I Hear You, And I Am Listening

My mother thinks I don’t listen to her. She always complains about me asking for her advice but never following it. I don’t understand why she’s so confused. I tell her all the time that “I hear you, mom! And, I am listening to you. I just feel lead to do something a little different.” Why does this make her upset? listen

I am trying to genuinely understand this, as I often give my friends solicited advice and when they don’t take it I do get a little offended (especially when it blows up in their face) but is the connection deeper when it comes to being a mother? Is my mother taking it personally because she’s one of the two people who created me? Because she feel responsible for my well being? Because I’m her daughter and should always look to her for wisdom?

Whatever the reason, I know one thing: I trust my mother, but I follow God. Sometimes these paths cross; other times they don’t. I hope my mother doesn’t take it too personally, as I love her and would find it very hard to make it without dialoguing with her on a regular basis. I love my mom and need her to know that regardless of what I end up doing, her advice is priceless.

Have you told your mom you LOVE HER today?

Danni

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Lord, Teach Me How to WAIT

waitingIf any of you have been following my journey from Jax to the ATL, you know that it has been on riddled with ups and downs. Some triumphant ups (receiving $2000.00 in the mail randomly, getting the apartment I wanted, finally serving at the church I had been following for 6 months, getting out of my lease in Jax when I was told it would be impossible, to name a few) and some devastating downs (getting offered a job and getting it taken away from me 3 days later; being fired for the first time in my life from a job I hated, my car flooding, mold in the bathroom of my perfect apartment, and struggling to scrape up the money I need to eat each day… to name a few). The bottom line is this: God has seen me through all of this.

Most days this reality is SO hard to comprehend as I usually feel very alone in my hours of need. I question where God was when my car was being washed over with water; I ask what God was thinking when He allowed me to be fired from the job that was providing my only source of income. In the end, I can ask all the questions in the world, but the answer will always be the same, ” I was with you, carrying you through it all.”

I have learned so much since I moved to Atlanta, I hope I am able to write it all down one day and perhaps publish it or preach it, or both. I know one thing is certain: this suffering isn’t in vain. God is trying to teach me something, or many things, and if you read my post about perfection, you saw that I was able to get a tiny glimpse of my current lesson. I can only image what more will be revealed as the days, weeks, months, years go by. I know I am getting stronger with the passing of every minute; Praise the Lord.

I interviewed at a high school today for a teaching position. I want it. I claimed it to be mine. I had a very organic and genuine prayer with the Lord and I know my heart was more revealed that it ever has been. The staff was running late when I arrived early for my interview and I was blessed with the opportunity to have a candid and enjoyable conversation with the secretary. She was so polite and animated, I feel like we instantly connected. This enabled me to enter the interview room confident, happy, and feeling like a part of the family already. During the interview, I felt like things were not going my way. The principal was yawning and overall the people in the room seemed bored (I completely blame the young lady who went in before me). Well, I prayed that God would empty me out and let the Holy Spirit speak what was real and that is exactly what happened. I had a moment of pure clarity, spoke poignantly and what came out of my mouth turned the interview completely around. The principal say up, started asking me more questions, became animated, and was overall interested in me (unlike before). I felt good once I left.

A few hours later, I received an email from a school I had interviewed at a month ago. A new position became available, and I was offered a job at this school today. I made it very clear that I was interested but wanted 24 hours to make my final decision. I don’t regret doing this; what troubles me is that the man didn’t reply to my last email. We had been going back and forth, but then when I asked for a day, he didn’t reply. I see this as no reason to panic, but the spirit of fear and confusion came on me instantly.

“What if the offer from the school today doesn’t come, I call the 2nd school and say ‘yes’ but it’s too late; they’ve offered it to someone else? What will I do? I’ve already told people I would have a job? Is this REALLY happening AGAIN? Why is there always SO many questions concerning a job in my life? When will I be standing on solid ground again?

Anyway, you can imagine that this is just the beginning of my endless questions list. I HATE this part of the game: After I’ve prayed, believed, and decided to trust, the questions come. I have to profess that I don’t know how to stand firm in my faith when I am bombarded with doubt. This is something I am working on every day, but I haven’t gotten to a place where minor detours don’t distract me. I want to have the same faith I had during that organic prayer with God. I want to have an undying, unshakable trust in Him that would make even Job smile.

While I’m waiting… I want to be content in all things, as Paul says. I remind myself that worst case senario, my option to move home to Ohio is still open. I have to remind myself that regardless of what happens, I am covered by God. I have to remind myself that there will be many more tests, more bumps in the road, more confusion, more job offers, more rejection, more shame, more sorrow, more happiness, more times of doubt, and more times of absolute certainty.

There is a time for everything… now is my time to WAIT patiently… and while I am waiting….I want to be good at it.

D

I Want That For You

Yesterday, my mother made a comment that made me cringe: ” I want that for you! I just get so upset when I see people who have things that I want for you, and you don’t have them.”

She was referring to a job and a particular person that we both know. At the time she said it, I brushed it off and let it slide because I thought it was just a typical mother wanting the best for her daughter; this will never change. However, as I was reading Exodus tonight, it dawned on me: what I already have isn’t too shabby.

I am in graduate school working on my Masters of Divinity Degree, I am drawing closer to God on a daily hourly basis, and I am reading God’s Word on the most consistent basis I ever have… and I am doing all of this with JOY in my heart. Do I want a job? Of course; but I want what I have right now too: peace of mind, a connection with the Lord, and JOY.

Thinking about the person my mother compared me to yesterday, I smile because I DO NOT want what they have. Nothing is wrong with their life, their job, or anything they are doing, but I have learned a long time ago to NOT lust after what other have: STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE, as a friend of mine would say.

So, in thinking about my mother’ s comment I have to maintain a healthy stance here and remind myself (if not her) that what I want for myself ( and for all of those around me) is this JOY I (mostly) feel in knowing I am one step closer to the woman God has planned for me to be. In truth, no job, or man, or situation should be able to take away or bring you joy: it’s IN you all the time. joy

My readers, I want that for YOU.

Danni

The Day I Realized I Wasn’t Perfect

Do you Think you’re perfect?
(polls)

imperfect

Today has been a turning point in my life, and I had no idea when I woke up how incredibly different I would feel by the time I went to bed. I started journalling about this right after it happened and I want to share it with all of you.

I just realized today, in the midst of my Atlanta trials, that I am not nor will I ever be perfect. This is often something that people discover at a young age, but being an ultimate perfectionist, it took me 26 years to understand what this really means. This isn’t a bad discovery; it’s freeing because now I am liberated to accept and live life the way God intended it: IMPERFECTLY.

No matter what I do, I will never reach perfection. This isn’t to say that I wont or cant aim for it, but WHEN (not IF) I fall short, I can rest comfortably in God’s promise that HE fills in my gaps I leave empty. The odds of me making several more mistakes are highly likely and they are just as likely for everyone else. God created to be imperfect, and he made NO mistake in doing so (though I have often questioned His judgement on this one *side eye*). I will always fall short, I will always be lacking, and God loves me that way. I have spent too much time NOT loving myself simply based on the things I cannot change. I can’t change the shape of my body, for example… I can, however change the SIZE of my body. See the difference?

Here’ another example/ metaphor for my analytical friends: I am a horrible speller. Without spell check, I would be kicked out of most first grade kindergarten classes (seriously)! Well, God is like our life Spell Checker. We will still mess up (i.e. those annoying red and green lines that show spelling errors) but in submitting to God (clicking spell check) we are cleaned up and made free.

This isn’t to say God quickly fixes our mistakes, either. It simply means we are free to find peace even in our errors, because God will pick us up and hold us if we allow Him. This is such a freeing thought; I don’t know about you but I feel like a new woman after realizing all of this.

I feel like I need a tattoo or a t-shirt to continually remind me of how good I feel at this very moment as I realize how FREE I am because CHRIST’S blood covers all my imperfections. I will settle for this blog post though; a digital reminder of how God strengthens me in my weakest moments.

I am bound to make more wrong choices, I am certain to completely fall on my face (again), I have no doubt in my mind I will say the wrong things, do the wrong things, and mess stuff up to the point of total confusion (NONE of this on purpose, though). I am not now, nor will I ever be perfect; and now I know this is PERFECTLY okay WONDERFUL and acceptable in the eyes of God.

Much love!

Danni

PS: Just clicked spell check… LOL

God uses the unlikely

Acts+9+WordleFor the start of #TheLast100Days challenge, I decided to pick up in Acts, as God lead me to this book last week. I read all of Acts 9 today… well, actually, I think I re-read it because I wanted to really dig deep into the beginning of Saul/Paul’s ministry.

A brief summary or recap for those of your who aren’t familiar with the story, or those who are but just need a refresher (face it… we read this stuff multiple times and get something different each time). Acts is a book about the early church, right after Jesus has been crucified and appears to his disciples in numerous ways for 40 days after his resurrection. What brought me to this book was class discussion where my professor was point out that people can pretend to be Christian (we see a lot of this) and he showed us the example of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8. This cat actually tried to buy the Holy Spirit’s power…crazy, right? BUT, how often do we see infomercials or pastors preaching about selling the Word or some spiritual object that will get you closer to God? Let me tell you something… the only thing that gets you closer to God is the Holy Spirit, and that was a GIFT given to you by Jesus Christ. His blood payed the price for our sins… so you don’t have to worry about making payments on it too! Done deal.

Okay, so back to Acts 9. Saul is going around literally killing the disciples of Christ. In cold blood, he physically watched and participates in the killings of anyone of says Jesus is the Messiah and Savior. At this point in Acts, he’s issues arrest warrants to do his work, so things are pretty serious. On his way to Damascus, he is confronted by the spirit of Jesus who questions his actions and leaves him blind. Saul doesn’t eat for days, until the Lord sends Ananias to supernaturally (through the power of the God) heal Saul and give him his sight again. Saul gets baptized after this and begins preaching the Good News of Jesus. People are skeptical though, and there is a plot to kill him. He escapes several attempts on his life and the word tells us that he prospers and the Holy Spirit is with him and his crew.

What I really like about the beginning of Saul’s journey is that originally, he didn’t believe in Jesus and he was out to prove everyone who did wrong. How many of us were in that situation in our BC (before Christ) days? How many of us got involved in Bible debates and tried to debunk the Word because it was just too unbelievable? I know I did at one point (circa college) and I think it’s humorous to think about that, since now that I do believe, I think it’s much harder NOT to believe… you know what I mean?

The symbolism here is great, because Jesus blinds Saul, and only when the scales are removed from his eyes does he truly see the truth, and get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. I was blind before God revealed himself to me. Matter of fact, I probably stayed blind longer than I needed to!

Saul’s story is proof that God chooses and uses the unlikely. He could have easily picked someone else, but he wanted Saul to be the spokesperson for the Jews and non-Jews! He wanted to show people who even the person who doubts the most can be converted into a believer once shown the light. The word says that people didn’t trust Saul and that that didn’t slow him down one bit. He just kept sharing God’s word and kept traveling and preaching to all the people, those who would listen and even those who didn’t, I LOVE this! I just LOVE that God chose Saul, and hear the calling and ran with it. Also, if you know anything about the rest of the new testament, Paul become the major writer and focus of a lot that goes on. This, coming from the man who was originally killing the early christians. Pretty cool, huh?

The last part of this scripture is about Peter bringing Tabitha back to life. Bottom line, anytime God brings someone back from the dead I get a little confused. Why them? What point are you trying to prove by doing this, Lord? I have an unlimited amount of questions about these types of happenings, and would love to hear your comments.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Remember… Please tweet me so I can add you to the list of people participating! So far… this is who I have:

@MsLoveLiLi (this was her idea)
@DanniWrites (ME)
@DavidLPatrick
@KeilaBee1
@AngelaDowns
@MackleenStories
@CatieJay
@ImInTransit
@Brownvintage
@NicomaVO
@shesasanga
@seximissj
@virtuousgem
@Rahnae
@TheaPatrick
@raiTKing
@mizznelly
@waltward3
@everywrdmatters
@purpleice1981
@kaywhydee
@flawedchristian
@bradpost
@tamarajenel
@sosteen1
Rachel Espinoza
@sandramariecom
@KDenise
@valjo48
@KristanHite
@ImNoBetterThanU
@CodyHite
@KevinDHite
@thejadedvoice

The Last 100 Days

It all started with a tweet, a call to spend the Last 100 days of 2009 in a way that would make one person closer to God and a more habitual Bible reader. With that tweet, 3 others responded and now we are asking all of you to join us in this exciting journey.

Here is what we are doing:

THe last 100 days of the year starts tomorrow (9/22/09) and anyone who wants to get involved has to make a conscience determination to read or listen to the Word of God everyday until December 30th. The hope is that in doing this, you will develop the habit of reading God’s word, and start 2010 with a renewed spirit.

Are you game?

Hit me up @DanniWrites on twitter so we can count you in and hold each other accountable.

What should I read each day? Whatever you feel lead to read. Open your Bible and read….go to www.biblegateway.com and read….click open youversion.com on your blackberry and read. Ask God to lead you, and just start reading. Post what you read on your twitter or blog, if you feel like it. Bottom line, we’re not all reading the same thing each day…this is a personal journey…. with friends to help make sure you’re still moving forward in the direction God has for YOU.

Make sense? You on board?

Let me know,

Danni

WHo is already in?
@MsLoveLiLi (this was her idea)
@DanniWrites (ME)
@DavidLPatrick
@KeilaBee1
@AngelaDowns
@MackleenStories
@CatieJay
@ImInTransit
@Brownvintage
@NicomaVO
@shesasanga
@seximissj
@virtuousgem
@Rahnae
@TheaPatrick
@raiTKing
@mizznelly
@waltward3
@everywrdmatters
@purpleice1981
@kaywhydee
@flawedchristian
@bradpost
@tamarajenel
@sosteen1
Rachel Espinoza
@sandramariecom
@KDenise

…. you’re next on the list….. 🙂