Winter Season

Even with the grandeur of a beautiful landscape, winter can be daunting

Cold weather and possible blizzards are haunting

We await this season where things seem to halt in growth or decline in activity

Due to the strains of the weather and much passivity

Winter breaks and days off

Are alluring

Especially when life has you worn out

The mind and body needs curing

But all seasons are a part of our lives

They come and they go

Winter can be dreary

When the cool winds blow

It requires much wait and a little more press

Don’t forget the Sun seems to not shine its best

But during this season God can still bless

And although winter ushers in either fast or slow

There are lessons to learn

Knowledge to know

Opportunities to grow

And some moments to yield to

And to be still through

And know that He is God

The Great I Am

Faithful and true

To the bush and the ram

He is able to lead me and you

Winter seasons don’t have to bring blisters

Or give you frostbite

If you, through even the cloudiest of days,

Fix your sight

Upon Jesus Christ

Don’t get caught up in the decorations and traditions

And miss the moment to listen

Don’t procrastinate in preparing for the cold

And don’t abandon the process

As things disappear

Only to make things crystal clear

And make room for growth

God made the spring and the winter

Appreciate them both

For after wintery transitions and seasons to abound

New flowers and fruit will break free from the ground

New life and new lessons and all for the glory of a wise God

and a reigning King

Trust Him through the winter

And welcome the joy, hope, endurance, perseverance and character it brings

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As I Look Back Over The Decade…I Got A Testimony

I saw people’s posts of their decade reviews and their end vs their beginning of the decade comparisons. This prompted me to review my decade and as I also looked at my 2019 vision board, I realized that God has been good. He is always good but sometimes the Holy Spirit need to give you a reminder. I saw some things on my vision board have been and are steadily being accomplished. And all glory goes to God!

I am also reminded some battles are not to be conquered in one fight but over a period of time so we can learn to depend on God. So some things may have seeped over into 2020 but be encouraged. I am speaking to myself too.

This decade, I became a homeowner and a parent/caregiver to a relative. I also started my online t-shirt business (on hiatus now and I am in prayer about it) and wrote and published three books within this decade. I was able to learn and grow professionally and spiritually. I healed from heartbreak and realized some of my deal breakers. I made it through betrayal and learned what true forgiveness looks like.

Instead of hiding it, I became more transparent in my struggles with anxiety and fear, especially with those I love. I also got my driver’s license in this decade and got acknowledged at work for my contributions. I saw my students grow and step out of their comfort zones. I bore fruit even during difficult seasons and impacted others in ways I could not have done without God. I also battled debt and high property taxes and saw God provide.

I learned I needed better self-care, I needed to set boundaries, and I needed to learn that I can’t earn God’s love. My family and I overcame some things I thought my family and I would not survive. I also learned that it is crucial to see things from God’s perspective. I journaled in my note pad like crazy. I did self-assessments prompted from bible plans and self-reflection. I blogged. I led a women’s group and bible study and we learned about waiting with God and learning to trust Him. I maintained a gratitude journal.

I travelled to New York with friends for the first time. I had a ball and it was such a faithcation. I went to a Christian concert at the House of Blues by myself and had a ball. I went to a Christian Education Retreat twice. I learned some awesome things. I learned about trauma care and self-love. I went to Atlanta for the first time and for a college tour, thanks to my job. Last year, my family and I found a cool, inexpensive place to travel to that is peaceful and a train ride away from home, thanks to not having at the time the money to go on vacation. I saw my family grow and get closer. I got such an awesome birthday gift in 2018; my youngest niece was born on my birthday.

I completed a Mental Health First Aid training for those who work with youth and realized also my mental health is important. I realized some of your battles people won’t understand and some blessings and successes people won’t cheer with you. The latter one broke my heart. I did the thing that rattles my nerves and spoke at a few events. I took deep breaths. I had anxiety attacks. I prayed. I cried. I prayed some more. I exercised here and there, valued my love for walking, and realized the importance of stretching every day. I worked on building my confidence. I started wearing a little concealer and foundation (something I thought I would never wear) and embraced my thick eyebrows. I learned how to do my own crochet hair styles. However, I still don’t know how to crochet a scarf. I gave up. I will try again this year. I learned that I enjoyed preparing Bible study lessons because I love God’s Word and preparing a lesson helps me to break it down for myself also. I learned that I can’t do everything or be everything, and that is okay. I learned that sometimes you have to encourage yourself.

I prayed for God to teach me full surrender. I talked with Him about being afraid and not feeling like I could make it some days. I have a ways to go but I am not where I started. And although I ended 2019 still feeling anxious, I survived. I thank God for being my Father, my friend, my provider, my coach, and my protector. I also thank Him for being patient with me and loving me through every season, imperfection, fear, and triumph. May I lean into God evermore in 2020 and this new decade not for what God can give me or do, but for who He is. I am nothing without Him and can’t do anything without Him. I am more than a conqueror. I am grateful.

Seized By The Storm

For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, A shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isaiah 25:4 NKJV

I recently finished watching Raising Dion, a science fiction/super hero series, in which a mom, who is grieving the loss of her husband, discovers her child has supernatural abilities and seeks to not only protect him but find out the mysteries surrounding her new normal. I was also elated to see a little black boy hero, Dion (Ja’Siah Young), one my nephews can see themselves in. Nonetheless, this series was so good and made me get emotional at times. Nicole’s character, (Alisha Wainwright) the mom, was such a force and relatable in her struggles. The dad, Mark (Michael B. Jordan), was such a force too as well as handsome. Oh and I love Esperanza (Sammi Haney), Dion’s friend, who is bound to a wheelchair but so full of life and character. I think it is awesome to see that representation also for kids who have disabilities. Everyone did an amazing job in this series. But one thing that jumped out to me that had me once again turning a scene or part of a film into a spiritual lesson to my nephew was about Pat (Jason Ritter). Warning: Spoiler Alert.

In Raising Dion, the integrity of Pat’s soul is compromised and corrupted, and I believe way before the storm enters his and Mark’s life. Observing closely, you realize that Pat has some insecurities and issues that fully surface towards the end of the series. And that is how I believe the storm was able to attach itself to him and over time weaken him. He became the Crooked Man.

I understand that everyone has been affected by evil in some way for we live in a broken world corrupted by sin and the enemy’s deception as well as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I also believe we may ignorantly welcome it perhaps through sin and not guarding our hearts. Moreover, what happens when we get use to it and it feeds off of our pain and insecurities, the issues of our hearts? It fully corrupts us and weakens us. And it can cut us off from dwelling in the presence of God. It can cost us relationships and things that God has for us or has blessed us with. It can rob us of our potential and it can affect others around us. It can destroy us and rob us of our destinies.

But no one wants to be seized by the storm. So, if you are not on the winning team and don’t have the He in you that is greater than the he that is in the world, I encourage you to seek out the only Savior that can overcome not just the storm in your life, but has overcome this world and every evil spirit. Read Romans 10.

And let every believer of Jesus Christ saturate in the Word of God. Let us develop the fear of the Lord and start praying for a life in God’s presence. Let us also allow God to heal us and process us through His unfailing love and Word. Let us bind up, with the Word of God, authority of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, every demonic force in our lives and our children’s lives. The storm wants to rob our children of their destinies, potential, and gifts from God. Don’t give in to the storm or enemy because of convenience and because sometimes it is too tiresome to fight. And don’t be passive or passive until the stuff hit the fan.

Learn to wage war now. And let us seek the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us and our children how to use our kingdom’s benefits and godly power. Let the Holy Spirit also accompany our children like Charlotte (Deirdre Lovejoy) who not only taught Dion how to use his powers but went invisibly yet greatly present with Dion to school. Sorry for any spoilers if you haven’t watched the series. It is on Netflix now.

So, what can we do to wage war against the storm seizing our lives and destinies? What must we do when evil spirits get comfortable in our lives and weaken us spiritually?

  • Receive salvation, an eternal, free gift from God. Read Romans 10.
  • Cover yourself and your family members with the blood of Jesus.
  • Pray daily.
  • Read and pray the Word of God.
  • See your opponent and sin through the eyes of God and fight accordingly as God leads and with the armor of God as a believer.
  • Pray for God to till the grounds of our souls, to break up the fallow ground in our hearts. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us, God, and heal us wholly.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for Your saving grace and unfailing love. Deliver us from evil. Help us hear Your Word for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Don’t let us prostitute our gifts or use them in a corrupted manner or at Your disapproval. Send people in our lives to teach us how to steward over these gifts properly and to give You honor. Help us to guard our children with the blood of Jesus and prayer. Help us to train them in Christ Jesus who is the Way and the Truth and Life. Suit us up in the armor of God and Father, forgive us of all our sins and for opening those doors we have opened willingly and unknowingly to the enemy. Let us value the things of the kingdom of God and godly relationships. Let us put You first and nurture our relationships with You. Holy Spirit, You are welcomed into our lives, homes, jobs, and families. Have Your way! Heal us and help us to trust You as You grow us up in the Lord. We bind up generational curses and strongholds in the name of Jesus. We bind up everything that is detrimental to our faith, relationships, health, destinies, and spiritual development. In Jesus’ name amen.


If you watched this series, what are some other spiritual lessons you were inspired to learn or take note of?

Repost: Can’t Move Forward

Originally posted on February 27, 2017

After reading the first six chapters of first Samuel, I am beginning to understand how God’s presence and God’s glory are important to the believer, the Body of Christ.

The glory of God, which is seemingly difficult to define, is basically the external manifestation of God’s presence (http://www.biblestudytools.com).

The presence of God is also difficult to define. However, the Hebrew term for presence in the scriptures is translated as “face”. Dwelling in the presence of God means to have a deeper closeness and fellowship, close and personal encounter, a response of worshiping in spirit and in truth as well as a total surrender to God, His sovereignty, and His love.

We can’t move forward without either God’s glory and presence. We need God’s glory in everything–not our glory but His. We need His glory during decision-making, good times, special events and family time, travels, and during trials and tribulations. Where the glory of God goes, there is power, deliverance, and victory.

Living in the presence of God ensures safety, joy, sustainment, and the blessing.

Please read 1 Samuel 1 to 6

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, The Great I Am,

I worship You today! I ask for forgiveness of my sins, disobedience, and even my fear that keeps me focused on my circumstances, frailties, and man. Help me to overcome the fear of man and to have the fear of the Lord. Help me to fix my eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith. Help me to remember that You have all authority and power even over the devil himself. Forgive me for living my life contrary to this. Now God, I ask You also to help me and the rest of my siblings-in-Christ to seek Your presence and glory. We want to live in Your presence and we want Your glory to accompany us daily, even going before us. Have Your way, Holy Spirit, and thank You, God for answering our prayers in Jesus’s name, amen!

Trust God & Set The Captive Free,

Tannika

Do You Have A Chip On Your Shoulder

Not often do men say, “ladies first” when it is time to board the bus. So, on one particular morning this week, I was elated to see one guy lead by example and let the ladies on first. But after a couple or few of us proceeded onto the bus, commotion broke out behind me as I walked to my seat. When I turned around, there was an older gentleman who was already on the bus with the bus driver when we boarded trying to stop an altercation from escalating. Even moreso, he stood in front of a young lady, who I believe was a teen, and was trying to block and stop a man from hitting her. The man was the same one who had just let the ladies go first. Why they were fighting, I do not know exactly. He said that she hit him first and she said something about he said ladies first and something about tapping her bus card against the machine.

As security from the transportation station stepped in, it calmed down a bit but the argument started back up as the man boarded the bus and he went to the back. Both the man and the young lady were angry but I noticed his voice sounded more emotional. As their argument continued and the man got up out his seat and moved forward towards the young lady, the older gentleman who had helped prior came to the back, blocked him again and prohibited him from going any further. The young lady remained seated although she was arguing back. The security guard came to the back too to intervene. The older gentleman kept telling the man, “bro, let it go.” The man turned on the older gentleman saying something like “you’re not my bro and why do black people keep hurting me.”

I then realized this man not only was angered but he had been triggered. I don’t know what really started the altercation between he and the young lady but both could have acted differently for a much better outcome. However, the man, who was also Black like the rest of us on the bus, was the adult and he should have really let it go so it wouldn’t have escalated. And no way should a grown man be hitting a young lady or calling her out of her name which he did.

I know that Black men endure a lot in this world day by day. I also know that sometimes they face a cruel and unfair justice system and just as much plight and hopelessness as any other man. But some Black men must remember Black women have to endure a great deal too in this world. And we are to be protected and respected too. Moreover, with the state of this world and the fact that we are living in the last days, a lot of people are walking around angry and with a chip on their shoulder. We are beyond stressed and triggered with even the smallest things. Nonetheless, we must build our self-control and empathy. And we have to pursue and promote healing individually and as a whole. I believe God has me in a season of healing. I have discovered areas of brokenness in my life that God wants to heal me of, thanks to God.

Don’t dismiss your pain. Don’t dismiss another person’s pain either. Address it and let God provide you with the healing you need. Even if you get no closure from others, you can get it from God.

We cannot walk around with chips on our shoulders and be ticking time bombs. You cannot move forward from something that has never been fully addressed. That is why some people don’t understand why some people can’t move forward (there ares other factors why also) from a loss or traumatic event. Some people say Blacks should stop talking about slavery but if it has never fully been addressed and acknowledged with true empathy and understanding, then how can we. We have to address the pain and not let it turn into a bomb. Even God addresses and acknowledges the circumstances and pain in our lives, but with the intent to heal and grow us and impact others for good.

Anyway, there is so much rage and pain in this world. Many human beings, no matter their nationality, ethnicity, social or class status are being consumed by anger. But Jesus came to give us life and life to the full and it is receivable through His salvation and your surrender. He knew we would have storms and issues in our lives. He knew this world was a hot mess and broken. But His truth, life and way are our shields. His Holy Spirit is our comforter and His Father has the last say. He is our defender and present help in the time of trouble.

I was glad that the older gentleman intervened and tried to calm the man down and get him to control himself. I reiterate that we have to pursue and promote healing. And yes God can grow you and heal you during your storm! So, where can we begin.

  • Get therapy and build a support system or find a support group and build a support system.
  • Face the truth. Receive the truth. If there is a problem, are you avoiding it? Where do you need healing? What boundaries do you need to set? Do you have anger issues? What are your insecurities shouting? What in this world is bothering you? You can take the answer to this and work towards being a part of the solution and it can lead you to your purpose.
  • Embark on a healing journey. Ask God to show you what that looks like. What do you need to heal from, and work towards facing, releasing it in a healthy manner, and growing from? Get scriptures about healing in the particular areas you need healing in.
  • Make a choice to heal and to grow daily .
  • Practice self control and feeling your emotions and then stewarding over them in a healthy way. If you are angry, don’t hold it in but find ways to release it in a safe and healthy way. You can also practice calming techniques such as counting to ten or taking deep breaths until you can sift through the anger, address or find the problem, and then find the solutions.

Im not a psychologist or therapist but I do know we all need healing from something.


Do you have a chip on your shoulder? Are you on a journey of healing? What does that look like for those who may not be on this particular journey now? How can you be intentional in pursuing healing and growth, and why is God leading this pursuit so important?

God Is More Than Enough

This morning I was led to reflect on and search the scriptures about the following:

God is more than enough.

Thoughts of insignificancy ravages many of our minds. They repeat over and over again that “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t have much”, “they have more or it all”, “I won’t make it”, “if only I had more of”, “I am nothing without him/her/this career/this title”. We are constantly being delivered messages from the enemy, our pasts, our fears and failures, those around us and from what we see on television or on social media. Our past and present can bombard us with reminders of what we need or think we need, what we lost or what we are losing. Moreover, those messages we get from television or social media try to convince us, and often times succeed, that we are only somebody when we have this or that. However, those things will never be enough because those gratifications may satisfy us and give us a temporary fulfillment but not a lasting, deep fulfillment. I have learned that true fulfillment can only come through the One who created us and first loved us–God.

When I started pondering about “God is more than enough” and searching the scriptures, the chorus or hook of a song popped into my head. It is a Hip Hop song, titled You’re All I Need, whose hook was based from a greater oldie titled You’re All I Need To Get By by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The Hip Hop song is rapped and sung by Method Man and Mary J. Blige. This is one of my Hip Hop faves.

“You’re alll I needddd…to get byyyy iii iii.”

I began singing this to God noting that God is more than enough. He is the Source to my resources. He is my Father, my Maker, my First Love, my Present Help in the time of trouble. My Shield, my Protector, my Provider, the One who breathes life into me every day. The One who gave His only begotten Son so I could have true and eternal life and reconciliation back with Him. He is the only One that brings stability and certainty to my life in a world that is broken and uncertain. He is the One that apart from Him I can do nothing. He is the One who loves me unfailingly and beyond measure. He is the One who gives me mercies daily, forgives me, and nurtures me through life and a world that can break me and discard me.

I researched scriptures to see where in God’s Word it confirmed God is more than enough and these are some scriptures that stood out:

  • Genesis 33:11 reminds me that because of God’s graciousness I have more than enough. How has God been gracious to you? Find the glory of God displayed in also the small things. What spiritual gifts, talents, opportunities, blessings has God given you that give God glory and exude God’s nature as well as His love for you and others?

  • John 3:16 reminds me that God sacrificed so greatly for me because He thought I (and you) was more than enough. We were of such great worth to Him that He would give someone of such great worth to Himself, His only Son, to die for you and me. For that God is more than enough. His love is unmeasurable, unmatchable, and unfailing. How has God’s love and sacrifice made a difference in your life? Why may God’s love be more than enough in your life? What would life be like without the blood of Jesus?

  • The entire Psalms 23 reminds me that God is more than enough. This psalm helps identify how much of a blessing and necessity God’s existence and presence is to me and my life. He’s all I need to get by. He’s all I need to survive. God is not just my provider but resting place. My shield, my present help in the time of trouble, the source to my resources. What needs of yours has God met this week? Why is believing and embracing God as more than enough than seeking fulfillment in things and others? How does Psalm 23 reassure you that God is with you and more than enough?
  • I found other scriptures that reminds me that God is more than enough but I don’t want to be too lengthy. What scriptures can you find that remind you that God is more than enough?

I leave you with these other words from the interlude verse of Mary J. Blige. Sing these words today to the Lord. He is more than enough. He deserves your quality time, worship, and full surrender.

Like sweet morning dew
I took one look at you
And it was plain to see
You were my destiny
With you I’ll spend my time
I’ll dedicate my life, I’ll sacrifice for you
Dedicate my life to you


Happy Saturday loves,

Tannika

Put your shoes on honey, our journeys await!