Hello there! I am Anika and I am definitely one of those. Passion oozes from every fiber of my being. I love to love. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I already told you that I am one of those kinds of people. Read on to find out some more interesting facts about me…
1. I love me some Jesus. I love to testify and if you hang around me long enough you may hear me bragging on the awesomeness of God, like how
• He gave me a house I couldn't afford
• Healed two of my children
• Gave me a yes when I wanted to say no
2. I married a younger man…OK, not really. I was 23 while he was 22. My birthday is in April and his in August, but it’s our running joke. Nevertheless, after 13 years of marriage, I happen to love him deeply, and it still makes for a great story.
3. I have experienced the pain of two miscarriages and the joy of delivering 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls). I have both a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Early Childhood Education, which I put to good use staying home with the kiddos.
4. I attend an awesome church where my husband is the Assistant Pastor. I am also a part of a not for profit organization that encourages women to walk in their God given purpose.
5. I am addicted to prayer.
6. I am considered nice by most, definitely extreme by design. I am politically incorrect.
7. I take the scenic route when telling a story, but I promise if you hang on long enough, I eventually get to the punch line.
8. I have great ideas but I sometimes procrastinate. Jesus and I are working on that one.
9. I am guilty of overthinking things (refer to number 8).
10. I am originally from Jamaica. Surprise…sunshine and coconuts are two of my favorite things.
11. I subscribe to the Paleo Diet and actually did a round of Whole 30.
12. I love to experiment in the kitchen.
13. I make an absolute mess when I cook. I try to clean as I go but get distracted with cooking. Go figure. (My family doesn't always enjoy my cooking but I make them eat it anyway.)
14. I love people and enjoy talking to them—even the weird ones. I tried being otherwise but found it doesn't suit me well, so I'm learning to be okay with being me.
15. I have traction alopecia and wear wigs and am crazy enough to believe God for restoring my hair follicles even though the doctors have said otherwise.
16. A movie is considered good only if it makes me cry...more than once. Sound of Music happens to be my all time favorite.
17. I really wish I sang well. I really don't.
18. Telling people about Jesus is my favorite past time. And if I'm not talking about Him, I'm talking about my family or some random health fact I learned on Google.
19. I love redemption stories and happy endings, that’s why I said yes to Jesus.
Feel like you know me a little more? Well good! Please continue to stop by my little corner of cyber world. And do leave a comment. Remember I love to talk to people!
It’s been awhile since I have written here. In addition to adjusting to a new season of life, I have also been facing all types of resistance with my writing. On more than one occasion, I tried posting to this blog but it would not let me email my subscribers. However, I continued to write on my laptop. Then my less than year old laptop began to malfunction and I lost all my files. ALL .MY. FILES. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The temptation is there to say, “FORGET IT, it’s not like I have that many subscribers anyway. I don’t have time for this!” However, I can’t give in to that kind of thinking. Huge following or not, I know that writing is a part of my purpose. I have enough sense to know that none of this is coincidental. Even in the process of writing this post, I experienced some more technical difficulties. However, instead of giving up, I am going to use this resistance to fuel my faith. I am going to use this resistance to develop a greater resolve to do what God has called me to do. The devil would love for me to just give in to my frustration but He won’t win. I am going to BANG AWAY AT THIS KEYBOARD AND TYPE THE WORDS THAT THE LORD GIVES ME TO SHARE WITH OTHERS. Keep watch for that book!
I love the story of Paul in Philippians 1:12-19. He was arrested for preaching the gospel. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and doubt God, Paul continued to preach even while in prison. His steadfastness fueled the faith of other believers and gave them the courage to preach the gospel with boldness! What has God called you to do? Are you experiencing any resistance? How have you been responding to the resistance? Today, I want to encourage you to keep going!
How we handle seasons of difficulties can give others more boldness and confidence to keep going in Christ. Therefore, we must be willing to share not just the testimony that comes at the end but also share the process itself with others. It is more comfortable to share at the end of the struggle when everything is in a nice neat package and everything has fallen into place. However, the testimony is not only about the end of your difficulty. The process itself is also a testimony. Be transparent in the process and be willing to share how you respond and how you feel in the face of adversity. Resist the temptation to act as if you have it all together or to even feel ashamed about your process. God does so much work in us to make us more like Him during the process. We must not miss the beauty and redemption that is attached to the pain of going through.
What if scriptures omitted the Garden of Gethsemane account and we missed the tension that Jesus himself had with accepting the weight of the father’s will for His life. What if we didn’t see the pain and the shame of the crucifixion and we only read about the resurrection? What if we didn’t have the account of the hardships and the years of waiting that Joseph endured and we only read about His arrival to being the second in command in Egypt? What if we didn’t read of the anguish Job was feeling, the accusations of his friends, his moments of despair and the rash counsel of his wife and we only read about his restoration? Sharing that you arrived and omitting the details of the process drains the testimony of its power!
Yesterday, I took my super tired 4-year-old to bed for a much-needed nap. As we headed up the stairs to her bedroom, she started crying real tears. She protested repeatedly, “I don’t want to go to bed!” I kissed her on the cheek before putting her in the bed and told her, “I know you don’t WANT TO but you NEED a Nap.”
Then I had another one of those moments when God shows me myself through my children. I have had many “I don’t want to” moments with God after He tells me what I NEED to do for my own good. He doesn’t force me to do it, the choice is always mine. However, I continue to learn that God is a lot smarter than me so it is ALWAYS in my best interest to submit to Him. My current NEED TO list from God includes; a drastic reduction of my sugar intake, forgiving others and not replaying the offense, and being confident in who I am in Him and not obsess about what others think of me. By the grace of God, I have made huge strides in these areas. However, there are days when what I need to do gets hard, REAL HARD and I just want to cry and scream, “I DON’T WANT TO GOD!”
There is a similar tension in 2 Kings 5. In this story, we have Naaman the leper who was given a message from Elisha the prophet to go and dip seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman, a respected leader was appalled that Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. He had different expectations on how his healing would take place. However, after some wise counsel from his servants, Naaman went and dipped 7 times in the Jordan as instructed and was instantly healed of his leprosy. The very thing he did not want to do was the thing that he needed to do to receive healing.
How about you? What is God saying you need to do? Have you been doing it or have you been disobedient because it is not what you want to do? I want to encourage you to respond in obedience because God ALWAYS KNOWS what is best!
Deliverance from sin comes only when I want it and I reach that place of true repentance. No one can wish me to deliverance. It is something that I must be desperate for and God in turn meets me in that desperation and brings freedom. The blood of Jesus is what makes deliverance from sin possible, no matter how severe the case.A lack of deliverance is not based on God’s inability.Instead, it is based on my unwillingness to submit to the process and REPENT! At times, I mistake wanting comfort with wanting to be free.There is a huge difference!Many will come and say they want to be delivered from making unwise decisions and being spiritually wayward.When in fact what they are really saying is, I don’t mind the decisions I am making, I don’t mind living in sin but what I really want to be delivered from is the consequences attached to my sinful choices.Feeling bad and trying to avoid the CONSEQUENCES and not the SIN that warrant the consequences reveals a heart that is not repentant. 2 Corinthians 7:10 reads, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” I know I really want to be delivered when I begin to feel sorry about THE ACT OF SINNING and not just the CONSEQUENCES attached to my choices.Take for example a man who is caught stealing and is sentenced to years in prison.The question he must ask is, do I really feel bad about stealing (the sin) or do I just feel bad about being in prison (the consequence)? Other signs that I want to be delivered is that I stop making excuses and pointing the finger at others.Instead, I take responsibility for what I have done wrong. I am also willing to be fully transparent about my sins and not pick and choose what I share. These are all signs of humility and God gives grace to the humble but resist the proud (James 4:6). God’s love, forgiveness and deliverance is available to us. We just have to really want it!
Whenever my children do something wrong, they go into hiding. I have been guilty of having the same response with my heavenly father. When I allow my anger to get the best of me and I snap on those I love and speak hurtful words, I am left feeling ashamed and condemned. My hiding sometimes comes in the form of an avoidance of prayer. However, I am so thankful for the truth of 1 John 1:9, that reminds me that when I come out of hiding and come with a repentant heart, God is willing to forgive and cleanse me.
As I read through Genesis 3, I realize that this hiding game started with my first parents, Adam and Eve. When they ate of the forbidden fruit, they hid from the Lord and attempted to cover their nakedness with fig leaves, an itchy choice (Genesis 3:7-9). Their attempts at covering themselves was futile. But how often do we respond in the same way when we have sinned? We may try to cover ourselves after sinning by performing outward acts such as giving more, or listening to gospel music. These acts do not deal with the sin that is in our hearts and our need to repent. Genesis 3:21 mentions that God covered Adam and Eve with animal skin. In order for them to have the proper covering, an innocent animal was killed and it’s blood was shed. This is a foreshadowing of what Jesus; the spotless lamb of God did for you and I on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
My question to you is, have you sinned and instead of coming clean, you have gone into hiding? Have you been hiding by lying to make yourself appear in an innocent light? Perhaps you are trying to avoid the people of God. The enemy knows that if he isolates us, he can devour us. Sometimes when we sin we avoid going to church because we do not like the idea of being accountable to anyone. While accountability is not always comfortable, it helps to keep us on the straight and narrow. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us that we are not to forsake coming together with the saints of God. No matter what you have done, if you come out of hiding and come to God with a repentant heart, He will forgive you! The choice is yours. Make the right one while there is still time.
I don’t like when I give my children a command to do something and they are constantly asking why? Let me clarify, I am not speaking of the times in which they are asking “why” for the sake of learning or to get clarity. There is a difference between asking why because you want to sincerely gain knowledge and asking why because you really don’t want to do what is being asked of you or you are filled with doubt. As a parent, I can tell the difference and so can God.
God may tell us to do one of the following: change the course of our life, cut off relationships, change our diet, change jobs, or move to a different location. His request disrupts our way of life and makes us uncomfortable. Instead of responding in obedience, we stop and ask, “BUT WHY GOD?” Sometimes what we are really saying is, “WHY DO I HAVE TO OBEY YOU WHEN I AM HAVING FUN DOING THINGS MY WAY?”
Our questions may also reveal a heart filled with doubt. A heart that lacks trust in a creator who has never failed His creation. It takes a great level of trust to not ask questions and just respond with a yes. Today take a leap of faith and say yes to what God is asking of you. In the long run, it will be well worth it!