Finding God in your Tough Moments

How do you handle things when they don’t go your way? Do you talk to God?

Do you ever ask yourself, “God what did I do wrong to make you punish me like this?’

Through out my life things have happened that I was defiantly not thrilled about. The old saying comes to mind, “you win some, you lose some.”

During my path of growth and faith maturity, I have learned a couple of things, 1. things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. 2. It all depends on how you see the situation.

The definition of turmoil: a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty.

I know a lot of times I used to get mad when things happened that disrupted my life. I would automatically blame God when things went south. I would even question his very existence.

I’m telling y’all, the devil has a field day with my thoughts.

But the truth is, it’s our own feelings and actions that cause us to think this way. If we are thinking of he bad all the time, how can we see the good.

When something doesn’t go your way, how do you react? Think of the last time you experienced something that was wrong or it changed your day completely. Did you say “God why me?” or did you say, ” God, what is the lesson you are trying to teach me?”

I used to always ask “God, why me?”

Failed relationship, “God why me?”

You know I am broke, how am I going to pay this bill? “God, why me?”

I have to work longer hours, and I want to go out, “God, why me?”

When in reality, this is what should have been my thought process.

Failed relationship – God was protecting me from a person who wasn’t meant for me

No money – God, I promoted you to a higher paying position

You know I am broke – God, how are you handling your money? How can I bless you with more if you are not being careful with what I have blessed you with.

I have to work longer hours – God, you were complaining about money and now I have made an opportunity for you to make more money.

It really is all about how you see the situation.

It is always easier to see the bad in a situation, however we have to train our brains to look for the good in every situation. Look for the blessing over the burden.

God will bless you in his timing, not yours. You are here to serve God not the other way around, We put our focus on way too much of the worldly things, rather than focusing on what God wants for us.

Take a few minutes today and think on what has God saved you from. What happened? How did is play out? Did you notice the blessing in disguise?

Here is my testimony:

I was 20 and in love. Gosh, I thought I knew everything. I had a good job, a great guy, attending and very much involved with my church. I made a few doctors visits and was told having kids maybe difficult for me. I don’t even remember if PCOS was a thing then. At the age of 21, I found out that I would be having a baby and couldn’t have been happier. On 12/09/02, at the age of 22, we welcomed our son into the world. I had a c-section and I remember telling my then husband, don’t let him leave your sight. I was already being over protective, but hey that’s what moms do. A year went by and well, life changed. Before I knew it, I was divorced by 26. Oh man did I blame so much on God. How and why could this be? Around the age of 24 when we separated, I began talking to someone instead of focusing on what I needed to be focusing on, and that was my family. Once everything was done, I began life as a single mom trying to make things work. I wouldn’t say dark days, however some of those days weren’t the best at all. Some days were worse than others, but I will say this, the one thing I do remember was that I only spoke to God when I absolutely needed or wanted something or it was to blame him for the life I was not happy with. Finally at the age of 35, I decided to put God before everything. My decisions, my life, before I even spoke, I talked to God and you know what, things still went wrong. However, the way I viewed life with God on my side was different, how I looked at the situation and reacted was different. My friends changed, some people are still here others are gone. The guy I thought I couldn’t be without, and who was completely wrong and toxic for me, was gone. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good person, he just wasn’t good for me. Little did I know the biggest test of my life would be on March 13th, 2017. On this day, which is also my dad’s birthday, I would be terminated from my job. Still a single mom running on Jesus and Coffee, I was unemployed. Talking to my son about it was one of the hardest things I think I have had to do. To reassure him we would be ok and there wasn’t a need to worry. After about 30 days, I knew my life as a dispatcher was over and it was time to retire. Listening to others issues and problems for 18 years was long enough. I do applaud all the ladies and gents who are still able to continue to work as a 911 dispatcher. You are the real silent heroes and I will forever back the thin gold line. So, the job searching began and disappointment followed, but I stayed praying to God. Cutting back and not spending money like you usually can is harder than you think. Not having a job is a humbling experience. On August 21st, 2017, I started the next chapter of my life and started my first day at my new job. Not only that, it was everything that I had been praying for. No more working holidays, working shift work, and if I do have to work a holiday or weekend, it’s from home and I can be around my family. Being terminated was a blessing in disguise, I would have never left with out being pushed out the door. God knew that too. He knew how passionate I was with helping others. 911 was my life, and I was hurt, I was mad, and I needed answers. When all was said and done, only God knows the plans for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11) Although I wasn’t where I wanted to be financially, I was going to make it. I made it through training, and with all my years of supervising at my previous job, I was promoted to a supervisor within a year. Please understand, when God has yourbest intentions, he makes sure to put you at levels where you belong and absolutely nothing can stand in the way of the blessings God has for you. Even with all these blessings, do y’all know I still had the audacity to ask “where’s my Boaz?” However when it did come to finding a person who is for me, I seriously thought my bad decisions from my past was why I was still single and it was haunting me. I will share something else with y’all, when I was married, I would always say that I wanted a house full of boys, and after being blessed with my first son, I wasn’t able to get pregnant again. Now I spoke this to God back in 2002. Today, guess what, I am engaged and I have a house of 4 young men and a dog named Reggie. God knew having boys at that time was not in my best interest and look now almost 16 years later, prayers answered.

The reason I am sharing my story is to show you God always has your best interests. Everything happens for a reason and in its own timing. Just because things aren’t going the you think they should, does not mean they won’t happen. Don’t block your blessings thinking negatively.

Remember, it’s a bad day, hour or week but it’s not a bad life.

Don’t lose sight of your blessings looking at what went wrong. Focus on the blessing and don’t allow the burdens to overcome you.

God loves you.

Blessings.

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Pray

At night when you can’t sleep… pray

When you’re tired … pray

When you’re sad … pray

When you’re poor … pray

If you’ve had a bad day … pray

When you’re happy … pray

When you’re on top of the world … pray

When you have it all … pray

Always pray for others.

Forgiving Yourself is OK!

Have you ever done something that you are still holding on to?

Do you keep replaying it over and over in your mind, and keep asking yourself why?

Why did I do that? or How could I have done that? fullsizeoutput_9be

My favorite one was, “I can not believe I did that.”

We are make mistakes. No one is perfect.

I have said and done some really mean and horrible things, but thank you Lord for helping me to change and to see things in a different light.

One of the best things about a mistake is that it helps you change and learn from it. Without mistakes, you wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t. You wouldn’t see the growth in yourself without mistakes. Trial and error, you are learning constantly.

We grow as individuals from mistakes. The hardest part about a mistake is we tend to let them dwell and fester until it takes over our thought process and sits on our hearts. We have to teach our minds to think of a mistake as just that, a mistake, learn from it, forgive yourself, and move on.

I  wonder why we forgive others so easily, but we don’t forgive ourselves as fast. It’s a mistake not a life sentence.

I didn’t always use to be a forgiver. I would hold grudges and quit speaking to people.  Then I realized something, I could have been hurting someone else by doing these things and also, I am taking away what God has for me. I’m going to miss my blessing focusing on hurt feelings and grudges.

I missed my best friend Misty’s wedding due to hurt feelings and holding a grudge. Thank you God we are still friends today. Throwing away 30 plus years of friendship would have been worse and I thank God everyday for her continued loyal friendship.

We tend to miss our blessings when we hold grudges. We are so focused on the grudge or trying to figure out how to get even, we can’t see what God has for us.

When we as humans operate on feelings, we tend to make it extremely worse than it actually is. When we put feelings in the way of the actual offense, we will think something and automatically think this is right, let me continue to act this way. I can not stress enough, we as humans can not operate on hurt feelings. IMG_1127

Forgiving someone can be a challenge, but remember that forgiveness is for you not for the other person. When we don’t forgive and keep holding on to the hurt, we are holding ourselves hostage to the pain and hurt and this is what holds back all your blessings and growth.

God wants to see you happy and living life to the fullest, not hurt or upset or dwelling on grudges.

We have to train our minds that a mistake is not a prison sentence. We are to learn from them and move on. If we hurt someone, apologize and move forward. You can not change the past, but you can learn from it an grow.

Forgiving yourself and others is also part of self care. Forgiving breaks any negative thoughts you may have or negative feelings you may be holding onto.

REMEMBER, A NEGATIVE MIND WILL NOT PRODUCE A POSITIVE LIFE! 

I encourage everyone to commit 14 days to forgiveness. Whether is be forgiving yourself or forgiving someone else. Read the Bible and find 14 scriptures on forgiveness and study each one daily. Keep a daily journal of your progress and see how much your life and attitude changes when you truly forgive yourself and others and move on to the life God has for you.

Blessings.

Go to Your Room

As a child, we were punished and sent to our room, and don’t come out until you’re told to.

Now that I am older, I realized that maybe going to my room isn’t a bad thing at all.

When I “go to my room” it’s to spend time with the Lord. I use the alone time to get back in communication with God and to recharge my spirit.

The world has so many ups and downs. Life pulls us in all directions. From family to work to friends, financial problems and maybe bad relationships, spending alone time in your rom with God can make all the difference.

I am currently working on a bible study to share with the world and I use this time to get my thoughts together. I need direction, and who better to go to than to God.

I think the alone time you spend with God makes life a lot easier to deal with. Having God constantly on your side makes life easier.

Life is hard, but with God you’re never alone and you don’t have to go through life alone.

Try it, take time out each day to “go to your room” and read God’s word. It will refresh and renew your mind.

Blessings.

Seeing the Best in Everything

Have you checked your attitude this morning?

My favorite one is, have you checked your face?

Those two questions are what I ask myself before walking out the door. Your attitude is determined by how you think and how the rest of your day will go. It’s the outlook on what your life represents.

I can fake my attitude however my face not so much.

I can sound like two totally different people, “nice Crystal” and “you get on my nerves Crystal” lol, but my facial expressions are so hard to hide. Im praying on it though.

In the past I have had the worst attitude about life. I hated how things would go my way or how things would turn out.

The truth is, it’s all about how you see life.

When you see something that you like, you are happy, enlightened, and you’re smiling, but if it doesn’t go your way, what is your reaction?

I call those unpleasant thoughts, venting, rants, negative comments….adult tantrums.

I have learned that adult tantrums absolutely help nothing. They actually make things worse and they block your blessings. I can remember not liking someones attitude and it completely gave me a not so pleasant attitude. How that person saw things instantly rubbed off on me and then my attitude continued to go down from there. I am not blaming that person, it was my fault, I let it happen. It was a choice I made.

Having your thoughts and attitude in check with God, not only helps you realize how blessed you are, it doesn’t allow the devil to come in and take over. Focus on GOD.

Remember these couple things:

  1. Focus on your blessings. It may not be in the package you wanted it in, however the blessings is still there and you should embrace every blessing God gives you.
  2. Continue to pray continuously about your short comings. What better person to talk to than God. He knows you, he created you and he doesn’t make mistakes. Know that he loves you and want the absolute best for you.

I use to find it very hard to see my blessings and to be happy with whatever situation I was in. I couldn’t understand it then but I sure do now. I look back not to look at my faults, but to look how far God has brought me.

He knows we make mistakes, he knows we are not perfect, he knows we need him, but we have to trust him completely with whatever season we are in. The good, bad and the ugly.

As you go on with your day, try to pay attention to your attitude but also focus on your blessings. Don’t allow a bad situation to ruin your positive, godly, attitude.

Blessings.

 

Happy Birthday to my Son

Today, 15 years ago, at 6:32am, God allowed me to be a mom. He gave me a 9lb 6oz 21 1/2 inch long baby boy.

At that time, I didn’t feel like it was a blessing at all. One reason was because I didn’t want children, but in a marriage you compromise and you just what you have to do to make things work.

So the journey began.

After what seemed like forever, my son was here, and I was amazed. I kept telling my husband at that time, don’t leave him, don’t let him leave your sight. Stay with him.

If anyone has ever had a c-section, you know they show you your baby and then take the baby for weight, measurements and then to the nursery so the doctor can continue the surgery.

So once I woke up, I remember seeing my mom and she asked me if I was ok and she reminded me, “you have a responsibility now” Geez, was she right.

At the time I was 22 and married for a couple years.

Well life happens, things become more expensive, and it becomes hard. Immaturity can really kill a relationship. That’s exactly what happened.

DIVORCED.

So now my son has to deal with separated parents, 2 homes and other things that come with having divorced parents. I think at one point I even thought I have failed him some how.

I can not tell you how proud I am of my son Andre.

He is such a strong kid, well now, young man. He continues to impress me with his outlook on life and how he sees life as more of a challenge that he can defeat.

He tries so hard to be the person he wants to be and doesn’t allow what others say about him to hold him back.

Now if you knew the kind of mom I have turned out to be, you would see why. I didn’t always see things like this, but THANK YOU GOD Andre does.

Earlier I said that I did not want any children. God had other plans for me. I look at Andre and continue to thank God for blessing me with such a great gift. How dare I think I have better plans than God?

As I have watched Andre grow these last 15 years, I can tell two things about him just by looking at him:

  1. He looks just like his dad. Unfortunately I did not have the stronger gene in the relationship.IMG_2145
  2. His smile will make you smile. That’s my baby.

This young man has taught me so much about myself and how to be a better mom. I tell my mom how in the world did she do it with four children, this one is a handful. LOL!

I know I was truly blessed when God allowed me to take care of Andre. He was an easy baby, and continues to be an easy going young man. I think I am the one that makes it harder. I try not to worry about him, however that’s what moms do. He takes life one day at a time and he is so funny. Ask my sisters.

When I look at him, I know God really did bless me with him. If I could just control that teenage mouth. LOL!

To watch this baby boy grow into a very smart, strong minded young man is proof that God makes no mistakes, and has great intentions for every situation.

I know he will have difficulties a head of him, but I also know he has the determination to get through anything life throws at him. He continues to keep God first and he has developed an attitude of I can instead of I can’t.

Andre Rivera, I love you so much son! Happy Birthday! Always believe in yourself. Trust you instincts and keep asking God for guidance.

 

Morning Prayer

How do you start your morning?

When your eyes open, what do you do first?

Grab your phone? Go make coffee?

Every morning when I open my eyes, I say “Thank you”

I am so thankful that God allowed me to wake up, which means I have a purpose for today. Someone needs me!

When I awake, I used to just get up and go on about my day, not really thinking much of anything, I would do my daily routine, coffee, read, hair, make up and out the door.

Over the years my routine has changed a lot.

Life happens and you realize how much more you need Jesus in your life. I have learned the no matter what the day may bring,  I have Jesus right there beside me to guide me through my day.

And you know what I have found, my day is more productive, my attitude is far better than it used to be and I have the patience with people I never have had before.

I am more peaceful and worry free. That’s right, worry free.

No, I am not rich, nor do I have a lot, however, I have learned to accept what God has blessed me with and I know what I have is a true blessing. I have learned that material things can always be replaced, but the Love I have for God and how he Loves me is a bond that can not be broken.

By starting each day talking with God, and asking him what he would like me to do for him today makes a world of difference.

Allowing God to work in your life from the start of the day, until you lay your head down at night, will open so much more for yourself and your relationship with God.

Today, before you even reach for your phone, talk with God and ask him what he would like for you to do today.

Blessings.

 

Tis the Season to Forgive

Forgiveness, what is forgiveness?

Forgiveness defines as: (noun) the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven 

I used to have a very hard time with forgiveness. I felt so entitled of my feelings, that I felt others didn’t matter and I should never have to forgive anyone unless I feel like it. Look at the immaturity, but I also look at my progress and see growth.

I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness and why I should continue to forgive others not matter how hard it may be at times.

Never underestimate the power of forgiveness. When we don’t forgive others, we aren’t hurting them, we our hindering ourselves from true joy and receiving the blessings God has for us.

Of course I use Jesus as my example, he forgave us over and over and over and he even died for us, why can’t I be so quick to forgive? Why must I continue to question the situation instead of forgive and move on? WWJD? (what would Jesus do?)

I have learned not forgiving someone, doesn’t hurt the person who hurt you, it actually hurts you. You have to forgive people for your health, you peace of mind, and for your over all out look on life.

Let Jesus be the example. He gave his life for you to be forgiven. He knew we would fail him but yet he still forgave us.

Easier said than done right?

PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

Prayer and constant communication with Jesus can help you with forgiveness, I mean who better to learn from than Jesus himself.

Talking with Jesus daily will get you through any situation and know that he is with you along the way and will help with healing and forgiveness.

I think too often we allow our pride and emotions to take over and the thought of forgiving someone is to far fetched, but keep in mind what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” NIV

I keep that bible verse close to me because I too one day would want my Father to forgive me. The gift of forgiveness is worth more than any amount of money or material possession.

If someone hurt your feelings….forgive.

If someone wronged you in someway….forgive.

If someone lied on you….forgive.

Your relationship didn’t work out…..forgive.

This holiday season, give the gift of forgiveness.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Blessings.

 

10 day Fast from Negative Thinking

So beginning tomorrow, I am starting a 10 day fast from negative thinking. For me this is such a big deal because it is so easy to think of negative over positive. I haven’t quite understood why though?

I try to do this before Thanksgiving because it puts me in such a better mood. I’m not one of those people who dread the holidays. I love the holidays! Family and friends gathering together. I love to give so I do a lot more giving this time a year.

I was the absolute worst thinker. I trained my brain to see my problems not my blessings, and man was that a difficult habit to break. Constantly reminding yourself of how to focus on the bad luck or the bad turn out, that takes a toll on your emotions, your thoughts, and your decision making. Although at the time I didn’t see that. Feeling sorry for myself seemed much easier to do at the time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe everything happens the way God intends it to, but I also believe that I have a choice on how I respond to it. I would always respond negatively whether it was in my favor or not. Yeah, what a horrible way to be.

Now I have a grasp on my thoughts and words, and I have a stronger relationship with God and this has what has continued to help me change my thinking to seeing the good in everything.

Here are some quick tip on how I prepare for my 10 days.

  • Prayer. I pray more than I usually do. I stay in contact with God through out the day and when something negative comes to mind, I quickly pray it away. This is my way of staying ready.
  • Journaling. This is one of the best journaling books I have come across. It promotes positive thinking and shows you what you should focus on. I enjoy journaling because it gives me a chance to reflect on what I’ve done.
  • Documentation. You have to document the bad and the good. The most effective way to be sure this works is to document it all. Note what negative or not so pleasant thought that crossed your mind, and what you did to get rid of it.
  • Exercise. I put in a little more exercise to push myself to a better me. I find that when I am healthy and feel great, it is much easier to think positive. I am currently training for a half marathon so the exercise this time is definitely there.
  • List my blessings. Make a list of all your blessings, and when you feel your self getting to a point where your thoughts aren’t going in a positive way, pull that list our and remind yourself of how blessed you truly are.

I hope a few of you will try this 10 day challenge and let me know how it helped you. I also encourage you all to go past the 10 days as well. Positive over negative is always the best way to go.

Blessings.

 

5 Must to do’s to Start My Day

Good morning,

This morning I thought I’d share the 5 things I do to start my day. The day starts when you open your eyes and you start to think, so here is what I do to get my day going and get the positive juices flowing.

  1. Start with a thank you. I thank God every morning for waking me up. I know that seems like a given, but God allows you to wake up so why not thank him for it. I used to not do this, but when I began to realize how much I need God in my life, saying Thank You is the least I could do each morning.
  2. Ask God what he wants you to do today. I ask God what will you have me do? Or God, what or who can I help today? I do that so that I keep my eyes open to the things going on around me. I believe God gives you opportunities to help someone everyday. He assigns people to come through our life each day to help and I don’t want to miss that moment.
  3. Read my morning devotion. I am a big reader, so I read a morning devotion to get my day started. Plus I also have a few apps that I use as well to get the daily devotions sent to me.
  4. Make your bed. I make my bed because I don’t like coming home from  work and it’s a mess. If I don’t make the bed, it feels like I don’t have enough time in my day. Crazy right, but I hate coming home and its not done. My son always ask why, because its not like you’re not going to mess it up again. I like order and this helps with that.
  5. Pray before walking out the door. I pray for my son before he leaves for school and I pray for myself and my day. I ask God to watch my steps and my mouth. I pray for clarity, judgement, my thinking and my work.

You notice I didn’t add coffee, well that always a must and I really enjoy a cup or two every morning.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings.