This New Year, 2016, marks 10 years since I gave my life to the Lord! I gave my life to Christ at a New Years Eve service back in December 31, 2005/January 1, 2006 at the moment when the New Year was being rung in. 2006 was my first year of actually living for God. I began reading the Bible because I wanted to and not because I was forced to, I actually started to look forward to going to church, and I started sharing the love of Christ with all my peers that would listen. I was 15 years old and in the 10th grade at the time and my soul was set on fire. Prior to this taking place God allowed a series of things to go wrong in my young life that caused me to come to the end of my rope and pretty much RUN to Him. I was desperate, didn’t really want to live anymore, and was tired of my life being the way that it was. I honestly can’t believe that it’s been 10 whole years since that moment. Time has gone by so quick and I have learned a whole lot in the last ten years. I’m so grateful and in awe of how God has kept me, especially in the moments that I thought I wouldn’t make it. So to celebrate this along with the 1 year anniversary of this blog (yayy!!!), I decided to write a blog post on the top 10 things I’ve learned in this walk thus far (I’ve learned many things but these are just the things I’m led to share):
1. Seasons change.
There were many times where I allowed the season I was in to discourage me because I thought that things would always be that way. But I continued to press and now I look back and I’m like, “Wow God! You brought me through this, that and that! I really thought I was going to be stuck in that season, but years later I now see that seasons do change!” You really won’t be where you are forever; you just can’t see it right now. It’s so easy to judge your whole life or your whole walk with God by where you are now and what’s going on right now. What you’re facing now is only meant to prepare you for the next season. You must walk through it. In God you can’t skip any steps. The things you struggle with now and the battles you face now, won’t be a constant in your life as long as you keep pressing. So many people give up because of what they are going through at the moment.
2. Your plans for your life may not necessarily be His plans for your life.
I think I could write a book on this one! Literally! Lol!! I know firsthand about God shaking up your life and completely getting rid of your plans so that He can fulfill His. If you find God doing this to your life, just submit. Trust me, the longer you fight it, the longer that process will be. His plans are always best. He sees what we can’t see 10, 20, 30 years down the line. The longer I tried to resist what He wanted to do, the more time was wasted. Sometimes we want our life to fit this perfect pattern that we have imagined or to look like the American dream, but that may not necessarily be how God wants your life to go. Remember that He had plans for you and He knew you before you were in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). That means He knew what He created you to do. He knows what will suit you best. Looking back today, I’m amazed at how what God is having me to do and will have me to do in the future has nothing to do with what I initially set out to do with my life. He is blowing my mind and uncovering gifts and abilities in me that I didn’t even know were there! (One day I will share the full testimony) Let God be God in your life; I promise you, He will not let you down.
3. It’s possible to be free from sexual sin.
If we are honest, I believe that many of us have or are presently struggling with some form of sexual sin. Whether it is lust, masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, sexual dreams, fornication, etc., it just seems to be something that many people deal with in this day and age. I believe it’s due to our culture and what we are constantly being fed. I personally began dealing with sexual sin at a young age. So when I came to Christ it was a struggle to be free. At first I thought lust was normal and acceptable and just tried to keep it “under control” (whatever that means). But as I grew in my knowledge of God, a conviction set in my heart that it was not ok. God started to show me that I didn’t have to lust, He showed me that total deliverance was possible and that it was His will for all believers to be free from the bondage of sin. It took years to be COMPLETELY free from it. My freedom was a process and came in levels. I went thought a lot of loses and a lot of wins. He literally taught me how to have victory over it and renewed my mind in that area. It’s a trick of the enemy that tries to get you to think that “I’m always going to struggle with this.” No you’re not and you don’t have to! YOU CAN BE FREE, CHRIST CAN FREE YOU! But to be free you have to stop feeding your flesh those things that cause you to sin. You don’t have to stay there! I’m a living witness that you don’t have to stay there!
4. Your greatest growth usually takes place during a season of storm.
As much as most of us don’t like to go through storms, they are absolutely needed. I know I wouldn’t be the woman I am today or where I am today if God hadn’t allowed me to walk through certain storms that I thought were going to take me out. The thing is, storms are meant to strengthen you; they are meant to make you better. After each storm I’ve been through I can actually say I saw growth and I saw myself becoming stronger. Through my storms God shows me things about myself and about who He is and how He is able to keep me. My faith in God increases because I saw that He was able to bring me through it. James 1:2-4 says, “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”. So as you patiently endure through trials you will lack nothing. Everything you need to endure the Christian walk will be built and developed in you as you ENDURE.
5. There is a such thing as “the process” and we all must walk through it to become who God wants us to be.
Sigh. The process. Our whole Christian walk is a process. A process of us being stripped of our old nature and putting on the new nature; a process of our mind being renewed from worldly thinking to having the mind of Christ. This process includes, trials, tests, victories, losses, lessons, challenges, day to day activities, life transitions, spiritual growth, embarrassments, discipleship, mentoring, and the list goes on and on. Wherever you are in life and whatever your responsibilities are in life, God has a special hand-crafted process just for Y-O-U! Through the process He will take your regular life situations and create special circumstances out of them to teach you about Himself and to get you to grow and be who He wants you to be in Him. Everyone’s process is different. The key is yielding to God as we go through our process. Some of us wonder why God takes us a certain way in life, why He allows certain things to happen, why He placed us in a certain church or around certain people. He does this because He knows what it will take to get you to where He needs you to be. We all have assignments to do in the Kingdom before we leave this earth, but we must be developed to a certain level before we can accomplish them, the process develops and prepares us for these special tasks. The process can be likened to the story of the Potter and the Clay spoken of in Jeremiah 18:1-4. Don’t take yourself off the wheel; God is making something beautiful out of you. You are being made into His beautiful masterpiece.
6. Love (God’s love) literally changes people. His love breaks chains.
Love is a weapon that the enemy hates because of how powerful and effective it is. The whole foundation of God’s Kingdom is LOVE. God loved mankind so much that He absolutely had to come down in flesh to save us from destroying ourselves. Love pretty much sums up the whole Bible; it is literally God’s love letter to mankind! When we display that kind of sacrificial, selfless love to others, we in a sense introduce them to the same love that was displayed towards us. God’s love changed me. It broke chains off of my life that I didn’t even know were there. I used to walk in great fear, insecurity and so much more, but when God got a hold off me, all of those things began to fall right off. We can’t call ourselves believers if we don’t walk in love towards others. In fact the Bible says that the only way the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples is in the way we LOVE ONE ANOTHER! (John 13:35) It doesn’t say by our spiritual gifts, titles, positions, money, cars, knowledge, etc, but by how we LOVE!! Christ put a strong emphasis on love for a reason. The world will be changed as we display love towards them. I haven’t mastered it completely yet but as I display it towards others, I see change. Love is a powerful weapon and the enemy hates when you get this revelation.
7. The Word is literally a weapon.
I’ve been through so many battles, warfare, and storms where had I not known how to properly use the word to fight and stand on, I most likely would have not made it through. The Word keeps you. It is living and active (Heb. 4:12). When I focus on what God’s word says instead of my situation, it gives me great strength. I am able to see how God sees and respond how He would want me to respond because I fed myself the word and used it to fight. For everything we face in this walk, God has a word for it. There’s a verse, passage, sentence in the Bible that if you hold on to it and truly believe it, it will help you to overcome. But we have to push past our emotions so that we can stand on the word instead of sink. Ephesians 6:17 calls the word the “Sword of the Spirit.” You have to learn to use your sword so when the enemy comes attacking you with foolishness all you have to do is pull out that sword. Sadly, the enemy believes in the word more than many Christians. That’s why he tries to distract you from reading, cause he knows when you get into it you are equipping yourself to defeat him. So when you are going through, get in the word and find a scripture to fight with or hold onto.
8. Worship will get you through just about any storm.
Between 2010 and about 2012 I went through a major storm. I really didn’t think I could go any further. After all the tears and asking God why, I finally chose to worship Him anyways no matter how I felt. It was worshipping at His feet that brought me through. He gave me a strength that I really didn’t think was possible. And it was through this in 2010 that He gave me the name Heart of Worship. When you can worship God through a storm, it shows that your love for His is genuine. Something takes place in your spirit that I can’t exactly put into words, but you just know that you are different. I saw God with new eyes in that season. As I worshipped I grasped a greater understanding of stormy seasons. Today when I look back at that season and see all that God has done in me by having me to walk through it, I say “thank you God for taking me through that.” It didn’t feel good at the time. But now I see the glory that has been birthed through it. The pain I went through back then can’t even compare with the glory and the fruit that was birthed, all by choosing to worship. Before I knew it, the storm had passed because I kept my eyes on Him while I was in it.
9. God is faithful.
In ten years of waling with God, I can honestly say that God is faithful! He is faithful! He is faithful! He is faithful! He is faithful! He is F-A-I-T-H-F-U-L!!!!! Not once has He left me by myself. Even when I knew I failed Him or disobeyed Him, He continued to love me and didn’t abandon me. When I thought He would be so mad with me that He would no longer want me to be His child, still He remained. God is faithful!!! When I didn’t see an end to certain situations and problems and went through things that seemed impossible to solve, God proved Himself FAITHFUL!!! He sees our ending from our beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Now I’m at the place where I can say I can’t doubt God. I’ve seen Him do too much to doubt Him. Even if things don’t seem to go my way, I know that His way will prevail. I trust Him a whole lot more now than when I first started out. It took me a very long time to get to this level of trust. But He has continued to show Himself to be trust worthy. He continues to amaze me with how faithful He is. When no one else is able to help, God has ALWAYS been there. Please be encouraged today, God is not a respecter of persons; if He kept me, He can certainly keep you. He didn’t call you to Himself just so He can abandon you. Whatever He says He will do, He will do.
10. Stay humble. Stay teachable. You are ALWAYS learning.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).In God we are always learning. None of us can say we have God and the Bible all figured out. When we humble ourselves He can pour more knowledge and understanding into us. But when we think we know it all, there’s no room to pour because we are filled to the brim with pride. 10 year, 20 year, 30, etc, is nothing to God. He is the Ancient of Days, He existed before time. Every season God teaches me more and more about who He is, He shows me areas of myself that I need to come up higher in, and He gently nurtures me to greater levels of maturity as I submit and humble myself to Him. You can have every theological degree possible, hold all the offices, have every title, and be ordained 500 times to do 500 things, all of that means nothing to God. God can work with a humble and teachable heart, so stay humble.
I don’t write this blog as if I’ve apprehended. I’m still learning and growing daily. But I pray that what I’ve learned so far is a blessing and encouragement to someone else. No matter where you are in life or what you are going through, keep your eyes on Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith, He is able to see you to the very end, but you have to endure. ❤
“ 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”