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Thursday, 29 May 2014

God Loves Me & He's The One That Really Matters

Yesterday morning Dr. Maya Angelou writer of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" (one of my favourites during high school) and her other 6 autobiographies along with many poetry books and other phenomenal work died at age 86. Of course many of her old interviews surfaced up on the web and i watched a recent one by Oprah when Maya Angelou introduces her last autobiography titled "Mom & Me & Mom" in the interview, Oprah asked her, "Where do you go for solace, for comfort?" She started talking about Unity Church and in one of the books she read called "Lessons In Truth" and there is one particular line in the book that said "God loves me" she says "When I came to read it to my then mentor, Fred Wilkerson , the late Fred Wilkerson, I read "God loves me" he said, read it again "God loves me" he said, read it again, read it again and finally I read "GOD LOVES ME" ..... It still humbles me that this force which made leaves and flies and stars and rivers and you. Loves me! Me, Maya Angelou it's amazing, I can do anything and do it well, any good thing I can do it that's why I'm who I am, yes, because God loves me and I'm amazed at it and grateful for it" 
How many of us have really grasped that concept? That God loves me. It got me thinking about Dr. Angelou's life, in "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" she writes how she was send with her brother to her grandma's house by her father and after a few years he came back and gave them to their mother. She was raped by her mother's boyfriend and she told her brother who then told everyone else and the man was arrested for one day. When he came out of jail he was killed and she became a mute for 5 years because "her voice had killed that man". In her other biographies she takes about having to work in a not so modest place and being a single mother at 17. Yet she is still able to grasp the idea that God loves her. No matter what, God loves her. While singing to Michael W. Smith's "You're The One That Really Matters" feat. Kari Jobe I got to thinking about how Maya Angelou might have felt; black, raped and a single mother. How everything in that time era singled her out as less than a human, and I don't know her personally but her words are words that have experienced pain and neglect, so you just know she suffered. But she kept going and at the end she can say "GOD LOVES ME" because no one matters but Him! 
Can you say that with confidence? 
Have you ever walked by someone and wondered "I wonder if they are looking at me, or looking at my thighs rub together, or belly jiggle or looking at my butt" (the butt one is for me cause it's my insecurity lol) Sounds silly right? But I'm sure that we have all thought it. Not just appearance wise but when I was in high school I would wonder if people would like how I acted or how I carried myself, I worried too much about what others thought yet putting on a brave face of "I don't care what the world says". Which was the biggest lie because I really did care, it was a time when I static in life, I wasn't moving forward but backwards. It is time to align our thoughts with the thoughts of Jesus. Lets not assume this "humble" position that it is okay to think less of yourself because it is "righteous". The one that really matters is Jesus and he loves you. I dare to say that your emotions to yourself do not matter either because you will always, always, always find something negative about yourself, but Jesus won't, He sees you as perfect, clean, pure and not at fault of any wrong doing. Those are the thoughts that really matter. When we stop wondering what others around are thinking but start to wonder what Jesus thinks of us when we walk down the street that's when you start to enjoy life a bit better. You walk with a smile on your face, your insecurities are no longer just yours but Jesus takes them and casts them into this huge ocean of grace. No longer do the chains of caring what others say hold you down. You live to please a living God, not imperfect humans. No one is staring at you when you eat, no one is staring at your belly, no one is staring, period. And if they are, do their thoughts really matter? Is the thoughts of strangers or a person who you know for 2 years really out rule to the thoughts of a God who has known you before you were created?

Declare "GOD LOVES ME" as many time a day as you need to, even if you don't believe it, say it. When you are feeling full of sin, say it. When you are feeling unappreciated, say it. Lonely? Say it. Angry? Say it. Eating a bowl of ice cream? Say it. Just say God loves me. It will change your life.

"I know that I have been found. The cares of life can't hold me down. 'Cause You're the one I want to please. What matters now is what You think. You're the one that really matters" - "You're the one that really matter"

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” In loving memory of Dr. Maya Angelou

Here's the interview with Oprah, its worth a watch! 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Season Of Clarity

As a person who needs glasses to see far (near sighted) I know exactly what it feels like to have your vision completely blurry and unfocused. My problem has an easy solution, glasses. With them I can see almost as if I had 20/20 vision. About 75% of the population in North America wear glasses or contacts meaning 75% of people have a blurry vision. I'm also sure that 100% of the earth's population has had some sort of unfocused and blurry time in their life and I am no longer talking about eye vision but about your life's vision. In my circle of friend, well actually it's more like a triangle, we had a season of oceans, where we were just drowning in the grace of God. We still are but now I know that we moved on into a season of clarity. For the past few weeks that's all that's been in our hearts. I have three situations in my life where my life's mission was completely and utterly blurry, I was literally a blind bat in my own life. I'm going to share these three moments of chaos with you because maybe you are experiencing a moment of chaos in your life right now but want to move into a season of clarity and just can't see that happening.

  1. Moving countries: 15 years old and packing my bags to move from sunny Miami, Florida to what I thought was igloo land. Oh Lord was it hard! My whole world was falling apart, how was I ever going to survive?
  2. Ending a relationship: Jesus hold my heart because I was never going to love again *sob*
  3. Changing careers: Crazy I know, I live on the edge.

BUT GOD.. (I really do like those two words together)

  1. But God, moved me to love a city like Toronto, with so much cultures and diversity that I would have never been exposed to in my suburb town in the South. 
  2. But God, allowed me to see the destruction of the relationship I was in and if I would have never ended it I would have never meet Jesus the way I know him now, and I would have never meet my earthly love Dylan, the man God had for me.
  3. But God, gave me the courage and clarity to see how much I would have hated my career, I already hated my job, so I changed my unhappiness and now I love my career, Medical Laboratory Technician, and I graduate this summer.

 You see I thought my first situations were so permanent, and that's what happens when you can't see beyond your cloudy vision. I'm not saying that you need to have your life figured out because none of us do. But what am saying is that you know exactly what area in your life you need to see with the glasses that God can provide for you. You just have to ask. When I don't have my glasses I squint my eyes to see a little clearer, it works..sometimes, but when I grab my glasses I can see everything without forcing my eyes to focus. That's what we do when we try to do the same with our blurry life's. You try in your strengths and you squint and squint and we just feel tired and our eyes start to hurt. But Jesus is standing right next to you with a pair of glasses, so that you don't have to try so hard to see, He wants to be your eyes, He wants to be your clarity! Seek him! Ask him! Pray for clarity! Your answer might walk straight through the doors, or it may be in a conversation you never wanted to have or your clarity may be in a walk. Jesus is the mastermind behind all this but He can't do His job if you don't ask and qualify Him for it. The most amazing verse is often over looked, are you ready for it? It's 1 Corinthians 13:12:
"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
I mean hello! Hi! How amazing was that?! God doesn't promise us an easy and clear life but He does promise us that if we seek Him we will see exactly how He sees! Doesn't that excite you for life? Yes you may be in the mist of darkness but God is the light, you are the light. Clarity is easy, what is hard is our human emotions. Clarity is God. God is not hard to find but we get in our own way of our own clarity. God has the ability to change your emotions to align to His emotions. You deserve clarity and He wants to give you that gift, allow Him to fill your atoms, molecules, cells, your whole being and He will open your eyes to the bigger picture. Get ready to see your life with new spectacles!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What Would Jesus Do?

 It's amazing how much of a difference you can make in someone's life just by taking the time, and doing something small. Yesterday I was at work, and I was just about ready to leave when I saw one of the kitchen ladies. This woman always seemed grumpy and angry, and I always wondered why. Over time, I noticed that I had never seen anyone interacting with her or giving her the least bit of importance. So I greeted her. I said hello and gave her a smile. It was so sad to see that she was surprised that I had said anything at all. So long story short, we just began to talk and have a good conversation. I saw her light up and the look on her face changed completely. She was smiling and laughing, and she was at ease. She seemed like a completely different person than all the other times I had seen her. We were both done work for the day, so we just sat and talked about everything. As outgoing as I am, sometimes its difficult to put aside what someone looks like, or even the impression they've given us, and just smile at them or even say hello. In essence, we've all judged a book by its cover at least once in our lifetimes.
 In my experience, I've come to realize that sometimes, the hardest people to approach are the ones who desire it the most. I've been trying to walk like Jesus in the sense that He didn't care whether you were the lowest of the low. Jesus cared and loved those people so much, that they themselves were surprised that someone like Jesus could even look their way. I mean, Jesus would see peoples' futures, and what they could become, rather than what they are or what they've done. He hung out with tax collectors (let's just say, a tax collector in Jesus' time was someone to be hated), prostitutes, and people that no one wanted anything to do with.  I'm talking about those people that everyone would talk about because they were different, or those people who didn't quite live up to society's standards. The ones who put up a hard exterior, but on the inside are hurting because of rejection. They don't get why people judge them, if they really don't take the time to get to know them; to even know who they really are. 
The ironic part is, that at one point we were all in the same position. Whether you were the new kid at school, or new to a city. We've all been judged. There's no doubt about that. There's a huge amount of people we don't even know who decided at one point that we weren't worthy to be approached. I don't know about you, but I don't want to and I am NOT obligated to conform to the norms that society wants us to conform to. If Jesus touched the untouchable, I want to too. Society says that we shouldn't care about anyone but ourselves. Everything is about "me" and my comfort. But the gospel is all about Jesus. What would Jesus do? I used to have a bracelet that had the iconic "WWJD?", BUT I never took it seriously. I was ignorant. I would see someone hurting and I would turn a blind eye. But now that I'm older, and I've taken this seriously, I know what Jesus would do. Something we haven't done for a long time in this society.....CARE.
With Love, Michelle ♡

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Heart For The Needy

I've had this dream/desire in my heart to make some sort of survival kit filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, bandages, shampoo, and wipes for the homeless. In my head this was just a thought, I'm just a student there's no way I have the budget to do that. Thursday night one of my really close friends, Diego, asked me if I wanted to go on a random homeless drive and give some food and prayer to them. As soon as I read the message God just said, "this is it". My birthday is around this month and I had 30 dollars to buy a new dress for my 21st birthday, in my heart I knew I didn't need that new dress so I went into Dollarma on Friday after school and bought everything on my list for 30 dollars. 
I packed them up and created a little survival kit with love, since I was on an extremely tight budge I only managed to make 10 and prayed over these 10 people that we're going recieve these little packages. 
To be very honest with you I never thought people would actually take this with thankful hearts, but boy was I about to be wrong! Today, May 10, 2014 started at 6:20am for me, I literally woke up as if someone shook me out of my sleep, I ran outside to my balcony with my bible to encounter Jesus this morning 
Jesus showed up like never before and he gave me this amazing verse that literally marked my whole day:
“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5 NIV)

These were the amazing people who were there bright an early serving the needy when Dylan (boyfriend) and myself arrived 
That picture unites Christians and Muslims together serving people, I love it. These are Diego's friends, they made sandwiches for the needy and were giving them out all morning! 
Most of them left and Dylan, Diego and myself went off to give some money, food and my survival kits. The first person we encountered was Shawn 
He was new in Toronto and just trying to get by in that picture you see part of my toothbrush sticking out, he loved the kit and that's when I really though "wow okay people might take these!" What got me the most about Shawn was another guy name Gor, he was a homeless for a very long time but he found a job and lives with his girlfriend in a hotel(for now) he goes through the streets of downtown  Toronto helping the new homeless people find their way and help them stay clean and get them up on their feet, how amazing is that!!! 

We then met Bowser and Brugetta, Bowser's love for his female dog was beautiful, he even had her name tattooed on his back, which reminds me he had the sickest tats ever! He was actually so thrilled that we cared enough to ask him about his tattoos. After them we met a man name Chris who was a social worker and had recently lost his money and work contract, he was removed from his apartment and had to go on the streets but his hunger to leave the streets was intense, next time we go back I'm sure Chris won't be there. The last one was Justin, black-eyed Justin. We didn't have change left but he was happy we had a survival kit left and a sandwich for him. 

Now before Justin we met another Chris and Tabetha with her dog Skeeter. Chris has Leukemia, a cancer in your blood, because of his cancer he had holes in his skin, he showed them to me and he knew that his time on earth was limited. Tabetha tabetha tabetha, this women with the most bluest of eyes has my heart. Her story touched my heart so much, this lady does not want to be on the street but due to a lot of circumstances she is. She showed us her youngest daughter's picture, the spitting image of her, her name is Layla. Layla is her world along with Skeeter the dog. Skeeter was not eating at all, he's a sick dog with a gentle spirit. Her life story rocked our world. When we left Tabetha my heart was hurting, I could see how people would look at her and all I wanted to do is scream at them and tell them they were wrong! That it wasn't as easy as "get a job" she told us she wished people would ask her why she was on the street instead of looking down on her. We were able to pray for her, her belief in God was crazy! She also wanted a Bible so bad, Diego gave her his personal bible, the joy in her face was beautiful. I walked away with the boys and I just couldn't hold my emotions anymore and cried like I never had before. All three of us were feeling Jesus like never before. I had just encountered Jesus through Tabetha, my heart was bursting. We stopped by a nearby TD where Dylan took out a large undisclosed amount of money and we ran back to her. He kneeled down and poured his heart out to Tabetha and gave her the money. 
I will NEVER forgot her tears gushing out of her beautiful blue eyes. I have never loved a stranger more than I did with Tabetha. We left her and sat down and just cried because that was God's grace and this is what we were made and created for. Many want to go out into other nations but there is so much we need to do at home first, "The change starts with changing our world, our city"- Dylan.

The church is not in four walls, the church is everything under the sky. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness. We all want it, we all strive for it, but sometimes it can seem so distant and impossible to reach. I mean, it's normal to have an off day. You won't feel happy every day of your life, but it's something that we as human beings desire. No one likes feeling down in the dumps, and sometimes when you are feeling down, you feel like you just can't pull yourself out of it. I know how this feels firsthand. It happens to everyone. There are days where nothing seems to be going right for you, so the light at the end of the tunnel seems light years away. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be trapped in that sadness forever, and that there is a solution.

There have been days where I can't even bear holding it in anymore and you have to let out everything that you feel. I specifically remember one day that I was trying to "be strong" and hold it in, and as soon as my mom saw me she asked if I was okay, and I just broke down. All those feelings came gushing out, every problem, and all that emotion came out as I just cried. I bet my mom was just standing there like what is going on here? But she just came over, gave me a hug and we prayed together. I can honestly tell you, that it totally helped. But I began to think, and I realized, God does that with us all the time...atleast He wants to and we don't let Him do His thing. God constantly waits for us to speak to Him; to tell Him whats going on in our lives, our feelings etc. But we just pass Him by. He is an all knowing God, so he already knows every thought that goes through our head before we even think it, but He just wants to see that willingness on our part to reach out to our Father.

It comes to a point when we've held it in so long, that we just explode, and as the loving Father that He is, He takes us in His arms, and pours out His love for us. Even though you may not feel loved, God reminds us of His love for us, that He even sent His only son Jesus to die for you and me. It blows my mind to think that Jesus was thinking about me, and with so much love gave up His life so that I could be free. His love goes so deep and it runs so strong, that it bothers me to think that some days I believe the lie that I am unloved or something crazy like that.

I think that as a generation, we've been conditioned to believe that showing emotion and our feelings is wrong. We've been shown that we shouldn't bother people with our problems. But I strongly feel that this mindset is so erroneous. We are called to fellowship, and to be in communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ. You never know how God could use someone to bring revelation to your life if you just open up. We also have to start being real with God. He already knows whats going on, but you brushing it off as nothing and pretending you're okay...well you aren't fooling Him or anyone for that matter (hence my mom lol). We want happiness and we pursue it, but we totally missed it. We try filling in the gaps with things that won't satisfy, and we settle for temporary happiness.  God wants us to be happy. He wants to give us that joy that we so desire. But we have to get over ourselves and we have to take the first step. All we have to do is ASK.

♥With Love, Michelle♥

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Proposal Story

I've been in relationships before but prior to the one I am in now (hey boo!) I never ever thought about my wedding or especially a proposal. But as I started turning 20 and my friends and I started to grow up and follow instagramers with the most amazing engagement rings it finally got me dreaming about what my proposal, engagement ring, and wedding would be like. I have days where I will sit and watch viral proposal/wedding videos and discuss them with one of my friends (hey girl lol) and we just gush over everything. So today I actually get to tell you my very own proposal story, to me it's the best story I have ever told!

It started up I'm the sky, this divine supernatural being decided to come down from it's throne, away from His Heavenly Father to come find me. He grew up and became a missionary, He preached and loved like no one on this earth ever had. He was different. The world rejected Him and His love and crucified Him on a wooden cross. How ironic, being a carptener my love got crucified on one of His art pieces. He died, but He rose again after three days. What can I say He's a fighter for me.

Fast forward a few years and He's still there right behind me waiting with a little box and shiny diamond inside and He's waiting for me to turn around and act all surprised and say "yes!" But everytime I would turn around to look at Him I would just push Him aside and walk toward "better" things. 

Fast forward again and I'm a 20 year old girl full of mistakes and rejects trying to find my own identity. I finally decided to join my youth group at a new church I attended to. Little did I know that this was the place I was going to get proposed to. I started to feel Him all around me and all around my church, I started to know Him and actually started liking Him. He allowed me to prepare the environment around me for that special day. Then one Friday night, one of the worship leaders grabbed me in prayer and told me that this day was going to change my life. And it did... This was the day that my Jesus proposed to me, and instead of giving me a diamond ring, He gave me grace. Instead of a ring, He allowed me to touch his crown of thorns. Instead of a ring He gave me true love and identity. I was His and He was mine, forever. He didn't get down on one knee but He gave me salvation. He's pretty epic if you ask me and I loved him from that day on. 

I remember coming home that night and just bursting into tears telling my mom "I have found who Jesus is!!" Which is funny because He was ever lost. In my books that day was the start of my love story with a divine man who came down and hung on the cross to save my soul. But in His books our love story started since before time, when He chose my name, and when He knitted me to perfection in my mothers womb, He loved me since then. While some men propose with flash mobs, epic stunts, heartwarming videos or simply on their knees; Jesus proposes to you on a cross. As simple, real, raw, and graceful as it gets. 

This was my proposal story. We all have that day where Jesus was so vivid in our lives that we were never the same. I'm sharing this because sometimes we need to go back to this day to remind us of where He took us out of and brought us into relationship with Him. To remind us of that day and the emotions you felt when you aren't feeling anything at all, to remind us that He is good and that He will rescue from anyone and from anywhere. To remind us that we are not alone. I share this because whether you are single, in a relationship, engaged, or in marriage, your first true love will always be Jesus! And while I gushed over proposals or weddings and wondered about my own, I completely forgot that I had already been proposed to, and that it had exceeded my expectations. Jesus and you have a love story that will never have a sad ending, it can never be shaken and it is the most beautiful of all the love stories you could ever imagine. So how did the Saviour of the world propose to you? 

With love and grace- Diana C