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

Easy Listening

What I have found in my Christian Journey with Abba Father is that one of the ways He often speaks to me is through dreams. So much so that I have dream journals where I write them down because of the much needed warnings, or important instructions from the Holy Spirit that are sent through these dreams. Recently, I had a very significant dream that seemed to serve as both a warning, as well as a revelation; both of things that hinder the immediate reaction of believers’ to the Holy Spirit’s initial instruction.

Dream: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was in a classroom setting with peers, with a blank sheet of paper in front of me, and the teacher began to tell us what to draw. He first instructed us to draw a girl, inside of a sailboat, with birds, etc. and the instruction continued as we drew exactly what he told us to, as he was telling us. Once He was done, He told us to look at our papers; when I was done, I laughed because I was really impressed with the way it turned out, so much so, that I decided to show my friends/peers. But when I showed them they scoffed and questioned saying, “why did you draw it like that? Why are the birds black? Why is it so close together?”, so on and so forth. After hearing these comments and opinions, my countenance fell, and my view changed as I began to see the “flaws” in it and how crazy it probably did look.

So I threw the picture away, and began to look around the classroom for a new sheet of paper to start over. When I turned around in my seat, I saw plenty of empty chairs at other tables with blank sheets of paper from people who didn’t come; and from a far those papers looked clean. But overtime I approached one to grab, I realized that it was stained, or dirty and torn. After looking in frustration, I finally found one that was clean… but a piece of it had been ripped off the bottom. So i took it and began to redraw what I remembered from the teacher’s instruction, but this time, I was focusing on the wrong things (the girl, how long/what color her hair was, etc.) to the point that I kept erasing and redrawing, erasing and redrawing; ultimately trying to make it look as good as possible.

Time passed, and as I had just started the coloring process of my picture, yet still making changes, the teacher called out that it was time to turn in our drawings. I began to panic because I realized that if I had f just stuck with the first one, I’d be done already, and it would have looked beautiful. So as I looked around the classroom, I saw that there were still a few stragglers that were trying to finish theres up too, so I had hope; but what initially began as a one-by-one presentation turned into being called up in mass groups, and even still, my work was not finished.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This dream hit me like a ton of bricks because while thankful for the Holy Spirit’s revelation, it convicted me so heavily. We as believers are to listen to our Abba Father’s instructions the first time, blindly (by faith), doing exactly what He instructs us to do; and while it may seem or look crazy, we are still to do it in obedience to Him. However, when we allow the tainted (stained, torn, fallen) opinions and judgements of others  into our minds and hearts concerning our path, or what God told us to do, it can cause us to question the very thing we heard from God. “Was that really God speaking?” “Do I look crazy?” “Why did I choose to do this??” Before we know it, doubt and fear have settled in; causing us to change, and try to recreate God’s instructions for us into a presentation that is pleasing to man/makes man comfortable, or worse… completely removes Him from the equation.

When putting our own spin on things, it causes us to then rely on our own intellect more than God’s Word. It causes us to paint our own/the world’s fallen perception of what God told us to do, versus what He really said.

So my question to you is, what are some areas that maybe God has spoken to you about, or given you instructions to do that have been thrown away or cast to the side due to fear or doubt caused by the opinions of man? No matter what it may look like or sound like to others, we should always choose obedience to the Jesus Christ vs. the opinion of man. In Matthew 4:18-22, when Jesus called Simon-Peter and Andrew to follow Him as His disciples, they didn’t get a second opinion… they immediately left their boat, dropped their nets and followed Jesus! We are called to do the same; and though it won’t always be easy, we can definitely rest assured that the story will be one of purpose and beauty; all working together for our good as Romans 8:28 promises those that, “love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose.”

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!!!

 

 

“Scroll Counts”

Social Media is a powerful tool. It can be used to connect, encourage, and share wonderful memories and happenings with others… but if not careful, it could also be very dangerous. This is definitely a broad subject, and one could veer down multiple paths on this topic, but what the Holy Spirit brought to my attention was the amount of time spent “scrolling” verses the amount of time spent with Him. This one brought some much needed conviction to my heart about social media habits that I “thought” I had under control… my “scroll count”.

What is a scroll count? A scroll count (definitely a made up phrase) is what I call the amount of daily time spent on social media/phone usage. A close friend of mine inspired me to download a mobile app called “Moment”. This app is a screen time tracker that tracks how much time your phone/tablet is used each day! Uh ohhh, get ready to see some shocking initial numbers if you choose to download this app! I remember the first evening that I checked in resulted at around “5h 31mins” of screen time… that’s a problem! The sad part is, most of it was subconsciously. A habit of muscle memory where you tap on Facebook or IG without even realizing it or meaning to.

There are so many times that I’ve gone to unlock my phone with intentions to texting someone, or sending an email, or checking the status of something online, and before I know it, I’m scrolling down my timeline; checking to see what I missed in the past 10 minutes. When I look at my generation as I sit around a dinner table, an outing, or at a family gathering, I see more phones than I hear conversations. I see more scrolling than I see eye-contact being made. I’m guilty of this too, but what truly pricked my heart was the thought of how this makes God feel.

How often do we instead of waking up with a prayerful heart of thanksgiving, check our phones “real quick” to see what notifications we have received while we were asleep. Or after coming home from a long day, curling up on the couch to check and see the latest news we missed, when God wants to be the first to hear about our day, even though He already knows it all… companionship. I can only speak for myself, but so often God is placed on the back burner as I waste time on things that are fleeting with each moment/post. Oh how this this time could be better put to use! The truth is, I feel closer to Him when the social media word is silenced. I hear Him clearer, and my mind is untainted by opinions, comparison, and garbage.

Drawing near to Christ brings forth revelation; about ourselves, as well as our relationship with Him. He’ll reveal those areas that need more work; and unlike man, He walks through the refining process with us, guiding us each step of the way. There have been so many times that I’ve wanted to post a memory, or post a photo, but felt the Holy Spirit nudging me not to. Not because it was bad, but because there was simply no need to. Wisdom says, “everything that happens in our lives does not have to be shared and posted.”

So let’s evaluate our scroll counts. My heart’s plan is to be more intentional about putting the phone down and digging into what’s most important; God’s Word. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more the things and priorities of the world will fade. The demands of the world can wait, but our Heavenly Father should never have to.

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! ❤