We All Need a Savior 

  
Missions work is not a foreign concept to me. Though I have traveled to foreign lands to serve God, the act of serving for His kingdom is not something that has confused me or given me pause. It seems very simple: show up, do work, save people.
I recently spent the weekend at City of Refuge with women from my church. We all went into this experience completely unaware of what we were going to do, but as I mentioned before, I had some ideas of what I could expect: doing a lot of work in a little period of time. This is not at all what happened when we arrived on campus.

 The RATL model of service is about “being with” the women and children instead of “doing for” (which is what my previous definition looked like). And as I began to just sit and listen to stories from the women in the room, I realized something incredibly humbling: I AM these women. In other words, nothing separates me from them. And when several volunteers mistook me for a resident, it became clear to me that God was at work in my heart, redirecting my image of “broken” to look very similar to the image I see daily in the mirror. As each woman I spoke with shared her own brokenness, it became abundantly clear to me I wasn’t there to save anyone, but to remember that I too am in need of a Savior.
So I didn’t rescue anyone during my time at RATL. I was the one who was worked on, by God, from the inside out. These women know Jesus by name: they have seen Him work miracles in their own lives and they have stories to prove it. Every woman I spoke with ministered the gospel to me by being with me and being transparent. And I walk away realizing that we are all broken, in need of salvation, and as we share our stories and spend time with one another, God’s hand is at work mending our hearts and knitting our tales together for His greater good.

Benefits of a Broken Heart 

In my humble opinion, heartache is quite possibly the worst emotional pain we humans can experience. It can feel, at times, that your heart has been shattered into tiny, unmanageable  pieces that will never beat together again. Heartache is so powerful it quite literally can take over your whole life for a period of time. 

I don’t think we were designed to withstand that kind of pain. Loss, in any capacity, is altering to a person. The heart yearns for what it can no longer have, and the brain must learn how to live in a world that just seems lacking. 

What’s interesting to me is the way God designed his relationship with us, His creation. It was never in God’s plan for us to experience the loss of Him, but in Genesis 3 we see very clearly Adam and Eve chose death over life with God. In making this choice, all humans to follow after the original sinners would have no choice but to experience life devoid of God. Unless…

Redemption. It’s God’s greatest magic trick. In His sovereignty, He made sure that I (you and I) never have to experience one second without his love or his presence. I will never have to suffer the loss of my God: He made sure of it! By sending Jesus to redeem my heart into His, God certified our relationship and basically put a metaphoric “ring on it!” He made sure I would never be without His love, thus guaranteeing I would never be heart broken over the loss of the One who loves me most. 
This is powerful. I actually cried about how beautiful this is. I think of all the loss we CAN experience as humans on this broken planet, and then I think about the one aspect of life I would never be able to recover from losing. And I realize that I never (ever ever ever) have to worry about experiencing that irreconcilable loss because the Lover of My Soul has bound me with Him for eternity by the action of Jesus dying on the cross. 

This is how I know love means action. This is how I know heartache wasn’t meant for us to deal with. This is how I know I am loved by a God whose grace is far more sufficient than I could comprehend  this side of Eden. 

And this is how I know my heart, broken and scared from the loss of human love, is not fully destroyed. My God allowed my heart to break so I could finally be at a place in my life where I would pray for Him to give me a psalm 51:10 newer and purer one! Where my prayer that His will and not my own has become REAL and the desire to see Him shift me has taken over completely. There is no fear in praying for God to take over when you’ve finally realized what an utter train wreck exists  when you’re in control. He’s got to be a better driver!! 

I guess a broken heart is perfect, actually. Because a broken heart can be fixed. ❤️

The Sacrifice of Brokeness 

I’ve recently started praying for God to dramatically change my heart. I believe the word “transplant” keeps coming up in my prayers. 
I want a new heart. 
I don’t mean in the Wizard of Oz kind of way: I mean in the Psalm 51:10 kind of change. I am asking God for a new and pure heart. The one I have is broken, wicked, and not fully in line with my Creator. 

What’s interesting is that later in Psalm 51, David speaks about his inability to offer a physical sacrifice great enough to appease God for his sin. As he’s writing this, he just sinned with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed in battle to cover his sins. David is telling God, what I believe God planted in his heart in the first place: the only path to true repentance and right relationship with God is by offering a sacrifice of brokeness. 

I have often thought that I was capable of cleaning myself up and presenting a perfect package to God. As if I had the power, self control, or ability to make myself clean and right in God’s eyes. We know Christ came because we weren’t capable of doing this alone. And yet, I still have fond memories of “hiding” sins from God, acting like I have everything together in my life, and wearing a deceitful  mask of perfection in public. All of which speak to God “I don’t need you. I can handle my issues alone and I prefer distance from you over the closeness that can provide me proper healing.” 

I’m thankful for David’s transparency and brokenness in the psalms. I’m glad he was honest about only being able to present God the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. Lately, I have been identifying with being “broken” especially when it comes to my heart. I question how could I possibly be getting closer to healing when I feel like little pieces of me are daily being chiseled away? But David’s words remind me of God’s profound truth: when I humble  myself (lay down the broken pieces) before the Lord, and admit (confess) that I am unable to properly mend them, it is only then when true healing begins. 

The sacrifice of brokeness is the only door through which right relationship with God exists. If I want true and proper healing (and I do!) I must first admit I’m broken, and can only be fixed by the One who knows me part by part. 

32 things…

  

Today I say goodbye to 31, and I must admit I am happily waving “hello” to 32. I know I haven’t changed much in a day, but in this year, God has really done a work in me that has brought new levels of healing and growth. Which leaves me excited about seeing what 32 will bring! 
So, I’m going to just leave you with a list of 32 things that make me smile; a great way to start off my new year. 
1. Hand written notes

2. Warm towels from the dryer

3. Golden Girls reruns 

4. Discovering a new tv show 

5. Christmas tree lights 

6. Zombie survival plans 

7. Babies laughing 

8. The smell of old library books 

9. Dog cuddles 

10. Laughing so hard it hurts 

11. Kind gestures from strangers 

12. Someone washing my hair 

13. BOOK DEDICATIONS 

14. When there is no laundry or dishes to clean!! 

15. Escada Sexy Grafitti perfume 

16. Sharing something personal that helps another person 

17. Random texts from people thinking about me 

18. Seeing the answers to prayers 

19. Looking at my past and seeing what God has done 

20. Putting events on the calendar 

21. Popcorn. All. Day. 

22. Tahitian tiara flower candle from Yankee Candle 

23. Worshipping God in song 

24. Soft pretzels 

25. Snug ankle socks that make my feet feel loved and protected 

26. When even my jewelry and my shoes match my outfit 

27. Fun Surprises 

28. Quality time with people I can trust 

29. “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire 

30. Songs that bring back good memories 

31.  Learning a new skill 

32. The feeling and sound of loud, live music 
Here’s to 32! 

May this year be filled with fun surprises and lots of snug ankle socks! 

Quenchable Thirst

water glassA major part of the human condition is loneliness. It should come as no surprise that every human to ever walk on planet Earth will struggle with and experience the feeling of being lonely. This is something that has been built into us by our Creator; a longing for connection to Him that cannot be satisfied apart from Him. But we regularly try and fail to do so.

I am no stranger to feeling lonely. I have been in a house surrounded  by people and still felt that tingling feeling in my belly that had nothing to do with the bean dip. That hollow, anxious feeling has everything to do with my natural longings for God, and when I seek to fill that thirst with anything but Him I am always left wanting.

The truth is, people are lonely. And I honestly used to believe the only cure for this was marriage. For whatever reason, at a young age, I began looking at marriage as the only answer to the loneliness problem, and I couldn’t  have been more wrong. There are millions of men and women walking around feeling very incomplete, very lonely, and they’ve been married for years. How can  this be? Because they aren’t (we aren’t) seeking God for fulfill our basic needs. We’re trying to do it all on our own, in our own power, and we’re failing miserably.

When people talk about looking to God to meet our human needs, I often roll my eyes. It sounds so super spiritual and so absolutely impossible! How can someone I don’t see fulfill my need for a hug? Is He going to sit with me on my couch and watch Will and Grace? Am I supposed to hold hands with Jesus and walk around the mall picking out China patterns and expect other people NOT to call the police and arrest me for being crazy town? This concept has alluded me for a while, and I have honestly just pushed it to the back of my mind as something super spiritual Christians say to make me feel worse about being single. But today, I realize, there is actual validity in seeking God for every single one of my needs, especially the need to not feel like I am alone.

Consider the Samaritan woman at the well who greets Jesus in John 4. Jesus asks her for water and she is shocked (because of her heritage and the discrimination of her people by the Jews) that he is even talking to her. She tells Jesus of her shock, and his response is what I want us to look at:

(John 4:10-17, NIV)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirstyand have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

First of all, Jesus is always such a G when he speaks in scripture. He never minces words, and he isn’t doing it here either. In so many words, he’s calling this woman out for a sin that many of us (myself included) commit on a daily basis. Look at her track record: she’s been seeking fulfillment and satisfaction from men. She’s been looking for love to meet  her needs and every time (five and counting) she has not found the cure for her deep-rooted, hollow loneliness. And Jesus tells her that if she would just draw water from Him (go to Him for her satiation) she will never ever be thirsty again.

Now, it’s interesting that in our modern culture people call women who appear to be desperate for marriage or a man “thirsty”. I believe this term is accurately used, but not only for women. I actually believe every human, no matter what status in life, is thirsty. We are all desperate for the satisfaction and fulfillment only God can provide, and yet, we look to be filled by our relationship status, our jobs, our friends, our calendars, our skills, and our technology. We are chasing after cup after cup of water that will only continue to make us thirsty. And God is offering Himself as a never-ending well of water for us to drink from daily!

What does this mean for us then? What is the application here?

It means for me that when I am feeling that empty pit in my stomach and I know it’s not a hunger pang, I am going to purpose myself to stop what I am doing and ask God what He wants me to do to satisfy that thirst. This action will happen instead of what I usually do: either wallow in the pain or choose an activity that I think will meet the need. Neither one is helpful and I find myself thirsty all over again.

If we believe God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) then we must also believe that He will show us where and how to get those needs met when we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). God is capable of telling you when you need to call an old friend or take a nap. He is capable of telling you when you need to read a book or cook a meal for someone. He is capable, in short, of letting you know exactly how to quench the thirst of loneliness. It’s not always  going to be Him saying “Be still”! He knows we need people and socialization! He built us to need and want those things (look at Jesus while he was here on Earth- He was mighty social!) Also, it’s not always going to look like you  think it will. Again, I say, I thought for a very long time that the cure for loneliness was marriage. And I am SO glad God is tearing down that lie and replacing it with truth. Marriage is a beautiful part of life, but not the main event. AND NOT A CURE. (More on this in a separate post).

At any rate, my homework for myself is  to turn to God and ask Him first how to satisfy my loneliness when I am feeling it. And I firmly believe that’s a  thirst He is more than capable of quenching again and again.

All my love,
Danni

God’s Provision

I type this post from my brand new laptop! Well, it’s new to me!

Last week I posted that I was need of a new laptop as my ancient gem passed away without warning and I found myself desperate to start blogging again. The irony of  timing always baffles me. But, God is never surprised.

My friend Jenny Harwood reached out to me and offered he family’s laptop as a gift, an investment in my writing future, if you will. And I gladly accepted! So this post is in honor of the Harwoods! Thank you Jordan and Jenny!! Your kind and generous gesture has reminded me, in a very difficult time, that God always provides! I am glad you let Him use you this time!

As I mentioned, I find myself in a very difficult time. Sparing details that just don’t need to be shared, I find myself in a stage of life I never thought I would return to. I had images of what my life was going to look like in a year, two years from now, and that cloud of hope and promise has, in a way, vanished. And the person who I imagined would be living that life with me, is gone. And so, my heart is heavy as I type this post. I am not happy. I am not okay. I am not sure what my future now holds. I am, indeed, very sad.

I am having a hard time holding on hope, as it were. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around HOW or WHY  this is happening, and I am not actually sure I ever will (that’s a lie- I WILL I just can’t see it now through the pain). Though I made the decisions that lead me to this place, I am not fully happy with them. I don’t like this kind of loss or pain. I want to remove it. But I know that I can’t. And so here I am.

I am typing from a laptop that wasn’t mine a few hours ago. I didn’t have a laptop a few weeks ago. I am staring at a screen I never knew I would have…but God knew. He knew exactly where I would be, what I would be doing, and how I would feel at this  very moment. And He also sees and knows my future. I do not. if I can be honest, I would tell you my future looks and feel pretty BLEAK right now. But God doesn’t see it that way. And His provision spans far past my pain and limited scope. And I am going to do my best to hold on  to that. It’s just not going to be easy.

This isn’t a pretty post. I may not even be making sense, and I can tell you right now I am certainly not going to go back and edit any mistakes. Let them exist. It’s okay to have mistakes or be wrong or think something that never actually happens. It’s all okay. Because God is bigger than any of it. And I just have to remember that, especially when it doesn’t feel like that could be possible anymore.

Danni

The Perfect Picker 

  
I found myself at a china factory Friday. Crossing over the Ohio state lines into West Virginia, there lives a wonderful colony of misfit plates, cups, and bowls ripe for the picking by the careful and patient shopping crowd. This is a place my mother and aunts travel to at least twice a year: a place where kitchen dreams come true. 

I made the venture on Friday with my aunt. While we were pulling out of her driveway, she ran back inside her home to grab a towel. “We will need this to wipe off the plates.”  I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted what we were going to shop for: new kitchen items. So we took my WANT and her EXPERIENCE and headed out on an adventure. 

When we got there, I saw bins full of second-hands plates. These plates were deemed “seconds” because of minor flaws in their creation. They had dinks, misprints, coloring errors, fading, bubbles: you name it. Simply put, they weren’t perfect enough to be sold at full price. So customers needed to sift through and find items they would be willing to purchase, flaws and all. 

I began looking through the bowls, plates, cups, and canisters and I realized one very important truth: I didn’t know what made something “good enough” to purchase. And so I started asking my aunt for her expert advice. 

She quickly told me I wasn’t choosing properly; I was accepting too many flaws and I needed to look for some key attributes in the plates in order to avoid buying something I would later regret. So then I started showing her all of the dishes I liked, and she proceeded to tell me “yes” and “no” accordingly. 

This scenario really got me to thinking about how I choose people and activities in life. Am I actively running everything important decision by the expert (in this case, God) or do I simply “add items to my cart” because they look okay and I WANT THEM SO BADLY! 

I think the answer is glaringly clear to me in this moment: and I believe the solution isn’t so difficult to see either. 

In life, there will be many experiences and relationships that I want badly. And many of them will be good and beautiful in the eyes of God and man. But there is sometimes a distinct difference between what I want, what is beautiful and good, and what God desires for my life. And the ONLY WAY to rectify these three to one another is to first turn to my expert and ask (in my lack of wisdom and understanding),

What do you think? Is this a good one to add to my cart?

He will direct me. He will give me wisdom. And most importantly, He will never lead me to add something or someone I will later regret. 

I got a lot of good and beautiful dishes to add to my colorful kitchen. I’m really glad I listened to my expert’s advice. I’ll enjoy those plates better now, knowing I chose in wisdom with the proper help. 
 From my heart to yours,
Danni 

How about Love?

God is really unrelenting when it comes to how much He is willing to show us His love: we literally can’t escape it. And yet, how often do you find yourself feeling unloved? Alone? Empty? I know this is common to the human experience, and it saddens me. We have a love that so readily available, and we can still find ourselves in moments where we refuse to accept or recognize that love.
 
 Additionally, we don’t share that love as willingly as He has called us to. Sometimes I think it’s because we don’t feel a particular person deserves or has earned our love, but that’s ridiculous, because we know we have done nothing to earn the love God gives us. Scripture (and just simply living life) clearly points out the fact that we are all undeserving of the free and endless gift of love He gives us. So, I had to check myself and remember that I can’t hold out on loving if God isn’t doing that with me! 
 
The Lord put it on my heart to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day. I have been doing it for the last two weeks and I can’t explain how much it has opened my eyes. I am reading it in the Message version, and my goodness, ya’ll! It’s crazy how personal God can get when we let Him. I LOVE everything about this scripture, and it’s really doing a work on me. 
 
I want to encourage you all to read it as regularly as you want to, but perhaps you can join me in personally reading it every day this work week before 8 A.M. We all know God’s word can transform us in ways we never thought possible. What if He helped us to feel love and show love a little more freely? I know that’s what I am hoping for!
 

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

French Fries and Fancy Dreams

Do you dream at night? Well, that’s a silly question: we all dream at night! I guess the question should be, do you remember the dreams you have while you’re sleeping?

 
I do, always! And let me be completely honest: they are always wild! Seriously: I love the world my brain has created in my sleep!
 
In my dream last night, I started a new job at a restaurant like Chili’s or something, and on my first night they gave me 20 tables with no training and no idea what the expectations were. I got yelled at by my manager, I sold french fries to every table (even ones that were not my own) and I lost track of all of my orders. But for some reason, I was totally calm in my dream. I didn’t cry (which I probably would do in real life) or break a sweat at all. I had peace, for some reason I cannot explain, and I just kept walking up to tables and asking them if they wanted french fries. In my mind, I think I imagined that to be the best item on the menu (or, perhaps, the only one I actually knew on the menu!). 
 
Thinking about this dream last night reminds me of how God wants us to feel at ALL times: at peace. He offers peace to us in every single situation, but how often do we tap into it?  How often do we continue to just walk forward and be about our “father’s business” without getting distracted by the scenery around us?
 
In truth, I fail regularly. But I am realizing more and more that we have plenty of opportunities to “get it right” with each new day. And as you all know, our circumstances will forever be chaotic. I heard it said once that if you’re not going through a storm, you’re either coming out of one or about to go into one. Such a wonderful thought, right? But I love love love, how God makes it very clear in His Word that no matter where we are, He is with us. And where He is, so is His peace!
 
So today, I want to encourage each of you to keep your head up, be about your father’s business, and by golly, if french fries are the best you have to offer, you better sell it with every thing you’ve got! 
 
Danni 

I am enough.

And so are you.

Our worth was determined on the CROSS when Jesus sacrificed His life for us and died to set the final price value over our heads.

So why is it so difficult to remember this when the world tells us that we are replaceable, unworthy, forgettable, and alone?

Because the world (and Satan) work counter to God’s truth, and they have been programming our brains to believe lies that will never be true (and will never provide comfort or peace).

Psalm 63 speaks about the soul being satisfied as with fat and rich foods. Do you know how you feel after a heavy meal? overwhelmingly stuffed, as if you cannot fit anything else inside of your body. That feeling can be duplicated in the spiritual sense if we are stuffed to the brim with God’s love for us. I want that feeling of satisfaction, and man cannot give it to me. I find (as an extrovert) I focus a lot of my thoughts on how I can spend more time with people, because that helps to fill my natural desire for human interaction. However, I sometimes catch myself having a fear of alone time that is not necessarily related to extroversion, but more closely related to my fear of being unloveable or unworthy of affection.

The cure for these fears and lies is truly spending time with My Maker, and allowing him to saturate my being with His undeniable truth. I am enough, and nothing and no one can change that.

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To Someone I Might Someday Love

(a poem written by Danni Tabor).

I was just wondering where you were.
Did you get lost on your way to find me?
Or, in looking, did you find someone else?
Of this I would not be surprised.

For in my years of looking for you
I have stumbled upon a wonder of impostors.
(None of whom I was legally fooled
into believing to be you).

So I can empathize with your lack of haste:
It is somewhat hard to let the good ones go.
But I must remind you, 
You are seeking one that is great.

I will be here, 
Or there, if there is where you
And I are meant to meet.

I won’t be waiting
Nor should you be waiting for me.

You will be a happy surprise
I would like to smilingly embrace
along this tedious voyage
we have both embarked upon.

So, to Someone I 
might someday love-
I wish you a safe
and incredible journey.

If you should get lost in
The eyes of another
I don’t deny my heart
will painfully ache.

But if Someday
I am Somehow to love You,
I strongly advise
You catch me while you can. 

Before someone else
I might someday love
beats you to the chance.

And I am Somewhat fooled
Into believing that 
he is the Someone
You were supposed to be. 

Irreplaceable

I find myself to be a very introspective person. I often like to examine the why behind the what in my mind. Why do I feel this way? I am I afraid of that? Why can’t I do this?

I wish I could simply quiet my brain and live in the present moments of life,but I have yet to find a way.

So my question of late has been this: why exactly do people always disappoint me?

There are a number of reasons I’ve examined, most of them plausible. But my mind always comes back to the possibility that the full responsibility is my own. I am the one to blame for my own disappointment, because my expectations must be set way too high in man.

Which Is probably why I feel replaceable every now and then. This is certainly why I feel I “give so much” only to get “nothing” in return. And I’m convinced my high expectations in man are the sole reason I often think I’m very much alone, even when surrounded by people.

If I allow the Holy Spirit to do and be exactly what he is meant to do and be, my expectations would never be upset, for God never disappoints. Psalms speaks of my soul waiting on The Lord and my expectation being in The Lord. God knew our natural bent would be to look toward each other for happiness. That is why his word is sure to redirect our eyes (and our hearts) up.

I am irreplaceable to someone- and he’s above me. I need not look forward or behind me; my eyes need to tilt up. And in doing so, my expectations don’t need to fall. He will meet them. He always does.

Tip of the iceberg

Over the years, I find that the fault in much of my discontent in any situation lies heavily in my expectations. I have repeatedly set the bar high in almost all of my relationships and interactions, and I have repeatedly been disappointed and left wanting. 

 

Today it hit me that in truth, I will probably only get 10% of what I expect- from people and from situations. I call this my iceberg theory. You see, what we see of an iceberg is said to be only 10%, the rest lying beneath the water. In my thinking, I realize I want to map out and predict what the full iceberg will look like; I place my expectations in what I think I know is just below the surface. But in reality, that’s flawed logic. There is no way to know what lies beneath the surface (of an iceberg, an event,  or even a person). If I see 10%, can’t I just be happy with that? After all, that’s the part that I can clearly see. 

 

I’m realizing that I may only get to see the tip of the iceberg in some relationships. I may only get to experience a small portion of something or someone before I move on. A times, ill be permitted to go beneath the surface, but that permission is outside of what I can control. The bible is clear about this: my expectation is to rest solely in The Lord. I believe it is then, and only then, that even when I have been given a small portion, He turns the results into 100% satisfaction. In short- when what I expect is for Him to deliver, any result is far more than man can offer. Man will disappoint; God never will. 

Discipline Hurts

I have heard from many parents that when they discipline their children it hurts the parent more than the child. I don’t know if this is all together true for all parents, but I can’t imagine how any person could feel worse than one does when being reprimanded.

 

The theme of this week for me is discipline, and it hurts more than my words can express. I feel lonely, I feel like a fool, and I feel absolutely uncomfortable in my flesh. I find myself completely questioning whether or not I am even cut out for human interaction at certain moments, and then the next moment I crave companionship with a peer or friend. I am an emotional mess.

 

I have made a fool of myself this week by showing out to now two co-workers by being short and sassy for no other reason than my own personal issues and insecurities. I have gotten upset and defensive with people who I love (and who love me) because of something that only I can take care (by allowing God to take care of it). I have made two people upset with me, and one of them is not talking to me currently. I have apologized and sought wise counsel on how to resolve the issue, but it’s really up to God’s timing now. 

And in the midst of me being an idiot, I get awarded Employee of the Quarter yesterday. Seriously, God? An award for the woman who can’t seem to manage her mouth this week who is spewing insecurities all over the place every time she breathes?

 

I had to think about this though. Wouldn’t it make complete sense that in a moment where I feel completely inadequate and totally foolish, God would step in and make Himself known? To me, that award speaks volumes of his steadfast love and unearned mercy and grace. If I was awarded that honor on a day that I felt particularly deserving of it, would I have fully given the glory to God? Would I have been able to see that all good things come from above, and not taken any credit for winning that award on my own? I doubt it. The timing was absolutely perfect. He let me see that nothing I do can earn His favor, and nothing I do can make me lose His love. It’s all about HIM, and not Danni. That’s a hard lesson to keep learning. 

 

In the end, I doubt this will be the last time I put my foot in my mouth. I doubt this will be the last time I say something to anger a loved one. I doubt this will be the last time I feel uncomfortable in my skin. But I hope all of this discipline will get me to a place where I don’t feel so off kilter when I do mess up. I have an unshakeable foundation in the Lord, and if He isn’t going to change, my foundation isn’t going to change, even if the weather does. 

Abandonment Issues

I have often struggled with the pressure of “missing” something when I can’t make an event I’ve been invited too. Even more anxiety exists when people talk about all the fun they have during some activity at which I wasn’t present. I often find my mind reeling over the next big thing or the next time I get to hang out with people. This especially happens when I’m at home alone. It’s as if me, who I am in and of myself, is not even good enough for me. In other words, I have experienced days where my own company is just plain scary and I want to be around people desperately.

I have to ask myself what in the world am I afraid of? Yes we are built by God to crave companionship, and that is a healthy desire. What is unhealthy, and what I experience, is an irrational fear that one day I will have no companionship and I will be left by myself-which would certainly be the scariest thing in the world.

But why do I sometimes feel that way? What is the root of that stronghold? Who would be enough for me? As in, is there a person on this planet who, if they spent every second with me, I would find myself satisfied and happy? I highly doubt it. As a matter of fact, I know better. The answer is no!
So where does this free come from? What deep-rooted insecurity exists within me that causes me to fear loneliness in the middle of a crowd? What lie am I believing that makes it easy for me to understand that people could forget about me quickly. That I have nothing to offer but if someone would just love me, I’d be whole?!? It all sounds so silly, and yet, I must on some level feel inadequate if I continue to wrestle with the fear of being abandoned.

Lord, reveal the root so it can be addressed and killed. In its place, plant truth, peace, righteousness, contentment, and love of self and fellow man. Amen.

Found this on my cellphone

I was scrolling through the notes in my phone today and I found this. I’m so glad I write things down when I can, because this reminder from my past-self is right on time. 🙂

And hopefully for you as well! Enjoy.

1/7/13
Read psalm 33 tonight and it really hit me that my marriage will not be sustained by my power, and it can’t be formed by my power. There is nothing within my strength that can cause my marriage to miraculously be. I can simply go about The Lord’s work and be obedient, even in times of pain and confusion. I must simply be obedient to The Master and Creator. It is only by His breath and words that my situation can change. It is only by the prompting of God that I may be married. I don’t have any control over when that happens. And that’s a bit scary.
But Lord, I humble myself before you and admit that I have been wrong to think I could do anything better than you. Forgive me my pride and my haste. Forgive me my whining and my self pity. Provide for me more opportunity to sing and use my talents, Lord. Help me to focus my attention on that which is important to you. Help me to become-as women say- so involved in serving You that I don’t even notice a man until its too late- he’s my divinely appointed husband. Help my brain to rest. Help me to not try and figure everything out all the time. Help me to sit at your feet and listen. I have trouble listening, lord. I need your help!

Tiffany

Today I would like to take a minute to pay tribute to someone who changed my life: my dear friend Tiffany.

 

I met Tiffany at a very difficult time in both of our lives; she was dealing with family issues while I was questioning my purpose in life. We were in the same sorority in college, and eventually found ourselves as roommates in the sorority house. I found myself often feeling lonely in a house of 54 other girls, which is ironic to say the least. One of my sources of hope at this time in life was my friendship with Tiffany. She truly was a wonderful young woman who enjoyed having fun, and who wasn’t afraid to be herself. 

 

I left Ohio University in the middle of my junior year to move back home. Tiffany stayed there, but we kept in close contact. Over the years. I found myself at a very low point in life. I was in a relationship with someone who was toxic, and I was struggling to financially stay afloat. To think on this time now, I would refer to it as my very own “dark ages” (perhaps because my electricity got shut off on numerous occasions). But thing I do remember from this time is the phone calls of encouragement I would get from my friend Tiffany. 

At this point in her life, Tiffany had reestablished her relationship with the Lord, and her joy was evident in every word she uttered over the phone. I remember that simply hearing her voice made me feel better. On one of our phone calls she recommended to me that I read a book by Rick Warren, The Purposed Driven Life. I was hesitant to read a biblical-based book as my own experience with the church had tainted my view of spirituality, but for whatever reason, I bought it. I trusted my friend, even if I still felt wounded by the church.

 

That book utterly changed my life. I am 100% certain that I am walking with the Lord today because of that book. And I would not have known about it unless my dear friend shared her faith with me.

 

Tiffany, I have so much to thank you for! Thank you for speaking truth into my life in several difficult times. Thank you for being a positive memory for me in times that were quite negative. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, especially when I don’t call for long periods of time! Thank you for thinking highly of me, and for being a person who I continually think of as a shining light.

 

I am so proud to call you my friend, and I can’t wait to celebrate your graduation this year! Even if I am not able to be there, I am celebrating with you, my friend!

 

You deserve all of the goodness and LOVE God has to offer.

 

I love you!  

Sara

As a part of iLoveFriends month, I’ve decided to use my talent to show love to some special people in my life. I was praying about little ways to show that I care, but money is very (Lord-oh-so-very) tight these days. My words, however, are free.

Today I want to take a moment to speak very highly (and honestly) about a woman who has been my friend since ninth grade: Ms. Sara.

Having transferred from catholic school (which I attending from pre-school through 8th grade) to high school was scary for me. I questioned the safety, the academic challenge, and the fashion. No uniforms? What was I to wear? Mostly though, I questioned who in the world would I spend my time with? My friends were all going to the catholic high school, and I was being thrust into a world of gangs and hand guns (note over dramatics here).

As luck would have it, I met two very awesome ladies within the first few weeks of school. And on the day I was singing the national anthem at the school’s basketball game, we made plans to hang out! I was so excited to have actually made high school friends!

That night- their parents were late picking me up and I ended up having to walk to the game. But we met up there, and (thankfully) they wanted to grab food after the game. Being freshmen, we were joyfully carted around by parents whenever we needed to go somewhere, and I remember thinking that the music being played in the car (rock) was scary, but the company was awesome!

That night I began an amazing friendship with Sara, and I don’t remember a time in my life without her.

She was there through the AP paper, the drama plays, the speech tournaments. She was there through the proms, the kisses at lockers (boys of course), the mischievous plans to sneak out at night. She was there through the midget house runs, the “never surrenders”, and the “bag it up”s. Sara was there when we went to Ohio University (she actually stayed- I left foolishly junior year). She was there through the sorority parties, the Halloweens, and the fake IDs(I didn’t have one, of course). She was there through the Women studies classes, the black woman class I skipped, and the tests we crammed for.

She was there when we graduated and lived back in our hometown. When I moved to Florida she supported my decision and loved me, even though she has yet to “love” any of my boyfriend choices.

She watched me grow into a teacher, and then a bible graduate student. Sara respected my beliefs in God and gave me room to freely hash out what I think to be true and self evident. She agrees with me when I say I think I’m called to share the Word of God, and doesn’t blink when thinking about my not-so-shiny past. She even honored me by having me in her wedding.

And now, Sara is there for the phone calls that seem to last for hours, but happen way too infrequently. She is there for every visit I make back home to Ohio, greeting me with a hug and a few good stories. In short, Sara has been and still is there for me. That’s invaluable, to say the least.

She is, by far, one of my favorite people on the planet. When I thank God for my friends, she instantly comes to my mind. She’s an old soul with a young mind, and her heart is genuine and beautiful. She is someone I love having on “my team” and a woman who makes me want to be a stronger woman every time I hear her voice.

Sara- I absolutely love and adore you.

Thank you for being my friend!

Pro-vision

I am learning more and more that what I lack in the natural, God can (and will) provide in the spiritual. Man, oh man!

My God has provided!

It was brought to my attention today that though I lack a husband, I have three close friends whose husbands came to my “rescue” over the past month. People who love me care about me; I have a wonderful spiritual family who cares about my safety, my well-being, and me!

And instead of spending time worrying about what I lack, I’ve been thinking about all that I have not had to go without. That list is short. Very short.

I’ve got pro-vision: a positive outlook on what my God has provide.

And you know what?

The view is good, even if my husband isn’t in it….yet =)

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The Year of Love

My close friend and I have decided to make 2013 the year of love: iLove 2013.

As January comes to an end tonight, so does “iLoveMe” month. It was a great 31 days spent refocusing my love and energy on me: and let me just say I enjoyed every minute of that time. And honestly, it could not have come at a better moment for me personally. After December, I was ready for some extra self reflection and purposeful love of me. I know that I will continue to practice what I learned this month as we walk into “iLoveFriend” February.

Each month has a different focus: including friends, family, co-workers, and service workers. Our goal is to put love out in the world more than usual by purposing ourselves to sow seeds.

I’m expecting God to bless this, as I’ve already seen Him do so this month alone.

If you want the full list of months, comment with your email and I’ll share it with you. We want others to join us, thus spreading more love!