Something to Share

“Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Recently, I helped with hosting a revival of hope in the city of Baltimore in area of dire need.  Most people in this particular area are struggling with some kind of substance addiction or making a career from another’s struggle.

A few colleagues and I began meeting on one of the corners one day a week, handing out hot chocolate during the winter and lemonade during the spring and summer months, as a way to express Christ’s love, intercede in prayer, offer hope and encouragement. It was purely amazing to see how the Lord opened up doors to closed hearts toward Him. The stigma that usually surrounds this kind of “Christianese” efforts began to evaporate as our group consistently embraced the community treating them with dignity, friendliness, and hearts of love. The people in the community began to look forward to our weekly stand and even called us the “Holy drink ladies” serving that “holy juice”.

One of my best friends and group leader was setting up the stand one day and a man came to help her. She thanked him for his help. Little did she know that he also was a street minister and sets up a stand like ours handing out hot dogs and cold drinks in the same area on different blocks.  Some time later she received an email to meet up with a street minister about joining forces to pray for the city of Baltimore. It turns out that the same man we would be meeting up with was the gentleman that helped her set up that day.

After many weeks of meetings, prayer, planning, and fasting the days for the Hope Revival were coming and things were set in place.  The only goals in mind were salvation, restoration, reconciliation with Christ, release from the bondage of strongholds & addictions and the stirring up of hope in the hearts of those where the light has gone dim.

We weren’t collecting an offering.

We don’t attend the same church.

We are just a group of people who have a heart for the city of Baltimore.

We are just a group of people who have a heart for lost and broken people. (who doesn’t fit that description at some point in their life?)

I was asked to share my testimony on the first night. I didn’t know that I would be because that wasn’t discussed in any of the planning. I wasn’t prepared. I was afraid. I never shared my testimony before. I never thought I had one.  I didn’t really think that I had anything to offer as a minister of the gospel. (My pastor famously says, “if you are saved, you are called.” I didn’t feel called to preach. I didn’t believe that I had anything to share.) One of my friends shared hers in my place after I asked.  When she finished, I told her I would like to share mine the following evening of the revival.

Flash back: Weeks earlier as I met with an intercessor at my church to pray for the event. In prayer, she heard from the Lord and spoke some things to me. She began to agree in prayer with all of the same things my friends have been praying all along for this revival. I simply asked her to pray for the event and the Lord spoke to her to pray for all the concerns we had. I never told her specifics so I knew this was coming straight from the Lord. In that prayer she also spoke “you will have the words to say”. As the prayer closed, I was thinking to myself: I’m not speaking at the conference but the Lord must want me to.

Flash forward:  All that night and through out the next day I asked the Lord to give me the words to speak.  I know that people relate with you more when they can identify with you on something. Instead of thinking I had nothing to offer and began to probe my heart to see what we all have in common.

As I walked up to the stage that night my heart wrestled with fear but then I remembered that it is not about me. I am not the sole person to save people.  Jesus is. If people come to know Him because of me, Praise God! If people come to know Him because of someone else, Praise God! I am just there to water and nourish the seed.  God will do the rest. It took me standing up there speaking to realize: 1. I do have a testimony that is worth sharing. and 2. The outcome doesn’t rest in my hands.

Reading Elisabeth Elliot’s quote, “Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.”, helps me to better understand why I responded the way that I did. A part of me believed that I was in control of some of the life changing events that will happen to the people in the revival audience.  God is the only one that has that authority. I had to trust that if He gives me the words to speak whatever He lays on my heart to share is going to touch the heart of the right person so that he or she knows they are not alone in their situation because another person has gone through the same or similar trials.

Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real can definitely be a stumbling block if allowed.

After finding this quote, I am seeing so many things in a better light. I am adjusting the way I view situations or encounters where I could make a difference.  Not because it is all about me but remembering that parts of me can be helpful and not sharing parts of me is like not trusting that God can use what I have to offer.

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!

Smile,

Shayla ❤

 

 

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Together We’re Right

May 18, 2014 (Written on this date)

Dear Reader,

I’ve been pretty busy with the school year.  I’ve been writing but haven’t had the time to just edit and post.  Thanks for your patience.  If you just happened to find Moments in a Life, WELCOME! I hope you enjoy and come back to visit.  Leave a post if you’d like! <3, Shayla

All day I was feeling something stirring in my heart.  I heard some news from one of my best gal pals.  She told me that she was getting a divorce.  What do you say? Her hope was my hope for her…to be happy.  I remember sitting in front of my fireplace hearing her stories and sharing in her joy because of this new experience she was having.

Today, another friend of mine got married.  I’m very happy for her.  I remember hanging out going for ice cream after Bible study, taking walks in the woods, laughing loud and being silly all before the thoughts of marriage were “truly” entertained.  We haven’t spoken in a few years but when I got the news about her wedding, I was excited!

One of my colleagues got engaged recently.  She confided in me that she is really stressed out about wedding plans.  She wants to be married but she is feeling the balance between work and real life.

One of my aunt’s just got married a year ago today.  She is on her “real” honeymoon with her husband.  This is her first marriage and she is GROWN! I wrote a poem for her and her husband thinking about how I will feel walking towards my future husband.  (This was really the only way I could think to have the inspiration to draft something so meaningful for the occasion.  I wanted something that she would understand as well as any one who has hoped of being married.)  The poem is titled “Coming Home To Me”. I believe that when God brings those two right people together at the right time and the right place it’s like they are coming home to each other.

I’m joyous for the moment when God says, “Shayla, it’s your turn.  He’s ready and so are you.”  Being single right now, I can only hope, pray and wait for him.  And of course, live my life! (LOL!)

A movie that I watched showed an older man recollecting the memories he had with his wife.  She passed away and is no longer with him physically.  There was one scene where she was telling him “We will always love each other.  Our love will go on forever.”  It is special how those memories are the ones he comes back to for encouragement to continue living, even on his own.

What does all this really mean? Well, all five of us are connected.  We are connected because of our hope for happiness in love.  I mean, who doesn’t want that.  I want that.  I’m not afraid to say it.  Looking forward to that, actually.  So, I started writing out these lyrics with a melody that God was placing in my heart.  Many things that God enables me to write come from reflections on experiences in my own life, others’ lives, and the undertones of what is happening in our world.

I truly feel for my friend.  This season in her life may not feel as hurtful for me as it does for her but my hope is that she has the opportunity to love again.  This time with someone who truly loves her back.  From our conversation, I could sense that she was desiring “real” love with someone who is reciprocating those same feelings.  I wrote this song thinking about the idea that the love you feel for someone else is more than a feeling but an energy that allows you to express your love and a security that this feeling is the right feeling.  I’m really trying to convey that feeling of how a person feels when they feel it is right. (Can you count how many times I used the word feeling/feel? Post it in a message back to me.  You may be the recipient of a reward. You can also follow me on twitter: @LadyChanene)   I don’t have much experience in this area so I’m working with stories, movies, inspirations, hopes…those kind of things to help this message mean something to those who need it.

I’m pleased with what this song is becoming.  I have hope for what it will become.  It means something to me.  One day I’ll actually sing it to my husband as a way for him to know that all my waiting has been for him.  This will be just another gift to give him.  I hope that my Aunt finds honor in these lyrics.  Just as I pray for her she prays for me.  I also hope that my friends and family can find encouragement in these lyrics, identify themselves, and hope for happiness in love with this song. The part that I am sharing is the chorus.

Chorus:

I know what I’m feeling if feelings are true but I don’t wanna hide the truth

There’s a kind of love that makes you shout from the ceiling

A kind of love that makes life worth living more

So much more

A kind of love that can go on forever

Even if your not near me I can still feel your heart beating

Along with mine

Together we’re right

**This is still a work in progress.  My hope is that it can encourage someone now to continue to hope and believe in happiness however your story unfolds.  I pray for great success for my friends getting married.  I pray for guidance and love for my friends who are looking forward to starting a relationship or to get married one day .  Remember, everything that you want God wants for you.  His way may be a little different than what you thought but it is a blessed one.

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!!  I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world! Smile, Shayla

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!!  I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world! Smile, Shayla 

The Great Pretender

This morning as I was leaving my apartment, I saw a little boy “pretending” to play basketball on the tennis court.  I stood and watched him for a while as I walked to my car.  He was dribbling, running up and down the court, and then he was making 3-point shots in his “imaginary” hoop.  I wanted to laugh but I thought to myself I am a pretender, too.

How many times do we “pretend” our way through life?  Growing up really shy (mostly bashful), my imagination was like a best friend.  I remember one time when I was “pretending” to be a teacher in my bedroom, my Dad walked in and caught me.  I was so EMBARRASSED!  At the moment, I was talking to my pretend students, who were my stuffed animals on my bed (they were very engrossed in the lesson, I might add).  I was using the wall as my chalkboard and my versatile-hairbrush (microphone/telephone/magic wand/chalk/weapon against monsters) to write on the “board”.  How could I explain to this no-nonsense man what I was doing?  He looked at me, closed the door, and backed out of the room slowly into the hallway.  I still wonder if he laughed or thought I was crazy as he went back downstairs.  I could only imagine what he was saying to my Mom downstairs, “Char (short for Charlene), Shayla really needs to….”

A similar situation happened at work.  This time I was pretending to be a “singer”.  I was in the copy room making copies for the next day.  I thought I was all alone….so I started to belt out the words to this worship song that I have been working on.  Behind me I could hear footsteps and a voice saying, “Ms. Gordon….you sound beautiful!”  Who was it?  My principal!!!!! Omgosh, how embarrassing!  He is our new principal and everyone is trying to make good impressions and I am singing at the top of my lungs in the copy room. (In truth, I think he was just as embarrassed as me.  He thought he was alone…what would he have done….hmmm…)  I’ve lived it down (because we are a small school) but now I check to see if anyone is around.

Today, I continued the “pretending” game as I walked to the sales counter of Best Buy with my purchases.  The sales lady asked me how I was.  I said, “I’m fine.” I lied.  I wasn’t fine. I gave her that casual smile, the one that I have perfected over the years.  I responded with, “How are you?”  We made small talk which did bring a “REAL” smile to my face but as I crossed out of the double doors and walked to my car the waterworks started again.  There have been so many emotions going through my mind these past three weeks.  Most of the time, when I go places I feel like “I want to be anywhere but here.”  I’m usually a pretty happy person and a smile is genuinely spread across my face.  Not everything in my life is perfect and I don’t have a pretentious attitude.  This is just my temperament.  My Mom said I was a really happy baby…I don’t know.  But most recently, I have just been feeling really down and I’ve been “pretending” my way through life.  Do I feel like this all the time, all throughout the day? No. Just when I start thinking about situations, circumstances, or people that I have been emotionally wounded by.  I really believe that God is taking me through some emotional healing and forgiveness.

I’ve known this for a while.  I am a carrier.  I am a carrier of “soft emotions”. My Dad, the Jamaican Spy, was the first to bring it to my attention.  When he would reprimand us he would say, “I’m not doing this to be hard on you but…..” and then he would go through with the consequence and his “Mike Brady” stories of when he was younger.  God, love him with those STORIES! In the midst of sitting there crying and scared about what will happen next he’s telling me that he loves me and what I need to do better.  I, the contagious giggler, end of laughing even though I’m getting a consequence.  It is so comical…I don’t understand why I respond that way.  Lately, my “soft” emotions have been getting the best of me.  After a while of processing and praying, I feel a lot better.  I understand that this is just a season.  Today during my quiet time with the Lord, I really felt joy starting to seep back into my heart.  Even now as I am writing, I feel so much better.  He is teaching me something.

Right now, I am understanding that that there are things happening for me and NOT against me.  Yes, even the painful things.  I saw this picture on Facebook showing my ideal plan for my life vs. God’s plan.  My plan was smooth sailing with no bumps in the road and the Sun shining.  God’s plans had so many hills, valleys, a river with a boat…I had to agree with the imagery of the artist’s perception.  In my mind, I see everything so clearly and working out and then I remember that “His ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts.”  I understand that if I don’t allow time for these wounds to heal properly, forgive these people (openly/in prayer), and work towards reconciling broken relationships I will be a bitter person and not a better one.  Did I expect for a series of events or comments to make me feel this way? No.  But sometimes when the root of bitterness sets in it tries to poison everything else.

I love what it says in the Message Bible for Isaiah 43:18-19:

He says: Forget about what has happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert.  Be present.  He’s about to do something new.  It’s bursting out. Don’t you see it!

Sometimes when I am so stuck in this world of hurt I am not able to recognize what God is doing in the NOW.  A new thing is something that I have never seen before.  Satan wants me to see the negative.  He wants me to be hurt, offended, and upset with people (even the people that I know truly love me)  Satan always tries to use something to try to keep us from our destiny. (David Gibbons)  These same people that I have allowed a door to emotional wounding may be the same people that the Lord is calling me to help bring into the Kingdom, receive something from for my benefit as a person, or a friend for a lifetime.  God knows.  The enemy can see what is up ahead in my future and will try to do any means possible to cause it now to work out when I believe the lies.  God has been doing some really surprising and NEW events for me.  I want to experience them all with a joyful heart!  Wherever He is taking me, I want to be ready, confident, and secure.

I don’t want to be a “pretender” anymore.  I don’t want to pretend to live when I am really hurting.  God uses people who have baggage.  He knows my heart and loves me the same.  I may not like it but God is into to “messed” up folks. 🙂  He chose me that way; soft emotions and all.  So I have been exposing my hurts to Him and He has been helping me to see clearly what is happening and/or how I need to respond.  First step, is the choice to walk in forgiveness, love and reconciliation.

Friend, wherever you are…whatever you are dealing with…even if it is a little like me…choose love over hurt.  Choose love (God) over being broken.  He is with you in your brokeness.  He knows the source of the pain and how to heal you over time.  Most times, try not to build your world around your pain so that it is all that you see.  Will I never experience hurt again? No. Am I learning a better response than pretending that “I’m okay.”? Yes.  I’ve included a song that makes me smile.  It talks about Love being the right place.  It’s titled, “Love is the Right Place” by Bryan White (not the actor, the country singer.  Yes, country. I think he has one of the best voices in country music! soulful, brings you there–you know what I mean.) Also, I’ve included a song that teaches a continuous lesson about FORGIVENESS! by Tenth Avenue North.  A prayer to God to help me to forgive even when it is easier to be bitter. I’ve included the video of this song because I feel like it helps us to see that this is a “human” thing.  We all wrestle with these emotions whether we are initiating, receiving or retaliating.  Also, it makes me smile at the end with chorus sing loudly in the background. I love the rap! 🙂

Love Is the Right Place

“Losing” by Tenth Avenue North

P.S.
If you know me or are my friend or follower on social media, please know that if I have responded to you about anything it has been with genuine emotions.  I know that I am a better person when I am honest (even if it is embarrassing) because I never know who God is helping through my brokeness-joy, failures-successes, or insanity-saness!  Lol!  This season has a purpose!  God is on my side (reference to Wasteland–by NEEDTOBREATHE. Find their new album, which released this week).

P.P. S.

It is empowering to come face to face with those struggles and say “I’m an OVERCOMER!” even if it seems and feels unbeatable.  Anyway, I love you all (genuinely) and want you to know that I am a real person.  My Aunt told me that sometimes the strongest people are the ones that cry behind closed doors.  Well, I cry in the open and closed doors…what does that make me?  Stronger than I was yesterday!

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!!  I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!

Smile,

Shayla ❤

Only What’s In My Heart

Heartbeats…slow and steady. Constant. Relief my mother must’ve felt realizing that her first born was premature and weighed 3 pounds and 13 ounces but was alive. The idea that maybe the me that I have become might not have been if not for God’s sovereignty.

Fragile…little heart and body that needed an extra two months to grow using an incubator as my substitute home. Never without the careful eyes of my parents and my watchful Heavenly Father.

CAUTION: Some of what is being shared may seem a little personal, weird or both. It’s okay if you don’t want to read.

A couple years ago, I went up for prayer at my church. The lady who prayed with me was very keen to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and began to talk about things that only God knew. Things in my heart that I never shared with anyone she was speaking as if reading from a page in my heart. That’s how I knew it was real…that’s how I know it was Him speaking through her. She began to tell me about my birth. She had said that there were forces that were trying to kill me…even in my mother’s womb.

Being a child born back in the eighties, many did not survive a premature birth but I did. I often think about that. Now an even scarier thought is that before I was even born there was something trying to KILL me! Even before I could take my first “real” breath outside the protection of my mother’s womb. It makes me think…what do I have to offer that killing me before I began my life would prevent it from happening on this Earth.

This past Sunday, I went to the alter to pray and for an intercessor to stand in agreement with me over some things that I’ve been dealing with on my job.  I said, “I’ve been feeling really frustrated at work and working with….”  She told me to, “Stop!”  She said, “Sometimes when you are at that point of frustration, you have to ask yourself if this is really what God intended for you to do.”  My response to her was that I feel that I have been called to teach.  I never truly believed in my heart that it would be my only vocation.

When I was 17 years old, I remember attending a women’s retreat with my mother and sisters.  I was in the process of applying for colleges and I truly wanted the Lord’s leading.  Since I was 8 or 9 years old, I had a strong desire to teach, to make a difference, and help others in need.  I’ve always been that way.  My grandmother, Mom Inez, used to call me “Little Mama” because I was always taking care of everyone before myself.  I knew I wanted to teach but I wasn’t sure if I should teach general education, special education, both, or become a music teacher.  I chose general and special education combined.  When I went for prayer, the lady answered my question before I asked.  She said, “God said to choose whatever you want to do.”  I’ve always wondered why He said that.  I mean, choosing meant finishing where I started.  I didn’t want to choose the wrong vocation.  I mean, Cedric Gordon  (my Dad) would NOT be happy if money or time was wasted! I’m the firstborn of our family and I wanted to make my parents proud and be a role model for my younger siblings.

Part of me feels that God planned for teaching to help launch me into experiences and situations that will strengthen me for an even divine calling.  I am in no way saying that I’m better than anyone, but I am considering that teaching is just a another “tool” in my “tool-kit” of leadership.  On my job, I encounter people of many different backgrounds, cultures, and ages.  It is important for me to have strong interpersonal skills.  When I was a little girl, a visiting pastor came to my home church in Wilmington, Delaware and spoke a prophecy over me.  I don’t quite remember it because I was young, but my mother out-of-the-blue began bringing it up as we were driving home from church this past Sunday.  He said that I was going to be a teacher and a missionary.  A missionary!!!!

I have always had a passion for God’s people and to help people in other parts of the country and world.  I’ve done a few short-term missions trips, mostly in the United States.  I’m looking forward to going abroad one day!  I just thought that was surprising but it aligns with my spirit.  My mom was saying that I’ve always been interested in missions work and that doesn’t always mean out-of-the-country.  She added that the work that I am doing currently with this awesomely, creative book, Breaking Out of A Broken System by : Seth and Chandler Bolt to help buy life-saving malaria pills for the people of Uganda (www.boltbros.com) would be considered a part of missions work.

This really led me to wonder…..maybe I’m not really called to be a teacher….but what am I really passionate about?  Worshiping….Singing….Writing songs….I’ve been doing that since I was a little girl.  I kept it a really good secret because most of my family didn’t know I could sing.  (Shy Shayla)  Then one day, my mother threatened me that if I didn’t sign up for chorus in the fourth grade she would NOT allow me to listen or sing to the radio ever again.  I knew she meant business…she won…I started to come out of my shell.  The intercessor said, “The Lord will direct your steps.  He will help you to know what He wanted you to do before you were born.”  I just think that is so funny to think about.  I’m God’s baby girl and He has a plan for me!!

When I came home from church, I turned on the t.v. in the den and was led to a channel playing the one of the Sister Act movies with Whoopi Goldberg.  It was on the part where she was asking one of the main characters a question.  She said, “When you wake up in the morning, what do you feel like you want to do first?  Whatever that thought is that is what you are supposed to do?” That hit my spirit HARD!!!  I started to cry because mine was singing.  There was a time when I wished that I could just stay home and work on music.  Sometimes I feel like a songwriting “junkie” because I’ll hear lyrics or a melody and I’m grabbing napkins, paper scraps, my hand, anything to write it down!!! Thank goodness for smartphones because now I can record and go back later to work on it.

My hope is for the Lord to open the door…or to direct me. I believe He will!  I’ve been very patient but I don’t want to confuse patience with fear.  About two and a half years ago, I had my first concert at my home church introducing two of my songs.  It was so much fun and people actually enjoyed them!  (Very encouraging)  It was a bold step and God opened a platform for me!  This story isn’t finished yet.  Music….singing…worshiping….writing…is in my heart.  It’s one thing that I feel naturally gifted in and has encouraged those who have told me that my music ministers to their spirit.

Lord,

Only what’s in my heart is my desire.  If you have placed it in my heart, You will complete it in time.  I love you. I want to honor you with my life.  Lead me and guide me into the prepared plan that You had for me BEFORE I was born.  I want what You want in Your time, Your way, and for Your glory.  Thank you my loving, first Daddy!

Love,

Shayla

God has placed a desire, a dream, a passion in your heart.  If you aren’t sure what it is, seek Him.  He will tell you.  Invite Him into your plans because what He has will be far greater than you could ever imagine.  We are brothers and sisters in Christ! I am looking forward to seeing and hearing how you will help to impact the Kingdom of God!!!!!!  Much Love!

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!

Smile,

Shayla ❤

To Be Completed

This afternoon, I began to watch interviews about songs that have been encouraging to my spirit.  One song, Alive in Us by Hillsong (written by Reuben Morgan and James Ingram) came to mind.  I remember I had bought the CD, God Is Able, as I was entering into a season of restoration, renewed hope, and healing.  There are so many songs on that CD that was encouraging to my spirit.

This particular song, Alive in Us, held lyrics that jumped off the page and into my heart.

The enemy is under your feet.

We are free.

We are free.

Death has been defeated by love.

You overcome.

You overcome.

Each word spoken in succession was causing me to feel more alive in Christ and in my own person.  It helped to remind me that although circumstances may cause me to feel broken, I am not broken in Christ–He is my mender.  I am not held captive or defined by my past but defined by the power and resurrection of His love and life.  Ultimately, I am an OVERCOMER!

Have you ever been in a situation where you asked the Lord, “Where do I go from here?  How can I go on from this state?  How can this be part of Your plan for me? How can I bounce back from…?”

 I have.

Several times in my life.  Most of it has been me focusing on how others would see this experience as a failure and I will have to live it down.  Why is it that our fear of failure stems out of insecurity about what someone else would see or think? I am growing from that place.  I am learning to be more aware of my short-comings AND my successes.  I can only grow from where I have been.  I can be a bridge of hope by first starting with nothing and God building…building me.

As I listened to an interview, I heard in my spirit, “God completes the thoughts of your heart.  Sometimes we have to let it sit for awhile.” Just like in my songwriting, I may hear a lyric or have a chorus but that’s it.  The rest of the song is not ready to be birthed.  That lyric or chorus just rides along inside my heart until the time is ready.

We are masterpieces in Him that are created overtime.  God is building us into who He has ultimately designed us to be.  The transformation is on-going; it’s continuous.  It’s the best kind of time-consuming effort.  Most of what is happening takes us by surprise and can be unfathomable but in Him we will find that their is a greater purpose.

My friend Blessing said to me yesterday, “We could never feel the depth of pain, hurt, or ridicule that Christ has felt.” No, we never can.  We are both taking HUGE stands for Christ on our jobs, on personal choices, and for God to use.  We have been fasting more frequently and praying everyday before/after work.  It’s because of our stance, she’s has experienced difficulty in her personal life and I have been experiencing on the job.  But there is victory!  We are closer to it now than ever!

Her reminder convicted my spirit and unleashed the sorrow that was trying to build itself around the victorious plan that the Lord has been cultivating in my mind about this school year.  A line in the song says, “in everything be exalted”. God is above the situation and using it to create in me greater character, patience and endurance.

 Every thought unspoken…He has an answer.  Every thought lost in time…will be recovered. Every unanswered thought will come forth in a way that will amaze you. The thoughts from your childhood have never been forgotten by a God that loves you.

Who will I….

When will I…

Why do they never…

I don’t understand…

What’s wrong with….

I wish that…

Will this ever….

When will your promise for me….

Can I…

Why am I afraid that…

God, I thought that….

Do you really have the best in mind for Me?

God completes the thoughts of your heart.  

“God does not tell you to begin something then leave halfway through it.  He is a wise builder and an expert craftsman.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  He finishes what He starts.” ~ J. Lee Grady

What God starts, He completes. “I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)  The way that it unfolds may seem peculiar but it will bring Him glory in the end.  I encourage you as I encourage myself, that nothing can stop the GOOD things that God has planned…even in the moments of uncertainty God is reigns. This is one thing that we can be certain.

Thank you for sharing the MOMENT with me.  I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world.

Smile,

Shayla ❤

P.S. I also included the song with lyrics!!

Worth the Wait

“God has perfect timing; never early, never late.  It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith but it’s worth the wait.” ~ Author Unkown

One verse in scripture that I often struggle with is: Wait upon the Lord.  Maybe it is the word “wait”.  I mean, I am a very patient person.  Some could say one of the most ideal long-sufferers but when it comes to “waiting on the Lord” I haven’t quite mastered that yet. (Don’t fret, I have until the return of Christ!) It may have something to do with me being three months premature…I must have been impatiently waiting for my arrival into this world.  Only God knows.  One definition that I’ve found for the meaning of wait is: to stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens. Although I may have arrived on this Earth impatiently, the rest of my life has been spent patiently waiting for the beauty of what God has planned to be unfolded.  Some things I didn’t have to wait for as long as others.

CAUTION: ENTERING A PERSONAL MOMENT ZONE!!!

For example, when I was a young(-er) lady I went through the process of puberty.  Being the shy little girl that I was (and still am at times), I could not conceal the changes that were happening on the outside and inside of my body.  One particular change caused tremendous speculation and an uproar in my family.  Around the 4th grade, I began to show signs of needing a “training” bra.  (I mean, really, what am I training for…nothing was going to “come-off” like wheels on a bike.  They should probably call them preparatory bras and include a manual on how to endure social, mental, and familial ridicule because of a piece of white lace fabric with a pink bow in the center.) Anyway, (I feel embarrassed typing this…boy, am I my father’s daughter) I developed the need for a training bra before one of my older cousins.  I remember spending the night over her house and changing into my night gown.  Yes, I said night gown.  People actually still go to bed in things like these.  Mine was silk with a little lace at the top, very girlie!  I overhead her talking to my Aunt about me having a “chest” and she didn’t have one yet.  I felt so awkward and embarrassed. Not only did I feel self-conscious on my own, now one of my older cousins was making me feel worse because I’m experiencing this rite of passage first!  I know that it wasn’t meant in harm but I still felt kind of bad that she wanted what I wanted to get rid of.  So I yelled out with tears in my eyes, “You can have them!  I don’t even want them!”  The rest is just a blur…but a while ago I had this same conversation with her daughter and “the story” that has been made famous.  ( We are both fully developed women now and that is all that matters!  Love you!)

Isn’t it funny that sometimes what we don’t want or what we aren’t ready for comes because it is our time?  God is allowing it to happen.  But there are times when we are waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting (and waiting) for other things to turn around in our lives but God is putting the brakes on it.  There is a laundry list of things that I could share that I am waiting on…but then I stop to think am I ready? If the thing that I desire the most came right now, would I be who I need to be to fully appreciate it?  I asked the Lord a question about a prayer request of mine and He said, “You will be ready.”  To me, He is telling me that He is preparing me for my request.  Even if I don’t feel like I am ready, ultimately He knows and will open that door. Last night, I read a quote from a friend that said, “You’re worth waiting for.”  That quote reminds me of a song that I wrote back in college titled “Wait”.  (How appropriate, Shayla! Why, thank you reader!)  The song is about waiting for the person that the Lord has reserved for you.  My hope with song  I wrote when at 18 years old was to encourage other young women like me to wait for the man that God has for you.  The one He will send to you or cause you to come across in his life.

I am still waiting.  I feel good about it because I trust that the Lord will cause him to find me.  Waiting is hard but I have always found beauty in watching a love story unfold.  It is in the waiting that is a true test…especially when someone comes along that seems to mirror who you hold in your heart (that God-defined person; he can’t really be explained to others but no one else can seem to take his place. Yeah, that guy! For my male followers: Yeah, that girl!) A colleague of mine said to me last year that when “he” comes along you will know because it will be like “you’ve always known each other; almost like you are just picking up where you left off.”  Isn’t that a cool thought?  (I’m excited!!! And I just can’t hide it…I know…I know…I know…sorry born in the 80s!)  Last night before bed I started singing the bridge of this song and praying to the Lord to let it one day be of use and an encouragement to young ladies (and gents).  As I sang, I recorded the song and in my mind I could see the faces of the young ladies I am teaching now.  The same ones that are rushing into having boyfriends at age 9/10/11!  I don’t even have a boyfriend and I am 10+ their age. (Venting now…I’m patient…very patient. Lol!) The bridge goes like this…. (when you click on wait  it will lead you to a power point file to hear the song…recorded really late at night like after 12 a.m…it’s really the essence behind it)

Wait

Maybe it will take a lifetime

Or maybe it will take a friend to open your heart

All and all know you’re beautiful

And you’re worth waiting on

You’re worth waiting for

So wait on

Wait on

He’s coming for you

He’s coming for you

For some people, it has taken a lifetime. And for others it has been a friend that the Lord brought into your life.  Really, it is not all about “who” but about “you” and your response to the waiting.  All of us have different experiences on how we have chosen to wait or be satisfied.  (I personally want total satisfaction…Holding Out for My Heart’s Hero…I mean I don’t even like cold french fries…why would I settle for anything less in a husband.)  There is no shame in it because God’s story is a story of beauty.  How many times have I cheated on the Lord (who is my first husband) with crushes over my life?  Let’s not count.  He loves me anyway.  However you choose to wait….I encourage you to pray for your future mate and write down a list of the things that you desire in a mate.  I wrote a list of 10 things (with the encouragement of my pastor) and I have been praying for my husband (very specifically) every day.

Just to help you out, I will share two things from my list…

1. He must be a man of God (saved, strong relationship with the Lord, reads his Bible, prays, heart for God’s people, a heart to worship)

2. Sense of humor (he can make me laugh…life is so much better with laughter)

Now I have a pretty strong list there but I do get more specific.  God knows the kind of man that I am attracted to so I didn’t write about physical features but I really thought about the kind of man I want to spend my life with and raise a family with.  Those points really helped me to tailor my list.  Create your list based on what is important to you and take time to pray about your mate using your list often.  Also, try to be productive and ask God to lead you to work on things that you are passionate about as you wait.  We are purposeful people…our aim should not be just to be married but to help to usher in the coming of the Lord with the gifts and talents He has given us.

I feel strongly about this topic…mainly because I am a Lady in Waiting and it helps to encourage me.  I hope that this has been an encouragement to you.  There may be variations of this message in the future so be on the lookout.  Hopefully, less verbal! Lol!

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!!  I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!

Smile,

Shayla ❤

Remember the Good

Today in so many ways could have been better…before I jump into “why” I’ll start with something that has becoming better every day.  I remember when working with my homeroom students used to be such a PUSH to get them into a “ready-to-learn” attitude.  I greet my students every day with the three H’s: handshake, high-five, or hug.  Most students go for the “hug” but a few still like the handshake.  There are a couple who like to give all three.  They are either indecisive or are individuals.  I’m not sure.  Anyway, I remember when I would just wish that it was time for my second class to arrive.  My first group of fourth graders are a more needier group (not sure if that is a word but I’ll go with it!  If it is not, please leave it in a friendly comment. :)) because most of the students in this class receive special education services or are reading significantly below grade level.  Also, some have some behavioral issues….with all that said…they have GROWN completely in so many ways.  Our conversations are better, they are very engaged in what we are learning, their reading levels are increasing, and they are developing a stronger ready-to-learn attitude.  There are days when I feel like “this must be a dream”.  They are behaving and responding exactly the way I have been asking God to cause them to become!!! (Yay!) Some days they have MOMENTS but I am love them anyway. My second group, which is a class full of more capable students, had much better behavior (not the best but better) habits and really was showing themselves as a model classroom.  The principal even inquired about video taping our lessons as models.

“Remember the good”, God says to me.

Well, this week there has been some serious broken windows in my second class. One, in particular, was very hurtful to me.  I greeted my students at the threshold of my classroom the way that I always do.  One student who normally requests hugs from me got his hug but as he hugged me he placed a post-note on my back that read: Kick Me.  UNBELIEVABLE!  The classic teacher fear or No-No!  I quickly redirected him to my co-teacher’s classroom and proceeded to complete an office referral. He was sent to the office.  This week he will have Saturday detention and it will be FAR FROM FUN!!!

“Remember the good”, God says to me.

Hurt. Disappointed. Wondering. Broken. If I didn’t care I’d understand.  If I was a disrespectful teacher I’d understand.  If I….I’d understand.  God told me a while ago that it is not about me.  He told me back in October of 2013 not to take it personal.  Well, Lord to be honest it is hard not to take it personal.  I mean, you understand where I coming from right? Have you ever given so much of yourself to something only to have someone stomp all over it? Don’t take it personal.  For real, I know what my Father meant and He knows how easy the devil wants me to find rest in self-pity.  I remember last year when I had experienced a hurtful situation at work and felt like I should quit everything I started.  I felt so useless in something I felt the Lord has called me to do: to TEACH.  I found encouragement, exhortation, and inspiration from a friend.  He posted on instagram, “The GOOD you’re capable of is worth the work.”  Thank you Seth (Bolt)!  You might not know why you wrote those words or maybe you do.  But I know God knew…He knew…He enabled me to find words that helped the lifeblood in me to start to hope again.  When I read that quote, I was at the brink of self-pity and sorrow.  I am not a quitter and I finish what I start, even the hard things.  That day as I read, I broke down and cried.  My heart knew I needed to heart those words. 

This was a defining moment. Do I quit and believe the negative report or do I press on and trust God for the victory? I chose to pray.  I prayed and asked the Lord to help see me through and He did!  The situation that had brought me sorrow has brought me joy and a sense of justification.  More importantly, it helped me to grow stronger despite every accusing tongue and fiery arrow sent my way. The Lord is continuing to prepare that table of SUCCESS for me! (Ps. 23)

“Remember the good,” God says.

Why is it that when we are working towards making a difference for Christ we seem to be attacked the most? But I never walk alone.  Almost four years ago, the Lord gave me an opportunity to have a restoration period.  In that time, I had paid time off from work and my position secured. (Favor of God!) I took some classes working on my Master’s for Reading, spent time with my family, and was able to spend significant time doing something I absolutely love to do…..write songs and sing!  It was like the Lord was giving me a songwriting grace in this season.  All the while, He was preparing and strengthening me for the season up ahead as I prepared to go back into the classroom.

For you are God’s won handiwork, recreated in Christ that you may do the good works that God predestined….(Ephesians 2:10)

“Remember the good,” God says.

Even when on my own I can’t remember the good, God knows how to bring me to it or it to me.  Tonight, my Mom (with my sisters) tried to tell me funny stories of situations that happened to her in the classroom.  They even left a funny voice mail on my phone for me to replay and laugh.  (Laughter helps break the mood tremendously. Plus, it angers the devil.) One of my best gal pals texted me to say she was thinking of me and praying for me. (This is really sweet because she is six months pregnant with her fifth child, home schools, and hardly has time to talk let alone text–Love you Rebekah! Side note: She probably won’t get to read this until the baby turns 1. Just kidding!)  Even in the bad situations there is always something good.  This young man did write me an apology note and told me that he is going to talk to his best friend ( a student in my homeroom) on how to make the situation better.  Wow! Maybe I don’t need to know the “why”…maybe this is more for him than for me…maybe God is teaching me how to love the unlovelies…

“Shayla, remember the good”, God says.

As I drove home I listened on repeat to United’s (Hillsong) “Take Heart”.  This song is one I often turn to when I feel like I need courage and to remember that God overcame ALL of this for me.  I am just standing…He has given me the victory in this life even when I face distasteful situations.  In order to help the hurting sometimes you have to hurt.  In order to understand the broken you have to be broken.  In order to love like Christ you have to love those who Christ would love.  So despite what we face, experience or encounter hold onto hope in God to see you through.  Choose to remember the good, whether it is a phone call, text, story, voice mail, song, or a quote. Take Heart.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Se-lah (Psalm 62:7-8)

I’ve included a link to the song “Take Heart” by United (Hillsong). Hope it is encouraging to you!

Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!

Smile,

Shayla ❤