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!!!

 

 

No More “Cookie-Cutters”

The need to fit in. The need for acceptance. The need to succeed according to man’s standards. The need to be like everyone except who God actually created you to be… ever been there? I sure have, and I must say, it is quite stressful, and VERY unnecessary! However, I found myself occupying that residence for almost 14 years.

Dating back to my childhood, I could always find a reason(s) to believe that I was not good enough. Whether rejection at school from friend groups and “cliques” that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, or being rated with low numbers on those silly “How Would You Rate Me? 1-10” notes that were passed around in middle school for the popular boys to judge. With every low rating (3’s and 4’s each time), my self-esteem began to plummet more and more, causing me to love myself less and less. Had I given the opinion of man too much power? Most Definitely!! But blinded by the desire for acceptance, attention, and validation at such an early age, it was hard to see the downward spiral that my identity and self-worth was actually taking.

Although still battling with self-acceptance at the time, it wasn’t until 2008, my 10th grade year in high school that I began to truly see what individuality looked like. This was the year that I switched schools to attend a well-known Performing Arts school in Chattanooga, TN. I can recall being very shocked at all of the brightly-colored rainbow pixie cuts, facial piercings, and interesting stylistic expressions. I was also taken aback to see what felt like a scene out of the movie “FAME” during lunch, when people would randomly breakout in rap-battles, cafeteria-wide sing-a-longs, and impromptu guitar/vocal jam sessions. While at first I felt like a fish out of water, knowing only 4 people at the school, I quickly began to appreciate what seemed to constantly ring through every hallway, classroom, and school assembly… Uniqueness.

Whether for the right or wrong reasons, there was a sense of confidence that filled the air of CCA. My peers knew they were gifted, and worked hard to perfect what they knew God had put in them. Even those who were not believers had a sense of appreciation to know that what was in them was far too great to waste on the opinions of others. They were not afraid to embrace their differences and could honestly give less of 2 measly cares about what anyone had to say about it. I can truly say that during my high school years, I learned a lot about embracing who God created me to be… but even still, it had not fully sunk in.

Fast-forward to college, I still sought validity through joining organizations, pledging a sorority, and seeking many different ways to find my identity. The truth is, no organization, person, place, or thing could point me in the right direction, because there is only ONE with that ability, and He is The One who created me, and has “every hair on my head numbered” (Luke 12:7). Although born and raised in the church, what I failed to grasped during this low point in my life was that Jesus Christ was The ONLY answer to my identity crisis, and until I found out what He says about me in His Holy Word, I’d never truly know who I was, or who I was created to be.

So my dear sister, while society wants us to look like them, and the world points us to so many “trends” and “enhancements” to achieve “The Look” that is currently in, let’s choose the exact opposite! Lets’s choose to be the unique individuals that God created us to be; from that witty laugh, to those fly-away hairs that won’t seem to lay down, no matter how much edge control or gel you slap on them! Sis, we are Beautiful, “Fearfully and Wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), and daughters of our Abba Father, The Most High God!

Let’s choose to wear a Daughter’s Crown and take on Abba’s perception of us, as we dig into His Word to find out The Truth of our identity in Jesus Christ!

God Bless ❤

A Father’s Wisdom

Anyone who knows me, knows that I truly love my dad SO much! I am probably the epitome of a “Daddy’s Girl”. Its has been that way since I was a little girl. Even at the age of 5, I can vividly recall sitting cramped up beside him in his recliner as we watched TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) for hours; praising, praying, and watching sermons. My dad is truly a daughter’s blessing.

However, once I hit my teenage years, this “Daddy’s Girl” started to change. I started “smelling myself” as the older church mothers would say, and grew into a bad, rebellious attitude, accompanied by a sassy mouth. During this time, I saw my dad as my enemy because of all the things “I wasn’t allowed to do”. While friends were going buck-wild on the weekends in high school, I was at the annual Friday Night church shut-in, followed by choir rehearsal the next morning. While the other kids could spend the night and hang with whomever they pleased, I had a select few that were “approved” by my parents. Looking back, I was pretty angry and frustrated with such strictness; but now that I am older, that anger has turned into deep, sincere gratitude from a heart that is appreciative beyond words!

The 24 year old Richarra understands now, what the 13 – 16 year old Richarra failed to understand… my dad’s purpose and heart behind his strict rules and teachings were to protect me from the mess, filth, and unnecessary trouble of this world. While I could have rebelled and messed up big time if I really wanted to, I didn’t because deep down that “daddy’s girl” still respected him enough to fear the consequences. His fatherly intentions for me were to lay out a wise foundation that when I grow old I would not depart from (as instructed in Proverbs 22:6). While going through it, I thought he was just being a “mean ol’ dad”, but now, I can testify that the wisdom he and my mom sought to instill in me through the Holy Spirit, has never left my side… In fact, I often still hear his wise teachings play over in my head during testing situations or times of decision making. While very hard to hear at the time, I know that it was in love and protection of my future.

Much like my earthly father seeks to protect me, so does our Heavenly Father seek to do so on a much grander scale! Sisters, our Abba Father God LOVES you and I so much that saw fit to send His ONLY son, Jesus Christ to die for our sin; a price that He did not owe! And through His death, burial, and resurrection, we are alive and redeemed through His gift of salvation! But we must understand that through salvation, and on this Christian walk, we must follow the guidelines and choose to do what is clearly outlined in His Holy Word (The Holy Bible). Our Father wants us to live our best life in Him, but in order to do so, we must obey His Word; knowing that His restrictions and Commandments are there for our best interest, and to ensure that we live in-step and in-tuned with the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” So in all things, it is His wisdom that will guide us on this journey, and as His daughters, it is His Will that we should seek. Our Abba Father God knows all, and in the counsel of His wisdom, we are safe.

God Bless! ❤

Identity Declaration

This is a Declaration of Worth and Identity in Jesus Christ!! I want to challenge you to speak it out loud daily over yourself in Authority, Declare it, and BELIEVE IT!!

I am a Daughter of THE KING!

I am Chosen!

I am a Ruby (Precious and Rare)!

I am a child of God!

I am the Head and not the tail!

I am MORE than a conqueror!

I am a Mother!

I am a Sister!

I am a Wife!

I am a strong woman of God!

I am HEALED of ALL sickness and infirmities, in Jesus’ Name!

I am a Lender and not a borrower

I am the righteousness of God!

I am Blessed to be a blessing!

I am VICTORIOUS!

I am BOLD in Jesus Christ!

I am SET APART!

I am Protected by the Blood of Jesus Christ!

I am under Jehovah Jireh’s supernatural Provision!

I am at PEACE in Jesus Christ!

I am BEAUTIFUL!

I am a Temple of the Holy Spirit!

I am ALL that GOD says I am!!!!

But most of ALL… I am Nothing without JESUS CHRIST!!!!

Jesus loves us, and we must love ourselves! We must believe who God created us to be!

You Are Loved

God bless!

 

 

“One tall glass of REST, Please!”

As I sat in my comfy chair yesterday, resting after a beautiful Sunday of worship, I was bombarded with many thoughts of things that need to be done. “The first load of laundry needs to be removed from the dryer so that the next load can be added… my closet needs to be cleaned and organized… what is on this week’s agenda?… remember that amazing idea you had last week??… you need to contact him/her, oh and don’t forget to send that email to confirm x,y, and z!” Tasks, decisions, upcoming events, “to-do” and “to-now” lists… ummmm relaxationnnn… where did you go??

There are so many things clamoring for our immediate attention; whether tasks, obligations, planning, decisions, there’s always something “needing to be done”. However, what happened to that moment of rest that you originally intended on having? I know personally, if I sit too long (normally not long enough), feelings of guilt try to creep in. “Girl, you need to be working!” “You know x,y,z needs to get done… rest another time!!” But, is that really healthy? Now of course productivity is important, as time is precious, but how productive can one truly be on an empty tank? Eventually, the car will stop, and have to be pushed or towed to a gas station. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely rather take the time and fill up my tank to have what I need, instead of running out and having to be forced to get what I should have stopped to get in the beginning…

Rest is essential, especially resting in the Lord. If we are not careful, we will work, bleed, and tire ourselves out because of the world’s definition of success. We’ll work 5 jobs, while participating in 6 organizations in order to gain money and prestige; but in reality, our families, and essentially God, are left with the crumbs of our time. There comes a point where we simply need to sit down and rest.

I am reminded of a time in my life when I was on the go at all times! During my first three years of college, I was the definition of “busy”. I held three executive board positions in 3 organizations, was in 3 music ensembles, doing hair on the side, and had an extremely demanding major. Not to mention I had the nerve to want a job on top of it all! My friends tell me now that looking back, they wouldn’t even bother to text or call me much because they knew I was too busy to hang, or would have to end it early in order to be on time for my next org meeting. While at the time, I looked important and thought I was achieving success, I was actually stressed and burned out from living an extremely hectic life. But this did not really dawn on me until a friend of mine bluntly asked me, “Are you really achieving anything?… or are you just always busy?”…That was my wake-up call.

I share this to say  that we have to make sure that our ambitions and schedules are actually in alignment with what is of true importance, our purpose. Having an extremely full plate may sound or look good, but if we aren’t careful, it could all be a huge distraction; deterring our focus from where God originally intended it to be. It is only in the moments of solitude and intimacy with God that we truly find out what our assignment is. God may be speaking to us, but have we stopped or slowed down enough to hear Him? Are we in-tune with the Holy Spirit to know what doors to walk through, which ones to avoid, and when to sit down somewhere and listen. This was and (still is sometimes) a VERY hard lesson for me to learn because of pressure to be great, and to make those I love proud. But in the end, God had to show me that if He wasn’t proud… none of it even mattered.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” 

So beloved, take the time you need to sit the tasks to the side, silence the phone for a little while, and rest in quite time with your Heavenly Father. We have to spend time with Him in order properly operate in the day that He has given us. In order for us to properly pour out, we must be filled. Take that extra time to sit at His feet, pray, read His Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart and thoughts. We must take time to fill up spiritually in order to pour out supernaturally! Jesus loves you, and awaits to refresh and fill you with all you need, for the purpose He has for you to accomplish.

A Warm Welcome!

Hello everyone!! Welcome, Welcome, Welcome to “A Daughter’s Crown”!! I write this warm greeting with such eager excitement to share this adventurous, beautiful journey with you! I truly believe that the time has come for us to walk in Spiritual confidence and surety of who we truly are… Daughters of the King! Not Just any king, but THE King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ! Each and every one of us was created with great intention and a special purpose.

With that in mind, this one is for my girls… my little sisters in middle or high school who are struggling with their identities because of the glamorous figures they see portrayed in the spotlight on television, Facebook, or on their Instagram feeds. Those little sisters of mine who may be suffering from low self-esteem because of rejection or simply because they don’t feel “pretty”. I want you to know that you ARE enough, and Jesus loves you!!

To my older sisters/women, I sincerely welcome you! Those who may have had broken hearts, trust issues, and countless tears shared between only you and God. Maybe the pain and trauma from your past has kept you in a repetitive cycle of identity crisis, that has hindered you from living a life of True freedom… Freedom in Jesus Christ.

I know what that feels like. I’ve been there; but even in the midst of it all, GOD’S LOVE IS UNFAILING and constantly pursues us! He is our Heavenly Father and we are His daughters! Isn’t that Amazing?! He loves you and I so much that He would send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, in our place! (John 3:16) Now THAT’S Love!

So Daughter, it is time to rise up! Rise from the ashes, rise from the pain, and walk forward! It’s time to dust off that crown and walk in the authority over satan that God has given you! You ARE accepted, You ARE Beautiful, and sister, You are ROYALTY!!

Welcome beloved, to “A Daughter’s Crown”