Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love Covers All

I do not like engaging in controversial topics that have no right or wrong answer—such as healthcare reform, whether a Christian should be Democrat or Republican, what denomination one should choose, etcetera. Those things are not clearly outlined in Scripture and some things are left to conviction and interpretation. Homosexuality, however, is not. Let me preface this by saying the following: if you are reading this, I ask you to maintain an open mind as I voice my beliefs and not automatically assume I hate homosexuals and think they are all condemned to Hell, or that I am a close-minded southerner that’s a product of my environment. Please, just hear me out.
I became a Christian when I was ten years old and I grew up in a Christian home with both parents. It is in that statement there that most people would believe that this is exactly why I “disagree” with homosexuality. I do not know if I would be a Christian had my life or culture had been different, because it wasn’t. However, there are plenty of people who grow up in my same life situation that are not Christ-followers, so I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that I am a direct product of my environment. I have been arrested by the grace that Christ has lavished on me and there is no other explanation for my worldview other than that at this point. With that being said, let me make my point. As the Supreme Court convenes to determine the rights of gay marriage from a federal perspective, I believe it is important to express my views and not just sweep them under the rug. Now I realize that I am not a political or religious leader whose views will change the course of the Supreme Court’s decision, but I won’t let it go by without at least expressing where I stand. I do not wish to engage in arguments nor am I necessarily trying to disprove what others believe. I am simply stating what I believe and why.
Now, I love all people- gay or straight. I, in no way, believe that I am better or deserve to be treated better or anything like that. However, I have heard people on the pro-gay-marriage camp say that they do not want the church to agree with marriage, just want the same rights as others. By legally giving the same legal rights to gay married couples as opposite sex married couples, we (the Church/Christians) are saying that we agree, when we do not. Let me go back in history for a moment to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s: if the Church (when I speak of the Church, I synonymously use this term for Christians) were to say, “We believe that African-Americans are equal to us but they should still go to different schools, eat in different restaurants, etc.” (i.e. Jim Crow Laws), then it would be OBVIOUS that those saying that did not truly believe that African-Americans were equal because they didn’t want the same rights. Fast forward to today, by the Church saying we believe that gay marriages should have the same legal equal rights as opposite sex married couples, we are saying we agree. They are synonymous with one another.
Please know that I am not pointing my self-righteous finger at homosexuals because I know that I am in need of the Savior just as much, if not more, than most homosexuals. I am the furthest thing from perfect and I need God’s grace every single day of my life. By calling sin, sin, does not mean I am condemning, it just means that I calling what is, what is. I believe that if Christians just sit by and don’t stand up for what they believe in then God will leave us to our own devices and that never turns out well:
“Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches. Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing.” (Romans 1:26-29)
But there is still hope found in redemption. God gives us a chance to return to Him- all of us, not just homosexuals, every single person on earth!! “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
My hope is that anyone who may read this will understand that true grace and love is found only in Jesus Christ. I need His grace and love every day. I fall short of His glory and yet He still loves me and He still wants me. He still loves you and He still wants you too. “I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39) There is nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us! So no matter what the Supreme Court rules in favor of, God’s grace and love will forever cover a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8)…including my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Unleash! by Perry Noble is definitely on my top five of favorite books of all time. Perry Noble challenges his readers to break free from a life of normalcy by not only giving our hearts to Christ but our lives to Him as well. He uses the story of David found in 1 and 2 Samuel to show us that, like David, in order to do extraordinary things for God, we must solely rely on Him and remain dedicated to Him.
As a child growing up in a Christian home, it has been very easy for me to fall prey to what Perry Noble refers to as “The Performance Trap.” I came to know Christ when I was ten years old, but learning how to act and what to say from a very young age also taught me how to love Jesus with my head, sometimes forsaking the matters of the heart. “We can’t only love Jesus with our head; we have to love Him with our heart- that’s all He wants anyway…His love is not based on our performance.” I have learned that in order to move forward, I must reconnect my heart with Jesus, and leave my past in the past. “If you don’t let your past die, it won’t let you live.” As Perry reminded me, I am created on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose. I am currently delving through that very thing in my life right now, and while reading Unleash! I was given practical ways to glorify God in finding my purpose. Perry undauntedly, in ways that only he can, stated how and when we are to take our next steps in our walk with Christ. I now know what my next step is in my walk with Christ. Christ merely wants my obedience to Him- whole-hearted and unwavering devotion to Him. I genuinely love to be around people. I have always enjoyed working with the public and getting to know people. However, often times when I am pulled away from Christ to sin, I have pulled away from His people too. “The first step people take away from God is usually a step away from church and their friends.” However, just because I have messed up or turned my back on God, He still wants me and can still use me. In Unleash! Perry tells us stories of people in Scripture who have turned their back on God and came back and He still used them. Through his own personal testimony, Perry showed me that God, indeed, does work everything out for our good if we just trust Him through it all.
After reading Unleash!, I am convicted in my walk with Christ and challenged to my next steps, all the while knowing that the best is yet to come! I am encouraging everyone I know to get their copy of Unleash! and read it as soon as possible. You will definitely be changed after reading this one!

Monday, July 9, 2012

That's How Much I Love You!

I am not a mother and only God knows when and if I will become one. However, I do believe that most, if not all, women are born with a natural maternal instinct; it is just brought out when one actually becomes a mother. The closest thing I have to a child is my niece, Kylei. I love her like she is my own and there is nothing she could do that would make me stop loving her. I can only imagine if I love her as much as I do how much love parents have for their own children. And God, our Father, is no exception. The only reason we are able to love like we do is because God loved us first and shows us how to love our children (Matt7.11).
God created each of us with a unique purpose for this life (Jer1.5). He loves us so much that he crafted us so intricately that we each have our own fingerprint and DNA. He spent time on each and every single person on this planet. It’s in God that we get our start and it is He who made us in the first place (Is43.1).
As much as a parent can love their child because they are theirs, they look at that child and know it came from them, God says the same thing about His children. He gave up His only Son just to get us back. We are redeemed and are able to have a real relationship with Him. Think of it like this: If you’re a parent you can understand this concept and if you’re not just think of the person you love more than anything on this planet…if someone had that child or that person and called and told you the only way you could give them back is if you gave up your most prized possession or they would die and be separated from you forever. Everyone would do whatever it took to get them back! And more than likely wouldn’t think twice about giving up whatever you needed just to have that child back in your arms again. That’s what God says about us in Isaiah 43:4 “I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” Think about it, it took God FIVE days create all of creation and only ONE day to create humans (Gen1). And think about the most beautiful mountains on earth and the vast, gorgeous beaches we have on this planet- and that’s just this planet.  Think about outer space and the galaxies upon galaxies. God says He would give it ALL of that up just to get us back!!! God loves us so much that there is NOTHING He wouldn’t do for us. Those beautiful mountains and gorgeous beaches He created have nothing on YOU- He formed you, He created you, and He WANTS you! More than anything He wants to just love you! “I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you!” Isaiah 43:4
            So while I may not be a mother yet, I know that there is no love greater than our Father’s love toward us. He only wants to love us and be reconciled. He doesn’t want anything from us; He just wants to give His love TO us! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Commitment is one of the major things in life with which I've always struggled. I don’t know the root of my struggle with commitment (at this point in my life.) I had a decent childhood so there is no traumatic event to trace it to or anything of that nature, but I’m not here to psychoanalyze myself. A friend of mine blatantly told me once when I was about to back out on a commitment, “You need to learn dedication.” As jovial as he meant it, the words pierced my heart and gave me a huge reality check. I have never made a life-long commitment in my entire life. I’ve never been married or have children for that matter, so that kind of commitment is out of the question. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, that is a life-long commitment. But let’s be honest here, I don’t think I’m the only one who has ever flip flopped on my relationship with Christ. I’ve told myself numerous times that I won’t allow myself to have an up and down relationship with Jesus anymore….yet it happens- time and time again. But the reality is that as long as I’m living in this sinful world, it is going to happen. Sin is the ever-constant divide between my Lord and me. I have an unaltered relationship with God, through Christ because of His work on the cross, yet sin is still present and still separates. Growing up, I had this picture of salvation as this “get out of Hell free” card. I went to the alter when I was 6 years old to get saved because I didn’t want to burn for eternity (what my 6 year old mind could comprehend eternity was). Yet, in this ever-growing relationship that I have with Jesus (since I was truly saved at 10), I’m even more grateful for my salvation because I have learned that not only am I not going to burn (HUGE plus, lol), but the main reason I’m saved today is because I have unity with my Father through Jesus Christ. While we are in a sinful world, I’m still able to throw my hands up and shout, “I Surrender!” When life gets me bogged down and I go astray, I can still say, “Forgive me Father.” No, being a Christian isn’t always pretty and I’m not perfect, but I know that He won’t let me go too far without bringing me back into His loving arms. “We know that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”- Romans 8:28

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's in your temple?

It has been over a month since I posted a blog. This was the main reason I hadn’t started a blog in the first place- because I knew I would start it and write a few times then never write again. I had told myself that I was going to keep this blog up! Ha ha! Nonetheless here I am now—writing my life. Honestly, there have been times I would go to write and I couldn’t find anything to say so I would just pray and cry out to God. He always meets me right where I am! Writing is one way I relieve stress and when I sit down to write and there is nothing, well that can be stressful to me to say the least. But in those times, God ministers to me unlike He does through my writings- so I would not trade those moments for the world!

Recently, I’ve started feeling better about myself. I’ve blogged before about how I am on what I like to call a “weight loss journey” and since I’ve been eating healthier and exercising, I feel better. When I was eating terribly and doing no kind of exercise, except from walking from the couch to the fridge and back, I felt awful- physically, emotionally, and mentally. Not only because I looked like I had had some kind of allergic reaction to peanuts and swelled up like a balloon, but because I was not taking care of my temple (“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As Christians, when we are living in sin (no matter the sin), we will not live comfortably. After the fact (the commission or omission of sin), I am grateful for the conviction because I know that conviction is God’s chastisement. He chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). In the south, if we are asked if gluttony is a sin, we will say yes. Us southern Christians wouldn’t dare get caught saying that something isn’t a sin when it clearly is! However, we think that that gluttony is one of those sins that somehow pass by God’s heart without hurting Him. Every sin breaks the heart of God because it separates us from Him. All God wants is unadulterated intimacy with us. He longs for our health to prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). I honestly believe that a reflection of our relationship with God can be seen in how we take care of our temple. In my personal experience, when I was not taking care of my temple, I could not hear from God as clearly as I can when I am taking care of my body.

With that being said, tonight I bought the book “Eating Animals” by Johnathan Foer (technically the eBook, on my Barnes & Noble app for iPhone- get that app if you have the iPhone!!). From what I understand, the author of the book did extensive research on factory farms in America (where most of the meat I eat comes from) and proves how unsafe the meat they process truly is for our bodies. I am going to educate myself on how to eat properly and truly take care of my temple. While I do plan to lose weight (as a beneficial by-product), it is not my main focus in this venture. My main goal is to learn how to take care of my temple by not forsaking that gluttony is a sin with many consequences. I call this a “venture” because eating healthy and exercising is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life, however I may or may not be a vegan for the rest of my life. Ha ha! I love to eat meat! I have been raised on some good cookin and have learned how to do some good eatin! (That was in my country-redneck voice LoL!) My point is not to stop eating meat, but to know what kind and where to buy the right, healthy meat. I am excited about reading this book and rest assured that I will blog my critique of it.

…Well it’s 2 am and I still need to clean my room and shower before I go to bed! Goodnight my fellow bloggers!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Let me preface this blog by saying that this will not be one of my best blogs, lyrically speaking. This is merely my thoughts written out. Like I've said before, I find release in just writing out my thoughts, blessings, and lessons learned :) This blog is more for me than it is for anyone else. I'm not out to preach or offer some great epiphany to anyone because I earnestly believe that what God tells me, He can and will tell the next person that just makes their ears available to hear from Him. With that said, here are some of my thoughts for today....

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of His benefits." -Psalm 103:2 (KJV)

This verse has been on my heart for the past few days. I came across this verse for the first time during a bible study I was doing with my aunt's church a few months ago. The other day God brought this verse back to my remembrance- when I wanted to feel bad for myself. Then today, my mom sent it to me in an email. God has really been reminding me not to forget His blessings.

Often times it is so easy to look at the bad or the negative. I try to stay positive, at least outwardly in my speech. But quite frankly, I can be quite the pessimist. And oh how God rebukes me when I do! He says "Praise Me! And don't forget a single blessing!"

It is so easy to see bill after bill flowing in with no way to pay them (or at best limited resources to pay them) and to see our life not fitting into the pattern we had expected. But then God says, did you eat today? did you have something to drink today? what about clothes- didn't you have something to wear? I never told you I would give you the wealth of this world, but that I would supply your needs. Now Stephanie, haven't they been met? Praise Me! And don't forget about all of My benefits!

So my point in all of this, when life seems to bog you down and you are finding it easy to complain & think on the negative things- Praise God! Praising God in and of itself will lift your spirits, but that's not all- don't forget His benefits. God has more benefits than we can even begin to wrap our mind around; Praise God that we (the redeemed, His children) are the beneficiaries!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Tonight's blog is more therapy for me. I write as a means of expression and also as a way to help myself cope. Tonight is the latter.

My niece has a sign on her door that says "My prince has come...his name is daddy." While that is sweet and cute for a three year old little girl, one day my niece will want to find the love of her life- and it won't be her daddy. But what do you do when you find that love and HAVE to let it go? I hope my niece never has to do that- I hope that the first guy she falls in love with will be her husband and everything she needs in one. Then she'll never experience the pain of lost love.

They say it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I disagree with this statement. When you have loved and lost, loved hard, and to lose is the worst pain anyone can experience. Indescribable. To know that you love someone more than life itself- that you are willing to give up any and everything for that person because your love for them is so strong- to lose that....hurts beyond words can describe.

I thank God for certain people being placed in my life that help me along this road. My Pastor is one of those people. He told me that as much as I think I love this man, it's all I know. All I know is all I know....therefore, I don't feel like I could ever love anyone more than I love this man- merely because it's all I know. I've never loved anyone like I love him and it is hard to conceive loving someone more than I love him. Point being, how do I know that I can't love someone more than I love him? Just because it's all I know right now, does not mean that that's all there is! I'm taking refuge in that truth! When my heart and flesh feel this way- I have no other option but to turn to my Savior. My refuge, my strong tower, my strength when I am weak...the place I should have went first. I have no other choice but to trust God concerning my future husband. There is one that I want it to be, but if that's not what God wants, I'm ok with that. I have learned, through various life situations, that I would MUCH rather have God's plans for me than Stephanie's plans for me.

I have heard people say that if someone wants to walk out of your life, LET THEM! Especially if it is a boyfriend or girlfriend. Later, you will realize that they were the fool for leaving! I know that when my husband comes I will be able to say, "It is obvious how much he loves me!" (Song of Solomon 2:4). What I am taking this time to do is to truly see God. I want my heart and my motives to be pure. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8). With everything in me, I want it to come from a place of purity- not just sexual purity- but in everything I do and everything I say- I want it all to come from a pure motive, no pretenses. I know then that I will be able to see God in everything in life. Right now, as single as I can be, I am completely whole. Just like my Pastor has been preaching- I do not lack anything! "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything." Deuteronomy 2:7...while I'm in this wilderness, just like the children of Israel, I will lack NOTHING!

I know that I can be a good girlfriend- of that I am sure! I will put my boyfriend first and make sure I have done everything I need to do as his girlfriend. What I want this "single time" in my life to be is a rejuvenating process to get me to the place where I am not only a good girlfriend, but a godly girlfriend- living out godly principles and preparing myself to be a godly wife.

God never promised that this road would be easy; He just promised we would never walk it alone. And I'm clinging to that promise tonight: "I will never leave you; I will never forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how forsaken I may feel, I will have to reconnect to the Spirit and remind myself of this promise. Thank you Jesus- my Savior, my Friend!

....this blog has accomplished it's mission of being a therapy session for me. Ha ha!