What Is the Evidence That What I am Doing Is Working?

Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
Psalms 46:10 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/psa.46.10.TPT

Tears slid down my cheeks as I walked hopelessly to the bus stop. It was another day of routine coated in restlessness. Another recognizably minor event, yet heavy and familiar enough to cause anxiety and allow the enemy to usher in doubt and lies that nothing will change, bombarded my morning. Feeling defeated left me in sobs and asking God “what is the evidence of what I am doing that it is actually working”. You may be saying the same thing and looking for evidence that your trying to remain faithful in the things and pursuit of God is not in vain. You may be striving for things and progress to make something happen that God can make happen in less time if you learn to trust and obey Him. You may be looking for evidence that God sees your pain and barrenness in the midst of your faithfulness and much sowing. And in all of this you may have spiritual relapses and doubt and sin may be creeping in. Thank God for His mercy and forgiveness. He wants your undivided heart, not perfection, which is false and aimed for in our own strength. We can do nothing apart from God and God wants us to instead aim for spiritual maturity.

But as I walked on, the Holy Spirit patted me on the soul and comforted me to the bus stop. It was at work, tears no longer present, heaviness tucked away, and after my morning greetings with “how was your weekend” that God would answer me. Someone asked me if I was familiar with excel sheets and from there as I proceeded to try and help with her document, I realized again that God listens and answers, and even moreso He cares. She informed me that as I stood next to her desk that she was being led by God to encourage me. Some of the things she said was “you are not going to please everybody, God wants you to balance and know who you are.” And she also told me that I need to stop beating myself up. I teared up as she expressed what I knew what was God answering me through her.

Have you been feeling defeated? Are you having a hard time learning to rest in God? Are you realizing you haven’t been seeing yourself through the eyes of God? Are you beating yourself up and experiencing condemnation?

Know that God is listening to your heart, collecting your tears, and wanting to dialogue with you about everything that doesn’t just concerns His heart but your heart also. Know that there is a Comforter that brings you comfort and healing, guidance and hope. Know that the efficacy of the blood of Jesus still works and is efficient to do all what it was shed to do, and that is to save, protect, and deliver you.

While receiving this knowledge through the Word of God, proceed to take one day at a time and pray. Catch, check, and change every thought that does not line up with God’s word about you or your life. Hold on to your faith by the Word of God and the love of Christ. Press forward. And learn to be still at the same time. He says, “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10). That means recognize who our holy, faithful and sovereign God is. And that means to stop striving and trying to run the universe; you are not qualified to do so mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally, etc. It doesn’t mean to be passive or unproductive, but it does mean to learn to depend on God. Moreover, that also means learn to rest in Him for He will give you power, love, and a sound mind in the midst of busyness, trouble, chaos, distractions, and feelings of emerging hopelessnes.

Trust God and Set The Captive Free:

Seasons come and go but God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And He is good and faithful, periodtt.

What question(s) are you asking God today? Have quiet time with God and ask Him. And expect an answer.

Tannika’s Free Writing & Flash Fiction: Can You Find Yourself?

Welcome to my series where I will be free writing and writing flash fiction to have fun, to regain my discipline as a frequent writer, and to stretch and strengthen my writing skills.

Can you find yourself in all of what you want them to see?
Will you still feel good about yourself,
When social media doesnt appease?
When the lights turn out and the applause stops,
Will you still be the one who rocks?

When social media exposes you for who you really are,
And you dont look up to par,
Will you realize you are beautiful and raise the bar?

Are you limiting your greatness by living up to others’ standards?
Are you still successful, even when it looks different from theirs? Will you still commit to fulfilling the task, even if no one cares?

Are you goals when your goals are not always coming to pass?
Can you still value your relationship, if your relationship is not within the Relationship Goals Class?

Will you use your platforms also for right and to uplift others?
Will you measure yourself by the standard of His Word and not another?

Will you care more about the likes or care to like yourself?
Will you find your purpose or imitate someone else?

Will social media and fear of man rule your life?
Will you spend time building your brand,
But never the heart of your family and friends?

Can you strive for greatness but be brave enough to show your imperfections, hardships, and flaws?
Will you stand out in a world of counterfeits, lookalikes, and conditional love and conditional applause?

If you liked this poem, please check out my poetry books!

Wearing Someone Else’s Shoes Ain’t Never Been Me

Setting The Captive Free

If you can identify with this poem and really need to get back to or start learning to embrace your imperfections, love yourself, overcome your fear of man, see yourself the way God does and grow from there, please share this poem but also begin the mission of doing these things that I just mentioned.

Let Go and Let God

This is one of my fave posts, I wrote several years ago for a blog titled EmpowerMoments. Writing and editing for EmpowerMoments was so awesome and it pulled so much out of me. This one particular post is when God made me aware of how I was holding on to my life through a movie scene. Check it out below! And to reread the original post and to watch the video of the scene, here is the link: Holding On Too Tight!/

A while back, I was thinking about the lessons and messages that I have been receiving about surrendering. At that very moment a movie scene popped up in my mind. It was a scene from a comedy/drama/romance movie called Ghost (1990). In this particular scene, con-artist Oda Mae (played by Whoopi Goldberg) is instructed by Sam (Patrick Swayze) to give a FOUR MILLION DOLLAR check to nuns because Sam wants to make sure the money is used for good and out of the hands of his former friend/colleague Carl.

With clinched teeth, a forced smile, and a tight grip, Oda Mae has a hard time giving up that check. I like to give, but I probably would have a hard time releasing that check too. Four million dollars! Watching this scene is hilarious, but the Holy Spirit helped me to realize that Oda Mae responds like many of us, and particularly me, with our lives.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33 NLT) Maybe we grip our lives because we want to continue holding onto the control of our lives and do things our way. Maybe it is because we want to obey and surrender only when it is convenient. Perhaps we think that if we surrender, we are going to lose our lives physically. It is possible that we believe that God doesn’t want us to have joy and fulfillment or just maybe we think life is satisfactory the way it is. Even more, we are probably focused on pursuing worldly things or we lack patience and trust in God to do what He says and has proven He can do. In any event, we are afraid to let go and give control to God.

I must remember that when God created me, He didn’t intend for me to live independent of Him. Therefore, in order to move forward in my Christian walk, I must fully SURRENDER!

I have been gripping my life like Oda Mae gripped that check. I have been gripping everything that God wanted control over or wanted me to release. I have been gripping my many plans, my fears, my money, my concerns of what others think about me, my dating/love life (or lack thereof) and my need to do everything and be everything for everyone. I have also given Him areas of my life and subsequently I have taken them back. I’d say I believe and then the next minute I don’t believe. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?”said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24 NIV)

Since I have been alerted to my lack of surrender to God, the Holy Spirit has helped me loosen my grip on my life and those areas that I gave God little to no access. I have also surrendered plans that were of good intentions because it wasn’t what God wanted me to do at the time. I have finally severed the last means of communication between me and my ex-boyfriend/first love; I am going to trust in God to bring a God-fearing, handsome man along just right for me. I have learned that I have to seek God’s counsel in everything I do. I have also learned that I can’t be everything for everyone. It is okay to take the ‘S’ (Superwoman) off my chest unless that ‘S’ stands for SURRENDER (everything to God).

Through the testimonies of Hannah and Ruth, I am reminded that when you trust God and let go, you gain so much more! Hannah, who yearned and prayed fervently for a child, gave her son back to the Lord. She promised God that if He gave her a son she would do this so she took him to the priest and allowed the priest to raise and ready him for his destiny. (1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:10) She made him a coat and visited him every year but she had to let go. Ruth left her family to go with Naomi, her deceased husband’s mother. She surrendered to God and a new course for her life. Consequently, she married again, gave birth to her first child, and was able to also bless Naomi—her mother-in-law.

Surrendering my life doesn’t necessarily mean I lose it physically. Instead I will gain my life, the life God designed for me all along with peace, fulfillment, and deeper intimacy with God. Surrendering my life doesn’t just benefit me, it benefits others too. Oda Mae didn’t get that money but she was able to help bless the nuns and their charity as well as help Sam unite with the love of his life, Molly, and save her from danger.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for pruning me, defining my character, and setting me apart. It is not easy to go through this process, nor is it easy to render control of my life to You. But please help me let go! Help me to trust You and remember that my life is no longer my own. I am here to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust the Lord with your lives. After all, He knew you before you were in your mothers’ wombs. He created you and knows your purposes. He has your best interest at heart and will never fail you. So, don’t worry about your children. Put them in God’s hands. Release that person with forgiveness and God’s Love. Let go of that relationship He doesn’t approve of. Seek Him before you make plans. Let go of always needing control. God is qualified to manage your life more than you. When you let go, you’ll experience God’s liberty and peace!

What areas of your life do you need to surrender to God?

Raising Relatives

I have always been hesitant in writing a post like this but I am writing it today to give encouragement to parents who are raising or helping to raise their relatives (cousins, nieces, nephews, or siblings). I have the privilege of helping raise my nephew and we have had our ups and downs but I am so grateful for this opportunity. He is my baby!!!! And I am committed to his care and well-being. However, often when I am unsure, unconfident, and need some advice sometimes I rarely find someone to turn to from a caregiver of a relative point of view and little advice on google. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the One authority–God–on the subject that is full of knowledge on the very people He created and His encouragement and wisdom is supreme, refreshing, and consistent.

Another thing I have noticed is that some people will not understand your unorthodox family. Some will be curious about your little one’s story but I had to learn that your story isn’t meant for everyone’s ears. I remember reading in a bible plan that was about foster parenting/caregiving and so forth that you have to protect the child’s story. And sometimes there are layers to his/her story or it may not be what people want to hear. It may be something complex or not as complex to explain. Whatever it is, it is still none of their business. So, stop explaining to people. And all they need to know is that what is being done is for the child’s best interest.

So, when you feel discouraged or having a setback, God’s love and Word is life-giving and it propels you forward in the unknown and every circumstance. His mercy and grace reminds you that you don’t have to be a perfect parent. His grace and mercy give you the fuel to press in loving and instructing this child into receiving God’s love, seeking God, and discovering their destiny. Moreover, be present and enjoy this season or seasons where you get to watch your little ones blossom from the love of God. Mordecai raised his cousin, Esther, and He even prepared her for a destiny that involved helping save God’s people. So what can we learn from Mordecai?

✴Raise them with authority and confidence of our Savior.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

✴Raise them up in the Lord. Teach them God’s Word and love.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

✴Trust them and their future in the hands of God.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Lastly, dont give up and be encouraged. You are on a God-given assignment.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Are you raising a relative? What encouragement would you give another caregiver?

Wednesday Scripture-Led Journal Prompts: Pray & Be Alert

Writing is such an great avenue to take to express one self as well as to find some understanding about some things. On some Wednesdays, we will have Wednesday Scriptue Led Writing Prompts. What a great way to meditate on God’s Word, pray, and journal!

Based from these scriptures, write in your journal what is on or comes to your heart.

There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” Luke 22:40‭, ‬46 NLT

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, Luke 21:34 NLT

Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 NLT

Two things that are noticeable from reading all of these scriptures is that Jesus wanted us to do two things (and not just these two things but foremost) in these times and times to come. He wanted us to PRAY and BE ALERT.

Prayer connects us to the heart of God, invites dialogue between us and Him, yields us to Him, exudes a posture of humility, and is a way to come boldly before His throne. Prayer is seeking His Will. Prayer is a chance to remind Him of His Word, to listen to Him, laugh with Him, get instructions from Him, pour out our hearts before Him, and be transparent with Him. Prayer is accompanied with worship and meditation of His Word and His goodness. Prayer is coming to Him in faith and getting Him involved in every area of our lives.

Being alert is being aware of what we have, who we are, and who our enemy is. Being aware is coming out of slumber and and being woke enough to pray and remain focused upon our Savior, Christ Jesus. Being alert is being cognizant of the enemy’s devices and fully arming and suiting up in our armor to defend and protect our faith, hearts, and relationships with God and others. It is walking in love and seeing things the way God does. It is being in the presence of God consistently and tuning in to His voice.

Journal Prayer:

Father God, help me to pray without ceasing and in faith. Help me to pray for grace and mercy when temptation comes so that I may discern Your voice and Your exit strategy. Help me to be alert; arrest the slumber in my life. Help me to love others as I love myself and help me to love You with all my heart, mind, body, soul and strength. Help me to relinquish my idols and forgive me for even putting myself far above You. And help me to not get weary in well-doing even when it seems like the wicked and unjust seems to prospers. Help me to submit to You and not my flesh. Help me to resist the enemy and flee from temptation. Help me to submit to You and not to things that oppose You. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Rerouted…

This morning is as cold as a freezer and the air is crisp and gripping. Did I also mention it feels like another Monday, although it is Tuesday. So, I struggle to get out of the bed a bit. However, I awake grateful to God for a new day, read and listen to His Word, worship Him, and talk with Him. A day started with the Lord is a day better yielded to Him.

Upon leaving home, I miss my bus so I decide to catch the bus headed towards the Metra train to make up for lost time. The train tracker schedules for my train to stop at the stop I need to get off at to catch another bus. I have a lengthy commute. Anyways, one stop into our ride we hear that the train will run express all the way to the end stop. Ah man! I can get off at the current stop we just arrived at and wait for the next one but it is too cold. So, I stay on and am going to have to ride all the way to the end.

No problem. I will just have to do what I have had to do before, just travel back. I ride to the end. Now, I just have to walk down a few blocks and take another train. So, I walk to the Red Line and go downstairs and my train comes. However, this train confuses me with the fact that its route labels state not what it normally says. I get on because although the train states something different, this is where I am literally heading. The Red Line stays on the lower tracks (ground level) but this morning this train is riding on the higher track where you can see the roofs of buildings and blocks of homes and businesses lined up on our Chicago streets. I hate riding high up because of the height but God gets me safely to my destination and drives away my fears with this message.

I feel like I just took the long way around just to get to my destination. I have been rerouted twice but still heading to my destination.

What happens when you are rerouted? You have to take the long way around. Your journey gets interrupted.

Moses and the Israelites were rerouted. They had to take the long way after God led Moses to free them from slavery. In fact, God took them the long way and through the impossible.

The people got impatient. They murmurred and complained. They even wanted to turn back. Oh, I had that feeling this morning.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17

Yet, God took them the long way because had He led them the short distance they would have easily went back. Fear and discomfort makes you run back to comfortable situations even if they were horrible situations. They had to learn to trust God step by step, day by day. They had to learn to depend on God. They had to learn to persevere and develop patience. Prayer and patience go together. Faith and perseverance goes together. You can’t have one without the other and we need all of the above in life and through our faith walk.

So, when you get rerouted, be patient. Maybe God is protecting you from something. Maybe God wants you to develop patience. Maybe God just wants you to trust Him even on a routine day heading to work.

Little Boy, You Are Needed & Wanted

20180712_092038.jpgSometimes you learn a lot when you have conversations with little humans. I don’t remember what led to this topic, but my 9-year-old nephew and I were having a conversation on a lengthy ride home some time ago. He says to me something like a woman shouldn’t depend on or need a man. I immediately understood what he was trying to communicate; however, it led me to definitely clear up something with him. Although he made me proud that he understood a female, too, should and could go out and make life happen for herself, I wanted to make sure he understood one thing.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 KJV). We are to teach our children and instill in them certain truths and disciplines. But we also have to be careful of what beliefs we are spreading to our children verbally and non-verbally. I wanted to make sure my actions or lifestyle wasn’t screaming to him this very thing: that a man is not needed. I am an unmarried woman who is not dating, who is working hard, maintaining a household, growing in my faith in God, and working on furthering my dreams and goals. I have accomplished so much and have done things that were seemingly contributed to mostly married couples like buying a home.

So, I told him, “yes, we women are to not depend on men. In fact, we (both women and men) are supposed to depend solely on God. We, women are to fulfill our destinies and accomplish our goals” because God created each of us with a purpose also. “But, please understand that men are needed and wanted too.” A man is vital to our world. I know we hear and see lately “the future is female”. I also believe in empowering women and helping women grow, heal, and reach their destinies. Moreover, as a woman, I, too, see and experience the danger and issues we face daily. However, I want little boys, and especially little Black boys, to believe they matter and are needed. God created male and female and He has a destiny for us all individually as well as together. Together, we can fulfill and overcome so much more in a world that has grown so divided.