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!
In a previous post I mentioned a life changing leadership conference I attended. I am still processing all that I learned. I took note of what the speaker used as an icebreaker on the second day…PRAYER. He told us to find someone in the room that we did not know and pray for his/her need. I quickly found a sweet young lady. We exchanged names and she asked me with a smile, “How can I pray for you?” HOW. CAN. I. PRAY. FOR. YOU? And before I could filter my thoughts and give her a general and “safe” prayer request, I found myself opening up and spilling some very personal information about myself. Information that I would have preferred not to lead a conversation with, especially to a total stranger. But that was the point she wasn’t a stranger she was my sister in the Lord. There was a great sense of comfort as I shared. She listened with a smile, and then it was her turn. She gave her prayer request and then we took turns and prayed for each other. Then just like that the ice was broken for me. Whatever walls or inhibitions that were up came down. My heart was prepped through prayer. This prayer set the stage for me for the rest of the conference, it was the icebreaker.
That simple demonstration greatly impacted me. Allow me to explain. The speaker mentioned how we have complicated a simple thing. We go to extravagant lengths to do “church.” But what if, what if we returned to one of the traditions mentioned in bible…PRAYER! Prayer doesn’t require any special fund raising, or man made strategies. All it requires is a heart after God and a desire to see His kingdom manifested here on earth as it is in heaven. Prayer breaks every ice because it brings us directly before the throne of God. As we seek His face in genuine prayer He sends the fire. The fire that revives, purges, and makes new. I have fallen in love with prayer all over again because I have fallen in love with Jesus AGAIN. I am seeing Him in a totally different light. SIMPLY beautiful. SIMPLY. Prayer from a pure heart is one of the most beautiful things to listen to. I love to hear passionate people pray. I feel like I am getting the inside scoop between two friends. Real prayer that breaks the ice is not about proper grammar, volume, or even length . Real prayer is birth from a humble(repentant) and hungry heart. PERIOD.
I went to a leadership conference this weekend that shook me up! Some of what the speaker shared confirmed what The Lord has been speaking to our local congregation….amazing! Click on this link and listen to the messages from 3/20/15 and 3/21/15 by Dr. Bob Gladstone. I heard biblical truths that challenged me on so many levels but left me hungering for more of God. The speaker spoke with a passion that could not have been fabricated. He spoke from a place of authenticity and deep connection with God. The fire was contagious and I was stirred to the core of my being. I WANT THAT FIRE. THAT PASSION. THAT FOCUS. He challenged us to become obsessed with the Gospel, which inevitably will leave us obsessed with Jesus. The truths were simple, the very truths we try to accomplish through complicated means. I was overwhelmed and didn’t quite know what to do. As the truths came at me, I wanted to worship, I wanted to cry. I wanted to repent for not always having the right focus. I wanted to shout, “THANK YOU JESUS for revelation knowledge.” Kingdom building, he reminded us can be risky, being family can be messy and we won’t always get it right but it is worth every effort. WOW! How often do we as the people of God gravitate toward what is convenient, what is comfortable? How often do we measure success by the number of people in the church, even if the spirit of God is absent? How often do we hinder the gifts from flowing because it means we lose control? How often do we neglect the essentials like loving and forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ but want to go out and be special? How often do we make it about us and not about HIS WILL? Oh that the church will return to the traditions of God… the only ones that matter. I want to live, breathe, and be the gospel. I want His kingdom to come in my life. I want His love, mercy and grace to ooze from my words and actions spilling over into the lives of everyone I meet, ultimately showing them Jesus.
And then Sunday came, we went to church and it continued. The word was sung, preached and then demonstrated through forgiveness, prayers of intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ, warm embraces were exchanged saying, ” I am here for you, I am going to fight with you because we are family.” We. Are. Family. I was overwhelmed to see the word come to life. How awesome is our God!
As mentioned in this video, I have started my third round of the Whole30. The older kids were on board, but all abandoned ship except for one. I have pulled most of the children in the kitchen to help with preparing the meals, especially the sauces. Our family love sauce on EVERYTHING! We try to make at least three Whole30 approved sauces at the beginning of each week.
Most of our sauces use mayo as a base. You can view this video or visit this site for how to make homemade mayo. This is a great ranch dressing recipe . You can also visit this site for other creative ideas on what to add to the mayo to make your mouth sing. We made this Whole30 Ketchup. I added 4 medjool dates to the recipe along with more water to make it smoother. While it doesn’t taste like conventional ketchup, it was super easy to make and everyone enjoyed it.
Below are some simple breakfast recipes (some can also be packed in lunch boxes).
Ham and egg cups (we have done these with bacon and it is absolutely delicious).
There are parts of me that are fragile. Scarred from past hurts. I love God. I do. But sometimes I don’t look like He wants me to. He has been showing me things. About me. Ugly things that I have been carrying. Things I need to let go of to go to the next level. To be promoted. Things that I didn’t want to let go of…until now. Yes I have prayed about it before, but I still held on because I felt justified. But I recently found myself crying and confiding in God, “I don’t know how to let it go God, but I want to. I really do. It is too heavy. I don’t know how to let go of the pain, the offense, the hurt, the pride, false expectations, the jealously.” But then He whispered, ” you don’t have to let go in your own strength you just have to desire to be purged of these things, your desire for freedom invites me in to do my job….deliver.”
So I wept real hot tears. Tears of freedom. I felt the weight lifting, and I am being transformed…again. Always another level to go to but promotion always starts from the inside. It is freeing to surrender these insecurities and scars to God. No judgment, no condemnation from Him. Only pure love from my daddy. He is always gently confirming that He is worthy of my love.
So today I share my heart with you, not to glorify my weaknesses but to glorify a God who strengthens the weak. A God who understands the complexities of our past but challenges us to live beyond that because the blood of His son made it right. Made me new. I am making the choice to let go and move on.
My children excel in telling on each other. There are six of them, so there are many opportunities for disagreements throughout the course of the day. When things get a little rough, you can hear one of them shouting, “I am going to tell daddy/mommy on you.” When they feel they are losing the battle, they give up on arguing and run straight to either Tyrone or I to pour out their distress. When they tell on each other, they hold nothing back. Raw emotions are spilled out and no stone is left unturned. They are not worried about composure; how it looks or sounds. If the offense is great, there are even real hot crocodile tears.
If only we could take a page out of their book. Instead of fighting and trying to prove our point, defend ourselves, fight our own battles we should run and tell our heavenly father all about it in prayer. Tyrone and I may be annoyed at all the telling and rarely do we invite them to tell us all the Nitti gritty but not so with our heavenly father. He lovingly invites us to come. Tell Him all, hold nothing back in prayer. Cast It. Throw it. Give Him all of our worries to Him. Why? He cares for us. Lovingly and perfectly. He cares for me. He cares for you. Don’t worry about trying to find the words, just pour it all out to your daddy. Don’t try to hold back the tears, let them flow. Your tears and raw emotions are safe with Him. You can be vulnerable.
After the kids get through telling, we often ask them what their part in the offense was. Be prepared to hear and RECEIVE God’s response after you are done telling. God is masterful at showing us ourselves, things that we didn’t and would prefer not to see. He doesn’t show us to make us feel hopeless but rather that we will be transformed to be like Him. I often go telling on someone in prayer only for God to show me how I am also a guilty party in the matter. He shows me my need to repent, my need to see His perspective. Telling is as much about God correcting my offender as it is about God lovingly correcting me. So when you go telling, be humble enough to receive the response. Yes He comforts, but because we are His children, He also corrects.
So the next time that husband, that coworker, that child, that friend now turn enemy pushes don’t push back in your flesh, only complicating the matter. Run and go tell your daddy on them in prayer.