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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

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October 2014

I Owe. I Owe. So Off To Work I Go

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

Psalm 30:11

If you recall in an earlier post, I mentioned that some people rely on employment to serve as a source of contentment. And then there are the rest of us.

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Come on don’t act like you don’t know someone who hates their job!

 

In fact, when I lost my last job it was the best thing that ever happened to me!

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Yep, I was there nearly 9 years and though I tried to quit several times, for whatever reason I couldn’t do it.  Actually, I even passively attempted to get myself fired years before it actually occurred.  And I got a promotion!   Go figure.

Now, I didn’t do anything stupid like steal or curse out upper management.  That would have surely sent me packing a lot sooner, but I was so miserable there that there were times that I would literally arrive at work early, sit in the parking lot until I was super late and then drag myself in the door at the realization that I had two other mouths to feed.

It seemed that I was okay at that place the first few years, but the older I got; the more I longed to be my own boss, outside those four walls. When I injured my back a few years later, I was confronted with the unrelenting reality that so many of my peers had complained about over the years. Before I’d had perfect attendance, volunteered overtime, and always sought to help others.  In fact, one time I was “empowered” to train my own new supervisor. Which sadly, by the way, I found out she too is no longer there.

Long story short- I was actually fired because of an illness mix up and by that time, I had finally gotten comfortable being uncomfortable on a regular basis.

It seems odd, but within the last two years there, God let me know that I was wrong for the way I was working.  Rather, not working.  By me putting in just enough effort to get by I was not only setting a bad example for my peers around me, I was making Him look bad in the process as well.

And let me tell you, God is so smooth with His approach too.

Yes, He does discipline us through His word, but this time, He got my attention in a much more profound way.  He got one of my coworkers to help me set His record straight!

“Yeah, Nadia I remember you before you knew the Lord.  You’ve changed.”

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it said a lot. Because this young lady had witnessed how God’s power through Christ had literally transformed my existence at work.  That was a good transformation mind you…only I knew that I had been passively doing what I was supposed to do instead of actively doing what I knew I could do.  Yes, because before I really accepted Christ as my Lord and savior, I drank with the best of ‘em, partied, and yes cursed like I’d just gotten off the ship.  So her words became a sobering moment for lack of a better word.  God showed me that I was not just being watched by Him, but that others had been watching me too.

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That said, regardless of how I longed to do something different, I still had a responsibility of maintaining and displaying the proper attitude where I was. It was at this point I realized that I worked not just because I needed the resources the job provided, but that I should work with a grateful heart and countenance because of who God provided.

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His son Jesus is the source of my strength and the keeper of my soul. Had it not been for His sacrifice not only would I have not had the job I did at the time, but I would not have been able to stomach the lost of it when that day came. However, that realization led me to reaffirm my faith in the one who is my Source.

So though I joke and sing the little rendition of the 7 dwarfs tune, “I owe, I owe so off to work I go,”  nowadays I realize it has nothing to do with the money I could earn and everything to do with the Grace through His blood that I did not.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Because I love you

“Because I love you”

It was a simple response. One I received a little over a month ago, but also one I wasn’t ready to grasp at the time. It wasn’t in response to a “why” question; rather to a “how” one. Not long ago I found myself in tears sitting in my bed surrounded by darkness crying out to God barely above a whisper…”How are you able to forgive me so quickly Lord?”

I’ve always prayed for God to allow me to love as He loves and to forgive as He forgives, but that night I was my own opposition.

I know I heard it distinctly. My answer came in waking. I’d done something the other night I shouldn’t have. I’d let the “sun set on my wrath.” I was angry and I couldn’t understand why I had to let it go….so I held onto it.

Hours later, my frantic actions led me still to a place of bewilderment. I knew God loved me, but until I fully opened my eyes the next morning, I wasn’t able to see His point. I sought to be that “good” mother who disciplines righteously and who was strong enough to withstand the drama of a teenage son and preteen daughter.

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I sought to train them in the way they should go but somehow I departed. That morning much like the hundreds before it, I felt hopeless as a single mother. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.  This week’s bible study was the confirmation that yes, there are just some things a mother can not teach a son! Only who could address my plight.  Now that I’ve attempted to man him up so much…I forgot I was originally called to be the nurturer.

When the transition occurred, I’m not sure. Maybe it was when I looked up one day and realized my son had finally hit a grow spurt.  Yes, that had to be when because every since that moment, it seems I’ve been the one with growing pains…. No better yet, perhaps it was when at my daughter’s last physical the doctor acknowledged she had begun developing already and that I needed to brace myself for monthly attitude adjustments…but I’d already been adjusting to her growing ‘tude already!

However, despite all my ranting and frustration, I never realized that my prayers for “them” to act right were so far from what they really needed of me.

This morning I realized why it seemed my prayers for them to get it together had been held up.

I hadn’t had it together.

Sure, I learned over the years how to fake it well in public, but other than God, no one knows the real me better than my children.  Yes, they were there throughout many of the trials I faced and conquered with God’s help because many times they shared it involuntarily.

I was told that they were anointed early on.  They are. I know this now. I’ve known it all along I suppose, but the past few years have shown me a side so contrary to these blessings that the woman I see in the mirror most days refused to believe.

But who was to blame?

I found myself wondering questions like:

Where that 11 year old was who choreographed the morning of the performance a praise dance to J. Moss’s God Happens that grown men couldn’t imagine the same?

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AND

Where was that innocently wise little girl who once chastised me when I’d clammed up about how much I knew about the word of God for fear of appearing like a Jesus freak at a Young Adult function some years back?

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Regrettably, I was.

Though I know the sins of the parents are no longer plaguing the children, I’m willing to take responsibility. I compromised. I’d grown weary. I’d forgotten that first love. I’d forgotten that my actions really do speak louder than words.

I’d recalled a bible study series that my pastor taught a few years ago reflecting the life of God’s esteemed servant Eli. Until that teaching, I had no idea how similar my life was to his…. a public success and a private failure.  I was convicted then that things needed to change, but I allowed duty to take precedence.

I grasped the courage to let go of the excessive obligations, but initially my motive was still selfish. Sure I really needed to rest, spend time in God’s word, and nurture my children, but I really wanted to date and spend time alone.

I was so backwards! That backwards thinking led  to my own discomfort. Instead of nurturing like I’d done in years passed, I got busy handing out rules that I passively enforced.  This morning, God showed me why things had gotten so hard. I’d only partially obeyed His command.

So I’ve been forced to reconsider my original question.  Though I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the response, I’m now able to understand with my heart how God can be so gracious with me time after time.  So the next time my children disobey my instruction, I no longer have to ponder why I should forgive them or how I can muster the will to do it.  I’ll just remember it all goes back to “because I love you.”

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Follow His Lead or Get Bitter Results

Boy have I had the time of my life on this little roller coaster, LITERALLY! No I haven’t gone to the fair yet…that’s scheduled for this weekend, but I mean this Emotional One I’ve been riding for way too long.

Methinks tis time to exit this ride!

 

images (38)  Had a Shakespeare moment!

Have you ever felt like you’ve met “The One” and it would seem that all the stars were aligned and your heart skips a beat when you think of them and then

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LIFE HAPPENS! I mean despite you “knowing” that he or she is “that elusive one,” for whatever reason when you finally grasp the courage to step up to the plate, things just don’t quite add up and you’re left wondering 

Wha Happened??????????????????????????????????????

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Well, for the ladies…sorry guys…if you’re like me…Singleness has the tendency to encourage an addiction to romantic comedies.  Even as I type this I’m realizing how that sounds, but I admit, I’m no hopeless romantic!

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Regardless, I’ve realized today…okay I really realized this weekend that perhaps, therein lies the problem! I guess I can only talk for myself, but I work with mostly women so I’ve heard similar stories, perused other blogs, and it seems the name of the game remains the same:

UNMET EXPECTATIONS=DISAPPOINTMENT

While I’ve been relatively disappointed at times with the way things have gone up and down relationally, this weekend I’ve come to one major conclusion: I’m Impatient!

Now I’d made up my mind a long time ago that when I chose to be chosen again I’d follow where God led me. That makes sense, right?

Sure it does.  Well, I prayed about it for a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG TIME and my prayers were answered about a year ago. Only, somewhere between me reuniting with my Joseph and my present, I forgot all about the reasons I prayed for him in the first place.

I got looped into this “romantic comedy fantasy of “shoulds.”  That is, I was so completely clueless about “dating again” that I allowed my mind to drift back to what I’d seen and heard “boyfriends” should do and say.  Therefore my expectations were skewed from the start.  Let’s face it, I’d learned enough from my past that friendship, trust, and mutual respect were non-negotiable, but when it came to taking things to the next level, I was all thumbs….and even now I’m still a bit fuzzy.

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It really makes no sense to me because when we were just friends, I could go anywhere with him, talk to him, joke with him, and laugh with him without later feeling self-conscious about whether I “said that” or “did that” right?  It didn’t matter because I didn’t care.  It’s not that I valued his opinion of me any less. Rather I just was so at ease when I was with him that I knew he’d accept me regardless of my flaws.  In fact, when either of us so-called “did or said something wrong” it made our time together that more hilarious!

We had a running joke for years on the days I wore my ever-faithful ponytail…apparently I was the only one at work that didn’t have a sewn-in…of course I’m not hating…you be you and I’ll be me…never had a need for weave thanks to my Cherokee roots!

I digress…anyway…truefriends

In my mind and heart for the past few months, I’ve battled within myself to get back to that place with him only to realize that I’m the one who left it in the first place. In retrospect, he hadn’t changed. His quirky sense of humor was the main reason I enjoyed his company.  It was his somewhat annoyingly comical personality that won my heart before I even knew I’d want to give him permission to handle it.

Now I’m stuck with the reality that the way I’ve been the last few weeks with my all in one minute/scared away the next minute antics has him just as clueless about how I truly feel about him as I’d been at the beginning of this endeavor because I allowed a superficial list of ideals set me up for failure….talk about listening to wrong advice.  I should have listened to my heart right after I listened to God whisper, “He’s my son too”

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Go figure…I’d asked for a Godly man…a good father for my children, and a friend wrapped into one, but it never occurred to me until now that God was on his side too…that just maybe, I had the potential to hurt him, but that God loved him as much as he loved me so He’d chosen to protect his heart as well.  Yes, I realize that given some of the hurts and hurdles I’ve had to overcome, the challenge to “get there” has been daunting…

…So I tried to rush things. I made assumptions.  I fell prey to the “shoulds” of a society that…let’s face it…otherwise, I am completely at odds with…so lately I’ve had to ask myself,

“Why can’t I be myself around him anymore?”

“Why do I find it necessary to always wear make up when I see him?”(as if he hadn’t seen me on my worst day before)

“Why do I feel the need to consider what others will say over what I feel?”

WHY?WHY?WHY?

Because I started out listening to God advice and ended up following my own…I’d failed to realize that God had already reassured me what and who was for me is for me…that He had already authored the end of my story and that every plot twist had been meticulously constructed with both His children’s best interest in mind. Somewhere in the mix, I got selfish…I went ahead of God, went forward and was stuck with bitter water…so now I’ve gone back to My Father and asked for His advice…His word stung as it healed.

2 Kings 2:18 New Living Translation (NLT)

18b “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” he asked.

I admit now that before last weekend…everything in me said don’t go there…delays occurred on both ends, but I was stubborn and did what I wanted to do.

I am grateful for God’s mercy though because like the followers in the text, I looked at the potential and decided to move forward although He’d told me to wait. Yes, this morning, I recalled that the Lord sent me to Ruth 3:18 a couple months ago. Since that time, I dissected that scripture many times, but I never did the obvious. I never waited.  So this morning, I repented and surmised again that God alone knows my end from my beginning.  He alone knows the desires of my heart even when I refuse to admit them.

So while I still enjoy my romantic comedy marathons and I can’t readily erase all the stuff I’ve read about couple “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts,” I’ve learned to rely on a far greater source for my relational advice from now on.  I’ve learned I have the hopeful expectation that He will do me good in my future.  Otherwise I could end up in the right place at the wrong time.

When I consider the consequences of all the wrong advice I’ve followed so far, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take again.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Few, The Proud, The Moms?

Since I embarked on this journey to fully employ the Fruit of the Spirit in my life, oh have I been tested! The past few days have been a plethora of circumstances that anyone else would assume it’s perfectly okay to “lose it.” In fact, I laughed in bible study last week when my pastor mentioned that he sometimes “loses it.” I laughed in agreement because I knew I too had that innate tendency. Well, by all accounts if I were a stick of dynamite and my teen son were the lit match this morning, yes, one might conclude my explosion completely justified! Yes, indeed just this morning…wow…I didn’t make it a week since that last post.

  • Now I could say I was frustrated because after the storm, the power went out and when it was restored…every room in my home was lit except our bedrooms, the living room, and my bathroom. That would indeed be true.
  • Or I could mention that I was aggravated because no matter how much I tell my son or daughter, for that matter, to clean their rooms they remain in disarray until I’ve had enough and I go do it.
  • Or I could declare my fury stems directly from the countless times I’ve pleaded with them to only eat in the kitchen and still remnants of corn chips, cookies, and popcorn end up everywhere but the room designed for them time and again.
  • I could state I feel unappreciated, taken for granted, and stressed way the heck out…..YES ALL OF THOSE THINGS WOULD BE A GREAT START TO THE DRAMA I’VE OBSERVED, LIVED, AND LOATHED FOR WAY TOO LONG!

Well, now that I’ve calmed down a bit…I just scarfed down a Bear Claw from Shipley’s—Ahhh —Sweet Relief—

I’ll go on…as I drove in silence this morning, I wondered why God trusted me with such a responsibility.  I also pondered one of the statements my son made that sent me into that silent mode.

Rewind…As I fed my two dogs and got ready to take them out to do what they do…my son sat at the kitchen table with a look of disgust saying,

“Six months is my limit…mama, these dogs are officially no longer mine!  Can we give ’em back? Can we get rid of them?”

Before I knew it, I said,

“You have never taken care of them!”

After all, he wasn’t the one taking care of them. I was!

I went on to say that he and his sister begged for me to allow them into my home when they were only weeks old….that they would care for them, walk them, and clean up after them….Yet, for nearly three years, I’d been doing all of that!!!!

The whole scenario danced in my head the entire drive to Park View High, but none stuck out more than those words, “Can we give ’em back?”  I considered it of my own children…sure Kayla wasn’t saying much today, but I allowed my anger to fester over all the things that they had done and hadn’t done to spite me…I wanted to get an exchange…surely I received some defective models?

I felt inadequate and again wondered why God felt I was apt enough to be their mom.

A few years ago things were different…they both were so respectful and well-mannered…I wanted to scratch my head, but I knew what I needed to do…God had been showing me for at least two years…first I needed to step back and stop being soooooo busy.  I did that, but God also showed me that I needed to remove the pacifiers! 

Yes, I had a teen son and a pre-teen daughter who had morphed into these monsters that I sometimes didn’t want to even be around.

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How on earth could this be?  Well, a while ago.  God led me to the verse,

A wise woman builds up her house while a foolish one tears it down by her own hand. 

Before, I suppose I had been that wiser woman.  Before I’d been the peculiar parent who was overprotective and wouldn’t allow them to go where they pleased without my approval of the person they traveled with or without a thorough inspection of that person’s home life.

Convicted!  I’d become passive in my parenting!  I’d stood idly by while my son’s grades slipped and his attitude did the same.  I’d once been the mother of all the kids in the neighborhood.

If they stayed over we all prayed together.  I pondered in the few minutes of the drive back and forth between then and now and again wondered how I, the bible-thumping believer, had allowed the enemy take hold of my children and perhaps me.

In a moment, I almost let the enemy condemn me for what I hadn’t done because I grieved over what my children had.  I almost allowed satan to think he was running my home.  Time after time I’d retreat to my bedroom for solace…for peace and quiet while technology babysat for this single mom.  I’d planned to take them to the park, skating, to the movies, to play cards…I’d planned to pray for them and with them like we used to do.   I needed to get back to that place, but before this morning, I admit, I really didn’t know how.

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Feeling like a hypocrite, God knew what was in my heart though I was too ashamed to utter another word from my lips.

After dropping my son off at school, I happened to get stuck behind a van that had been mottled with bumper stickers all over the back window and door.  One stood out:

The Few, The Proud, The Moms!

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I tskd and rolled my eyes still sick with contempt.

As I entered the highway, a truck drove by with one bumper sticker in bold red lettering:  MOMS ROCK!

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I sighed to myself considering very literally that rocks are strong while I’d become so weak. 

I noticed my daughter never uttered a word like she normally did when I listened to the Gospel stations…She usually begs me to change it.  Today, she was eerily silent too.  As she exited the vehicle, I had an urge to take a different route. I knew traffic was already hectic the direction I was going so though I was unfamiliar with the area, I been there before and was sure I could remember an easier way out of this mess if I put my mind to it.  I noticed everyone was headed that usual way…so everybody was stuck in the waiting game and getting more frustrated in the process….so with that, I veered left.

And am I glad that I did.  I was able to jump right in where I needed to be.  Until typing this, I hadn’t realized the magnitude of that decision as well as the subsequent reminders God provided me on my journey.

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God wanted me to take a new route to get me where I needed to be….where I’d been before, but had forgotten because it had been so long since I’d traveled it.

God didn’t stop reminding me of His mercy and that He’d made the right decision when He decided to bless me with my children.  In fact, He confirmed it over and over.  As I drove I saw one bill board advertising the marines state: Service comes with Pride and immediately I recalled the bumper sticker I’d seen prior that stated: The Few, The Proud, The Moms!

That’s when I realized that I kind of used to run things in my home like a marine some might say, but despite the normal stuff…my children were well disciplined!

….Discipline…Discipline…the word sounded vaguely familiar, but I knew I could no longer pretend like my lax attitude wasn’t the culprit behind their behavior.

I knew that I needed to not just unplug my ears to listen to what God had been telling me, but I also had to literally unplug the many devices I’d purchased over the years to maintain my own selfish sanity.

I thank God for His patience with me during this Prodigal period.  So with that, I inhaled and as I came to my senses, realized that I had not only been given permission to give my children back to Him, but that I’d been obligated to do so.

God does bless mess! I’m the proof!

I must give props where props are due so before I get any further I want you all to know that my son brought the title of this post to mind. It was kinda out of the blue last night while I was cooking when he mentioned it, but I thank God for His timing.

He just came up to me and stated, “Mama, we’ve had it wrong for a long time. You know how everyone is always saying , ‘God doesn’t bless mess’…He does…He blesses us all the time and we’re pretty messed up!

Such wisdom from a child….so glad God thought to bless me with him!

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Of course he was absolutely correct….I’ve even said that old cliche’ myself…but I admit that when I have it was usually with a self-righteous attitude….

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Yep…I thank God for renewing my mind to the realization that I HAVE NOT ARRIVED…so I don’t have to worry about those ugly little thoughts anymore.

Regardless,  what my son so eloquently reminded me was so profound that I literally woke up rejoicing that God’s  mercies are indeed new every morning!

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That said, this is not a license to do whatever you want because you can!  

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Rather, this is reassurance that though God knew the wrong you were going to do before you knew you the wrong you would do, He still chose to unconditionally love YOU…

images (30) EVEN IN YOUR MESS!!!

He loves YOU so much in fact that He took the time to set His thrown aside, step into YOUR shoes, walk through YOUR valleys, carry YOUR cross, and be condemned in YOUR place. He loves YOU enough to lay His life on the line so YOU wouldn’t have to do it. And it wasn’t forced.

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So even when I don’t get this Christian walk right, it’s refreshing to know that God’s love blesses me even while I’m in my mess.

 

You Angry Fool!

Ecclesiastes 7:9 New Life Version (NLV)

 Do not be quick in spirit to be angry. For anger is in the heart of fools.

It’s the first day of October and since it’s day one, I’ve decided to explore a different approach with this blog going forward. As I’ve prayed and pleaded with My Father for direction in various areas of life thus far, one thing has been apparent…I’ve got issues!!!

Before I go further….I know from my own past experiences and from the testimonies of others that the answer to every problem, concern, and yes every issue is available in the Word of God.  bible

There have been times where I have been led to meditate on a particular scripture for a time and yes, I’ve done that, but sometimes I haven’t.  Well lately…okay for a loooooong time God’s let me know that I need to get my anger and some other issues in check before I can access all that He has in store for me.  In short, He has it all, but I’m simply NOT READY TO RECEIVE IT!

I mean I keep saying I’m going to meditate on this and that and for whatever reason I get distracted and fall short. Well, considering that I’m absolutely tired of the “me” I’ve become sometimes, I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do is not only say I’m going to renew my mind, but to actually do it.

Now there’s an idea!

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Of course it seems easier said that done, but if you recall,  I said that with exercise. In fact, I said a few months ago that I wouldn’t be caught dead running on purpose, but I run often now.  It all started by me placing one foot in front of the other.

Since that little transition, I feel a whole lot better.  I even want to eat better because it actually physically hurts when I don’t.

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Overall, I’m physically healthier because of that first step so now I’m challenging myself to be more spiritually healthy.

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Ahhh…The Fruit of the Spirit….I know I already have this buried inside of me because it was deposited when I accepted Christ.  I just have yet to tap into its full potential.

Now bible readers know that the Fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  However, what some never give attention to are those things that are exactly contrary to possessing this Christ-like character….those mentioned just a few verses before it…

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Galatians 5:19-21 New Life Version (NLV)

19 The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living,20 worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, 21 wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God.

My am I grateful for God’s grace!

Let’s Face It! While I’ve shed quite a bit of the “old me” since I’ve accepted Christ, I realize all too often the things that I actually have the ability to control I’ve just kind of chopped up to “being human.”

Excuses aside…I know perfection is not attainable on this side of heaven, but I know that I owe My Father at least my best effort at pleasing Him.

This is not about condemnation….This is mere conviction…the difference is condemnation pushes you down while conviction makes you aware so you can get back up once you’ve fallen.

That said, from here on, it’s my intention that as I seek Him to help me destroy all within me that’s not like Him that I also provide advice and tips to help others do the same.

So I suppose my focus of choice and necessity at this point is Anger…so yes, I’m scouring the word for it so that I can not just get rid of it, rather, to rid myself of the sinful way I’ve been used to handling it.

That my friends is the challenge!

Yet, considering what I know about myself and what I know about God…I’m confident that I’m nobody’s fool so I suppose it’s about time that I stopped acting like one!

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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