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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

Month

November 2014

More Than a Day

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OOH…I CAN’T BELIEVE I MANAGED TO GET OUT OF IT THIS YEAR…NO TURKEY…NO DRESSING…NO ASSIGNMENT…TO WAKE UP THIS MORNING IS INDEED A BLESSING AND A GREAT REASON TO GIVE THANKS..

HOWEVER, IF ONE WERE TO ENTER MY HOME THIS MORNING THEY MIGHT THINK IT ODD.  THE ABSENCE OF AROMAS MIGHT GIVE THE INDICATION THAT I HAVE CHOSEN TO GO ON STRIKE FROM THANKSGIVING…WELL, I ADMIT….I HAVE!

YEP, THIS YEAR, I DECIDED I WOULD NO LONGER CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING DAY. ONE COULD EASILY ASSUME THAT MY REASON IS BECAUSE I KNOW OF THE ACTUAL STORY OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE “PILGRIMS” OR THAT I JUST NO LONGER WANT TO COOK.

…MAYBE I’VE GROWN LESS INTERESTED IN THE HYPE OR PERHAPS SOMEONE WOULD ASSUME LIKE MANY THAT I’D GROWN TIRED OF PARADING OVER FAMILY MEMBERS’ HOMES THAT I HADN’T CONTACTED ALL YEAR JUST TO PRETEND LIKE I WANT TO BE THERE FOR THE SAKE OF SAYING I’D ATTENDED THE “FAMILY DINNER.”

WELL, EITHER OF THOSE ASSUMPTIONS, THOUGH A BIT DISTURBING COULD BE TRUE AND MAY EVEN RING TRUE WITH SOME OF YOU MORE THAN WOULD YOU CARE TO ADMIT IT, BUT THAT’S NOT WHY I’VE CHOSEN TO STRIKE ON TURKEY DAY THIS YEAR AND EVERY YEAR FROM HERE OUT…THE REASON IS FAR MORE SIMPLE, BUT STILL MORE PROFOUND….I’VE LEARNED A SECRET.

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EVERYDAY IS A DAY OF THANKSGIVING!!!

I REMEMBER A WHILE BACK SOMEONE DEAR TO MY HEART MENTIONED THAT THEY REALLY DIDN’T PRAY MUCH, BUT INSTEAD JUST SPENT EVERYDAY THANKFUL.  NOW WHILE I FOUGHT THE URGE TO POINT A SELF-RIGHTEOUS FINGER AT HIM FOR HAVING DECIDED TO LIVE IN THIS WAY, OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS I’VE REALIZED THAT HE HAD A GREAT POINT.

NOW OF COURSE I’M AN ADVOCATE OF PRAYER, HOWEVER, I HAD TO ADMIT THAT BEING THANKFUL IN ITSELF IS A TYPE OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION THAT SAYS, “I APPRECIATE YOU” TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER ON A REGULAR BASIS.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

I’M WRITING THIS LITTLE SOMEWHAT CONTRADICTORY POST NOT TO FLARE YOU UP BUT TO DO THE SAME THING THAT THIS LITTLE COMMENT DID TO ME AFTER I CONSIDERED HIS POINT:  RESERVING EACH DAY TO LIVE GRATEFUL INSTEAD OF RESERVING ONE DAY TO “ACT” LIKE I AM.

NOW DON’T GET IT TWISTED, I DIDN’T COOK, BUT IN A MINUTE I’M ABOUT TO HIT THE ROAD AND GET WITH MY FAMILY WHO DID SO I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FOOD AND FESTIVITIES THAT THE CELEBRATION OF THANKSGIVING DAY HAS BROUGHT TO OUR COUNTRY OVER THE YEARS.  ONLY NOW I’VE REALIZED THAT THIS THANKSGIVING DAY IS NOT WHERE THE GRATITUDE STARTS AND STOPS.

IN FACT, MY GRATITUDE STARTED THIS MORNING WHEN I WOKE UP BECAUSE CHRIST GOT UP FOR MY SAKE SO LONG AGO.

SO WHETHER YOU ARE GOING IT SOLO OR SPENDING IT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE THE TIME TO RESURRECT THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MATTER, REMEMBER TO FORGIVE, AND EVEN FORGET SOME THINGS ON PURPOSE TO MAKE THE FIRST PART A BIT EASIER NOT JUST FOR A HOLIDAY, BUT FOR EVERYDAY.

YEP I’M ON STRIKE FROM A HOLIDAY OF THANKSGIVING BECAUSE ONE DAY COULD NEVER BE ENOUGH FOR ALL THE THANKS MY FATHER IS DUE.  BE BLESSED FAMILY!

 

Calm Down and Wait

I woke up to an inevitable mess this morning…well scratch that…it was definitely avoidable, I just didn’t act quickly enough and there goes the rest…one of my dogs got sick and though I heard her yelping this morning to go out.  I kind of allowed my sleepiness aka laziness have its way instead….and the moment I realized what was going on, it was too late…YAK!

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I know that’s not the most aesthetically pleasing picture for a Sunday morning…but imagine how I felt about the smell!

EEEW!!!  Out steps the dog and in steps ODOBAN to the rescue….

Anyway, while Angel was whining,  I didn’t just lay silent in bed.  I’m a light sleeper so I actually responded, “Calm down, just wait!”  Yes, I treated her as if she were a human and as if she had the ability to do what I’d requested on cue…dog people should get that..

But for those of you who either have been misled into thinking that cats are an acceptable companion and not the irritating piece of furry vermin with claws they really are or that you’re perfectly okay with no four-legged critters around, I’ll explain further.

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Needless to say, my request was fruitless…she’s a dog and while she obeys many commands and there are days when I just know she “gets me” more than any other human on the planet, she can’t be expected to follow my instruction in mid-yak!  I mean it’s involuntary and like us, when we get sick of something and have to purge, it’s a not so nice feeling that we aren’t exactly able to stomach either…pun intended….

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Now that I’ve grossed you out so far…I guess I should find a point here..

Well, unlike my dog, when our Master tells us to calm down and wait, it’s in our best interest because not doing so is the only time there’s a mess to clean up. The kicker is that we do have a choice when we’re told to wait.

Why?  Because God loves us so much He allows us to have free will. I mean the Guy spoke and there was night and day so of course He could’ve created of us to obey on demand, but that’s not how God rolls.

The problem is we rarely listen to His advice the first, second, or even third time.  I guilty here!

Yep, sometimes I have to learn my lesson over and over again before I get it.

Like the little lesson I learned over the past few days, there’s a definite benefit to stop worrying, look at the situation objectively, and listening to what God says about it before you respond. In fact, just last weekend while on a road trip, I found myself giving another young lady the same advice…go figure….rather, I told her that waiting is her best option when she mentioned, ” I mean I want to be married like yesterday!”

It’s not the first time I’d heard her say that and given my own history, I couldn’t dare allow her to make the same mistakes I had because of impatience.  Also, after talking some more with her and another friend, we all realized the one thing we had in common.  We were all sort of angry with our men…well, one girl seemed to be chronically upset with hers, but that’s a subject for another day.  I guess the situation wasn’t as funny as our laughter made it seem at the time, but as we vented we realized our abrupt actions led to a trivial pursuit of having it our way. Of course, the guys on the road trip gave us a hand in that revelation.

Nonetheless, perhaps our little battle of the sexes proved one thing.  We all essentially want the same thing in a committed relationship: to be loved unconditionally, respected, and appreciated; but men and women are different and it takes time for those differences to either compliment or repel one another.  Also it definitely helps if you know what makes you feel loved. Check out 5 love languages for singles…Awesome read!!!

Given that understanding, it’s important to know that marriage doesn’t start with the wedding.  It starts with God.  Unfortunately, however, we live in a microwave culture and because so many don’t take the time to wait on God’s approval, provision, and timing, far too many marriages end with the wedding.

Even still, unlike my lazy response to my dog’s cries for help, God understands our fragile ability to wait and He gives us grace to calm down and wait if we just listen.  Over time I’ve learned He also won’t leave me hanging like I left my poor Angel a little too long this morning.  For that, I’m grateful.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Stop, Look, and Listen….Then React

James 1:19 The Message (MSG)

Act on What You Hear

19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

  You need to do what you are supposed to do and then you will be able to do what you want to do.

I’ve said that to my son and daughter countless times over the last few months, but this morning I finally decided to listen to my own advice.

I’ve been struggling with a relationship concern so I asked God to help me with it. I reminded Him that I prayed for my Joseph and that I was thankful that He delivered, but I couldn’t understand what was up with me all of a sudden.

It’s like I was in super passive mode.  I wanted to keep it real with him, but the that was where I was running into trouble.

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God reminded me that before He brought him into my life and several times since then that He’d told me pretty much the same thing I’d told my children.

Now because I knew my response to my children was the result of them not completing a chore assigned them, I knew what I needed to do that I hadn’t.

I’m relieved God is my Father!  I know He has my best interest in mind and that my opportunity for a loving relationship wasn’t removed, but delayed in a sense by my own hand.  I had a mess to clean up first.

I was told to take things slow.  God knew I needed to get my heart ready.  The pain from my past bred some issues and attitudes that needed to die.  Low self-worth and ungodly soul-ties had to go!

I thought I had it together…

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In theory I believed I was okay with God’s timing, taking things slow, but lately certain tests have proven that I’m not nearly as ready as I need to be.

The problem…

You know those pesky little issues I mentioned earlier that I needed to kill?  Well, perhaps I didn’t exactly put an end to ‘em after all.

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Sure, I let most of the lies that led me to settle for less get sick, but fear of releasing the familiar later had me hooking ‘em up to life support apparently.  Well, today I had a wake- up call…okay, I actually got a few days ago and I’m playing catch up, but you get my point I’m sure.

The issue that cropped up between my beau and I really should not have been an issue at all.  But it became one because of my response to his honesty.  He ultimately had honored what I requested from the very beginning…that he be up front and completely honest.  Yet, I responded to him from an insecure place.

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Well, after some time alone with the Lord and His word, I realized I was the only one in my way.  In effect, by not killing those issues of my past, I prevented myself from being able to slow down in my heart.  I created the delay.

In retrospect, had I done so, I would have been able to consider the proper response.  I would have realized how rash my comments otherwise would have been. But I didn’t stop myself, look at the situation has a whole, or listen to what God had already placed on my heart.

In reality I responded the way I did because I hadn’t fully killed the issues of my past.  Sure I am divorced, but I involuntarily reacted in a way as if I had been dealing with my ex…you know someone I couldn’t trust….someone who had lied everyday of our marriage…someone who disrespected me just because I allowed it.  None of which had been the case with My Joseph…not when we were just friends…not when we decided to step further…

Apparently, I grew accustomed to my affliction.  I was so used to hiding my real feelings that I almost short-circuited my ability to be loved unconditionally. That’s a sacrifice I’m not willing to make again.

So now I’m determined to pull the plug on the pain of my past and embrace my future with confidence.  That said, I’m quite okay with pumping my brakes until God gives me the green light to accelerate from now on.

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

The Rest really is up to You!

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Believe it or not there are some people out there who are so overwhelmingly positive that if you put a stick of dynamite in their Kool-aid, their response would be something like, ” What colorful fireworks!”

Well I know envy is not an attribute I want to advocate here so let’s just say that I admire those folk. Better yet, I used to be one of those folk.  At least a few years ago it seemed that would have been a good way to describe my attitude towards life anyway.

So this morning I’m up pondering yet again, how do I get back there?

…Back to a time when the encouragement I shared with others kept me primed for the next opportunity to witness…what happened to the real me?

…that me who God called…the one who actually gained energy from being a little peculiar…the one who wasn’t afraid to be the minority right in a crowd of so much wrong…

Somewhere along the way, I got tired….or as I’ve joked TIDE!

Yes, over the years I’ve gotten tired of all the looks from people who don’t know me but outwardly judge me because of my ability to smile when others are complaining.  I suppose I grew tired of the feeling of being pulled by every arm to do stuff as if I were the only one who possessed 8 of them.  Indeed, I got tired of being a mother who did it all only to be underappreciated.  I even grew tired of church folk so at times Beside Baptist was my preferred venue for worship on Sunday mornings.

Yet, after heading to bed at midnight and waking at 3:47 am with this post on my heart, I realized I really have no reason to be tired at all.  Awaken by that still, small voice, the way I had been in years passed before dawn and before my alarm clock could catch up, I smiled at the realization that yes, He did it again!

God allowed me to get knocked down to a place so low that only He could give me the strength to get up.  I’d be lying if I said the events that have taken place in the last 24 hours have been anything short of devastating, but I’m thankful that I was so lovingly reminded today that the rest really is up to me.

I’m thankful God placed it on my pastor’s heart to start a series about the elusive rest I’d once possessed so effortlessly.  After a great series on balance, I needed to be reminded of how I can rest in God’s presence. I thought I was there in service because in spite of the things I’d faced recently, I had come to realize why I’d been so tired.  It was simple!

I needed more of HIM!

Dear Gracious Lord,

Thank You for reminding me that You love me just for being Your child… that no person on earth could ever give me the kind of love that You give me everyday.  Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes and survive them.  Thank you for blessing me with gifts to encourage others. Thank you for mending my broken heart.  Thank you for preparing me for who You have for me. Help me not to take over in the process. Help me to patiently wait on Your choice for me.  Thank you for allowing him to come into the picture only when we both are ready for that step.  Help me not to allow the pain in this moment punish who You’ve designed for me.  Thank You for provision and direction.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Shaken, Just Stirred

 

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Yes, what a beautiful morning! A few days ago, despite the temperature matching the atmosphere I’m witnessing today, I might not have had the same response. In fact, despite the glowing sun, last week I can attest that I was in a very dark place. Depressed? Nah….I can identify the source of my sadness so I can’t exactly claim that scapegoat.

Simply put, “A sista been goin’ through!” Yep, I felt the need to escape, if only for a moment a proper vernacular for those who possibly peruse this site for the soul purpose of reading prose that lacks grammatical errors with the exception of those that are intentional, of course. Yep, I went there!

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From electrical issues and car trouble, it seems that Murphy’s law has become a way of life for me over the past couple months and last week I just found myself completely exhausted! So much that I did all but beg my boss for the opportunity to work from home for at least one of my two reasons.

Sure, I woke up Monday morning with the pinkeye.  Yuk, gross…well thankfully, I’d had some drops already so I was able to get a head start on the healing process….Only, when I’d awaken to that bloodshot bull’s eye, I was actually relieved.  I was somewhat happy with an excuse to rest…something I’d found increasingly more difficult within the last few weeks.  I’d been getting by off 2 and 3 hours a day, working out, going here and there…never realizing the obvious danger I had been subjecting myself and my children to needlessly.  It seemed that I once again had forgotten how to just say no.

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But how could I say no…I’d had a job to do…I was the single mom who secretly donned a cape and some great boots to kick things in gear for my children….Never mind that my exhaustion was taking its toll on my health. I was the super soldier for Christ and I had to give my best at work and not get to a place where I felt entitled at work because I owed Him so much.

Yet this passed week, I’ve realized that while God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is revealed in my weakness, He never told me to get comfortable being uncomfortable!

Yet, as I look at my surroundings and the state of things financially from the year prior to the present, I had to consciously ask myself the question, “What has changed?”

I guess the question itself wouldn’t bite as much had I not also had to answer it, but that would be much too easy. I understand now that therein lies my problem. Spiritually, I recognize the need to do things differently.  Even mentally I’ve considered the consequences of not doing so.  Yet, my actions have remained null and void.  Even with exercise, I’ve gotten stagnant.  I’ve realized that the weights I’d been using were no longer challenging me, but instead of literally pumping up the volume, I’ve opted for using the same weight only to be disappointed at the realization my efforts were making little difference now.

Well today, I was reminded that God’s love for me provides me a choice. A choice to do something different to achieve a different result.  And might I add, you do too! That is, if you’ve been where I have and if you’ve felt like you’re the only one aboard a sinking ship, the choice on how you will respond is still up to you!

You see, last week I worked from home and while I was doing so, I had the opportunity to listen to my music.  I kind of went on an R&B tip and got into India Arie again.  I couldn’t getMoved by You” out of my head for days even though I couldn’t recall one lyric beyond that hook.

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I realized this morning and perhaps the dawning of another day last week that I had neglected to be “moved by God” again.  This subconscious perspective I was guilty of harnessing was further confirmed when I attempted to listen to some other music.  Ironically, my computer got locked in safe mode and I kept getting errors that I the videos I attempted to access were “not appropriate for viewing.” Initially, I thought it weird because the content was not vulgar.  I don’t like that stuff anyway.  However, I was able to access Gospel videos with ease.

In fact, yesterday morning I tried one last time and was switched to a TD Jakes sermon instead.  I was captivated and convicted.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God had been telling me something…that all the sermons and songs of hope I’d been exposed to were not a coincidence.  Rather, proof of God’s providence.

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Essentially, that despite the financial mistakes, delayed promotions, and emotional mountains I faced were nothing compared to His presence with me in the midst of them.  He was still able to bring me through!  I learned as I was somewhat involuntarily submerged that He was only allowing the trials and failures rekindle the fire that had been blazing within me before…that He loved me too much to allow me to be comfortable simply nesting in a mess.

My Father assured me that He is not allowing the problems to shake my faith, but to stir it.  For that love, I am eternally grateful.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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