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!

“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, ❤

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 ❤

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!

 

 

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”