Stronger Than Before

Our oldest son has always been a big guy. When he was born, he was so large that his collarbone was broken during delivery. We couldn’t pick him up under his arms for at least the first 6 months of his life because the bone had to set right in order to heal. So, we would swaddle him and leave one of his arms out. One of the first things we were told was that a bony callus would form around the bone where the break was. We were also told this area would eventually be the strongest part of his collarbone.

Have you ever wondered why God would allow us to be broken? I have asked that question quite a few times over the years. Yet,God always seems to show me the purpose of my brokenness. The main reason God allows us to be broken is to remake us so we can become more like Him. He uses every break to make us stronger in that particular area than before.

Think about an area of your life where you’ve experienced brokenness. How is that area now? Are you a better person than you were before your experience? If so, God has fortified you in that area for His purpose. He wants to use our breaks to make us more suitable for His glory. He wants us to be living epistles amongst men. So, we can go out and fortify others for His name’s sake.

When we think of a callus, we usually think of an ugly spot that has accumulated extra skin that needs to be removed. I want to challenge us to find the beauty in the “calluses” that have formed in our lives as a result of God’s healing and restoration just like He did in my son’s bone. Think of them as a reminder of what was once a place of weakness that God has strengthened. It would have never formed had we not been broken. You see. There is beauty in our brokenness. They are monuments of God’s work in our lives.

Because of them, as Marvin Sapp sings, “I am stronger, wiser, and better.” Let that be our testimony. Thank God for His power. Amen!

©️ FREE 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Come Back Home

As a teacher, I would always tell students to consider that the further away from home they go to school, the less trips home they’d get to make. Why? Because of the expenses of airfare and other means of travel associated with a longer distance. Being closer to home, would provide them the luxury to visit home more often which would be beneficial when they missed their loved ones.

Today, I asked myself a question,”What if it was that way with God?” What if the further we strayed away, the less likely we would be able to come back to Him? I don’t even what to entertain such an idea because I’ve been there. I’ve strayed away from God only to feel the torment that comes along with broken fellowship with Him. So, I’d certainly not want to be in that position again, God forbid.

However, the truth is just the opposite. There are no penalty guidelines as it relates to our salvation in regards to the amount of sin in our lives. Jesus changed all of that on the cross and I am so very grateful. I am grateful that a wretched soul like mines can come back to the Father and be restored. Prodigals like us can come back and run into the open arms of our Father. In fact, no matter how far we go, He still beckons us to come home. Even when we are drawn away by our own iniquity, He patiently waits for us. In fact, He pursues us and tugs at our hearts. I’m so glad about that. Aren’t you?

So dear friends, regardless of how far away we go, we can always back home. Our Father is waiting to bring us in, love us, clean us up, clothe us with His grace, and cover us in His righteous. He desires to have all of His children close to Him…WHOEVER let him or her come. No matter what shape you’re in…Come.

As Cory Asbury sings, “Lay your burdens down. You’re in the Father’s house. Check your shame at the door. It ain’t welcome anymore. Your in the Father’s house.”

Come back home! He is waiting. He has everything you need. You’re always welcomed in the Father’s House.

©️ FREE 2021 All Rights Reserved.

A Prayer Against Distractions

Father, we thank you for who you are. We thank you for your loving kindness, wisdom, grace, love, and your peace. We ask that you will forgive us for not keeping our eyes on you. Forgive us for allowing the troubles of this world and minor things to take our focus off of you. Help us to cast down every imagination that may exalt itself above you. May every thought that is unlike you be brought under subjection to your authority and the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord, shift our focus onto the things that are true, honest, just, lovely, and of a good report. Give us the wisdom to see when the enemy comes to deter us from our purpose and how to redirect our hearts and minds back to you. For when our minds are on you, we experience your perfect peace.

Lord, help us abide in you and may you abide in us. So, we can live a life that pleases and glorifies you. Let our ears be inclined to you and you alone, so you can get the glory out of all things concerning us.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Be blessed, Nia

©️ FREE 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Burden of Confession

Reblogged from the blog, “Maggie Tiggles”, by Kathy Wire

God has given me a burden of confession. It started when He laid this on my heart: Sometimes, when I want something that I know I shouldn’t, I don’t want to cry to God for deliverance from temptation. “I want it, I’ll have it,” is what goes through my mind (either subconsciously or right in […]

Burden of Confession

The Ones Who Have Gone Before You

Because of the circumstances of my childhood, I used to tell God that I didn’t want to have children unless I could be the mother I needed to be. I refused to bring children into the world and not be capable of doing the right thing as their mother. I would not wish the things I went through as a kid on any child. As a result, I was very intentional about starting a family. 

There is an irony to growing up and experiencing trauma. Although brokenness can lead to dysfunction, it can also be a powerful force that leads to great awareness and healing. My pain may have been great, but it also made me more aware of what I did and did not want for my life. I saw enough to know what I needed to do to break the cycle. I learned valuable lessons from the ones that went before me. I was determined not to become them or make the same mistakes they did. 

I am reminded of a sermon my husband preached in which he said, “If we are not careful, we can become what we hate.” He was sharing about how his father was an abuser and a womanizer. He hated his father for that and how his actions had impacted his family. He described how his feelings for his father were so strong that they blinded him. He had not even realized he was gradually becoming like him as a young man. It was not until the Holy Spirit had revealed this to him that he was able to see a pattern. Then, he broke the cycle and became a better man, married, and became a father. 

This has been something that I am very passionate about as a believer in my own family and others. Due to me knowing what curses and cycles are present in my own family, I remain diligent in keeping my children covered in prayer and warring on their behalf when I see the enemy attempt to attack. It is alot of responsibility, but I am determined to change the tide of sin that has plagued my family for as long as I can remember. In the Bible can, we can see many examples of how the sins of the father impacted families for generations. 

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.

Yet, there is good news. There is a God who sent His son to break the curse of sin and death on all men. Jesus came to snatch the grip of sin and its ugly residue off of the lives of all of us. We have the power to do that in our own families. We have to activate it and allow the Holy Spirit to teach/ lead us. 

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

I don’t know about you, but I want my life to produce an incense of righteousness that will bless my children and future generations. I want to leave a legacy of blessings and not curses. I want them to live off the fruit of my prayers and faith. Furthermore, I want my seed to have a heritage of faith, so those that follow will benefit and continue the legacy.  

The ones before us may have set the stage for cycle to continue but the cycle breaker has come and lives inside of us. He can take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for our good. We don’t have to pursue the same path. Instead, we can forge a new one.

What have you learned from the ones that have gone before you? Regardless of how bad it was, you can use it to change your life. Why? Because God has empowered you to do so. Break the cycle. Change your story. Rewrite its ending. So, God can get the glory out of your life. Pray for me as I pray for you. 

Blessings, 

Nia

©️ FREE 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Remember When…

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Yesterday, while I was cleaning, the Lord asked me a question. He asked, “Do you remember when you prayed for where you are now?” That very question caused me to pause and reflect on where I am currently in my life. Immediately, I began to recount the many petitions I had taken before the Lord regarding my future, family, finances, and health. My heart filled with gratitude because He had been so faithful to bring every single one of them to pass. I could remember how I may not have been in my faith at the time of those requests, but He still answered my prayers.

We often forget about how God has moved in our lives or worked things out for us. We tend to focus on our problems and circumstances. When we do, we give life to them and magnify them. Instead, we should exalt our God, who is GREATER than anything we can face. We should remember that when we are weak, He is strong. We should bless Him for who He is. He is a way maker and a promise keeper.

Psalm 77:12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.

He is the God who provides and sustains His children. HE is not a man that He should lie or repent. If we aren’t intentional about it, we will easily forget. Psalm 103:2 says,” Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits”. We must remember how He delivers His children from their Egypts and brings them to their Promised Land. We must remind ourselves that He sends manna from Heaven in the wilderness. That’s just who He is.

Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!

I don’t want to forget who my God is, where He has brought me from, and all He has done in my life. I want to always “Remember When” and that He can do it again. You see. Realizing that it was simply because of His lovingkindness, not because of anything I’ve done, keeps my heart in the posture of humility.

Dear Hearts, Do you remember when? Think about where you were in your life a few years ago and compare it to where you are now. Do you see how the hand of God has touched you and moved in your life? If so, let your attitude be one of gratitude and worship.

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Our God is Good. Our God is Faithful. Our God is Able.

Be blessed, Nia

Protect Your Peace

The early part of my life was filled with discord, chaos, and everything opposite of peace. For this reason, I have always been determined to fight for my peace because I knew my sanity and overall well- being depended on it. This became even more important and intentional after I got married. You see. I knew what the lack of peace looked like. So, I’d always try to be two steps ahead to do what I could to prevent peace stealing moments. Although I’ve managed to do alright at times, I still struggle when it came to certain areas of my life and relationships.

Therefore, I have started to do things that will keep me from falling into the trap and giving the enemy room to creep in. So, I’ve begun to monitor what I take it in. What or who am I looking at or listening to? Is there anything that I see or hear that may invoke unhealthy emotions in me? Is this conversation life giving or taking? How do I feel when I’m with certain people? I’ve carefully evaluated all of these factors and set measures in place to protect my peace.

Some of the things that have brought me great peace are: 1) Always making sure the word of God is the first thing I look at each day 2) Monitoring my phone calls 3) Setting my social media pages to prevent me from seeing posts that may invoke negative feelings or thoughts 4) Quickly ending or dispersing communication that may not be productive 5) Unplugging from all means of communication when I feel the need to recharge spiritually, mentally, and emotionally or just sit in a moment 6) Not being easily accessible to everyone except for my husband, children, a few family members, and friends

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 16:33

In doing so, I have started to feel so much better and see more balance in my life. It has also shown me that the intimate parts of my life are for those who mean the most to me. At first, I was concerned that it would be selfish of me but I realized that God intended me to live my life for and through Him. However, I can’t do that if my life has unhealthy boundaries that destroy my peace. When we don’t hone in on our own growth and commit to the work that needs to be done to be our full, authentic selves, it is impossible to live for Him because our identity is tied to our purpose. If we don’t know who He created us to be and who He is in our lives, we can’t share with others and show up fully for them. We can’t serve Him effectively. Therefore, we must create the space needed to develop ourselves all while seeking Him.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8

Today, I’d like to ask you to assess your peace. Do you have any peace? Are there any areas in your life where you could use more peace? If so, why aren’t you experiencing the peace of God in those areas? What can you do to be more intentional about maintaining and protecting your peace in those areas? Once those areas are identified, set boundaries that will allow you establish long-term peace in your life.

May His peace be with you, ❤ Nia

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thes. 3:16

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Hope

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Over the past three years, I have reflected on my decision to leave the classroom often and have no regrets. Honestly, I miss working with the students and my coworkers the most, not the actual job itself. I believe that the seventeen years I was blessed to do it were a fulfilled divine assignment. I also asked myself, “How was I able to do it for so many years?” Well, the reason why was hope. I could not have done it as long as I did and as successfully as I did if not for the hope I have in Christ. Such hope helped me believe that He would be faithful to meet me each day in that classroom, allow me to teach and meet every child where they were, and one that helped me to see the potential that He had placed inside of every single one of them. That same hope increased my faith in the fact that if He called me to teach, He would equip and empower me to do just that.

You see, hope is an anchor. Once we grab hold of hope and let it get a hold of us, there is nothing we can’t do. Hope gives us a glimpse of the same joy that set before Christ on the cross that allowed Him to endure death despite the shame (Hebrews 12:2). Hope tells us to keep going through the tunnel even when it’s too dark to see the next step in front of us. Hope tells us to love the unlovable because the God who changes us can do the same for them. Hope makes us look forward to all of the possibilities of the future. When we pair hope with love and faith, power shows up in our lives and touches everyone around us.

So, what is life without hope? Life without hope is existence. God desires more for us than that. He gave His life so we may have life more abundantly. On the day of His return, our hope will be complete (1 Peter 1:13).

Today, where is your hope? Have you lost it because of the cares of this life? Have you allowed grief, finances, a bad health report, a broken heart, or anything else to rob you of your hope? I challenge you to hope again because life is so much better when we have hope.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Be blessed.

The Great Comforter

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 Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Grief can be a tricky thing. It’s unpredictable and comes in waves. One moment, you can be happy and unable to get out of bed, the next. I had never experienced the loss of a loved one until the death of my father in 2013. At the time, my life was so busy with our little ones and work that I never really took the time to address my feelings. It wasn’t until almost a year later that I woke up weeping and could not get out of bed.

For years after, I would get sad around Christmas time because that was the last time I saw my dad. It was strange. My mother had baked him a peach cobbler for me to take to him. I called all day and was not able to get him. So, we ended up spending the day with some friends. However, after we left their house, there was an urgency to call him. I called. He answered. We went over to visit with him and stayed for a few hours. At the time, I did not know that would be the last time I’d be with him. We received a call a few days later from my stepmom saying he was in the hospital. He died shortly after.

After that day, I felt guilty for not spending the day with him instead of my friends. I kept crying, “I didn’t know you’d be gone”. If only I had known, I would have stayed as long as I could and hugged him a little tighter. It took me some time to get over the guilt. Now, I find comfort in the memories we have of our time with him. My dad was a jokester. So, we have alot of fond memories of the jokes he would tell and the things he would say.

Years later, I would have my second closest loss. My grandmother went home to be with the Lord in 2017. However, it was much different because I was able to pull what I knew about the comforting nature of God from my experience with my dad’s death. I not only experienced the comfort of God’s spirit during loss, I experienced His peace. His presence filled the room. Although my heart was heavy, I couldn’t do anything but praise Him because I felt Him in the room in a very tangible way.

Psalms 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Over the past two weeks alone, four people I know have experienced the loss of loved ones. My heart goes out to them because I have walked in their shoes. This pandemic has brought about a season of great death, sickness, and unrest in many ways. It is easy to fall into depression if we aren’t intentional about focusing on the hope we have in Christ. Sometimes, that can be the only thing that keeps us going.

Are you experiencing grief or any loss today? If so, let me encourage you that God is near to the brokenhearted. His grace is sufficient for you and can give you whatever you need. Don’t hesitate to cry and release your emotions. He will catch every tear, take your brokenness, and make a testimony of it. His presence will not leave you empty. He will fill your broken places with His love, grace, peace, and mercy. Others may not know the pain you feel, but He can bear the heaviness you carry. Give it all to Him! He is the Great Comforter!

This song, “Comforter”, by Cece Winans has always encouraged my soul and reminds me of God, The Great Comforter. I pray it does the same for you.

Be blessed,

Nia

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