These 5 Incredible Things Happened in 2017

Psalms 118: 24 ~ "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." 

GOODBYE 2017! Welcome 2018!

As I reflect back on 2017, I thank God for keeping me. He has brought me from a mighty long way and to know that He is with me every step of the way is a blessing. So below, are 5 incredible things that happened to me in 2017 but I know that this merely just the beginning!

1) Graduated college

To see my family in the crowds and cheering me on as I walked across the stage to receive my degree in Communication was incredible. It was in that moment that I knew that all the hard work and time I put in, had paid off. 

2) Attend a women's empowerment conference in Pittsburgh, PA

My family and I made the eight-hour drive to Pittsburgh, PA over the summer. It was my first time there and it was such a rewarding experience. During the Hustle Her Way conference, I had the opportunity to meet incredible entrepreneurs, content creators, bloggers, and more. I walked away with just the right fire I needed to launch all the ideas I had been procrastinating on. 

3) Went to Jamaica with my mom for two weeks

This year, I had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica over the summer with my mom. While there, we rode horses on the beach, ate until we couldn't eat anymore, soaked up so much sun, spent time with family, and saw my grandpa, whom I haven't seen in over seven years. I can say that this was such a much-needed trip that allowed me to learn more about my culture and realize that connecting to the Jamaican diaspora is crucial. 

4) Was offered and accepted a full-time job opportunity

Getting offered a full-time job fresh out of college in an industry that I love was definitely another highlight of this year. I am so happy to be able to not only work for an incredible company but being able to use my skills, experiences, and have more than enough room to grow not only as an individual but within any career endeavor. 

5) Stepped out of fear, relied on faith, and launched my blog

I am filled with so much joy knowing that I finally launched this blog. I remember the moments where I often questioned the direction, the plan, the purpose, and whether or not it was even worth it. With each blog post, I am learning that I just have to simply trust God, in everything and through everything. 

2017 was great but 2018 is my year of expectation and increase. I pray that for you, 2018 is a year of giving God not only your best, but proclaiming YES to everything that He would have you to do.

What are some things that happened to you in 2017? Good? Bad? Or indifferent? Let me know your thoughts!

The Difference Maker

Have you ever wondered the challenges Oprah faced before she became the media mogul she is today? See, Oprah experienced feeling unwanted, poverty, and abuse. But despite that, Oprah knew that her present circumstances were only apart of her story.

When I think about what it means to be a difference maker, I am reminded of a section of Proverbs 24:16 (NLT) that says, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again." The difference maker is the point in which you are knocked down but choose to get up again. Can you imagine for a second if Oprah stayed knocked down? Being a difference maker is choosing to 1) pick yourself up, even when situations don't seem like you can AND 2) picking yourself up even when the enemy says you're not able to. 

As 2018 nears, I can assure you that you will be faced with things that will test your faith, tenacity, and determination. But being a difference maker is also knowing that you are not defined by your situations but instead, they are used to build your character and sharpen the tools within your toolbox. No one can write the same story like Oprah but what you can do is choose how you want to write your story. 

It is my prayer that whatever season you are in, that you don't see it as the final destination. You may be knocked down, but you are not out. Just keep pressing because I know you can do it. 

Today, and all days, choose to be that difference marker that God has called you to be. 

 

 

Enlighten Me

This guest blog post was written by my close friend and sister in Christ, Ventris Wright. You can find her on her incredible blog here: Feeling Souler


My expectations are as high as my heels. 

When God demands the most out of your life, expect the same. Make this a life or death type thing, because you “volunteer as tribute” to the rebuilding of a new you. A tunnel vision must form through the hurt of all the treasures that have slipped through your fingers like sand. 

Imagine the perspective of God... yes it is a big job, but have faith. What if God flips you over like an hourglass simultaneously every-time it has run out? Shaking up the hands of time. Giving you chance after chance, reminding you that he has the power to change past circumstances, the past no’s, the past hurts... He simply brings you to a point of being tasseled by meaningless time, turning your ticking clock into faith. Pushing your faith into a result of surrendering, because you thought you knew how to complete the mission. 

There are so many goals we seek to reach but have become obsessed with it just being done, instead of it being perfected. Do not shoot aimlessly, without considering the bigger picture. For the wall of your own home, would you rather purchase the art of a kindergartener or the art of Picasso? Trust the process, have faith that these reroutes are for proper molding, do not rush... have some standards, and certainly some dignity... do not fall to the sloppy seconds, because you are tired of waiting. Why have the minimum potential, when you can have the max?

Grabbing hold of the wheel of faith, opened up an even bigger reality of life as I walked into my marriage. Things began to sprout as I stepped closer to the threshold. First came the conscious decision that I was making. I knew the commitment was a serious union before God, which came with a whole lot of worries but needed to end with faith. Next came the pressed upon ideas of others on whether or not my marriage would last, because of my young age, me needing time to explore, the differences my husband and I carried between each other, or simply because people want to push their past experiences on myself. Yet I knew, what God had for me, is for me...Lastly the separation in the relationships that I had. Some were not eligible to take into the next phase of my life... which was out of my control...These things are all causing me to utilize my faith from here on out... 

In order to be cautious about the potential of my future, I must continue to pursue faith in all things...

At this point I have become adamant about neglecting my stress levels, I have continued to work on my ‘grip’, and woke up by exercising my faith...


Ventris Wright is a faith-based blogger who has an incredible knack for writing. She uses her blog, Feeling Souler, to get in touch with her soul and encourage others along the way. The Boston, MA native and Virginia State University alumni currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, Xavier. Connect with Ventris on Facebook and Instagram

Don't Compare, Just Simply Do the Work

I believe that too many times in life, we feel the need to compare what we currently have to what we currently lack. See, this doesn't stop with just ourselves. Many times, we'll compare what we have or what we're doing to what the person in front, beside, and next to us is doing. As natural and common as this is, there are several issues with this type of behavior. 

First, when you spend more time comparing ourselves to others, eventually you have to stop and realize that you have yet moved closer to your own goal(s). When you spend more time comparing yourself to what the "best of the best" have, you're essentially placing a roadblock in front of yourself. Further, thoughts, self-doubt, and fear will begin to cloud your mind. 

Second, when you spend more time comparing yourself to others, you are missing out on the ability to just simply do the work; plain and simple. When God blesses you with an idea, the only thing you should focus on is you. When you begin to make yourself and your work a priority, I can assure you that things will start to fall into place. But things can't fall into place on your behalf if you're comparing yourself to others. 

When you do what you're supposed to do, God will reward you. When you do the work that you have been called to do, He will also reward you. Something that always helps me in the midst of when I feel like comparing is thinking this:

"Just because someone else's stuff looks great, there is a lot of behind the scenes work going on to make their platform great. Also, I do not know what that person had to climb over and get through just to be in the place that God has them."

In sum, it is my prayer that in this season, God will give you the ability to be not just satisfied with what you have and where you are, but that He will give you the courage to spread your wings, reach higher heights, and explore deeper depths; without feeling like you have to compare every step of the way. 

Do you often compare yourself to others? If so, why do you do it? How does doing this make you feel? 

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December: I Welcome You.

As I look back over this year, I am completely blessed. Even if things didn't go the way that I wanted them to, I consider it a blessing. I am in a place where the goal is never perfection but continually work hard each and every day. 

This year, I was able to graduate from college, start graduate school, accept an incredible job opportunity, travel to Jamaica with my mom, and so many other great momenets. Among those moments, starting my blog is definitely on that list. As you may know, starting this blog was a scary process. 

In my mind, I knew what I wanted this blog to be but getting there was another issue. However, through my thoughts, I stopped worrying and starting doing. God reminded me that no matter the direction I go into, He will be there every step of the way. God also reminded me that there are gifts within me that have been dormant. 

Although this year is coming to a close, Decemeber encourages me in more ways than one. Simply, Decemeber encourages me to push the needle farther in 2018 than I did this year. 

December inspires me to push myself to the degrees that I didn't this year. 

December inspires me to continue to live my life out loud, boldly and without any worry. 

December inspires me to pick up the pen and continue writing because my story is just getting started. 

December inspires me to want to not be ashamed if things don't happen the way that I want them to.

December inspires me to continue that God is lightening my path every step of the way. 

December inspires me to best that I can be in 2018. Fearless and unwavered. 

This month presents itself with new opportunites and experiences. For 2018, there are many things that I am praying for and trusting God to do. I know that with Him, I have everything I need to do what He wants me to do. 

Does the month of December scare you? If so, why or why not? 

4 Fruitful Ways to Minimize Complaining

The other day, I was studying the second word of the day of a 10-Day Word Fast Bible plan I am currently on: complaining. What has been so fruitful about this Bible plan is that during the ten days, it has called forth fasting from other words too such as judgments, criticism, sarcasm, and gossip. While studying, I began to question the degree to which I complain and how I should be catching myself in the midst of a complaint before letting it roll off my tongue. 

See, although complaining alleviates the pressure from what's going on at the present time, complaining also makes it very hard to hear from God. It's basically like being in the middle of an important conversation and then having the call drop or worse, your phone battery run low. 

 It is completely frightening to know that uttering negative words simply block God's goodness and says that He does not have complete and total control over the situation. 

Here are four actionable ways to minimize complaints and maximize your gratitude: 

1) Pray. Ask God to give you wisdom to continuously put your trust in Him. 

2) Praise. Thank God for His continuous goodness, even in the bad.

3) Focus. Be intentional with your thoughts and think about the positives. 

4) Do. Create a gratitude jar by jotting down every single thing that you are grateful for. On the days that you want to complain, simply pull a note from your jar. But make sure to live out the word or phrase you've pulled.

"Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction." (Proverbs 18:20 NLT)

What are some things you complain about the most? After you've complained, were you ever given a solution? If so, what was it like? 

The Art of Giving Thanks

This week, I've been taking a close look at Luke 17:12-19, the story in which Jesus heals the lepers. While reading, there were many tidbits that spoke to my heart and really made me want to think critically about how I can apply God's words into everyday practice. Luke 17:12-19 takes place in which Jesus reaches the border between Galilee and Samaria. 

As Jesus entered a village, ten men with leprosy approached him, crying in extreme pain. "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" they said. Jesus then proceeded by directing these ten men to show themselves to the priests. As they went, Jesus cleansed them of their leprosy. What stands out to me is when Jesus heals all ten, only ONE came back to Him to say thank you.

"One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!" Verse 16: "He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan." God wants us to be more thankful, even if what he did was big or small. We simply cannot ask God to heal us and then forget to acknowledge Him along the way. 

The nine that walked away knew that Jesus was the only healer. They didn't rely on medicine or any other kind of practice for their sickness. Although they knew that God could heal them, they left Jesus hanging by forgetting to acknowledge Him. 

Is it possible to ask for a blessing or ask to be healed and forget about the one who puts things in motion along the way? 

As 2017 comes to a close, I implore you to think about the last time you asked God for something and whether or not you said thank you in return. I know it is something that I struggle with sometimes too. However, I believe that God is waiting to hear thank you from some of us. 

Question: Is gratitude something you struggle with? If so, what are some things you are thankful for? 

 

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”.png

Dear God: Thank you for being You.

Dear God, Thank you for being You. 

Thank you for providing opportunities and opening doors on my behalf. Thank you for being there with me and for me every step of the way. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, even when I don't think I love myself enough

God, you continue to amaze me. More and more each day, I reminded of how gracious you are. I may not get it right all the time, but that's okay. God, continue to order my steps. Continue to be the head of my life. Encamp a hedge of protection from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet. Guard and protect my coming and going. Your word says that if we seek you first, you will give us the desires of our heart.

I know that you are in the business of rewarding my obedience, time, and commitment. God, I pray for those that don't know you but have a desire to. Wherever they may be and whatever they're doing, meet their every needs God. Whether it's finances, work, school, relationships, be in the midst God. Give them a sense of clarity and focus when things seem so hard. Remind them that in the hard moments, they can lean on you. 

God, nothing is too hard as long as we have you and for that, I'm grateful. 

I pray all these things in your precious name, 

Amen.