AUTHOR'S NOTE: Now that we are settled in our home, I want to walk you through what God did for us. Detailed below is the beginning of week two of our journey. I am so thankful for those who watched my videos, but the blog posts will provide more insight for the times I could not record a video.
Our first week in Minnesota we stayed at the LaQuinta Hotel in Bloomington, MN for the entire first week (7 nights) and I was truly thankful for how God provided for that week. He told me before I left to book a room for the week, but I did not know how I was going to pay for it. All the way to Minnesota, I prayed and prayed believing that God would provide for us. I knew that He would provide because He had provided for our flights, even Malachi’s flight at the last minute, so I knew He would not leave us stranded.
During that first week, I recorded a video and applied for positions in the region. I also had my first job interview. I was confident that I would get this position because during the phone interview I had before I left Connecticut I was given every assurance that I was the right fit we just needed to formally meet. I thought that the interview went well and I was excited to receive a formal offer. The person who would have been my manager made it very clear that she wanted me for the position, and while I do not usually get excited about a job unless I have a formal offer, I walked out of the interview believing that the job was mine and the official offer was just a formality. I was supposed to get a call from the manager with my offer that Tuesday (the interview was on Friday) and when Tuesday came I did not hear from her and I grew concerned. We had one more night at the hotel and I had no clue where we were going to go.
Tuesday night, I did not worry, I just believed that God would move – somehow, someway I just believed that God would move. After all, I was praying with my prayer partner every single day and I just knew that God would move by morning. The next day, I woke up and prayed with my prayer partner, I was nervous but I still believed. Later, my friend Troy reached out to me on Facebook and agreed with me in prayer for more time at the hotel. By this time, it was almost noon so I called to the front desk and asked about late checkout; Late checkout was at 2pm so they allowed us to stay until then. As I talked with Troy, he offered me other options like sitting in the lobby and waiting for God to move. I heard him, but by now I was in full panic mode because it was now noon and I had no idea where we were going to go. I cried and said to God that I could not believe He brought us all the way to Minnesota to just leave us stranded. I was trying to stay in faith, but this was a new level for me. There was nothing I could do to make this work on my own, I absolutely needed God to do something. I did not have enough money to stay another week at the LaQuinta and I did not have enough money to go to another hotel. I felt totally helpless to do anything for myself, but I believed that God would not leave me here, I just could not see how He was going to make it work. I knew that I needed Him to move on our behalf, but I had no idea what that would look like, I just knew that I needed us to either stay at this hotel or move to another hotel.
We packed our bags because I was not sure what to do and I figured I could always unpack if we were staying at the LaQuinta. I continued to cry and I sent a text to my friend who was on her way to the hotel. When my friend arrived, she came up to the room and told me that she had an idea. She said she had funds for another week at this hotel or she could use her Marriot Rewards points to get us a room we just needed to find one. I could feel myself breathe when she provided the option to me. I felt like I had been holding my breath waiting to see how God was going to move and when my friend said she would help us again, I was so thankful because God had spoken to her heart and provided for her to help us with another hotel stay. She stood in our LaQuinta hotel room browsing local Marriott hotels on her phone while Malachi and I finished packing up. By the time, we were done, she booked us 5 nights at the Town Place and Suites in Eden Prairie. We pack up her car and headed over to the Town Place.
We arrived at the Town Place hotel and we found out that the hotel had free breakfast along with a full kitchen. There was only one queen bed and a pull-out couch, but the room also had a separate office with a TV. Malachi was not happy about the pull-out couch, but he sucked it up as soon as he realized he could play his game and not have to share a TV with me. While Malachi was thankful not to have to share a TV with me, I was thankful that I did not have to go outside to pray in the mornings as I could just come into the office and pray without disturbing Malachi’s sleep. The Lord had come through for us just like He said He would. He provided a place for us for 5 more nights. I was so thankful that the Lord had come through for us and preserved us for another week. That day, my faith in God grew even more and what I learned from this experience is that when you ask God to increase your faith, you should be prepared to be given the opportunity for your faith to grow.
I woke up that morning, Election Day 2016, knowing that I needed to fast. I needed God to move and I needed answers, so I decided to turn over my plate and pray throughout the day even though I was going to be at work. We arrived at the Super 8 the night before for either the 4th or 5th time and had lugged our suitcases and bags from my cousin’s truck to our room. By now, I felt like the people at the front desk knew us and while it was nice to be known, I was ready for the hotel hopping part of our journey to be over. I was very thankful for God’s daily provision, but I was also ready for this season to be over.
The Saturday before, we went to visit a beautiful lake home that we could move into with very little notice. The home was fully furnished and even included dishes, utensils, and beds for us to sleep in. The only thing that stopped us from taking possession of the home was the money for the 1st month’s rent and security deposit. Since I had just started my new job the week before, I knew that I would not have it on my own until the end of November. In October, I applied for emergency assistance with the county to help us with the security deposit and first month’s rent of an apartment. When I applied, I was still looking for a place so our application was on hold. Before we went to see the house, I called and let the county know that we found a place. Even though I only saw photos online, I believed that everything would go well and that God would not let this beautiful place get dangled in front of my eyes only for me to find out it was not what I thought it was. That Saturday, I fell in love with the lake home and I was ready to move in, but I still had not heard back from the county so we had to leave and go back to the hotel.
That Tuesday, when I decided to fast, it seemed like everything that could go wrong was going wrong. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning so that Malachi could get to school on time. We needed to take 3 buses from the hotel to his school. We got on our first bus with no problem and for some reason the bus took an alternate route that dropped us off on the highway (it is the weirdest thing but Minnesota has bus stops on the highway). The stop was named the same, but instead of getting off on the street where we’d gotten off so many times before, we had to get off on the highway. What I did not realize at the time was that we needed to go down and get to the other side of the highway to get to the second bus. We ended up missing the second bus and there was not another bus going that way until the afternoon, so I ended up taking him back to the hotel so that I could go to work. I was frustrated, tired and cold. We walked down the stairs from the highway and as we walked the three blocks to the bus that would take us back to the hotel, Malachi fell and hurt his hand and we were both at our wits end. After he got up, he said he was OK and I cried. I was done and I just wanted this to be over. When we arrived back at the hotel I left Malachi there with specific instructions and I left the hotel again so that I could take the bus to work. I arrived at work on time and I was thankful that the events earlier didn’t prevent me from getting to work on time, but I was wiped out and ready for a nap. I grabbed a cup of coffee so that I could keep my eyes open, but I continued to fast from food through the morning.
I sat in training at work trying to keep my eyes open and learn all that was being taught to me. I was also attempting to keep my mind stayed on Jesus. About 11 am, my phone rang and it was a representative from Hennepin County calling about my application for emergency assistance. I was finally able to talk with them a short time later and I was told that my emergency assistance application was approved and payment would be made to my new landlord for the security deposit and first month’s rent. My landlord agreed to let us move into the house that same night. I was so excited and thankful and my entire countenance changed.
That afternoon, I sent a text to my friend Jackie and she agreed to take us to our new home when I got off work. I felt like I was on cloud 9 the entire afternoon and I was so thrilled to be finally moving into our home. It was like a whirlwind, I remember very little of what happened at work that afternoon because I was so ecstatic about moving into my home. Everything seemed to be happening at lightning speed. I arrived at the hotel, we grabbed our luggage, bags, etc. and we headed to our new home. I signed my lease and we were in, just like that. I could not believe how quickly this all took place, but I was so thankful that I was able to sleep in my own bed.
After nearly three months of hotel hopping and living on blind faith, God showed up and delivered exactly what He promised and more. I wanted to live on the water, and God delivered a home on the water for less than I could have ever imagined. I was so thankful that He heard my cry and my prayer and provided just like He said He would. If God is telling you to do something, whatever it may be, obey Him and let Him lead you. It may not be easy, but nothing worth having is ever easy but it will always be worth it.
In Faith & Love,
Doing the right thing is not always easy and as a Christian, I’d love to tell you that I always do the right thing, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes doing the right thing is hard. This blog post started as the “the courage to obey” because I thought it would be easier to write about how we should do the right thing even when it hurts, but for the life of me I could not put words on the paper. I would get started and get stuck, get started and get stuck, get started and get stuck – it was a vicious cycle and I could not figure out what the problem was. I soon realized that the problem was me I was focusing on the wrong thing not the main thing. You see this was about much more than obedience because I can obey doing the wrong thing, but I am still obeying aren’t I? And when you make a choice to do the right thing no matter what that can, at times, look just like rebellion (think about Jesus turning over tables or Jesus healing on the Sabbath). What I realized is that this post needed to be about doing the right thing because while doing the right thing will lead you into a life of obedience; doing the right thing will obedience is great and necessary, doing the right thing often is often accompanied by obedience.
As a believer, there are certain things I know I should do and there are certain things I know I shouldn’t do. I know that I am supposed to read my bible, pray, fast, love my neighbor, etc. I also know that I am not supposed to lie, cheat, or steal. These are the basics, for most of us, the basics are easy, and we are good with easy. But sometimes a shift takes place and doing the right thing causes friction, frustration and downright pain. In fact, the bible lets us know that doing the right thing can cause challenges and friction (see I Peter 3:14). So, how do you do the right thing when it is not easy? How do you say “yes” to God’s will and obey him when it “feels” so much better to do what you want? (Just a quick note, doing the right thing to you and me may be different but it’s doing the right thing to God that counts).
Doing the right thing or doing things God’s way is not always easy and unfortunately we often stand in our own way with fear, doubt, and anxiety. Let me give you an example from my own life. In the past, whenever I would get frustrated by a situation or a problem, I would vent out all of my problems, typically exacerbating the issue because I would not shut up about it and because I did not shut up about it, I would also say things I did not mean, which caused things to happen that may not have happened if I had just kept my mouth shut. So, when people were mean to me, I would make the situation worse by talking to other people which always led to gossiping (the wrong thing) instead of praying (the right thing). God has been dealing with me on this because as a woman I am built to talk out my issues, but now instead of ranting to people who may or may not keep what I say to them, God has me come to Him in prayer. For me, doing the right thing in this scenario is bringing my problems to God for counsel, wisdom and instruction (because sometimes I am the problem but that is a whole different blog post). However, when I am upset and frustrated in the heat of the moment I just want to say everything that is on my mind in the loudest, meanest voice I can muster, but I know that is not the right thing to do (and I know that because when I do slip God convicts me immediately). For me, doing the right thing when I am upset defies every behavior I grew with and around, yet when I do it God’s way, I not only feel better, but the sting of whatever problem I had goes away and the resolution to the matter comes quickly.
So how do you effectively do the right thing? First, know what God says about your situation. In my case, it was gossiping mixed with anger. I know the bible tells me that it is not good to gossip. I also realized that God Himself gave me a conviction in my heart and spirit about it. And even if I slip, I am convicted and have a gut check every time. Second, let God be your guide. He will always give you the right way to go because He wants you to do the right thing. Third, make the choice that even when it hurts and even when it is easier to do it your way, choose God’s way – the best way.
Doing the right thing is not always going to be easy, but know this that if you trust God, trust His timing, and His plan you will see that even when it hurts, doing the right thing will prove to benefit you. Today and every day have the courage to do the right thing and if you fail one day, get right back up and try again. We are not perfect and you may not always do it the right way, but our focus is not in the fall but in the get up and as Spike Lee says “do the right thing!”
No, it is such a powerful 2 letter word; some of us struggle with using it, while others have no problem saying it. For me, it was a word that I struggled using, not because I did not understand it and not because I was unaware of its meaning, but simply because I was afraid to say it. When you get right down to it, I was afraid to use the word “No.” I was afraid of what people might think when they asked me to do something and my response was no. I was afraid of what people might say if I said I did not want to do something and truth be told, there are times where I still struggle to use this word. I realize that it really takes courage to say no and actually mean it.
Now, let’s be clear I am not a pushover, but there are some people whose connection to my life, make it easier to say yes and very hard to say no. However, what I am realizing is that there are times when I must say no. Here’s one example: very often I find myself taking on tasks that I shouldn’t or accepting assignments I shouldn’t because someone has asked me to do it and in doing saying yes, I have created a situation where I am overloaded and overbooked. As I analyze these situations, I am realize that it is not always that I want to say no and can’t, for me, sometimes it’s actually that I have caught their vision and I’ve already envisioned myself completing the task with great vigor, stamina and excellence. The problem I have is that the minute I see their vision and see how I can make it happen, it is usually in the conversation and I say “Yes” without reconciling all of the other things on my to-do list! Since I now recognize that this is a problem for me, I take a moment to think past the glitz I see at completion and think to the massive to-do list I have in my Evernote, then I answer in the way that is best for me. This frees me to say no and it also allows the other person the opportunity to find someone who has the time.
But there are still some instances where I can actually need courage to say no and it is in those times that I have to reconcile within myself what is best for me. I used to think that it was selfish to put me first, but I am growing to understand that it isn’t selfishness at all it is prudent. When you go on any commercial flight, one of the safety items the flight attendant tells the passengers about is about the oxygen mask. The flight attendant does their demonstration and one of the things they tell you is to put your mask on first and then help the elderly and small children. Why do you think that is? It is because you have to ensure that you have enough oxygen first, so you don’t pass out trying to help your loved ones who cannot help themselves. When I apply that same principle to my life, I realize that I have to be OK with taking care of myself first and then caring for others, because if I don’t I may not be able to take care of people the way I would like to. This does not mean that I am selfish, but it does mean that at times I must say no. I am not sure about you, but sometimes it is so hard for me to say that little word, but the more I train myself to think of me first (and all of the things that I have to do), it gets a little easier. I admit that I am not perfect at it and there are times when I know I should decline but I accept anyway. I am still a work-in-progress and I am so much better than I used to be in this area, so I am thankful for steps in the right direction.
Let me encourage you, if you are challenged with saying no, remember what you’ve read here and do not let anyone discourage you when your courage to say no fails. This is not a science, and there will be times when we say “yes” even though we should really say “no.” Guess what? We all come short, but going forward make sure that you put your oxygen mask on first (take care of you first) and then take care of those around you.
“And you know shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~ John 8:32 NKJV
I am certain that my Great-Grandmother, Dorothy Trueblood, was not the first one to say “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” but she was the first person I recall saying it to me. I am not sure who came up with it initially or who said it first, but what I am sure of is that when I heard it the first time, I did not fully comprehend the meaning. As simple as the statement was/is, there is so much more to it. In order for you to completely understand how this statement came to be in my house, you have to know my Mom-Mom. She was a tough cookie and she never held anything back, but it was never her intention to hurt anyone with her words, so she taught us that if we did not have anything nice to say, we should stay quiet. Years later, I have to admit that there are times when this still applies in my life, but now more than ever I have decided to have the courage to speak the truth in love. For most of us, being honest is no big deal – we can be honest about what we like, what we don’t, and even to some degree who we like and who we don’t, but what happens when your truth threatens the very fabric of your life? What happens when speaking your truth means letting people know how they’ve hurt you? What happens when speaking your truth means no longer settling for the mundane things you’ve settled for in the past? It’s at these times where we need to have the courage to be honest and speak the truth in love.
The definition of courage is strength in the face of pain or grief, but it also the ability to do something that frightens you. Courage is something we have all needed in the past and it is something that we will need again at some point in our lives. Some people need courage just to get out of bed in the morning and face a new day. Some people need courage to move from one city to another. Some people need courage to say what they have longed to say for so long. No matter who we are, courage is something that we all need; courage is not based on race, creed, color, size, gender, or financial outlook – courage is something that anyone and everyone will need to utilize at multiple points in their lifetime. We will discuss some of these points in my blog over the next few weeks/months and it is my hope that as we learn together and grow together we will also gain courage together.
Today’s topic, the courage to be honest, came while I was driving home. I was thinking about a situation that I was facing. I need to tell a very good friend something and I did not want to do it, but I knew that if I did not tell her I would not be honest with her or with myself. Sometimes, it takes courage to be honest and tell the unadulterated truth, especially when that truth may hurt another. It’s not always easy to say what you need to say to someone, especially when you know that person may be offended or upset by what you are going to say but that is where courage comes in.
Over the years, I have tried to learn the art and practice of listening, but one of the things that sometimes comes with listening is giving advice. Now, when we’re talking fish vs. chicken or natural hair vs. relaxed, I can do that, but when the conversation turns to the hard stuff like when the person is in the wrong and they need loving correction, or when they have done something and I know I have to speak up or having to tell people what God has said, I have to admit those conversations get a little tougher. As much as I hate to admit it, I would really rather not have the hard conversations at all. I guess I am a softy, but what I find is that most people are like that. We’d much rather things be all good all the time, however, it simply cannot be that way because we don’t live in a fairy tale. Speaking the truth in love is essential and while difficult, we must learn to communicate even the hard things so that we and others can grow. Having tough conversations are never really easy but here are a few tips that may help:
1. Pray. Talking to God before you have the conversation will help you to speak the truth in love and it will invite God in to that conversation. Seek His counsel and wisdom about the matter before you dive right into a discussion. Praying is important because there may be times when God will instruct you not to have the conversation for one reason or another, be open to doing (or not doing) whatever He tells you. *Note: If God tells you to say something to someone, say it without delay or hesitation – just obey.
2. If you are angry, delay your conversation. Take a moment to center yourself in the Lord and when you are able to speak with peace, and then come back to the conversation. Speaking in anger will never correlate to speaking the truth in love – I don’t care who you are. You have to have a cool head and not an angry one.
3. If you have trouble remembering or feel like you may get flustered, write down the points you want to make. This will help you to stay on topic.
4. Listen. Be willing to listen to what the other person has to say. Listening is a critical skill and you must use it to effectively communicate. Listening effectively means not talking over someone or showboating the conversation; active, effective listening requires a closed mouth and open ears.
5. Be open. Sometimes the moment you begin having the tough talk you will find that the other person knows already and are willing to admit their mistake and apologize, so be open to that. Sometimes being open simply means providing the flexibility in the conversation to change direction, pause or stop all together.
Bonus: Keep your ears attuned to the voice of the Lord. He may give you wisdom, insight or instruction that could help your conversation.
The courage to be honest is not always an easy thing to have but I believe that we have to do a better job about speaking up when things bother us or get in our way.
Liela Marie Fuller
Author, Mother, Friend, Believer in Jesus...Really Just Me.
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