Little Did I Know…

I remember ten years ago when I was saying goodbye to my twenties and preparing to embark upon my thirties…little did I know what was lying ahead of me. I felt like this was my turn to take life by the horns and ride it hard and mightily…but little did I know. My dear friends near and far came to celebrate this momentous occasion with me as I begin to shift in life, but little did I know. I had racked up some miles in my twenties, mostly of going around and around in circles, not knowing what I was going to do with this thing called life but little did I know. 

As the decade turned and I excitedly embraced entering my thirties, I prided myself with the notion that Jesus the Son of God and the son of man who walked the earth didn’t start his ministry until He was thirty. (As I chuckle). I just knew life was going to open up and the plan was going to be laid out in front of me and I, too, would seize the moment that it was time for me to walk in the ministry that God assigned to me (say it with me) “but little did I know!” Don’t get me wrong, God has shown Himself Great & Mighty in my life. I am proud of the accomplishments He’s favored upon me in my thirties. I successfully finished my education receiving both a Bachelor’s & Master’s degree  as I quit several times in my head. I have grown spiritually in leaps and bounds yet more room for growth. A wonderful family and great friends, undoubtedly surrounded by love. He poured His mercy and grace upon me and spared my life and kept me out of harms way even after being hit by two drunk drivers. Not only that but has been gracious EVERYDAY. Can I say that again? EVERYDAY! The list goes on and on. God gave me insight on what I was designed to do through some of the most painful times in my life. The operational tool that He set before me to use was my ability to speak. However, because of shame, guilt, lack of confidence, and insecurities “I’ just knew God made a mistake but little did I know. After my long and tiresome stroll through the “wilderness” God reminds me even now as I write this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Little did I know, that through all of that God has NOT forgotten me even when times seemed tumultuous He was closer to me than I realized. I know what it’s like to have lost everything and also be left with nothing to spare, little did I know that He used even that to do what I’m doing RIGHT NOW…writing to tell about it. Yes, it’s my story but when I tell you that it’s all for His glory and He reigns in my life because all I can say is, “but God!” When I said “Lord, teach me how to evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” little did I know there were some lessons I had to learn along the way:  

**I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. (Psalms 86:7 NLT); 

**I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psalms 121:1 KJV);

**Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:8 NLT);

**Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 KJV);

**But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 NLT);

**Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. (Psalms 51:1-4 NLT).

As you have read over the few scriptures above and many more in God’s word, the greatest motivation for me to be used by God is through my personal relationship with Him. I had to personally know Him as my Helper, that He responds when I call Him (even when I can’t HEAR Him), that He’s my Comforter, He teaches me HOW to forgive others, and that when I sin that I can go to Him in prayer and seek His face for mercy. It’s all about relationship. Little did I know that He would use me…Regina, born July 14, 1974 in a hospital in Cleveland, OH but it all began before I even entered the womb! How GREAT is His love for me? As I graciously look forward to what lies before me as I enter into my forties…my prayer is simply this, “Father, may my life bear FRUIT and even through those difficult producing seasons that you strengthen me from on high, that daily my heart is renewed…my words are seasoned with grace…and the saltiness of who I am bring the flavor of Jesus Christ everywhere I go. Replenish me when my heart feels like it’s in a drought…when I feel insignificant at times, disregarded, you know…the least of these! Oh, that YOU will be exalted…Preserve every gift, calling, and dream and may it reach it’s FULL maturity and be a blessing to others and grant me favor.  Gina is the one who is praying to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!”… And God granted her request. (1 Chronicles 4:10 NLT) In Jesus Name!

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The Power of Transition – Severing Relationships (Part 1)

Ms. Gina

Time and time again you may have heard “let it go”! I have always wondered why does it seem so hard to let go of toxic relationships. Albeit, whether its friendships, business partners, or dating relationships, when it’s over, it’s over. Sadly to admit, even in some cases where marriages have ended in divorce (even my own) but I digress.

Time is the most valuable asset that we are given because it means we’re alive and we can either maximize it or waste it. The same as with the company we keep. Evaluate your “circle” and see what is it producing, how is it adding to your life or subtracting from it, and are you moving forward or not moving at all? Does your circle of friends motivate, encourage, support, or challenge you to be great? Or are they time snatchers that just want to “shoot the breeze”, always do…

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The Prologue – Everybody Has a Story

Oftentimes there is so much I would like to share but I then remember that everything that wants to be said doesn’t need to be said…at least not right now. Not everybody will understand where you’re coming from and will likely draw their own conclusions. But that’s to be expected, right? We don’t all share the same experiences. How one would choose to handle a situation they have never encountered is totally different from the individual that is actually in the situation chooses to handle it. One is speculative and the other is relative.

The majority of the blogs I have written were while I was in the midst of one of the most disappointing times in my life. I couldn’t understand how I was able to write from a place of pain that was a place of healing for someone else. I could not understand how God was going to cause all these ingredients of disappointment, heartbreak, heartache, rejection, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness, turmoil, shame, lack of wisdom, disobedience, helplessness, selfishness, desperation, unloving, blame, victimization, and pain…ALL work together for the good! That’s why He’s God and I’m not! Most people say, “I just want to be happy!” I feel you! As you may know by now, happiness is the result of something happening that charges your emotions and you wish the moment would last forever. Again, I feel you! One day I had an “Ah Ha!” moment and I said out loud “I want to live a fulfilling life!” Simply meaning, no matter what is going on in my life it is fulfilled because 1) my hope is in Jesus, 2) this too shall pass, 3) live in the moment, 4) take nothing for granted but be GRATEFUL for it all, and 5) forgive offenses quickly and let go. Does that sound too unrealistic? Easier said than done? Do I think this way every single day? Certainly not, but moments like this gently reminds me that I am not in control. Release…

Some of you will be able to relate while others may find it surprising, obnoxious, or cumbersome but that’s the beauty of each of us having our OWN life’s story! I sometimes still deal with the afterthoughts of “What will people think?” “What will people say?” “How accepting would people be?” People…people…people…will be…people! You will always have “the Naysayers, the Oooh-Childs, and the Ummm…umm…ummm…No she didn’t!” that really are your cheerleaders! They’re the ones that will help share your story! So don’t count it all a lost!

God still has the final say in my life’s story…after all, He’s the Author and Finisher of my faith. You, too, have a “Pit to Palace” story and if you don’t (as my granddad used to say) “keep living”! I’m a bit hard on myself at times because I think about precious time I’ve wasted and the grand mantra of, “If I knew then what I know now…!” I dare not compare my story to others because I may not have survived what most have gone through but I respect it! I can minister to the married because I’ve been there. I can minister to the divorced because I’ve been there. I can minister to the forgotten, left behind, disregarded, heartbroken, rejected, taken for granted, misused, abused, neglected, and broken because I’ve been there. I can minister to the hopeful, the survivor, the fighter because I’ve been there. I can minister to the dream chaser, the intercessor, the faithful, the faithless, the undeserving, the one that stands alone because I’ve been there. I can minister to the poor decision maker, the flesh, the wise and unwise, the one who’s afraid, the sinner and the saint, the backslider, the joyful, the humble, the proud…because I’ve been there. I can minister to the homeless, the unvalued, the hungry, the one who has plenty and the one who doesn’t have enough because I’ve been there.

Although I’m able to encourage you from all those places and then some it’s because I need you to know you’re not alone! I don’t have all the answers or solutions but I know One who does and can heal you just by the bare mention of His Name, Jesus! Being able to minister to you from my story is not about me but an opportunity to share Jesus Christ. Not to preach at you or to you but to SHARE His Light in your dark place. I make no apologies and totally unashamed but drenched in humility…image

The Power to Create

You have the power to create the world you want to live in. You’re probably wondering, “How do I do that?” As I am most assured you have heard, read about, or even spoken yourself, “change the way you think!” Most importantly, change the way that you speak AND what you speak! Please don’t misunderstand me, I know we live in a real world with real problems and its likely to get progressively worse before it gets better. Is that a prediction? No! It’s in your “(B)ASIC (I)NSTRUCTIONS (B)EFORE (L)EAVING (E)ARTH! But I digress…

Have you ever been around a person who is constantly and consistently negative? I mean the type of person that on a clear, sky blue day on the beach with the weather tempature about 75 degrees, favorite snacks and beverages, great company, etc…will still find ONE thing to complain about?? I know what you’re thinking! Lol Isn’t it a drag? You’re probably thinking, for one day I would like a moment to not think about everything that is wrong or could be wrong and exercise being GRATEFUL?

I had a season like the person I just described above. It was a bit rocky until one day I woke up and despite all that was wrong I begin to exalt God for everything I was grateful for at that moment, even being grateful for having a toothbrush and toothpaste! I started the process of creating the world I want to live in by simply being grateful! It’s not just for the things I have and the people in my life. Even more so for the things God protected me from that I never knew was a target setup for my demise!

I’m not talking about creating a fantasy world but creating the world you want to live in by loving others, forgiving quickly, treating others as you would like to be treated, walking in integrity…and countless of other acts that you can do to make the world you live in a better place. If you have the mind…there lies the will…CREATE!

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The One Thing You Can Not Afford

Over the past few days I’ve been hearing this repeatedly in my mind, “You can not afford it…you can not afford it!” As I began to ponder on this thought I found myself coming into agreement with it and even saying it aloud. “I can not afford it. I absolutely can not afford it!” I am now totally convinced and there is nothing or no one that can change my mind or persuade me otherwise.

As I transition into this next season I am taking a look back over my life, especially my valley experiences that I am coming out of and my thoughts have been that of much GRATITUDE! It’s easy to sit and recap all the not-so-great moments I’ve had and “get all in my feelings” so to speak. However, I choose to reflect on HOW God protected me, loved on me in one of my darkest hours, continued to provide for me where I NEVER saw lack of no kind! He eased my pain and burdens to allow me to rest IN Him! I appreciate life and understand just how precious it really is. I am truly GRATEFUL beyond what I am able to articulate. Take a few moments and think of one thing (I know that one will be followed by ten more times ten more) that you’re grateful for and speak it into the atmosphere. See, when you look back you’re able to see where and what you’ve journeyed through…it’s looking ahead and TRUSTING God to guide you the rest of the way.

The one thing you absolutely can not afford to do is…GIVE UP!

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Take Action – STAND!

There comes a point in your life where you are going to have to take a stand for righteousness, stand in faith, stand in opposition, stand when there’s nothing left for you to do! When looking at the word “stand” as a verb or action, it means to “to remain firm or steadfast, as in a cause” (www.dictionary.com).

I am taking a stand to share my faith in God with so many of you. I have scraped the bottom of the barrel to locate that one grain of Mustard Seed faith to keep me pushing ahead. Have there been times I’ve wanted to give up? Absolutely! Sometimes it seems as though the harder I pray the tougher the test is, however; my expectancy is I know God will work it out for His glory. All I have to do is stand! The Word of God says, “Now then, STAND still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!” (1 Samuel 12:16).

Even as life’s journey takes place and you KNOW your hope is in Christ Jesus, continue to “STAND firm, and you will win life” (Luke 21:19)! God knows the expected end for you. He won’t fail you no matter what or how things turn out. He is UNfailing! What you and I must continue to do is, “Be on your guard; STAND firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your STAND against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11). These are just a few scriptures to STAND on and know that God’s promises are readily available and are activated through faith, prayer, and belief that truly with God ALL things are possible! We must do our part, yes…our position or action is to…

Stand.

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The Small Still Voice

No sirens. No screeching. No screaming. No yelling. It’s only the sound of His small still voice. Do you find yourself weary at times just from the waves of life? Do you feel as though you’re on the hamster’s wheel of life at times? Or how about wanting just a break from it all and have some peace? *Hands raised!* It’s the small still voice that says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29 NKJV).

God does not want us entangled in the enemy’s devices and schemes. Even those things that lie deep within that causes us to fall short in front of the Holy God of Israel! There is Good News! We have a Remnant! His name is Jesus Christ! He wants to take our filth, setbacks, heartbreaks, heartaches, pain, brokenness, and weaknesses and EXCHANGE it for liberty IN Him! Picture the Cross and the sacrifice that He made. Jesus wants “…To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of The Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV).

The stillness of His voice is calling out to you. There is NOTHING that you have done, is doing, or will do that will not qualify you from receiving His love. You only have to believe! “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NKJV).

He is speaking.

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