Make Time For Soccer

Last weekend the athletics department from the kids ministry put together a Kids vs Parents soccer game. Now I am going to be completely honest, I was not excited. This game was scheduled for the only weekend I would have had to myself for two months. I had a beautiful day at the Spa De La Home (also known as my house) planned and I was looking forward to doing nothing. Of course once the kids found out about it I had to go. So, since I now had to go, I pumped up the event to all of my friends kids so they too would have to attend (yeah I’m one of those friends lol don’t judge me). The week leading up to the soccer game was intense in my house. We had a bet going… Whoever loses has to cook dinner. There was massive trash talking in my house (all in love of course)… At one point my baby girl told me there was no way I was going to win because we are just too old to be playing soccer. While I wanted to whip her behind, in soccer, I also really wanted my free weekend. Their dad wanted to take them with him on Saturday… “there it is… my out”, I thought. When I asked the kids what they wanted to do, they both were adamant about getting to that soccer game.

Reluctantly I went. When I got to the park, I couldn’t find parking… “could this be a sign to go back home” lol… No it wasn’t because soon after that thought I snagged a spot right up front lol. We headed to the field and played an amazing game of soccer. I was in awe as I watched my loves hustle up and down the field. They worked together as a team and were in the game to win it. There were moments where I got stuck in mommy mode, gawking at them play instead of blocking their shots. This was a memory that would last with them forever. Not to mention they won (let’s clarify first though, they had both their coaches on their team)… Their meal of choice, pizza and wings. I was more than honored to end the day enjoying a pizza and some wings with my babies. More than anything though, I was honored that I got to enjoy them in their world.

So often we are busy keeping schedules, making sure everything on the to do list gets accomplished. Every once in a while, it is crucial to make time for soccer, or anything that gets us outside simply playing with our babies. Those are the moments that shape them… those are the moments that build confidence and leaves lasting impressions of love and family. those are the moments that really matter in life and those are the moments that we should all strive to make happen more often in our families. ~ DeShawne

Go play with your kids.  Whatever sounds they are making are WAY less annoying when you make them too.  Whatever mess they get into is much more fun if you help make it.  Whatever trouble they are getting into is much safer if you join in the mischief.

Transparency Before God

My favorite scripture right now is Psalm 138:23

23 Prove me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my paths.

This scripture is valuable to me because it shows how much God desires to work on me!! This has been my prayer recently, God, prove me and know my heart. God has put certain tests in front of me so that I can see exactly where my heart is in dealing with certain people and situations. Am I being honest, kind to others and serving God with a pure heart. “Prove me, O God, and know my heart” it is up to me to show God my improvement on my attitude, for instance, when someone makes me very upset….through the different tests, I’ve learned that the best way to handle the situation is by calming myself down and thinking before I act or say something bad. The last part of the scripture “examine me, and know my paths” is Gods way of letting me know that he is going to lay my path out for me and it is up to me to listen and follow!! This scripture really touches my soul, because after reading it over and over again I realize how much it speaks to me and that I need to really stay focus on what it is saying to me.

This scripture really helps me in my day to day life by reminding me that I serve an awesome God who takes care of me and teaches me to be faithful. I read this scripture daily because it helps me and reminds me that I am human and I make mistakes and that my God will forgive me.  It strengthens me each day and reminds me that I must try my best love others and be honest, which can be hard at times when I am in certain situations, but that’s why its so important to stay transparent before the Lord, asking Him to search us. I feel like this verse can be valuable to all of us in our walk with God. Whether we are struggling with sadness, heartbreak or need a simple reminder that God is with us. When we invite Him into our hearts and ask Him to examine our motives, He is faithful to help us make any adjustments to fulfill the plans He has for us.God knows our path and He will lead us to it.  ~ Jackie

Babies Are Made From POOF!

This weekend I had the honor of spending some one on one time with my soon to be 16 year old. We attended GodChicks Day of Courage (a special day dedicated to the beautiful women of God in our church and communities) and then went dress shopping for her Sweet 16 party next weekend. While driving from one place to the next, my beautiful daughter brought up the time that I answered the famous question… Where do babies come from? Now keep in mind, I was 19 when I had her and no more than 26 when she asked this question… To my surprise, my answer was “you just say POOF, God give me a baby, and they appear”… I could not contain the laughter when she stated that was my answer. I was in disbelief. What kind of answer is that? My amazing daughter simply laughed and explained that she was so confused during sex ed because it did not line up with what I had told her. In that moment all I could do, in between laughter, was apologize to her. I told her she could probably write a book about the many parenting fails I’ve had.

About an hour later we arrived at the dress shop to meet her grandmother and her grandmothers assistant. A few months ago, my daughter went to a convention with her grandmother and had an opportunity to briefly meet her grandmothers assistant. My daughter left such an impactful impression on the assistant that she offered to buy the dress for my daughters Sweet 16 party. Before walking into the store, my daughters grandmother took me aside and honored me for the amazing job I have done in raising such an exceptional young woman. My daughter, who will be 16 in less than a week, is one of the most respectful, compassionate, selfless, motivated, God honoring servants I have ever seen. She encourages me, prays over me and supports me in all of my endeavours. She is not perfect and has made poor choices, but she is honest and is learning to take full responsibility for the choices she makes. 16 years later and I still find it hard to believe she is my daughter (I was the complete opposite lol).

On my own I could not have done this. I have been lost, insecure, afraid, angry and just flat out tired so many nights. I have had so many parenting fails. There were many times I believed she would have  been better off with someone else…. But God does not make mistakes!! When I surrendered my all to Him, I gave Him ALL I had. I didn’t bother with how much I had or if it was good enough… I just gave it to Him… All the broken, ragged, worn down pieces of me…. I handed them over to God and asked Him to do whatever He desired with them. I also handed over my children to Him. I vowed to live a life that would exemplify Christ and lead my children by example. If I want them to be leaders, then I would be a leader… If I wanted them to live purely, then I had to live purely… and when I would become doubtful and weary or if I would stumble and fall, I was honest with them and included them on my journey. Many nights my babies would surround me and cover me in prayer. We have been and will continue to be on this walk together.

I dont believe I have arrived at some plateau… I can only imagine the challenges ahead of me, but for now, I enjoy this moment. This moment, where I am able to see God bring forth the harvest as He has promised. This moment, where my teenage daughter happens to be one of my best friends. And, while I am very proud of the young woman I have raised, I am also very humbled… It is no-one but God that directs every step, gives me the wisdom to manage parenting and the strength to keep going. It is only with God that even with our parenting fails, we can raise healthy, strong, successful children. ~ DeShawne 

Isaiah 54:13 I will teach your children and make them successful.

We Are One

this is why we should remove negativity from our lives and start being more understanding and loving even to the people we dont want to beEspecially now in this day and age when separatism (individualism) is preached daily both silently and loudly.  Your world! Your world! Your world!  What you want! What you want! What you want!  Forgetting that our core essence as a people in society is to connect and belong.  When you care only about your agenda you aren’t thinking of belonging;  When you care about others as well as yourself, you end up belonging by default.  It is extremely important that we reach out to one another, avoiding our ‘personal cubby space (AKA isolation)’ whenever necessary.  We must GO and GO and SHARE and SHARE!  Ourselves, of course! – Rom 12:5  – …We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. ~ Stacy

Love is ‘the key’ and ‘the answer!’ – Rom. 12:10 – Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

AMAZING!!! Lord, help me to remember the one!

4 Phrases To Live By When Dating As a Single Parent

This morning I read a very interesting article on Relevant Magazine… “5 Christianese Relationship Cliches to Stop Using”(http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/5-christianese-relationship-cliches-stop-using)… I found it interesting because I have said each one and while this article is full of great advice, each of these “Cliches” were very valid and relevant for that particular season of life. They were in no way an excuse for fear as the article suggests. As a single mother of 3 very susceptible children, I must take extra precaution when it comes to dating… In addition, as a woman who has gotten it wrong so many times… I am devoted to following scripture in order to get it right. So allow me to discuss “4 Sayings to Live By As A Single Parent Dating”… Yeah, the original article had 5 but I completely agree with one of them!

“I’m Guarding My Heart” Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

This invaluable nugget of wisdom has rescued me from detrimental relationships. So often as women we give so much more of ourselves then the commitment calls for. One day I am living my life, enjoying every moment then out of nowhere, James appears. James is handsome, serves in the same ministry as I do, is an amazing father and seems to love God passionately… “Could this be you Lord” lol… Without guarding my heart, I open myself up to this man… talking about life and dreams, sharing my deepest secrets, encouraging his dreams and hopes, talking about what our futures together would look like… then I find myself desiring this man… all without ever receiving a commitment from him that he is invested in pursuing anything more than a friendship with me. When the conversation is finally had, I am left hurt, disappointed and wondering, how in the world did I just get “friend zoned”? The truth is, had I guarded my heart, I would not have opened myself up so freely to someone who had not pursued me. I gave the best parts of me away to someone who had never shown interest in receiving them… hoping that he would see the beauty I posses and “fall” for those things. I have learned that when interacting with the opposite sex, I must be on guard… I must use the wisdom that God has given me to protect myself from getting too involved with someone who has not shown a sincere desire for me.

“I’m Just Waiting On God”Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LordBe of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

First let me say that I completely agree with the commentary on this statement in the article… But, this is not something that should be eradicated from our speech, especially as a woman expecting her husband. Waiting on God for anything in life does not mean to passively sit by and allow life to slip away from us. One person equated waiting on God for a spouse to expecting a job but not sending out resumes… This is completely against the amazing examples we have been given in the word of God of women in waiting… Ruth, the woman in Song of Solomon… They were excellent examples of women who waited on God… Ruth was not out searching for her man… She was not hitting up all the local spots where singles hung out, she did not spend time on Christian Mingle.com nor was she running around to all the other women asking them if their husbands had any homeboys… Ruth lived her life fully committed to whatever season she was in. This is how we should “wait on God”… Fully engaged in whatever season we are in, serving God with faithfulness and sincerity. There is a difference between being open to a relationship when it comes, and going out searching for one… Marriage is not a cake walk and I want to be fully prepared to handle all the challenges and obstacles that are going to come my way… So, I will wait on God.

“I Need to Focus More on Dating Jesus”Isaiah 54:5 The Lord All-Powerful, the Holy God of Israel, rules all the earth. He is your creator and husband, and He will rescue you. 

Lets keep it 100… Most of the single parents I know (not all) suck at choosing men. I did not have the luxury of ever seeing how a man was supposed to treat a woman. I grew up seeing women devalued, belittled and taken complete advantage of. How can anyone know what to look for if they have never seen what it is they are looking for. There are several scriptures that reference Christ as the Bridegroom and we are the bride… I am no biblical scholar (not by a long shot) but I do know that every word in the Bible has significant meaning and is not just thrown in there to sound good… “Dating” Jesus (which means to invest real quality time in getting to know Him and becoming intimately personal with Him) is how I learned what to expect and what to give in a healthy relationship. He is my first committed relationship… it is in this relationship that I learn to model all other relationships. In “dating” Jesus, I have also learned my own worth and value. Christ has taught me to expect honor and respect… He has shown me that I deserve love and to be reminded of that love often… He has also taught me grace… all of which are extremely valuable in any relationship. If these are areas of struggle for anyone, then I would highly recommend putting the little black book away and picking up the big black book (or whatever color your bible is lol) and spend quality time, getting to know Christ intimately and learning about yourself in the process… cause that’s what dating really is anyway, right?

“I’m Looking For a Spiritual Leader”Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

OK, so this one really bothered me… Not because there was anything wrong with the statement but simply because I am extremely analytic and one cannot suggest an error in scriptural interpretation without providing proof. The article stated “spiritual “headship” as defined by Scripture, and spiritual “leadership” are two very different things” but did not provide scriptural proof that this statement is true… Based on my knowledge of leadership and being the head of something… The two go hand in hand. Dating, as a woman of God, must have substance and purpose… I do not believe in dating as the world dates, the end result of dating as a man or woman of God should be marriage. Christ is the leader of the Christian church. We follow His lead, we trust Him and depend on Him. In the same way, it is crucial to have a man that we can trust to lead us towards the direction of Christ. As our men follow Christ, we follow them. It is necessary for every Christian to posses the fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness and Faithfulness) but when thinking of choosing someone to spend the rest of my life with, he must also know how to lead us through the difficult storms that will come and if he can’t physically lead himself, he must have the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit. Not to mention, I am a Spiritual Leader so I can expect my man to be the same… I’m just sayin lol.

The one I left out is “God Will Open the Door, or Close It if It’s Meant to Be.” I left that out because I agree wholeheartedly with the article… we should stop using this phrase. It is an excuse to continue to make poor choices. God has given us the wisdom needed to navigate life. He has also given us everything we need to open and close doors for ourselves. I too once used this as an excuse to hold onto an unhealthy relationship. If a relationship causes you to sin, lose sleep, sink into depression, pull you away from your intimacy with Christ or go against what you believe to be right then it is time to close that door. Stop waiting for a “sign” from God…. And if you want to open a door… smile and bat your eyes… We open doors by simply turning the knob… If there is a man who has shown interest, smile at him and allow things to happen naturally, all while guarding your heart. ~ DeShawne

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.----- sanibelsoaps.comLooking for COURTSHIP in a dating world www.LeannaMae.org #courtship #dating #marriage

Change Starts With a Decision

Last week I went into the doctors for an aching Achilles Tendon. While there I discovered I have a very common condition called tendinitis.  I am a Google fanatic so I had already researched all the possibilities and knew that with proper stretching and anti-inflammatory on the onset of pain, tendinitis is very manageable. I was supposed to get some blood work done back in January but I procrastinated (it has nothing to do with my fear of needles lol) so I decided to take care of that while I was here. I went in, had my blood drawn and left. The next day the results were in. My blood sugar levels are good (thank you Jesus!!), my blood count looks fine… I am doing pretty good, I thought… Then I get my cholesterol numbers… My good cholesterol is decent but my bad cholesterol is a little higher than normal. In that moment reality hit me… I was no longer the young woman who could neglect proper nutrition and consistent exercise and have no immediate consequences. I am now a middle aged woman who has to incorporate healthier habits into my full life.

If you’re anything like me, news like this becomes overwhelming simply because it becomes another “thing to do”. Now, in addition to raising my children, working a full time job, serving in several ministries at church and being on the PTA board, I also have to make sure I am eating healthy, well balanced meals throughout the day and fitting in time to exercise. Yes, this was my initial thought, but what God has been trying to show me for quite sometime now is that, in order to do all those things on my “to do list” I must first care for myself. Just as it is impossible to do those things without filling my spirit with His life giving word and His strength, it is impossible to function everyday without filling my body with His life giving food and strengthening myself through consistent exercise. In addition to caring for myself, I need to ensure that I am setting an example for my children. If I train them up with the understanding that their bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit then when they are older they will make choices that honor their bodies and our God. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Yesterday I had the honor of hearing an amazing speaker, A.R. Bernard (if you haven’t heard him, look him up… you won’t regret it). One thing he said that hit me was “change begins with a decision”. I can say all day long, “I am going to change”, but nothing actually changes until I make the decision to do things differently. I made a decision yesterday, I decided to no longer make excuses for why I can’t meal plan or exercise and I decided to just do it… I planned and prepared our lunches and snacks and I brought my gym shoes with me so I can go on a nice walk during my lunch break.

These aren’t major life changes… there are still cookies in my house (baby steps, don’t judge me lol) but they are changes and today I feel empowered (through the Holy Spirit) to continue to make the decision to live a fully abundant life “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

If you haven’t been to the doctors in quite some time, I highly recommend making an appointment. If you don’t have insurance and you’re in the Los Angeles area, there are some free or low-cost resources below… If you’re not in Los Angeles, dial 211 or Google “free clinic”. I have also listed some amazing healthy eating blogs below… If you are ready to choose a healthier lifestyle, then just make the decision to do so and make choices based on your decision… and if you fall, no worries… just get back up and keep moving forward… This is not a sprint, it is a marathon. ~ DeShawne

Free Medical Care

http://www.unitedcaremedical.com/services/free-services/physical-exam/

http://freeclinicdirectory.org/california_care/los_angeles_ca_county.html

Free/Low Cost Workouts

http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/fitness/yoga-classes-by-donation-and-free-yoga-in-los-angeles

http://www.baldwinhillscrenshawplaza.com/info/bfit

Healthy Eating Blogs

http://www.thebettermom.com/bi-weekly-meal-plans/

http://www.snack-girl.com/

http://www.fingerlickinkitchen.com/

Learning to Let Go…

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”- Matthew 5:9

God is surely working on me day by day!!  I say this because I realized just how much anger is hidden inside of me towards others. I have been working on fixing that, or I should say God has been helping me to be more patient.  I say this because I currently rent a room from a lady that continuously tries to test my patience and tries to cheat me out of my money. Just the other day we got into an argument because I asked her if someone went into my room and she started going off on me for no reason. The old Jackie would have started swinging without all the talking, but I choose to tell her a few words and then walk away.  Later that night God spoke to my heart and told me to go and apologize and I did, even though I felt like I wasn’t the one who was wrong. I made a choice to be obedient to God and do what He would have done. God calls us to be peacemakers everywhere we go. It is my desire and Gods desire for me to change my old ways, In other words I am learning how to turn the other cheek and to let go and let God!!!  I am really proud of the changes I see within myself, because I am letting God lead my life.  I still have ways to go, but I am getting there!! ~ Jackie