Monday, December 3, 2012

Try Again: No Fear...All Faith!


Ever since the pregnancy loss, it has become the million dollar question that almost everyone asks me – Will you try again?
Each time, I never really have an answer.  Truthfully, I’ve been torn when it comes to considering actually trying again.  There’s a huge part of me that is terrified of the possibility of going through such a traumatic experience again, and if I never give pregnancy another try, I figure I’ll save myself from the risk of suffering that particular heartache and disappointment should the result from the last time repeat itself.
The reality of never having the opportunity to hold my sweet baby in my arms was deeply disappointing for me, and the thought of putting myself in a position to feel that let down again has honestly had me quite fearful.  But since I know that the Lord has not given me the spirit of fear, I knew I had to take my anxiety about conceiving straight to Him.
A few nights ago, I pulled out my prayer journal and favorite pen, and poured my heart to The Father.  I’ll give you a peek inside that intimate moment and share what I wrote...
Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Little Encouragement...


There are times when things in life become so hard, that it seems not even God can help you. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, because there is absolutely nothing too hard for God, and His Word promises that He will deliver the righteous from all of their afflictions. (Psalm 34:19) I don’t know what hardships you may be facing today, but I do know that God’s strength, grace, mercy, and power will help you overcome. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve suffered, how low you may be, how intense the struggle, or what the enemy is whispering in your mind, God will bring you through.

The very same God who parted the Red Sea to rescue the Israelites from Pharaoh and his army, will make a way for you to overcome the enemy (Exodus 14).

Jesus Christ, who abundantly fed the multitude with two fish and five loaves, will abundantly provide for you and your family (Mark 6:35-44).

Our powerful Savior, who raised Lazarus from the dead, will resurrect those areas within you that are lifeless (John 11:1-40).

Our merciful Lord, who graciously forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery, will pardon you of your sins and wipe your slate clean (John 8:1-11).

He is the same, yesterday, today, and forevermore. If He did it back then, He can surely do it again. God has the solution to any problem you’re facing right now. All is not lost; God will help you overcome. Trust His strength; trust His wisdom; trust His timing; obey His word; keep the faith, and watch Him bring you through.

Be encouraged, my sweet friends! ♥

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: My Personal Gratitude

I love the Thanksgiving Holiday!  It always puts me in a mindset of extreme gratefulness, and my heart has been bubbling over with gratitude these past few days.  I am especially appreciative this Thanksgiving, because the current season of my life has been quite difficult.

When my husband and I lost our baby at 14 weeks pregnant on September 11th, I thought there was no way I'd recover from such a trauma. I remember the numbness I felt while sitting in the examination room after seeing my sweet baby lying lifeless inside my womb.  I'll never forget that image...it tormented me in my sleep.  Every time I closed my eyes, it was only thing I saw...my sweet baby baby just lying there. The pain from such loss, the depression, and anxiety took me to such a low place that for weeks, most of my days were spent drowning in tears.

I felt helpless.

I felt hopeless.

I felt forsaken.

I felt weak.

I felt deep sorrow.

I felt empty.

I felt broken.

I couldn't eat.

I couldn't sleep.

I couldn't speak.

I couldn't pray.

I couldn't write.

I couldn't smile.

I couldn't interact with my family.

I descended deep into a pit of despair, and honestly began to believe that it was over for me.  Of all of the challenging situations I'd overcome, this one had knocked me completely off my feet.  My internal world was upside down...chaotic...nothing made sense.  If I'm truly honest, for a moment, I was angry with God.  I couldn't understand why He'd allow something so heartbreaking to happen.  I couldn't figure out what I'd done to deserve such pain.

No one knew my raw pain...no one saw my inner turmoil...no one witnessed my emotional breakdown.  No one.  But God.

When I hid the true depths of my pain from those who came to comfort and console me, He saw it all.  He felt it all.  He understood it all.

He took the mess that I'd become and cleaned it up.  He wiped my tears.  He calmed my fears.  He broke the forming chains of mental and emotional turmoil, and commanded me, His daughter, to rise up from the ashes.  He breathed breath into my lifeless soul, strengthened my buckling knees, mended my shattered heart, and rescued my crushed spirit.   He. Healed. Me.

Totally.

Completely.

Amazingly.

I stand today immeasurably stronger than I was almost three months ago. The pain did not destroy me, but it has propelled me further into my destiny.

I could have drowned.

I could have been consumed.

I could have lost my mind.

I could have...I should have...I would have...but because of God's grace, I didn't.  Praise God!

This is my personal gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT~




Monday, November 19, 2012

Find the Lessons in the Pain



A few days ago, I took to my Facebook page to share my heart with my friends in regards to how I was feeling, as that particular day marked eight weeks after experiencing one of the most traumatic situations I’ve ever encountered.
Here’s what I posted:
It's been 2 months since the devastating loss of our sweet pea, and what a journey to restoration and healing it has been. I am grateful that the Lord's grace has sustained us through it all, and continues to be the glue that holds us together through all of life's unexpected changes. Though this has been a tough season for me, I would not trade it for the way I've grown closer to the Lord and increased in faith, strength, wisdom, and prayer. I've learned so much over the past two months - about life, God, myself, my marriage, purpose, grace, and the list goes on. I'll share a few with you...
1. There is no pain deeper than the power of God's ability to heal.
2. I am much stronger than I think.
3. Broken does not mean destroyed.
4. Struggle reveals the strength of a marriage.
5. I have an extremely amazing husband who adores me and deeply cares about my well-being.
6. Living in obedience to God's plan of purpose will sometimes lead you through the valley of the shadow of death, but you will not die. It's only a shadow, and is cast away by the light of God's love. His light will lead you through the valley.
7. The glory will far exceed the grief.
8. The Word of the Lord is a refreshing spring of living water that revitalizes a thirsting soul.
9. Though life may knock you down, with God, you'll rise again.
10. Your despair does not discount your destiny.
I continue to heal. God continues to shower me with grace. I continue to trust in Him. He continues to prove His faithfulness. The journey continues...
God is steadily restoring, rebuilding, and refreshing me as I journey on in recovering from the pain, loss, and heartache this season has brought upon my life.  Though I could’ve allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, I choose to be brave and look deep into the pain to find the lessons and wisdom I can gain.  Furthermore, I’ve made the choice to apply those lessons to my life as I continue to move forward in fulfilling God’s purpose for me, and to share the wisdom I gain along the way with others.  For me, that’s what the current challenges of my life inspire me to do.  Click here to read the rest.
Follow this link to read my latest contribution to Womanhood With Purpose blog.
Grace & Peace!
xoxo

Friday, November 16, 2012

God Loves YOU


It's been a couple of months since I've blogged, but tonight I feel compelled to revisit and revise an old blog post to share with you.  It's a message about how God loves us so unconditionally, that even though He already knew we'd be imperfect people, He still chose us to be His children...His daughters.  Isn't it so comforting and refreshing to know that in spite of how flawed we may be, our Heavenly Father sees us as His perfect creation and loves us with an everlasting, ever-increasing, ever-faithful love?  I can't explain why He loves us so, but I'm mighty grateful that He does.  I pray that this ministers to your heart, and reminds you that despite your shortcomings, you are loved and chosen by God.

"Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."  

Long before the creation of the world, God knew you, He loved you, and He chose you.  Long before you were ever conceived in your mother's womb, the Lord loved you and chose you as His own.  He already knew about the mistakes you'd make, yet He loved you.  He already knew about the struggles you'd have, yet He still chose you. He already knew you'd slip up and fall down, yet it still gave Him great pleasure to love you and have you as His child.

I don't know who this is for, but know that God's love for you is not contingent upon how good you are, how pretty you are, how educated you are, how wealthy you are, or any other quality you may or may not possess...it is an unconditional, uncircumstantial, untainted, perfect love.  There's nothing you can do to gain it, and there's nothing you can do to lose it, because nothing can separate you from His love.  God loves you; in all of your imperfection, He chose you.  Why?  Simply because that's what He wanted to do.

Through the blood of His son Jesus Christ, He sees you faultless...a perfect reflection of Himself.  He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

In your pain...God loves you.

In your shame...God loves you.

In your insecurities...God loves you.

In your guilt...God loves you.

In your mistakes...God loves you.

In your brokenness...God loves you.

Embrace the Father's love for you. Enjoy the song posted below...





~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get Daily Inspiration from LaKeisha Rainey-Collins



Need a little "Beauty In Your Day"?  I will deliver it straight to your email!  Day-to-day life can get a bit ugly at times, and it can be a challenge to really see the beauty of it all.  Well, my friends, I am here to help you focus on the goodness that each day brings...here to add a little sunshine to your day.  Would you like that?  If so, click the link below to subscribe to my daily newsletter.  I know it will be a blessing to your life!

Looking forward to sharing with you!

xoxo
-LaKeisha Rainey-Collins



Subscribe to Beauty In Your Day







Friday, September 28, 2012

Comfort & Assurance In God's Word



But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine. 
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.

~Isaiah 43:1-3a,4b~


The Lord led me to this passage of scripture during the wee hours of the morning when sleep escaped me and all I could do was pour out my heart to Him through tears.

"Lord, help me.  I need to know that You will see me through this" I spoke outwardly through sobs.  I reached over to my nightstand, grabbed my New Living Translation Study Bible, and combed through its delicate pages, searching for words of comfort and assurance.

"Speak to my heart, God.  I need to hear from You", I pleaded with the Lord.  I was desperate to hear my Father's voice...longing to know that He hadn't forsaken me and left me to drown in my sorrow.  I needed to know that despite what He was taking me through, He still loved me.

Of all of the wonderful scriptures of comfort found in the pages of God's word, I felt as if my search for consolation was reaching a dead end.  Frustrated and feeling that God wasn't hearing my cry for help, I sat my Bible aside and began to cry uncontrollably, when all of a sudden I felt a light wave of wind and heard the pages of my Bible crinkling.  The coolness of the wind jolted me out of my outpour of tears, and when I looked up it was as if a light was shining on my Bible, specifically highlighting the first four verses of Isaiah 43.

It was so odd, because the position of the lamp on my nightstand was no where near close enough to my Bible to provide such light, and the slow rotation of my ceiling fan was not strong enough to give off such a breeze.

Simultaneously puzzled and curious, I picked up my favorite book and began to read.  As I read the words of the scripture posted above, I knew it was only the wind of God and the light of Christ I felt and saw.  It was if the Lord was wrapping me in the warmth and security of His arms, giving me the exact comfort and assurance I so desperately needed.  My present help in trouble met me at my very point of need.

I heard my Father so sweetly whispering to me:

"My child, my sweet daughter, you are mine.  I know the waters you tread right now are deep, but I'm right there with you, holding your hand.  The river you wade is extremely difficult, and it's taking all of your strength, but I promise I won't let you drown.  The fire, I know it's hot and unbearable, but the heat will only refine you; I won't allow the flames to consume you.  I am your God; your Father; your Savior, and you are so precious to me. I love you too much to allow anything to destroy you."

In that moment, through the pain, I worshiped my Savior for coming to my rescue and assuring me that even in the numbing pain of child loss, He was yet with me and would see me through, because I am precious to Him and He loves me.

Though it has not magically erased the pain I feel deep inside, I am confident that, as much as losing my baby has broken me and shattered my heart into a billion pieces, my loving, compassionate, caring, faithful Father will hold me up, restore me, and heal me in every place that I hurt.

The same is true for you.  No matter how tough or painful your current season may be, find comfort and assurance in God's word - He is with you; you will not drown; you will not be burned up; you will not be consumed.  Our Father, your Savior who loves you so dearly and deeply, will make sure of that.

Don't be afraid to go through whatever it is the Lord allows to come your way.  He's got you, and you've got what it takes to make it.

I'll leave you with what David said in Psalm 23:4, "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."

Hallelujah!  Praise God for the comfort and assurance we find in His Holy Word.

Love & Hugs,
LaKeisha Rainey-Collins


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Life Is No Mistake



Sometimes the pain is too hard to bear
And the burdens are so heavy I can barely stand tall
My faith doesn't seem to move these mountains
Nothing appears to help at all

I don't know why I bother
I'm sure this is as good as life gets
I must be crazy to believe
That I deserve anything better than this

My mother says I was a mistake
My father never loved me enough to show his face
I have no one to call a friend
I wonder why I was ever born into this place

My life serves no purpose
Nothing about it makes sense
I feel like I'm just taking up space
My existence, to me, is nothing but suspense

Why did God put me here
In this dark, empty world of mine
Why would He make me suffer
Searching for acceptance and purpose I can never seem to find

God if you hear me
Please tell me why
Why would you give me life
When all I feel is death inside

My child, I hear you
I hear you loud and clear
I am perfect in all that I do
It's by no mistake that you are here

Before I formed you in your mother's womb
I knew everything about you
I loved you and chose you to be my own
And I gave you purpose too

It doesn't matter what your mother says
Or what your father failed to do
I love you with an everlasting love
And I will never forsake you


Despite what you see of your life right now
My plans for you are good
I have hope and a future for you
My child, you've misunderstood


See, you were created on purpose
In me, nothing is happenstance
I will show you who I designed you to be
If only you'd give me a chance

In me is where you find life
For I am The Living Well
If you lose yourself completely in me
Oh what a testimony you'll soon tell

Your best days are still ahead
Don't you give up your life
Keep your eyes focused on me
And sunshine will fill even your darkest nights

Give me the shattered pieces of your life
And I will restore it fully  unto thee
For I am The Master Potter
And you, My child, are my masterpiece

Perfectly created
Loved unconditionally
Accepted completely
A mistake, by no means.

~LaKeisha Rainey-Collins~
Copyright 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Endure the Process




Last week, my husband Jeremy and I received some really exciting news.  We are expecting our fourth little blessing, predicted to arrive at the onset of Spring 2013.  We adore our three sons, so adding another sweet pea to the bunch has our hearts overjoyed.
I am already head over heels for the precious little life growing inside of me; however, in all of my exuberance, there’s one thing that I am not so thrilled about – morning sickness.  Well, in my case, morning, afternoon, and evening sickness.  It never ends.  Although I know it will soon subside, and a beautiful blessing will come at the end of it all, it’s the one unpleasant part of the process I wish I could skip altogether.  But I can’t, so I may as well embrace it, right?
I remember feeling that same way while enduring the tough process of allowing the Lord to transform my life.  There were some tears I wished I didn’t have to cry; some friends I wished I didn’t have to lose;  some struggles I wished I didn’t have to go through; and some mental battles I wished I didn’t have to fight.  But you know what?  No matter how much I resented what I had to face in order to be groomed and developed into who the Lord destined me to be, I understood that there was no way to avoid the breaking, pruning, purging, and refining process.  If I wanted the blessing of new life awaiting me on the other side of my unwelcomed circumstances, I knew I had to go through it all.
Though it may not have felt good at the time, it has all turned out for my good.  Every unpleasant situation I had to face has been essential to me becoming the healed, whole, happy woman I am today.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Give Up




On any given day, you can find me having sporadic bouts of praise and worship in my living room, kitchen, or bedroom.  With no preacher, no Hammond B3, and no neighbor to hi-five, I go in all by myself.  That popular church saying holds true for me – “When I think of the goodness of Jesus, and all He’s done for me, my soul cries out Hallelujah!” I honestly become overwhelmed with emotion whenever I reflect upon the Lord’s goodness, grace, and mercy in my life.  I often get a serious case of the can’t-help-its and let my floors have it!

A few days ago, after encouraging a young lady to not give up on her life, I reminisced on a time in my own life when my prayer was frequently “Lord, just let me give up!”  I worshipped God from the depths of my soul until my tear ducts dried up and my words became incoherent.  Why?  Because He did not grant my amiss request.

I have experienced my fair share of distress, disdain, and discomfort throughout my life.  Like many other women, molestation and the absence of my father - among the plethora of bad choices I made - led me into a life of sexual immorality, addiction, depression, and low self-esteem.  I had sunken so low, and become so accustomed to my hard-knock life, that when I finally reached a place where I actually wanted to get a grip on my downward spiraling life, it proved to be too challenging.  Praying was easy, but believing that I’d ever see the answers to my pleas for help, hope, and healing was extremely difficult.

Click to read more...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Been Long Enough...



During my personal Bible study some time ago, the Lord led me to Deuteronomy 1:6-8.  It says this:
“The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”
As I meditated on this passage of scripture and the Lord began to speak to me concerning it, I knew I had to share this message with my sisters who have found themselves stuck in some area of their lives.  There are four words I believe the Lord wants me to tell you: 
It’s been long enough.
I know what it’s like to feel bound by your issues and to continue circling the same mountain day after day,  month after month, and year after year.  Since, by the grace of God, I have conquered and overcome many mountains in my life, my desire is to encourage and inspire you to do the same.   My prayer is that you will realize that you have dwelt long enough in your barren place, and it’s time to get up, go in, and possess the land that the Lord has promised to you.  I don’t know what your mountain is.  It could be depression, sickness, fear, poverty, or addictions, but the Lord is saying that it’s time to take hold of what is rightfully yours: healing, deliverance, peace, abundance, freedom, purpose.  
It’s so easy to become comfortable with being uncomfortable when discomfort seems to be your norm.  But that’s a trick of the enemy.  That’s just one of the ways he tries to keep us bound and hinder us from being, and possessing, all that God has destined for us.  But as I often like to say, the devil is a liar.  He kept me going in circles for a long time, but once I grabbed hold to the Word of love of God and clothed myself in His armor, I got a little fight in me and chose to take back all that the devil had stolen from me, or hindered me from. 
It had been long enough.
Taken from the above scripture passage, there are four actions you must take in order to move towards overcoming the mountains in your life:  Turn, take your journey, go in, and possess the land.
1. Turn – If you’ve followed this column for any length of time, then you know I believe that change must first take place in the mind.  In order to turn or shift from where you are to where you desire to be, you must first be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).  As your mind transforms, it will help you not to focus so much on the problem (mountain), but rather the solution (promised land). 
2. Take your journey – I believe that the problem with a lot of us is that we are afraid of the journey.  We are scared of what we will have to face as we transition from one place to the next.  Transition is never easy.  It often causes us to have to deal with deep pain or ugly truths, and to separate ourselves from things or people that aid in us being stuck where we are.  It’s definitely hard, but the key to being free from the things that have us bound is facing the truth, and knowing when to let go and/or walk away.  It’s important that we embrace the journey, because along the way it builds our strength, and strength is a vital factor when it comes to possessing what God has in store for us.  It won’t be a cakewalk, but embrace the journey.  It brings you that much closer to walking into your promised land.
3. Go In – Now, before you go in and possess your land, I think it’s important that you take some time and go in your prayer closet and dig into the Word of God.  Prayer strengthens us, and the Word of God shields us (Ephesians 6:11-18).  There is no way we can go against the enemy without God.  Our words and our own strength will keep us defeated, but when we clothe ourselves in the Word of God, and strengthen ourselves through prayer, we have the perfect ammunition to fight against the enemy.  We’ve got to have our war clothes on.
4. Possess the Land – “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)  It’s as simple as that – you’ve got to take it by force.  First you’ve got to want it, and when you want it bad enough, you’ll get mad enough to snatch everything God has for you right out of the enemy’s hand.  Sure, he’s going to fight you, but that’s okay because you have power over the enemy. (Luke 10:19)  Take what belongs to you!
Declare today that it’s been long enough, and make up in your mind that you will no longer dwell at your mountain and allow it to keep you from what God has for you.  Resolve in your heart that this is the year, the month, the day, the hour that the cycle of circling ends.  There is such abundant life in the reaches for you.  You don’t have to continue to sit back and watch everyone else walk into their promised land while you’re stuck in the same place. 
As Jesus said to the man at the pool of Bethesda, Will thou be made whole? Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
 It’s been long enough; possess your land.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

He's Always There



Lord, I really need your help
I cannot do this on my own.
I've tried all I know to do
But still everything is going wrong.

I'm praying and fasting,
I'm standing on Your Word;
I'm putting all my faith in You
Yet Your voice I have not heard.

I'm drowning in my problems.
Can't you see I'm going under?
Your Word says You'll hold me up;
About that, I'm beginning to wonder.

Don't You see all my pain?
Don't You know about what I'm going through?
My present help in time of trouble,
Please tell me, where are You?

Where are you when the tears are falling?
Where are you when I'm searching for strength?
Where are you when my bills are due
And all my money is spent?

You said You'd never leave nor forsake me.
You said You'd never leave my side.
You said You'd always be with me
Your face You'd never hide.

So why can't I feel you?
Why can't I see your face?
Why don't I hear Your voice?
Why does my life feel devoid of Your amazing grace?

I'm crying out to You, My Savior
Please come and rescue me.
Remind me that You're there;
Extend your love and mercy.

My child, I am here.
I've been there all along.
I've never left your side,
You've got it all wrong.

I see you when you cry.
I feel when you are weak.
I know when you are in need,
Long before you ever speak.

I hear your prayers
I know every request.
I'm not ignoring you
I'm simply preparing you for my best.

My best answers
My best way of escape
My best plans for you
My best out-pour of grace

Have I ever not come to your rescue?
Have I ever let you down?
Have I ever failed to deliver you?
My child, I'll never let you drown.

I am your hiding place,
The shelter from your storm.
I am constantly extending my grace,
Keeping you safe from harm.

My child, don't doubt Me
My Presence is always there
I am right beside you,
even when you're unaware.

Holding your hand,
And wiping your tears.
Soothing your doubts,
and calming your fears.

When you can't hear my voice
When you don't see my hand
Know in your heart that I am with you
Forever working on your behalf.

My child, I love you deeply
You'll never fathom how much I care
You are my treasure
Trust me, Your Father is always there.

Copyright 2012 LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lord, Thank You For My Life

If you're my Facebook friend, then you may have noticed a song I posted on my wall today.  The song is "Dear God" by Smokie Norful, and it is one my absolute favorites.  For me, the song is a testimony, and perfectly expresses how grateful I am for my life.  When I listen to the words, I feel like they were taken right from the pages of my journal, and tears flow from my eyes and my heart is moved to worship the Lord.

I've had Dear God on repeat for the past few hours, and the gratefulness that has flooded my heart is completely inexplicable.  My spirit is filled to the brim, and at this very moment my cup is running over.

I wish I could explain it, but all I can say is that I'm SO thankful for my life...

Today, I just want to share the lyrics to this heart-gripping song with you, and encourage you to give the Lord thanks and praise for YOUR life. 

It may not be what you envisioned it to be.

It may be tough, and filled with trials.

It may be full of hurt and pain.

It may not seem to make much sense.

But you know what? It could be worse.  And no matter what your life has been, or is right now, the Lord has always been with you...keeping you from being consumed, giving up, and going crazy. And He will continue to do so, and carry you to your place of purpose and destiny.

For that alone, you should be thankful for your life.

Take a listen to the song, and let the words posted below penetrate your heart.



It feels so good to make it this far
And I didn't think I could take it so long
There were days I wanted to quit
I said surely this is it
But I held on
And I watched as so called friends turned and walk away
It hurt so much I didn't have words to say
But even when my day turns to night and nothin seems just right
Lord I thank You for, for my life

For my life, Lord I thank You
For every victory in You I've seen
And all the moments I know it was You who kept me
So I thank You for, for my life

And I watched you take my family from there to here
And when times where a little rough God I know You were near
And the moments I thought I'd fail I was reminded of your nails
So I held on
And if I never live to see another day
There is nothing I would change or take away

I've had so many ups
That they far out way my downs
Lord I thank You for my life

I realized some didn't make it...
I could've been one of the ones who lost my way
And there was times Lord I know I almost went crazy
But I'm still here, with my life

It may not be all that I hoped for
And every dream has not yet been realized
And to see your face one day God
I know it's all gonna be worth it

So I thank You
Thank You for every mountain, every valley,  God every thing You brought me through
Thank You!
I know I know it was You
Just wanna take the time to say thank You Jesus for my life

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Embrace Your Uniqueness




A few days ago, I spoke with a young lady who struggles with constantly comparing herself to others.  Because she feels that her life isn’t what society tells her it should be at her age, she looks at the life of her peers who appear to have it all together and are doing well, and it causes her to believe that her life doesn’t hold a candle next to theirs.  Based on what she sees in other women around her, and in mainstream media, she doesn’t think she’s pretty, smart, accomplished, fashionable, or gifted enough to say that there’s anything special about her life.

My heart ached as I listened to my acquaintance criticize herself. I wanted to reach through the phone and shake her until all of those self-demeaning thoughts flew out of her head, so I could bag them up and send them to the trash pile.  Instead, I extended my heart, hugged her compassionately with words from the Lord, and encouraged her by sharing that I knew exactly how she felt.

I once walked in her shoes, feeling inadequate and inferior.  I compared myself to every woman I believed had a better life than mine, and in my eyes, everything about me enormously paled in comparison to those around me.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

God Is Faithful

"Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me..."

This morning during my Jesus Moment - what I call my daily time of prayer and meditation - I asked the Lord to speak to my heart and show me how I could be a blessing to His people today.  Once I stilled myself in His presence, He gently whispered "Remind my people of my faithfulness."  I knew it was the Lord, because thoughts of God's faithfulness have flooded my heart this week.

Over the past few days, my mind has drifted back to those times when I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place...those times when pain and trouble were so deep I couldn't see a way out.  I reminisced on the seasons when it seemed God had completely forgotten about me, and I had reached the end of my rope. My thoughts took me back to that place where I had prayed and cried,  and worried and stressed, trying to figure out how situations would work out in my life.

As I sat reflecting over my trying times, I realized something - God came through for me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Without fail, He came to my rescue, met me at my point of need, and held true to His promises to me in His Word.  Whether the situation was great or small, something I'd brought upon myself or occurred from being tried in the fire, even when I'd been faithless, the Lord has always been faithful to be and do all that I have needed.

Worry is a natural reaction when situations grow beyond your ability to solve them.  When what you see, or feel, shows you that the thing you're dealing with is bigger than you, it's easy to panic and believe that there's no solution to your problem.  And sometimes, no matter how much you pray, because your problem seems so enormous, you forget that God is all-powerful and there is absolutely nothing He can't handle or fix. Once you have tried everything you know to do - that didn't help - you feel like there's nothing else that can be done to bring the resolve you need.

But wait, don't give up just yet.

Before you stress yourself another day, think about this:  Has God ever failed to come to your rescue? Has His mercy and grace ever failed to cover you?  Has His hand of provision ever failed to meet your need?  Has He ever failed to keep a promise?  Has He ever failed to answer your call?  Has He ever left you alone?

If you answer truthfully, you will see that God has always been faithful to you...and He forever will be.  There's no need in worrying when the God you serve has a track record that lacks any ounce of inconsistency.  Even if it's at the ninth hour, God will always prove Himself to be faithful.  He is totally incapable of letting you down.

God is reliable. God is trustworthy. God is consistent. You need only trust him.

In your marriage...

In your health...

In your pain...

In your struggle...

In your finances...

In your ministry...

In the call upon your life...

In every single thing that concerns you...

Great is the faithfulness of our infallible God.

Here are a few scriptures to remind you of the Lord's great faithfulness:

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:24, NASB

"God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."  1 Corinthians 1:9, NLT

"For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them." Deuteronomy 4:31, NASB

"Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT


"God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" Numbers 23:19, NLT

"For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you." Isaiah 54:10, NLT

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." 2 Corinthians 1:20, KJV

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23, NKJV

Today, may you be reminded that God is faithful.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

God's Help Is Not Limited...



A few months ago, someone really close to me was pressed upon my heart. Though I clearly heard the Lord telling me to call and check on my friend, because I wasn't feeling very well, I decided that I'd just say a prayer for her and make contact the following morning.

Within a matter of seconds after praying for her, I noticed the indicator light blinking on my phone.  I had a text message.  When I opened it, my heart sank.  It was a message from my friend saying that she wanted her life to be over, and was struggling with harming herself, and worse, taking her own life.  She had been in a vicious fight for a really long time, and felt that the pain and torment in her mind was too much to handle.  She was having a hard time believing that her life would ever be more than it was at that moment.

I immediately began to go into spiritual warfare for my friend, and did all I could to convince her to hold on.  Thankfully, she did not succomb to the demons in her mind, and made it through a very difficult moment. 

God is a keeper.

There are so many people out there like my friend, who are so overwhelmed by life's problems that they feel they may be better off dead.  That's a lie from the enemy.  God desires that you live, and abundantly so. (John 10:10)

A while ago, I wrote an article in EEW Magazine about how our problems are not meant to be the death of us, and how we must declare that we will not die, but live. (Psalm 118:17)

But what do you do when the pain is too much?  When the demons in your mind are so loud?  When the more you pray the worse you feel?  When the tears won't stop, and nothing seems to help? When you want to cut yourself to relieve the pain?  When you struggle with commiting suicide? When you want to drink the hurt away? When you want to go to sleep and never wake up? When there's so much anger bottled up inside of you that you want to hurt someone else?  What do you do?

You know, as Christians, we're taught to "take your burdens to the Lord, and leave them there." We're taught to pray about our problems, our struggles, our issues, and just trust the Lord to heal, deliver, and set free. Although Jesus is indeed our "Balm in Gilead", and is well capable of healing any and every manner of sickness and disease (Physically or Psychologically), I believe there are times when He extends His grace through tangible sources. There are Doctors, Counselors, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists that He anoints to aid us in working through our problems.

I firmly believe in the power of prayer, because I've seen it work in my life.  But you know what, although I never sought "professional help" to help me work through my issues, the Lord definitely led me to people that I could talk to, and were ordained by Him to assist me in tackling my demons.

By ALL means, pray and trust God. But, there is help beyond the pulpit; beyond the altar; beyond your prayer closet.  And if you find that the things that torment you are extremely overwhelming, and you struggle with thoughts of suicide, or abuse to yourself or others, it's perfectly okay to seek help. God is such a big God, and He's not limited in the ways He helps us. 

Christians struggle.  Christians are self-harming.  Christians are abusing others.  Christians are commiting suicide.  But there's hope, and there's help.  Don't be ashamed or afraid to ask for it.

If you need help, pray and ask the Lord to lead you to a Christian professional who will be beneficial in helping you to work through whatever your problem(s) may be. 

I don't know who this is for, but this was so pressed upon my heart today.  I don't know who you are, where you are, or how tough your struggle is, but God does. Know that your life is so valuable to Him, and He loves you deeply.

Lord, today I pray for those dealing with issues that seem too much for them to handle, and are struggling with harming themselves or others, or commiting suicide. I pray that you'd give them peace in their minds, and help them find healthy ways of coping with the demons that consume their thoughts.  Lord, help them to see their value in you, and assure them that there is no pain you are incapable of healing.  Comfort them, and wrap them in your loving arms.  I bind the spirit of death that hovers over them, and I declare that according to Psalm 118:17, they shall live and not die. Help them to find strength in Romans 8:37, which declares that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. If they need help beyond their prayers and faith, I ask that you'd lead them to kind-hearted, compassionate, God-loving professionals that will act as your mouthpiece, and help to bring healing in their lives.  I thank you in advance for preserving their lives, and leading them along the path to victory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

~May you live in His love.~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inspiration & Video Blog


Lately, I’ve found myself in a bit of a battle with the enemy.  He has been trying to reclaim a space that he no longer has possession of – my mind.  I evicted him a couple of years ago, and for some reason he thinks he can just come back and set up homestead again. 
It seems that the more I submit myself to the Lord and the plans He has for my life, here comes that old raggedy devil trying to throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Well I’m not having it.
Our relationship is over, and the space he once occupied in my mind has been filled with soundness.  I’m free, and I intend to remain that way.  
Read the rest here.
Watch the video below for a quick message from me. 
video



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Believe I'll Testify...

I have a few special days coming up next week. Sunday is Mother's Day; Monday is my 30th birthday; and Friday my husband and I will celebrate 6 years of marriage.  I love the month of May!

I am so excited about my week of celebrations, but more than the exuberance I feel on the inside, my heart is overflowing with gratitude.  You see, I've been reflecting over the last decade of my life for the past few weeks, and if I never knew that God's hand and favor were upon my life, I definitely know now.  During my twenties, life hit me extremely hard and I believed that I wouldn't make it through.  Without God...let's just say I would not be typing this post today. Oh, but God!!

Over the past 10 years I have been challenged in every area that I'm preparing to celebrate next week. I believe I'll testify...

In motherhood, I was challenged when my oldest son was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus as an infant.  For the first two years of his life, the hospital had basically become our home.  I thought I'd lose my son, but God has completely healed him.  I was further challenged when, after three years of hoping to conceive, my husband and I had no success.  Just when I'd given up on having more children, the Lord opened my womb and has since blessed us with two sons.

Marriage has definitely had its challenges.  Just two years ago, my husband and I were contemplating divorce.  We came so close to calling it quits.  But God restored our relationship, and did not allow us to go asunder.  Now we're stronger than ever, and committed to continuously grow in love.

If you follow the blog or my column in EEW Magazine, then you know about some of the challenges I've faced.  Life for me has not at all been a crystal stair.  I've battled deep depression, loss of identity, suicidal thoughts, sexual immorality, addictions, insecurity, low self-esteem, brokenness, hopelessness...and the list could go on, and on, and on.  But you know what?  God has delivered me; healed me; set me free; restored me; validated me; given me new identity and purpose...and again, the list could go on, and on.

Nothing but the grace of God...

My heart is so full right now, because I know what could have been, and what probably should have been...but God.  He's so merciful; He's so loving; He's so faithful.

When it looked like my life would fall to pieces, God said No, my child; I will hold you up with my right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

When it seemed that the enemy would destroy me with everything that came against me, God said No, my child; these weapons won't prosper against you. (Isaiah 54:17)

When all my strength had gone, and I thought I'd faint, God said No, my child. My strength is perfect in your weakness; my grace is all you need. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

When I thought I'd die in my sorrow, God said, No, my child.  You will not die, but live and proclaim what I have done. (Psalm 118:17)

When I believed that my marriage would fail, God said, No, my child; nothing will separate what I have put together. (Mark 10:9)

When I thought my son's sickness would overtake him, God said, No, my child; with Jesus' stripes, he is healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

When I was convinced that nothing good was meant for my life, God said, No, my child; I have good plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

For every negative, God gave me a positive affirmation through His word.  Oh, how I love Him!  He took the worst of my life, and turned it into something beautiful.  I am so grateful for all that He's done, and I'm even more thankful for the fact that He's going to continue to perfect everything that concerns me...and you.  (Psalm 138:8)

Just as He has shown Himself strong and mighty in my life, He will show Himself strong and mighty in your life.  I don't care how bad it seems, God, the All-Powerful One, is able to make it better.  I am a living witness!  So don't you dare be discouraged.  Lift up your head; lift up your praise; lift up your prayers; lift up your worship; and the King of glory will come in.  He will come in, and heal; He will come in, and restore; He will come in, and deliver; He will come in, and make all things new.

That's reason enough to celebrate. Glory to God!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Word For You...


This morning while cleaning the kitchen I had my praise & worship mix going, having myself a grand time with the Lord.  Those moments are the best, aren't they?  Well, in the midst of my worship I heard the voice of God so clearly.  It was so clear that I looked around to see if someone else had magically appeared in the kitchen with me.  He imparted a word in my spirit, and I believe in my heart that it's specifically for someone reading this blog today.

The Lord says:

"Your pain has not been in vain. The things you have endured in life were so that I could strengthen and mature you. The people who have hurt you, and are not/have not been in your life are incapable of understanding who I have destined you to be, and are therefore an unnecessary component to you reaching your full potential in Christ. Let them go. Let go of your pain, shame, guilt, and disappointments of yesterday, for they are only hindrances used by the enemy to keep you shackled in your mind. Declare today, 'I have the mind and spirit of Christ, and in Him I am free...free to live, free to love, free to launch into my destiny.' Your best days are ahead, but you'll never see them if you keep looking back, or continue to allow yourself to be stuck where you are. If you take my hand and fully give me your heart, your worries, your cares, your fears, your insecurities...I will give you peace, joy, grace, and life more abundantly." 

Whoever you are, I pray that this word from the Lord connects with your spirit, and empowers and encourages you today.

Blessings!

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, April 19, 2012

God's Not Mad At You, He's Mad About You

There's a saying that's been on my heart a lot lately.  It says, God is not mad at you; He's mad about you, and madly in love with you.


I can remember a time in my life when I believed that God didn't like me too much.  Although I professed to be a Christian, I often willingly did things that were contrary to His word.  The life I lived behind closed doors was contradictory to holiness and righteousness.  Even though I often pleaded for God's forgiveness, the weight of my guilt and shame made me feel that God was angry with me for continuously falling short.

After breaking promise after promise to straighten up and fly right, I felt that God had gotten tired me and His love had waxed cold.  But that wasn't so; that's just the way I felt...what the enemy made me believe.  What I didn't realize back then is even though my actions didn't always line up with my desire to be pleasing to God, He yet extended His grace to me.  Even in my sin, His grace abounded the more. (Romans 5:20)

He wasn't mad at me; He didn't cut me off; He didn't throw me away, but He continuously loved me.  He knew that underneath all of my mess was the holy, righteous woman He destined me to be before the foundation of the world.  Despite all of the sinful, displeasing things I did (Trust me, I can write a book about all the stuff I did.) His love was constant.  He loved me deeply and unconditionally, and never held any of my wrongdoing against me.  He forgave me, and cast all of my sins into the sea of forgetfulness.

Although I engaged in premarital sex...

Although I was addicted to pornography...

Although I filled myself with alcohol...

Although I harbored unforgiveness in my heart...

Although I wasn't always honest...

Although I had a baby out of wedlock...

Although I shacked up with my boyfriend...

Although I hated those who hurt me...

God was never mad at me, but was always mad about me and madly in love with me.  I'm so grateful for that.

The same goes for you.  No matter what you've done in the past, or what you're struggling with at this very moment, God is not mad at you.  Because He is so rich in love, grace, and mercy, He yet loves you madly...deeply...unconditionally.  He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Now don't get me wrong, by no means am I insinuating that continuing in anything that is contrary to God's standard of holiness is okay simply because He is gracious towards us. (See Romans 6)  As children of God, we are called to be holy and represent Christ in all areas of our lives, and that is what we should strive for each and every day.  However, God understands that, as imperfect people, we make mistakes and have struggles.

And in spite of your shortcomings, mistakes, bad choices, or whatever the case may be, God is not mad at you; He is mad about you and madly in love with you.  He's not holding any guilt over your head, neither is He holding on to what you did yesterday.  His love for you far exceeds that, and His plans are to prosper you, and give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Follow God's example, and forgive yourself. Let go of the guilt and stop being mad at yourself. Ask God to help you love yourself the way He does, madly...deeply...unconditionally.

~May you live in His love.~



You Are God's Masterpiece

"For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."  (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

What is a masterpiece?  According to the dictionary, a masterpiece is defined as a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship; an artist's or craftsman's best piece of work.  Most times, when people think of a masterpiece they consider things like Leonardo Di Vinci's Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's Statue of David. Both Di Vinci and Michelangelo, artists with outstanding workmanship, are known among the greatest of all time, and the art aforementioned are considered as their best pieces of work.

The Mona Lisa is such an amazing creation that it is considered as one of, if not the most, valuable works of art in the world.  It's value is priceless.  I give it to Di Vinci; Mona Lisa exemplifies impeccable artistry.  However, there's another Master artist to which not even his greatest work can compare.

The artist I speak of is God, and one of His most outstanding works of art is YOU.  You are God's greatest expression of artistry, your value is priceless, and the uniqueness of your creation cannot be compared or duplicated.  You are a masterpiece, strategically designed by The Master Craftsman whose hands are only capable of creating perfection.  The works of God's hands are beautifully flawless.

Everything about you was carefully articulated by God, and absolutely nothing about you is a mistake.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), marvelously constructed in the image and likeness of our wonderful Father.  He marvels at your beauty.

You are His reflection.

You are His love.

You are His choice.

You are His gorgeous, priceless, incomparable daughter...nothing and no-one can change that.

You are God's masterpiece and He has a master-plan for your life. He has purposed you to do good things in the earth.  Good things that only you, His one-of-a-kind gem, can carryout.

You are the cream of God's crop...He doesn't make 'em any better than you!

~May you live in His love.~






Wednesday, April 18, 2012

He Loved You and Chose You...

Hi blog family!

I'm on a bit of a hiatus, taking some time to focus my attention on some things the Lord put on my heart concerning another level of ministry and other life changes.  I don't know if it's because I'm only weeks away from entering a new chapter of my life - my 30s - but I felt an urge to take a step back to reflect, refresh, and refuel.  I can't really explain what God is doing in my life right now, but He's further shaping me into the vessel He created me to be so that I will continue to carry out His mind-blowing plan for my life.

So if you don't see me around Facebook or Twitter, or here on the blog, just know that all is well and I am pressing into the presence of the Lord as He equips me to be used for His glory.

Right now, I'm stopping through to share a quick word of encouragement with you.

It comes from Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT).  It says, "Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."  

I want you to know that long before the creation of the world, God knew you, He loved you, and He chose you.  Long before you were ever conceived in your mother's womb, the Lord loved you and chose you as His own.  He already knew about the mistakes you'd make, yet He loved you.  He already knew about the struggles you'd have, yet He still chose you. He already knew you'd slip up and fall down, yet it still gave Him great pleasure to love you and have you as His child.

I don't know who this is for, but know that God's love for you is not contingent upon how good you are, how pretty you are, how educated you are, how wealthy you are, or any other quality you may or may not possess...it is an unconditional, uncircumstantial, untainted, perfect love.  There's nothing you can do to gain it, and there's nothing you can do to lose it, because nothing can separate you from His love.  God loves you; in all of your imperfection, He chose you.  Why?  Simply because that's what He wanted to do.

Through the blood of His son Jesus Christ, He sees you faultless...a perfect reflection of Himself.  He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

In your pain...God loves you.

In your shame...God loves you.

In your insecurities...God loves you.

In your guilt...God loves you.

In your mistakes...God loves you.

In your brokenness...God loves you.

And there's nothing you can do about it...embrace the Father's love for you.

~May you live in His love.~




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Your Pain Won't Last Always




A few weeks ago I was clearing out a closet as my family prepared for a move, and I came across a handbag that I’d totally forgotten I owned.  I was so excited, because I remember it being one of my favorites.  I felt like I had found a hidden treasure!  I even did my little happy dance to celebrate my awesome find!  When I opened it up to see what was inside, I discovered something else I’d forgotten about – a journal.  “Wow! I haven’t seen this in forever” I said to myself.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d written in that particular journal, so I was curious to find out what was inside.  I sat in the middle of the empty closet and began to read.

I read the first entry, dated May 27, 2008, and immediately began to weep.  I’ll share it with you…

Today is a very emotional day for me.  I’m feeling extremely melancholy, and I have the slightest idea why.  This depression is so prevalent today, and I can’t muster up the strength to even fight it or hide it.  I keep telling myself, “Keisha, just get over yourself and snap out of it.” If only it were that easy.  I feel as if I am at war with myself…like the person I am and the person I know I should be are at war.  They are trying to kill each other, and neither is ready to surrender.  I don’t know which one is winning right now, but I am so tired of the up today, down tomorrow cycle.  I am tired of ME!  

Read more...