Oaks Of Splendor

Sharing My Life's Story And Things That Inspire Me


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#70for70Project: Laying the Foundation

Over the past year God has been taking my life and transforming it. I had stood at #WMCONF (World Mandate Conference) in 2016, and heard his call for me to Go. By the end of the weekend I had wholeheartedly said yes to GO where God was leading me. I had spent most of my life believing in Jesus. I had even felt the presence of the lord numerous times throughout my lifetime. However, I had never been washed by the spirit, in a way were the only thing left for my life was radical transformation.

I had been spending my life on a journey, where I desired things to be different. I lived in a state where my life would be better when….. this or that happened. I was always looking for grass to be greener on the other side of whatever I imagined to be the reason why I wasn’t happy. Yet, I could never get to where I wanted to be, or where I imagined I should be. I had many goals and expectations about my life, and I studied different tools I could utilize to make changes. I claimed that I wanted to be healthier, but I continued to make unhealthy decisions. I made excuses for myself, and for others. I even went so far as to use my unhealthy habits as a crutch, for why I was not who I wanted to be.

I made radical changes here and there. I even ended up losing about 60 pounds of weight five years ago, only to revert to the old habits which I was so familiar with. I dropped down from a size 14 to a size 6, which is the smallest size I had ever been in my adult life. Then life happened, and the habits I had tried changing on my own had slowly creeped back into my daily routine. I regained the weight, and now five years later I am a size 14 again. Some radical changes have stuck around, and I wouldn’t say that I eat to unhealthy. I became a vegetarian some ten years ago, and five years ago I dove into being a better version of the vegetarian I had become. The one thing I learned is you can be a vegetarian , and still have a poor diet. A diet of pizza and other junk foods, can be vegetarian friendly. However , they are not healthy choices.

Over these past few months I have come to realize one of my biggest lessons; you can not continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect things to change. This is insanity. To do the same thing and expect different results. Instead of trying to change my way, I have decided to allow the Lord to blow me where he will. Allowing him to transform the deepest parts of my own identity. I now see this as the path to becoming who God has made me to be.

Since I moved back home  six months ago, I have been exploring how God can further transform my life. After much prayer and thought on the subject I am embarking on my maiden voyage. A journey into living a love filled life. The idea of the 70 for 70 project came a few months back when I was spending time with God. I was waiting on him to give me some direction, and so I heard him tell me to wait 70 days for clarity. I waited, and on the 18th of December as I was flying to Texas to spend Christmas at my brother’s house I had a dream. I was in flight and I dreamt the Lord’s hand was under the plane as we flew. I woke to a sense of assurance, knowing the Lord was with me in every aspect of my journey.  I realized because the lord was with me, I could continue to see radical transformation. Unlike the changes I had experienced before, this time would be different. Instead of trying to change my life on my own, I would now allow the Lord’s love and grace to change me from my roots up. I would begin with a foundation. I would build the foundation on the rock, like the wiseman.

 Matthew 7;24- 27  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

How will I begin to build my foundation, one day at a time. If you take 70 days, it can transform into 70 more days, or 70 weeks. Then 70 weeks can become 70 months, and 70 months become 70 years. 70 years becomes a lifetime of living a love filled life, one stone at a time.

I have spent a lot of time up to this point going through my shakedown, or period of testing before the first voyage. As I prepared to set sail into a transformed life, I started with the word “Yes”. I said yes to allowing God to lead me beyond the borders. I desire to wander farther than my feet can travel. I know when i am tired he will carry me. When storms approach, he will calm the waters. All I need is faith in his unending love. A love which moves mountains, it carves out canyons, and transforms a single drop of water into vast oceans. A love as Bob Goff puts it, love does.

My body is worthy of being his temple, washed in the holy spirit. For the first 70 days, I will begin to make healthy choices which reflect treating my body as hs temple. I will allow the word to transform the body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.”


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#Poetry Friday : Before I Found the Light Series

I found myself trapped,

torn down by my own belief

in the importance of other’s opinions.

Circumstances out of my control-

lead me to devalue all but

the importance in myself.

No blame is laid on the events-

which lead me here,

to where I am supposed to be.

Great, unimaginable strength

was gained from all this bitterness,

turned from a negative to a positive.

Now we are apart,

a friendship is over-

but no harshness or hurt is left,

only love and gratitude

for the things we did not see. 


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#Poetry Friday : Before I Found the Light Series

I hear-

I see-

all that I am,

every moment that strengthens me.

Tears no more-

Fear is gone-

every breath is new. 

The awakening moments of life’s 

eternal spring.

Searching inside-

Finding the truth-

Letting the heavy burdens fall,

carrying the sorrow no longer.

Releasing the pain- 

Saying goodbye-

to all the self doubt and never looking back.

Taking a new path-

that leads me-

to happy thoughts and joyful times,

which will soon fill my soul. 


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#Poetry Friday : Before I Found the Light Series

Fear was confronted today,

like two rams butting heads at full force.

No longer am I held down

by the words that wouldn’t come.

The words sprung from my heart-

a river that had no end,

kept turning and winding through-

to the point of life springing

waters of releasing bliss.

Freedom from all the sorrow,

No longer drowning

but floating on towards tomorrow

For tomorrow is a new day. 

 


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#70for70Project: Small Acts Create Bold Love

1 John 4:11-12

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

Last week I planned on volunteering at a couple different organizations around the community. I guess I expected to be able to jump right in and start helping people. However, there was a lot of paperwork involved in before I could even start. So last week it was all about just signing up. I see how even the simple small act of just saying yes i want to help was a praise to God. Each time I signed up to do something else, I was really saying I was choosing to follow what God was asking of me. Through this I was showing him praise in action. Well, besides paperwork I now have to go through some training. Monday at the women’s shelter I have signed up for, I was stuck in a quiet room and given a bunch of training materials to read. I have to log 25 volunteer hours worth of training before I am able to start working. Logically this makes sense. I am not sure why I thought it would be any different. I guess I just had imagined to hit the ground running and just jump in.

I often find my expectation in life is to take a giant leap forward. Yet, again God keeps reminding me to move forward with purpose one must take steps. Small acts are sometimes better than large ones. Don’t get me wrong, taking a large leap forward is sometimes what is required. It can be a big leap when you first decide to follow Jesus. Then life continues to teach you how small steps are equally important. It is how you grow in strength. It is how you become rooted in faith. Not by just the big decisions in life but by the small ones too.

I have been reading this book by Heidi Baker which has given inspiration about Loving the one. She consistently points out God does just call us to love everyone but also the one right in front of us. Sometimes we are so busy trying to make a big impact we miss the one who had been there right before us. I know I have done this more than one occasion. I am sure I may miss someone in the future, but my desire is by seeing the small I will understand the bigger picture. There was this book I read a few years ago which was all about the small things in this world we often overlook. It was called Pilgrim to Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It is a Pulitzer Prize winning book about one woman’s theology on life. For me her voice and language had an intensity I had never found by other authors. Yet, there was also simplicity and beauty in the words she used to describe each subject. There is a section in the book where Annie has gone into the woods to write. As she is sitting under a tree she sees an ant going about his day. She ended up writing on her observations of the ant. It stands out to me the most as I remember the book, because I remember thinking if this how God sees us. Are we like the ant? Do we just go about our day unaware someone is watching and recording what we are doing?

I used to think of God this way. As only someone who looks down on us from above. Now I understand he is with us. He walks beside us as we make life’s pilgrim. The change in understanding now shows me how when we love each other in small ways we make a greater impact than we can realize at the time. Small acts made out of love have great power. Seeing small does not mean we have to be small. As I left the women’s shelter yesterday, I had to sign out. In the lobby were three women; one was on the computer, one was standing beside her and the third was watching the small child running around the room. The small child came over to me and said hello. I greeted him with a big smile. As I turned around he pointed up to the sandwich back in my and asked” What is that?” I and the young lady watching him both said “carrots” at the same time. Without thinking I asked her if he could have some. She replied with a “yes”. I then bent over to offer him some of the carrots. I explained how he could have some, because I had plenty. He lit up with delight as he reached in and pulled out three baby carrots from the bag. I then looked up and two of the ladies were now in front of me. I asked if he would want more later, and offered for them to take the entire bag. The agreed he would probably want some more ,and said thank you before taking the bag from my had. I reassured them it was no problem because I had a big bag still at home. Then I left.

Driving home all I could think was how the small act of kindness had probably brightened their day. Then I thought about how because I had more carrots I home I was eager to offer them to others. I had more than enough. I wonder if we treated everything this way, then we would be more open to loving the one in front of us. If we know we have more than enough to share, we won’t be so greedy to keep it for ourselves. When LOVE is more than enough it becomes Bold. Through this boldness we can reflect the grace God has given us. We can make praise and action and not just a word.


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#Poetry Friday : Before I Found the Light Series

Where are you tonight?

Are you under the sky of bliss,

The thoughts of reflection

like a mirror that won’t go away-

until you break the connection of sight.

I thought I saw you there looking 

back at me,

but it was only the watery reflection 

of the things I use to be.

Have I found you after so many trials?

Of searching, waiting, wanting

to let you back.

You stand beside me

with hands stretched out

open to hold the value of Love-

Joy-

Hate-

The good always comes with the bad,

lost in you is not the exception.

Finding you proves the point of

 one’s own conflicting dreams-

Imagine the ideas that float

freely by my tunneled vision,

Strength in every number that

chases you till the very end. 


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#70for70Project : 70 Days of Praise Day 1

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Colossians 3:23

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

 

Yesterday, was the last day of my 14 day fast. I am proud of myself for stick to it. Even though I had cravings, and found myself reaching for foods I was not eating on the fast. The motivation of doing this for God was the strength behind my willpower.  I have decided to continue to avoid processed food and most added sugar for now on. However, I plan on making the exception for holidays and special occasions. I am also going to continue staying away from dairy, including cheese. I will make occasional exceptions to this choice as well. Make these exceptions will be about balance. So, if I make a conscious decision to eat a dairy product then I will not allow any other exceptions for that week. If I choose to eat a piece of chocolate which has sugar, then I will omit the fruit I may have eaten instead for the day. It will be about balance, and understanding my liver can only process a limited amount of sugar to remain health. I will only make these decisions if it serves me, and my body which is a temple of God. I am thankful for God taking this experience and transforming me by opening my eyes to poor past decisions. I was not eating a balanced diet. It was full of chemicals and sugar. I know this is one of the reasons why I have struggled to maintain a healthy weight for my height. I am 5’2 and weigh 190lbs, or at least last time I weighed myself. I have given up weighing myself, instead it is about being healthy not my weight and being skinny.

Now today was the first day of my next 70 days, as part of the 70 for 70 Project. These next 70 days are all about taking the small commitment I made and building on top of it with another small commitment. The commitment is to find new ways to praise and worship God. It is about more than just words, but instead living my praise through action. I will start each morning talking to God saying …..” Thank you god for the new day! What can I do today to Praise you, and serve you through my faith? ” I will pray he reveals this to me throughout the day. This is not only about praising him with my actions towards myself, but also towards others. Jesus has called us to love others as ourselves.

I want to share how last Monday as I was beginning to approach this challenge which I feel God has called me too. I knew the next 70 days will be about serving other people. I wondered how I might have the time to actually accomplish his will. Last Monday my manager came in and informed me due to corporate budget cuts they needed to separate employment at this time. With all the push back I had been getting about spending, and not having the tools to be successful at my job. I knew this was coming. I had been already looking for new opportunites. I just figured I had at least till the end of the summer. The good news is I still have 6 weeks left from my last unemployment claim. I soon realized even though this door closed, God has greater things planned for my future. In the meantime he has made space for me to volunteer around the community. Today I went and signed up to work at a local women’s shelter, they specialize in domestic violence. My mother was a victim of domestic abuse, so this is a cause close to my heart. I look forward to seeing how God can use me while I am there. I am going to work at soup kitchen which is part of my mother’s church tomorrow. God calls us to feed the hungry. So I will do just that. I also plan on stopping by the local art center to fill out their volunteer paperwork tomorrow. I do not plan on just sitting around and waiting. Rather I plan to live each day in praise and faith for the next 70 days. Once a job opportunity comes, I will take it knowing it is God’s plan. I will still continue to serve others every way I can.  If that means spending my evenings or weekends doing volunteer work I will. Who knows maybe God will use this to open a door for a job. I will just remain in admiration of his purpose for my life. I will remain faithful. I will let go and trust in him.

I want to continue to bridge my past which is being transformed into who God has made me to be. I no longer want to be stuck in the middle. Instead I want to live on the other side of God’s promises. I will do everything as though I am working for the Lord and not people. Will you too take up the challenge?


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#Poetry Friday : Before I Found the Light Series

Starting this Friday I am going to try and commit to sharing more of my poetry. SInce it seems like my poems get the most likes of all my posts. I am going to start with a series of Poems I am entitling  “Before I Found the Light”. The are poems when I was suffering in pain and turmoil with depression, before I was re-baptized last summer. I was baptized as an infant when I was a child, but last year 2016. I walked into a river in Texas and choose to declare giving my life over to the Light of the world. It was then I was reborn. Over the next 10 weeks I am going to share some of these poems ever Poetry Friday. I figure it’s a good way to end the working week. First Poem is the answer to a poem I shared before. the one I wrote at the age 18 about who I am. Or who I thought I was at the age of 18. I am including both to show the transition that occurred. I wrote the first in at 18 and the second when I was 22 years old.

My 18 Year Old Self

I am trapped in myself. 
Yearning to be set free,
captured by my own inner turmoil of self discovery.
My life moves outside the bubble
of inflicted learning, of self realism. 
I cry to move.
Holding on just a moment longer.
Let go I say,
so I may be able to dance to a new me,
sing of the awakening,
think about tomorrow.
For it is then,
I shall be set free. 

 

My 22 Year Old Self

 

I was once trapped in myself,

Now I am set free-

Free to my own self-discovery,

Enlightened to move into my own self realistic thought,

No longer do I hold onto my outer wall

It has been released to show the true me,

I now dance anew-

Sing an awakening tune-

Live for today-

Look for tomorrow-

For I am now set free;

Freedom will ring through out my days.