Dear Sister, It’s Just Around The Bend

“I’m. Frustrated. Like, I want to crawl in bed, cry and eat ice cream, frustrated.”

Those are the words I typed in my notes on my phone on April 29, 2016 as I sat in my car during my lunch break. My day started out pretty good; I’ve recently been promoted on the job and I adjusted pretty nicely to the workload and the new coworkers… Or so I thought. To make the long story short I have that one coworker who wants to make me feel left out. For the whole two weeks I’ve been in my new position I’ve heard, “Oh I forgot about her,” “Oh I forgot about you. Sorry.” Every single day. I never really noticed it until that day and for whatever reason, it hit me hard. Like a ton of bricks. Not to mention, it was on my mind so much that I hit my car on the wall in the parking garage on my way to get my lunch (hence the note in my phone).

And of course the enemy, not being someone who plays fair, took the opportunity to pounce on my emotions. It started with my coworker’s words repeating in my head, because growing up I’ve felt abandoned and forgotten about. The next day satan kept feeding me more lies. So not only was I forgotten about, but I was also going to be lonely for a long time and probably wouldn’t get married until I’m 40. I haven’t had a boyfriend since high school, just guys with no real commitment, because who would commit to someone like me? I stayed up late playing these thoughts in my head until I finally broke down and talked to God and eventually cried myself to sleep. Sunday unfortunately was no better; the enemy then pulled the regret card. I was flooded with negative thoughts about how I haven’t really experienced life like others around me. Some of the regrets that came to mind were:

  • I didn’t attend my ring dance or prom because of my insecurities
  • I’ve never been in a real relationship (and wishing I was or at least had one from the past to talk about during girls night)
  • I’ve never experienced the college life

So I’m sure you see by Monday I was emotionally drained. I was ready for work to be over with as soon as I woke up, staying in the bed felt better than getting up and facing another long day. But I got up and pressed on. Once I got to work I received a text from a friend who wanted to go to soaking prayer at my church. I definitely didn’t feel like doing that, but something in me couldn’t deny that I needed to go. That whole day at work I filled my spirit with uplifting music and sermons from the Elevation church app (check it out sisters, my most used app). And to be completely honest, I was still in a bad mood but I was fighting it the best way I could. Finally I got off work and was about to tell my friend I was just going to head home, but I couldn’t because I knew she really wanted to go. Once I got in the church I made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to waste my time while I was there. I kicked off my shoes and laid on the altar steps.

“Help me God, I’m so desperate. I don’t know what to say or do anymore. But I know I need You. Help me Father. I need You. I hate feeling like this, and I hate feeling like it’s so hard to reach You.”

In that moment I just pushed my way into praising Him and using the authority He has given me as His child to come against satan and his lies. I really had to fight. I finally got through sisters, and God’s peace came over me. When I went back to my seat, three women came and prayed over me, two I’ve never met and one I’ve come to know as a sister in Christ. I remember hearing words like “Struggle. Peace. You are not alone. God is moving in you right now.” We all broke out in tongues and I felt even more weight leave me.

Once we were done the woman I knew asked how I was doing. I shared my regrets and the attack on my emotions. She said some things that will stick with me forever…

  • I have to FIGHT

When satan feeds you lies and attacks your emotions, he’s trying to get you to back away from God. By questioning God and giving up. Which means you’re backing away from the promises of God. Girl! Flip it on him and feed him with the Word of God. He’ll go running! But not without a fight.

 Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

  • The enemy is a sheepdog

You read it right. A sheepdog! God is our Shepherd, meaning we are His sheep. And guess what, the sheepdog works for the Shepherd. The only job of a sheepdog is to get the sheep to go where the Shepherd wants them to go. In this case he is chasing us right toward our promises.

  • When satan fights hard, your promises are just around the bend

Papa knows our hearts desires sisters. And as long as they are pure and in His will, He will give us those things. The enemy knows that and because of his jealously towards us, he doesn’t want us to have them. So as we get closer and closer to that bend that leads to our promises, he attacks with all he can to get you to back away from God with thoughts of wanting to quit and ‘how long do I have to go through this?!’

These encouraging words from my sister have given me the fire I need! I was also reminded that the things God has for me in the future will be so mind blowing I’ll forget my regrets of the past. So what I didn’t go to ring dance or prom, imagine what my wedding will be like! So what I didn’t experience the college life, I’ve been promoted to a job that requires a degree that I don’t have.

Sisters, I’m still fighting this battle, my situation has not changed. However, my mindset has.

Romans 12:2 Tells us to renew (re-establish; give fresh life or strength to) our minds every day!!

So I’ll let that little sheepdog chase me towards the bend that leads to the promises that my Father has for me. And I’ll kick him with my legs (the Word) when he gets too close so he knows to back off. And I’m not running because I’m afraid, I’m running because I know great things are waiting for me. Now that all that is out in the open, here are some kicks!!

Luke 10:19

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 

Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

 

These are just a few, the Word is full of what we need to stay strong in these battles against the enemy. Keep running sisters, at just the right time you will reap a harvest of blessings if you don’t give up!!

 

Xoxo,

Shantae

 

 

Dear Sister, Your Grass Is Green

I asked my mom for tennis shoes my 7th grade year, and I was expecting a pair of Nikes or Jordans like the other kids. I didn’t realize my mom couldn’t afford them. My mom’s solution – a pair of Avias. She assured me that it was a legit name brand because they (whoever “they” are) used to wear them when she was growing up. I failed to remember my mom grew up in the backwoods of North Carolina, so what “they” wore back then was probably less than popular. Needless to say I was teased for my choice of footwear, and then it dawned on me…I had less than what the other kids had. The absence of the things I wanted and my mom’s inability to purchase them became more apparent – and then the emotions followed. Jealousy, sadness, and anger rolled together and left me feeling “left out.”

Fast-forward years later and I feel like I’ve had front row seats to everyone else’s celebrations. Engagements, marriages, babies, home purchases, jobs with salaries that make you want to slap your boss. Am I happy for these people? Of course! Yet, there are still days that I am left asking, “God, what about me?” I go back to that little girl in the 7th grade wishing my life was as good as the other kids. I’ll admit that some days I remind Him of all the fasting, praying, seeking, and working I’ve been doing (just in case He forgot), only to hear Him say, “Armeka, if you are doing these things just to get something out of me, then you shouldn’t do it at all.”

[Pause]

 Attitude check…

 Do I do these things to have my wishes granted, or because God is a loving, faithful, sacrificing Father and Friend?

 I do it because He loved me first. And He sent Jesus to die a gruesome death so this little brat named Armeka could have eternal life.

 [Now that that’s cleared up]

 

So in frustration I cry out, “Well God when does abundant living kick in!? Why do I feel like I am picking up the crumbs of abundance while everyone else is riding off into the abundant sunset with their awesome jobs, nice homes, and adorable families?!”

 

And then He begins to remind me that my grass is green. Though it may look greener in the yards next to me, my grass is GREEN! Not brown, not that ugly, withering, yellowish color that dry weather sometimes brings, but GREEN!

 

So I have to make it a point to apply Philippians 4:6-9 to my perspective:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.

 My mom couldn’t give me tennis shoes and other material things, but she taught me how to pray and seek counsel from the Holy Spirit. She introduced me to a loving God and a personal Savior who owns it ALL! All these things will last me longer than the most expensive pair of tennis shoes in the world – in fact, GOD could GIVE ME ALL the tennis shoes in THE WORLD if He wanted to (but I don’t like tennis shoes anymore).

Sister, your grass is GREEN. If ever you forget that, I implore you to make a list of reasons to be thankful and thank God for those things every time you feel less than blessed. Here are a few items from my list:

  • My relationship with God
  • An awesome Mom and sister
  • My small circle of TRUE friends
  • A healthy and able body
  • A sound mind

My list continues to grow; and as I think more on these things, I think less of the things I want but don’t yet have. Being a good steward includes being thankful.

Remember that God delights in adding to thankful hearts. Thankfulness is water for your grass.

 

Love,

Armeka