Posts

jlo office

A Quick Self Esteem Boost

By Paige Smith

 

According to Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.

According to this study, 70% of girls are dealing with low self-esteem. That means 70% of girls desire boldness and confidence.

There is an undeniable attack against the self-esteem of women in our society. The Dove Campaign also found that 92% of women want to change something about the way they look.

Most women want to be confident, want to love who they are and how they look, but believe they will only feel that unshakeable confidence once they change something about themselves.

But what if God wants us to feel that self-assurance and peace about ourselves right now, in the midst of our imperfections and shortcomings?

God is our Heavenly Father and He sees us as His beautiful daughters. When we only see our “darkness” and our frailties, like the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon, God sees our beauty and declares it proudly:

“Behold, you are beautiful, my love! Behold, you are beautiful! You have dove’s eyes” (Song of Solomon 1:15).

You may feel like the Shulamite woman today, so conscious of your own darkness and how you daily make mistakes, yet there was hope for her and there is hope for you.

She begins her journey unsure of herself, doubtful of her own beauty, and desperate to be loved. By the last chapter of Song of Solomon, she is confident in her Beloved’s love for her:

“I am my beloved’s, And his desire is towards me” (Song of Solomon 7:10)

She has not changed, but her perspective of who she is has drastically been altered.

She boldly declares, “I am my beloved’s”

Not only does she know she belongs to her Beloved, but she knows He returns her affections,

“And his desire is towards me.”

Today know that you are deeply and irrevocably loved by your Heavenly Father. You are His daughter and He adores you!

He sings over you, He rejoices over you, and His banner over you is LOVE!

Its clear that women all over are longing to feel confident, to walk in boldness, and to love who they are! It doesn’t begin with a pair of stiletto heels or the perfect profile picture. It begins with a fresh revelation of how much you are loved.

Allow the truth of your Father’s love to penetrate your heart in a new way today and speak those truths back to Him. It will produce a true confidence and boldness rooted in the only unchanging variable that exists, His love.

7 Biblical truths on the Father’s love for us:

  1. We are valuable to God. (Matthew 6:26)
  2. We are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)
  3. God has prepared a place for us. (John 14:1-2)
  4. Our Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:9-11)
  5. God doesn’t want to lose any of His children, and will seek out any that are lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)
  6. God is kind and merciful towards us. (Luke 6:36-37)
  7. God lavishes His love on us! (1 John 3:1)

We pray this article has been empowered you with a boldness that comes from knowing you are a Beloved Daughter of The King!

Are there any Scriptures you have used to help yourself or others gain a stronger self esteem?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments section so we can encourage one another!

fathers day5

You Don’t Deserve My Time of the Day: How to Honor when there’s been Deep Hurt

Father’s Day has just passed and with it a myriad of varied emotions for many of us. For some the day brought joy and excitement as we reflected on tender moments from childhood with our dads from being twirled around in their arms to seeing them in the audience cheering us on in little league games or recitals.

For others the day was a painful reminder of the absence of shortcomings of our fathers in the past or present, we instead reflected on phone calls not sent and birthdays missed. Still for others it could have been a bittersweet mingling of the two extremes.

The call to “honor our mother and father” might have either been a welcome reminder, or a seemingly overwhelming demand.

This post is for those of us who may have struggled with honoring their father or mother not just on the recent holiday, but in general. It is our prayer that we would receive healing from the pain that can come from negative experiences with our parents, and be empowered through God’s love to honor them.

Many of us know the scripture that instructs us to “Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).  It’s a beautiful concept.

It speaks of a unique promise our Heavenly Father makes to us to give us a long life in a land He’s given us when we honor our parents. Yet it can also seem daunting for those who may have a strained or complicated relationship with their parents.

Honor is defined as “respect given to someone who is admired” (merriam-webster.com) and “to hold in high respect” (dictionary.com).

But where do we begin when we don’t carry that esteem and respect in our hearts due to painful situations instead harboring disappointment, anger, and possibly even unforgiveness?

I submit to you John 15. Jesus tells his followers to “remain in Him” so that they can bear fruit in their lives:

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:4).

We cannot manufacture honor within ourselves, we need the grace and empowering of the Holy Spirit. God wants to pour out His love and honor on you today. He knows that we are frail, we are from dust, and cannot do anything unless we remain in Him.

Here are 7 key things to remember in beginning to honor our parents:

1. Begin with receiving God’s honor for YOU! God esteems and honors you so highly he has seated you in heavenly places and adorns you in “robes of righteousness” and “garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10)

2. Know that only God mourns with you for every disappointment or trial you’ve experienced including those your parents may have brought upon you knowingly or unknowingly. He validates your emotions and wants to heal every wound and give you “beauty for your ashes” and “joy for your mourning” (Isaiah 61).

3. God is the only perfect Father, our parents can be used to reflect God’s love for us, but even the most good intentioned parents miss the mark at times because they are only human and are bound to make mistakes sometimes.

4. Our parents need grace just as much as we do. God showers His love on us and even died for us while we were still in our trespasses. His love covers a multitude of sin. Lets extend the same grace to our parents and loved ones. Grace is favor that is undeserved and unmerited. Just as we’ve been given grace beyond our imperfections, let’s show that same favor to our parents through honor.

5. It’s not easy to be a parent. This doesn’t excuse any negative or abusive behavior from any parent, only to help us as children and possible future parents to have more compassion on our parents. Almost no parent purposes to hurt their children. The day their child is born they are ecstatic and filled with love for their child. As the difficulties of life come, demonstrating that love can become harder and harder, but the love is often always still there.

6. Ask for God’s heart for your parents. While we might only be able to see our parents through a lens of hurt, God sees our parents as His children. With the same love He has for us, He has for our parents. Ask Him to give Him His heart for your parents and to show you aspects you can honor in them. Honor begins in the heart, and only God can change our hearts. Ask him to begin a work in yours.

7. It will be a process. Every small step counts. It takes time to build and rebuild relationship but stay encouraged. The call just to say hello or ask for advice, the simple prayer for their life, the card on their birthday, the loving post on their Facebook wall…Every moment of honor is filling a cup of love in their hearts until it will be overflowing. And as you give honor it will be given back to you, “running over.”

We pray this article has inspired you to begin to honor your loved ones, even in difficult situations. Remember God wants to pour into you and doesn’t expect you to be able to honor without first remaining in Him.

He is pouring out His love, His forgiveness, and His grace on you today!

I encourage you to say this prayer with us:

“God thank You for Your unconditional love toward me.Your mercies are new every morning and Your grace is always abounding toward me. I receive Your love and honor and ask You to help me to honor my parents and loved ones today. You know how difficult this is for me, and I know you care about everything I feel and have gone through. I can only do this with Your strength, help me to remain in You. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Please feel free to share your stories of how you have been able to honor those who may have hurt you or how this post has encouraged you. We love hearing from you!

jadelee18

A Father Who Is Always There for You

Father…when you hear that word what do you think, what image comes to mind?  Perhaps you instantly see a heroic figure, a strong loving protective man, or a kind, gentle compassionate presence.  Others of us may see nothing but an empty, loss presence.  Nothing is there but space and neglect.

Oftentimes the image we see of our earthly father is the same image we imagine when we see our heavenly Father.

And this can be problematic for obvious reasons.

I have a mixture of the two images.  I can remember as a little girl waiting to hear the sound of my father’s keys opening the front door of our miniature, three bedroom two bathroom starter home.  We lived in the ‘hood but I did not have a clue that’s where we lived because I always had a sense of shelter, of sweet protection.

It was home.

Walking outside, playing with my dog, with toys, with nature, running through the wooded lots surrounding us…there was not a care in the world.

And I was in private school with middle to upper class children, mostly very different from me, so there was a sense of safety, even at school.

My father would come home, at least in my mind, every day around the same time.  And when he would open the door I remember running up to him waiting for his embrace.  There was a sense of needing approval and attention.  Then he would swing me up in the air.

It was the moment of delight I longed for daily.

And I’m sure it filled his heart with joy just as much as mine.

This is a beautiful image of father.  Protector.  Friend.  Presence.  Supporter.  Guide.

But we probably all have at least one or two difficult memories of “father.”

Maybe there are days when he does not come home as expected, his countenance is disturbed, he is not the gentle friendly guy you need him to be and you are disappointed.

This is all so real in the heart of a small child.  In fact, it can be magnified.

Both experiences are valid and both are valuable schoolmasters when relating to our Heavenly Father.

What Can We Learn About “Father”?

That dad I described, fun, friendly, kind, playful is a mirror image of our Heavenly Daddy.

He is there, present when we need him, ready to give us sweet gifts.  He wants to give us the gift of His Presence, of joy, peace, patience, happiness, and forgiveness.

Believing in the fact that He will be consistent.  He will never come home in a disappointed manner, He is a safe, secure place to land our hearts.

We can Trust Him because of this unchanging stability.

And we can sit on His lap.  We can talk to Him about anything, our greatest joys, victories, anticipations…our strongest failures, needs and frustrations.

When we see that our Heavenly Father is not a mixture of good and bad, like we humans are…He is All Good, we are finally able to settle our hearts with His good leadership.

He is much like the Prodigal Son’s Father who is there for us no matter what, ready to pour out blessings on our lives.

When we expect him to be the most disappointed, He is not.  Instead, he gives us what we least expect, a huge celebration of the fact that we are Home!

He honors our presence.

We can encounter Jesus around this truth.

GOD Honors my presence.

We have to wonder how others will respond when we show up, but we do not ever have to wonder if our mistakes push GOD away from us, if they cause Him to reject, look down on, or judge us.  He is simply excited that you and I showed up for the party.

A New Way to Encounter Jesus

Have you every went into your prayer time only to feel a heap of guilt like a ton of bricks crashing down on your shoulders?  Then you want to just hide?  And it seems to come out of nowhere.

Am I right with God?  Is He angry with me?  Am I praying right?  I missed my prayer time yesterday.  I am not on my schedule.  I wonder if I’m under His judgment because I haven’t forgiven so and so.  I need to find the right Scripture to focus on.  I need to focus.  I need to spend more time in the Word and put on my Spiritual weapons.  Why am I not consistent?

Ugg…by this point prayer is exhausting.  Because pleasing Him is beyond me.  It is impossible.

I used to think this way all the time and my guess is, so have you.  It is human to base God’s satisfaction with us on who we are, our faulty mentalities about who He is and all the ways we think our prayer life should be.

Yet the reality is that we are way off in thinking God wants all that!  Sometimes he wants a few minutes of us simply accepting that it is okay to vent, to talk to him, to get it off our chest just as we would a friend.  And then to be ourselves, to not feel guilty for the way we prayer.

To stop comparing our prayer lives to others and to know that every little bit counts, is enough and is heard.

When we put down the show and just choose to be, we are starting to go in the right direction.

Let’s encounter Jesus around the Prodigal Son story.

“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the story of the prodigal son, but ask Him to refresh your experience of the Father in this well-known story.  Read Luke 15:11-32, where the son demands his inheritance, lives a life of foolish choices, and then out of complete desperation and regret returns home to his father. 

Notice the father’s response.  While the son was a long way off, the father saw him coming.  Imagine the scene of a father who sits on the front porch, scanning the horizon, looking for any sign of his son returning home.

You have a Father like that.  He can’t wait to be with you, can’t wait to run off the front porch and embrace you.

Pause for a moment and imagine the scene of the story, but this time, imagine Jesus running out to meet you.  He is filled with love and compassion.  He runs to you and embraces you because His heart is thrilled to call you His child.

What does it do to your heart to imagine a God who can’t wait to be with you?  Tell the Father about your gratitude:

Heavenly Father, when I imagine that You are scanning the horizon because You can’t wait to be with me, I feel…

When I imagine that You are running to meet me and embrace me with a heart of love and compassion, my heart is moved with gratitude because…

My father would come home and I was in so much anticipation to see him walk through the door, squealing with Joy!  But I hadn’t imagined that he was feeling the same about you.

Could the same be true of our Heavenly Father?  Filled with delight over the thought of seeing your face as He opens the door to meet you!

How has your perspective about your father changed over time?  Maybe you have a God Encounter you want to share to encourage others.  We would love to hear your story in the comments below!

 

jlo blog6

Why Black Women are Silently Suffering with Depression

By Paige Smith

Depression has become the silent assassin on the black community. Like any mental or physical illness, depression doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Yet in the black community depression has long been stigmatized as a condition African Americans, in particular African American women, don’t deal with.

Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting opened up in a CNN interview with Soledad O’ Brien on how for years she silently suffered with depression. She admits that she felt so much darkness and pain but never opened up because she had to wear “the mask”.

Although on the outside she seemed to have it all together, having a successful publicist career with high profile clientele, for her even the small task of getting out of the bed in the morning and taking a shower was “the hardest thing”.

So many black women are like Williams, feeling engulfed by the weight of depression but for the sake of their careers, their marriages, their ministries, their reputations, they pull it together, put on “the mask”, and continue on, seemingly conquering the world.

Yet this “Black superwoman syndrome”, as JLO and Ebony have coined it, is crippling Black women who feel the need to be strong for everyone else, often at the expense of their own mental health. (Read more “The Danger of Being a Superwoman” on JadeLee.org and “Depression and The Black Superwoman Syndrome” on Ebony.com).

As a young black woman I’ve seen it in my life and so many others. Black women who are pillars for so many others, carrying the weight of the world to the point of mental and emotional breakdowns.

Some would say that “black women are the back bone of society”, yet depression is what can be a result when that back bone begins to bend under the strain of mounting pressures, with no support to lean on (Soledad O’Brian).

I know for myself and many other Black women, we can find ourselves in the throes of anxiety and depression yet find it so difficult to reach out of our internal darkness for help.

This “darkness” can look different for many, and some women like Terrie Williams may seem to be doing perfectly fine, but be suffering from depression.

According to www.mentalhealthamerica.com some symptoms are:

1. A persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood, or excessive crying
2. Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain

3. Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain

4. Irritability, restlessness

5. Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
 Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism

6. Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking

7. Loss of interest on pleasure in activities, including sex

8. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

8. Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

If you or a loved one have experienced any of these symptoms, I encourage you to reach out. Nothing is more important than your well being and your mental health.

You don’t have to be strong for everyone. In fact, opening up to someone who accepts your vulnerability can bring immense healing. Consider talking to a therapist and allowing yourself a safe place to discuss how you’ve been feeling beyond “the mask” you may feel the need to wear.

You deserve happiness. You deserve joy. You deserve beauty for your ashes. You deserve the ability to be an authentic woman, without the pressure to be a “super” version of yourself.

Open up today, your physical, emotional, and mental life could be saved because of it.

Here are some encouraging scriptures to read for meditation:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Psalm 40:1-3)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Do you have any tips for someone struggling with depression?  We want to hear from you as our readers.  Please share in the comments below.

image

Allowing GOD to fight my battles?

imageBy Jade Lee

Suffering and saying nothing back, this was a day I would have to allow GOD to fight my battles.  I pull up to the gas station. I pull out my card to begin pumping gas.  I swipe my card and enter my zip code.

It does not work I do it a couple more times thinking, “What’s wrong with my card?” Then I realize I’m typing in the wrong code. As soon as I finally get it right a youthful sports car zips up right in front of me. I’m standing between my vehicle and the gas pump about to pull the pump out. It’s not long before I realize there’s a young white man whose face has turned bright red in fiery anger. He’s yelling at me, at the top of his voice.

He’s railing angry words declaring that, “There’s lanes…you’re not going total my car!” And I respond with an even tone saying, “I apologize.”

But I know at this point he does not hear a word I am saying. And I know at this point it is a very act of GOD that I am being so kind or calm.

In my head, there’s a quiet storm, not a calm.  I’m preparing myself for the worst.  Is this the day when for the very first time I am about to be called the “n” word?

Is he about to get out of his car?

Is he thinking he can do this because I’m a caramel young lady in the Deep South or because I’m a woman?

Maybe he grew up seeing his parents do the same, specifically his father.

But it was probably just because his car was almost totaled and he loved his baby.

But it’s sad I have to wonder…could it have been rooted in racism?  If anything happens to me will there even be true justice served?

He then storms away angry. He storms away driving speedily out of the gas station

He drives just as quickly as he did a moment before when I was turning into an establishment and suddenly a vehicle appears out of nowhere driving right towards me.

I’m shocked by his cars appearance and almost hit him. He swerves away from me just in the nick of time.

But I never expected him to turn around, follow me to the gas station, drive up to me and yell at the top of his voice with verbal assaults.

Me, a young black woman alone in the south, in a really uncomfortable situation, feeling danger.

06 Sep 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA --- Elizabeth Eckford ignores the hostile screams and stares of fellow students on her first day of school.  She was one of the nine negro students whose integration into Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a Federal Court following legal action by NAACP. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

06 Sep 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA — Elizabeth Eckford ignores the hostile screams and stares of fellow students on her first day of school. She was one of the nine negro students whose integration into Little Rock’s Central High School was ordered by a Federal Court following legal action by NAACP. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

image

I didn’t know what he was about to do next. Yes, he was that angry. Irrational angry. I’ll get out of the car in your face angry. I may hit you with my car angry.

It was at that point the wisdom to say nothing that would escalate the situation kicked in, which is not necessarily in my “first hand nature.”

Of course afterwards a slew of great responses rolled throughout my mind. I could have said this and this and this.

But none of that foolishness would have placed me in a safe position or him in a place where he would not take it to an even more dangerous place.

Thousands of years ago, Jesus was railed upon with more than words. People were driving nails into his body, he was trust upon a cross and a crown of thorns was driven into his head.

Yet, He said nothing. He was quiet as a sheep going to the slaughter. And He did nothing wrong.

He paid the ultimate price and it wasn’t His fault.

There is a time when we need to speak up, to report an incident, to declare it from the mountaintop until justice is served.

Then there are moments we need to be silent, allowing the LORD to bring justice. We see leaders in the Civil Rights Movement act in this way, motivated by the teaching of Jesus.

image

And we can all learn a lesson of holding our peace as He did on Calvary, for just a while longer.

To pray for our enemies as I was challenged to do, knowing this was his issue, not mine.

And to give it over to the King like a bird flying out of once so tightly gripped hands.

Then our souls are free to forgive, to let go, to move on into peaceful quietness.

Is there someone who has violated you, abused you or mistreated you? Perhaps it is time to lose yourself from the grip of their words and actions knowing their behavior is not your burden to carry.

And to quietly allow the LORD to bring justice in a way you could never while praying for their healing and letting them go; you will then experience a sort of revival-resurrection that you’ve probably been waiting for due to pain.

Meditation: 1 Peter 2:21-25 MSG

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:21-25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

My Prayer for you: Father I pray for those who like me were in a situation they felt violated or mistreated. Maybe it’s because they were discounted, lied to, talked about, verbally or physically assaulted. Maybe they have wrestled with areas of self blame for their current situation and wondered why it happened, what could they have done to have hindered such a situation? But today I pray for the freedom from self blame or condemnation that comes with release, with truth. And I pray for the Liberty that propels us into peace when we let go, we forgive and we loose the burden of others at their worse. And we give it all to you, trust you to fight our battles while wishing for their deliverance or salvation. In our quietness, make us more like You, setting appropriate boundaries on all our relationship while loving harder. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

IMG_0158

Discovering A Lost Identity in Africa

Upon leaving the coast of South Africa my heart was full to overflowing. I wept many tears and cried everyday in Africa.  

The tears I cried were an expression of Christ’s heart for a people that has been oppressed, forsaken and forgotten for hundreds of years.  This people is all around the world, identified as the African diaspora.  His heart deeply cares for her wounding and neediness.

I’ve been to Kenya twice and this was my third trip to the continent of Africa. But this particular experience was so deep and rich for me.

It is even more intensified as I am in the middle of in depth research of the history of America’s national racial wounding.  Going back to Africa this time meant more to me than ever before; I soon would realize I was crying tears for an entire people group.

I was in pain over the needs I knew the African American community had and how we were suffering due to generations of mistreatment.  Sure we can forgive and have forgiven much, yet there is oftentimes a lack of understanding of the need for comforting the pain we have experienced.

We had a 17 hour flight to Africa! It was nothing but the grace of GOD that helped us and we made it through jet lag still able to gain

We had a 17 hour flight to Africa! It was nothing but the grace of GOD that helped us and we made it through jet lag still able to gain.

This occurs as we weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

I sat with hundreds then with a small group of college aged young adults ready to approach life.  They were at a crossroads without much, no parents, these children were orphans now become adults.

What would they do next?  How would they become successful leaders in their nation?  How would they regain the control of their economy?

Understanding the history of Africa is vital.  Understanding the history of Africa is healing. Understanding the history of Africa is to know the missing pieces of the black community.

And I picked up a few pieces to that lost puzzle, but it was a painful experience.

One specific moment really grabbed my heart and opened my eyes to reality.  I sat in a small room with these recent high school graduates as they shared their viewpoint of GOD.

We split into small groups sharing inspiring stories and helping them move forward in finding purpose (akin to what most young adults their age need).

But as we began to share the African American storyline their eyes lit with interest.  This was foreign information; the shock and deep concern displayed on their young faces gripped my heart and wrung it out until the tears later escaped my eyes.

Our roots run deep into the soil of Africa, a long, lost land that we must reconnect to if we want to fully heal. There are blessings we as African Americans can both give and receive from Africa.

Our roots run deep into the soil of Africa, a long, lost land that we must reconnect to if we want to fully heal. There are blessings we as African Americans can both give and receive from Africa.

They had never heard of a people who were considered and treated as less than humans.  It was heartbreaking to find our distant cousins and tell our story.

Knowing them was like a mirror, we could more clearly see ourselves.  We could see what has been taken from us, in a way, unknowingly.  We were able to see our blessings in America, yet see the little treasures that had been stripped from our identity:

We are just now approaching the age of African American natural hair care discoveries.  We are indulging in shea butter, argan oil, twist outs, coconut oil and lots of hair moisture.  For years, we have had to ReLearn the Basics because we were in survival mode.

How do you focus on hair care, oral tradition, body care and the like when you are traumatized by the rape of a loved one you cannot help, the violent beating of a son you cannot stop, the ripping of a daughter from your very hands, the laws that dehumanize and separate you from the remainder of this foreign land or the covert prejudice that surrounds you in the workplace?

As we heal, we must go back.  There are stories, information that has been casually and naturally passed down from generation to generation in Africa.  It may or may not even be recognized as especially significant until you go and see the differences with your own eyes.

For me it was a different experience.  It was glaringly different than the white Americans who traveled with me.  

And I was marked.

Black women all over the world are beautiful, we shared the graceful message that the gospel brings with these young adult women who just graduated from High School. These women would now receive the identity needed to give hope to those they are called to influence.

Black women all over the world are beautiful, we shared the graceful message that the gospel brings with these young adult women who just graduated from High School. These women would now receive the identity needed to give hope to those they are called to influence.

I was marked with a burden, a blessing, a deep longing to see use healed.  Self discovery gripped my heart as I longed to bring back the lost treasures engulfed by the Middle Passage.  

And this provided HOPE.

The songs of these young adults, the strength I felt encouraged me.  I thought of the strength I have seen many times in the African American Episcopal, Baptists and other black congregations.  The power that only a slave spiritual brings as you hear it sung was identical to the power I felt behind these songs.

The force I felt when only a gospel song is sung was the same force I felt behind these songs.

The strength behind a beat a staccato like war sounds was the same strength I felt behind these songs.

At that moment, we were one.

They were not African and I was not African American.  There was a connection beyond our time that was connected through the fact that we had the same ancestors.  And I was experiencing what I would call HOME.

I felt a sense of belonging that I have yet to feel in the states.

While all the while I knew I was American to the core.

This connection…will be valued forever and the identity I have experienced will heal many as together we discover all the MISSING PIECES it is now to time to collect.  It is time to ReGather.

And through this journey.  We will now heal.

Africa is so gorgeous, the people, the food, the entire experience. As we flew back home, over the Atlantic Ocean my heart was immersed with love, remembering years past...how my ancestors were lost, dispersed on the Middle Passage over this same ocean. And I saw renewal, refreshing, a restoration of a people ready to now Go and Reach the World.

Africa is so gorgeous, the people, the food, the entire experience. As we flew back home, over the Atlantic Ocean my heart was immersed with love, remembering years past…how my ancestors were lost, dispersed on the Middle Passage over this same ocean. And I saw renewal, refreshing, a restoration of a people ready to now Go and Reach the World.

 

jlo blog96

When I Want to Give Up

Jade Lee

As she walked into the pew filled seats, her significance could never be taken but seemed diminished…she would not give up.  Passing person by person, her thin yet sculpted legs began to climb one step, glancing around at lights, a pulpit of familiar faces and the beautiful yet down-to-earth house of worship. 

Once and for all, today was going to be the cementing moment she’d been longing for…just like track, she would set her mind, visualize the race, see herself passing one fully suited girl at a time, their number blazing behind her, until she was in the lead.  She would begin to pace herself, do the seemingly un-accomplishable, and the screaming voices soon becoming smiling faces were going to greet her as she crossed the line in triumph.

The only problem was, this reality came so easily in running.  It was like she didn’t have to try.  The visualizations of her spiritual victories was all together different.

She would get in position, iron her uniform, place it gently onto her nervous chest, beating twice as fast as normal.  Then taking her well-worn shoes into her hands, begin to think about her already defeated foe doing the same.

But when she walked down the same accelerated steps to make that final move, to pass her adversary, the screaming voices never varied into smiling faces.  Instead, they dissipated into quiet disappointment and disapproval.

As she was passed by this same opponent over…and over…again.

How many times was this going to happen?

She appeared to be in a deep moment of stuck.  Yes, her legs walked down the accelerated steps in great anticipation for her already purchased liberation.

Yet her life never seemed to match the promising pages of her Scriptural text.  I can’t seem to find His power!

My heart aches as in borderline humiliation I try it once again.  Step 1: Open the door.  Step 2: Humble yourself.  Step 3: Stand for prayer.  Step 4: Pick up your legs.  Step 5: Walk down the stairwell.  Step 6: Say yes to the call.  Step 7: Say the prayer.  Step 8: Get Godly Counsel.

She tried it so many times now that she could have written a book about it, taken someone else through it, but it didn’t seem to matter.  There would never be the power in her life she saw in David, Deborah, Esther, Daniel or Elijah if something didn’t shift soon.

It was like once she left the doors of that building all was the same old, same old- temptations, falls, struggles and desperate-guilt-filled prayers to a GOD who never seemed to get her All the Way Out.

This girl is….ME.

For years I was…STUCK.

And I felt like there was no hope, but just enough to keep my trying.  There was no evidence, but just enough to keep me believing.

And this in-between place was a tiring mystery gap, an enigma of differentiation when comparing my life to the GOD of the Bible.

Maybe you have been there before?  Maybe you are there now.  It is so easy to feel like there is no hope, yet you cannot give up because you can see Just Enough of what GOD is doing to keep believing.

Then you wonder why He is not quickly helping you OUT.  You do not see Him at work, but you do.

You want to give up and quit, throw in the towel, feel disillusioned, discouraged or depressed.

But you know too much.

Just because He hasn’t done it in the past doesn’t mean we will not see it in the future.

I’ve been there before.

I’ve seen Him answer.

I’ve seen Him do the Impossible.

And here I am again…I’m sitting in the seat of hope deferred fulfilled enough to break the ice of frozen stuck.

It is melting around me and in faith,  I am finding JOY.

The Children of Israel were in a similar place when Queen Esther arrived on the scene.  In one day their destiny was changed from normalcy to frustration.  A decree was written that they would be annihilated in a day.

And their possible became impossible.  They needed a MIRACLE.

Of course, reading their story is much more comforted than journeying our own.  And now is the time to do so.

Purim.  March 24th 2016.  Represents a Day Called Stuck.  Turned Into a Day Called Reversal.

I want to invite you into a world beyond your own.  It is the place where GOD is Disguised in Circumstance.

Much like a Chronicles of Narnia adventure, we can walk through the doors of revelation into a new world.

In this world it all makes sense.  All the wait.  The frustration.  The mystery soon becomes clear.

And we are made whole.

He was disguised in the circumstances of Esther without a mention of His name.  And He is disguised in our lives today.  He is in our situations, the people we meet, the places we find ourselves.  Yet we are so distracted by what else is wrong that we oftentimes miss His hand.

Every year during Purim, the Jews remind themselves of this truth, dressing their children up in the hopeful characters GOD would work through to save them from the Impossible.

It is time to play dress up.  It is time to remember and It is time to hope again!

Today’s Meditation: Have you found yourself wanting to give up on getting out of Stuck?  Do you sometimes wonder if fasting and believing will work or only end in greater disappointment?  Is it possible to get pass this?  Why is this happening?  How will I get out?

When you are in a situation where you do not have the answers, a mystery, and you need to see GOD’s deliverance, He oftentimes has you sitting in the answer to your prayers.  It may be in the person right next to you, but least expected.

The end of my story is I found a way out.  I kept going to that altar until one day it happened, but not at the altar.  It happened in a life circumstance, in a loss.  When I loss someone who I appeared to need, GOD came into my life giving me the freedom I desparately desired.

Apply this Key to Victory: Read the Book of Esther, yes, the entire book and watch GOD’s Mystery Hand masquerading in natural events, working to bring salvation to the Jews.  He has a way of working in the natural where we are not even looking! 

Then ask yourself the following questions: 1. How have the events in my life recently changed? 2. Who have I recently met (in the past couple of years) that seems GOD sent? 3. Why may GOD have placed this person in my life?  4. What do my current circumstances say to the unresolved issues or promises I am waiting on from GOD?  5. How could the losses in my life really be open doors for opportunity? 6. What has been my perspective of change in my life?  7. Have I been seeing GOD in my circumstances/people in my life, or only looking for Him in other places?

Pray and ask Him for revelation living in patience until the mystery is revealed.  As we celebrate Purim it is a great reminder of His nature to work it all out for our good!

Has there ever been a time you couldn’t see GOD moving then, Surprise, you realized He was working on your behalf the entire time?  Please do share in the comments.  We would love to hear!

 

jlo blog5

The Secret to Satisfying Your Approval Need Revealed

Jade Lee {Podcast at Bottom}

Many times we are looking for a father to fill a deep void of approval in our hearts.  We may look to our natural father only to find that he is too busy or doesn’t know how to be the man that can meet our needs.  

We may look to other fatherly figures in our lives to mentor us and fill that void.  A measure of the Father’s love can be shown through these male figures GOD has placed in our lives.  They can be a schoolmaster, showing us a glimpse of the Father’s love, but there is a greater love we all can experience.

This became more real to me than ever before when I lost my senior pastor, who was more like a “spiritual grandfather” to me.  He was a very precious person in my life.  I wept for months on and off after his passing onto glory.

But a few weeks into mourning I was encountered with an amazing revelation from GOD.  It was early in the morning during my typical devotion time.  Open the Bible, grab a pen, a journal and get ready to dive into the Scriptures or listen for His gentle voice.

This time was different.

I tried to pray but only tears would come.  These tears were drops of prayers falling into the bottle of heaven, ready to be heard by GOD.  Then, in the midst of tears, my heart- aching in pain- the LORD led me to the following Scripture:

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is GOD in His Holy habitation.  GOD sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”  Psalm 68:5-6

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a Holy GOD in His holy habitation, the first thought that comes to my mind is not this gentle, sweet fatherly figure ready to comfort me in my pain.  I see this Humungous, Bigger than Life Hero of a King handling world matters.  I don’t instantly imagine this humble, kind sweet man willing to hear out the tenderness of my heart.

So when I read this, it caught my attention, to say the least.  It was one of those Aha Moments when you realize GOD is hearing more than your words.  He is listening to the aches of your heart beat.

I was solitary.

I was alone.

I was saddened.

And I was missing a father in my life.

But He was saying, He would give me something even bigger, better and more potent.  He would replace that void in my heart with His Fatherly tenderness.

Psalm 68 began to minister to my aching heart.  I knew that was GOD’s way of inviting me into a direct relationship with Him as my Father.  I needed this to be a complete woman.

And we can all have these bitter sweet life moments.  True, there is a real loss that comes with the lack of a natural father, but there is a greater sweetness that comes as we allow the reality of the Father’s love to touch our heart.  Our hearts may feel dead inside, empty or like we are missing that approval, but the Father has always been there waiting patiently for us to see His love.

All we have to do is ask Him to show us His love.  Then what do we see?  An eternal, everlasting lover of our souls.  This may take time to fully grasp but it will become more and more real as we dedicate our lives to receiving His love.

Jesus experienced this type of fatherly love.  This love caused Him to be very confident.  He had the Father’s Approval.  He knew that He was loved and Fathered not because of what He did, how well He preached or even His sacrificial death on calvary.  He was approved of and embraced for who He was.

This is the approval we all need from our Heavenly Father as we dig deeper into intimacy with Him.

Approval is “building up or affirming another person, particularly for “who” they are (as opposed to what they do).  It is also met by affirming both the fact and the importance of our relationship with another person.” (Relational Impact, Dr. David Ferguson)

Because Jesus had a clear moment of approval (Fatherly blessing) in His life, He was able to stand in the midst of great rejection by others, confidently declaring who He is without shame.  He consistently fell back on the fact that He was accepted by the Father.  He was sure of His approval and acceptance by His dad, even though His birth may have been considered “illegitimate” by others.

Imagine a 26 year old Jesus, walking up to John the Baptist to be baptized.  John realizes this was not just any man, He was the Messiah and everyone else there would begin to see something different as well.  He is the Beloved Son.

Before Savior (Action) He is Son (Identity).

…and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.  And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased. Luke 3:21b-22, NKJV

In this place, Jesus’ identity is confirmed, affirmed and approved of, it is in His sonship that we can find sonship or daughtership as well.

We are now joint heirs with Christ!

Maybe you are realizing that approval has been missing in your life and you want it; you want to be receiving unconditionally, loved for who you are.

Here is a Special Approval Prayer you can pray over yourself throughout the day, write it down and come back to it in your Intimacy Moments:

“Daddy, Father GOD, I know that You love me, even when I do not feel it.  Yet I find a world of pain inside of me at times.  Other times, I am numbed by this world.  The rejection, the voids of my heart and the need for your love is a constant reminder that I am created to Be Loved.  Not only is Jesus your son, but I am your BeLoved Daughter.  I thank You that you say over me today, “This is my BeLoved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.  Heaven is over me, no longer in a distant way, but Your presence is on my life and You long to be with me.  Teach you, show me, mentor me and disciple me in Your Fatherly Love from this day forward.  In Jesus’ name, power and authority I come to you, no longer having to carry the weight or burden of coming on my own abilities.  In His name I pray, Amen.”

We have prayed this prayer and He has heard!

Are you excited to receive GOD as your Father on a daily basis?  Could you use a refresher in His Approving Love?  I’d love to hear a bit of how GOD is meeting your needs and growing your heart in love!

image

Restoring Relationship: How to Apologize the Right Way

Paige Smith

I was wrong.

These are three words that have the power to change the course of any wounded relationship.

It is almost inevitable there will be pains and offenses in deep meaningful relationships.

We are all imperfect despite our best intentions–and other times, if we are honest, as a result of our ill intentions, we have hurt those closest to us.

When we realize our wrong or when it is pointed out to us, apologizing can be the last thing we want to do.

Yet if we want to see our relationships restored we all have to learn how to apologize.

One of my greatest friendships, a friendship turned sisterhood that has spanned over ten years, was restored because I learned the power of apologizing.

Another word for apologizing is repentance and it suggests a complete turning away from a wrong behavior, mindset, or attitude that is intentional.

A true apology goes far beyond simply saying “I’m sorry”. Those words are only the outward result of an inward heart change and actions that follow suit.

If there is someone in your life today you know you have hurt or offended I encourage you to apologize to them today.

We can feel afraid of how the other person will respond, embarrassed we ever made the mistake to begin with. We may be so discouraged by the severity of our offense we don’t think there is any hope of reconciliation.

While these emotions are valid and common to many, they aren’t grounded in the truth.

We can’t let fear, shame, and discouragement rule our relationships or our actions in attempting to preserving them.

It takes courage to apologize but it can make the difference between a relationship that’s forever torn and one that is rebuilt, stronger than it was to begin with.

Already you may be thinking of mistakes you’ve made to your loved ones. Maybe you have been avoiding that person beating yourself up for what you said or did.

I’ve been in that place before. As I mentioned earlier just recently I reconciled with one of my best friends from child hood after I made the huge mistake of telling her I didn’t agree with her beliefs. In my zeal and immaturity I thought I was being a good friend, when in actuality I wasn’t showing true love at all.

After that conversation I thought our friendship was irreconcilable. I left regretting my words and replaying the conversation many times wishing I could undo the damage.

It wasn’t until I spoke to a trusted mentor that  this negative mental cycle was interrupted. They gave me this this simple advice: Go and apologize. Do whatever you can to make things right.

The word instructs us the same: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

God values our relationships so much, when others are offended with us, He wants us to drop everything, even the “good” things we may be doing and go to them to reconcile.

This is so important to remember. Many times we can think we are too busy for relationships. Too busy to call our parents or cousins. Too busy to visit our in laws. Too busy doing important, noble things. We are working for non profits, involved in ministry at our churches, providing for our families, and the list goes on.

Yet here we see God is not impressed with these “gifts to the altar” these acts of good service, if we have relational issues that we haven’t resolved.

Although all of these things are good, a reconciled relationship trumps them all.

If there are wounded relationships in your life today, I encourage you to begin the process of mending and healing them.

Here are 7 practical steps to apologize to your loved ones:

1. Sincerely see where you were wrong.

When others are upset with us it can be easy to get in the defensive, and think of all the reasons you didn’t mean to hurt them or they shouldn’t have taken it that way. The fact is you did hurt them. Without condemning yourself it is good to reflect on how your actions were wrong.

2. Consider how your actions may have affected the other person.

This can also be difficult but will help tremendously in having a truly repentant attitude about your actions.

3. Think about what you want to say.

Don’t spend too much time here or you can begin getting anxious or overthinking the apology. But this is a good time to gather your thoughts, whether that is writing a letter or journaling to make sure your apology achieves what you want, which is a restored relationship and doesn’t add more hurt to the situation.

4. Allow the other person some space.

Depending on how recent or severe the offense is, you do want to allow some time and space for your loved one to be able to process how they are feeling about the situation.

For a married couple, this wait time may be a few minutes. For a friend you may agree to talk again in an hour. But whoever you’ve fallen out of unified relationship with, do everything you can to resolve it before the day is over.

5. Contact your loved one.

Apologies are done best in person or at least over the phone so that you can fully repent without there being any confusion about what you said or meant.

In conjunction with giving respect to their time and schedule, try to arrange a time you both can talk face to face.

6. Apologize.

This is what it all comes down to.

When you apologize remember to:

1. Be specific in what you are apologizing for
2. Take ownership of what you did without justifying it
3. Show true sorrow in hurting your loved one
4. Affirm the importance of the relationship
5. Express that you will change your behavior
6. Ask for forgiveness.

Example:

“I am apologize  for (state what you specifically did). It was very unloving/disrespectful/inconsiderate and I was wrong (this is a way of taking ownership for your wrong and not justifying it). I also apologize for how I’ve hurt you and how this has affected our relationship.  It deeply pains me that I have caused you pain because I truly value the relationship we have and want to make things right (affirm to your loved one their importance to you). Please forgive me.”

The key words here are, “I was wrong” this is more than being “sorry”; it is verbally admiting to and acknowledging your wrong doing.  This creates healing.  Also using emotional words such as, “It hurts me” or “It pains me” that I have caused you pain brings comfort (the alleviation of pain).

7. Change your behavior

This is the last and most important step. Changed behavior more than anything else will show your loved one that you are truly sorry. However there’s no need to condemn yourself. Don’t think it means more to your loved one by continually bringing up your past mistake and apologizing anew every time you talk. Simply change your behavior.

If your child was upset you missed their little league games, make sure to make it to the next one and the next, and become their biggest fan. If you told your friend you would pick them up and forgot the next day come early to get them and make a reminder on your phone to not forget again. If you hurt your spouse take them out on a special date night showing them how much you care.

However don’t only change your behavior, but change your heart.

Many times when our loved ones are upset with us, it is for what our actions spoke to them about the lack of importance their relationship has in our lives.

The greatest way to restore a relationship is to decide in your heart to esteem that person highly.

We all mess up at times and can hurt those we love the most, but the good news is we all can choose to apologize and see our relationships restored!

Do you need advice in restoring a relationship today? Have you been inspired to apologize to a loved one? We encourage you to share in the comments below, we love hearing from you!

jlo blog78

The Power of Encouragement

Paige Smith

Do you find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless? Are you frustrated by your seeming inability to overcome in a certain area in your life? Is there a difficult situation that you can’t see the end or resolution of?

Life can be full of winding and unexpected turns and we all need a little encouragement sometimes.

Encouragement is that second wind when you want to give up. Encouragement is when someone tells you they see your potential when all you see is your failure. Encouragement is when someone speaks life into a situation that seems hopelessly dead.

It is the genuine compliment on the day you feel the most unattractive. It is is the reassuring “next time will be better” after you’ve failed the test. It’s the “you can do it” in the midst of an impossible situation.

Are you in need of encouragement today?

I will be transparent and say that it was so difficult writing this very article because of the immense discouragement I myself felt as life issues mounted up to what seemed to be insurmountable heights.

I thought, how can I write on the power of encouragement when I myself feel so discouraged?

For the past two weeks in fact I have constantly been fighting the temptation of giving up, calling it quits. For the first time in years I feel like I did in my senior year of high school when I was doing so poorly academically and was so disappointed in myself and felt the disappointment of my relatives so strongly I ran away, leaving behind a detailed letter expressing all of the pent up emotions I had been feeling for years.

This was certainly a time of deep discouragement in my life. Recently I have found myself fighting discouragement yet again. Right now I am almost a year out of graduating and at times it can seem like I am failing, to be completely honest. I know I am not but when someone asks me what I am up to since I graduated (from the illustrious Spelman College) and I respond that I’m being a mom I usually receive wary, unimpressed looks.

Many times I succumb to this pressure of “looking successful” and add that I am also doing freelance writing and helping editing for a non profit and attend a ministry discipleship school. Yet still the waves of discouragement from these repeated subtle encounters can  come.

What has brought the most discouragement today has been the business of my life, feeling like I am constantly sacrificing and serving in hopes of staying in the process, making it to the end..yet continually messing up within my responsibilities and not seeing the fruit I truly desire within myself, my relationships, or my family life.

On top of this I misplaced a huge check the very same day tuition was due for the discipleship school I attend that would have fully covered the cost for my husband and I.

I then realized my seeming frailty was really my greatest strength.

I decided I would write from this place of uncertainty, when everything wasn’t going perfectly, and write the very words I knew someone in a similar situation to mine I would need to read.

Right now my house needs to be cleaned, dishes need to be put away, laundry needs to be folded. Right now I need to call family members and tell them I love them. Right now I have assignments that are past due that need to be turned in. Right now my son is showing behaviors that I don’t know how to address. Right now I…

Maybe you can relate to these struggles. I pray this article will bring intense encouragement to you and I both as we learn the truth of Gods response to us in situations when we feel as if we are failing.

Encouragement is powerful because it declares Gods truth, hope, and love when everything else may say the opposite.

Encouragement isn’t usually given when everything is perfect, when you are succeeding in every area, and are overcoming every trial.

It is given when it doesn’t seem like the person will make it, when the odds are against them, when they’ve lost again or seem to be in the process of losing.

Think of a race. As the runners are jogging along their families and friends will flock them along the sides and cheer them on, helping them realize their ultimate goal of crossing the finish line.

During the toughest parts of the race, that is when the crowd will encourage the runners the most.

In the times when life gets the most difficult, when it becomes undeniable how much we are struggling, these are the times many of us imagine God shaking his head at us in disappointment.

In actuality this image couldn’t be further from the truth!

Rather than condemning us for our shortcomings, God yearns to bring us encouragement in these times of defeat.

God never sees you as a failure. And He never sees your situation as hopeless. He is truth and only sees the truth of who you you are, an Overcomer.

He is also a redeemer and even in your most depressing situations, He sees them through the lens of His own resurrection power.

He is the same God that looked at a pile of dry bones and saw them as mighty army.

Sometimes areas in our lives can seem like a pile of dry bones and we don’t see how they will ever come to life.

What situation is bringing you the most discouragement today, your pile of dry bones?

Maybe it is a subject in school you are struggling in, maybe you are applying for job after job and you have yet to hear back from one. Maybe your job is bringing constant stress to your life. Maybe you and your spouse can’t seem to see eye to eye. Maybe your children don’t seem to be listening to you.

Whatever situation is coming to mind I want you envision God as your biggest fan, cheering you on shouting out words of encouragement and love towards you in the midst of these trying situations.

God is a good father. Just like a great dad encourages their children when they feel they can’t overcome or have messed up, God does the same for us.

Many of us are feeling the most discouragement in situations that are unfamiliar to us. We are like the child who first learns to ride a bike. We clumsily swivel and turn and wobble and are very aware of how much we are not gracefully riding a bike.

Yet what keeps us going in our imperfection is the parent that tells us “Keep going! You can do it!”

Instead of getting off the bike we continue on and eventually what seemed impossible becomes second nature to us and we find ourselves gliding along effortlessly, now confidently doing what before we could hardly figure out how to begin.

Today God wants to bring encouragement to you!

He sees your potential and your coming victory over present trials. He’s written out every day of your life and He already sees exactly how you will overcome. He sees your strength when you only see your weakness, and He is the only one who truly knows who you are since He is the one who created you!

I encourage you to reflect on God’s encouragement for you:

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:2-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭NKJV

We can find encouragement in the fact that God is for us, even when it seems life is against us.

Even the most terrifying or hopeless situation, when it feels like our foundation, everything that previously seemed secure in our life, is falling apart. In these moments God is there in our midst, ready to help us.

When we are dismayed, God encourages us that He will strengthen us. We may have tribulations but He empowers us to overcome because He has already overcome it all.

If you would like prayer for a specific situation or would like to share an area of your life you need encouragement in, we invite you to share in the comments below. We love hearing from you! We encourage you to share, you never know how your willingness to open up will help another overcome.