Wind Chimes

Today is December 27th, the 2nd day after Christmas and a few days before the New Year. This can mean 2 things; you may be caught in the hustle and bustle of post Christmas shopping and pre-new year prepping and planning… or you may be trying your best to squeeze in as much rest and family time as possible before walking into all that is about to come forth! Whichever category you may find yourself in, I just want to take a moment to remind you that you are loved, and share something that my heart was reminded of on this peaceful Thursday afternoon.

As I sit here in my aunt’s kitchen, having a cup of coffee with reminiscent thoughts of the many laughs and even tears of this week, I am reminded of God’s consistent nearness. Earlier this morning, I honestly woke up in a bit of a slump. Thoughts of comparison began to parade my mind of all the things that did not happen as planned in 2018. It also did not help to scroll on Facebook/Instagram and see posts that could easily feed into the lies of comparison. I immediately sat my phone down, went into the kitchen, heated up a plate of sausage balls, made a cup of coffee, and sat at the table. No phone, no iPad… just me and Abba.

Too often we get distracted by all of the “noise” that surrounds us. The noise of social media, outside opinions, and even our own thoughts can easily distract us from what the Voice of God is saying to us through His Holy Spirit. I have found this to be true quite often as someone who has struggled with identity, insecurity, and low self-esteem. The voice you listen to is the voice that will rule. So in this moment with me and Abba, I decided to just listen. To turn off the other noises and choose to take some time and tune in the God’s loving voice; and boy was I in for a treat!

My aunt has these wind chimes that hang outside on their balcony. They are simple, black chimes that have been there for years, since I was a little girl. I’ve noticed them before, but today they meant so much more. As I sat in my silence, I ask Abba, “what are you saying Lord? There are so many things that are seeking to pull my attention away from you… but what are You saying?” As I sat there for a few minutes, I began to hear the soft, sweet sound of chimes playing in the wind. A sound that was so soft, it could easily be missed amongst all of the other sounds of daily movement and duty. But in the stillness of that moment, the chimes began to play softly, then louder with the picking up of the wind. I could feel the rest of the Holy Spirit wash over me as He ministered to my heart.

Zephaniah 3:17 says:

“The Lord your God is in your midst; The Mighty On, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

I truly believe that in my moment of searching for Him, He revealed His nearness through His song over me in the wind, through the wind chimes. We are His children, and He rejoices over us with gladness! He sings over us! What gladness it brings to think that the Savior of the world, our Heavenly Father celebrates us with joy and endless love and affection. We are special in His sight!

So even in those moments where the noise seems so loud, and those intruder thoughts come knocking, remember the song of Abba; a song of joy, love, and peace. Steal away for a moment, breathe, and just listen to His heart. He loves you, and values you more than you could ever imagine.

May the love and peace of Christ wash over you, God bless!

Richarra Hardaway

“More Than Intended”

Have you ever had one of those moments where right in the middle of doing something, the Holy Spirit uses that very moment/situation to bring much needed clarity or revelation about something you may have been praying about for months? Or maybe he used a moment in your daily routine to bring attention to something that maybe you’ve just overlooked in the business of your day-to-day schedule. Well sis, that DEFINITELY happened to me today! If you have time to read on, I’d love to share more about it.

Today, after having a beautiful evening time of fellowship at Panera with a good friend of mine, Holy Spirit reminded me on my way home that I needed to stop and get toothpaste. So, to the nearest Wal-Mart I go… with the intention of ONLY buying toothpaste. Now ladies, (and guys too) we all know how it goes… You go in to get one thing, and you end up with a cart full of stuff that you did not plan on getting; and more importantly, that your wallet was not originally consulted about! Well let me tell you, I was so set on only buying toothpaste, that grabbing a buggy/cart never even crossed my mind.

So down the aisle I go. I grab my favorite toothpaste, and then I’m fini—- “but wait… there’s that new body wash… hmmm, I’ll just grab one and try it out… I saw on the commercials that it was really great for dry skin!” Now I have two things in my hand. Then… “hmmm since I’m here, I should probably grab some coffee too… makes sense instead of stopping at the gas station each morning, right?” Now, I have three things in my hand. Still manageable to hold, so its fine. And then… “Well, I can’t have coffee without cream, and I think my dad used the last of what we had left sooooo, let me grab some of that too.” Buy this time, my arms are full and I literally have no more arm space to carry anything else. And yet… “Hmmm I wonder if they have those Chobani Flips Yogurt things I like!!” And with an arm-full of pretty heavy items, I STILL manage (barely) to make over to the yogurt cooler and grab not one… but SIX yogurt cups! HA!! Now mind you… I did not have a cart…

So now, I have a bottle of body wash, a box of Medium Roast Coffee K-cups, a 22oz bottle of creamer, six cups of yogurt, and oh yeah… that 2-pack value box of toothpaste somewhere at the bottom of my arm-full pile. By now, the yogurt cups are literally stacked up to my chin, and as I’m leaving the cooler section, one of them slipped, but somehow I managed to pick it back up. As I’m walking away, heading towards the checkout line… this gentle, still, small voice speaks to my heart and says, got a lot going on there don’t you?” Stunned a little at first, I then began to laugh, because I immediately thought about how crazy I must have looked with yogurt stacked to my chin, walking ever-so carefully not to drop what looked like a game of Tetris gone completely wrong (haha). But then suddenly, that simple question spoken to my heart caused my focus shift, as the Holy Spirit brought a few areas of my life to mind. In that moment I knew that my heavy arm-full of items was not the only thing He was referring to…

Just like all that I was juggling in that moment at Wal-Mart, the Holy Spirit quickly used that instance to show me a parallel picture of what this season has felt like… juggling an arm-full of things, honestly more than was originally intended. Sometimes, we find ourselves agreeing to and taking on so much stuff (opportunities, extra-obligations, etc.) that are “good-things”, but may not necessarily be “God-things”. You see, the yogurt, creamer, body wash, etc. were all “good things” but in the purpose of the trip to Wal-Mart to get toothpaste only, they were not “God-things”.

In life, we often find ourselves like I did; carrying a bunch of obligations, loads, and “yes’s” that may not have been the original intent. But I want to share a bible verse that my friend so timely shared with me at dinner, minutes before this confirming Wal-mart trip took place:

Galatians 1:10 (NIV) – “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I still trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Talk about “ouch!” This scripture cut me a kinda deep. How  many times have I said “yes” to things that seemed good, but were outside of God’s intended plan for me. Things that often became distractions against the very thing that the Holy Spirit is wanting me to focus on… How about you?

In ALL Things, we must be careful that our actions don’t become mere works that may please man/seem like the right thing to do; but that we seek God in a way that leads us to do and take on what is of His leading. As a “Good, Good Father”, He will always lead, we just have to be willing to follow.

 

Lord, I pray that we as your daughters (and sons), will take every load and heavy weight, and lay it at your feet. As we cast our cares on you, give us the wisdom to know whats important. In Jesus name,

Amen.

God Bless!

Heyyy 2018!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! “Out with the old, in with the NEW!!” New Beginnings, New Vision, a NEW thing! Yesterday at our New Years Eve service, my pastor said to us in his sermon, “turn around and look over you right shoulder… now face forward. Now turn around and look over your left shoulder… wave “Bye Felicia” to 2017!!” He told us to say #ByeFelicia to 2017! While this was funny as I’m sure we all have heard or have probably   used that popular phrase, it really brought everything into perspective. While 2017 was a blessing, it definitely brought forth many challenges and trials. But because of God’s amazing grace, nothing could stop me from praising my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, knowing that He would never forsake me! I am so grateful for all of the preparation that came through much transition in 2017. I know it was all to prepare me for the Greatness that God has in-store for 2018!

This morning, the “verse of the day” on the Bible App was Isaiah 43:19 which reads, ” Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Such confirmation came from this scripture because each year symbolizes a new chance, or “clean canvas” for us to paint our dreams and ambitions. Another chance to get it done!

So this year, let’s make it great!! As the New springs forth, lets seize it with all we’ve got! Let’s give God our best as He always does for us. I’m declaring that the comfort zones be shattered this year, and that we walk in our callings and purposes under the anointing of  the Holy Spirit! We SHALL walk in the authority that was invested in us through the  salvation of Jesus Christ!!

We. Are. Daughters. Of. THE. KING!! We are royals, and this year, we SHALL walk in that identity!! 

So 2017… “Bye Felicia!!!!!”,  2018… Let’s do this!!!

 

 

A Feast of Thanksgiving

While the turkey and dressing is in the oven, and as we enjoy those delectable slices of pumpkin pie, we must always remember who our utmost gratitude belongs to… our Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Thanksgiving is such a beautiful time to spend together with our families over some of our favorite meals; a time to reminisce, laugh, and fellowship; but this year, my heart also goes out to those who may be experiencing grief over the loss of their loved ones, or those who may not even have family to celebrate with.  If that is you, I want to encourage you that Jesus is always there, and has promised to always there. Psalm 46:1 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”, and Deuteronomy 31:6 promises us that “…He will never leave, nor forsake us.” Jesus Loves You.

So my friend, despite what your Thanksgiving may look like this year in the natural, I want to encourage you to feast upon God’s Word spiritually! His Word is a well that never runs dry, and it is unchanging no matter what we face; both good and bad! No matter what, we will ALWAYS have something to be thankful for… Life! It is the Breath of God that flows through our lungs, so that alone is a reason to sing, dance, and jump for joy! With that being said, I want you to do something. Right now, as you are reading this, I want you to take a couple of minutes to stop and think about all God has done for you, both big and small, and simply tell the Lord, “Thank You”. As we think back on the things He has done for us, both past and present, our hearts should swell with gratitude as we are reminded that our circumstances do not dictate whether God deserves our praise or not… He is ALWAYS WORTHY OF EVERY PRAISE! When the turkey runs out, and the pie doesn’t turn out as planned, God is Still the Same!

So here just a few of the many scriptures in God’s Holy Word that we can hold on to and endlessly feast on this season. Enjoy!! As granny used to say,  “Baby, there’s plenty more where that came from!” Happy Thanksgiving!! God Bless ❤

1 Chronicles 16:34 – “Give thanks to the Lord. for he is good, and His love endures forever.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Collossians 3:15 – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you are called to peace. And be thankful.”

Ephesians 2:8 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-“

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Psalm 28:7 – The LORD is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.

Philippians 4:6 -” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Psalm 100:4 – “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

Jesus Loves You!! ❤