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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

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August 2014

What’s Your Response to God’s Ability?

Two years ago, I lost my job.  I thought I had faith then, but what I really had was a nice little 401K cushion so I wasn’t worried about losing my home or whether I’d be able to keep the lights on…I was okay when that very month, the child support that I’d been receiving faithfully for over 8 years stopped…I assumed it was God trying to tell me something.  He was.

I had the opportunity to track down and pursue the matter, but when the letter arrived to report address and phone number information about the missing link in my son’s life, I had an overwhelming urge to discard it. God then placed it on my heart to not worry about the “child support.” I was obedient then and in the trash went the letter.

Since that time, my world has changed tremendously with regard to my finances…I refused to worry about the “child support” because I’d gotten pretty good at this “single-parent” thing over the years…including those when I was married…things were okay, but struggles of which bill I’d skip to pay for this and that has taken its toll in the past few months…before I’d learned to be resourceful…at times even making bread from scratch to save a buck…at the time, I figured that was what I had to do so I did. I learned to get more comfortable with eating less or some days not at all to ensure my children didn’t have to do the same. The benefit then was weight-loss though ill-gotten…I could fit in clothes I hadn’t been able to before so I was again okay.

Later that year, I decided to enroll in school…yet again…With a Master’s degree…you’d think I’d be tired of school, but I guess I liked the idea of being a permanent student or something….Though I had time on my hands to pay full attention to what God had planned for me without distractions (my writing), I decided to do other things. I had the time to attend my children’s events when school started and I enjoyed the freedom to come and go as I pleased without the hammer of Corporate America badgering me into submission to “their” rules. I still had some money available so I really didn’t spend my days like I’ve been trying to juggle them now.

Yet, somewhere between the day I lost my job and the day God blessed me with this one, I discovered that my faith hadn’t actually been in God as much as thought ….I’m sick with conviction now to admit that…but given all I’ve faced since that time, I realized that God had been weening me from myself!

In retrospect, I suppose he’d been doing that well before I lost my job because when I got sick, I wasn’t able to work as much so my funds were chopped anyway….

I digress…Well, this morning after I finished writing checks to various utilities, I almost forgot to listen to what He’d told me a couple years before…

…I’d seen the text from my son’s dad two days ago, told my son about it…yet Recco never asked for my phone to return the favor…I looked at it this morning a bit “pissed” for lack of a better word.

School started this week and all week my son was pretty bummed. My daughter’s school thankfully were required to wear uniforms. So when I could, I snagged one and had a couple shirts that would suffice until today, I’d supposed….but as I calculated and deducted, the others in layaway would have to wait yet another 2 weeks….but this week I’d gotten used to the wash, wear, and repeat routine so to do it another few weeks would again be okay for me I suppose….It didn’t really dawn on me if it would be okay with her though….well, not until I finished balancing the remnants of my funds…I didn’t want her to see me “have to do that.”

Kayla hit a growth spurt far sooner than my son so I suppose that’s why I hadn’t paid much attention to the changes he’d undergone in what seemed like overnight.

I’d been praying for him to grow for years along with him I’m sure.  He been so self conscious about his height…so tiny even at birth, the nickname, Lil’ Recco, sort of stuck in more ways than one I guess.

It was okay for a while in our favor since he’d been able to wear many of his clothes for a few years without them fraying…only last night…when he came to me excited about the prospect of going shopping this weekend, I could only grimace at the reality that was in front of us. My frown then matched his silence this morning. As I went through his closet of what seemed like so many items, I realized now the reason he’d been “choosing” to wear the same things over and over.  He hadn’t made the choice at all.  Those supposedly “favorite” pieces were the only things that fit him now.

I bagged them this morning and the trunk was full…All the while, I’d assumed that he’d just been set in his ways and didn’t want to wear certain things because just a year before the same shirts, jeans, sweaters, and even dress shirts had been too big.  I tried to justify my decision to wait to shop a little longer with this assumption, but the imploding trunk of clothes I’d noticed he’d modified in various ways over the passed few months wasn’t done so out of preference, but one of necessity.

I now understood his tears when Tuesday night youth choir rehearsal turned into a praise and worship session…why as I corralled my tears with my hands I felt his arm around me beckoning me to stand up and walk the pews with him as he proclaimed, “Lord, you know what we need!”

At least then, I was sure that my son hadn’t fully abandoned his relationship with our Father as his behavior sometimes made me assume.

His words, “Lord, help me to put a smile on my mother’s face!” stung.

First, because I didn’t want him to feel like he alone had to shoulder that burden. Second, no child should feel like they are responsible for another person’s happiness like that…I couldn’t help but wonder how he felt when he knew he’d disappointed me.

Did he think I loved him any less?

As I finished the bills, I was bombarded with a similar accusation, Does he think I love him less because I haven’t bought him new clothes…because I’m asking him to wait…to understand…to be patient again?

Even in writing this I know the answer…worse yet…I know who really was asking the question…it wasn’t my son…it wasn’t me…it wasn’t even the Lord…you see because God doesn’t accuse…there is but one accuser and his name is satan…He would love for me to break down and forfeit the blessings God has already shown me that are in store for us.

Right now, God is working behind the scenes to provide more than enough….I know because He alone gave me this reminder right before I almost responded to my son’s dad’s text.  I almost typed the words, “Hey this is Nadia, Recco needs some school clothes, can you wire a couple hundred?”

Thankfully, I stopped before I typed my name and asked God to show me His will…I vaguely remembered the ” You have not because you ask not scripture, but in my heart…I knew that wasn’t it…So I opened my bible and the scripture unintentionally highlighted was Isaiah 8:11-14a…

Isaiah 8:11-14 New Living Translation 

A Call to Trust the Lord

11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,

12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
    and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13 Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
    He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
14     He will keep you safe.
But to Israel and Judah
    he will be a stone that makes people stumble,
    a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem
    he will be a trap and a snare.

Since this was my study bible…there were some little symbols alerting me to additional info…to the next section I needed…The footnote stated that “The Lord warned the people to not rely on Assyria(see 7:1) So that’s what I did…I flipped the page over and realized what I actually had highlighted instead of the first verse.

I said, “unintentionally” earlier because I’d never read that passage before…yet, I’d highlighted the passage on the opposite page a while ago…it bled through and showed what I needed in that moment of doubt…I turned the page to reveal the rest of God’s letter to me…three separate passages in this order…Isaiah 7:4, 9b, 12…

Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah.

Isaiah 7:9-12 New Living Translation

Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria,
    and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.
Unless your faith is firm,
    I cannot make you stand firm.”

The Sign of Immanuel

10 Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.[a]

12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

I realize now that in this scripture, God was requesting that Ahaz ask Him for a sign and he refused…but God had been willing to strengthen his faith through a sign so I’m not doing like old Ahaz….

Dear Lord,

I know that You are able to provide as You have over and over again so at Your request, I request You provide that sign for my son to see Your glory.  In Jesus’ name I pray Amen!

Your Daughter

So with that…I’m thanked God for His intervention…erased the message I started…recalled the many times the Lord had provided exactly what I needed when I needed it before and renewed my faith in the God of everything for allowing me to abundantly lack nothing!

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Roll On

I’ve never been much of a sports enthusiast, but when I was a child, I loved to roller skate.  I had my share of falls, but after the first one, I knew I did not like them.

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That’s plausible right?

I mean who purposely engages in something hoping to get hurt?

…Nobody in their right mind, right?  

Well, I used to think that was true until I saw one of those “out of her mind people” staring back at me from my bedroom mirror.

Yep, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood as my love of skating waned, my ‘right mind’ vacated with it…in matters of the heart anyway.

Fast forward a couple decades…I’ve decided to take advice from my former self.

You see when I was eight, I didn’t care that I’d gotten a few scratches and scars. I’d fall, dust myself off, and if I wasn’t bleeding, roll on!  I refused to just sit there and cry!

Okay, I was eight so maybe I shed some tears, especially when I bashed my knee to the white meat, but even in those instances, my sob fest only lasted minutes.

My point is this.  We all make mistakes in life and especially in love, but is that any reason to wallow in the pain of yesterday? No, not really. So you’ve fallen down a few times, you may even feel that you’ve been pushed down a few others…are you going to allow what you can’t change keep you from enjoying the rest of your life?

Yes, some wounds and scars are inevitable, but the difference between them is that scars don’t hurt anymore.  So stop picking the scabs, heal, and roll on!

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Learn to say what you want to see!

Learn to say what you want to see! It seems so much easier said than done, but why not use even that to your advantage?

I mean, just say it!

Over and Over and Over….

Trust me, it works.  The more you say a thing, the more it will become a reality….Think about how many times you may have said something negative only to have it actually happen…..

  • “Oh, I’m getting sick”- because you get a sniffle…
  • “Oh, this is going to be a bad day” -because you woke up a little late…
  • “Oh, this is never going to change”- because you don’t see the results immediately

That’s nonsense!

Care to remember Job anyone? 

Job 3:25-26 (NLT)

25 What I always feared has happened to me.
    What I dreaded has come true.
26 I have no peace, no quietness.
    I have no rest; only trouble comes.”

Yep, we know how the story begins and ends with Job…he loses everything and ends up with double for his trouble….great happy ending, right?  Sure it is…what we sometimes fail to acknowledge, let alone read, is the middle of his story…

  • how he relied on unwise council from overly judgmental friends
  • how he constantly rehearsed his woes
  • how he had an all-out pity party

Come on Sisters…we can’t get caught up like that…but I’m not trying to hate on Job because like you and me, he was human and our humanity has a way of getting the best of us and making us see bad things as worse.  But get this, things didn’t begin to shift in Job’s life until he dared to address God about his situation.

…and no I’m not talking immediately for the better…because we don’t see the real extent of Job’s blessing until the last verse of the account.  I’m talking about how God silenced Job’s complaints by making Him aware of His Sovereignty in the situation.  Then and only then did Job  get a clue to “SHUT HIS MOUTH ON THE NEGATIVE” and pray for the naysayers! Yes! That’s when things turned around in his life.

So of course, we encounter things beyond our control, loss, and even sickness.  Yet, if we learn to shut up the negativity, listen to what God’s saying, and acknowledge that He alone controls our outcome, we, like Job, will see what we want to see even when it’s not the first thing we say!

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

I feel pretty…oh so pretty!

Wow! It’s been such an adjustment to look, feel, and live better on purpose. I took a bit of a break from my workout regimen to get my bearings over the weekend, but today I’m back at it and I must say so far I’m loving the results!

I know that I keep hammering this home…but there is indeed peace in His perspective-understanding, embracing, and adopting it.  To put it simply, what you think of yourself will ultimately impact everything you do and say.  Whether it’s positive or negative is up to you. I’m steering clear of the latter because frankly, I’ve been there and done that for far too long….and here’s a secret that you may not be aware of….negativity makes you ugly!  No, I’m not talking just about inward beauty here ladies….I mean it just like it sounds….Negativity literally begins to take over the beautiful attributes God has given you and morphs them into a scowl that repels.

Come on…you know you have seen it….

Bitterness is unmistakableMac can’t mask it and Cover Girl can’t cover it up because no matter what you do, what’s in you will show because it’s written all over your face-(yes if you haven’t noticed by now, I take every opportunity to revisit the R&B jams of my youth)

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Anyway…though that song was about a love interest…it is still so true….if you are disappointed, happy, or even jealous, it all shows.  And there’s nothing more unattractive than that last one.

Ladies, let’s face it. there are too many products, resources, and tips out there not to be the best “you” you can be.  Now we all have our bad days, but that should be the exception NOT the rule so if you find yourself in a slump of negativity I suggest you take an honest assessment of your situation.

Of course, if you find that the source of your discontentment is something tangible like weight gain, employment, health, or money issuesdo something about it!

Essentially, you’ve got to grasp God’s view of you….like Paul, it’s imperative that you learn to be content in whatever state you are in.  Now when he declared this statement, he was in one of the worse situations he could have encountered for his time, a feces filled prison dungeon. Imagine that! Can you say that you would have been able to say the same?  I pray that I would have, but honestly, I don’t think I could have had that mindset had the tables been turned.  Thankfully, my bad is NOT that bad in comparison with Paul’s troubles….and I imagine, yours isn’t either!

That said, you too can look and feel great regardless of the circumstances!

My thing lately has been believing that I am radiant and yes, that’s my response if someone asks me how I’m feeling! I suggest you try it.

I know that may seem foreign to some of you, but if you don’t believe it about you, how can you expect someone else to believe it? Maybe you need a refresher in what the Lord says about you…if so, try this verse on for size…

Revelation 19:8 (Amplified version)

She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white — “for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people).

Ladies, I urge you to allow this verse be a reminder of just how precious you are to Our Father in Heaven.  This is the way He views you! You were once prostituted by the world’s way of thinking and living, but now you’re redeemed by the blood of the Savior and therefore radiantly righteous. So, yes I feel pretty because I am!

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©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Jesus is My Personal Trainer

“Jesus is my personal trainer” is the logo on the t-shirt that I wore this morning to workout. This little slogan was coined collectively by my church’s fitness/wellness ministry some months ago…yep the one I was an avid partner of for a while. I was determined like so many others to get this body right for the summer….I was off to a great start too….within three weeks I’d actually been running because I wanted to. I felt even better when my daughter commented that I wasn’t squishy anymore….we laughed it off and it seemed that I was A-okay with a new healthier lifestyle…I mean, the trainer at my church was so tough on us that you wanted to eat better just so the pain of the workout is bearable.

But then we had “white-out!” That’s the time that all church ministries take a break from meetings to allow time for family vacations and the like.

Well…it was already agreed that we would continue the workouts anyway so we wouldn’t get off track…Well, I kind of fell off track…way off…it started with one day when I wasn’t feeling well…then the next day I had too much to do…then the next day…and so on…by the end of the first week, I tried to rebound my workout with a trip to the zoo…of course the Wendy’s burger, fries, and Frosty weren’t the best option for meal time…but I surmised that I would walk it off in the sweltering heat anyway….fast forward a month…needless to say…before long…I felt the bulge again….Oh no!

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Yep, what took a few months to lose took weeks to find!

I’d gained every ounce back…Now oddly enough, I could still “techicnically” fit my size 10 jeans, but sitting down in them became mission impossible…consequences of being an endomorph…smh….but at least I’m in good company….teeheee-had a silly moment!

So this morning I decided to get back in the game and stop tripping with excuses. I really have no room for any…I mean when I paid for a gym membership some years ago, I had no problem staying there to workout for over an hour at a time, but the hardest part of that journey was actually getting there.  Even still sometimes, getting there is just the beginning….Get this, I have a fitness center at my job for free and I’m in the building 5 days a week! So why has it been months since I dotted those doors and weeks since I’d seen my workout buddies at the church?

I could say lazy, but that is too easy…so I’ll use “inconsistent.”  It’s been said that it takes about 21 days to form a habit…I imagine if that is true, given my situation, it only takes about 2 days to break it…sad but it always seems easier to break the good ones….

Oh well, I have to be real with myself…I’ve gained weight and I don’t like it…

I’ve been lethargic and an old back injury has started bothering me again because of the extra pounds…so though I’ve tried before and failed, I’m grateful that God reminded me that a righteous man can fall 7 times and get back up…I know I’m righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice so getting back up isn’t as hard as I thought…

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…So although my coworkers love to cook, bake, and spread the love by way of Chocolate treats several times a week…that it’s much easier to stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s I realize that there is someone greater in me than the temptation ahead of me…so yes, I’m done with the excuses.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (NIV)

This morning, I made a decision to do what I should have been doing all along…take better care of myself inside and out…not just to lose weight, but to gain perspective.  I know that my children are active and nothing shocked and thrilled my son more than when I was able to run and chase after him playing…I felt great that I could keep up…I had more energy overall and my stress levels tanked so naturally the exercise thing is a win-win. I’ve quoted “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” for years…

I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ

…the thing I suppose I’d forgotten to do is believe what I’d read…I mean…all things means everything?

So yes,  I have the ability to control my portions, pick better food choices, workout regularly, and enjoy the process!  

Yes, it’s possible to get off track quickly without an accountability partner to help you, but thankfully I realized this morning that I don’t have to fall off track anymore because Jesus is my personal trainer.

 

 

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Be the Real Thing

When it comes to a dating relationship, the only games I like are spades and maybe Taboo.  And yes, even that gets old, but I’ve done my research and it amazes me of how many websites, books, columns, and questions are out there about the “hot and cold” dynamic.

POSTER-LOVE-NOT-FINITO

In case, you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’ll define it”  At the start of a relationship…sparks ignite and things get hot (and not necessarily physical either)…when you meet, date, think you’re in love…you just can’t seem to get enough of each other…aka..usually the infatuation period…then all of a sudden…something changes…without warning…the calls aren’t as frequent, the text messages aren’t answered immediately if at all…now an argument would definitely be a good reason for this ghost action, but what if there is no argument or misunderstanding? That’s just it….cold =no warning.

Now, I’ll admit, it’s been a minute since I’ve been back on the market so I actually ran across all of this information in my own little misguided tour of what to do…I mean…I’d been married for most of my life so I really didn’t have much of a good blueprint for dating/courtship and stuff….scratch that, I had it available (the Bible)…I just didn’t use it much then…

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…so went my hunt for knowledge about the dating world.

There were all these little rules about what “you should do and should say to attract and keep a man. In retrospect, I was a seriously curious sister, but I’m glad I snapped out of it before I really did some stupid stuff….my point, has anyone thought that maybe the only “should” that you do in dating is “be yourself?”  There is after all, only one you so why try to fit some imaginary mold created by people with impossible standards? All that does is breed insecurity and drama…Lord knows I’ve had my share of both and I’m so not going for that anymore….Ah Freedom!!!

Get this, the more I perused, the more I was confused.  And, while I’m embarrassed to admit it, I did get sucked in for a minute in the land of the “shoulds.”  In other words, of all the articles I read,  the common denominator agreed on one of two possibilities for your beau to go cold. … that it wasn’t necessarily that “he’s just not that into you” but it could be that he’s a “commitment phobe.”

While either of those points are plausible…after exhausting my mind with all the what ifs, I realized that nobody seemed to address the “so whats.”

So what if he doesn’t call often…so what if he doesn’t text back immediately…so what if he is actually not into you. I mean, the thing I got from all of this was that often times we put a little too much emphasis on the trivial…and not what really matters…like do you actually enjoy each others company…do you respect one another…does he have your best interest in mind….what does his character say about him…Maybe, I think this way because I’m busy with two children, two dogs, a mortgage, and a full time career than to be consumed by that stuff. Maybe it’s that I’ve learned by being impatient you usually end up with regrets….Maybe I’m just okay with me and I understand that everyone is different.  Maybe its that I’ve learned some powerful lessons about being yourself and realizing that if the brother can’t take you for you…it was never meant to be anyway…that’s unconditional…that’s why I guess I’m so giddy about  embracing the love God has for me…I can be real and He still loves me, flaws and all.  So yeah, I got back out there for a minute and wore a mask quite well, but what I ended up with was what I thought I wanted instead of what I really needed. Not something I’d advised you to try. Regardless, whether you’re in a “committed” relationship or just dating, don’t forget to keep God in the midst, have fun, and most of all.. Be the Real Thing!

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

The value of something is equal to the sum of what someone is willing to pay for it.  Now think of it this way.  You were bought with the blood of Jesus so you’re priceless!  Why settle to be treated like a simple trinket?

Simply put,  baby, you don’t know your worth!

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I’m sure that you’ve heard that you cannot love someone else without first loving yourself.  While there’s some truth in that statement, that’s not the starting point.  Some people have it twisted that love is about “give and take,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes love is about giving, but the latter part is receiving not taking.  It plainly states in the bible that Jesus willingly laid down his life for us according to John 10:18

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.

Now that’s love! 

Receiving God’s love opens the door for you to be able to receive love from others.  But if you think you don’t deserve something, it’s a lot easier to turn it down even when you know it’s good for you. I admit I didn’t know my worth for a while and I settled for less over and over. 

Do you know why I thought I was undeserving of better?

I hadn’t considered the magnitude of God’s love for me then.  This misguided perception almost crippled me with insecurity and self-loathing. I didn’t know how to receive His love….even in prayer, I’d find myself commenting to God about how unworthy I was to be in His presence.  I think God got a little sick of my pity party because lately when I drift off into “woe mode” because of a sin I’ve willingly committed, the moment I repent, He abruptly interrupts me with something like Romans 8:1-2 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.

As if He were telling me, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

But God lovingly taught me how to receive love. I’m still working on some areas of healing and it’s been a process, but I’m learning every day to embrace God’s love for me more.

Even today, He placed on my heart these questions,

  • Who told you that you were unworthy of my best?
  • Who made you believe that you had to settle?
  • Who made you forget that you’re my diamond?

Then God whispered,

Daughter, when your world seemed dark and you felt all alone suffering under a world of pressure, I was perfecting you.

I admit that I had no immediate answer. There were too many faces to blame, including myself.  Yet when He reminded me of His grace, it really didn’t matter anymore. I was no longer concerned with counting who did what to me.  Instead, I counted myself a diamond who’s not so rough anymore.

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©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Red, Yellow, Black, and White

Awesome read…thank you for your honesty and transparency…this is so true!

This One Life

judah wesley kate

These two have no idea. All they know is that they’re shorter than the rest of the people in their homes, and when they get together, they have size and ballet in common. They understand each other’s tiny voices. They understand that if the other one takes a toy she’s playing with, the playroom will become an MMA ring. What they don’t understand is that one day, sooner than any thinking person would like, they’ll be ridiculed for their friendship for no other reason except that one of them has more melanin than the other. And you know who’ll teach them to think that way? The big people around them.

I know these two kids. One is mine, the other is her friend, so I know that such hatred won’t come from their parents. But like it or not, we live in a nation full of people who hate other…

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The Problem with 50 Shades of Grey.

Haley Morgan Smith Blog

Why, hello people I love.

Before I continue writing, note that this blog is PG-13. I’m gonna talk about sex. So. Fair warning.

Picture this. You’re in the kitchen warming up supper and your husband comes home from work. He says hello, kisses you, and lays a plastic bag on the counter. In the plastic bag is book with a naked lady on the cover in a provocative pose. You get on Facebook, and you see he has liked the fan page of the book. You see that he has shared the book’s movie trailer on his page. You see that he is discussing with all his guy friends publicly who should  be the actress portraying the naked girl on the book cover. He is discussing which lady in Hollywood is the hottest, has the biggest breasts and butt, prettiest face, etc. He is saying how he wishes the naked lady’s…

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