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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

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September 2013

Pruned in the Process

I’ve been sort of addicted to nature lately. In fact,  I’ve been fascinated with a tree that I hadn’t really noticed just outside my bedroom window. It just sort of popped up. It was actually quite sickly so maybe that’s why it hadn’t phased me before.  Well…despite being covered in dead twigs and prickly thorns, it had potential. It needed a little help obviously.

With tools in hand, the snatching, clawing, and cutting began! Dead limbs had to go! A few grueling hours later, the once limp tree bounced back! That’s when it finally registered.

God revealed what I should have grasped years ago. I could hear His whisper in my heart saying,

“Just as you canvassed your backyard visualizing its potential, so I have done the same for you.”

I had been that wilted tree for so many years.

Sure there had been buds of potential here and there, but I too had been bogged down by dead weight. He reminded me how I lived through some powerful storms, yet still managed to hang onto things and people that should have been blown away. The guilt and shame of past mistakes clung to my mind and heart like prickly briers and threatened to cut anyone who dared to get too close to either.

In that moment of reflection, I realized that I’d allowed self-condemnation tangle and twist my perspective of the future God planned. The thorns of depression refused to allow me to receive the forgiveness God had given the moment I’d asked for it.

I needed some help to break free from all the things that had me bound and gagged. As I took to the tree in frenzy to recover what could have been lost so did my Father with the storms He’d allowed me to endure. With every wind of opposition, He’d allowed new life to be revealed.

The experience made me realize how God viewed me, and why He had to go to drastic measures to ensure that I’d bloom as He’d designed. Just as I’d gone through clearing debris and cutting away the things that would hinder a healthy growth of my new tree, He’d allowed the same to occur in my life.

He’d cut people from my life by force because though I’d seen the damage resulting from their presence, I’d done nothing.He allowed the storm of divorce to prune me. Habits die hard so He allowed yet other tempests to blow through to loosen the grasp of habits that had no place in His plan.

Finally, I realized why the tree hadn’t bloomed as so many others in my neighborhood had. This tree bloomed only after we’d experienced one of the worse storms this season.

In the same breath, God also allowed me to realize why it seemed that I was going through so many struggles. Those dead twigs and thistles were holding on for dear life….my life and refused to let go until a strong enough force was able to wash them away.

Even still the mess left behind had to be manually removed. With it removed, my path became clear.

Now, I am able to focus and easily identify the things or people that don’t belong. I thank God for using this little revelation to strengthen my spiritual discernment.

I’m still a work in progress, but I thank God that He is my help when a storm is brewing. I’m grateful I can call on Him anytime! I’m thankful I am no longer weighed down by the dead things of my past, and that now I can do as my tree has been doing. I can lift my hands and praise Him because after my storms, I’m still standing.

©2013 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved

Disconnect Accordingly

When it comes to fulfilling destiny, for far too long I got so caught up in planning that I almost missed a key point in my progress! I never considered everyone I loved were not granted access beyond my yesterday.

And then I came across Psalms 1:1-3:

1 Blessed is the one, who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Now I get it—why some of them think my views of most things peculiar. It’s amazing to me God decided to use me  to represent His Kingdom and encourage others when not long ago, I could barely encourage myself.

How GREAT IS MY GOD!!!

I realize the Holy Spirit has been fine-tuning me. Lately, blatant sin irks me!!!  Yes, I’m seriously convicted even when I have an inappropriate thought! I’ve been seriously grieved by the way we as Christians misrepresent the grace of God so often. Oh this rant includes myself too if that’s not apparent!

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I’m not perfect nor do I want you to think I am all about legalizing the Gospel. Religion is sooooo not my thing people!!!

However, in the past, every time I said something “right” in the midst of wrong , I got that “look!!!” Let me clarify the wrong I mean–you know the gossip, lying, complaining, and other stuff we do that obviously displeases God and misrepresents His Kingdom–Now, that stuff stops with me!

That had not always been the case, so understand if you are not there yet, ask God to convict you immediately and HE is faithful to do it.! Trust! There have been many times I started complaining only to get caught up to clam up…Oh and conviction is not condemnation either.

Now back to that “look”…You know the glare that says, “Who does she think she is?”

For those still wondering the answer to that question, “I know that I’m a child of God and if He gives me the urge to speak against it, it’s done!”

I’ve been back-stabbed by the best of them, yet this verse is just one more reason to keep a smile on my face.

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The cool thing about how much I know God loves me is that when I once doubted my ability to be bold and represent Him well because of my own mottled past, He showed me that I’m holy because He is Holy…that my light will outshine the darkness and how His love covers a multitude of sin!

He also confirmed to me that my transparency is what so many need. They need to understand that it is God’s specialty to use those who might consider themselves less than so that He can show through His grace that yes greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.

Before I came to this revelation, I’d witnessed some very sad scenarios, but I said nothing to those involved because I feared backlash…despite the Holy Spirit’s urging. I even used to care so much about what people thought of me that I wouldn’t dare be myself.

It was not popular so I wore the mask. In fact, when God really began to convict me about gossip, I would merely co-sign with others instead of outright passing information along. But it is nothing like getting convicted when you know better!

I decided a long time ago that in that area of my life, I didn’t like that feeling so if what you are saying to me about someone else is not something that will edify them, positively encourage me, or that you would not mind saying in their presence…I have no time for it and I will tell you so immediately. It is for this reason that I admonish people to consider the courtship of EVERY RELATIONSHIP because if that person is willing to poison your spirit spreading death about others, their words are merely seasoning you for the oven they are preheating. You are surely next on the menu…It usually starts with something like, Girl, let me tell you…

Well, God showed me this week that I am to do right because it’s right, not because I expect to be rewarded for what I’m supposed to do anyway.

I changed my mind verbally years ago to serve the Lord with all my heart, but I just made up my mind a few months ago that God deserves my best so that inevitably means that I must disconnect from those who don’t have His best in mind. 

So recently I have had to disconnect from relationships I cherished because God said, “no.” While the reality of those decisions hurt,  I realize He knows what is best for me because when others chose to disconnect from me in mockery, gossip, or lies, He did not. That said, if you know the people in your circle are not on your level or higher spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, it is likely time for you also to disconnect accordingly.

©2013-2017 Nadia Davis All Rights Reserved.

The Letter

Dear Broken Sister,

I hope and pray that you read this message in its entirety as I have a lot to say. I’d be lying if I said that no one put me up to this, but gladly that one is our Lord. I know this seems weird that I am contacting you this way. I really don’t know how to begin, but you have been on my mind and heart for quite some time. When I asked for your contact information, I had every intention of providing it to the ministry leader so that we could send you the prior discussion topics on the days you may be unable to attend. But when I thought about it, the paper that you’d written your information on was nowhere to be found. A few Sundays ago I bought an extra CD of the service because I didn’t think I saw you there, and the Lord put it on my heart to get it for you. I’d thought about your mother and prayed that she would be fully rehabilitated, and that whatever rift between you two would be mended.

To make a long story short… I HAVE BEEN THERE.

For me, May 8th of this year marked 6 years since God saved me. Spiritually, I first gave my life to Christ at age 7, and again about 2 years ago, but how He truly saved me physically is what I mean. It broke my heart to learn what happened the other night. I became frantic searching for that paper thinking I’d left it in my desk because my purse was a literal maze. I could find it nowhere. Last night I prayed that you would have the strength to let go, and let God. I prayed that you were okay and that you did not lose hope. I prayed that God just help me to find your email address or number. I even searched in our employee database and could find no contact information. I finally prayed that you would gain confidence in God and not worry about what people say. I found myself crying out before we blessed our food Thursday night on your behalf. I’ve only recently found myself praying in agony for my family, but never had I done that before for anyone I’ve just met. I had no choice though because I wanted God to hear my prayer that you are not discouraged and that you realize that God never meant love to be painful. So despite whatever all the romance novelists and editors say, the original author gave us the perfect example of love. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is unconditional. God is love. He loves us so much that He gave us Jesus.

First of all, God answers prayers and He hears our cries. I’ve noticed something about our Father….when we ask for His help…He shows up and He also will teach us how to communicate with Him. Only since I’ve been in communication with Him have I realized what a gift I’ve been given. I used to joke about having premonitions and dreams and stuff back in the day. I used to believe in coincidences, but now I can see God’s divine power in me. I know that He has truly given His spirit of discernment. I notice things lately that I hadn’t noticed in the past about people, places, and everything around me. I’m grateful for even having the opportunity for Him to have given me another chance at life. I’m grateful for my children and for them knowing Him intimately even before I did. You can learn a lot from children you know.

My daughter never made a sound amid the chaos; my son was four years old and helpless. I can only imagine him cringing in his bedroom while all the cursing, shouting, and terror ensued. One broken nose, a pair of crooked glasses, a smashed cell phone, a disintegrated glass table, matching blood-stained couch and love seat, one swat team, a negotiator, and seven hours being held hostage in my own home gives me a reason now to praise Him!

Looking back gives me a reason now to thank Him. I know that despite the physical pain, the emotional abuse, and even the open embarrassment of what transpired, the angels of God were watching over me. My daughter was only 6 months at the time and had been on the very couch in front of the shattered table that could have taken my life. She was asleep all the while as he told me to wipe my blood off of his f*@#&* couch. I know now that God held my son in his arms despite his endless tears. I know because I’m still here. I know because I’m here to be there for you. I know you don’t really know me and I don’t really know you, but I know God can do anything if you have faith in Him. I know now that His ways are not like ours so trying to guess his next move is like playing your first game of chess with a Champion. The great thing, however, is in this game even though you may have no idea what move you should make, while in His presence, you can’t lose! Although things look bad, you are playing a fixed game. You’ve already got the victory! Sometimes it takes time and we get frustrated before we realize how He has helped us; usually half way through the game. Is it really much more different in learning to live for Christ? I know from experience that I feel like I’ve gotten in the game late. Now I’ve known of Jesus all my life; grew up in the church. Yet, the sad thing is that I hadn’t known Jesus as my friend, my provider, my help, or my shoulder until a little less than a year ago.

I made a vow this year to turn away from everything that was not like Him and to go to Him in all things. Since that time, He’s spoken to me in so many ways. So many things have happened since I’ve allowed Jesus back in.

You do realize that despite the fact that we may ignore Him and do our own thing, He’s always there, right? There’s no hiding from Jesus. I’m still a work in progress, but I can’t wait to know more about this man who gave his life for me. He did the same for you too. His sacrifice truly is our miracle. Because of His love, we can stand up with our head held high despite what people say or think. Because of His mercy, we are always given another chance. Because of His grace, we survive although we do not deserve it!

Don’t forget that we are heirs to the thrown. So my sister in Christ, as a Queen in the Kingdom of the Most High, keep your smile on your face and your head high. It gets easier with time and constant communication with our Father. Please remember, love is kind and patient; not full of pride and anger. God is love. Please know that you don’t need anyone to complete you but Jesus. He will NEVER let you down.

I pray that you will receive the words that God has given me to share with you and that you be released from the bondage satan is trying to use to hinder your God-given potential. Understand that people talked about Jesus and He is perfect, so don’t underestimate your ability to bounce back, be blessed, and be a blessing. Know that by writing this to you I claim that you are healed in mind, body, and spirit. Consequently, that I too am healed. Until now, I had not had the courage to admit that the night six years ago was not the first time he put his hands on me, but I cried on the inside.

Pride will do that to us, you know? It can make you lie for six years to loved ones so that you don’t look like the weak one who stayed despite the abuse. It will make you lie to your friends so they will continue to look up to you for leaving him the first time. It will make you lie to yourself until you believed that there really were no warning signs. Pride is so ugly sometimes that it will even make you think that you did something to deserve it. It’s no wonder that God hates pride. I can finally let go of that pride and truly love myself because God didn’t let go of me.

Love always,

Your sister in Christ

P. S.

This is just between me, you, and the Lord. God Bless you always.

 

Social Ministry or Social Mess? You Don’t Decide!

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million so while using social media for ministry has its perks, it also has its pits! The fact is God’s people are far less forgiving than He is. That said, I must caution you before you post just any old thing out there in cyber space.

Social media will either propel your purpose for Christ or it will pollute it.

Christians should not be so “normal” within society that there’s no evidence of a difference.  Your best bet is to be proactive with your actions and words online. For that matter, you might want to get a grip on your self control in person as well. I mean it only takes a few seconds for someone to press record and even less time to post your antics for all the world to see!

I grew up in church, but I saw so much hypocrisy in the pews then that I seriously almost threw up the deuces after high school!   And that was in person-sometimes one on one!  Now, there is an entirely different set of pews we must consider: PEOPLE EVERYWHERE AT THE SAME TIME! (And yes, I realize that “simultaneously” would have fit that acronym better, but you do you and I will do me) …Moving On

I know what you’re thinking:

“I can just hide it from my time line.”

“I can just delete my comment!”

“I have privacy controls in place!”

Yes, I get it.

These are plausible options, but that stuff is not erased no matter what the “privacy” policies claim.  Basically, just because you remove a post later doesn’t negate the fact that you—YES, YOU alone have put yourself out there for the world to see! Even if it is only there a moment, that moment can never be retracted.

If you profess to be a Christian, my prayer is that you consider the platform of social media as a means to glorify God and not to “hypocrify” your witness! Yes, I made that word up! Basically, if you don’t want people to know about it tomorrow, don’t post it today! Once you post, it’s permanent.

 

©2017 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved

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