Did you know that God hears your heart’s desire? Did you know that our joy (real joy) comes from the Lord? I have known these truths for a while, but about a month ago God once again proved to me that He loves me and desires to see me smile.
In early January, I heard about the upcoming Martin Luther King breakfast being held at the Armory in Minneapolis and I knew immediately I wanted to go. I looked it up online and saw that Don Lemon was scheduled to be the keynote speaker and the Sounds of Blackness were scheduled to perform. However, when I arrived at the tickets portion of the website I was immediately disappointed because not only were the tickets I desired out of my price range, but they were also sold out. I was a bit sad because I really wanted to be there, but internally I made a pledge with myself to make plans to attend in 2020. I went about the rest of the day not thinking any more about the event, but in my heart, I really wanted to attend. More than a week later, I came back from lunch to a message from my manager, “Come see me when you get back to your desk!” I immediately thought I was in trouble although I had no clue why. It’s probably how most kids feel when they get called to the principal’s office; it’s a nice place to walk by but I don’t really want to be summoned there, but that’s just me. Anyway, I walked into her office and said, “I’m telling you I did not do it” and chuckled so if I was in trouble it would break the ice. She said something about knowing that I would think it was about something more serious, but it wasn’t, she just had a question for me. Her question, “Do you want to go to the Martin Luther King Breakfast at the Armory?”. I was stunned, floored, and elated all at the same time. Of course, my answer was YES! I told her that I tried to get tickets but was I could not find any that were in my budget. She said OK, it’s yours and she made the arrangements for me to go. I walked back to my desk on cloud 9 and a grin the size of the entirety of these United States! I was OVERJOYED!!
The night before the breakfast, I tried to figure out what I was going to wear and how I was going to do my hair so that I would look my best and be prepared because the event began at 7 am. The next morning the temperature in Minneapolis was frigid and the dress I planned to wear was not going to make it so I had to improvise and thankfully there was a dress that would work. In addition to a wardrobe change, I was suddenly exhausted as if sleep had alluded me throughout the night, but I was not about to let being tired or the frigid temperatures outside get to me so I pressed on because I could not miss this event. When I arrived at the Armory, I found the table my job paid for and discovered it was right on the floor of the venue with a clear view of the stage. I was once again over the moon! I tried to hold my composure but when the Sounds of Blackness performed I got up, sang and danced a little bit and at that moment it did not matter that I was sitting at a table with attorneys and staff from my job because I was determined to enjoy every moment. When Don Lemon got up to speak, I thought about the possible consequences of appearing to agree with his remarks especially political ones, but at that moment, I did not care. It honestly did not matter what Don Lemon said, although his speech was really good, it did not matter because the truth for me at that moment was I was living the dream – the dream of being at the Martin Luther King breakfast celebrating the man with a dream for a nation that has still yet to come to full fruition. I was living the dream that I wanted but was out of reach until God’s favor turned a no into a yes, and I was determined to savor every single moment.
Once the event was over, I braved the cold again and walked back to my car. On the way home, all I could do was cry and praise God for hearing my heart prayers. You see I never prayed about going, it was my desire, but I did not think it was worthy of prayer time. I honestly did not think anything more of it after I realized the seat I wanted was sold out. Yet, my wonderful Abba saw fit to let me go and not only let me go but let me go for free. Not only let me go for free but also have a great time and not only have a great time but to be right in the middle of the action. I just cried and worshiped God because really He did not have to do it but He did. Were there other pressing prayer matters, yes, but for me, this was the encouragement I needed to be reminded that our God is Father and He really truly cares about all that concerns us even the small things that we think aren’t worth His time.
I will leave you with this, know that God hears you. He hears your prayers and He hears your heart. He knows the desires He’s placed in you and He wants what is best for you. I feel like someone thinks that God can only be a tyrant or one who really is too broad to be concerned about the little details of your life, but I am here to tell you that while our Father God is big, He longs to be our Abba (Father, Daddy). He longs to smother us with His undying, never-ending love. It’s not that He’s disinterested in helping you grow, but just as a loving earthly father gives his child gifts as well as discipline, our Heavenly Father is no different, in fact, I think He’s a little bit better at it but I'm biased because I already know. God loves you and He hears the cries of your heart. He’s with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you, just trust Him.
Here are some of the photos I took at the Martin Luther King Breakfast and if you’d like to watch the rebroadcast of the event you can click here.
When 2016 began, I was thankful for a New Year but trying hard to stay in faith. I obeyed God and left my job, but I felt like I was losing everything. All that I knew was that I was going to follow God, but I did not know where He was taking me. When I entered 2016, I remembered all the great things – seemingly impossible things – that God did for me and I was encouraged that something would happen. As we entered the New Year, I had no idea what was to come, I just knew that I needed to follow God like never before.
As I stood on the cusp of 2016, not knowing what exactly the year had in store I was hopeful and I stand at the end of 2016 knowing that I put my hope in the right place – in God. For me, 2016 was full of the unthinkable and while that may seem like a bad thing, the truth is that it is not a bad thing at all. In January 2016, I could have never imagined leaving Connecticut, the East Coast and all that I knew because God said to go. In January 2016, I could have never imagined living in a lake house – it was unthinkable – not unattainable, simply unthinkable (something I had not thought of, but in my heart I dreamed about). In January 2016, it was unthinkable that I would get on a plane being completely unsure of what would happen once I got off. In January 2016, I did not think I would be where I am today, but here I am.
I can tell you without hesitation that 2016 was one of the most challenging years of my entire life. I cried more than I probably ever have. I prayed more than I ever have. I cried out to God more than I thought was humanly possible. I did things most people would never do. I often look back and see all the bumps in the road, all the places where I did not do so well, all the opportunities I missed and all the friendships I lost. However, when I look back through the right lens – God’s lens – I see all of things I achieved, all the of ways He made, all the times He carried me, all the times He heard me, all the times He spoke to me, all the people He moved because they were no longer for me and all the great opportunities He still has in store for me.
Now that I stand here at the cusp of 2017, looking back at what God did for me and through me in 2015 and 2016, not only am I encouraged, but I am also excited to see what God does in 2017. God outdid Himself in my life in 2015 and again in 2016, so if the last 2 years are a preview of what He is about to do, I anxiously await what He will do in 2017!
Today, before this year is out take a moment to look at your life through God’s lens – see what He sees about your life thus far and about your life to come, then live through His lens. God really wants the best for us – His children. That will not always look the way we think it should look and it won’t always go the way we think it should go, but if we have the faith to believe nothing will be impossible for us.
My prayer for you friends is that you will allow God to do bold things through your life. I pray that God shows Himself strong for you every single day. I pray that you are prosperous and healthy and I pray that your family is prosperous and healthy. I pray that you will let your light shine so that all men will know that you belong to the King!
Happy New Year!
Sometimes you must trust God through the tears. Trusting God when you don’t fully understand what He is doing and why He is allowing things to occur can be frustrating and fear invoking. The word says in Isaiah 55:8, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” While God is concerned about what’s happening for you in the moment, He’s also just as concerned with what is coming in your life, who you will affect, and so much more.
I told someone once that God is like an air traffic controller -- He sees you and all people around you – You land too soon and you may delay someone else. You move too late and someone connected to you may miss their victory. God knows exactly where you need to be and when you need to be there. He knows when and why we need to be delayed (or leave sooner) and His timing is perfect. God’s timing is never “off” and He knows exactly what He is doing.
I received a greater revelation of this just the other day. While trying to leave for work my normal way, I was delayed by someone else’s timetable and I thought for certain I was going to be late and miss my connections. The Lord spoke clearly to me and said “trust me,” and while I heard Him say that I was just annoyed and did not want to miss my connection. I pressed through and did what He led me to do – go to a different station to pick up my connection – and when I arrived I was right on time. The moral of the story is that sometimes you will be delayed getting where you need to go. Sometimes you will find yourself wondering why you are late when you started out your journey early. Know this, if you trust God’s timing even when it seems off, you will get to where you need to go right on time.
Love & Blessings,
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!”
I dislike going to the dentist; it is really not my favorite pastime and while I don’t dread going to the dentist, I can think of so many other wonderful places I would like to be like Virginia Beach, VA (see photo above) but as you and I know that if we want to keep a healthy mouth, we have to go and visit the dentist at least twice a year, right?
So why am I telling you this? Because it hit me that sometimes the very thing we need to do is the very thing we don’t want to do. Praying used to be that thing for me; I did not want to pray. I knew I needed to pray, but I didn’t really want to pray. I would do what I needed and say what I needed just to say that I prayed but there was no power in my prayers at all. It was not until I got serious about my relationship with God, did prayer become a more serious tool for me. The same is true for anything we do – from going to the dentist, to taking out the garbage, to reading the bible – if you don’t fully understand the WHY in why we are doing a thing we may do it the wrong attitude. But when we receive a revelation on the WHY, we should have more of an incentive to do it.
Let me give you an example, I used to dislike exercise but now I do it more frequently because I understand the WHY. The why in exercise for me is making sure that my 40 year-old body is healthier than my 20 year-old body was. And the more I do it, the better I feel which makes me want to do it more and more. The same is true for prayer, reading the Word, etc. When you are doing a task for the right reasons, I believe that there will come a point where it is no longer routine, but rather something you look forward to. The more we pray, worship and read God’s word, the more we connect with Him and the more we connect to Him (the source), the better we will feel even in the midst of the storms of life.
So, let me ask you my friend, what are you not doing because you don’t want to? Is it reading the Word? Is it praying for someone you love to do better? Is it calling the sick and afflicted to check in on them? Is it simply listening to God and obeying Him? Whatever it is – find they why and make an effort to do it. We all struggle with what we want to do vs. what we should do, but sometimes what we want to do is not always the most prudent path; sometimes we have to take the road less traveled and do the thing we need to do to get the results we need.
Peace & Blessings,
A few weeks ago, I was having a rough morning and as God often does He let me see someone else who has gone through and come out on the other side. A friend of mine, who is very successful now, posted a picture of a trip he was about to take and said "remind me to tell you how I was homeless for 2 years" and I was floored! I never knew that he was homeless. I was then reminded of Oprah Winfrey, who has made no secret of her horrible childhood. I was reminded of others as well like Chris Garner, Will Smith, Tommy Hilfger who weren't born with a silver spoon but they made it through major obstacles to become successful in their respective fields and I began to understand that saying anything worth having is worth fighting for. I posted the following to my Facebook page and I wanted you to partake of it as well.
I've been looking at some major players in various industries and one thing they have in common is that they've gone through something. So then, going through shouldn't be looked at through a totally negative lens. There is a lesson in it; a testimony to be shared after a test. After all, you can never really have a testimony without a test. Your "going through" could be different from mine, but if I'm learning if we go through right, there are some major blessings on the other side. Be encouraged, whatever you're "going through" right now is what you are going through but you won't stay there. Note that the words "going through" have movement..."Going through"...look at those words... "Going through". It means you haven't stopped at the issue, it means you haven't taken up residency at the challenge. It may feel like, it might even look like it but if your "going through" you should be growing, learning, evolving, maturing, growing...something that says you aren't at the same place you were before. Even though the surrounding circumstances look the same, if you're going through something about you is changing. Something about you is evolving, something about you is growing. "Going through" is fluid...moving...so don't get stuck going through. Learn the lesson, pass the test and let God pull you out.
I hope that encourages you to keep pressing even as you go through.
Liela Marie Fuller
Author, Mother, Friend, Believer in Jesus...Really Just Me.
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