I have big news, great news, exciting news! On April 28th I will be turning 40! I am not at all mourning the fact that I am getting older. Ok, let me keep it real, maybe I am a little upset that I don’t drop the pounds as fast as I used to and that if I eat what I shouldn’t it seems to show seconds later. Let’s just say my age and my metabolism are not best friends. But other than that, and some other interesting side effects that comes with getting older, I must say that I am totally embracing this turning 40 thing! Why? Glad you asked….I was going to tell you even if you did not inquire. I can reflect on my life and see how much growth has taken place. Yes, I have more learning to do, but I am going to celebrate all that God has done in me and all that He has taught me. I have learned many lessons that has helped me to lose my life while at the same time finding it in Christ. It has been a ride, let me tell ya! But I am tasting freedom in overwhelming doses. I have been in super reflective mode, as is my custom around my birthdays! This year, I decided to share those reflections with you, yes you! For the next 40 days I am going to share 40 lessons I have learned on the road to turning 40. Of course, I have learned more, but these are the most pronounced as I reflect on my life.
The most life changing lesson I have learned on my road to being 40 is that I am loved by God! Sounds simple I know but I must confess that there were times in my life where my actions proved that I did not believe this to be true.
Times when I
shrunk back when I should have stood up
doubted when I should have believed
put up what I should have put out
Feared when I should have been confident
Settled when I should have demanded more
Compromised when I should have yielded to conviction
All because I didn’t embrace the unchanging truth that I am loved by God. I am just so overwhelmed with emotions when I really think about how much He loves me. It used to seem like such a distant love. However, the more I surrender to God, the more personal His love becomes. Perhaps it’s because I am more intentional about sitting and listening to Him speak to me. I am hearing these messages of love that I seemed to have missed. It wasn’t that He wasn’t telling me before, I just couldn’t hear Him because of the competing voices in my head. Surrender seemed to have fine-tuned my hearing and my heart. I am getting a deeper revelation of His love and it has brought a new level of confidence…not arrogance…there is a difference. There is something about knowing I am loved by the creator of the universe that pushes me into my purpose with my head held high. I know I haven’t fully grasped His love for me but I am starting to get it. How about you? Do you know and live in the reality that you are loved by the creator of the universe? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Below are some scriptures to mediate on to remind you of this love. See you tomorrow as I share lesson #2 on my road to turning 40!
Psalm 13:5-6 (NLT)
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.
“…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Note: I wrote this post in 2012 and God blessed us to have our 6th child a year after moving into our new home. He is so faithful!
I have settled into my NEW NORMAL! The last few months have been quite an adventure and we are beginning to slow down FOR NOW. We were blessed to move into a bigger home to accommodate our large family. God moved in a supernatural way and opened a door that we could not open on our own. This post is to encourage you to stand in faith and to believe God for the impossible. This is not just about a bigger house but it is to put spotlight on a God that still honors faith and moves mountains. Put on your cyber listening ears and allow me to TESTIFY!!!!!
When my husband and I first moved into our previous home 8 years ago, it was so big. It was just the two of us and we were expecting our first child. That was in 2003. But 2005 came and we welcomed our 2nd child, then wouldn’t you know it baby number 3 came in 2007. We had developed a pattern of having a baby on odd years and the trend continued. Baby number 4 came in 2009 and blessing number five came 2011. If you were exhausted reading that imagine what it was like for us. Needless to say, we outgrew our humble abode and desperately needed more space.
But there was just one little problem. The finances were telling us that we COULD NOT afford to move. When we first moved in our home, it required a lot of TLC, so we took out a loan to do some home improvements. After we were done doing what we needed to do to make the home livable, we had incurred a large amount of debt. We were not required to pay back the loan until we moved out of the house and there was no interest. We did not anticipate having so many children so quickly and assumed that we would be in the house for quite a while. God however had another plan. My husband was the only one with an income. I have been a stay at home mom for the last 8 years, so we didn’t just happen to have an extra $28,000 hanging out in our savings to pay this debt so we could move. But we couldn’t deny that we needed more space. We petitioned the Lord and had other likeminded believers standing in faith with us. To make a very long story short the debt was FORGIVEN IN FULL! God seems to major in forgiveness of debt doesn’t He, remember the cross scenario? We received news that our $28,000 debt was forgiven in full the day that our fifth child came out of his first of three major surgeries. The news was a great source of encouragement for us during this season of great uncertainty. We were SUPER EXCITED! But we still did not have any extra money to move forward to purchase a new home that would accommodate our growing family!
We continued to stand in faith and not focus on our bank account. We went looking at homes that we knew we couldn’t afford, all the while praying for yet another miracle. The house hunting process was a very long one and we had many moments of feeling discouraged but pressed forward in faith. There were many believers standing and believing with us. In the process of looking for a home, a dear sister at our church told us something that we initially did not have the faith for. She told us that she was believing the Lord to give us a house that was no less than 4000 sq. ft. and that our new mortgage would be the same or less than what we had been paying for our 1100 sq. ft. home. WHAT? That was just crazy. We did the smile and nod script when she first shared this impossible desire with us. But with time, we began to believe the Lord for just that.
To add to the frustration of the house hunting process, no one seemed to be interested in our home that was now on the market. By divine intervention we had some teachers from our children’s school LITERALLY show up at our front door expressing interest in renting our home. We had previously dismissed the idea of renting because we did not want to deal with having people in our home that we did not know. BUT the Lord stepped in and sent these tenants to our front door. They were very serious about renting the property, so much so that they were willing to give us the security deposit months in advance. It was also an added bonus that they were not total strangers to us. We agreed to rent them the property but expressing to them that we still had not found a home to purchase.
Right when we hit the point of fatigue, my husband came across a home on the internet in an area that we had not even thought about. The home was only 5 years old and had recently gone into foreclosure. When my husband saw it on the internet, it had been on the market for a few days. I must admit that when he first showed me the home online, I was not impressed and thought that it looked too good to be true. I assumed that there had to be a catch and they were lying about the measurements of the home considering the listing price. He called our realtor and had her schedule an appointment. RELUCTANTLY I went. I had my “I told you so” speech all ready for after we viewed the house and realized that it was a scam. But wouldn’t you know it, God blew our minds! The home was beautiful, perfect for our family. We made an offer that was lower than the already reasonable listing price. We were told that the bank would not entertain our price because the asking price was already so low. We figured God had brought us this far so why not! The bank did budge and fast forward to a few months later, I am now sitting in that same house on my computer typing my TESTIMONY!
Yes that’s right, the home is now ours. Not only is it a beautiful home but it is 4103 sq. ft. and oh yeah our mortgage payment is $25 dollars cheaper than what we were paying for our 1100 sq. ft. home. GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now God is not our genie who just gives us whatever we want whenever we want it. This was a process and it served a purpose. During our season of waiting God taught us:
To give out of our lack, even when it just doesn’t make sense.
God’s timing is certainly not ours but don’t give up if it doesn’t come when you desperately want it to or expect it.
To Serve Him faithfully even when we don’t have what we WANT.
Continually surrender and relinquish control even in areas that is downright uncomfortable (e.g. having all these babies when we just didn’t see how on ONE income?)
Continue to walk in faith and not be concerned about appearing negligent and foolish in the eyes of others. 6. When the blessing comes, it may not be in the package you expect it but it’s just what you need.
Look to Him and not man to be our provider.
We don’t have to try to defend why we serve Jesus, He always silences the naysayers in a LOUD WAY
Praise Him in LITTLE and in PLENTY cause He is the same good God regardless of the season.
Serve God and not the blessing!
Ephesians 3:20Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
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.
Oh come all Ye faithful. Have you been found faithful? Come let us adore him..for He alone is worthy, Christ The Lord.
My adoration for Him manifest in praise. LOUD. PRAISE.
It is not a cultural thing. It’s a I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins fact.
He left the splendor of heaven to be born in a stinky stable. He came on a mission to save me. That same baby grew to be the man Jesus…from Bethlehem to the cross. That was a LOUD statement of adoration, I am honored.
He didn’t die a quiet death. He was openly humiliated for sins he knew I would commit. The insults they spoke. The false accusations. The nails they pierced through his hands. The crown of thorns placed on his head. The blood that He shed. They were all LOUD. Very LOUD!
The moment the earth quaked and the veil of the temple was torn in half, giving me free access to come boldly before the throne of grace . Now His grace flows through every aspect of my life in a very LOUD way.
He didn’t silently heal my babies. Yes, I am talking about that again because you weren’t there when this mother cried very LOUD tears begging Jesus for a miracle. LOUDLY petitioning him to reverse the prognosis. And he did. Perfectly and LOUDLY.
When I silently reflect on all he has done for me, the quiet reflections manifest in LOUD praise. It’s not that I can’t contain myself, it’s that I choose not. After all, he chose not to withhold his blessings from me.
Please don’t get annoyed when I praise. It was not meant for you, only for an audience of one…the one I adore.
Isaiah Blessing Jones made his debut into this world on Wednesday, August 17,2011 at 9:53 PM. He weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces and was 19 inches tall. The pregnancy was uneventful and there was no need for concern. I had a normal delivery, however shortly after his birth, the action began!
When he was 2 days old, Isaiah was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because his blood sugar levels were low. I was told that I would have to leave the hospital without him and he would ONLY have to stay a few extra days. I had never been done this road before; never did it cross my mind that after giving birth I would have to leave my baby in the hospital. To say I was emotional would be an understatement. They began to feed him sugar water hoping to increase his blood sugar levels.
After his first day in the NICU, Isaiah was not digesting his feedings which was a red flag. He was given IV fluids and feedings were put on hold.
On Day 3 blood was found in his stool which was a great cause for alarm and his tummy was distended. In attempt to diagnose the problem, he had quite a few x-rays but all looked normal. The doctors were very puzzled but suggested that he might have an infection.
On Day 4, his bilirubin levels were high so he had to go under the lights to help his levels return to normal. He stayed under the lights for 3 days and was eventually removed. His platelets levels began to drop and his white blood cell count was very low. They continued to do x-rays and draw his blood every few hours for testing.
He still had blood in his stool on day 5 and had to have a platelet transfusion. The Dr. in the NICU was very concerned and called in a pediatric surgeon to take a look at Isaiah. After examining him, the surgeon concluded that he required immediate surgery.
At 5 days old, Isaiah had to have surgery. Before surgery we were informed of all the risk involved, death being one of them. Everything was happening so fast and I just wondered how we got to this point. There were so many uncertainties concerning Isaiah. Tyrone had been holding up pretty well but the tears began to flow when he saw our new baby laying there helpless before surgery. Isaiah went into surgery at approximately 1:00PM and came out at 2:15PM. That day in the waiting room was one of the longest days of our lives. Tyrone and I sat there beside each other. We prayed and waited. The Dr. finally emerged to let us know that surgery had been successful. He was diagnosed with Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and 4 inches of Isaiah’s small intestines that were dead was removed. He had an illesotomy and we were told that he would have the bag on anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. We were so thankful that after two and half months, the day after his Christening, Isaiah had a successful surgery to reconnect his intestines.
We got pass surgery for his intestines and then on day 8 another bomb was dropped on us. We were told that Isaiah had a heart murmur and had to have a PDA ligation surgery. The PDA is a part of the heart. Most babies are born with the PDA open, but it typically closes shortly after birth. The surgery on his intestines created a lot of trauma to his little body so the PDA never closed.
Isaiah had PDA ligation surgery on day 12. We were physically tired but not as emotional this time around. God had given us an overwhelming sense of peace and we were standing in faith believing all was well. Surgery was done in an hour and it was successful.
After the 13th day in the hospital, Isaiah was taken off the ventilator, and they began to feed him my milk through a tube. Isaiah eventually began to tolerate more of his feedings and was taken off the ventilator. After a month, he was able to come home.
Isaiah had his third and final surgery around this time three years ago. I cannot help but to reflect and offer up praises to our God. Isaiah is well, praise God! Today I remember and celebrate what God has done for our tenacious boy!