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Hangin’ Up The Cape

I recently added a Q&A forum to my website, which you can check out here. The purpose of the forum is to allow women to anonymously ask other women questions (including me) they may not have the opportunity to ask in other forums like school, church, conferences, etc. I get tons of emails and social media questions on topics ranging from quarter life crisis, spiritual living, womanhood, and more. I believe this forum is a great way for women to be vulnerable, and allow others to chime in and help sisters navigate life’s waters. Needless to say, I’m excited about this new feature!

Of course by now you know that everything I do is rooted somewhere between Genesis and Revelation. This particular endeavor is found in Titus 2. Check it out when you get a chance.

Recently a friend told me that I don’t have bad days or ever feel insecure. Sounds flattering, right? Wrong. For me, his words represented the hypocrite I never thought I’d be. I sincerely apologize for misleading you like that. It was never my intention to seem perfect, strong, or super brave. From its inception, Ebonee Speaks has been a means of expression and motivation for young women. It is not an elite club for sheroes. If it were, I definitely wouldn’t be able to get in. Rather, Ebonee Speaks is a tool for women who’ve been acquainted with pain, insecurity, hurt, shame, confusion and doubt.

I have noticed, however, that sometimes my pride gets the best of me. I don’t always allow myself to be as vulnerable as I’d like to be. This letter represents me taking off my super cape. It wasn’t all that anyway!

“Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup”

The title was inspired by an album by Contemporary Christian artist Josh Wilson.

 

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I have a fear of being too vulnerable. I have no problem telling the world that I’m a mess, but it’s the details that scare me. I’m used to being ashamed of my fears, cares, issues and history. I don’t mind you knowing I have flaws, but don’t ask me to describe them. I’m easily intimidated, and particularly by my own fears. They haunt me, constantly reminding that I’m more human than divine. I don’t like it. Recently, I’ve feared the writing process, which I hope explains why it’s been over a month since you’ve last heard from me. Forgive me. It’s a new year and I have much to share.

Thirty days ago, my friend Kareem initiated a 30-Day Challenge. Excited to participate, I jumped at the opportunity. The premise of the challenge is to enter 2014 different and focused on that goal or thing you’ve been talking about doing, but have yet to set in motion. It spoke to me because at the start of 2013, I made some tough decisions that ultimately transitioned my life from emotions-driven to goal-driven. You may remember this post I wrote at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t achieve every thing I hoped to achieve, but I did gain wisdom, integrity, humility, thankfulness, longsuffering, unspeakable joy and incomprehensible peace. Read this literally: your decisions direct the trajectory of your life. Likewise, choices you make, make you. I promise, there is no pixie dust that sprinkles throughout the world at 12am on January 1st.  All you have are your decisions.

What I learned in 2013 is that there are not enough fireside chats, phone calls, pity parties, 12-step programs, self-help books, and conferences in the world that will teach us how to triumph in life. Just make a decision: to be happy, to trust God, to see things in proper perspective, to show compassion, to be optimistic, to be hopeful, to be confident, to love, to speak up, to get started, to finish, to let go, to hold on, to not worry, to tell the truth, to receive the truth, to seek understanding, to say no, to say yes, to get over it, to move on, to be disciplined, to keep, to let go, to heal, to rest, to be better.

“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is a yes in heaven; a no on earth is a no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this: When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – Jesus. When I read this, all I see is a call to make decisions.

During 2013, I endeavored to fit the entire ocean in a cup. I vision-boarded, took action, experienced fear and did stuff anyway. In short, I was determined to live differently so that I could experience life on higher ground. Here’s how it went:

 

  • I told God I’d go wherever He wants me to go. My new address includes MD where CA used to be. That’s my physical address. If you ask me, I’ll tell you that I live at the intersection of Grace and Gratitude.
  • I prayed over my purpose. I was invited to the Mandela Memorial Service in Washington DC last November. That celebration is one of the greatest inspirational moments in my life. I’ve never been so clear on the impact I am here to make. Well done, Mandiba. Well done.
  • I asked God to help me appreciate the process. He taught me the unpopular gift of longsuffering and sacrifice. Last year was awful to everyone close to me and when you love someone, you suffer with him/her. In the end, I watched them overcome, heal, extend and receive Grace, rejoice and stand.
  • I endeavored to save money in 2013. In actuality, I’d never been more broke. However, I’ll never be that broke again. I learned to trust God daily for manna and quail (Exodus 16).)
  • I inquired to know the depths of God’s Love and Grace. We’ll never fully grasp the extent of it, but watching Him pursue my heart inspired me to live the rest of my life with Him as the lover of my soul. I’ll never settle when it comes to matters of the heart.
  • One day I woke up and didn’t feel pretty. From that day on I stopped wearing makeup to become comfortable in my own skin. Now I wear what I want free from my insecurities and self-serving tendencies.
  • I prayed for joy. God challenged me to launch the “Heart of the Matter Tour,” which flew me to Houston, Texas to minister before beautiful young women. Living purposefully brings joy.
  • I needed to let go of feeling overwhelmed. I took off my homemade Superwoman cape and hung it in the closet. Since I was tempted to put it back on, I burned it. I am enough. Right now, in this moment, the woman that I am is worthy. God says so.

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 What’s in my ocean? It’s swarming with passion and divine ambition. I spent the last 30 days figuring out how to articulate the ways I tried to fit my entire ocean in one cup. What I mean is, I fought in 2013 for my future and joy. Perhaps I was too ambitious in the beginning, if that’s even possible. Though I couldn’t grab hold of my entire destiny like I intended, you can currently find the treasure of my sea marinating in the kitchen sink. In 2014, I am committed to serving it to you on a platter! Where I was previously nervous about being too vulnerable or disappointing God by inaccurately depicting this chapter of my life, it’s too good not to share.

Kareem challenged me to just write. So, here it is. On this second day of the year 2014, I’ll leave you with this which I think speaks to wherever you are in life: your ocean will never fit in your cup. It wasn’t made to be that small. Don’t bottle it. Don’t limit it. Just swim. #30DaysToChange #whatsinyourcup #happynewyear #siezethenext365 #itsyourturn.

 

Remember, God loves you and so do I,

Ebonee

 

25 Things to do Before 25

In honor of my recent birthday…

 

1. Learn to be still.

Last year around this time, I decided to fully commit my heart to Jesus. I surrendered and established that I would pursue Him will all my might. If you ever want a test in patience, discipline and sacrifice, I encourage you to do the same. Likewise, if you ever want a testimony in peace, joy and unsurpassable love, I encourage you to do the same. “Be still and know” is more than a cute Facebook meme. It’s the rested assurance that God is in control, and we are completely out of control. Our twenties are tumultuous times, but our seemingly big and overpowering problems are nothing for our big and powerful God. Practice the art of worrying less, stressing less, figuring it out less. Go find a quiet field somewhere, lie in the grass and exhale in the stillness. EVERY thing is TRULY going to be all right. God promises.

 

2. If you’re gonna do it, DO IT.

Integrity is a word I couldn’t define until recently. During the spring of 2012, I decided to get in the “best shape of my life.” I wasn’t working at the time so I had nothing but time and energy to burn. I reached out to a personal trainer friend to help me. He would schedule hikes at Runyon Canyon, workout sessions, yoga…and I was religiously late. One day he asked me to define integrity. I blathered a bunch of synonyms, and “it’s like, ya knows,” but no definition. He eloquently explained integrity saying, “It’s the discipline of doing what you say you’re going to do.” By showing up late all the time, I proved that I lacked integrity, and therefore respect for him and what he was doing for me. He furthered, “You can half workout, half eat right, half show up, and continue to be stagnant in your results. Developing integrity will not only allow you to reach your health goals, it will filter to every aspect of your life.” Integrity—pass it on.

 

3. Fight against comparing.

Ya’ll. Comparisons will be the death of Generation Y if we don’t get it together. A month or so before turning 25, the quarter life crisis I experienced was SO REAL. Whoosh! I won’t get too detailed. Just know I’ve been delivered. For the first time in my life, I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations. I recalled a list I wrote in high school of things I would have/do by age 25. I don’t have half the things I said I would by age 25. I haven’t done half the things I said I would. Uncovering this truth nearly killed my self-esteem. I was in a frantic panic to travel the world real quick, make a ton of money by any means necessary, acquire a six pack abs set, purchase a ranch in the country and marry a tall Morris Chestnut-looking brother who led a small church congregation somewhere.

 

Then one day in Bible study, the preacher talked about how stupid it is to compare yourself to anyone other than Christ. As He talked, the chains began to fall off. “So wait. Let me get this straight. My portion is perfect? You mean, EVERY, SINGLE thing I’ve ever experienced will work for my good?” PAUSE. “There are others? I’m not alone? Who knew?” I know Facebook/Twitter/Insta would suggest that everyone has it all together. Think. Do you post every single problem on Facebook? Do you tweet every battle? No. You instagram pics of your vacations, your new cars, your awesome jobs, etc. Girl, let that comparing spirit die. Your portion is perfect. You’re only graced to be YOU. And you are so loved and so cared for by the Creator of the universe. Move forward in destiny and purpose, with the understanding that the only stick worth measuring up to was slain on two sticks at Calvary.

 

4. Learn how to say “no.”

Enough said. I’m still working on this one…

 

5. Change your hair.

I’ve got my nerve, I know. I’d NEVER changed my hair until a few years ago. I was bored with my usual press and curl. I went from cutting it off to a short bob, to natural styles, to twists, to color, to extensions, and back. It was soooo freeing, and I found what flatters me (and what doesn’t). I know what my hair looks like under different circumstances. Thusly, I can take better care of it, and look great experimenting with different styles. Switching it up is fun! Do so now before you’re 60-years-old with rainbow highlights because you went your entire life without ever dyeing, frying, adding or taking away from your hair.

Don’t believe me, just watch!

 

6. Develop a routine.

This is hard. I’m not suggesting we be boring, nor am I saying that the vicissitudes of our twenties allow for an every-day-same-thing type of lifestyle. What I am saying is that because so many things are already in transition, developing a workout regiment, community service schedule, quiet time, etc. would behoove you. Ready. Set. Go!

 

7. No new friends for what?

Drake, BYE! I never understood this “no new friends” craze. I’m sure around this age you’ve lost some friends. Let me explain something to you: you’ll lose even more and that’s okay. Some of y’all are missing out on amazing relationships because you’re following Drake. Stop spending every free moment with your usual clique and go to dinner with that new group of girls from your study group, or with a different auxiliary at church, or with that friend of a friend you met during game night. MEET NEW PEOPLE. I once read an article that said most opportunities come from secondary relationships (friends of friends, colleagues of colleagues, etc.). Let’s agree to expand our friendship circles, and receive the blessing God wants to give us through someone unexpected.

 

8. Delete your exes from Facebook.

Okay, ladies. This is close to my heart. Saying “we broke up,” but still checking his Facebook every other day, reading ALL his statuses and double checking his pictures to check for any tagged girls he has his arm around, is NOT breaking up. I hate to break it to you (pun intended). Sis, press that delete button and move on. Social media has provided us an unhealthy obsession with being obsessed with who people are, what they’re doing, where they’re going, and who they’re taking with them. Break up by any means necessary. Block them, delete your account for a while, delete all their messages, do whatever you have to do to move on in a healthy manner. Now, run to your computer and DELETE. DELETE. DELETE.

 

9. Ask for help.

This is critical. So often we don’t operate in our full potential because we haven’t learned how to ask for help. This is a disguise pride wears. You aren’t “too good.” You’re prideful. And it will cost you your destiny if you don’t learn how to use your resources. God places us in circles of influence to give us the tools we need to carry out our purposes. USE THEM!

 

10. Don’t send Sallie Mae death threats.

I’ve tried. She doesn’t respond. The underlying message here is to pay your bills. When I first started hearing from Auntie Sallie, she made me extremely anxious. Before I knew it, I had a pile of mail on my nightstand that I was terrified to open. One day I opened up to my mother, who helped me sit down and make a list of my bills, including due dates. Just having a visual of what my monthly expenses were, made me feel so much better. Finally I called Auntie Sallie, consolidated my loans, got on an income-based payment plan, and we’ve since lived happily ever after…sort of. I realized I am too young to mess up my credit simply because I don’t want to deal with real life responsibilities. If this is you, breathe, realize you’re not the only one, and don’t damn Sallie to hell, PAY HER (or defer her). That’s the only way to get her to stop calling. I know the economy hasn’t been kind to millennials, but that’s not an excuse to “live it up” while your bills pile up.

 

That last sentence was for my friends who go on “vacation” every, other month but complain when Sallie Mae calls. Get it together!

 

11. Make a decision.

Indecisiveness should be illegal. If you don’t know what to do, that’s okay. Take some time to pray. If you’re still unclear, there’s a chance you just aren’t paying attention. Nevertheless, determine in your mind and heart to do one thing over the other. Do you feel peace? That’s God confirming that decision. Do you feel turmoil? God’s not in that. Worrying and overanalyzing can cause us to miss God. Pay attention and for goodness sakes, decide! Making a wrong choice is normal. Should this happen, learn and move on. Grace awaits your bad decisions…not to excuse them, but to erase them and work for your good in ALL things.

 

12. Heal.

Okay. I know this isn’t a command. It’s a process. Baby girl, you’re too precious to be bitter, broken and bruised. Whatever happened to you, it’s time to heal. Don’t spend such precious years hurting and afraid. If you’re struggling in this area, I dare you to “Cast your cares on Jesus for He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7. Don’t just lay your cares down in front of you where you can pick them up again. Use your knees and just throw them as far away from you as possible. Too figurative for your imagination? Okay, how about this? Find a quiet place. Sit there and ask God to heal you. Give Him your heart and ask that He mend it, and restore you. Tell Him you’re not moving until you know what step to take first. I once sat in a quiet room for nearly an hour. I fell asleep right there on the bedroom floor in conversation with God. Though I don’t recommend falling asleep on Him, when I woke up I knew what to do.

 

On a separate occasion (and something I still do to this day), I began writing love letters to Jesus. I tell Him all about my day, tattle on my coworkers, fuss at Him when something doesn’t go my way, annoy Him with my daily blathering, laugh with Him when something’s funny and shower Him with gratitude and adoration. As I go back and read them, I can see how He’s healed my heart from when I first began to now. The letters used to be complaints and demands. Now they’re love letters. The point is healing comes in many forms. God has a tailor-made strategy to heal you if you let Him. It starts with you. Be desperate and bold in your request. Your Father will hear you, and He can’t wait to put you back together again!

 

13. Say “I love you.”

I hardly ever hang up the phone without saying “I love you.” It’s important that the people you encounter leave your presence having experienced love. It sounds really whimsical, but it’s true. Life is crazy enough. Make it a practice to allow others to be consumed with love when they’re with you and when they’re not. You never know whose life, self-esteem, mental state, etc. depends on your love. If God is love, then I believe the ultimate expression of Christianity is loving others. I promise, you’ll find that the more you love, the more supply you’ll have to draw from when you’re feeling without. Now, go and love on folks!

 

14. Trust.

God. Fully and wholeheartedly. I said “I trust God” WAY before I actually did it. What I learned along the way was that it’s an everyday thing. It means waking up in the morning saying “Dad, I’m ready for today’s adventure. Though I don’t completely understand, I trust You. And those areas I’m having trouble loosening control over, reveal them to me and help me release them to You.” Selah. Amen.

 

15. You’re not a wastebasket. Don’t accept garbage.

Nuff said.

 

16. Do WERK.

I’m not a huge fan of Cornel West, but I respect him. He hit the nail on the head with this one: “Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.” Another quote that sums this point up better than I ever could is this: “Success in your twenties is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast,” Paul Angone in 101 Secrets for Your Twenties.

 

17. Care about stuff.

If I were to ask you “Who are you?” What would you say? Do you know? It’s important to learn and celebrate your identity—your purpose. Find out what you care about. Then ask yourself why you care. Then give to that cause—your time, energy, money, talent. Find out what your calling is. Then ask God to reveal the plan He has to get you there. He may not show you the entire staircase, but trust the journey one step at a time. Then move in that direction. Now, GO!

 

18. Learn the proper usage of a Bobbie Pin.

Ladies, I keep a stack of Bobbi Pins in my purse. Why not? They’re so nifty. If I’m out and can’t make it home to fully changed before an evening event, I have a pair of pumps in my car and some Bobbi Pins that automatically turn my day hairdo into an evening up-do. Maybe I should make a YouTube tutorial on this. In the meantime, get some Bobbi Pins and you’ll soon discover their resourcefulness. I’ve unlocked a car door when locked out, aligned the straps in a dress, cleaned my laptop keyboard, you name it. Go get you some!

 

19. Dress well.

I’ve recently resolved that my clothing style is conservative chic. I made that up but it fits. Now when I shop I look for things I like, things that flatter me, instead of searching for ONE outfit for ONE event I’m going to ONE time. I used to do that. I realize styles change. For now, I’m happy I’m committed to a consistent look. This isn’t for everybody, but it worked for me.

 

20. Declutter.

Clean up. Put away. Throw away. Let go:

  • Mentally
  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Psychologically
  • Figuratively
  • Literally

 

If it has no value, get rid of it. If it causes you pain, get rid of it. If it’s smothering you, get rid of it. If it’s tearing you down, burn it. Then get rid of it!

 

21. Let go of past mistakes.

Like Nike, just do it.

 

22. Find balance.

At one point in time, I went to every thing any-ole-body invited me to. I was exhausted going and going and going. But I had fun! Then, later I stopped going to so many events, meetings, concerts, parties, dinners, movies, etc. When I stopped ripping and running, I wasn’t less exhausted. I spent so much time worrying about what everyone else was doing while I was at home “resting” and/or saving money. Soon after, I found a comfortable balance for me. When I wanted to go out, I did. When I didn’t, I didn’t. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. As a busy body, I’m in my zone when I have a lot to do. However, I know a lot of people who are homebodies with busy body schedules…just trying to keep up. Life only passes you by if you spend it worrying about what you’re not doing. And that’s word to my Google cal.

 

23. Understand Order.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” Proverbs 4:7. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1. All this is saying is, know that everything Earthly is temporal and subject to divine order. Prioritize.

 

24. Read.

It’s fundamental. It also teaches you a lot. Our world is rapidly changing. Read to remain informed about what the heck is going on around you!

 

25. Know that ALL things work.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. Rest.

 

Bonus

26. Watch this: LINK.

 

Remember God loves you and so do I,

Ebonee

PS. HAVE YOU WATCHED MY LATEST VIDEO YET?! I’M GOING ON TOUR! BOOK ME TO SPEAK AT YOUR NEXT EVENT!

A Letter to My Niece

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To my youngest niece,

I apologize if I hug you too tightly. I know sometimes I embarrass you. I kiss you in public, and I grab your hand before we cross the street together. I can’t help it. I have a confession: when you told me last night that you wished your skin was “nicer and lighter,” I cried on the inside. I couldn’t let you see me, but tears swelled in my eyes. I wanted to hug you until you knew that I couldn’t possibly love you more than I already do. I thought about all the times in college I stayed up all night working because your face flashed across my mind. I wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted you to know that I’m someone worth your adoration, worth your praise, worth your trying on my shoes hoping they fit. I’ve been there. I, too, slipped my too small feet in my mother’s/auntie’s/grandmother’s too big shoes and was happy to strut because even though I couldn’t fit them then….I knew one day I would wear them proudly. I understand how you feel. When you confided in me that you don’t always feel pretty, I died a little. I felt my heart sink into my stomach, and I screamed on the inside. My mind thought back to the times I didn’t feel pretty. I remembered the day I realized my father wasn’t coming back, and I felt unwanted.  So trust me, I understand. But, I made up in my mind a long time ago that I would live with the confidence that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I knew God purposefully and passionately created me for His own glory. It took some time, but I learned that love is spelled G-o-d and God is spelled l-o-v-e. If I believe in one, I have to believe in the other. I now pass this confidence on to you. Like God, your beauty astounds me. I’m still trying to figure out how He made you so perfectly: dipped in brown skin, bronze highlights, almond eyes, and a figure I work out three times a week for….and you’re still a child. It’s important that you know how you’ve helped me. When I dated my first liar, I didn’t go back after he broke up with me. I wanted you to know that you are worthy of the truth. When I received an “F” on my thesis project in grad school, I decided to start all the way from scratch with the research because I wanted you to know your auntie is not a failure.  When I quit my first job, I explained to you how you can do/be anything you want, and being unhappy is a choice. I wanted you to know that there is purpose inside of you, and you don’t have to be afraid of taking risks because when you have faith…they really aren’t risks, they’re leaps. You catapulted me from girl to womanhood when you asked, “Ebby, are you a grown lady?” You didn’t know it, but you forced me to make a decision. And I wasn’t afraid. I dived into the pool of adulthood head first from thirty feet in the air. Reckless, yet safe in the bosom of your admiration. I wouldn’t fail you. I couldn’t. As your aunt, it is my responsibility to shower you with love and correction. When I decided to dedicate my career to the Truth of God’s Word, and what it means for empowering women and girls, I had you in mind.  But maybe I wasn’t clear. Maybe I forgot to remind you that you’re the answer to someone’s prayer. Heaven rejoices when you smile and God listens to you sing on His favorite Pandora station. Maybe I forgot to remind you that a slave once saw you in her dreams….a young Black girl bold and fearless. Though I pretend, I don’t know everything. I do know that your skin is not something to apologize for. I know music videos and commercials tell you otherwise, but God didn’t stutter when He made you. He didn’t dip His paintbrush too deep in the melanin while coloring you. He knew exactly what He was doing. I believe God smiled and sang as He worked on you. In fact, I believe He took His time and shaped every curl in your hair, every curve in your body, every lash on your eyes and every bend in your smile. You are the closest thing to perfection to me. Last night while you slept in my bed I leaned, touched your face, and prayed God would always protect you, and that He would grant you understanding when I squeeze you too tightly.

 

-Ebby

What to do When You’ve Had the Worst Week of Your Life?

EbnKalishaI have a sister-friend named Kalisha. I know I talk about my friends a lot. I believe friendship is important. In fact, Jesus says we’re His friends (John 15:15). The Bible also says there is a friend (Jesus) who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Deep, right? Young ladies, I can’t express how critical it is to have good, Spirit-filled girlfriends. I’ll write a separate post of friendship later. Back to Kalisha. I spent some time with her recently in New York City, where she completed her graduate program in social work. Her graduation was lovely and I’m so proud of her! While there, she continuously reiterated the following command, “Rest.” Every day she reminded me to rest. On my way to the airport heading home, AGAIN she said “Get some rest.” I thought, “Why does this girl think I’m so tired?” Oh, because I called her every day the previous week crying with various issues and spiritual warfare tales of how I was being attacked seemingly on every side. (Romans 5:3-4).

I needed rest. She knew it. I knew. God knew it (Genesis 2:2-4; Isaiah 40:28-31).

 

The week before I visited Kalisha was one of the worst weeks of my life. I was warned the fight was coming. Still, it caught me when my fists unclenched, and my armor off.

 

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:11-17).

 

What’s interesting is how sometimes when one aspect of life is going wrong, it seems like we can’t pull ourselves together in ANY aspect of life. Personally, I caught myself thinking thoughts like, “God, why do I not want to get out of bed in the morning when I have so much to live for? I’m madly in love with Jesus, completely and unconditionally loved by my family and sister-friends–I have to goin’ on!” Yet and still, because one area of my life was seemingly unraveling at the seams, I was beginning to even LOOK like the mess my life was becoming.

 

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LADIES, THIS IS A NO-NO!

 

So, you want to know what happened? You want to know how God rescued?

 

He didn’t. He was there the whole time. He was pruning me, and it is wellthickening this feeble skin of mine. God was/is developing my ability to suffer-long, which is a commonly overlooked piece of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s a process and while it’s not over, my perspective has shifted from victim of life to conqueror, victor and champion (Romans 8:37). In short, I’m learning that small, yet impactful word that comes with saying “yes” to God: trust. Spiritual warfare is spelled T-R-U-S-T. And let me tell you, learning to trust God is not pretty and it’s extremely uncomfortable, but I feel God’s joy, peace and hugs all day long. I digress. Let’s talk about rest a little more.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”– Jesus in Matthew 11:28

 

keep calm

While on the airplane heading home from visiting Kalisha, I was talking aloud to God. I was pretty fired up because I didn’t want to return home to find the same issues I’d left with. I was expecting my Father to either change the situation or change me. Just like that, I heard “Rest.” I realized He’d been speaking through Kalisha all week and I was blowing Him off. No more. I smiled and stopped mentally battling and disputing God. I decided to start casting my cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and RESTING. Y’all, let me tell you the peace I feel. I couldn’t care less what happens next. God wants me to rest. Sister, brother, God wants you to rest in Him. Rest assured. Rest in His promises. Rest confidently, believing and trusting Daddy knows best.

 

Let me come completely clean and tell you about my week. I know some of you can relate. I was having career issues. I was frustrated, sad, angry and ready to give UP on it all…which ultimately meant giving up on my destiny because it’s unequivocal linked to my right now (I’ll also further explain this also in a separate post). Anyway I thought about giving up, BUT months ago I asked God to increase my faith, to show me His glory and to completely blow my mind with our companionship. This doesn’t just happen. What was I thinking picturing Jesus and I sitting in the park on a blanket, eating ice cream as He pours into me all the secrets of the Kingdom? Don’t’ get me wrong. Jesus and I have some great dates. However, if I wanted peaches and cream I should’ve gone to Baskin Robins, not pursued Jesus completely.

 

I do not believe a relationship with Jesus = life of suffering. I do know that there is a cost for holiness. If you aren’t ready to pay it, don’t come looking for Jesus all passionately and fervently. He WILL hear you and be the closest friend you’ve ever had. Satan also hears you and is/will become your worst nightmare.

 

I began having tormenting dreams, I would wake up with headaches, I was falling out with friends I’d known for years, I could be at an event with people all around me and still feel lonely. I couldn’t find my smile ANYWHERE. Then, God told me to stop freaking out and rest. Here’s how I rest:

  • I spend time alone with Jesus just talking at home in bed, in the shower, at the kitchen table, on my closet floor, wherever. Itime spent command my mind to think only on God, and disregard every distraction vying for my attention.
  • I make sure I portion out “Me Time,” which usually consists of reading, but doesn’t have to. I prefer my “Me Time” to be chill.
  • My cell phone automatically sets to “Do Not Disturb” every evening at a certain time. I am completely unreachable UNLESS there is an emergency.
  • Before I go to sleep, I try to make a practice of turning over EVERYTHING on my mind (and my mind hardly ever stops) to God. If I have to write Him a letter with all my cares, sobeit. What I won’t do is go to bed with a full mental load because that’s how you wake up exhausted as if you didn’t sleep at all.
  • I journal to Jesus ALL the time. I write to Him about every, little thing that happens throughout the day. If I’m irritated or feel like you wronged me, I’m tellin’. Likewise, if I just want to write Him a worship song while at work, I do that too. No limits.

 

What to do when you’ve had the worst week of your life? REST!

 

Know this: the worst week of my life walked me into the best season of my life thus far…

 

I know you’re busy, and your life is cray. What I also know is that God misses you when you ignore Him. He is jealous for you, and won’t come second to anyone/thing. If that lil job is reducing your time spent with Jesus, He will allow all hell to break loose to remind you where your help comes from (I’m a witness). As we walk through the latter half of 2013, let’s commit to resting in God. Finally, as I endeavor to live a more healthily balanced life, I’m asking that you pray for me. I’ll keep you in my prayers as well.

 

Been watching/listening to this for weeks:

God loves you and so do I,

Ebonee