Another Reason to Give Thanks Pt 1

On November 16, 2010, my mom and I were in a wreck that should have truly ended both of our lives. Below is a post I wrote on my old blog on November 25, 2010. It is raw and unedited. I felt led to share it (as is) once again. Later this weekend, I will post a part 2 looking back at the events following this piece as well as photos from the accident.
I must say that around this time every year, I have come to be more appreciative of the second chance God gave me. The fact that my mom and I are here today is nothing short of a miracle.

Another Reason to Give Thanks – November 25, 2010

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Psalm 107:1

A lot has happened to me in the past week. My mom and  I were on our way to my University last Tuesday morning. Little did I know that morning, something would happen that would set my world for a spin – literally.

We were driving on the road on our way to my school, sipping coffee and talking about how great God is and enjoying the colorful leaves that were starting to fall. The roads were a little wet and it was drizzling.. we were having a good mother-daughter time. But then our truck somehow got out of control and it spun; and as I screamed,  a sea of yellow and orange came rushing toward us as the side of our truck hit the mountainside. Everything turned black. When I awoke, the truck was upside-down and I was facing my seat. I remembered the impact and started screaming. I looked for my mom expecting that she be on the driver’s side…. dead. But she wasn’t there. Terrified by the fact that we had crashed, the blood running down my face and onto my scarf, and the fact that I couldn’t find my mom gave me more reason to scream louder… for help, for my mom, and for my Jesus.

I was in shock. I heard voices outside and saw someone’s shadow through my window. A voice asked me for my name and opened my door and talked to me, trying to keep me calm as he asked me questions. I’m 18. I wasn’t sure if I had blacked out. I didn’t know how we crashed. Yes, the woman outside the truck had to be my mom. No, there were no other passengers. It was just me and my mom trying to get to school. No, I was not wearing my seatbelt… she wasn’t either. Sir, is my mom ok? I’m dizzy… please don’t let me go to sleep… Jesus, please be with my mom.

As soon as they got me out of the truck and into the ambulance, everything picked up speed. Needles, IVs, questions, and more questions. “When was your last mestrual period? Is there any chance of infectious disease?” No. “Is there any chance you’re pregnant?” No, sir. Definitely not. “Definitely not? How do you know??” I’ve never had sex… His face, priceless…

When we got into the trauma unit, everything went even faster. A lot of the same questions, and a lot of the same answers. I just wanted to see my mom.. I know these people are just doing their job and trying their best to comfort me. I just wanted to see her and know she was ok.

I was discharged a few hours later. I didn’t see my mom that day. Nor did I see her the next one. I wouldn’t see her until Thursday, the 18th – two days after the fact. Her injuries were hard to bear. But this was my mom. She was alive, and for that I was thankful. It’s been a week and two days since our accident, and it has been a test of faith. When I was in the ambulance and they told me my mom was alive, I gave thanks to God.

The Bibles says that in all things we should give thanks. Yes, we were in a horrible crash. Yes, our truck is totaled. Yes, my mom is still in the hospital. But we’re alive, and for that I am so grateful! There is no greater gift than the gift of life. Ever since the accident, I can’t help but thank God for His everlasting mercy. I knew I wasn’t ready to die… I knew I wasn’t right with God at that time. But He gave me a second chance. And it’s been prophesied, my mom’s going to come out of this greater and stronger… sevenfold. She is going to be taken into a higher place in God.

Every breath is a second chance with God. It’s another reason to make things right. We shouldn’t just be thankful for the great things He has done for us. But we should be thankful for even the “little” things that don’t seem like a whole lot. Living is just another reason to give thanks.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1Thess. 5:18

A no from God can be more beneficial to us than His yes.

When God Says No.

Tonight, as I began my nightly devotion, I went through my usual routine of journaling… starting with praise. I thanked Him for all the things He’s blessed me with, for bringing me through another day, and for answered prayers. Tonight, however, I felt an urge to thank Him for something I’ve never really given much thought to… I began to thank Him for unanswered prayers.

“Tonight, I’m thankful for unanswered prayers,” I wrote. “We always tend to thank Him for our answered prayers — which is good. But I feel at times we forget that a ‘no’ from God can be more beneficial to us than His yes.” I paused, and began my nightly routine. As I was brushing through my hair, I let that thought sink in…

“A ‘no’ from God can be more beneficial to us than His yes.”

I began to reflect on all the times I’ve begged God to answer certain prayers. To keep certain relationships from dying, to deliver me from struggles of anxiety and the like… Looking back, I can see that not only were some of my prayers selfish, but I am beyond grateful and thankful He said no.

Had God answered those prayers, I would not be where I am today. I would not be in Raleigh, serving under the most anointed leadership and being mentored by some of the greatest prayer warriors in my life. I would not have met my forever friends. I would not have been able to reach out, love, and serve the most beautiful and sweetest people in Taboro, North Carolina.

Had God answered those prayers, I would not be who I am today. I would not have gone through the process, the molding, the stretching, the breaking that has made me into the person I am today. Without going through certain storms in my life, I would not have learned certain valuable lessons and truths that have made me stronger. I would not have the testimony that I have and share with others today.

“When we follow His leading and stay true to His call on our lives,” I continued, “we’ll soon realize that for every ‘no’ there is a far greater YES in His plan for our lives.”

I share this with you tonight to encourage you. Don’t be discouraged when God tells you no… He’s just leading you to His greatest blessings and plan for your life. One of the Brothers at our church said it this way, “When God tells you no, He’s just leading you to a ‘new opportunity.'”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Lessons Learned.

In my last post, I mentioned how a few weeks ago I felt like a failure for not following through on many of my 2017 goals. However, I did become aware of something very important.  I came to understand that even though my 2017 didn’t turn out the way I had planned it and though it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped, I’ve gained so much in the lessons I learned.

At the beginning of 2017, I stated how I wanted to go deeper in the Lord and that had become my word for the year. Little did I know that God had planned me to go deeper by experience, not just in practice of the principles I had hoped to apply to my life. Think of it in a way similar to on the job training, but instead He took me through some “real life training.” It is there where He exposed me to different situations to force me to grow out of my comfort zone instead of comfortably sitting there planning what I’d change. Through these growing experiences, I’ve learned a few very important lessons.

Distractions are real. I think that this may have been one of the biggest reasons I hadn’t followed through with many of my goals. I had let people and situations and lack of motivation get in my way. Be intentional with your time, money, and even your relationships. When something starts interfering with your walk with God, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate. If it proves to be a major distraction that’s taking away from your life instead of adding value to it, remove it.

Don’t change who you are at your core to try to fit someone else’s expectations of you. God made you uniquely you for a reason. Yes, we all have things we can work on and ways in which we need to grow. But it is important to let go of the people who are constantly trying to change YOU. You have a God-designed purpose that only you can fill. Your values, your passions, your purpose matters to God. He’s the only One you should be living to please.

People will make time for what they want to. The people who truly love and care about you will make time for you. They will go out of their way for you, treat you with respect, and value your feelings and opinions. They will make you feel secure and let you know that your voice matters. They are the ones who will lift you up and encourage you and not tear you down every time you talk to them. Find more of these people in your life and surround yourself with them, for they will be your long-lasting relationships. This principle is a two-way street, and you must do the same for others. Show the people in your life that you care about them by making more time for them, even when it’s a bit inconvenient. But remember that relationships are worth investing in.

Fear shouldn’t define your life. I’ve had off and on battles with anxiety for about 4 years now. It’s been a real struggle, but God has brought me this far and I know that I will not have to live with this battle inside of me forever. My greatest flaw is that (because of things that happened when I was younger) I’ve become a natural worrier because I tend to care too much about the outcome. But the Bible says to “be anxious for nothing.” We are children of the King, and He cares about us so much that He gave us His Word which is full of promises. There’s no need to worry because He provides for His children. It may feel last minute, but God’s timing is truly perfect. There truly is nothing to fear.

Trusting in Jesus is all that matters. To truly trust in God and His Word is to literally give Him everything. Every worry. Every doubt. Every fear. Every relationship. Every financial decision. Your job. Everything belongs to God and God alone, and He has the final say. Begin and end your day emptying yourself of all your worries and doubts. Give Him your relationships, attitudes, habits, and situations. Lay them at the altar during your devotion time, and leave them there.

Some of you may be looking at this year with excitement, or others with dread. But I encourage you to choose to look at this year as one with new opportunities. You may not check off every single goal, or you accomplish them all! What’s important is that you live this year with expectation and anticipation of opportunities to grow in the Lord and to find His perfect will for your life.

The Beauty of a Fresh Start

Have you ever looked back on your year and feel instant regret? Have you found yourself in that moment where you realize that most of your goals have gone unaccomplished? Or that things just didn’t go quite as planned?

I’ve found myself there recently. I’ve recently been reflecting on all the goals and plans I dreamed up for 2017, and slowly began to realize that I didn’t follow through on many of them. Or plans changed, and I was unable to accomplish them due to my circumstances.

For a moment, I felt discouraged and defeated. I even felt like a failure. But only for a moment. Continue reading

Deeper.

“In 2017, I just want to go deeper with God!” I excitedly told my friend sitting across the booth from me. “Every year,” I explained, “I try to choose a word or phrase to set as my focus for the year. One year it was ‘moving forward,’ and another year it was, ‘Go.’ So this year, I’m going to make 2017’s word deeper.”

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I alluded to the deeper theme in my last post. But I didn’t really go into too much depth about it or where the concept came from. It was one of those late-night, after church hang outs where her and I just talked about anything and everything. But somewhere in the midst of eating our tacos, our conversation became more personal and, well, deeper.

We began to open up and share our personal stories and testimonies of what God’s done in our lives. Before we knew it, we were talking about prayer, fasting, and spiritual warfare — sharing stories of things we’ve witnessed and things we’ve heard God do. Needless to say, the conversation left me feeling encouraged and refreshed in the Lord. I walked away that night with a determination more than ever to go deeper in Him.

Now not everyone likes talking about spiritual warfare. Truth is, when I was younger I thought it was a spooky subject. I mean, everyone loves talking about angels… But demons? We try to forget about those. Before you get any ideas, I’m going to set something straight… I am not a “demon chaser.” I do not go out looking to pick a fight with the enemy. But if one believes there is a Heavenly Kingdom, you best believe that there is a kingdom of darkness. It is our duty to equip ourselves to fight against that which comes against our homes. But that’s a post for another time.

As 2016 came to a close, I realized that even though it was a fun year… it was lacking something. If there’s one thing that keeps going through my mind through this whole concept of going deeper, it’s that I need to submit myself to God more than I ever have before. I need to be sensitive to His spirit and calling on my life. How do we become sensitive to His spirit? By prayer, fasting, reading the Bible, living a lifestyle of worship, and seeking Him in everything we do.

The more I reflected on 2016, the more I realized that it was my relationship with God that seemed to be lacking. Yes, I’ve been blessed (more than I deserve). Yes, He’s answered quite a few of my prayers. Yes, He was moving on my heart and using me. But my relationship with God was only touching the surface of what it should’ve been. I needed to go deeper

Deeper in prayer… One thing that 2016 did teach me is that I hadn’t been praying enough. But God used some struggles last year to bring me to my knees. In these moments, I realized that without Him, I couldn’t do anything. Literally. Prayer became a priority when I was suffering from anxiety… It was all I knew. And it worked. But when I’d go a few weeks without an episode, it’d slowly get placed on the back burner.

This year, my desire is to pray more. And not just one of those 20 minute prayers, but the kind of prayer where I go before the throne of God and intercede. To pray without ceasing. To pray until I hear from the heart of God. To pray for others more. To pray His word over my life and the people around me. When we go before the Lord and pray, something shifts in the atmosphere. God turns His ears to us and listens.

Deeper in fasting… Fasting is not exactly the most fun thing to do. But it’s necessary and it’s humbling. Fasting gets us to a place where our flesh is silenced so that our spirit can hear God’s voice. Whenever people in the Bible were faced with a trial or big decision, they went before the Lord in prayer and in fasting.

Truth be told, I haven’t fasted much in my lifetime. And to be honest, some of the times I have fasted probably shouldn’t even count. Y’all, lemme tell you there’s a difference between a fast and a diet (another blog post for another time). To fast is to abstain from food and fleshly desires. It’s to get our human nature under subjection to the Spirit. To remove all distractions. To fast is a sacrifice. Without making this post too long, I’ll just go ahead and make it plain. If you’re not hungry (physically and spiritually), you’re not fasting. If it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, your flesh has not been silenced. It’s been satisfied. Unfortunately, I cannot say for sure that I ever got to that point in 2016. But this year, I desire more of His spirit living in me.

Deeper in God’s word… I’m not sure why but, for whatever reason, this has been a struggle for me. I’d always end up reading my Bible for a few days in a row and then putting it down for a few weeks before I picked it back up. Or I’d read it consistently everyday for long periods of time, but then it would tend to feel like a duty — not something that came from the heart.

I read a book recently called Women in the Word, and it really shaped my perspective on my time in God’s word. The author outlined some ways in which we can study the word and not just read it, but read it to understand and apply it to our lives. And this year, I’m looking forward to using the tools in that book. My goal this year is not how much of the Bible I can read, but how much of it I personally apply to my life.

Deeper in worship… Believe it or not, everything you do in your day to day life involves worship. Surprised? We should always strive to give God glory in everything we do. When we’re not living for God, we are living for the world. Our heart’s desire should be to let everything we do bring Him glory. For it’s not about my gifts, my talents, or my plans…  it’s all about Him.

This year, I desire to let my life be one of worship and adoration to Him. Not out of duty or expectation, but simply because He is worthy of it. Every decision I make, every step I take, I long for it to bring glory and honor to Him.

Last, but certainly not least, I desire to seek God more than I ever have before. I want to seek Him with my whole heart in every area of my life — in my finances, in my job, in where I live, in what I do, and in my relationships. Every morning when I wake up, I want to seek His face by applying the things I’ve mentioned above. I know it won’t be easy, and I know that there will be days when I don’t feel like it… but He is worthy of it.

In the weeks ahead, I intend to go into more depth on each of the topics listed above, and more. And as we explore going deeper with Him, feel free to leave comments and any questions you may have. I will answer them in those future posts, and possibly some livestreams.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

2016 Reflections

Well, it’s been over a year since my last post… right when one year comes to a close, and as enter a New Year (not to mention, today is also my birthday – YAY!). I didn’t mean for it to be this long. It kind of just happened. The truth is, it was a much welcomed break. During this time, I’ve done a lot of growing and finding my place. It’s been a year of self-discovery, direction, and purpose. A year of looking back at where I’ve been, and finally knowing where I’m headed.cropped-kristina.jpg

As I reflect on these things, I can’t help but look forward to what the future holds. There’s something about the idea of a new year that exhilarates us and brings us this kind of expectation. The idea of a clean slate, a fresh start, inspires us to do better and to BE better.

Though it had some disappointments, this year wasn’t too shabby. I didn’t go into it with any particular goals in mind other than growing closer to God (which we should strive to do daily anyway). But with that said, some pretty cool things did happen this year…

  • I became the Lead Editor of my friend Nina’s online magazine.
  • I submitted a few posts to an online blog for young Apostolic millennials.
  • Overcame Anxiety
  • I started a prayer journal… best decision I ever made.
  • I finished my personal journal (which I’ve never done before).
  • I went river-tubing… super fun!
  • Traveled to DC with the best young adults group ever
  • Started a blog for The Bridge
  • Made some life-long friends.

Every year, I try to go into the New Year with a word or phrase that becomes my focus for the year – a mantra if you will. I was talking with a friend this week about this and I told her, “I just want to go deeper with God!” So this year, I’m going deeper… with God, in my relationships with others, and myself – my dreams and purpose.  And I intend to incorporate my theme this year into this blog.

Though I didn’t come into 2016 with any actual goals, I am going into 2017 with a few in mind. They range from spiritual to personal and everything in between… These are pretty general, but this is just to give you all an idea so you can write some of your own goals for 2017… if you haven’t already. 😉

  • Relationship with God – Actually study my Bible… not just read it. Pray more. Fast more. Devote more time on things in the Kingdom rather than the things of this world. Serve humbly. Love with His eyes. Being sensitive to His spirit.
  • Relationship with others – Making more time for family and friends. Truly listening to understand, rather than to respond. To shoot down all gossip and negativity. Serve my community. Encouraging the people in my life to pursue their goals, passions, dreams, and God-given purpose.
  • Relationship with myself – Eat healthier. Exercise (ugh). Read more books (the goal is at least 20). Become better at time management. Develop a budget (aka: adulting). Take time to treat myself at least once a week (it could be a nice long bath, binge watching my favorite show, getting a massage… the list is endless haha). Be screen free after 9pm every evening (I’ve tried this before and it’s hard… but y’all, it’s life-changing when you stick to it). Develop good sleep habits and wake up earlier every day.

While I have goals for myself, I have goals for this blog as well… and that is to incorporate this theme of “deeper” into my writing this year and focusing on the topics above… more about that in a later post. I also plan on branching out and utilizing other social media platforms this year. I believe that as we go on this journey together in 2017, it’s important that we connect and grow together.

I’m looking forward to all that 2017 holds as we go DEEPER together!


So what are some of your goals for 2017? List 5 things you want to accomplish in 2017 in the comments below… I’d love to hear all about it!

That Christian Girl || Inspiring young women to be all that God has created them to be. One post at a time.

Leather & Mint {Sunday Best}

It’s been a while since I’ve done an outfit of the day//Sunday best post. And to be quite honest, they’re pretty fun and I look forward to doing more! 🙂That Christian Girl || Inspiring young women to be the woman God created them to be! || #ootd #SundayBest

My sister is one of the most fashionable and unique chicks I know. And I’m totally going to miss our photoshoots together when I move away. *tears* Enough with the emotional, mushy stuff. Let’s get started… Continue reading