Posts tagged journey
Making God's Voice the Loudest

I remember when I first began listening for the voice of God.  I was hoping for something audible. Something undeniable; the still small voice, I felt, was too easy to be confused with my own thinking. Recognizing the voice of God was often an episode for me because my mind would expand into this adventure map that led nowhere: “what if that’s just my thoughts? What if that really was God? I think that was just my mind…. But my mind wouldn’t think nothing like that. It must be God because I wasn’t even thinking about that topic! What if I’m too late? Why I am feeling sweat buds?” The conclusion was usually  “I don’t think that was God. I’m good.” Or “I’m going to need some confirmation.

At one time, it was grievous to ask a believer for advice and be advised to pray about it. *Long and dramatic eye roll* I was asking them in hopes of God speaking through them,  feeling the confirmation in my heart, and knowing what to do. There were also other factors disrupting my ability to hear from him clearly like doubt, fear, frustration, a hardened heart, and a junky spirit. My spirit would be filled with all types of garbage and it was affecting my ability to hear from God. On top of that, the enemy’s voice would be louder than God’s.

The word of God is literally just that- The WORD OF GOD. His will, direction, and ways are outlined throughout the Bible. So, I started there.  Reading God’s word gave me a better understanding of who he is and desires to be in my life as well as in the life of his people. It became easier to recognize his voice as I continued to read and retain the Bible.  It became more apparent that thoughts like doubt, fear, bitterness, and etc. were contrary to His word so they couldn’t have been from him. Thoughts that encouraged spite, wrath, or ratchetness were certainly not from him. Thoughts to be kind, show compassion, share his love and encouragement were from him. Pretty simple,

As I continue to listen and obey (present tense because this is an active process), God’s voice grows clearer. Does the enemy still speak? Heck yes! But God’s voice is the loudest. Smooth lies and half-truths are exposed when you compare them to the word.

Invest time in the word of God to become better acquainted with him. It will make a world of difference.

The Brace-face and that Pretty Smile

In spring of 2017, I decided to get braces. It was a no-brainer for me because there is a desired look that I have for my teeth. Some have questioned why I waited “so long” to get braces, or until I was well into adulthood. My answer is the same whether they understand slang or not: “I had to get it how I live.” As a child, I wasn’t able to get them. I couldn’t afford them as a college student and was unaware of options available for students. I gained the resources as an adult so I went for it. I had to move based on what works for me. Hence the term, getting it how I live. 

I’d heard a lot of dreadful testimonies about having braces but I decided that I would get them anyway because I was fixated on the projected results. I left early from work to attend my appointment. I was nervous as crap. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it specifically related to how things would feel for me. I’ll skip a few details and say this: by the 3rd day I wanted a refund. My mouth was sore. I found myself, being the foodie that I am, frustrated because of my inability to eat anything beyond soft foods; not to mention the list of prohibited foods that I was given the day I got the braces. I called my sister, also my unofficial peer support, and whined about how tired I was of rice, grits, and applesauce and how I regretted getting the braces. I wasn’t aware that our conversation was via speakerphone and my niece was eavesdropping the entire conversation. She shouted from the background: “Auntie, just think about that pretty smile.” Which was true, the temporary, though intense pain, caused me to forget why I wanted braces in the first place. Thanks to my nieces’ two cents, I continued with the process.

It took a little while to adapt, and the 1st tightening seemed to be a setback. It felt like any progress that I’d made with adjusting to my braces and their changes were lost. And then came the 2nd and 3rd times and things didn't’ seem as bad. My gap was closing, my teeth were lining up and I was on the high road. My teeth were lining up. The braces were doing exactly what they were supposed to do: positioning my teeth to be where they should be; so, the more my teeth obey the plan, the easier wearing braces gets. Even the tightening. Of course, there are new mechanisms and devices that have to be introduced in the process that produce factors of discomfort but I can see the progress they’re making. That’s the encouraging part. As long as I can see the progress I’m okay with applesauce instead of biting directly into apples or tearing my chicken from the bone. As long as I can see the progress.

But what about when it seems that my teeth aren’t responding or my treatment is not moving along as quickly as I’d like? Oh gosh. I forgot to mention I had to get two teeth extracted. As I construct this blog entry I have a hole, in the front, on each side of my mouth. SELFIE GAME SHUT DOWN.  I felt like it was such a set back to go from cheesing in every picture to returning to the “creep smile.” You know what I’m referring to, the wide, closed-mouth smile. But that came with the process, trusting that my orthodontist is making the best decision based on the needs she has determined for me.

I’ve noticed the same pattern in my spiritual life; trusting the plan for my life and flowing with God are a sure way to gain the end results of my “pretty smile.”  I’ve further noticed that just like my teeth, the shifting is easier the more that I get in line -in line with His word, His way, and His righteousness.  

The Day I Saw What I Said

As an adolescent, I had a few friends from the church that used to call me “missionary.”  I wanted to be one so badly. It was an inside joke of some sort. Years went by and I graduated from high school. I forgot about the title. The desire to help others has only intensified since then. I called an old friend to help me out with some braids and she chuckled as she asked me this: “Do you remember when we used to call you “missionary?” [Laughter increasing] “Now you’re going to Africa.” The irony. I’m not the “name and claim it” type (another blog for another day) but as a wordsmith, it is beyond impossible not to understand the power of words. I’ve seen it throughout my life but there was something about my friend’s reminder that sent ripples of excitement through my soul. This was a week before I was to leave. Spare me a few minutes to rewind a little.

The past 2 quarters of the year have been challenging in nearly every aspect possible. God’s grace is magnified when I look back. The departure date for the trip was July the 15th. 3 weeks before the departure date I had to approach God because I felt ill-equipped and ill-prepared to go.  I believed that it was God’s will for me to go but there was a disconnect-one that I could not safely ignore.  God quickly addressed the disconnect and I was ready. I boarded a plane in Raleigh-Durham, traveled for 25 hours,  and July 16th I landed in Entebbe, Uganda.  We walked out of the airport and were greeted by smiling strangers that seemed familiar; not because I had ever spoken to them, but because of the love of God I felt. I felt their love for God.

The love transcended language barriers, customs, and culture.  I attended church services where I had no clue what they were singing but the presence of God was undeniable. I experienced people so humble that it was embarrassing when I considered my thought life and the contents of my heart. These people had a passion for God that challenged me to seek Him more. Obviously, because I need[ed] him, but even more because it finally clicked that salvation did more than secure eternal life. Life as I know it is bigger than me.

I was apart of a conference, a workshop, a revival, and an open air crusade. I did not see one Ugandan participate rush out of church or concerned with the length of time we were there. I stayed in a guest house in a village called “Kipirio.” It’s located in Tororo district. I became appreciative of everyday commodities. I ate food that I would have declined in America; not because I’m sadiddy, but because I was always a “picky” eater. I developed a new love for children. I see evangelism in ways that I never have.  I got a sweeter taste of destiny. The people of Magodesi and Tororo District have been a greater blessing than they could ever know. I’m in love with the manifestation of the spoken word and I’m inspired to do a lot more “saying.” 

God is awesome.
 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"-Ephesians 3:20