Category Archives: Marching to Zion

Faithful Friday: An Open Letter to My Younger, Single Self

FaithCandle

Dear Tai,

I’m penning this letter because I (we?) are getting married in six months! Remember extra-tall Jordan from high school? He gave us piggyback rides in summer school and we played spades a lot? Welp, we’ve gone from being good friends to being happily engaged. While this is good news in and of itself, it gets better: we’re both baptized and living for God! Considering how toxic your previous relationships were, it’s refreshing to be in one that is easy and drama free.

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Faithful Friday: Why Try to Fit in When You’re a Standout?

FaithCandle

As much as we’re given lip service about being original, we’re actually expected to to blend in. Many an eyebrow has been raised to those who don’t behave as we expect and those who patently ignore the status quo are oft times ridiculed. Some people’s biggest fear is standing in opposition to the norm and being scrutinized for thinking and acting differently.

With all the temptations and distractions this world has to offer, it’s easy to get caught up in temporal pleasures but God discourages us from fitting in with this sin-sick world. In fact Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

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Faithful Friday: Getting Over Guilt and Embracing Grace

FaithCandle

If you’re a person older than, say, a week, chances are you’ve done something you regret. You may have done something that accidentally caused another person pain or a made purposeful attempt to wrong someone. Either way, if you felt bad about it then you’ve suffered guilt. Recognizing when you’ve harmed someone and making amends are key steps in a relationship. But what if, after you’ve apologized and the other person has forgiven you, you’re still feeling guilty?

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Faithful Friday: Free Falling Into Faith

At some time in your life, you have to take a leap of faith. Even the most pragmatic of us HAVE to try for something we think is outside of our reach. Why? Because it deepens our faith and strengthen our reliance on God. We are instructed to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). This means that we will not always see the path clearly.

I referenced my attempts to plan my life as much as possible because I like some semblance of control. In recent months, I have changed this approach. I am in the process of changing my career path and it has been such a frightening experience. Starting a career in publishing means I’m going from a position with stability to an internship. Did it make sense to leave a stable position to pursue a temporary in a field I’m passionate about? I was always crying and in a perpetual state of fear about the future. It wasn’t until I consulted with God, my family, and closest friends that I realized this is an opportunity for untold joy, not fear. I gave the situation to my Father and let Him know whatever He decided was best. I’m taking a huge leap and faith into the arms of God’s glory. Not only have I landed a paid internship, I have also been granted a fellowship in my field. That means I’ll have a mentor to navigate the industry and a stipend to help supplement my income. I can honestly say that I see God’s mark all over this. Even though I don’t know the future and didn’t know what it would hold, I leaned on Him and believed in His plan. What is so amazing about God is that He doesn’t give me what I ask for, He goes ALL OUT and gives me more than I would ever dream of requesting. Faith, like any muscle, is only strengthened when you exercise it. Am I still scared? Um, yeah! The important thing is to not let my fear paralyze me but instead to let it motivate my movements. This whole experience has brought me closer to Him and reminds me I’m blessed beyond measure.

Faithful Friday: What If Jesus Were Your Direct Supervisor?

faithful

The market is a little too difficult to be overly picky about employment but what do you do if you’re in a job that is challenging yet unrewarding? Can we really be upset about policies and protocol when we’re earning a paycheck and gaining experience? Seemingly so, since most people feel disgruntled at work.

Unhappy employees usually fall into a few camps: some fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, some do just enough work to avoid getting fired, while still others remind anyone who will listen that this position is “just temporary.”  The rarest employee, though, is the one who finds joy in whatever they do.

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Faithful Friday: But Life Got In the Way…

Getting to know God is a relationship like any other. At first, it’s exciting and new and you’re eager to learn everything about Him. He is constantly on your mind and you can’t help but tell everyone about what He’s done for you. You’re sharing all of your thoughts Him and studying His love letters. You’re smitten!

Then the honeymoon phase ends. You’re not contacting Him as frequently as you were. You aren’t as concerned with His promises to you and barely read about Him. You went from being on fire for God to feeling lukewarm. The next thing you know, you’re looking around wondering where God went.

One issue with starting this Christian journey is that you may want it to be a constant upward trend. You want to always be excited and consistently have a good word. That’s not realistic, though. The truth is life is a challenge. There are good days and bad ones. And that’s totally normal. The trick to keeping in line with God is consistently seeking His counsel regardless of how you feel.

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. When I’m in a bad mood, I usually want to stay in it. I don’t want His healing or love; I just want to sulk. Luckily, God knows what’s best for me and doesn’t leave to my childish devices. Even on days where I don’t feel like being bothered, I try to at least have some sort of interaction. God is truly faithful and unchanging; the least I can do is let Him know why I’m feeling so finicky.

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Faithful Friday: His Faithfulness Though?

I don’t know about you but this has been one. Of those. Weeks. Not so much difficult as draining and busy. I had so much to do this week and, by the grace of God alone, I finished it all. I regret not spending as much time with my Dad as I wanted to. What never ceases to amaze me, though, is His continual faithfulness. Psalm 86:15 says, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”
Even if we aren’t filled with faith, He is truly faithful in everything. I find myself calling on Dad’s power even in the strangest scenarios and He never ceases to offer me strength and wisdom. For instance, this week I had an assignment I could not find time to finish and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would lose credit for it. God afforded me the time to finish the assignment, make it to work on time, and have a full night’s rest. It is impossible to fathom and appreciate the depth of care He has for you; He never ceases to amaze me!

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Faithful Friday: Turbulent Times

My sister-in-Christ is an excellent writer (even though she doesn’t admit it) so I asked for her contribution. She wrote this post a few years ago but I felt the message is timeless and relevant. I hope it blesses you.

As I write this, I am flying more than 50,000 feet in the air. I usually don’t want to move a muscle on a plane so the fact I’m riffling through my bag is a huge deal. In the past, I’ve been frozen with fear but I had to share the chains God has broken. 

Let me start from the beginning. There was a major storm recently and both me and my brother were scheduled to fly out this weekend. The storm was so bad that there are trees down everywhere including one in my backyard. His flight was canceled so I assumed that mine would be, too. First lesson: We can’t use other people’s trials as a measuring stick for our own; everyone has their own path and walk with God.

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Faithful Friday: How Can the Omnipresent Be Absent?

I’ve felt a little far from God as of late. This is kind of a lonely time for me because I can’t determine what’s changed. When I first realized His absence, I freaked out. I thought I was doing everything right: daily devotion, consistence prayer, and keeping Him in the loop at all times. What had I done wrong?

I spoke with a few of my sisters in Christ and received different responses. The most helpful advice I got was to stand strong, be mindful that my relationship is still deepening in Christ and to keep seeking His face.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God” but how do I remain still in a time like this? This has been a major challenge for me, y’all, I can’t even lie. Normally, I would have turned to one of the vices I had in order to deal with this sort of melancholy but like I said last week, God wants it all. He won’t have me seeking comfort or pleasure outside of His purview; those are just distractions.

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Faithful Friday: Are You Reliable or Reluctant?

Some of the most difficult people to deal with are fair weather friends. The folks who only call when they need advice, support, or attention. When they need you, they’re blowing up your phone, DMing you on Twitter, and spamming your Facebook wall. When you need them, though, they’re MIA. It’s such a one-sided relationship, you can’t help but feel used. =&0=&