The Ties That Bind

I changed my cell phone number a couple of weeks ago.  I know.  Not the most exciting intro, huh?  Well stick with me; it gets at least a smidge deeper.  I awakened one Thursday morning and busied myself with my morning routine.  Out of blue I heard, “change your phone number.”  I immediately knew it was God, because it definitely wasn’t me.

For those of you who know me, you know I had somewhat of a secret love affair with my phone number.  LOL!  I’m laughing, but it’s SO true.  I’d had the number for 14 years.  That’s a huge amount of time in mobile phone years, especially since the mobile phone itself really isn’t very old. It was probably the longest, ongoing relationship I had (outside of my family).  I had come to be, in some ways, identified by it.  I know this all sounds really weird, but these are all things I really learned in hindsight.

The number represented the city I loved and “grew up” in.  I never thought I’d leave Atlanta.  Although I’ve left a total of 3 times since moving there originally in December 1995, I never let go of that phone number.  It’s been from North Carolina to Tennessee and all stops back in the ATL in between.  It truly had become a part of my identity.  However, what I failed to realize all these years, was what part of my life the number truly represented.

On the day I changed my number, the Lord was gracious enough to explain to me why He commanded me to do so.  You see, my identity during the bulk of the  years I had that number was entangled in someone else, someone who didn’t know who he was at the time either.  The number was symbolic of that past, a former me, a mere shell of who I truly was and who God had created me to be.  I was so incomplete back then, didn’t even know I needed to be set free.

Freedom has finally come.  PRAISE GOD!!!!!! The Lord confirmed for me that my time in Atlanta is finally over (at least for this season).  Will I ever go back?  Who knows?  I go where He sends me, but for now, I’m residing in my land of promise and my life is finally tasting like the milk and honey that flows here for me.  SWEET!!! So, I needed to let go of anything tying me to my past, and that phone number was the last little string that I had given not a second thought.

I know what you’re thinking.  “But it was JUST a number.”  Let me help you out with that.  Several years ago, when I lived in Tennessee previously, I received a phone call.  One evening, out of the blue, my phone rings.  Who’s on the other line?  You guessed it.  That blast from my past.  How could he reach me?  Because the number was the same as it was so many years ago when we were in a relationship.  That number was the tie that binds.

My life is SO beginning to gel right now, and I don’t want anything to hold me back, tying me to my past.  If you’re tied to something you either can’t move at all or you move very slowly.  I’ve been tied to this number, a symbol of my past, for a good 10 or 11 years BEYOND the testimony(meaning beyond the end of the relationship that was not of God).  WOW!

It’s funny how something that simple could be so powerful and how changing it could be so scary.  Yep!  I was nervous, folks!!  Looking back, I’m so glad I was instantly obedient to the voice of the Lord.  I knew it was time.  Hasta la vista BABY!!! I don’t know, but I think I just may have opened a GRAND door to my future by closing that tiny little crack to my past.  I’ll keep you posted. 😉  In the meantime, what’s tying you down.  Doesn’t hurt to check for strings every now and then….you know….just in case. 🙂

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Start Somewhere

“Why are you waiting?  Gotta start somewhere.  Nothing is changing, til you start somewhere.  Freedom is calling.  Love will take you there.  But it’s up to you to start somewhere.” – “Start Somewhere” by Calvin Nowell

I’m the queen of procrastination.  Correction:  I used to be the queen of procrastination.  I’ve declared that procrastination is one of the things I let fade to black along with the year that just ended.  I didn’t always “put off until tomorrow” just for the sake of putting things off.  My procrastination was rooted largely in fear.  I’ve never enjoyed the idea of making the wrong decision, doing the wrong thing, or doing the right thing the wrong way, at the wrong time, or on the wrong day.  🙂 So I’d wait, and wait, and wait some more, hoping the absolutely, POSITIVELY CORRECT day, time, place, thing, and way would come to me.  Then I’d move.  So guess when that typically happened.  You guessed it.  NEVER!

For me, one of the most delightful lessons I learned in 2009 was that God knows what He’s doing even when we don’t like what He’s doing.  The often painful processes I endured throughout the last 12 months were intended to yield a specific result.  That result was clarity.  I ended 09 with more clarity than I’ve ever had regarding who I am, what I am called to do in this season, and the things God has branded on my heart and made super sensitive to me.  Such clarity provides a sense of freedom I never imagined.

I am, first and foremost, a child of the King.  I am super imperfect yet wildly loved by the most High God.  That truth still floors me!  Beyond that I’m a wife, a mother (no I’m not married yet, nor do I have children, but this IS who I am), a teacher/minister, and a writer.  God shaped me to be a vessel of restoration, transformation, and freedom for women.  Marriage and God’s church are the two things He (certainly not I) unmistakeably seared on my heart.

So now that the lens to the future is slightly less blurry, what do I do with all that I see?  I dunno!!!  LOL!  What I do know, now, is that I have to start somewhere and trust the Lord to lead me from there, wherever there happens to be.  This blog was a part of my process and a part of my “starting somewhere” knowing, at that time, only a fraction of what I know today.  Now, with additional clarity, it’s time for me to start somewhere…again.  I believe it’s that time for you, as well.

What are the ideas and dreams you have, the gifts ablaze inside you, the vision that you only see a glimpse of yet you know it beams straight from the mind of God to your life?

“Why are you waiting?  Gotta start somewhere.  Nothing is changing, til you start somewhere.  Freedom is calling.  Love will take you there.  But it’s up to you to start somewhere.”

These words are lyrics from a song I really love, by Calvin Nowell (a Christian artist and songwriter).  When I feel like I don’t know what to do or where to begin with the visions, and dreams, and life in general, I listen to this song, and it encourages me each and every time.  So, here’s a challenge for you.  Buy the track.  Take a listen, and encourage yourself to start somewhere.

http://www.calvinnowell.com/mp3s/ (BTW,  you can click on the track to hear a preview of the song.  It should play from the exact portion of the song I’ve highlighted!  Enjoy!  Then get started!!)

The Uninvited Guest

A former acquaintance came to call on me New Year’s day (I’ve always wanted to use that expression. 🙂 ).  His visit was unexpected, meaning he was certainly NOT invited.   Maybe he thought I subscribed to the old wive’s tale (or somebody’s old tale) that a man should be the 1st to cross the threshold into your home on the 1st day of a new year.  He obviously doesn’t know me as well as he thinks, or in this case, as well as he used to.

I recognized him right away.  He still has the same, sneaky m.o., emitting the stench of doubt and uncertainty to announce his arrival.  It’s sad to admit, but our history is quite extensive.  Yes, we were acquainted for far too long.  It was always an awkward, one way, relationship.  Seems he was the only one to ever receive any satisfaction from it.  For me, it was simply the lure of an uncomfortable comfort zone.  As the curtain closed on the previous year, I made it perfectly clear that I wanted nothing else to do with him.  Despite my declaration, he decided to stop by anyway.  Determined….  He probably thought I was bluffing…

The scene quickly became intense.  There was no way I would allow him to cross the threshold, but he was content to not depart gracefully.  “Have it your way,” I thought.  I said I was walking away from the relationship, and I meant it!  By any means necessary, I was prepared to do whatever it took to make it clear that I have NO intentions on going back.  I would be free from his grasp once and for all.

He put up a struggle; I wasn’t surprised.  No worries.  I was trained to confront a tenacious competitor.  I closed my eyes, and I started swinging!!

God has not given me the spirit of fear.  I have POWER, love, and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV) BAM!!

In God have I put my trust: I WILL NOT fear what man can do to me. (Psalm 56:11 KJV) BAM!!  BAM!!

The Lord commands me to be strong and of good courage; I WILL NOT fear!  Wherever I go, the Lord is with me. (Joshua 1:9 KJV)BAM!! He loses his balance and begins to stumble…

I am STANDING in my freedom in Christ!  I WILL NOT be entangled with your yoke of bondage ever again!! (Galatians 5:1 KJV) – KNOCK OUT!!!!  He never knew what hit him.

He had some nerve to show up here, and so early in the morning, too.  Triumphantly, I watched as Fear slithered away to whence he had come.  “Silly rabbit,” I thought.  “Tricks are for kids.”

A New Year’s Pick-Me-Up in a Pair of Designer Jeans

My New Years Eve Pick-Me-Up

2009 is finally over!  YAYYYY!!!  Oh, I’m sorry.  Do I seem too excited?  Well that’s because I am!  YAYYYY!!!! For me, 2009 was the most GRUELING year I’ve ever recorded, and you know as a writer I recorded every blood sucking ounce of it!  LOL!  Yeah, I’m laughing now, but believe me 09 was no cakewalk!

It’d be so much easier if I could just blame the poking, prodding, stretching and breaking all on the devil, but I would SO  be lying.  As a matter of fact, this was all my doing.  Well, not all mine…  Without a doubt, the rigorous coursework and each painful lesson learned in the past 12 months was God’s plan of preparation for a much larger picture AND the answer to a very specific prayer I prayed a decade ago.  Talk about be careful what you pray for!! 🙂

On New Years Eve, I awakened wearing the leaden cloak of a challenging year coming to an end.  My knees seemed to buckle under the weight of it all, and the outlook for the day appeared pretty dismal.  However, after a conversation with one of my best girlfriends (thank you Dionne), I recaptured my resolve to leave the process of the passing year behind and carry only the weight of its wisdom with me into 2010.  This brand new year promises to yield the fruit of the labor of 2009, and I decided to enter in rejoicing!

So, I needed a little pick-me-up.  Nothing like a little shopping to lift a girl’s spirit, right?  One of my girlfriends gave me a little cash for Christmas along with some very specific instructions (Thanks, Phyllis!  The report is on the way!), so I drove to a nearby shopping center and placed a wager on the Ross department store.  After spending some time making my way around the racks, it was beginning to appear the only clothing I’d leave the store with were the clothes I was wearing.

And then it happened….  As my fingers did the walking, hanger by hanger through a sea of denim, I found them.  They were a perfect pair of beautiful dark denim blue jeans. It was love at first sight (for me and jeans, that’s a really HUGE deal), and I proclaimed at that very moment, “If they fit they’re going home with me!”  I whisked them off to the dressing room where those babies welcomed me like an old friend.  Ahhhhh!!!!  I was stoked!  It was as if God had placed those jeans there just for me , and I received them with open arms.  Now I know some of you are thinking, “Why is she so excited?  It’s just a pair of jeans.”  But for those of you who know what a “selective” (insert PICKY) shopper I am, well…..enough said!

And there you have it.  I would try to round this out with some deep, spiritual “moral of the story”, but I’d be grasping.  At the end of a painful yet purposeful year of process (didn’t do the P’s on purpose; I promise! LOL!!! There they go again!), God gave me just what I needed to send me skipping, with great expectation, into a brand new year – the perfect pick-me-up in a pair of designer jeans.  I’ll definitely be adding this one to my collection of “love stories” from God.  My 2010 is looking pretty darn promising, and I’ll be looking pretty darn cute in my brand new Michael Kors.  🙂  Happy New Year!

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