use for my “101 Questions to ask a man to see if he has potential” manual. When he spoke I heard his leadership, his protection, his provision, and his passion. He spoke of how he loved being a husband and father and believed strongly in family. He loved his children and I could hear it. He wasn’t an absent parent….he was an active daddy in his children’s lives. He was confident about who he was and passionate about the things he enjoyed. He shared his interests with me and encouraged me to try new things and revisit things that I had left along the side of the road during my journey. Can you say, “all I was waiting for in a man!!”


Well one day, out of the blue, things just suddenly changed. I got “that” phone call. Errrrr…..where did that come from? {lips twisted, nose slightly turned up, while looking up into outer space while scratching my head!!} So I challenged his words a bit…..Hmmmm…..alrighty then. I thought, “maybe this is a test in being submissive”. So I went along and let things be. Month’s passed with no phone calls or text messages. I began to realize that I was totally lost and confused about what “had” happened. Here came the questions…”what went wrong?, what did I say or didn’t say?, etc.”. I thought things were cool between us…this was a total blindside. I mentally reviewed every conversation and text message to see if I had missed something he said, or if I had misinterpreted something that was said, or if I was wrong about something…anything. I kept praying and asking God about this, but got no response.


I was chosen and used for my gift….he didn’t really want me. It wasn’t because of anything I had done, not done, said or didn’t say….it was all about what was inside me. He took my gift, but didn’t take me. He saw something inside me, felt it was good, and went after it. Hello…don’t forget about me….I did share my gift with you.

One day I was talking with a male friend and decided to ask for some male advice on the matter. I gave him the short and sweet version just to give him an idea of what had happened. He shared his male perspective with me and I realized that it could have some validity to it. So I contacted the other guy and asked if we could just hang out for few hours. He responded back, “we can try, but it may be hard cause I’m kinda seeing someone.” Errrrr…..WTHeck??? When did all this happen? He gave what I considered to be very technical responses to all my questions. Not happy, but understanding and realized it was just easier to concede than to fight. I said ok and left it alone. I, of course, contacted my male friend and told him that he hit the nail right on the head!! He is such a great friend, he encouraged me by reminding me that I am a sincere and balanced woman and that the guy was missing out on something good. WOW….I needed that reminder of my worth.


A friend girl shared and God did confirm that I had passed the test. WOO HOO!! GO ITH BOO!!! I was very proud of myself. I can be a big cry baby…but I didn’t cry when he spoke his truth. I didn’t even get upset and curse him out either. Three point shot for Ithaca…..SWOOSH!!! I did take time to revisit some other past relationships as I realized that I had been “here” before. I realized that my reactions before were full of emotion and very erratic. I had experienced this “hurt” before, but my reaction was more mature this time…but still, why did it have to be exposed to this, in this manner?


My guy friend that helped by giving me understanding, shared with me that sometimes men will find someone that has “what they need” to help them get through whatever they are facing. That was my purpose for that short lived temporary friendship. HE USED ME!!! I guess it was harder to accept because we didn’t really know each other…we had to develop our friendship. You know, it’s different when it’s family, friends or even co-workers. But no relationship with each other and I get this??? HUMMPH!!! {folded arms, pouty lips and stomping my feet}


Well, once I calmed my disgruntled spirit down, God shared some things with me. As usual, this didn’t have as much to do with me as I thought. God pointed out that the guy was chosen by the devil to test me….ouch. I had to realize that he was doing something that he was probably uncomfortable doing or even possibly regretted after the fact, all to help God prove that I was ready. For what I’m not sure of yet, but I’m positive that will soon be revealed too! (LOL) But this experience was for my spiritual resume and to show me that I had grown emotionally.


Often we find ourselves in a similar situation in a different arena. We are wounded by church people more often than others. We begin to wonder, “Can I trust people that claim to be children of the Kingdom?” We feel like they take all we have and spit us back out, empty. In all that you go through, don’t forget what God has done for you and has planned to do for you. God has not forgotten you, your calling, your gifts or your dreams. You are special! God allowed and brought you out of those situations for a reason. Love yourself, forgive yourself, and easily forgive others that you feel have wronged you. Remember they are on assignment too. Don’t let your self esteem slip while you are in process, it is critical to your future. Be mindful that you are worth so much, more than you could ever imagine. Your wounds are healed so get back to doing your work and stop having that pity party. They may have used you, but they won’t ever be able to forget you!!

Love Ya!!
IB

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"I'm Such a Laaddyy......"

I've been out of the dating seen for quite a while. My divorce was finalized in 2006 and to my surprise, I didn't jump right into the dating pool. But I knew that in time, I would have to get out there and just do it. Not to my surprise, I realized that the dating scene had changed, the rules of engagement had changed drasctically. Women are more aggressive, more people are interested in just casual dating and not long term commitments, and no one is really just meeting the old fashioned way....face to face. Seems like everything is dependent on speed dating or online.

So I tried the online dating thing. LOL! I went to an online dating site, filled out my profile, honestly, posted a cute pic and waited to be pursued....and waited....and waited some more. Errrrr!!! Pump the brakes.....what had happened? I began to check out other peoples profiles. Then it hit me.....you have to embellish yourself a lil and keep some things secret in order to get any attention!! I made a few creative changes and the messages started flowing in. Much to my dismay...none were worth keeping!  Back to the drawing board or should I say waiting room I went.

Time passed and still no dates for Ithaca....guess I was holding on to this "old fashioned" dating thing a lil too hard. But I refused to loose hope that God would "let my man find me and pursue me, properly". Well the devil stepped in and sent some guys to "pursue" me. They approached, showed some interest, and seemed like they were on the same page as me, at least in the same chapter of the book. I found that to be a lie from the pit of hell!!! Therefore, I am still waiting.......

Women have diluted themselves so that there are guys out there that don't know what it is to really "pursue" a woman because they don't have to. I found that "pursue" is defined as: to follow in order to overtake or capture; chase. To follow. To strive for. To continue to annoy (LOL). Synonyms of pursue are: seek, track down, search for, search out, stalk (lol), run after, go after, and scout out. The electronic age has destroyed communication and real personal involvement so it's almost as if men don't believe that they really have to "pursue" a woman. Not to mention that most women pursue men nowadays anyway. I was approached by and gave five (5) guys my cell phone number, four of the guys (won't call them men...they aren't quite ready for that BIG word just yet) texted me and considered that communicating and getting to know me. They also took offense when I didn't want things to go any further than where they were. (Now I'm the stuck up chick!! Go Figure) Only one (1) was man enough to actually call me, on a regular, consistant basis and even said that he wasn't fond of texting and email communication. That one didn't work out....but that's a different story.

One of my favorite sitcoms from the 90's was "Martin". Sheneneh Jenkins was a true character....but she kept it 100 all the time. One of her famous tag lines was "I'm such a Laaddyy". She would use it anytime you got her twisted and tried to treat her less than a lady. Sheneneh refused to be disrespected and you would do things her way or just walk away and say goodbye. I am having a Sheneneh moment....I am a Lady and I expect to be pursued as such. I expect a man to show me that he is interested, pick up the phone (the old fashioned way) and have a conversation with me, show me that I am, somewhat,  important to you. You can't get to know my heart and spirit if all you do is text me. There are no Brownie points awarded for knowing how to text and make cute smiley faces at the end of your comments. Just as with anything, there is a time and place for everything, and texting is not at the top of the list for pursuing me.

Luv Ya!!
IB

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WHEN DISTRACTIONS KEEP YOUR ATTENTION

Recently I visited the church of a friend. I was surprised to see that the Pastor had a personal Cheerleader. She wasn't just any cheerleader, she was also a minister sitting in the pulpit. She shouted during the entire sermon. Not just "Amen". But "you saying something Pastor....preach.....that's it right there...." And a few others.  For me it was a huge distraction. I know that I am easily distracted, so I typically choose not to sit in the back of the church. That way don't see everything that's going on in between me and the pulpit. But she was in the pulpit and therefore a major distraction. I'm used to occasional outbursts, Amen's, and crowd participation. But this woman was solo!! A few times she shouted out before the Pastor could complete the statement. Go ahead....laugh with me because I know you can imagine and probably have seen what I am describing. I am a serious note taker during service, but I had no notes from this experience.

Because this was not my norm, it was a distraction that I couldn't seem to shake. Every time she shouted out....I was caught off guard so I couldn't hear or receive what the Pastor was saying. In my mind, I missed the entire message because I was focused on the wrong thing. I felt like she was an intentional distraction. This experience helped me to see that sometimes God will do that from time to time....set up distractions so you avoid things that weren't meant for you or mean you no good.

Recently, Bishop Neil C. Ellis spoke to our congregation and he advised us "in adversity, the last thing you need is people speaking from the flesh....you can't get a spiritual release because your head is too crowded." (12/12/10) Ok, I know what you are thinking....I was at church listening to a Pastor expecting to hear God's word. But every Pastor does not have a rhema word for you!! While I was doing the good and right thing by going to church, trying to be in a sanctuary, I wasn't hearing what God had for me on that day because I really shouldn't have been there. I should have listened for God's instructions and been obedient to that.

My soil (spirit) is very fertile right now and it can't have just anything planted in it because that is what will grow. God knows what needs to come from me and He is making sure that my soil is not compromised. He allowed me to experience what He knew would disrupt me and keep me from taking in what was not meant for me. I encourage you to appreciate your distractions....they have meaning and purpose in your life. God is with you always and protects you at all times. Even when you are doing a good thing at the wrong time.
Luv Ya!!
IB

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now!

When my oldest son was very young he wandered off from me, in a major department store, after I told him several times not to. I always knew where he was, but he had moved into a position where he couldn't see me. After a few minutes he finally called out to me. At first I didn't respond because I thought he saw me. Then his cry got stronger and louder, he didn't see me looking at him. I called his name and he began to look for me frantically. I called his name again....this time I moved closer to where he was. He could hear me but couldn't see me, but he began to realize that I was somewhere close.

This is so often our story. We wander off from God and then realize we can't see Him, yet we hear Him calling out to us. God always knows where you are, always knows what you are doing and is only a call away. And if you listen closely and don't panic, you can hear Him and realize that He's not that far off from you. You may have wandered off, even been gone for a while, but He is still very close to you.

I attend a pretty large church and, to me, the seats are divided up like a sports arena. So I refer to the sections in that manner. Sect 100 is close to the pulpit. Sect 200 is the area behind our camera crew and the aisle way. And then the balcony is Sect 300 with a nose bleed section. I usually try to sit in Sect 100 so I can see and so I'm not easily distracted by the things in front of me. One Sunday I sat with a Ministry Leader and ended up in Sect 200. I was very uncomfortable at this point. I decided to make the most of it and embrace this slight shift from my comfort zone.

When we chose our seats, the people in the row in front of us were sitting down as service hadn't started yet. But when it did and we all stood up for Praise and Worship, I realized that I had sat behind a Sycamore tree wearing 3 inch heels with a weave that seemed to reach into the heavens. I'm only 5"3" mind you. Oh my goodness!!! No problem, I'll just lean to the opposite side and then I'll be able to see the pulpit. NOT! So I tried watching the jumbo tron in front of us. No luck with that either and the other jumbo tron that was in my view was out of service this particular Sunday. If I swayed to the right....so did she. If I leaned to the left.....there she was too.

By now I am so frustrated because I am a visual person and I like to see the service as well as experience it. So in my mind I scream, "I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!!!!". God responds quickly and very gently, "Can you hear me?" "Yes" "Then that's all you need right now. You won't always be able to see what I'm doing, but if you can hear me then you are still on the right path".

God speaks to us always. We have to be less concerned with seeing Him and what He is doing and more focused on what He is saying to us. Bishop Neil Ellis, from the Bahamas,  recently visited our church and shared with our congregation, "trust Him (God) on just revelation, don't wait on observation". In order to trust Him in revelation, you must hear Him. He is talking to you. He knows where you are when you wander off from Him. And He knows when things are blocking your view so you can't see or focus on Him. His voice is your guide, hearing it assures you that you aren't too far away from Him. So.....can you hear Him now?

Luv Ya!
IB

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Service Has Been Interrupted!

Your cell phone hasn't rang all morning, that's unusual for you....no text, no Face Book updates, no email message alerts. You begin to panic, has my service been interrupted! So you check your phone to make sure it's working, pull out the battery, call yourself from the office or someone else's phone to make sure it's still in service.  Baffled by this, you wonder why no one has tried to contact you or give you any updates about anything. You are so totally consumed by this that you get absolutely nothing productive done for the day. Now I was just wondering.....do you feel that way when you don't hear from God? Do you run and get your Bible and start reading His word? Do you fall to your knees or just call out to Him in prayer? Do you call Him to make sure He's still with you and y'all still kool? Don't make your relationship with people more important than your relationship with God. A relationship with Him is life sustaining.

We all know that God is a jealous God. His word says, "Do not worship any other gods besides me." (Exodus 20:3 NLT) Those god's would be your cell phone (can't leave home without it), friends, work, your car, TV shows, shopping, smoking,  sex, Face Book, Twitter, and on and on. It's not that you can't or won't experience and enjoy some, if not all of these things at some point in your life, but they must be done in the appropriate times and in moderation. We tend to get caught up and overindulge in things and push God out of His #1 position.

I know, I know....sometimes it seems as if God is asking a lot from you, but then you have to think about the fact that you are ALWAYS asking Him to fix something, give you something, move something, do something, say something....etc. Don't get me wrong....He's not a tit for tat participant. He will keep His promises that He has made to you, but it's up to you and your relationship with God as to how soon and how often you get them released to you. We have to begin to be mindful to give God time out of the day that He has given to us so that we continue to  strengthen our relationship with Him. God likes to be acknowledged and appreciated just like you do, don't disappoint Him.

Your relationship with God is very important. If affects more than just you. Your relationship to God is connected to all your other relationships....how you treat people, your expectations of others, your forgiveness of others, and most importantly how you give and receive love from others. Don't take it for granted, neglect it, or abuse it as your life depends on it. The determination of your joy, peace and strength are all tied to it. Yeah, you can live and not be in right relationship with God and still be happy, still have other seemingly healthy relationships, and even be very successful. But the price you pay for all that and the time you waste are never worth it.

Don't waste another moment running from Him! Dedicate yourself to establishing or strengthening your relationship with God. Don't panic.....just like regular relationships, it takes time and work to develop. It's alright to take baby steps in order to get started. Just be sure to get started, remain consistent, and anticipate finishing strong!! It's time to fall in love with God again. Love Him more than you love anyone or anything. Begin to detox your life from people or things that you have been holding on to. Release them so you can hold on to God. He's waiting for your embrace.

Luv Ya!! 
IB 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Mirror, Mirror"

So many people deal with low self esteem in silence. Because of our pride and our idea that what we are going through is too much for anyone else. Even going so far as to say that no one else really understands our trouble. And of course our secrecy mode kicks in....we don't want anyone in our business for fear that they won't help us, but will turn around and use it against us or tell everyone our hidden secrets.

I suffered in silence for years, even prior to my marriage. In fact, my low self esteem is the reason I married the wrong person. I wanted to be wanted. Sure, guys liked what they saw and I usually gave it to them. But it wasn't what I really wanted, I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be married and I didn't think that anyone would ever want to marry me because of my history with men. So when my Ex-husband stepped up and appeared to say all the things I wanted and needed to hear....I let him in and ignored every red flag I saw. My thoughts were that I could change him, but I was broken myself, how could I possibly fix him.

I was broken! I walked around looking like a whole person, but on the inside there were a lot of missing pieces, a lot of shattered parts, and holes all over the place. I finally reached a point in my life where I didn't look at myself in the mirror. I really wasn't looking! It didn't matter what I looked like, my inside had started to seep to the outside. You ask "where were my true friends?" They were around....but they couldn't see anything cause I masked it all so well for so long. But then, one day I actually looked at myself in the mirror and I didn't like what I saw. I didn't recognize the person looking back at me. I was not happy about this at all.

This epiphany had great purpose though. It forced me to seek after God like never before. I had reached my lowest point and all I could do was look up....and there was God smiling down on me. Now I won't lie to you or give you false hope, my recuperation was not easy and it did take a long time. But, I was on my recovery road to finding myself and learning to love me just as God had designed me.

I would like to share an original poem I recently wrote when I met a group of beautiful ladies that I was fortunate enough to instruct. From their silence during our introduction, I was reunited with my past which was their present moment.

"Mirror, Mirror"

Mirror, mirror In my view,
Wondering why I can't look At you?
The face I see
Looks like me,
But the Image I view
Troubles me.
Why, oh why
Do you continue to
Stalk me.
For years You've kept me
Trapped In This mirror
Convincing me of things
That just weren't true.
To the point That your words
Became my Only view.
But now is the day
That your destructive Words
Must go away!
I know who I am
And all that I can be
I am a Queen,
A secure woman Full of destiny!
A royal priesthood
Fearfully and wonderfully Made am I!
No denying
How fierce I can be
When I Let my Thoughts be
Just as fabulous as
God's Thoughts are About me.
My name has been Changed to
One of undeniable strength.
I am a Warring Woman on the Path!
I am Breakthrough!
I am determined
To Pursue, Overtake and Recover all
That's been Denied me!
I will be sure to love me
Even when it Seems impossible to do.
This time, Your words can't Stop me,
No matter how Hard you try!
I fully intend To dance
As I cross
My finish line.
I've been dealt a new hand!
See, I'm Trump tight, 'aight!
My possibilities are Limitless!
I plan on Runnin' Boston's
For the rest of my life!
All of that bad past is gone away
And will no longer dictate another day.
I've been made over!
Now what I see, Looking back at me,
Is the same strong image
Walking 'round with me!
No more deception.
No more lies.
Watch out World,
I am a beautiful woman On the Rise!



So know that you are so much more than you think you are. You have to choose to live daily!! Don't be defeated by your own negative thoughts and false realities. I love you and you should love you too!!

Luv Ya!!
IB
 




Tuesday, November 2, 2010

OMG!! I Got Cut!!

Child birth is so amazing! It is scary and exciting all at the same time! You get to experience so many different emotions and your body goes through so many changes. Exhilarating, after the experience is over and you recant your journey. I remember when I was preparing to deliver my my first born, the doctor explained to me that he wanted to "cut" me so I wouldn't tear during the delivery. Now, I'm not sure if he saw the size of my sons head and wanted to help ease the pain, but I listened to him because he was the expert and I trusted his advice. He further explained that if he cut me he could easily sew me back together and I would heal quickly and properly. If he didn't cut me and I happened to tear during delivery, he would have a hard time reconnecting the pieces. He would be able to sew it back together but it wouldn't be the same. NOT THE SAME!! That would be a problem in the bedroom and I didn't want that. So I allowed him to cut me, deliver my son and then repair me.

When I think about that experience, it reminds me that God tries to do this for us on a regular basis. He tries to help us heal in the easiest and quickest way possible. We begin to go through something. The experience is one that will hurt us. But there is a blessing at the end of the experience and after we are completely healed. God steps in and gives us options as to how we want to handle the hurt that we must experience during this process. He says, "I can cut you and then heal you quickly and properly. Or, you can go against me and do this on your own, your way, and be torn and it will take a long time to heal. After you are torn and have had some time to experience the pain, I will come to heal you but you won't  be the same. You will be very broken, pieces will be missing from you. Even though I am God, I may choose to not replace those missing broken pieces immediately. I will put you back together as only I can, heal you and wait for you to learn from the experience before I allow you to be whole again."

How much better is it for us to trust God, wait for God, and allow God to be? We worry about things we can't fix. We try to fix things that we don't have the ability to fix. We get in God's way constantly. Now is the time for us to let go, step back, sit down, relax and let God cut us. Then He can heal us from whatever we are going through and dealing with quickly and properly.

Luv Ya!
IB

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIAGNOSTIC CHECK

My challenge with low self esteem and depression starts, just prior to my experience with my now ex-husband. I had allowed my self to believe that no one would want to or ask me to marry them because of my past actions and my escalating age. I was only 26 at that time. I created unreal boundaries for myself - an invisible fence, like one they use to train dogs or keep wild animals from crossing over onto your property, that kept the real me out of my own thoughts. I had lost my hope, given up and lost focus on God's promises for me. I forgot that God can do anything!! That His word says He will do exceedingly and abundantly above all I can ask and or think!! (my version,  Ephesians 3:20)

So, I chose my ex-husband and settled for anything. When I think about it, that's usually how we do it. We get impatient during the processing. We loose hope in God and ourselves and settle for less than what we deserve. We leave, not a crack, but the door wide open for the enemy, which is usually the inner me, to come in and alter our thoughts in a negative way. But we have to realize that when we do that, there is great room for a lot of error. If God doesn't do it, it won't work right for very long and usually needs a lot of tedious maintenance along the way before it completely breaks down.

Experiences like this make me think of having your car repaired. We have so many options for this...do it yourself, let a friend do it, take it to the shade tree mechanic, or taking it back to the dealer. We like to use the shade tree mechanic cause he's cheaper and usually quicker than going to the dealership. Most people don't like taking it to the dealer because it seems that he charges too much for his services and works slower, but he also is the only one that gives you a guarantee for his work. The dealer also has more extensive diagnostic equipment that you and the shade tree mechanic don't have. So the dealer is able to find the root cause of your problem, rather than fixing what you think is the problem only to find that, "that's not it". Now you have to spend more money and waste time getting your car repaired, again.

In our lives, we all have "shade tree mechanics". Yours may be your parent(s),  sibling(s), spouse, friends, co-workers, acquaintances on Face Book and Twitter, or even yourself. You go to everyone to try and fix you. Why? Because we don't always like process and repairing yourself requires process. It's usually a long process (or so we think), somewhat painful, and often lonely. But our Dealer, God, is the only one who has the "diagnostic equipment" to see the root of your challenges and can fix you correctly. Stop being afraid of taking your issues and challenges to Him for repair. And just like you do with your car, leave them there so God can fix them. Trust that if He removes someone or something that it will only make you better! You do have a race to run, and it's easier when you are in your best shape.

Regain your hope in God and yourself. You are called to greatness!! Stop your low level thinking about yourself and what God wants for you. Open your mind to endless, countless possibilities. If God says it is in your future, take Him at His word. Don't let anyone, not even yourself, talk you out of what God has said about you and your future. Leave your past where it is and look ahead to the wonderful future that God created just for you. Yes, He loves you just that much! No matter what you have done in your past can make Him turn His back on you. He hung out with some bad boys, so there is nothing that you have done that shocks Him, upsets Him to the point of disowning you, or most importantly, makes Him change His mind about what He has planned just for you.

Luv Ya!!
IB

Thursday, September 9, 2010

After the Fall

Just before Thanksgiving, my oldest son broke his elbow in a minor dirt bike accident. Now he is not into pain of any type so this was a tragic experience for him. So you can just imagine how worried he was going into surgery to reset his elbow. His procedure was completed at one of the top Children's Hospitals in the Atlanta area. They had all these things in place to accommodate children and their insecurities with surgery. A very peaceful place for anyone!! Prior to his surgery being scheduled, he had to see a specialist that ran tests to determine where the break was and what would be the best procedure to reset his elbow. Justin had a bucket of tears before an xray was taken!! I tried to comfort him and tell him that everything would be ok, he just needed to relax. On the day of his surgery, the surgeon, the intern, and a nurse social worker came in to talk to Justin, individually, about what their role was, what he could expect and to allow him to ask any questions he might have. They were all trained to comfort him before his experience. But Justin was so scared and nervous going in that he couldn't hear the peace that was being spoken over him. His thoughts of what could or might happen scared him so that he was worrying about something that was only in his mind. His anxiety made everything exaggerated and caused his pain tolerance level to decrease. After his very successful surgery, they returned him to his room drugged up and sleeping peacefully. The nurse explained to me that he had been given four different pain meds and had actually been given a double dose of one. She told me that his mental state made him think that he was still in pain. His body was pain free, but his mind would still desire to be free of the pain, but it didn't realize that everything was ok because it was psyched out. She explained that he might wake up and cry out that he was in extreme pain because of this. He did wake up a little groggy and cried of discomfort but quickly fell back off to sleep. Once he had slept off all his meds, he awaken to ask me when did he get back in the room. All he remembered was watching TV and the staff coming in to talk to him. He had lived through his experience with no idea of all that had really taken place to heal him and bring him through.

Did you see yourself in any of that? I saw me! I have panicked about things when God has sent people to speak peace into my life....He has even spoken to me directly and yet I still struggle with worrying. You have to learn to see things differently and to listen to and remember God's promises. He does keep his promises, they just don't always happen when and how you want them to. You have to trust that He won't hurt you, in a mean and vindictive way. But He has to examine you to find out what's wrong with you so He will know how to heal you. You must endure some pain during the process. His word says "be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6 NKJ), so don't let anxiety trick you into believing that things in your life are worse than they really are. God has things already worked out for you!! Even when you think that you have messed up, you are still on track with God. Free your mind to see things with God's eyes and not your mind. "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is." ~Romans 12:2 (NLT) When we truly grasp hold to this simple concept, we will begin to experience God in a new and exciting way. 

Luv Ya!!
IB

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"The Rookie"

A rookie is defined as any beginner. The rookie is usually new to the team and sometimes new to the game. The rookie is in position to learn how to play the game the way the coach wants them to and to play in sync with his teammates. The rookies have to train harder, practice longer, and devote more time to learning what the rest of the team already knows, the playbook. Often times the rookies are given a hard time by their teammates. The veterans on the team play tricks on them, make them do outrageous things, and really test their desire to be a part of the team. But it's all in fun and unity for the team. Of course, the rookie eventually begins to learns the plays, but they remain dependent on the rest of the team and the coach for guidance and support. The great part is that the rookie, doesn't stay a rookie forever.

Just like a rookie, a baby is new to the world. Sometimes I wonder who is in charge though, the adult or the baby! I mean, they are so cute and before you know it, they have grown ups doing whatever they want them to. They give us clues and signals as to what they want and we eagerly learn them all. A cry for food, a cry for a diaper change, a cry to hold me and pay me some more attention. But after a short while, it becomes time to train them to learn to do some things on their own. We guide them as they learn to crawl then walk, hold a bottle then feed themselves, get their diapers changed then use the bathroom on their own and the list goes on. Even once they have passed the toddler stage and are talking and doing things on their own, they still depend on adults to continue to provide for them and teach them more and more.

We are the same with God. Just imagine yourself sitting on His lap playing patty cake and making cute baby faces and making God laugh with you. Think back to when you first met Christ and you would cry or whine and He would move for you without hesitation. He fed you, taught you how to walk on your own and kept your bottom dry. God has allowed you to experience things in your life to help you grow, develop and mature. Now it is time to get down off His lap and do what He has taught you to do. Just as a baby, you are always learning as your relationship with God continues to evolve. You must remain dependent on God even though He has trained and taught you how to do things on your own. It is now time for you to begin to teach others what God has taught you through your study time, alone time with Him, and your life experiences. Never forgetting that you have not yet arrived. You aren't a rookie anymore so keep striving for MVP status!!

Luv Ya!!
IB

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sitting the Bench

A regulation basketball game requires five players on the court from each team. Coaches will sit additional players on the bench as second and third string players. There are times that a player may get injured, close to fouling out or just needs a rest and the coach will sit that player on the bench and substitute with another player. The view from the bench, of course, is different than when a player is actually playing in the game. They can focus on the the other teams strategy more. They can see improvements that need to be made by their team members. And if they are a thinker and learn easily visually,  they can sometimes improve their game from the bench. Coaches will sometimes sit a player for these very reasons, he needs the player to see the game from a different view.

When I began attending my church I found it very easy to sit in the same area and become acquainted with familiar faces. I'm terrible with names!! LOL! By doing that, I was able to become comfortable with my new church home and help it not feel so big. But the problem was , I got comfortable in one area. God told me to change my view. Well I didn't want to move, the view was great. I was close to the pulpit, out of camera range and I knew the regulars that sat in that area. No need to ask if you needed a church home or any of that I knew they were members or long time repeat visitors!! No discomfort when the Pastor said turn to your neighbor. So why did I need to change my view. Well I had a ministry assignment one Sunday and had to sit in a different area in order to complete my assignment. Way back in the back, in the 200 floor section is what I call it, almost to the wall. I'm easily distracted, ok noisy, so sitting in a seat like that was a challenge for me. But in my obedience, God spoke to me. He said "look at your view. Things are different back here and you see more than you've ever seen before. If you don't change your view, you won't grow and you won't see all that I am trying to show you." WOW!!!

God is showing you a new thing, but you can't see it because you are looking at the same old stuff. You need a fresh new view. I would suggest starting with your seat at church...after all it's not really your seat!! In changing your view, you will be faced with new distractions. But you should be mature enough to identify those distractions and shut them down in your mind. If not, now is a great time to start practicing. In order for God to use you, you have to be open to change and moving outside of your comfort zones.  God is made perfect in your weakness, not your comfort. And we all know that being uncomfortable is a very weak and vulnerable place. So don't be afraid to sit the bench and see your life and the things around you from a different view. God has got some truly wonderful things to show you!!

Luv Ya!!
IB

Friday, July 16, 2010

Get on Point

At the start of a basketball game, each player has a specific place to stand on the court depending on the position that he plays. Depending on the position of the ball, the players court position will change throughout the game. Each player must be willing to stay in their position and do the role they are assigned in order to help their team achieve their goal of winning. The Point Guard can't be the Center. The Power Forward can't be the shooting guard. And everyone must know what their position is on the court and how it will most effectively benefit the team. Each one is expected to fulfill their role on the court, no matter where the ball takes them throughout the game. Everyone must stay on point and in their position.

Examine your life for a moment. Where would you say that you are positioned? Is that place comfortable or are you going through growing pains? Do you think you should be in a different position? Where would you say that you are in regards to where God wants you to be? Don't think about where you want to be or think you should be anymore, cause that's the wrong place. Only focus your attention on where God has you right now, today, because that is your point. If you focus on that point then you are sure to make your mark everytime. Our issue is that we don't focus on where we are. We get caught up in "this is not where I want to be, I should be over there". So, we regroup and work, manipulate, scheme and even pray to get to the spot where we think we should be. And our God, who is ever so loving and patient and respectful, will step back and allow you to position yourself just to let you get it all out of your system. Then, once you have gotten all frustrated, cursed everyone that you can find to blame for your lack of progress, you turn back and ask God,  "what am I doing wrong?, why isn't anything working for me, where are you Lord and why aren't you helping/saving me." And He simply replies, "you got off point, you moved you out of the postition that I put you in". 

It is time for us to get on point. It is time for us to know where our position is and work diligently in our role that we have been assigned by God. We have to be open to change as nothing stays the same. This game of life will push and pull us in so many different directions.  But we have to be willing to follow the "ball", God, wherever He leads us.  Unlike basketball, we have more than four quarters to play. But don't waste your time not being on point or not trying to get and stay on point. It is a struggle, but Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden light, so rest in His will and His positioning for you. God has given you that assigned position on purpose cause He knows what is best for you.  It is your responsibility to accept your position and stay on point. 

Luv Ya!!
IB

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

@Tannwest, Thank you for your encouraging words!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

@Candid, LOL! Thanks girl!! The best is yet to come!!! Luv Ya!! IB

Saturday, July 10, 2010

@SLG, Thank you for your comment and encouragement. Luv ya!! IB

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Team Player

 Being a good team player only requires you to show up for practice, do what you are instructed to do and use the talents that you have. Being a great team player requires you to not only show up for practice and use your talents, but also to study, train, practice on your own, and help others that are challenged before and after your scheduled  practice time. A great team player eats, sleeps and lives their position daily. They always look for ways to be an even better player, they crave MVP status. They look for ways to out think their opponents. They practice what they know until they are able to do it without conscious thought. Others see them and know that they are ready for the game. Coaches love great players, it makes their job so much easier, but they need the whole team to play with the same passion as the greatest player. A coach is only as good as his worst player and the coach doesn't make the team, the team makes the coach.

So it is with us and God. God has given us a detailed playbook, all we have to do is execute the plays daily. Remember, He promised us victory, no matter what happens in our lives. Our responsibility is to be like the great team player. We must study His word, learn His word, live His word and then we will be able to really help the Kingdom team gain the victory. People should know we are members of the Kingdom team and ready to defeat anything that comes against God's word. But if you aren't ready, you can't help the team and the enemy gains ground. You should go after MVP status, even if you don't ever achieve that status, at least you gave your best. Remember, it's better to aim for the stars and miss than it is to aim for the ceiling and touch it. God wants your best, He gave it to you, so why not exercise it. God is good all by Himself, but how much greater would you be if you desired to be a great team player for His Kingdom team? How would you feel if God took back what He has given you because you weren't using it to the best of your ability. That's what happens to athletes, if they don't use their gifts and talents, no matter how good they are they will loose it. Their ability is not the same as it used to be and it requires more training, more dedication, and more effort to do what used to come so naturally to them. Don't let your gifts and talents get away from you. Study, pray and go after God with great desire. He is faithful to do what He said He would do....are you faithful enough to do what He desires of you?  

So I challenge you to be a great team player. Do more than just go to church on Sunday and Bible study. Do more than be a member on the role at church.  Be more than just a member of a ministry. But be an MVP for the Kingdom, study His word daily, learn His word and hide it in your heart, and live His word in such a way that others have no doubt about whose team you are on. I can't tell you that it will be easy, then I would be lying to you, but I can say that the trophy you get for enduring until the end of the season is sooooo worth all the hard work and sacrifice!!

Luv Ya!!
IB