The rain was coming down pretty hard and the wind was blowing. Around 4 a.m., I was awoken by a loud beep. It was my ADT alarm system. I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn’t because of the beeping noise. I laid awake in bed. All of the sudden, the electricity went out. I jumped out of bed to look out of the window to see if the neighbors lights were out as well. It appeared that the lights on one side of the street were out and the other side was on.
I knew that I needed to text my principal and inform my first grade team that my electricity had gone out. I wasn’t sure how long it would be out, so I wanted to let them know that I might not be able to come to work or that I would be late. I texted everyone and they told me to keep them posted and be safe.
As I laid in bed in a very dark house, I thought about the darkness and how difficult it was for me to function. I couldn’t see things. I got out of bed to go and find some candles. As I was walking through the house, I bumped into walls, doors, and hit my big toe on the garbage can. Not only could I not see but I felt scared and lonely in the dark.
I found the candles and lit them and got back in bed. I stared at the ceiling for hours. I began to think about the food in my refrigerator and how it might go bad if the electricity was out too long. It was still dark outside and I really couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t make myself a cup of coffee or cook a good breakfast. So, I made my way down the stairs and grabbed a chocolate protein shake out of the refrigerator.
I tried to make the best out of the situation and get a little rest. Thoughts about darkness and light began to come to my mind. Scriptures began to pop in my head and I began to think about how important and necessary light is. It helps us see where we are going and what we are doing. Light gets rid of the anxieties and dangers of darkness.
The electricity came on in about two hours. I could see now. As I glanced over at my flashing alarm clock, I thought about the scripture… Psalm 119:105 Your WORD is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. The Word of God is our light and when we read it, we are able to see and stay on the right path; the one that God has outlined for us.
In Matthew 5:14-16, we find the following words… You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven. As believers, let us live for Christ and shine and represent our Heavenly Father. Shine, shine, shine!
Light in the Darkness
His WORD is the truth.
Meditate on it daily.
Others need to see.
Walk in His bright light.
Let the world see you faithful.
Represent HIM well.
In what way will you let your light shine this week?
Prior to moving down south to Georgia, I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for over twenty years. The years living in Minnesota were filled with fun times. They were also filled with times of darkness, discouragement, despair, and depression. It seemed like the season of winter lasted seven out of the twelve months, with the sun barely even shining. The days were short, cold, and dark.
Winter seemed to be a season when I would get pretty discouraged and feel very lonely. I remember reaching out to my brother to confide in him. I wanted to get his advice and suggestions. I needed help navigating life and knew that I could always trust him; that he would always show support, kindness, compassion, love, and grace. Jason would never judge me but would love me unconditionally. By the way, I think that I have the BEST brother in the world!
I called my brother but did not get an answer so I left him a voicemail. He called me back the following day and we began to talk. He listened attentively as I began to pour out my heart. Tears began to stream down my face as I revealed things that had happened to me over the years and how I believed that they had impacted and shaped my life; my list. After pouring out my heart to my brother, I paused and waited to hear his advice. The first words that came out of his mouth were…“Lisa, we all have a list.”
He went on to share some things that may benefit me during this season in my life. I took notes as I listened to my brother share adverse situations that he has found himself in and how he was able to come out of them. After hanging up the phone, I felt much better and empowered. Now it was time to do the hard work. Now it was time to make good choices and believe that I can WIN! With God, all things are possible. I thank God for my brother and the words that he spoke over my life that cold, dark, winter day in Minnesota.
I invite you to join me. Join me in hearing stories of resilience. These stories will encourage, inspire, motivate, and push you towards your purpose. Hear how people have overcome their struggles and won in the end!
Have you ever been anxious and afraid? I have. Two weeks ago I had to go back to the building to teach my students face to face. I hadn’t been in the school since March 2020 and now Atlanta Public Schools had decided that teachers were to return to work in person.
Sunday came and the next day I would be walking into the building. That night, I talked to God, said my prayers, and wrote in my women’s devotional journal. I was so afraid and had a hard time going to sleep. I was tossing and turning all night. I got up, walked around the house and even turned on the tv to watch the news. Finally, I drifted off to sleep after a couple of hours of being up.
The alarm clock went off at 5:45 a.m. I jumped out of bed, ate breakfast, and got dressed for work. Our principal said that we could dress comfortably, so I wore some jeans, gym shoes, and a hoodie. I packed my lunch, put on my APS lanyard, turned on my alarm, and headed out the door.
As I drove down I 85 N, I began to think about my life and how grateful I am to be alive. I thought about the wonderful friends I have and how much I love my family, profession, and the assignment that God has given me.
As I got closer to my job, I began to get really nervous. My eyes even started to water up and before I knew it, tears began to roll down my face. At that point, I wanted to turn around and go back home. I turned down the radio and began to talk to God. I really needed Him at this point. I needed Him to calm my nerves. I needed him to help me so I wouldn’t worry. I didn’t want to be a worry wart.
This scripture popped into my head as I was talking to God…Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
In the above scripture, Paul is giving us some good advice. He is telling us that when we begin to worry, we should pray. We should take our eyes off of our situation or circumstance and fix them on the one that will give us peace in the middle of that situation. We should worry less and pray more!
I prayed in the car as I turned into the parking lot of Miles Elementary. A peace came over me as I got my cart out of the trunk of the car and walked into the school building. I stopped to get my temperature taken and walked peacefully down the hallway with a smile on my face. I was so glad that I listened to Paul’s advice. That peace that he refers to in Philippians was just what I needed; the peace that only comes from God, knowing that He is in control!
What are some things that you are worried about? Take your concerns to Father God. He is waiting to hear from you!
Just the other day, I received an email from my home security provider, ADT. They were informing me that I needed to make an appointment so they could update my alarm system/protection plan. I reached out to them a couple of days later by calling the 1-800 number. I set up an appointment for Tuesday with the time window of 12:00-5:00 pm. I was glad that I was still teaching virtually because I would be home if someone would come right at 12:00.
The doorbell rang about 12:30. I peeked out of the blinds and saw a man dressed in blue and gray with an ADT badge on. I opened the door and let him in. He asked me where my touchpad was and I led him into the living room. He began to update my system. It didn’t take long at all and there was just minimal noise while he was at work. He was in and out within 20 minutes.
After he left, I went to the ADT website to read about the benefits of updating my alarm system. By updating the 2G radio that is in my system, I would be able to maintain communication with ADT. Having this update would ensure that the emergency service would be available in case I would need it. And the good thing about the update…there was no charge.
Wow, I was able to get an update at no cost. Now, I am safe and protected in my home; my valuables are safe as well. This got me thinking. I began to think about how having a relationship with God protects me from things seen and unseen. He keeps me safe in His arms. I am secure in Him. Because I am connected to Him, I am secure and safe. I have the best and thorough protection plan; the plan of salvation!
The three facets that salvation includes involve past salvation from the penalties of sin, present salvation from the power of sin in our daily lives, and future salvation from actual presence of sin. Ephesians 2:8-9 remind us…For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one may boast.
Let’s look at these scriptures…
For in the day of trouble, He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)
Now, every time that I go to my touchpad to arm my alarm, I am reminded about God’s amazing plan of salvation! There is safety in Him.
Salvation for all
Sealed with the Holy Spirit
God’s best plan for us
Join me in thanking God for the best plan that seals and secures us. What a wonderful plan available to all!
I love the profession of teaching. I have always wanted to be a teacher since the age of six. I remember going to work with my momma and sitting in the back of the classroom watching her teach 25 second-graders at Brunswick Elementary School located in Gary, Indiana. She would stand in front of the classroom, teach the students, and make sure that they were doing their assignments. I would think to myself what a noble calling to be an educator.
Well, my dream came true and 27 years later, I am still in the teaching profession. And, by the way, I am loving it just as much as the first day that I walked into the classroom to teach first grade. I will always remember my first day of school in Palm Beach County Schools in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was filled with so much joy and excitement. I remember smiling ear to ear, happy that I was now a licensed teacher in the state of Florida.
I am now a first-grade teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. Distance learning has been a challenge for parents, students, and myself. However, we work together and make it work, and for that, I am grateful.
One phrase that I often find myself saying when I am teaching my students is, “MUTE your mic.” I always have to remind my students. I have to make sure that when they come in and join Zoom, that they come in on MUTE. When they don’t come in on mute, I am able to hear all the background noise. I find myself always telling them to please stay on mute while I am teaching. I constantly remind them of this expectation.
As I was teaching my first graders, I thought about this word, mute, and what it means; one of its many definitions. Mute means to refrain from speech, be silent. When I am teaching, it is of great importance that my students mute their mics. They need to be able to hear me and receive instruction in all subject areas during our time together online. If they talk while I am teaching, they will miss out on learning the state standard and my instruction. They won’t be able to do the assignment correctly and will not do well on the test.
God calls us to listen and heed His voice. He wants us to mute our mics and listen for his instruction(s). He wants to teach us and give us instructions that are for our good. He wants to guide, lead, and direct us. These instructions can be ones that relate to our financial, relational, professional, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. For me, this means not watching tv so much. Instead, I can spend time in His word and write in my devotional journal. It also means saying no to things that I am not led to do. It may also mean taking a break from social media for a while to get focused and listen to Him speak.
John 10:27 says… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.
Are you able to hear and listen to the Holy Spirit? Listening requires more than just an awareness. It requires us to be intentionally focused. He wants to instruct us. In what way(s) can you mute your mic? Listen up, He’s speaking!
I just love living down south. The weather is beautiful and you can definitely buy a lot of house for a little money. I especially like the way people speak to you in passing, even if you don’t know them. I remember when I first experienced this. It was in 1988 when I went off to college at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. I would be walking down the street and hear someone say, “Hi, how are you?” I was thinking to myself that I didn’t know them, but would acknowledge them and answer them back. I also noticed that men would open and hold the door for you, pull out your chair, and even walk on the outside of the sidewalk when I would go out on a date. Wow, what a beautiful thing!
Just the other day, I had a wonderful experience. I was in Sprouts grocery store to pick up a few items. I didn’t get a cart because I knew I was just going to get a few things. However, one of the items was a little heavy. It was a case of water. I had my baked granola in one hand and my bag of white grapefruit in the other hand. Not to mention, I was trying to carry my phone and my wallet, without dropping my phone. Anyway, I did manage to make it to the checkout lane without dropping anything and boy was I happy. As the line started to move, I had to scoot the case of water with my foot because I had things in both of my hands.
Just as I was about to muster up enough strength and energy to lift the case of water, I heard a deep voice. The man behind me asked if I needed help. I turned around, smiled, and told him that I did. I thanked him for putting the case of water on the cash register checkout counter and was so relieved that I did not have to bend down and pick up the heavy case of bottled water. My back was a little sore from taking a strength class at Onelife Fitness earlier that morning, so this kind gesture was right on time!
While driving home, I began to think about my experience that day. I began thinking about the gentleman that I had encountered and how he had helped me; how he had made my day go a little smoother and easier. Then, I began to think about Jesus and how He is the PERFECT gentleman; how being in a relationship with Him makes my life easier to navigate. He does the heavy lifting!
In Matthew 11:28-29, you will find the following words…”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”This is the great invitation where He is calling all to Himself.
He bids us to come to Him. He is a gentleman and will not force us to come. He is gracious, loving, and welcoming, the perfect gentleman that wants a personal relationship with you and me!
Christ the gentle One
Meets our daily needs always
Join me in exalting the true and perfect gentleman; One who opens doors that we cannot see!
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy cooking. Some of my favorite dishes to cook are macaroni and cheese, turkey meatloaf, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cabbage. I especially like cooking now since I recently purchased the Ninja Foodi Grill. It has 5 functions: grill, air crisp, bake, roast and dehydrate. I find myself using it very often. What a great investment!
For me, cooking is very therapeutic; good for my emotional well being. It brings out my creativity, which in turn brings me happiness and satisfaction. While I am in the kitchen cooking, I am usually playing some music in the background. I love to sing while I am cooking. It enhances my mood. I just love smelling the aroma of the food throughout the house when I cook.
Just the other day I was in the grocery store shopping for some seasonings. I had run out of salt, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper. I needed these seasonings in order to cook dinner, especially salt. I was going to cook chicken wings and make some fresh sweet potato fries. Both of these foods were going to be cooked in my Ninja Foodi Grill.
I got the chicken wings out of the freezer, thawed them out, and began to season them. After I finished seasoning the chicken wings, I cut up the sweet potatoes and began to season them as well. I made sure to use enough seasoning because I wanted to make sure that they were really full of flavor; not too much salt but just enough for them to taste good!
I put the seasoned chicken wings and sweet potato fries into the air fryer. Within ten minutes, they were done and ready to be eaten. I bit into one of the chicken wings. It was crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. It was delicious and had the right amount of seasoning and flavor. The salt really brought out the flavor in both the wings and the potatoes. I really enjoyed my dinner and washed it down with a big, tall glass of bottled water.
This cooking experience reminded me of a couple of scriptures in the Bible that reference the word salt. Salt is a preservative. It creates thirst. It adds flavor and it cleanses. In Matthew 5:13, you will find the following words…You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Another scripture that references the word salt is found inColossians 4:6… Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
As Christians, we are called to be the salt of the earth. This means that when we come in contact with others, our words should be ones that are positive and seasoned with grace. Our conversations with others should be filled with words that are gracious, edifying, and respectful; flavorful and tasty.
Let us affect the world around us by being the salt of the earth by drawing others to Him. We have a wonderful opportunity each and every day to be the flavor that the world needs; a flavoring agent. Join me in creating a thirst for Christ in the world! We can be just what the world needs!
Are you being salt? Are you helping others taste and see that the LORD is good?
Have you ever wondered what your God-given purpose might be? Has it ever crossed your mind that your status as a single person may be a calling? Do you view singleness as a calling?
Have you been in a relationship that appeared to be leading down a serious road and you opted out to remain single? If so, what made you choose the single life? Do you view singleness as a choice?
For years I saw myself, as many others do, having the societal life of a career, home, spouse and children. Maybe not necessarily in that order, but to have all of that, especially by the time I was 50-years-old. Yet, with each passing year, my yearning for some of those began to diminish in many ways. Sure, the little girl in me wanted my daddy to walk me down the aisle and give me away to the man of my dreams. Yes, the young woman in me wanted to experience childbirth and motherhood and all of the great and not-so-good things that come with that role.
My reality is, I am single at 50-years-old without the career, the home, the spouse or the children. Guess what? That is truly okay. And I had to get to the point of it being okay because it wasn’t always. I have learned to appreciate this state and wake up each day attempting to make it better than the day before. No every day is not roses and champagne but it is not doom and gloom either. Do with it what you like. Whatever is going to make where you are, where you need to be.
It is a calling or choice? For me, I honestly haven’t found that out. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is Philippians 4:11 which states Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. We only get this one life so it is meant to be enjoyed. So, as I go through the next leg of this journey as a solo act, maybe singleness as a calling or choice will be revealed. Either way my goal is to be happy and that is definitely a choice.
Last year around this time I had been pretty busy visiting friends for the holidays. I had driven to Tennessee to spend Christmas with my friend. The drive was very picturesque. I loved looking at the beautiful hills and mountains as I was driving. The weather was great and I was looking forward to visiting Tennessee for the very first time.
I got to the hotel and checked in. After that, I went to visit my friend. We had a great time eating, laughing, opening presents, and conversing. It was great to meet her family. I stayed a couple of days and then headed back to Atlanta. I was able to get a day of rest and then I was off to Columbia, Maryland to visit another friend for the new year, 2020. I was excited about my next trip and looked forward to boarding the plane and being able to get a quick nap in during the short flight.
The trip to Maryland didn’t go as planned. My friend ended up catching the flu, her son had a cold, her mom caught the flu and I got sick as well. I was pretty disappointed but tried to make the best of it. I stayed a couple of days at her house in the basement. The last couple of days of my stay, I decided to stay at a hotel. Before checking into the hotel, I made sure that I had some cold and cough medicine and lots of fluids. It’s one thing to be sick when you are at home, but it’s quite another thing to be sick, out of town, and in a hotel.
The last day before I was scheduled to leave, I began to feel better. I guess sleeping all-day and taking medicine and drinking fluids worked. I began to get my strength and appetite back. I was glad to be able to get dressed and see a little bit of Maryland. The weather was beautiful for that time of the year. The sun was shining and it was in the low 50’s. I took an Uber to Columbia Mall and ate at a seafood restaurant in the mall. The food was delicious. I especially loved the crabcakes and hushpuppies. I was full and decided to skip dessert, which was a first for me.
I got back to the hotel and began to write in my journal, reflecting over the year. The nice, big, comfy king-size bed was the perfect place to read, meditate, pray, and write. I remember pulling out my phone and watching the online New Year’s Eve Night Watch Service. It was held at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta. The theme was, “Do Something New in 2020.” I was thinking that I am going to be “stronger” in the new year. That word just happened to be the word for the year that Pastor Mike of Transformation Church (Tulsa, Oklahoma) said to his congregation on Sunday, January 5, 2020.
The year 2020 was a very different year. It definitely had its challenges, but I did get stronger. I got stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally, and spiritually. I was able to withstand whatever came my way. I exercised my faith muscles. I got stronger in the LORD and He kept me. He is a God that sees and hears all and is moved by our faith.
Let’s take a look at these scriptures…
In Psalms 121:5 you will find the following words…The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The word shade in that scripture refers to protection from harm both day and night. A keeper is like a guard or a protector.
Isaiah 26:3 says… You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.
He kept me. He kept you. He continues to keep us. He is the keeper of our souls. He is a promise keeper. His Word does not return void; it accomplishes what it was set out to do. Thanks be unto God for keeping us!