Forward Progress

updo for natural hair
my protective style by Kim Keepes

Okay everyone so today is the last day of the month of July and I know that some of you might actually want to know how I did on my at home goals. Did I ever clean out my closet? Am I still maintaining my portion controlled ways? How does my hair look… if you have no idea what I am talking about feel free to click here to find out.

Well I am here to say that I have completed my goals!!! I have cleaned my closet out. No longer is my closet bombarded by clothes that I can no longer fit! And although I have a small freak out session every time I open my closet and see how many clothes I don’t have; a small rush of accomplishment comes over me. I have actually found that once I purged my closet it has been easier to maintain other areas of my house specially my bathroom and my kitchen.

If I see something out-of-place I now stop what I am doing and put it where it belongs, whereas a couple of months ago I would have just let things pile up until they got out of hand. but not any more… and it’s actually becoming more of a joy to have a clean house!! I know I know some of you probably would have never thought I’d say that but its true… because I know that at any given point anyone could stop by and I don’t want to be ashamed or embarrassed for them to see my house in its present state… there’s a lot of growth in that statement and I am sure that there are plenty of people who could attest to my bad habits of just walking over a pile of clothes or throwing away dishes instead of washing them. But now I just simply deal with it before it gets too bad…

pile of clothes
all of the clothes...gone!

I am not saying that my house is perfect I have only been doing this for a month… and it probably wont ever be perfect because just when I think I’ve gotten this cleaning thing down to a science I am sure a kid or two will pop out of me and disrupt my way of doing things but what I am saying is I have found the joy in keeping a clean and presentable home. It has taken many of prayers on my part to do the chores as unto the Lord, matter of fact I find myself conversing with Jesus while I do most of them and it’s become an extension of my Jesus time. and I am proud of myself for moving forward in that aspect.

organized closet
my new and improved closet!!

I have also maintained my portions although I might kick back on my bread intake… my body is getting toned (Jillian Michaels for the Wii really does work) and I have just started in a volleyball league so I should be where I want to be in a few months of dedicated work towards getting there. My next goal would be to incorporate more healthy snacks into my daily regimen. But I am moving forward in the right direction and that’s all that matters. My husband has noticed a difference and that has been encouraging!

And as for my hair… well I’ve been doing really well. I made it a whole month in protective styles only three more to go and right now I have it in a protective style that I found on YouTube. you can check that out here.  I had my friend and personal hairstylist Kim Keepes (pronounced KEY-pess) do her interpretation of it (see picture at the top of the page) and I am very happy with the results! I am hoping to keep my hair like this for at least a week because its super convenient. I have also been co-washing it more and making sure that my hair is conditioned at all times. So hopefully when I am done with my little protective style challenge in October I will have retained some length, which is my ultimate goal.

back view of updo for natural hair
I love it!!

God is moving me forward and He’s using outlets that I never imagined that He’d use. Such as health, food, exercise, art, hair, my husband, daily chores, simple thank you cards etc. He is definitely stretching me and although it can be tiresome I know that He is preparing me for great things. Today at church we read Habakkuk 1:5 and it resonated deep within my being it says: Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. It just made me think of the great things that the Lord is already doing in Miami and when we finally get there and see what He has been doing, we are gonna be blown away therefore we need to prepare now. His love is real and He is moving us forward to do the things in which He has prepared in advance for us to do and I am so excited that He has chosen to use me and the broken vessel that I am. Praise the Lord!

broken vase
God can use anyone!!

Put on the Whole Armor of God

This has been on my heart and in my spirit for the last week at least… I have recited this and placed my armor on before on a semi-regular basis but sadly I stopped. However God has placed it upon my heart to be prepared day after day and for the last couple of weeks I have put on the whole armor of God and let me tell you it has made a tremendous difference. For instance one day I had just finished putting on my armor to go to work and the minute I finished I was instantly in a battle of the flesh and I had to let it go and bless the people even though the had obviously cursed me… man was I attempted to let my flesh take control but I was reminded that God wanted me to live righteously. It has also helped me overcome the smallest temptations but temptations nonetheless.

I am fully aware that we fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers and authorities. So it is in our best interest to put on the armor instead of just looking at it… if you need help reciting the scripture it can be found in Ephesians 6:10-18 you can check it out here http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A10-18&version=NIV I urge all of you to right this down or post it somewhere and recite it daily for at least a week and see the power that comes on you knowing that you are prepared to withstand all the attacks the enemy will throw your way. Be Blessed and remember to put on the whole armor of God!!!

a man in the whole armor of God

God is moving

God is moving and don’t you dare say otherwise! Whether or not you see Him moving He is!! God has revealed himself to me more and more this last month and it’s pretty incredible… Just a few examples:  He had me praying a very specific prayer for someone months ago only to find out just recently that the person had never asked for prayer about the situation until we prayed for the situation together! I wanted to scream out God are you kidding me!! However his reply would have been something like, “Of course not my child, I am ALWAYS aware of what my children need or want. Stop being so surprised!”

He has provided every step of the way for me and my husband who have recently stepped out in faith and have agreed by the calling on our lives by God to help plant a church. He has even gone so far as to change the minds and hearts of those who gave us an initial “NO” to “yes we will help you get to your mission field.” He has given us one divine appointment after another and He continues to move in the spiritual world on our behalf!

Just the other day like literally yesterday I woke up early (on my sleep in day) and just started praying for people. Interceding for people, speaking life and hope health and strength over people. And when I was done I had the urge to convey to some of the people who I was indeed praying for them and to be encouraged… and you know what; they were! God knew exactly what each of those people needed to hear. He knew that they needed a touch or taste or sign from Him and by me being obedient they received what they were looking for from the Lord for that day.

He’s calling me to do some things I have never done in order to get to where I have never been… and although this is not always easy or convenient it has to be done because I can’t get anywhere without obeying God and what He’s calling me to do. Sometimes He’s asking me to stay up a little later and finish sending out thank you cards, I don’t always want to but I know that the words that I write will edify someone because they are the words He wants me to write.

I guess I am writing this just to let you all know that He is in control of everything and He is rearranging things for you even now. So don’t give up on your prayers because the very prayer that you pray today has already been heard and He is already moving on your behalf!!! Just think about all the prayers you’ve already prayed and how He is working all things together for your good! I know it makes me some kind of excited to know that He’s heard ALL of my prayers and He’s moving, making sure that everything is exactly the way He wants it to be before He answers them!!!

Now I’m not saying that God withholds things from us until we do what He wants after all we do have free will. But what I am saying is that I do know that in order to grow in relationship with Him we have to be mature enough to listen and listen the first time and simply do what he asks of us.  So that He can bless us with the plan He already has laid out for us! There is no reason to try our plan when His plan is already ten times better than our plan will ever be! He’s moving on our behalf and sometimes that is all we know, but that is all we need to know because He will never leave us nor forsake us!

What do you believe God expects of you?

sunshine breaking through clouds
God is pretty amazing

I had to ask myself this question the other night after I went to Bible study with one of my friends. It was our homework and anyone who knows me knows that I can’t not do it even though I don’t go to that church and no one really cares if I do it or not. But the bottom line is I know it’s there and more importantly so does Jesus!

Even though at this very moment I feel like I am fading into the black abyss of someone people use to know but have forgotten. I know that God expects me to put the enemy in his place and NOT for a second longer believe that lie! People aren’t going to forget me cause I won’t forget them, and if for a moment something like that does happen well it’s probably God’s best for each of us…

Anyway so what do I believe God expects of me? Well for starters I believe that God expects me to be a good wife to my husband. One who’s faithful and kind, caring and understanding. One who loves him when no one else does yet encourages him to keep trying or at least try a different approach. I believe that God expects me to spend adequate time with Him, and to treat Him as though He is a priority in my life (which He is and ALWAYS will be). I believe that God expects me to live a certain way, by his standards and the convictions He has given me to withstand.

I also whole-heartedly believe that God expects me to have the same child-like faith I started with all the days of my life when it comes to Him revealing Himself to me and my family. I can’t help but be okay with giving the answer because Jesus told me too– even when it might not make the most sense… who cares! As long as I am doing what the Lord wants me to do that’s all that matters.

I have to love people regardless...

I believe that God expects me to love people; more than I want to at times but to love them anyway. Because through that love He will touch their hearts and their lives. I believe that God expects me to work hard at whatever it is that I do in order to show those around me the joy that I have in Him.

I believe that God expects me to use the talents that He’s given me for those around me and I know that He expects me to stop putting myself down about them and other desires He’s given me. After all, if He’s given me the desires then He will not let me fail. In fact, I will more than likely exceed all my expectations in the matter.

I believe that God expects me to TRUST Him and to go to Miami by faith knowing that it’s something completely new yet the adventure He’s been preparing me for. It’s a new life, a new beginning, one that has so much behind every corner, I will be stretched, I will be rejected, I will be disappointed, I will be sad, excited, nervous and happy all at the same time, I will be home-sick and friend-sick, I will be focused and scattered, but most of all I WILL BE FAITHFUL! I know it won’t be easy, if it was I would think there was something wrong and God knows that.

I have a journey ahead of me but I must keep moving forward

I know that God expects me to move forward even though in the inside I feel like chaining myself to the church doors so I can’t leave! But then He reminds me like He always does, in that gentle voice that I am the church, that the church is more than just a building and that wherever the Gospel is presented there He will be also. and He expects me to share it with those people in Miami that He’s already prepared for such a time as this… Who knew, GOD KNEW!!!

God knew that He wanted this California born girl in Tennessee to find Him become a disciple, live a sold out life, and marry a man from Maine so that we together could go to Miami, Florida and reach a certain group of people who He already predetermined we’d meet and pour our lives into. Yeah, He’s pretty amazing like that.

His Love IS Real and I am awed by it every day! It’s hard to believe sometimes that He reached out and grabbed me and set me apart even from the beginning to do great things on His behalf, but I guess that’s where my faith kicks in and allows me to simply obey and believe that He knows what He’s doing.

I am going to Florida with my husband and our dear friends Fikri, Goty, and their daughter Amira leaving all I’ve ever known and loved behind and I know that God expects me to simply hold on and depend completely on Him… and so I continue to walk forward simply because God expects me to, and I am willing to oblige because He hasn’t nor will He EVER steer me wrong! He expects me to trust and so here I am trusting in the Lord!

My at home goals

Well I am home now and I have been home for about a week. I finished the Reshaping It All book by Candace Cameron Bure and it was a really educational read. The greatest thing I learned from it was to eat until you’re satisfied not full! I had the opportunity to glance at the goals I set before I got home (to check out that post click here) and I have actually done a pretty good job… well with some of the things anyway.

food on a plate
I try and eat until I'm satisfied NOT full!

I have been working on my portions when I eat and I have been drinking water daily. I also have been stretching every morning which has been wonderful and I have been working out in addition to my stretching when I can.  I have also been treating my hair rather nicely. I have been moisturizing it daily and keeping it in protective styles, today is actually my washing and deep conditioning day and I will be doing those things in a bit.

my yard sale finds are out of here

However, the one thing I have failed at is getting rid of stuff. Not because I want to hang on to all of it but more so because I haven’t had the time. I came back from vacation and hit the ground running! Literally! It didn’t help that I got back the day before the 4th of July I had to work and that Friday was my birthday… so I am going to have to revamp my goals.

bye bye old clothes

I will continue to do what I have been doing when it comes to my hair and my exercise  however my new goal is to have all of the old clothes, hair products and yard sale finds gone by the end of the month… so there you have my progress for now. I will get back to you for sure by the end of the month to let you know how my getting rid of things has turned out.