October Nuggets 

1. Salvation is for everyone. 

2. Everyone deserves a second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth and twenty-ninth chance. Everyone deserves forgiveness. No one gets to be self-righteous. 

3. Loving thy neighbor doesn’t mean a superficial love. It means if the behavior you are performing was done to you, would you like it? If the answer is no, then love differently. 

4. What you believe, you achieve. You must work to have faith of the Centurion, so when Jesus says, “You’re good,,” you know that. 

5. Once you realize who your Savior is, you’re already free from those shackles around your ankles.  

6. God has orchestrated your life perfectly. He has given you what you needed before you knew you needed it. 

7. Don’t be afraid to be honest with Him because you feel ashamed. He knows it’s there, and He wants to take it from you. 

8. You must always give. 

9. Be a fool for Jesus. 

10. Recognize all His promises—from Genesis to Revelation—and act accordingly. 

11. Don’t be afraid of your life-defining moments. 

12. Sometimes the loudest one telling you you can’t is yourself. 

13. Find one good thing about every single person you meet and tell that person that compliment. They are God’s special possession too. 

14. Love with a love that puts all other loves to shame. 

15. Those who reject the truth in public but embrace it in private need to be corrected not shamed. 

16. Dance like David. Sacrifice like Abraham. Remain faithful like Ruth. Reform like Hezekiah. Evangelize like Paul. 

17. Just do what He says. He will not force you to do it, but every single thing bends to His will, so eventually you will do what He originally asked of you. His Word never comes back void. 

18. Have a moment in your day when you welcome the Counselor (The Holy Spirit) back into your day. 

19. Know that when you are in Him, you will run and not grow weary. 

20. Seek understanding as much as you seek wisdom. 

21. Intercede on everyone’s behalf. The woman at Waffle House, your mailman, your neighbor, your distant relatives, that man you met in the park once, that woman whose car broke down at Kroger. Everyone needs prayer all the time under all circumstances. 

22. The same measure that you judge you will be judged. Do not look at someone and call them an eye sore. Do not look at someone and call them a snake. Do not look at someone and call them something other than redeemed, cherished, priceless, one of God’s special, anointed children. 

23. You always need both parents. 

24. Pray and write down your goals. Let God do the rest. 

25. Do not entertain arguments with other Christians about how you express your relationship with God. Whether those differences happen in tithing or worship, disregard it. There should not be any division in the Body of Christ. 

26. Sit and talk with your Father and your father. 

27. Don’t ever allow someone to tack on their earthly ideas to your spiritual existence. You do not govern your life by things of this world but by God and His Word. 

28. In every circumstance of your life, you are taken care of, so do not worry about anything. He makes a way out of no way. 

29. Don’t wait to give someone flowers at their funeral. Love them now. 

30. All greatest journeys begin with forgiveness. 

31. Try again. Love again. Dream again. 

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Keep Your Head on Straight

This evening, I found myself being stood up yet again by a man who says he wants to marry me, but he doesn’t know the first thing about commitment. I decided to blow off my anger on the way to the gas station. While driving, my bitterness began to creep out in the form of Meghan Trainor’s “No Good for You.” After the third time of it playing and my jaded feelings in the front seat, I turned it down. 

“Papa, I just don’t understand. Was he out to prove a point? I just…” Before I could continue, I saw my house completed and being used for a bigger purpose. I saw myself teaching. I saw myself with my goofy friends. I saw myself doing amazing things with what I’ve been blessed with, and I started to giggle. God continues to bless me with infinite opportunities and honors. The greatest honor of them all is being called His child. 

The thing is, I am His daughter. I dwell in His Presence, and I keep leaving the safety of Him and getting angry when people don’t treat me like the royalty I know I am. There’s a couple of things at work here. 

The first one connects directly to 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” ‭‭There is no need for me to keep going back into the dark, willingly exiting from God’s Presence just because I know I can come back. Why not be apart of this amazing priesthood, and wear it as the honor and privilege that it is? The thing about being in the dark is, it doesn’t offer anything new or beneficial. Why not stick with the light?

The second one is, how people treat me should never determine my attitude. People will do or say mean things. They will do things I believe are unfair or disrespectful. Now, I can choose to react to every last one (which is very exhausting), or I can let it roll off my back and continue being the person He designed me to be. The latter is the most difficult one but the most rewarding.  

I’m not sure what I expected on the drive to QT. Pity, maybe. I was throwing a pity party for one, but my God and my Spirit decided they weren’t having any of that. I’m grateful. Those parties can spin out of control very quickly. 

On the drive home, I listened to Israel Houghton’s “Friend of God.” With every repeat of the verse, my smile and my praise got wider and bigger.  

“Who am I that You are mindful of me?

That You hear me when I call.

Is it true that You are thinking of me?

How You love me it’s amazing”

I am a friend of God. As His friend, He reminds me to keep my head on straight when I forget that I’m already standing in the light. His light doesn’t come with any gimmicks but strength and wisdom. Most times, it comes with courage to move past how I feel and step into what I know: I am His special possession. 

You Make All Things New

I woke up this morning humming Israel Houghton’s version of “Moving Forward.” It took me about 10 minutes to remember the words. I sang to my dog and moved at a glacial pace getting ready for church. I usually have some pep in my step on Sundays. However, I wasn’t too excited to hear the Father’s Day sermon the Apostle had planned. Would it be good? Of course, but I didn’t think it applied to me.  

See, my parents got divorced when I was twelve. I was seemingly the only one angry at that fact. My brother was too young to know what it was like having two parents, and my sister was old enough to not care. I got the short end of the stick. Throughout that whole ordeal there was a lot of manipulation and bad mouthing happening from both sides. No one ever sat us down to explain anything. As much as I hated that fact then, there was still no reason to be bitter thirteen years later. 

Unbeknown to my Dad, I’ve been neutral for years now. He existed as a representation of all the hurt, chaos, and unnecessary detours I’ve endured because of who I thought he was. That’s the image I fed myself until I met Papa. Eventually, the hurt, along with many other betrayals, were pruned away. I knew I was resolved about everything that happened, so there was no reason to reach out. We were just two strangers who happened to be related, moving about in the world with no connection and no relationship. I didn’t see a need to reach out until today. 

In the service, the Apostle talked about honor. Everyone needs it, but he preached about how fathers and husbands need to be honored regardless of all the faults we know about them. I heard what he was saying. It was all so simple really. Honor produces change. When you honor someone, you say, “Regardless of the faults you have or the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in, I still am grateful for you.” For years I grappled with honoring my father and mother. How could I honor my father after what he did? Yet, there the Apostle was making the road to restoration visible through Christ. 

The Apostle didn’t say it, and he didn’t even allude to it, but honor cannot exist without forgiveness. Before today I journeyed through my day ignoring the tug on my heart, yet out loud I’d say, “Oh yeah, I forgave my Dad.” That’s been a lie. Forgiveness is a lot like repentance. You can’t just say you’re sorry. You have to turn away from your behavior, so you don’t make the same mistake twice. Forgiveness isn’t just saying you forgive someone. It’s about extending love even if that love cannot be returned. It’s about admitting what happened and that it can’t be reversed, but you’re willing to let it go. With either one you can’t simply make a declaration, you have to also take a Jesus step in your behavior. I took that step today. 

After church I texted my Dad two sentences: “Happy Father’s Day. I know you did the best you could. – Aisha” I’m a long winded person, so I thought I’d have more to say. I didn’t. I meant those two sentences wholeheartedly because that’s what I’d been feeling for months. I took a nap after I sent it. I refused to let my mind wander about all the responses I could receive. I woke up to gratitude and a phone call. He told me that out of all the Father’s Days he’s had, today was the best. I invited him over to my house, my brother came over too, and we all talked. It was familiar. We hadn’t been in the same room for six years. 

I don’t have to agree with everything that my Dad does or says, but I do have to honor him and respect him. Did he do some things I don’t agree with? Absolutely. But, did they make me a better person? Yes. I took what I needed from our conversation. I put some things on the shelf for a later date. The things I didn’t understand I made a mental note to ask Papa about. I left the rest. 

I longed for a relationship with my Dad, but I ignored it. That branch had died never to be replaced. That relationship was one I had learned to live without. It’s hard, though, having something one day and the next living in a completely different world. I couldn’t be like my brother. I knew what it was like, and I missed it. I missed him. I always made sure to only tell Papa sometimes. I didn’t want to give that desire fully to Him because I thought that would be it. It would die with Him. It didn’t. He is the Resurrection and the Life. 

I believe someday I can look forward to, Ephesians 6: 1-3: “1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” So that it may go well with me… 

I have no clue what’s going to happen from here on out, but I think it’s already going pretty well. 

Truly, in Him, all things are made new. 

It’s Hard to Dance with a Devil on Your Back

Yesterday morning, I used my 40 minute commute to work to tell God how much I needed Him. I told Him that I missed the time we shared together. I missed how He was my refuge, my hope, my security. In the last month, I bought my first house, moved across the city, dated a man who I was unequally yoked with, and started a business. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy. 

Instead of making time to spend with Papa like I usually would when things get heavy, I magnified my problems. I made my stressors so big that the only things I could see were my blessings crumbling to pieces. Recently, things have calmed down, but I still didn’t have Papa like I did before. Something was missing. My drive made me realize that my obedience was missing. The love and passion I had for Him had taken a backseat to the things of this world. Instead of admitting that I didn’t know how to get Him back in the driver’s seat, I tried to bend and twist my way back under His umbrella of Life. It didn’t work, so I asked for help. I asked that He move me, change me, mold me. And He did. 

Yesterday, my friend gifted me a book which is everything that I prayed about. Later that night, I went to church and had the honor of listening to the father of my Apostle preach a sermon he’s held for 50 years. Do you know what that sermon was about? It was about a story of love. How John loved Jesus so much he wrote Him in 21 different ways. His sermon was amazing and ordained by God. I don’t want to be so conceited that I believe the Apostle waited 50 years for me, but I’m just saying I don’t believe in coincidences. 

On the way home, I couldn’t express enough how appreciative I was, how much I loved Papa, and how awesome He really is. I promised Him then that I’m not sleeping on the couch anymore (when I’m avoiding my prayer closet, I sleep in the living room on the couch). I was the only one missing out…until I asked for help. 

All the situations I put off, like bills, appointments, and studying, I collected. I asked for help one more time, and suddenly, things got easier. My problems fell by the wayside, and for the first time in almost 30 days, I could breathe. I wanted to get up and run, but it was too late and the way Georgia is set up with these coyotes, it wasn’t working out. I did the next best thing, I turned all the lights off and played Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” 

For 30 days I lived in front of God instead of behind Him. For 30 days I was lost and lonely. For 30 days, I didn’t dance. Last night I did. I danced hard, and when I got to my job this morning, I was still dancing. 

Some problems can only be solved by dancing it out. Dance hard. Dance in public. Dance freely with your arms out and your head back. Dance because you know that whatever is gripping your spirit will not last forever. 

As Florence would say, “Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa 

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back

So shake him off, oh whoa”

As my friend would say, “Dance like David.” (2 Samuel 6:14: “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might” NIV.)

Why a blog? Why me? Why now?

My entire life has been centered around wanting a family that I was good enough for (or one that was good enough for me). I used to spend hours upon hours battling with the things that were said to me. 

“It’s good, but it’s not great.”

“I didn’t think you were going to make it for a while.”

“I didn’t believe in you then.”  

Those things sting, and they sting a bit more when they come from the ones who should be looking out for you. I’ve grown up a lot since those words have been uttered over me. I’ve grown in God. I’ve grown up and out and always towards the Son, even when I didn’t know it (or accepted it). 

The tag line to my blog is, “It only takes two to make a family.” I’ve spent my entire life (luckily, only 25 years or so) chasing after people to get them to be apart of my life–to get them to stay. I’ve recently come to the understanding that no matter how hard I try, there’s only one person who can love me like I deserve to be loved, and that’s by my God. 

I spent so much time looking out and wondering why I couldn’t have what other people had, that I didn’t notice who I needed was The One I was pleading with. He saw every fight. He was there for every tear. He showed up to every event. He gave me strength for every battle. He was there for every new hobby and every single victory. He blessed me with favor in the most unfortunate circumstances. He was my family before I knew He was my family. 

Over the course of several months, I’ve grown to love Him in a way that is so much bigger and wider and deeper than I could have ever imagined. I love Papa with everything I am and then some. That’s why I’m writing a blog. My faith, although it began blossoming with what I saw as a setback, was something that was sustaining me for years without my knowledge. Hindsight is always 20/20. Always. Looking back, I see the moments where Papa was present. I see the moments where He guided me away from danger. I see the moments where He stood up for me, but more importantly, I see the moments where He let me fall. I see where He let me choose to get back up, to try one more time. 

There’s a million and one reasons to not do something, but all you need is one to go for it. Elohim is my one.