I heard the words “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” this morning. I have heard those words a few times and I knew it was scripture but I never looked up the actual verse and the context surrounding it. The Lord put it on my heart to look it up. He told me “don’t get so comfortable with just repeating words without knowing the TRUE context.”
There are so many quotes that we have heard growing up that we took as “bible” but they are nowhere to be found in the word.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness”
“Money is the root of all evil” (before you come for me and say “Brittany that is in the bible- NO IT ISN’T- It’s “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”, 1 Tim 6:10)
“God will not give you more than you can handle”- wrong AGAIN!- the scripture is: We all experience[a] times of testing,[b] which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face[c] so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape[d] that will bring you out of it victoriously. 1Cor 10:13
These are just a few that I know I have heard said SO MANY times and since they sound good and are encouraging in the moment I would go along with them. WELL IT IS TIME OUT FOR THAT.
(This post is not about me trying to get everybody together to be biblically sound although there would be nothing wrong with that.)
I am writing this post actually as encouragement. For you, for me, FOR WHOEVER needs it.
When I went and looked up the scripture surrounding the words “The Joy of the Lord is My strength” I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it wasn’t just its own scripture. It follows other dialogue from Nehemiah to the Israelites. Here it is- see it for yourself.
Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”
I am going to be honest I didn’t really understand what Nehemiah meant. Call me slow but I needed more explanation.
I did a little research. Checked out some commentaries.
THEN IT CLICKED.
I have always looked at these words as encouragement- and don’t get me wrong they are but not necessarily how we view JOY.
I am going to be PRETTY frank with you all right now. I am going through A LOT. This is what would probably be considered a wilderness season for me. I am in a valley. I am facing the “shadows” of death. TIMES ARE HARD.
BUT I am the closest to God that I have ever been. This was by force at first BUT now I am making a deliberate choice to be closer to Him.
I am at a place where HE alone is my source. Not neglecting the people that he has given me to uplift me because they are absolutely necessary and a TRUE BLESSING to me but this season requires more of me to be quiet and kneel before God rather than running my mouth and running to people.
In this hard season I have started to learn what it means to worship God through all circumstances. I am not saying that in the midst of me crying and asking God why that I just break out into a song and dance praising God. That is not the case but it amazes me that I can be in the midst of tears or a full blown anxiety attack and I can feel the Holy Spirit telling me to worship and think about how good God has been. Slowly but surely I feel my soul shifting from utter devastation and hurt to complete surrender to the goodness and faithfulness of God. This has come with a lot of rejection to my flesh and sometimes my flesh STILL wins but lately the Holy Spirit has been the victor.
So when I saw what these words from Nehemiah actual meant I was SO ENCOURAGED.
See usually when we view joy we see it as “rainbows and butterflies”. We see joy as laying on the beach, sipping something fruity. We see it as the birth of a baby or a wedding day. We see it as whatever you could think of the best thing happening to you is. This is what we as humans consider joy but really these circumstances provoke joy.
BUT THE JOY OF THE LORD— it’s… well it’s different.
The joy of the Lord is when you are stuck in the house for 65 days because we are in a pandemic and you choose to see the brighter side anyway. It’s when you THOUGHT you would have 3 or 4 kids by now but you have none and you still can love on your best friend’s kids through you hurt. It’s when you thought marriage was lasting and it ends abruptly and you still find a way to not be bitter and to support others in their marriages.
IT IS STRENGTH.
This joy comes with restoration. With realizing that your circumstances are NOT ideal but God is still faithful.
This joy reminds us of how you walked through the valley of the “shadow” of death before and you didn’t fear ANY evil because your Shepard was guiding you.
This joy reminds you that although you want things to look pretty on the outside that the inside is where you must rebuild from and until that happens you are living a lie.
THIS joy shifts your perspective from WHOA is ME to WORSHIPPING!
This is the joy that I am asking God to lather on me. In this time of uncertainty and disappointment. I need the joy that comes directly from GOD that doesn’t make me happy BUT makes me stronger.
It makes me stand in the face of my issue with the entire armor of Christ on. It shows me when the mountain is in my way- in the midst of the valley-- HE IS MY STRENGTH.
My prayer for you is the same. That you can find “Joy” in the hardest of situation and the most amazing situations-- in ALL of your circumstances.
Scriptures to reference:
Song of Encouragement: Hillsong United- Highlands (Song of Ascent)
Until Nothing’s Left
In the early 90s Mariah Carey’s album Emotions came out. It was a CHART TOPPER to say the least. There were a few songs that were HUGE. One being “Can’t Let Go”.
I have always loved this album and this just happened to be my favorite song. Little did i know back in 1991 when i was just about 4 years old singing these lyrics that they would translate to a deeper meaning at the age of 30...
If you have read my blog before then you know i am not afraid to use a secular song to express my heart for Jesus. It’s almost like He allows me to see him in everything.
Towards the end of the song on the bridge she sings:
“Do you even realize the sorrow I have inside Everyday of my life Do you know the way it feels When all you have just dies I try and try to deny that I need you But still you remain on my mind”
She was clearly singing about a love she lost.... and her lyrics were HIGHLY exaggerated. ( we women are VERY dramatic— i know)
But the more i looked at those lyrics i realized the damaging affects that NOT letting go can have on you.
To experience sorrow daily, to die inside, to constantly dwell on something that has happened and you can never change it...
Well let me just say this... i been there.
I’ve held grudges. I have thrown things from WAYYYYYY in the past back up to prove a point. I have pulled out the thesaurus of wrongs. I have done it all. And to what avail?
It helped NOTHING. Holding onto problems solved nothing. They actually made things so much worse.
Here recently i have learned the blessing in letting go. I have learned the benefit of casting certain things away and NEVER bringing them up again. I have learned that being able to hold something over someone’s held brings you just as much pain and it brings them. And these words have horrible lasting affects.
Paul said in Philippians- “To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.” Philippians 3:8 TPT
I gain nothing from holding on to the past. I literally just wallow in more anguish and make myself miserable. Mariah said it herself- she died inside. It is true. The more hurt and pain and whatever negative you continue to cling to just slowly kills you... it just rots your mindset and your soul... and no matter how dramatic it may sound... this happens— mentally and sometimes physically.
LET IT GO!
LET IT GO!
Find a way to push it out your psyche- pray, meditate, scream— but do something to push it out.
People are fragile. We all make mistakes. We all do things that hurt one another but the best thing we can do for our mental health is let stuff go quickly when it’s done to us. For our peace of mind and for the healing of our heart.
Y’all, trust me when i say holding on to it so you can eventually prove a point isn’t going to make you win... it’s going to break you. LET IT GO.
So, although this song will forever remain a favorite of mine... and I will hear her melodic voice and still sing along with her in a more non melodic voice lol...i will look at it a little differently. I know she wasn’t trying to hold on but she also wasn’t trying to let go... and that makes all the difference.
Letting go takes effort... it takes feeling hurt and negativity and still pushing through. IT IS HARD BUT IT IS WORTH IT.
Until Nothing’s Left
Would it be easier to go through your struggle seasons if you knew that one day that situation would be used to help someone you love?
Would you be able to stomach a situation a little longer in order to be that strength for your child in the future when they go through a similar situation?
Would heartache be worth it if you understood that one day your sister would be in the same position and you could help her through her situation so she would never feel what you felt?
I think anyone with a good heart would endure a little more so that their loved ones wouldn’t have to.
Unfortunately, when we are going through hard situations our first thoughts aren’t to suffer longer so we can help someone in the future. We want to get through it and be done. And a lot of times we never want to think about it again.
I know this because i have been there.
I was so over nursing school when i graduated that even talking about any kind of further schooling made me mad. Hadn’t i already endured enough through those 2 years... goodness!
Or let’s not talk about those stupid breakups that i endured throughout college. Yuck!
Postpartum depression— THE WORST TIME IN MY WHOLE LIFE SO FAR.
I look at those hard times and think “dang i learned a lot”, but when i was going through i couldn’t see straight. I would beg God to make the situation go away or be mad at him for even making me go through it at all.
Since I’ve come through those situations i have seen many reasons as to why they have made me better and what’s crazy is I see how they have also helped some people close to me.
Our experiences aren’t just for us.
Somebody is meant to grow from something you have gone though or are going through.
Somebody will avoid a terrible outcome because they can see what you went through, how you handled it and where you are now.
Your best friend won’t have to go through postpartum depression alone because you will be able to spot it from the jump and help her help herself— whether that means referring her to a counselor or simply praying with her.
Your little cousin won’t lose her virginity in high school because you can help her see her worth before any little dude gets in her ear.
You son won’t be feel the need to “be a player” because you can tell him how you lost one that could been “the one”.
So... what are you going to do with your experiences, with your struggles? How are you going to handle them when they arise?
Are you going to use them as stepping stones or are you going to allow them to be the stones that knock your loved ones down.
I know...i know...i know it’s hard to be selfless in your times of distress... but imagine, just imagine being able to break generational curses all because you endured a little longer... that’s definitely worth it is the end.
Push through those times. Build that character. Make the changes that could better not only you, but your family for years to come.
Until Nothing’s Left
*A few scriptures for encouragement*
“But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.”Romans 5:3-4 TPT
“Now, those who are mature in their faith can easily be recognized, for they don’t live to please themselves but have learned to patiently embrace others in their immaturity.”Romans 15:1 TPT
“Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.”Romans 12:12
“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!”
James (Jacob) 1:12 TPT
There are so many things in my life that have been a “struggle” for me. Things that have clearly knocked my wind out- literally and figuratively. Pregnancy/ labor, nursing school, maintaining friendships, breaking off friendships, balancing work and home life... i could go on and on. But nothing has affected me as heavily as insecurity has. It has been like a wet blanket just laying over me. It has followed me for years. Made me feel like i wasn’t good enough for some people and made me wear so much pride that it was ridiculous.
Although insecurity has plagued me heavily since i was in high school it really hit me hard last year. Which was weird because i was losing weight and supposedly “getting back to myself” but that wasn’t the case at all.
I was letting so much stuff seep into my psyche. Social media was killing me if i can just be honest. It was making me crave things that were just ridiculous and it really had me thinking i wasn’t “ living my best life”. It was horrible.
Now I can’t wholeheartedly just blame it on social media because i can choose what i want to look at and dwell on and ultimately i know that social media is a highlight reel. Social media CAN BE VERY AWESOME when used appropriately.
Truthfully, Much of my insecurity came from the enemy himself.
I know that might sound super religious and naive but i am a FIRM believer that the enemy plays on your weaknesses. Once he knows where you struggle and you actually give into it then it’s an open door for him to come tap dance all over your life and continuously heighten your issues. The enemy is very methodical in the way he moves. He slowly creeps in and wrecks havoc. (1Peter 5:8-9)
Well since insecurity was so heavy on me last year the enemy took it and ran with it.
Every SINGLE aspect of my life suffered. My personal life, my marriage, motherhood, friendships, work... you name it... insecurity was all over it.
Y’all i prayed and cried so much... i asked God to remove it so much but i just lingered.
I kept wondering why my prayers weren’t getting answered. I kept feeling neglected and rejected and just BLAH!
It took some SIMPLE truths to get me to state of understanding that i could only get my life/ security back if i really wanted to. I had to understand that with God i had to power to push these negative thoughts and feelings away. It would take me dying to self, restricting certain things in my life, lessening communication with some people. It took me making changes that i didn’t want to make but HAD TO MAKE.
I HAD TO LEARN TO BE HAPPY WHERE I WAS REGARDING WEIGHT-LOSS.
This sounds so so so simple, right? Wrong. If i was constantly scouring social media checking this persons weight loss and that persons eating habits and why haven’t i gotten as far as they have. I was comparing EVERYTHING. It was tiring and overwhelming. I had to look in the mirror and tell myself— God has brought me so far and i can’t even be happy about that because i want more, more, more. How ungrateful and sickening. It has taken some time but I am truly learning to make a deliberate effort to embrace and enjoy where i am. 1Samuel 16:7
LOVE MY HUSBAND FOR HOW HE LOVES ME NOT HOW I WANT HIM TO LOVE ME.
I have a REALLLLLLLL good man! Like a no lie! A good provider. Comes home at night. Doesn’t do anything crazy. All he wants to do is play his video game. Lol. He is so simple and GOOD! He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t trip. He is GOOD! But i use to be livid with George y’all. He wasn’t taking me here or buying me this or surprising me with this or that. My mind was screwed up. Paying attention to everyone’s stuff and not embracing what i have. It took me talking to him and not expecting him to read my mind to realize that he wants me to be happy and he is TRYING AND WORKING WITH ALL GOD HAS GIVEN HIM. A wise, more experienced husband told me that embracing him as he is and not putting MY unnecessary expectations on him will change my heart towards him. AND IT IS! I still struggle. I still slip. But he deserves to express love the way he knows how to without me making him feel “insecure” about it.
Motherhood is a whole MESS OF EMOTIONS. I love me some George Solomon. He is the best blessing. But that little boy with make me feel so small. When i snap because he is whining or when i cry because he is crying. Then i jump on the “why do all these other mothers have it together” Bandwagon. I use to feel like a failure. No lie i still do at times. Well recently my baby has learned what “crying” or what it “looks like” to cry is and he ain’t here for it. He doesn’t want me to put my head down. He doesn’t want to see me wiping my eyes. He wants a happy mama. And that has mad me reevaluate myself. I don’t just want to play “happy mama” for my baby. I want to be a happy mama. And if that means i just have to only talk to a handful of other mamas about motherhood advice and not seek the advice of the all knowing Facebook then that’s what i have to do. To protect my peace and be happy with how i am doing things and not looking to do it like everybody else.
I CANT WAIT ON SOMEONE ELSE TO GET ME CLOSER TO GOD— only me and God can do that.
The biggest thing that my insecurity affected was my walk with Christ. I didn’t even realize it early on. I was leaning on this to help me with everything else so how in the world was it possible for me to be suffering the most in this area. Well because i was relying on other people to get me closer to God and NOT GOD HIMSELF to be bring me closer to him. Let me explain. I was looking at all the social media ministers, encouragers, evangelist... all their encouraging words and stuff. I wasn’t encouraging myself i needed them to encourage me. I waited for that next post or that next sermon snippet to boost me instead of praying for myself and reading myself. My heart posture towards God was contingent on whether or not i heard the right sermon at the right time or did something hit me right when i needed. All this began to come to fruition when God told me that “surrender” would be the word i needed to focus on this year. I was journaling about it one night and My heart became so full of emotion. And i was wondering why did i feel so blocked from God but yet and still he wanted me to surrender. He quietly told me... you don’t have a personal relationship with me... you live off of what others have with me. You focus on what everyone else’s relationship “looks like”. You’ve lessened me to a quote or a timely scripture. NOT THE BIG GOD I REALLY AM.
Shortly after that i removed myself from all the outside influences that were overtaking my mind and emotions. Yeah...the pressure for a “certain” marriage was big and to be “that kind” of mother was too but when it started affecting my heart toward Jesus it was just too much.
The world had overtaken my mindset on every single level. I was tired.
Now i am moving forward. I still get hung up. But I’m pressing on.
I want to encourage you. You might not be struggling with insecurities like i am but in case you are, ask God to pinpoint to you exactly what’s triggering your insecurities. Step back. Redirect. Take a breath. Remove the triggers. That might mean deleting every social media app on your phone or it might just mean limiting your screen time. Either way do it. For your peace of mind. For your happiness. For your security.
Until Nothing’s Left
Some scriptures for you to check out:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
“Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure.”
1 Peter 5:8-9 TPT
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Romans 12:2 TPT
“But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 TPT
A word that is hard to swallow...
A word that is almost frightening in my opinion.
But as A Christian this word is completely necessary to fully relying on God.
I looked up some definitions for this word and the one that stuck out to me the most was “ abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.”
Well obviously our surrendering as Christians is bigger than just to an emotion— we give in to something bigger than something that can change from one moment to the next.
Our surrendering is to a constant, Never wavering, never changing, sustaining God.
So why is it so hard to surrender if we know that God is constant and he will never fail us by any means...
Because we are frail. We are fragile. And we are control freaks.
We like to look at ourselves as strong but outside of God we are weak... but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Matter of fact it isn’t bad at all... we get the best gift in our most fragile places... 2 Corinthians 2:10 says “So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.”
How edifying is that. To know that when we are at our lowest low God is strongest and he will literally carry you through your storm. But you can only get the full joy in this by surrendering.
Yes, I know it’s hard but just imagine how it would be to have life’s problems pop up and you not even ponder over them getting solved or fixed... you just know God’s got you. Think about how you won’t have as many headaches, sleepless nights, queasy stomach feelings... think about how relieving it will be when it’s all said and done.
Don’t think that i am just a guru at surrendering... trust me. I STRUGGLE!
But God spoke to me through a song— So Will I, Hillsong United.
One part simply says “If you gladly chose surrender so will i.” It is speaking of Jesus Christ surrendering himself to the cross and death and the grave... but y’all... i got a secret.
That’s not how the story end... Jesus rose and defeated death.
Hear me when i say this. If Jesus defeated death... then what makes you think your little problems here on earth cannot be solved with HIS POWER AND MIGHT.
You win! With Him by your side, you win!
Truly surrendering to Him brings about such comfort and peace. So as the new year approaches allow yourself to surrender to a God that doesn’t fail. Find peace in knowing that when problems arise HE is already taking care of them. Don’t allow your mind to be bogged down with trying to tackle every issue this year but in the words of one of my favorite hymns... take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.
Happy New Year All!
Until Nothing’s Left,
I didn’t want to come to you all cliche...
I didn’t want to sound fake...
I had been asking God what i was going to write about for my 30th birthday... how i would elaborate on my life over the years...
I am not going to act like everything has been so good and wonderful but ALL IN ALL i have truly been very fortunate.
This is my first “milestone” birthday that i have been actively writing this blog... and i don’t know why it has been so hard for me to get the words to express the accuracy of my feelings.
I am struggling because i am trying to make things complicated and profound. But the things that matter in life aren’t complicated. They are like little flickers that we miss while we look at our phone... they are what we try to get on camera the second time around...they are things we deem small in the grand scheme of things. They are the moments that remind us of how powerful the simplicity of our stories can be.
Small things are big things to me now because i have a toddler running around my house... every little new word and new action he does is huge to me and George regardless of how minuscule would be to someone else.
I think about different instances throughout my life that were HUGE. Things that make me wonder if they would have gone a different way how would my life have turned out...
We tend to harp on the bigger things because they define our life.
It’s the smaller things that get pushed aside or forgotten about almost as soon as they happen. But these small moments allowed the bigger moments to have more meaning.
I remember my last semester at UNA. They were having the day where high school students come view the campus and go to the football game. Well i had to work the college of nursing booth... and afterward i was walking to my dorm room talking to my parents. They were telling me that they were just out and about around BIrmingham not doing much and not 10 mins later they pulled up. Y’all have no clue what that did to my spirit. Just a simple day trip to come see me. See they had no clue how lonely i was that day. They had no clue how lonely i had been that whole last semester. Not because i didn’t have people around me that loved me but because so much change was happening in my life. That small gesture framed the rest of my semester. It let me know they were always there.
Oh what about that time my brother picked me up from school when i was still at Ramsay and he had come home from UNA and i had no clue he was in town and we laughed at the man whose windshield wipers couldn’t stop going no matter how hard he tried to turn them off— lame i know but hilarious to us.
Or that time George and i sat at the table in the fellowship hall of my church and he told me he was going to make me fall in love with him. The moment i knew i wanted that guy forever.
That time me and Daphne and SDot sat in the parking lot of Hawthorne and watched super moon for hours...
What about when my Grandma use to pick me and my brother up from school and we use to go by the gas station and get candy...
Or when my Aunt Audrey use to let me on her lap and drive in Tuskegee...
The many times Justin and I rode through Birmingham listening to 90s R&B and people watching...
Let’s not forget that 3lb 12 oz small baby that i could pick up with one hand. That small baby that allowed me to see that God really does work miracles. That tiny foot with the IV in it. That already tiny onesie that still swallowed his body. That tiny human being gave my life more meaning than anything i have ever thought of.
I can think of so many of these little things that made me feel loved or appreciated or whole. It wasn’t a grand moment that all the stars aligned it was a simple thing that made my heart flutter and my eyes water from pure happiness.
Simple things are truly what makes up this amazing life God has granted us. They make the big things bigger. They make you appreciate people more. They make you realize that life is made up of things that aren’t all meant to be shared on social media but kept in the special corners of your heart and the photo albums of our minds.
So when i think of turning 30... nothing big and complex comes to mind... only the simple things that have taken place in my life that.
Cherishing these things is something i have done over the years and something i will continue to do.
Although turning 30 is huge... what really matters is the small memories i will continue to make with my family. Those small things i can do on my job to make sure my patients go home without any worries. Those tiny instances that God shows me he is ALWAYS looking out for me.
I don’t plan on making big things happen now that i have entered into my 30s i plan holding tightly to those things that really matter.
Happy Birthday to me!!
Until Nothing’s Left...
*the way to that area*
It’s funny how things work out…
For a long time I wouldn’t walk to the other side of the hospital I worked in. It was still very traumatizing. For those who don’t know I was in the hospital for a month due to preeclampsia and although our outcome was very good the area in the hospital was still very daunting. It made my heart skip a beat… and not in a good way.
I am a nurse… like most of you know and for the last 6 years I worked on the same floor and didn’t have much movement around other parts of the hospital so it was easy to not really be affected by that certain area in the hospital. The first time I walked that way when I finally got off maternity leave I was going to the cafeteria… so I started bringing my food from home more and that kept me from walking over there for that. So my interaction with that part of the hospital was slim to none.
Well recently I started a new position and I was able to move to a new area of the hospital, still not near that area though, so I was good. Well with a new position come some new things. New things like: fellowshipping with new coworkers and dealing with a different patient load.
When I first started my new position I didn’t really think twice about that stuff. I mean that usually comes with the territory of newness. The hospital I work in is huge so moving around—literally from one floor to another will allow you to enter into a whole new world. It’s pretty awesome. So with my new patientload I quickly realized they could be placed anywhere which means I might have to go anywhere. Well the first thing I thought about was… cool I can get my daily steps in. BUT I never considered that I would have to go over there!
With the new fellowships I acquired I was able to get an awesome woman of God that I am able to talk to and WALK with!! Right up my alley! We can get our steps in together and talk about Jesus and vent about being working wives and mamas. It was great. But I never thought we would walk over there.
Welp… it happened. We went walking one day and she went a “new way” and BAM! Right there in my face is the CCN—the Continuing Care Nursery- the place my baby stayed for a week and where George and I resided until my baby was released. Although it was an amazing place… It’s nowhere I ever want to go again. Not even to visit another baby.
When I initially saw the sign my heart beat so fast and my eyes weld up with tears and SO MANY memories flooded my mind. My baby on monitors, sleeping in recliners, waiting to see if George Solomon can transfer to an open crib, my best friend eating burgers with me while George was at work, crying cause I was there, making necklaces for my babies’ milestones, being comforted by many amazing nurses, crying a lot more, family coming to see us, wanting to leave but not wanting to leave. SO many memories.
As the feels started to take over I could feel myself suppressing them and playing them off… Making a little remark to act like I was stronger than I was. I felt myself becoming extremely overwhelmed, my mind was saying I wasn’t ready to see this again… and then I remember God saying…” It’s okay…look how far you all have come… you can handle this… I got you… you’re ready”. Those words reassured me. They calmed me down like no other.
I realized how Good of a father God really is and how he literally catches you when you are about to fall. Literally and figuratively.
God literally caught me as I was tripping up on my feelings .
It’s so funny because dealing with that part of the hospital it’spretty much inevitable now because a small portion of my patient load will always be in that area.
I know it might seem like a small feat but trauma is trauma… big or small. How our minds process things is specific to each individual.
I tell you all this to say… God knows when you are ready. He will gracefully help you jump hurdles you are avoiding. He will show you the brighter side of that oh so dark time in your life. He will provide comfort for you through allowing you to take care of someone else and make the situation they are going through a tad bit easier.
If I had my way with things I wouldn’t have gone back over there unless I had a doctor’s appointment or was having another baby; it would have literally been a point A to B type thing. But there is no way healing can come with that. I needed to passthrough… I needed to wade in that area to have time to soak in the goodness of my father.(Isaiah 43:2)
Typing this literally brings me to tears because I think about how far my baby has come and I know my God is true, so true to his promises.
Let God work through you and heal you… but let Him do it His way… and let him tell you When You’re Ready.
Until Nothing’s Left,
A Few Scripture for some encouragement.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work[a] in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you[b] and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling[c] of our Lord Jesus Christ! Phil 1:6
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. Romans 8:28
More Than A Number
I never realized until I started trying to lose weight how much numbers “define” us. I would weigh in every week with hopes that the number on the scale would significantly decrease. Some days it went down 3lbs, some .2lbs some not at all… the days when I lost more I would immediately be in a better mood. The days where the numbers were on the lesser end I would find myself in sort of a slump, wondering how I messed up and what I could do to get back on track. I began obsessing so much to the point where I had to take my scale out of plain sight because it was getting ridiculous. The funny thing about it all was even though the number on the scale read a certain thing and it might not have been what I wanted I could still tell a difference in my clothes, my face, even my shoes lol. But those things were not as significant to me as seeing a numerical decrease.
For a while now the number on the scale has bounced back and forth between a few of the same numbers… it has been sort of discouraging to see that the number isn’t really changing anymore. My mind has gotten to the point where it is playing tricks on me. I will look in the mirror and see the old 35lbs heavier Brittany. Even though I know that it is not the truth I still find myself being dissatisfied with what I see. And ultimately it is ALL because of a number.
This got me thinking. Thinking about HOW OBSESSED we can get with numbers and how it can change our whole perspective on… well life.
I remember when I was applying for colleges I had only applied to a few and I was set on one for sure. I had been accepted and was in the process of picking out my dorm space and all that. This school was rather large and I remember talking to someone and they told me that the classes were so large that the students went by numbers and not their names. This freaked me out. Especially coming from a high school (RAMSAY HIGH SCHOOL—BEST THERE IS) that was smaller and everyone knew everyone! The teachers, lunchroom staff and everyone else knew you by name. I couldn’t fathom the fact that I would be a number. Well this major factor along with a few other things changed my mind about going to this particularly large college and I decided to go to a smaller school (UNIVERSITY OF NORTH ALABAMA—BEST THERE IS). There the teachers knew my name and were very involved in my education. I loved UNA and I wouldn’t change a thing about going there. But as I sit back and think I realize that even if I would have gone to that larger school my education would have been the same. I would have probably had an amazing time. Being a number wouldn’t have changed really anything. But, I let it scare me. I let it be the determining factor on where I continued my education.
I remember growing up having to memorize phone numbers. I had a Lisa Frank planner that I kept everyone’s number in and referred to it when I needed to contact someone. Well, it was always a few people’s numbers who I always remembered; whether it was my best friend (at the time) or a boy I liked. What’s crazy is I still remember some of those numbers to this day. I use to play with people’s minds a little and say little things to see if they had memorized my number, thinking if they knew my number “by heart” that I was more special to them. It was kind of silly. But that mattered to me.
Now all of these are TOTALLY different circumstances but they all involved a number of some sort. I know I am not the only one who focuses on numbers… My point behind all these scenarios really is to say that none of these things “define” you. None of them make you any less or any more.
Whether you are 30lbs over weight or 30lbs underweight… You are still you! You are still special. You are more than that. I understand you want the scale to read different but if your cholesterol is down and your blood pressure is good—I would think being healthy matters WAYYYY More!
Whether you are a number in a class of 300 or your teacher knows your name… You can still get your education. You can still make a difference. You can STILL graduate at the top of your class.
Them knowing your number by memory or not doesn’t mean they like you any more or any less… Their number being in your phone or them randomly calling you… has nothing to do with you… you can’t let that or them make you feel more or less important. Yeah I get it! Trust me! But what does it matters if they are calling you if every time they call they are arguing or being petty… Move along. Your sanity matters more.
I am speaking to myself when I write this post. We can’t continue to obsess with things that ultimately don’t matter.
We have to learn to focus back on what really matters! God! And identify ourselves through his eyes! Romans 12:2 is such a good reminder! (listed at the bottom)
We are more than what society makes us think is important. Be reminded that God defines you! We are more than numbers to Him.
A few scriptures to remind us of who we really are:
Now anyone enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold , everything is fresh and new. 2 Corinthian 5:17
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is so marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazed me to think about it. How thoroughly you know me, Lord. Psalms 139:14
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern Go’d will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. Romans 12:2
Until Nothing’s Left,
When it comes to friendships i have been blessed to find some amazing women and men that have truly had my back and loved on me through all my mess! But i have also had some periods throughout my life that my friends became few and far between.
Friendships dissolve for different reason and sometimes it can be a peaceful breakaway and other times it can be terrible! I have experienced how nasty a parting of ways can be and i am also seeing how maturity can bring about a softer blow.
The more i grow in Jesus the more i am doing heart checks (check out my post before this) and beginning to realize it isn’t always someone else’s fault. I am not
ALWAYS THE VICTIM!
As college ended and after college i held onto being the victim for a long time. I was so hurt and i was so mad. BUT it was partially my fault. It wasn’t just the other party doing something to me. It was very much so both of us being childish or just mean to one another. I look back on those days and i constantly ask God why things happened as they did... but I am realizing without those instances i would never learn how to remove myself from playing victim in every situation. I know that those instances have brought me to this point of accepting and admitting.
I am realizing that sometimes i start the argument. I created the rumor. I told the lie. I played the middle. I made communication be nonexistent. I was the problem— not the victim.
As I’ve matured i have learned the power of simply accepting that i was toxic and apologizing for being that person. Making time to not necessarily rekindle that friendship BUT squash whatever beef there was or just move on.
Although most of my friendship issues happened about 10 years ago they still weighed heavy on me because i played a huge part in creating them.
I’m not saying all this because it’s the cool thing... because who wants to truly admit that they caused a potentially good friendship to end. I am saying this because it’s TRUTH!
Y’all, IT IS NOT ALWAYS EVERYONE ELSE! Everyone else is not always bad.
Until the toxicity is removed from your spirit then your mindset will continuously go back to pointing the finger.
This might be hard to admit right off but remove yourself from always being the victim. It has taken me 10 years but it is so freeing.
Admit your wrongs and live your life without holding onto these things that are holding you back.
Until Nothing’s Left...
As i step back and look at the fact that this is the third year anniversary of my blog i began to think of where i was when God put this blog on my heart. I was on fire for Jesus just coming back from my first Pinky Promise Conference. My heart had been made new. I was a different Brittany.
I know God gave me this blog with the intentions of me spilling my heart to you all! He wanted me to REpresent Him and tell the world how although i struggle i still rely on him and live for him and his glory. Is it easy? Nope! I mean when i think about the many times i have questioned God and doubted him and downright rejected him I’m surprised He still loves me. Me and my family have endured some tough times but God has STILL shown how faithful he is through it all.
3 years and I’m still walking this RELATIONSHIP with Christ thing out. I just went to my 3rd Pinky Promise conference and I went in with GREAT expectation. And God showed out. God kept putting something in my heart the whole time i was there... my heart posture.
My heart has gone from open and soft to stone cold hard. I have experienced all the stages of heart ache and mending over the past 3 years and some time before that as well. I’m not talking about the break ups from my boyfriends or the friendships that dissolved. I’m talking about the feelings of completely feeling looked over. Feeling misused. Feeling forgotten. (I know break ups of any kind can be mentally and emotionally traumatizing— I’m not insensitive to that because I’m married and have a very good friend group.)I am talking about walking upright, trying to be just, loving and caring and still feeling like I’m losing.
I experienced different situations that left me feeling like “forget all this”. Im sure you have been there as well. I would always wonder why is this going like this or that? Am i not a good enough person to not get this or that?
In recent months God has been revealing something to me about my heart and the posture in which it is in. He told me that i thought everything was about me. I was devastated to get this revelation because the nature of my work is focused on caring for others... literally going all day without peeing to care for others and their families. Then i thought about how i try to help my family. I try making things easier for them. I was just shocked. Like God seriously how is this the case? Well it was made a little clearer to me at the conference. Since i have been back home i have been able to actually see what he meant.
As i said, I went to this conference in TOTAL expectation. Totally expecting God to move and break my heart for the things that break his. For Him to do for me the same thing he did for the children of Israel on Ezekiel 36— but specifically in verse 26 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” I needed that. I wanted and desired that. So one day during quiet time as i studied “worship” God brought it to my attention to look up the word worship... because he knew i thought that it was the same thing as praise. I also know he had me look it up because i don’t TRULY worship him. I mean i pray and thank him and raise my hands. I CRY during songs, i get in my feelings about certain ways he has been good to me. But guess what... these are all actions that typically involve some sort of emotions. He wanted me to see that when the emotions leave so does my true heart for him... so does my desire to let him be sovereign .
“Worship is releasing control and letting God FULLY reign.”
It isn’t just about thanking him for EVERY great thing he is doing and has done. But understanding that it’s not EVER about me it’s always about him. So no matter how much i do—Every action i take, every thought to help someone, every nice gesture...all these things that give me the “feels” should still be done even after the feels are gone. Even when it hurts. Even when I’m mad. Worship is not about how I’m feeling it’s acknowledging that God is sovereign.
After I studied that it began to soak in my heart what God was trying to get me to understand and what i want you to understand. He revealed to me that i relish too much in praise, but not praising him. Wanting to receive praise from outsiders when i have done something that i deem praiseworthy. Wanting a pat on the back or a hand clap... thinking it’s going to keep me going. BUT IT ISNT. He keeps me going. And once the dust settles and people have moved on from the “attaboys” then is motive still the same— are my motives to do good from the heart or are they drenched in feelings and getting the next thumbs up.
What is my heart’s posture? What is your heart’s posture?
Hey you might not even struggle with this, but if you do, check your heart! This isn’t about you or what you are doing. It’s ALWAYS about Him.
In my case i was saying things were for God’s glory but my heart was hardened and I really wasn’t interested in glorifying Him...or maybe i was just enough for me to show y’all... BUT it was really all about me. (Hey I’m just being real... i mean i struggle, y’all)
I’m glad God checked me!
Now i can’t say that i have arrived but i can say that i am more aware and i want to be more cognizant. No, i cannot say my actions are void of emotions because that would be a lie. What i can say is my emotions are not the driving force behind my actions. Don’t let yours be either.
Don’t let the way you live your life and posture your heart be contingent on “attaboys”...
Until Nothing’s Left,
Check out Ezekiel 36!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.