Access Code: 859-866
Access Code: 859-866
Please forgive me for the radio silence! I’ve been super busy turning my passion for encouraging and equipping others into a luncheon series designed to do just that for women. I launched the Leap Luncheon Series™ at the prompting of the Holy Spirit in January of this year to help connect women with other successful women thought leaders, business owners/runners, and game changers.
As God continues to bless this initiative with even greater speakers and more women in attendance each time, I feel compelled to agree with women all over that the desires and dreams that God’s give them will come to pass; that they will take LEAPs of Faith this year into the new territories God has claimed just for them.
Dial-in Number: (641) 715-3580
Access Code: 859866
Hope is a dangerous thing.
I remember my favorite actor, Morgan Freeman, saying that in one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption.”
In the movie, all of the lead stars were prisoners, in prison with long sentences ahead of them. Most had been in there their entire adult lives.
Freeman’s character, “Red”, was telling a new inmate that for those imprisoned with no end or liberty in sight, hope can be a dangerous thing. It can cause you to go crazy – waiting on and anxiously anticipating the unseen.
But the “new fish” in the cell block, “Andy”, rebuffed that analysis. He countered that in fact, in times of imprisonment, hope is the strongest tool one has to not just make it, to survive, but to do so with some peace and even confidence.
There are so many imprisoned today. Not just in the literal sense of serving time, but in the figurative as well.
There are those who feel trapped in dead-end jobs, relationships, circumstances, and storms.
Some feel like they’ll never crawl from beneath the boulder of debt (raises both hands), fear, guilt, or shame crushing them.
There are those who’ve been fighting for liberty from injustices and past wrongs; addictions and disappointments; pain and sadness.
If that’s you, and you’re reading this desperate for some sign that God has not forgotten you in your struggle, I say to you, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.
Hope is what keeps you open and aware during your struggle so that when your breakthrough comes you’ll know it, you’ll be expecting it, and you won’t prolong your stay going through hell.
Hope is what drives you to pray harder, work smarter, and zero in on what lies ahead with expectation and faith-filled promise that tomorrow will be better than your today.
I’d agree with Red, too, and say that hope is indeed a dangerous thing. It sets you apart from others, giving you a divine confidence. Hope will make you creative and bold. It’ll give you wisdom and reveal new levels of faith.
Hope was how Peter, Paul, Silas, Daniel, and 3 Hebrew Boys not only made it out of their trials, their prisons, but remained standing throughout their ordeals.
And it’s how you are and will, too.
Allow yourself to hope in the Lord. That hope, that belief in your gut that God didn’t bring you all the way here to leave you, to let this one situation take you out, is where you’ll draw the strength you need to stand.
Hope in the Lord. Hope for better days in your finances, your health, your relationships, your jobs, and your prayers. Hope because you know His promises and because His word is still true: He will never leave you, never forsake you.
Hope even when the people behind you and around you say you’re crazy and look at you funny.
Hope when the devil tries to make things even worse.
Hope when you’ve done all that you know how to.
Hope when your last dollar was gone days ago and it feels like you’ve got nowhere to turn.
Hope because it gives God a clear path to show up and show off on your behalf, in your situation.
Hope because when you’re cornered God stands before you to fight your battle and lead you clear out.
Because hope, you see, holds the key to your breakthrough.
Hope makes you dangerous because when you’ve decided to not accept what you see as the end then there’s nothing around you that can hurt you or hold you back anymore.
I HOPE that something I’ve written here confirms for you that God has heard your prayers and seen your tears.
He knows the bills are due.
He knows what the doctors have said.
He knows you don’t want to be alone, that you want to have a child.
He knows you’re tired and lonely and sad.
He sees you.
And all He needs to turn it all around for you is your hope.
So, as the Bible says in Romans 15:13 AMP, may the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.
Live dangerously today. Keep your hope alive.
Last year, God gave me an idea. It was a way for me to use what I have to bless others.
Well, tomorrow that GOD idea (way better than good) comes to fruition, but not without some work on my part in the days leading up.
Last Wednesday was my big go day to make this thing happen. I was working on my event, managing my employees’ progress on separate accounts, and doing research for two clients. All while trying to be present with my husband as we worked out at the gym, and with my children as I took them to and from swim lessons.
It was a lot. To say the least. And there were moments throughout the day when I clearly remembered thinking, “I’m doing too much.” I combatted those thoughts and fought back feelings of being overwhelmed by making myself acknowledge how blessed I was to have such freedom, and by reciting that my God is not a God of confusion.
But as I pondered how crazy the day felt later in the evening, I was led to 2 Corinthians 12:
Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud. Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. But he replied, “My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 CEV)
The passage immediately made me smile and say “Yessss!” It was an instantaneous response to my unspoken query of how I’d managed to get everything done.
I know you’ve been there. Ripping and running with a to-do list as long as your arm. And at random times along the trajectory of your day you think or say or feel like you’re one new email notification from losing it all.
But this passage is an encouragement to each of us every time we experience one of those chaotic days. God’s grace is sufficient.
There is one very well-know definition of grace that we likely all know: God’s unmerited favor. It’s receiving blessings and favor from God that you and I could never earn, don’t deserve, and can never repay.
But in my quiet time I stumbled upon this new definition that is so aptly described here in 2 Corinthians: the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
It is when it seems all hell is breaking loose around us that God’s grace is sufficient. Not only is the knowledge of a love so deep that it gives without ceasing enough to put things in perspective and give one peace, but then the inner dwelling of God’s divine strength pushing us through the chaos when our own ability is long gone also gives us peace.
It’s like, no matter which definition you use, God’s grace is enough to get you through your hard time.
No matter what you’re feeling, His grace is enough.
No matter what you’ve done, His grace is enough.
No matter where you’ve been or who you are, God’s grace is enough and all you need.
I reflect now on how crazy last Wednesday felt for me and am grateful not just that I made it, but more specifically for God’s grace that pulled me through.
When the children were alternately bickering, crying, and whining…
When my wi-if failed just after I hit send on a critical email…
When I was 15 minutes late leaving the house…
When our car began to act a fool mid-commute…
Each time, having the knowledge of God’s unmerited favor and love in my life kept things in perspective and kept me from losing it.
And each time, His spirit operating in me gave me just a little patience more…a little faith more…a little strength more to accomplish everything He needed me to that day.
And now I’m on the eve of my big GOD event. No, every ticket isn’t sold. And no, I’m not certain that everything will go as I’ve planned. But I know that I’m operating in His will, and as long as I work as in service to Him, His will will be done and His grace will be enough to make it the success HE needs it to be — not me.
I’m so grateful for His grace. I’m so grateful for Jesus. I’m so in awe of God. And truly, His grace is sufficient for every situation I face in life.
What are you facing right now? Have you told yourself that His grace is sufficient?
I can’t remember how many times I’ve learned – and relearned! – the lesson about the pitfalls of busyness. (Check out one of those times here.)
But a few days ago I found myself in that space again: suddenly realizing the toll overcommitting was having; this time not just on me, but my family as well.
Head on over to the Huffington Post to check out my latest post on my membership-in-good-standing at Bedside Baptist and, most importantly, the liberty I found there.
I have purposely tried to not include details about my personal life on this blog. My thinking has been that all of you have so many of your own challenges that you’re facing; surely, your life is complicated enough without the added details of mine.
I thought that by keeping my story to myself I could best encourage you as you go through. And up until now that’s worked. But as I think back on where God took me in my career a few weeks ago – and in my life overall – the Lord told me plainly that my story is not just for me, but for others as well.
So while I won’t make this a habit, I do want to share a bit more about myself with you; believing God that doing so will help you keep the faith, renew your hope, and restore your expectation.
Currently, I own a boutique media and communications firm in Washington, DC. I’m a consultant working to get my clients on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, or wherever else they need to be to get their messages out. I also write for my clients – op-eds, press releases, brochures, etc. I’m gifted to do it and passionate about giving voice to folks’ visions™.
A few weeks ago, God gave me the awesome opportunity to begin working with A+E on a number of programs as a subcontractor for one of my clients. As a result of my client’s opportunity, I had the chance to do some publicity work for Lifetime TV on its promotion of the movie “A Trip to Bountiful,” the TV adaptation of the award-winning Broadway play.
After lining up a few interviews for the movie’s stars, I was invited to staff those interviews in NYC for the day. The stars? THE incomparable Ms. Cicely Tyson, Ms. Vanessa Williams, Mr. Blair Underwood and Ms. KeKe Palmer.
I spent an entire day in their presence; listening to their reflections on the importance of their craft, the significance of Women’s History Month, and all kinds of things. Just in awe of where God had me and grateful, supremely grateful.
Proverbs 18:16 keep running through my Spirit:
New International Version (NIV)
16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
Certainly, operating in my God-given gifts were the reason why I was there with such great people. It was God’s will that the gifts He gave me would land me smack dab in the presence of greatness. I was very clear on that.
In fact, that day was, to date, one of the biggest days of my professional career (followed SUPER CLOSELY by the day the Honorable Elijah E. Cummings allowed me to join his team as his press secretary and the day I resigned from another job to protect my character with nary a back-up plan in sight).
So imagine my excitement when a few days later I found myself on a cross-country flight to California for the first time. Working with another VPI client there, God revealed new talents to me and gave me fresh revelation about some existing strengths.
This is the essence of the God WE serve: He wants to take us to more places, give us greater blessings, and use us in more profound ways than we allow ourselves to dream.
But what God really showed me in New York and California, and what I’ve been reflecting on and reveling in since, is this truth: I could not have experienced such highs without having gone through ALL I’ve come through.
I had to go through to get to where God wanted me.
I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to leave the “security” of a consistent paycheck to hunt-and-gather for clients. But it took every mistake of my past, every moment of disobedience, and every misstep in my story – and all of the good stuff, too! – to get here.
I spent many years of my career trying to fit into offices; trying to be the right square peg for the right square hole.
I had great jobs, too. I’ve worked with Judy Smith (the inspiration for Olivia Pope’s character in “Scandal”), Anita Dunn, Members of Congress, Presidential Advisors, and the lightening-rod education reformer Michelle Rhee, to name a few.
But it never failed: I’d always reach a point where I was restless, inexplicably. And so the search for professional fulfillment began anew.
God’s been faithful, too. Every time I’ve sought, asked and knocked, He’s opened doors that I never knew existed and certainly never expected to walk through. Heck, He even gave me jobs that weren’t His will simply because I asked Him for them.
And every time, no matter how great the job or boss (or how terrible), I ended up reaching a place where I felt like I should be on my own, doing my own thing, and applying everything I’d learned to building the dreams God’s given me.
I had to have every bad boss I ever had to know how to be a good one.
I had to be picked over, promoted over, and passed over to know how to validate and value the gifts of others.
I had to endure insecurity and out-right mean-spiritedness in colleagues to know how to strive to walk daily in love and empathy.
I had to make mistakes to know how to groom others through theirs.
And I had to be willing to walk away from the world’s definition of security to become truly secure in my only Source: God.
My life hasn’t been easy. And I haven’t always been as reflective as I am now.
And even now, I’m still learning about the cause for which God’s created me. This is just the beginning! …for me and you!
In the coming weeks and months you’ll see a lot of changes here: the site will be redesigned, some of the content will be changed, and some new information will be added.
As I continue to be groomed by God, through faith, I know that I’ll be used in new and exciting ways to encourage you to own your story, validate your vision, and expect even more from God.™
There are Cicely Tyson moments in your future! There are places God wants to take you, people He wants to introduce you to, and work He wants to do through you.
Don’t be discouraged by your current circumstances: they’re temporary and won’t look like what is really yours in the Spirit.
But decide today that you deserve your dream™, and everything that God has for you.
Stop trying to fit in when God made you to stand out and stand up!
You’ve earned every strip and scar. You’re stronger because of it, wiser and more powerful.
God knows it. And when you accept that about yourself, you’ll begin to see God’s favor and orchestration unfurling in your life in ways you never imagined before.
I’m excited for YOU because there’s so much God has for you this year. ;
I’m pretty sure my latest piece for the HuffPost is going to piss some folks off. I’m almost certain of that.
But, it had to be done.
I get so tired of Christians crying victim, living and walking a “woe is me,” “I’m just getting by lifestyle.” The reality is that God has more for us, gave us the power to get more, and wants us to expect more. Period.
The simple truth is: believing and asking God for small things isn’t noble or humble. That doesn’t honor the God who created everything. So do you really want to insult Him in the name of humility?
You can also take a look below.
Huffington Post: On Being Radical
Timidity doesn’t honor God.
There, I said it.
I’ve given a lot of thought to how often followers of Christ find themselves – or more accurately, place themselves – in the role of victim.
Text messages change our moods. What someone said about us ruins our day. We pray fervently the same prayers, pleading with God to bless us in some area of our lives. Or, we allow ourselves only the most modest of dreams in a misguided attempt to be humble.
Yes, the Bible talks frequently of the blessings of humility. And Jesus Himself extols the virtue as one of the most desired traits of those seeking to live like Him. But nowhere have I seen a verse that says, “Think small, dream small and pray small. These things make God happy.”
In fact, I would venture to say that the opposite is accurate: big, bold prayers and dreams honor God.
On the basest of levels, followers of Christ, those seeking to model their lives after His example, must admit that our Savior was radical.
He flipped tables. He preached and healed on “forbidden” days. He hung out with the outcasts. I mean, come on: Jesus was our first maverick.
Yet somehow, centuries later, many of us have accepted a role of inferiority. We’ve come to accept mediocrity and “just getting by” as the life we should lead, and happily.
The Bible clearly states that the riches of the wicked are stored up for the righteous. In Psalms 35:27, we’re told that the Lord delights in blessing His children. And Mark 11:24 explicitly says that if the children of God pray, believing that they have received, God is faithful to do anything they ask in Jesus’ name.
Where in those scriptures does it say “accept whatever the world gives you”? To the contrary, we’re encouraged to command our day in Job 38:12, and we’re told that have authority over all the power that the enemy possesses in Luke 10:19.
Time after time, God reiterates through scripture His desire for his children to be bold, to have divine confidence, and to walk open to and expecting abundance in every area of our lives.
So, it’s far time those of us who aspire to be like Christ accept this simple fact: to be radical is to be like Christ.
Yes, be humble. Seek God’s will for your life, and walk that path with love and temperance. But don’t make yourself, your dreams or your abilities smaller than they are to make others comfortable; out of fear; or because you think that pleases God.
God knew what you’d be capable of when He made you. He knows your personality and the dreams He’s placed in you. He formed you with the express intent of fulfilling the purpose and dreams He placed in you.
So do it. Do you.
Be confident in your uniqueness. Embrace the big dreams God’s given you, and the great ministry He’s placed in you.
Accept that you’re different (Heck, we all are. We were made that way: to stand out, to be a remnant). Love you for you, and then live your God-given life out loud.
It’s what God wants. It’s honoring God by being and doing and dreaming all that He wants you to, the way He wants you to.
Last year for the Lenten season, I read “Draw The Circle,” a prayer challenge authored by Pastor Mark Batterson. I still remember the entry for day 31, “What Do You Want Me to Do For You?,” which talked all about praying and believing God for big, explicit prayers as an act of honoring how great and powerful He truly is.
That very day I decided I would seek God and write down (just like they tell us in Habakkuk) all of the visions He’d given me. And man, they were bigger than anything I’d allow myself to think of.
Almost a year later, I remain determined and passionate about living each day as radically as my Savior did: confident in who I am and what I’m gifted and called to do. It has given me a peace beyond my understanding and freedom previously unattainable.
The season of mundane Christian life is over. Be bold and be radical in whatever God’s called you to do. Evangelize with passion. Work with divine confidence. And live with Christ-like love and humility. Expect good things in your life daily, and decide right now that yesterday was the last day you’d take whatever this life gives to you.
You are an heir to the King. Walk in that power. It pleases God for you to do so.
In my relatively short life I have learned a lot about people, about change, and about choices.
I think one unifying thing I’ve learned in all three areas is this: prioritize your peace.
Let’s be real. There will always be another fire to put out, drama to navigate, and problem to solve. Work won’t end. Responsibilities won’t cease. And time won’t stop.
These are things we know and should expect and that we cannot control. But what we can control is how we respond to these trying times.
Will we let someone else’s emergency send our day into a tailspin? Will we let someone else’s priorities trump our own? How should we react when life itself threatens constantly to rob us of our joy?
I propose that we must prioritize our peace over our problems. Set our own boundaries. Respect the boundaries we put in place, and don’t allow others to trample them either.
In a meeting with President Obama’s chief advisor, Valerie Jarrett, I was told: “You should never have to hide who you are to do a job.” That’s always stuck with me.
One, because it is a relatable way to remember that we must be true to who God has created us to be. It’s why we get the job in the first place and it’s the best way to keep it.
But Ms. Jarrett’s sage advice also reminds me that God is my source, not accounts payable, my boss or even my job.
We’re assigned to jobs to be different, to be lights, and to use our talents to serve others to the glory of God. That’s it. God remains the real and true source. He is the one who pays bills, provides money, and keeps a roof over our heads. And I know this because when I didn’t have a job – and even when I have and wasn’t being paid enough or at all – our family never wanted for a thing. Bills were paid and our lifestyle never changed.
Look, the reality is that there are many things in this life we cannot control. But what we can control is our God-given, divine peace. We can decide to not allow the ever-changing, temporary circumstances in our lives to interrupt our joy and peace.
God tells us that we should tell Him what’s on our minds and hearts and then He will give us peace. It doesn’t say that He’ll fix whatever bothers us, or that He’ll shoo our challenges away. What it says is He’ll make us feel calm in spite of our circumstances.
So what that should say to us is that our power lies in our ability to refocus, change our perspective, adjust our thinking and priorities. Our peace comes in there, not in the solving or eliminating of the stressors. That’s a blessing because it means we don’t have to wait for our peace. It means that our peace is much more readily and immediately accessible than all of that – and is completely independent of what is going on around us.
This is the peace He gifts us that we must doggedly protect.
Your boss will always have a new project and deadline. Your ex will always have a new gripe. Your bank account will always be assailed by new expenses. And your life may always be busy, full and hectic. But you have the power to remain calm in the midst of the chaos. It’s your divine ability and a right you must enact and choose daily.
If your spouse and kids are important to you, protect your time with them. If the gym is sacred space for you, protect your workouts. And if your quiet time of devotion is as important as the air you breathe, don’t allow the temporary trappings of life to violate it.
That’s what we do with things we love, that are important to us. We protect them as God protects us.
I didn’t really know how things would work out when I went to my boss, a Member of Congress for whom I’d worked less than two years, and told him I was leaving to work with faith groups and have more time at home.
All I had was my divine confidence (read: faith) that my family was my first ministry and I needed to be physically AND mentally available to them everyday. I’d tried to do both well and what I was left with was a boss who was pleased, but a husband and children who felt neglected and unimportant.
I knew God wasn’t pleased with that, and neither was I. I needed to protect what I loved and I had to put action behind my every “I love you.
So I left the Hill, the security of a W2 (lol), and the best boss I’d ever had to reconnect with my family and to retain my peace. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fear-free, but it had to be done.
Because the peace of knowing I was going to have an active hand in raising my children, and that I could go back to prioritizing my marriage and honoring my husband were more important than my fear of letting my boss down or leaving a “safe” income.
I made my peace more important than my problems.
(To be fair, I told my former boss in our interview that I’d be on “black out” from 5:30 to 8 pm nightly to do dinner, baths and bed. And he’d agreed and always honored that boundary, but I found that that wasn’t enough so I had to adjust.)
To this day, my former boss and I are still close and there is no love lost…and I am at peace. No, I haven’t always gotten a paycheck, not have I always known how the bills would be paid…but I am at peace. And I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me or my family as it relates to the expense of life…but I am at peace.
You need to know that you know that you know that God will never leave you (Deut 31:6-8 NLT). And when you decide to pursue your peace, to stand up and do and be all that He has created and called you to do and be, He will supply your every need (Phil 4:19 AMP).
I don’t know what is competing with or threatening your peace right now. But my message to you is this: you have every right to fight aggressively, doggedly and passionately to protect your peace. It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us, and one of the few things in this life that we can control.