The Blog

Aug 10 2017
Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Categories: Faith“Full”, Off the radar | Posted by: LifewithBri

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord. “Plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

It’s been a while. I could sit here and tell you I needed some time to myself, but if you know me by now, I am someone who often “needs some time to herself.” In fact, I call it BriTime. Being a true introvert (with some extroverted ways), despite what many may think — and by definition, I am one “who gains energy from being alone and loses energy in stimulating environments.” In other words, when a lot is going on in life, I find comfort in disconnecting — this time through my writing.

See, life was going along as it should (so I thought), and then there was a change of plans. Can you relate?

Was it bad? No. Good? Perhaps.

I used to be someone who hated change. In fact, I dreaded the thought of it. Why? Well to be frank, it scared me. Change meant something would be different. Something would happen that I many times had no control over.

What do you do when there is a change of plans? How do you react? Do you get worried and anxious? Or do you simply trust the situation?

If you are like me, you like to have a plan. I can be up for a little spontaneity at times, but for the most part, I like to make my lists and knock each task out one by one. I find comfort in knowing what I need to do to get to where I am going and what I am going to be doing when I get there. This goes for the simplest things in life such as a trip to the grocery store to making life-changing decisions like when I purchased my first home.

God tells us we should make plans – but as we all know, things do not always go as planned. I can tell you right now, if things went as planned, I was supposed to be married with 3 children by now. Did that happen? Not even close.

Do I still want those plans that I made so young? Yes and no. Yes, I want to be married. Am I ready? I believe I will know when I am. Do I wish I had 3 kids in this moment? Forgive me, but heck to the no! I can barely take care of myself right now – and that is just being real.

See, there was a change in plans. God knows what’s best for me, so that’s where me trusting in him is vital.

I have a million journals with a million to do lists – with a million “plans” – many of which have changed over time. In fact, over the last few months, the way my life looks has drastically changed in many ways. How did I react? To be honest, and to my surprise (not really) — it was a much needed breath of fresh air. In many ways, it showed me what and who was most important to me. I needed this change of plans.

Are you like me? Once a person who was afraid of change of any kind? Worried if things didn’t happen “my way?” Trying to do any and everything myself— including trying to make things work that just were not supposed to work? Trying to be someone you were just not meant to be?

A change in plans is in actuality what many of us need. Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to “control” every situation, instead of being open to love, new opportunities, and really the “unknown.” It shows us a different way of living; That there is more to life than what we can often get caught up in with our daily routines; That God has MORE for us than what we have in mind.

See the plans that have come to pass in my life, well they have been exceedingly and abundantly more than I could have imagined (just as promised). And well, the others – there was just simply a change of plans.

I encourage you to embrace yours, too.

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Flexi-Rod Curls with Flawless by Gabrielle Union

Categories: Off the radar | Posted by: LifewithBri

Hi Guys!

I’ve received so many questions about my Flexi-Rod curls look and finally made a YouTube tutorial! Check out the video below to see how I ONLY used the new Flawless by Gabrielle Union product line to create this look and what I felt about the results. Forgive my lengthy video — I had A LOT to say! Thanks so much Flawless for sending these for me to try out with my go-to protective, curly style! Make sure to subscribe, comment, like, etc. <3

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Travel with Bri: My Essentials!

Categories: Off the radar | Posted by: LifewithBri

 

Let the countdown begin! Somebody pinch me. In just three days, I will embark on my very first trip to Europe. Spain to be exact! Can we say, God is good?! A L L THE TIME!

How ironic is it that just today, my pastor spoke on surrounding yourself with good friends, God-fearing friends, friends that will stand in the fire with you when times get rough—just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3). Do you have friends like that?  Ones you stand beside no matter what, can call on with your craziest ideas, share your fears with, pray with and for at the same time?

Not only am I going to visit one of my best friends, Ramona, who has always been an encouraging support to me throughout my life, but I am also going to take you with me! I am eager to get the show on the road and explore this new culture, take pictures, try new food, meet new people, and just immerse in myself as much as possible during my time there.

As I started packing this weekend (ugh, so not my favorite thing to do :/), I began thinking of what I would consider my top 5 essentials for the trip (other than the obvious i.e. clothes, shoes, etc.) This is what I came up with and why:

  1. Phone — Communication with family/friends back home, posting, Bible App, music, etc.
  2. Passport! – Identification. How else am I going to get here and there? (Always carry a copy, too!)
  3. Journal and Pen – You know I am a writer and blogger. This is a must! Who knows when I will get inspired?
  4. Camera – Capturing moments and creating memories is another must!
  5. Dre Beats – Airport and travel essential to listen to good podcasts and music.

 

My main goal is not to over-pack, but to take only what I need.  This trip is truly a blessing and I can’t wait to share with you my experience. Make sure to follow my Instagram account @thelifewithbri where I will be using #BriTravels #SpainwithBri #LifewithBri to document this amazing adventure!

All I ask is that you say this small prayer with me:

“Lord, I know that you said you would be with me when I come and when I go. You said that you would direct my footsteps and encompass your angels around me as protection.  As I travel to see this wonderful part of the world, in which you created, I pray that you cover me as you always have. Help me to see what you have my eyes to see, hear what you might have my ears to hear, and live in the way you would have me to live. Amen!”

First stop? M A D R I D! Are you ready? 🙂

 

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Feb 19 2017
Your Prayer Life

Your Prayer Life

Categories: Faith“Full” | Posted by: LifewithBri

A strong prayer life is essential to the life of every believer and we must remember that prayer begins with God. It’s a true relationship with God. It’s your time to not only request things of him, but to praise and thank him for all that he has done, is doing, will do – and for him just being him, while meditating on the word.

If you don’t already do so regularly, I encourage you to take a look at your prayer life. Ironically, I think that being so “intimate” with God can be “intimidating” and a little scary sometimes for many people. To be completely transparent, it was with me at first, too. Here I am knowing that I serve a God who is “all knowing,” omnipotent and omniscient; a God that already knows everything about me (the good and the bad), yet I was still afraid to open up, confess and talk about it with him? I had to realize that the very reason I was intimidated, was the very reason that allowed me to do so. I was connected to him and he loved me despite of all my flaws.

So, now we must ask. Do you know how to pray and where to start? I too had to ask myself this question. I’ve prayed my entire life, in the best way I have known how and to say the least, “it got the job done.” Some say there is no right or wrong way to pray to God.  I’d say that I’d have to agree to disagree slightly.

I recently finished the book, Handle with Prayer by Charles Stanley. In this book, Dr. Stanley does an amazing job of breaking down and describing WHY we should pray, HOW we should pray, and WHAT (and who) we should be praying for. He dove a great deal into how many of us are afraid to ask God for things because we feel “unworthy,” how and why many of our prayers go unanswered, and that God always answers our prayers, but it may not be the answer you wanted or when you wanted it. The book truly opened my eyes and helped me to “take myself out of it,” focusing on God’s will for my life (which is much better than my own- I’m sure of it), so that I can remove layers of hurt, pain, denial, fear, etc. to reveal the truth and what I ought to be praying for in my life.

Quick story. I remember the time I prayed to God to give me a job where I made a high hourly wage, but that I could just go in and do the work and leave it there. I didn’t care what it was at the time. I was in grad school and needed to pay some bills, but also wanted to have extra fun money, too. To my surprise, God answered my prayer to a “T” and gave me exactly what I asked for. One day, I received a random call about a job with a technology company. They told me the salary and that they would work with my school schedule. I was sold!  Take in mind, I had no background in technology AT ALL. Let me tell you how quickly my joy turned to sorrow. I dreaded every day I came into that office, crunching and configuring numbers, and basically having no idea what I was doing; BUT it paid well and I could leave my work there when I left. I tried to stick it out because God had given me my request. Not too long after, God said, “Alright, that’s enough, Bri. You can let it go now.”  Soon after, I did and God blessed me with my first full-time job in my career – the job I really wanted and needed. The one I should have been praying for instead. You see how God works? He gave me just what I asked for, knowing that it was exactly what I did not want; but I had to see that for myself.

If you need some help to begin or continue strengthening you prayer life, I recommend this book whole-heartedly. We all need some fellowship time alone with God to just be still and if you think you don’t, you are lying to yourself. Open your heart and spirit to the possibilities of casting all your cares and burdens to the one who has already taken them from you. Take hold of the promise that if we ask, we shall receive, if we seek, we shall find, and that if we knock, the door will be opened to us (Matthew 7:7).

And last, but not least, show your gratitude towards the one who deserves it most in our lives, by “not being anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, making your requests known unto God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

I pray that in moments of hurt and pain,

That you may find joy and peace.

I pray that in times of fear and the unknown,

That you may find wisdom and the answers you seek.

I pray that in every area of your life, regardless of the circumstances,

That you find thankfulness and love.

And finally, I pray that when situations seem impossible,

That you may find faith and trust in God from above.

Amen.

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Give Change A Chance

Categories: Faith“Full” | Posted by: LifewithBri

 

Believe it or not, change is a hard pill to swallow for many people. I used to be one of those people. I didn’t like it. In fact, I hated it. I avoided it. Truthfully, I was afraid of it. Why? Why do we often find comfort in things staying the same? This was a question I had to ask myself and I challenge you to do to the same.

I remember in June of last year when I received an offer for a brand-new job. A job that was unexpected, but one that I had been secretly praying would come for quite some time. One would have thought I was excited and extremely eager to take the opportunity and run with it. Yes, a piece of me was, but an even BIGGER piece was terrified of the change. I had become so comfortable at my old job – complacent really. I knew everyone, I had built office relationships, I had my very own desk space, a coffee mug that only I pretty much used in the break room, and so on. I didn’t know what it was going to look and feel like if I let all of that go. Here I was at a pivotal moment in my life where God was giving me something I had asked him for and yet, I was asking myself – do I really want this? Do I even deserve it?

In addition, thoughts of fear, doubt and anxiety began to creep into my mind. It was new job with new responsibilities, a new boss, and new co-workers. Could I even do the job and do it correctly? I began to doubt myself and my capabilities to handle this change. Do you ever find yourself doing this as well?

Long story short – I had to let go of that fear of change and embrace the new journey that God had presented to me so clearly. Crazy part is, this was a GOOD change. I love where I am currently and I would have never known this experience if I did not embrace the change that was taking place in my life.

As many of us know, not all change appears to be good. I like to look at it as if it’s just a little more difficult to see what good can come out of what feels like a not so good (or difficult) change. For instance, this past year, I had to let go of a friendship, I stepped down from leading my health and wellness ministry at church and I even began visiting other churches to explore what other ways my walk with Christ could look like for me. I needed change in all of those areas of my life. Instead of letting unhealthy situations continue to fester and remain with a constant presence in your life, what would it look life if you made the effort to change them? To work on them? Perhaps, to remove them? To choose something different?

Now, who is to say that God won’t ever bring those things or people back into your life in some way or another? But this time, just maybe, it will be in the right way and you will know that it is for you.  Right now, you could be faced with a new job opportunity, a new church you want to try out, a new love interest, a new diet/workout plan, etc. They might not be what you are used to, but that may be exactly why you should test the waters and give your change a chance.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  – Joshua 1:9

Maybe you are used to doing the same old thing. You’ve become complacent in a few areas in your life, which have turned into unhealthy situations for you. I am choosing to embrace change — in all areas of my life (mind, body, and spirit). I want you to do the same. I even have a few exciting LifewithBri blog changes taking place and although I have my moments of insecurity, I quickly remember that scripture above. Truth is I want change in so many areas in my life…How about you?  For once, let’s give change a chance.

If you have not done so already, be sure to subscribe to my blog in the sidebar to receive my posts to you email every Sunday 🙂 —->

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Shine Your Light.

Categories: Faith“Full” | Posted by: LifewithBri

Can I be real? It’s 2017 and I feel pretty good, yall. I’ve been doing some “soul searching,” taking much needed time for myself, getting to know “me” better, listening to the Holy Spirit, immersing myself in the living word, and reflecting on my life this past year. 2016 was a pretty gutsy year for me. I took some chances, pushed myself out of my comfort zone on many occasions, and got some much needed answers to past situations that will help me to now move forward in life.

It’s been exciting, yet challenging at times. I’ve made a few not so great decisions along the way. I’m not perfect. I’ve broken a few promises to others and myself. I’m trying to change that; BUT I feel growth.  I can see myself moving in the right direction. My faith has grown, my confidence continues to build, my worry has diminished. I’m serious, yall — all in the last few months. I’m sorry (not sorry), but I needed that time of reflection (like many of us) to get a few things in order.

I don’t know about you, but I have not been living in my light. What does that mean, Bri? See– I was trying to “do good,” help serve others, be more involved in the community, my church, etc., but something was just off. I had to ask myself (and you should, too) —

 

What’s holding you back from accomplishing that lifelong dream that God has placed in your heart? What keeps you from being yourself in a room full of strangers? What keeps you from fighting and speaking up for what you really want? Why do you compare yourself to others when we ALL fall short of the glory of God? And, why are you not letting your light shine?

I remembered the countless times God has blessed me.  It was not always an easy road, but I also remembered how perfect it was when my blessing was ready for me. And then, I would remember the times when God presented me with other opportunities, but because of doubt, fear, and downright laziness, I crept back and hid in the darkness instead of living in my light because I thought I wasn’t ready.  I was so willing to trust God before, but then I let the devil come in and snatch my moment. How dare I?

Not anymore. And neither should you.  Let’s dedicate ourselves to the Lord and let our lights shine. Let’s move forward, forgetting our hurts and pains in the past, our mistakes and bad decision-making moments. Let us have unwavering faith, and let go of fear of judgement, so that we can be ourselves in Christ. Let us know that we can still do good, but in the way God has intended us to do so.

So many of us are trying to do what others are doing because frankly, “it looks good.” And we also listen to what others have to say because “it sounds good.” Not everything that is good for one person is necessarily good for another. We all have our own gifts, talents and well…light to share within the world.

So, if you are with me — I’d like to declare this new year of 2017, a year I know that will be one of many new blessings, but also one that will be filled with our many lights. Let’s get focused and determine what God has placed in our hearts and be bold enough to take what is ours to have.

No more doubt and fear of the unknown judgement that is often a mere figment of our imaginations and lack of confidence that keeps us from what belongs to us. More stepping out on faith, more building up, rather than breaking down, more trusting, seeking counsel….and waiting or walking away when the way before us is unclear. In other words, let go of everything and everybody that is holding you back, and find out for yourself.

Truth is, I want this year to be even gutsier than 2016.  It’s the year of living in our light. I’m fired up, yall. Are you ready? Let’s shine.

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Oct 10 2016
Woosah

Woosah

Categories: Faith“Full”, Work Out | Posted by: LifewithBri

Never forget to breathe.

Life can be overwhelming at times, we all know.  Situations and people come at you from every which way, not necessarily contributing anything positive. Things happen that we have no control over.  We get busy, wrapped up in a daily routine, too busy to recognize what we are doing or not doing at all.

One too many times over the last few months, I did not follow that simple rule – to breathe.  Faced with obstacles and challenges that became stressful and overwhelming, I often let them get the best of me. My mind began racing, I would begin to think negative thoughts like “why me?” and “I can’t do this.” I would find myself focusing on the negative only.

What did I forget to do?  Breathe.

I knew better. And with a sister as a Yoga Instructor, you might be thinking – how the heck did she forget to breathe?  Easy. Believe it or not, once in a while, we all do it.

Along with forgetting to breathe, I also forgot to remember that just as God had given me the strength to make it through those past trials and tribulations, that if I once again simply put my trust in him, he would do the same thing again. Instead, I chose to worry.

 

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? – Matthews 6:27

 

 

 

The answer is simply no.  What I have found is that when you forget to breathe, you forget the other things that are important to you as well.  Prime example, this is my first blog post in how many months? Exactly.

Let’s talk about breathing exercises. To be honest, there are so many and it can be as simple as one long deep breath in and out that can bring your focus back and relax your body.  Check out this neat article I found that describes 6 simple breathing exercises that can help you to relax in 10 minutes or less. Of course, I also recommend that you don’t only practice these exercises when you feel stressed, but regularly so that when unexpected moments do come about, they don’t hit you so hard. Don’t know if you are doing it right? Take a trip to youtube – there are tons of breathing exercise videos to help walk you through it.

And I can’t forget to suggest you add in some type of daily meditation (which of course includes breathing) and a yoga class or two to keep your energy focused and relaxed daily.

Feeling overwhelmed today? Take a deep breath in and just WOOSAH.

 

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Jul 16 2016
Put in Work

Put in Work

Categories: Work Out | Posted by: LifewithBri

“Transformation doesn’t happen overnight…” –Jillian Michaels

 

 

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Week 2 Vs. Week 4

There is something special about a workout that you know actually works if and when you put in “work.” A workout that not only gives you energy, but one that makes your stronger; both physically and mentally. We all have our own strengths, likes, and dislikes when it comes to working out.  And I am sure we have all found out what “works” for us.

Many of us think we have to have a gym membership to get into shape.  Truth is, you don’t.  All you need is a dedicated space at home with enough room to do some jumping jacks or lay down a yoga mat, a few hand weights and you are good to go. I’d like to share with you one of my favorite “at home” work out video programs that I pretty much guarantee will help you reap results.

My all-time favorite workout video is the Ripped in 30 by Jillian Michaels.  (And NO she is not paying me to say all of the following amazing things about her video—it just works!)  In fact, I just finished her 4-week program for the second time in my life.  The first time was a few years back and I remember the awesome results that I received so I decided to give it a go again.  Well, did it work?  With a lot of discipline and prayer — Heck yes, it did! And did I mention, it’s less than $10?!

I feel great. I look even better. Now forgive me because I am TERRIBLE at taking before and after pictures, so I only remembered to take one during week 2 and then at the end of week 4. But please believe me when I say, a few lbs. are gone, muscles were gained, a few inches were lost, and overall my body was toned tremendously over the 4 weeks.  So much so that I have decided to do it again making it an 8-week program for myself — And this time I will take pics to share :).

 

jillianonshape

Shape Magazine July/August 2016

The DVD is made up of 4 workouts – Week 1, 2, 3, and 4.  Each week she recommends you do the workout 5-6 times (with at least one day of rest).  I choose to do it 5 days with two days of rest.  She also provides a 30-day meal plan for you to follow (I did not follow it either time, but of course I still try to monitor what I eat throughout to make healthier choices – I did eat some ice cream, haha.) – If you are a beginner at becoming more active, I would actually say it might be okay to do the video 3-4 times a week to get started bc. you will be very sore! What I love about the video is that there is an advanced and moderated version – & trust me, I was doing a lot of moderation during the 4 weeks.  Also, you are able to use weights of your choice with the workouts. Don’t worry, Jillian will give you the breakdown before you start the program!

If you listen to Jillian, you will have to put in “work” to reap results. She is tough and a no non-sense type of woman, which I love because she pushes me to finish strong.  Trust me at first, it isn’t easy, but overtime you become stronger and are able to complete the moves.  It’s encouraging to see that although it still hurts, it doesn’t hurt “as bad” as you continue.  She will whip you into shape in just about 25 minutes a day and like the video says, she will make sure you get ripped.

I don’t know about you, but I’m letting Jillian be my personal trainer for the next 4 weeks.  Do you have a video that you’ve seen results from that’s easy to do at home, so there is no excuse of not being able to make it to the gym?  Pull it out! Do it! And reap the results.  In the works of JM— “If 300, 400, 500 lb. people can do this, then so can you. Give me all that you’ve got!”

Got to love her.  But more importantly, you’ve got to put in “work” and love yourself.

 

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The Fight of Starting Over

Categories: Faith“Full”, Let's Eat!, Work Out | Posted by: LifewithBri

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:11-14

It’s not easy starting over. It can be a scary thing.

Usually starting over means something else has ended, or having to accept that something might have failed or didn’t go quite as planned.

Maybe you have been on the right track with healthy eating habits and began seeing progress from workouts at the gym.  You then decide to have a cheat day, which turned into a cheat week, and then you found yourself back in your old, not so healthy routine and no longer in the gym. I can relate. What now? Continue down the path of unhealthy living? Give up? No. You start again and press toward your goals. You fight.

Or you could be in a not so good friendship or relationship?  Things have changed or maybe things have not changed, and that’s the problem.  What now? Give up? No, but in this situation, starting over could mean two different things.  It’s very possible the relationship is worth saving, so then you fight for it, you work for it, you start over by doing what you need to do in the situation to make it survive. If that is not the case, then maybe it’s time to recognize that it may be the best decision to let it go and start over for yourself without that person. Here, you are fighting for yourself.

On the other hand, starting over can be exciting and worthwhile.

boxing4newFor instance I’ve been on vacation for almost two weeks now– training myself mentally because next week, I start a new job.  In a way, I am starting over.  This new round was unexpected as I am with a new company, a new boss, new co-workers, and will begin working with new people on new, community impacting projects and facing new challenges.  I have fought very hard to get here, nothing has ever been handed to me, and this is a new chapter in my life that I am ready to completely embrace. You see, it’s all very new and a little scary, but I am ready to come out swinging.

Also, earlier this week, a good friend of mine, Vanessa, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy –Tyson Maxwell.  She already has a seven year old daughter, but in many ways she and her husband are very much so starting over. Her pregnancy was not the easiest at first — BUT, she is a fighter; and there will be a lot of “firsts” this time around, but still I have no doubt that God will continue to cover her family as they embrace this new blessing and that they will be able to train him in the way that he should go. I have no doubt he will be a fighter, too.

Listen — life can be overwhelming, we may get knocked down and things happen; both good and bad. What you can’t forget is that starting again can be viewed as a good thing. Know that you often have to fail many times before you succeed, a million people will tell you no before they say yes, and you will certainly have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

What can you do to help with the fight of starting over?  Don’t just start from scratch.  Instead, I’d suggest taking the following steps first:

  1. Take a look at what you can learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it. –What worked? What didn’t work?
  2. Think about when and where the change occurred (whether good or bad) and get focused on the change you are looking for in the situation overall.
  3. Now, consider what steps can you take to avoid past mistakes? How can you give it your best this time around? How can you fight?

Truth is, many times, we don’t know what to do and where to start. Let alone, how to start again.  I understand.  We get put in situations and don’t know why, so we don’t know how to react. I pray. A lot.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.Romans 8:26

Remember one thing, we are fighters.  It won’t be easy, but in the end, it will all pay off. In honor of the late and great, Muhammad Ali…“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

And so in this very moment, I pray that you too will find the strength to fight and start over –whatever that means for you.

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May 20 2016
I Almost Died.

I Almost Died.

Categories: Faith“Full”, Off the radar | Posted by: LifewithBri

I almost died. And in many ways, I did.

Truth is — this is the first time I have actually sat down to write about this particular incident. It’s a little known fact that many don’t even know took place. In fact, only a small selection of family and friends know what really happened to me while riding ATVs on a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico in August 2015.

From the pictures, the average person would have assumed the trip was flawless and full of action-packed fun (and yes, most of it was). I didn’t want to make the accident a big deal because “I was alright.” Physically “I was alright…” I only ended up with a few scrapes, bruises, and a dislocated thumb, thank you God; but truth is that mentally, emotionally and spiritually, the entire situation took a toll on me. No one was around me when it happened. I was very much so alone (physically) before, during, and the few moments after until everyone realized what had actually taken place. In fact, no one saw my ATV flip and land on top of me wedged in between two very large mountainside rocks. If it was not for the helmet and the shape of the rocks allowing my body to perfectly fit into a small valley avoiding direct impact of the ATV, I could have very well died or been seriously injured. You see? “I was very much so alone physically and my body seemed to fit perfectly so that I was shielded from the impact.” That was GodNo one saw my head hit the rock. It did not tap it. It did not graze it. It had full on direct impact with a very20150831_105516edit sharp edge of a protruding mountain rock. No head injury or broken neck? That was GodBefore I realized what had happened, I just laid there on the ground in shock, but a still small voice told me to “get up.” So I did. I climbed out from the small, cool valley as the ATV hung upside down from above leaking gasoline.

One might say I was a little dramatic with my story, but just to clarify — me telling this story now is not to evoke pity or attention by any means. Trust me, I could have done that a looonng time ago. It’s to show that things happen in life that for lack of better terms, “knock some sense into us…” and it’s often how we react to those times in our lives that matters most. It’s really about what happened after the accident that I truly want to share with you.

From that very moment in my life, I viewed everything differently. From relationships, to my job, to my everyday decisions; everything shifted. Over the last year, I have totally let go of the reigns and trusted in the Lord to guide my footsteps completely. I no longer wanted control. I couldn’t control the ATV that day, so I didn’t want to try and control who liked or loved me or let alone how I was going to pay my bills. I wanted to be free of all worry, angst and concern for what may lay ahead. I decided to live, and live by faith. And where did that land me you may be wondering?

I realized I had been spreading myself so tIMG_20150831_112249hin trying to figure out what my next steps were, instead of enjoying the life that was right in front of my own eyes. I had still been trying to be what others wanted, say what others wanted me to say, and living a life that I believed others would like me to live. In many ways, I was the one holding myself back.

Life and death situations always have a way of putting your life into perspective. To be honest, I can probably remember countless times I knowingly could have almost died or could have been critically injured throughout my life. I believe we all have a time in our lives where something happened and it could have gone terribly wrong, but it didn’t. See, we serve a faithful God; one who never leaves nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31.6).

If I could tell you how I have seen him work and open doors that I didn’t even realize were there for me, this blog would turn into a book. I am truly blessed. To see how much has unfolded in just the past year or so alone, I can testify that God truly does work for the good of those who love him…(Romans 8:28). It’s amazing how he will bless you exceedingly and abundantly beyond your every expectation – if you trust him to do just that.

He has guided my thoughts and footsteps, bringing the right people in my life, while at the same time he has taken many of the wrong away. He is so merciful that he has even made a way to bring back others that he knew needed to be in my life. I know he can do the same for you.

The fear of dying can almost be crippling, but instead let’s dwell in the joy of living. The fear that keeps you from making the right decision because everything does not seem like it’s lined up enough or wondering will it work out because things just seem “too complicated” can hold you back from living a life that is meant for you.

I don’t know what’s stopping you, but don’t make it have to be something so drastic that it knocks some sense into you before you decide to make some changes. Over and over again, he thought I was worth saving. Sometimes we get thrown into the air unexpectedly, but God still cushions our fall and tells us to “get up.” Yes, we may have a few scrapes and bruises to remind us of what happened, but in due time, they heal and go away. Remember that.

I almost died. And in many ways, I did. I had to keep my faith and let many things die (i.e. an extremely unhealthy relationship that I thought I was supposed to make work, the fear that I’d be stuck in a job that was not fulfilling, and so on.), so that I could start living. In what ways is it time for you to start living, too?

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