Thursday, July 28, 2016

What the World Needs Now...LOVE

I have been wanting to write a new blog post for the longest while but I just could not seem to figure out what to write. The topics were endless but the words just would not seem to flow. However, last night during my personal alone time with God, the revelation came! The thought of vulnerability kept coming into my mind and for a while, my prayer became centered on it.  No one (including myself) likes to be vulnerable! Why? Well, it is because people usually see vulnerability as a sign of weakness. To be vulnerable is to be uncertain and who likes to be uncertain?? Uncertainty means we do not have any control over our emotions or what is happening around us.  I don't know about you but I like to feel in control of my emotions (even though i suck terribly at it lol).

Last night i realized something though. Vulnerability does not equal weakness but instead it equals access. Access to the heart of our King and to His unlimited grace! Many of us do not know how to be vulnerable with others because we have not allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with God.  We feel that if He sees us for who we really are, that it will somehow lessen his view of us. We believe that He might love us a little less.  However, it is totally the opposite. We can be ourselves with Him because He knows us completely. The more we open up to Him, the easier it will become to be vulnerable with others.   

Our world is in desperate need of love right now. DESPERATE NEED!! People are angry and hurting. Our world seems to be in complete chaos. But instead of showing love, hate is being placed on a pedastool. I think that people fail to show love because they don't know HOW to love.  Broken people connect with other broken people and guessed it right...more BROKENESS.  Being broken sometimes seems easier than attempting to open our hearts to loving others and being loved. To love = being vulnerable and being vulnerable = being uncertain. And like I said before, NO ONE likes to feel uncertain of their feelings. 

Think about it. When two people are dating and things become pretty serious, there is always that lingering question of who will say the "L" word first. No one wants to be the first to say it because they are uncertain of whether or not the feelings will be reciprocated. The words are left unsaid, leaving each person feeling uneasy as each day passes and the feelings grow. See, as humans we tend to only give love if we know it will be reciprocated. But what if we purposed in our hearts to love others even if they didn't love us back? What if we decided to share our hearts with others in hopes that they could see the genuine love that only comes from God?

I believe that we all have it in us to love. Its a part of who we are. It is the very essence of our being. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) and if God dwells within us, then that means we have love. We have the capacity to love but it all starts with being vulnerable. It all starts with learning how to be vulnerable with the one who knows us best. If we allow God who IS love to teach us HOW to love, then sharing our hearts with others will become a whole lot easier. Each time you share a piece of your heart with others, you are sharing a piece of God with them. So let's commit to being vulnerable. First with our Creator and then with others.  I am personally challenging myself to be more vulnerable.  Will you take the challenge with me?

Here's to spreading the love of Christ.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Unfailing Love: Leah's Encounter with the King

   On Valentine's Day, I always like to reflect on the idea of love and what it looks and feels like to me. Somehow around this time, God always shows me through his word just how much He loves and cares for me.  About a month ago, I was doing my daily devotional and I happened to read the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Most people know the story of Jacob and Rachel, but not many focus on Leah. So i wanted to shed some light on Leah's story.

   The story begins in Genesis 29. Jacob was on his way to his family to look for a wife. He gets to the land where his family is supposed to reside and his eyes behold Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel. He worked for seven years just so he could have her as his wife. But at the end of the seven years, Laban gave him Leah instead (verse 21-23). The Bible describes Rachel as “lovely in form and beautiful  while they described Leah as having “weak eyes” (verse 17). Needless to say, Jacob was not happy about it.  Have you ever wanted something so bad, worked for it and then at the end you didn’t get it or you got it but it wasn’t what you expected? Well that’s how Jacob felt. But i want to take a look at how Leah felt.   

   Leah was unloved and unwanted and everything in her environment reinforced this truth. Her truth. She was living in the shadow of her sister’s radiance.  I could only imagine how she must have felt. Feeling like you’re someone’s second option or like you’re not an option at all can do something to you. It can break you down to your lowest point.  It can affect your feelings of self-worth. You can feel as if you’re not good enough. It can leave you broken. However, the beautiful thing about rejection is that God sees and He cares.  The Bible says that He will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).  So God saw Leah’s brokenness. He saw how the feeling of being unloved and unwanted had blinded her from seeing how special she was to Him. 

   In order to show Leah that He cared, he opened her womb and allowed her to give birth (v. 31).The tables had somehow turned.  Leah had become the favorite but in God’s eyes. At first, Leah looked at her children as a sure way into her husband’s heart.  She was certain that having his children would boost her status in his eyes (v 32). After giving birth to three sons, Jacob’s feelings STILL did not change towards her.  3 kids! That is a lot of kids for your husband’s heart to not even turn slightly towards you. For him to not even bat an eyelash at you. Can’t even get a wink. Nothing. Shoot. My husband better love me after 1 kid lol but I digress. Let's get back to Leah.

   She then gave birth to a 4th son but this time something changed. She said in verse 35, “This time I will praise the Lord.”  What happened to change Leah’s mind? Did Jacob finally love her the way she wanted him to? Nope. What changed is her perception. Leah had a revelation. She finally realized that the love she was looking for in Jacob and in her family, could only be found in God.  God didn’t allow her to have children so that Jacob could love her. It was so that she could understand His love for her.  Through her brokenness, God placed something great within her. She not only gave birth to physical beings but she also gave birth to something in the spiritual. She gave birth to the manifestation of God’s love for her. And just as a child grows, it began to grow inside of her. He not only opened her womb but he also opened her heart so that she could experience true love. Her eyes were finally opened to the love and acceptance her heart desperately longed for.

   We may have all had a Leah moment. Overlooked. Unloved. Unwanted. Wondering when our turn to be the object of someone’s affection will come around. Meanwhile God is sitting back and looking at the hurt that dwells within us. He wants us to know that those feelings that we are feeling are not what He feels for us.  He loves us so much more than our hearts and minds could ever know.  Jeremiah 31:3 says, I have loved you with an everlasting love. With my unfailing kindness, I have drawn you to me.   Often times, we want to be accepted when He has already accepted us and called us friend. We want to be “down” with the cool kids, when He is calling us to go higher! We want to be the object of someone’s affection when we’ve been the center of His joy since we were created (Jeremiah 1:5).  But somewhere along the way, someone or something told us this was not true. Someone or something told us that we were not good enough and that we will never be accepted. 

   So how do we get back to walking in God’s truth? The truth about how He feels about us.  The truth that says true love can’t be found in things, friends or in “bae” because those things are not a guarantee.  Things and people will come and go. But God is constant (Hebrews 13:8).  He wants us to know that he can take our hurt and brokenness and turn it around for our good (Romans 8:28).  He will cause you to give birth to something greater than you’ve ever imagined. The one who was rejected will now be considered a great asset (Acts 4:11). The same friends who shunned you, will come to you needing your help. You will find a better job than the one that turned you down. God will present the one He has for you when the time is right. God will push you forward all while revealing His love for you.  You will go from walking in the shadows of defeat to walking in the light of His love.

   Rejection can be good for you. It may hurt but God sees you. He has not forgotten about you or your needs. He loves you and He is passionately pursuing you. (1 John 4:16). Let's stop seeking validation from others and walk in this truth.   


Thursday, December 31, 2015

So Long 2015...

“In this new year, I want God to lead me into unchartered territories that I may do His will.  I want Him to be with me through every single moment of my life, good and bad. I want Him to save me from the things that will lead me from Him.

January 1, 2015.

This was the prayer I wrote on the first day of this year. At the time, I obviously did not know what the year would hold but somehow I just knew that I would need God. I always need Him but this year I found myself running to Him more than ever.  I did not understand the significance of what I was really asking of God when I wrote this prayer. But He knew. He knew it all.  He knew the many frustrations I would face. He knew the mistakes I would make.  He knew every tear that would fall from my eyes. He knew there would be many sleepless nights and internal battles.  He knew I would need to be rescued from myself and that I would need a savior.

He just knew.

As every year comes to a close, I reflect on the many lessons that I have learned in that year. 2015 was a special year. It was rather tough in comparison to the year I had last year.  Last year, short term and life long dreams came true.  My gift made room for me among great people.  However, 2015 was different. 2015 was a year of waiting. A year of trusting in the unknown. A year of heartache. A year of having faith even though what was in front of me did not look promising. A year of self-searching. A year of understanding who I am and reevaluating my purpose. But even with the many tears I cried, there was an equal amount of laughter. And even with the many days of waiting on the Lord with no answer in sight during certain situations, there was a surplus of doors opened and prayers answered. You see, although 2015 was a rough year for me, I don’t regret any of it.

2015 taught me a few things.  It taught me:

1.     How to trust.
2.     To have faith.
3.     To never settle.
4.     To see myself through the eyes of the one who loves me completely.

I learned many things about myself this year. Some of those things I will be taking into the New Year with me. Some will be left behind. All in all, I am glad God knew exactly what I needed when I needed it. I am glad he never took His hand off of me.  I am glad that when He looked at me, He did not see what I was but rather He saw what I could be. I am grateful that He was and is my Emmanuel, my Messiah, and my Shepard.  I am glad that what I went through was only for a season. Next season there will be new blessings, new challenges, new dreams and visions. I am ready for all that 2016 has to offer.  I can and I will walk into the New Year with confidence because I know that my savior will be right with me just like he was this year and the years before that.

2015, so long and thank you for showing me my constant need for a savior. My savior. Thank you for the incredible memories and for all that you have taught me.

2016, I welcome you with open arms and an open heart. I pray this year will be one of growth and that the tears and prayers that were sowed in 2015 would reap a harvest of joy in this new season.

Cheers to the New Year!!!

Akeila xoxo

Friday, December 25, 2015

Grace Gift

Christmas is finally here! This is by far my favorite time of the year. The lights, the baking, the food family time, etc.  I always hate when Christmas comes and goes because there will be no more lights, no more Christmas carols and no more cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies (you now I live for these movies. Haha!!). Christmas just brings such a warm feeling with it. And this year it was LITERALLY warm but I digress…lol.

This morning as I read the story of Jesus’ birth, I had an overwhelming revelation.  Luke 2 verse 32 says, “He is a light to the Gentiles…” Isaiah 9:6 tells us some of his many names. Wonderful, Counselor, prince of peace, and the list is endless. So I thought to myself, Jesus came down as a gift to us.  His birth, life, and death gave us the gift of grace and salvation.  A gift that keeps on giving. A gift that even if opened today, it’s value never decreases as time goes on.  So even though tomorrow is on it’s way and Christmas is out the door, His light still lives within us.  The Bible says that he is Emmanuel, “God with us”. Therefore, although Christmas may be over, He is still with us and His grace is covering us every single day! And I am beyond grateful for this gift. So enjoy this holiday season knowing that His gift lives within us!

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!!

Akeila, xoxo

Monday, November 9, 2015

Buried in Brokenness, Raised in Glory

We all go through periods of our lives where sometimes our situation becomes too much to bear.  We come to a place where we feel as if we have nothing left to give and no more fight left with in us.  The ones we love hurt us and somehow loving others becomes more of a difficult task.  We realize that there are pieces of us that are missing and that we desperately need to be fixed.  We feel overwhelmed and buried in our brokenness.

To be buried is to be submerged or engrossed.  At times, it is so easy to become engrossed in our brokenness and lose sight of God’s hand upon our lives.  We forget how to love and what it feels like to be loved by our Creator.  We question His ultimate plan for our lives.  We lose all hope. 

Broken beyond repair. 

A lie the devil has whispered in our ears and hearts time and time again. At one point, I allowed this lie to become my truth.  However, in time I  learned that although we may feel as if we are buried in our brokenness, God wants to raise us in His glory.  He wants to make every ugly part of us into something so beautiful.  He is the only one who can make beauty from ashes.  We must first realize that we are broken and that our way of doing things is no longer effective.  God is ALWAYS intentional in what He does/allows and His plans can never be shaken.  Therefore no matter what we go through, it is all a part of His plan.

YES!!, even your brokenness is a part of His plan.  God uses our brokenness to draw us closer to Him and to help us to realize our undeniable need for Him in our lives.   

Right now you may feel as if you’re buried in brokenness, but God wants to raise you in His glory.  You might feel buried in your weakness, but God wants to raise you in His strength.  Don’t run away from your brokenness or ever feel as if you are broken beyond repair. Give Him everything. The hurt. The pain. The uncertainty. Let Him make you whole again.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Four Seasons of Life

Today, I encountered the best smelling soap ever!!!!  It was called Bright Autumn Day from Bath & Body works (small advertisement, haha). You could literally smell ALL the scents of fall. As I savored the smell (yes it smelled that good and I’m a weirdo lol), I got to thinking about all four seasons and how each season serves a purpose.  Fall is the season in which the leaves fall and the trees become bare.  There is a period of transition. All dead leaves are falling off making way for new ones to come.  Winter, our coldest month, is the season where everything is barren.  Nothing is growing and it seems as if everything is at a stand still.  Then spring comes around and slowly but surely, we see the little flowers and leaves budding, bringing about a fresh start. And finally there is summer. One of the hottest seasons. Full of joy, vacations, and FUN FUN FUN! Now that we are all caught up on what happens in each season (you’re welcome lol), how does this connect to everyday life?
In life, we all go through seasons.  When we are going through the Fall season of our life, dead things are being stripped away.  Things that no longer serve a purpose in our lives are taken away and never to be seen again.  Sometimes we go through a season of barrenness (Old man Winter), in which it seems as if nothing is happening for us.  It’s cold. It’s painful and we cannot see past what is in front of us. During this season, there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of wondering when things will begin to turn around. But then comes good ol’ spring, giving us a renewed sense of hope. All the preparation that took place during the winter begins to manifest itself in the form of new dreams, visions and fresh beginnings.  In spring, we continue to plant seeds and the storms of life come around to water them.  It helps us to grow in order for us to operate in our summer season.  Summer season is the best season of all.  In this season, we thrive like never before.  We take our newly, grown flowers and we share them with everyone else.  We take our blessings, our lessons, our dreams and we share it with others in hopes that they would be encouraged and inspired. 

Whatever season you might find yourself in at this point in your life, just know that it serves a purpose.  Things may not always go the way you want them to go and the process may get hard during those fall and winter seasons. However, there is joy in knowing that our spring and summer seasons are a guarantee.  God has not promised us that everyday will be a great day but what He has promised is that He will be with us wherever we go. He will never leave us or forsake us and we can always count on that. Therefore, that means He is walking with us through every season of our lives. Let’s trust him and ask that He would help us to learn during these seasons.  Furthermore, lets ask Him to show us how we can encourage others through our seasonal transitions.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Greatest Love Story

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, we know that love is on everyone’s mind.  Everyone is thinking of all the different ways they can display their deepest affection to their significant others.  Although I always find myself single around this holiday, well actually more like all year round ha!, I still love this holiday. I love LOVE. It’s that simple.  I am a helpless romantic and I love pouring out love on others.  So instead of moping around because I am single and won’t receive a single rose or a box of chocolates, I choose to dwell on the greatest love story known to man.  
It’s a story that has been told for generations however it’s a story very seldom told on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why.  Reading and hearing this story only makes me want to love and be loved.  If you haven’t guessed what story I am talking about as yet, I’m talking about Jesus dying for us.  Oh y’all thought I was talking about “Bey & Jay”, or “Will & Jada”? Nope.  I am talking about the King of Kings. The Lamb. Jesus. 

He made himself human so that he could die for our sins in order for us to have a chance at eternal life.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  He knew that we couldn’t save ourselves.  We are too sinful and so he became the ransom.  He decided to lay down his life so that we could have new life. 

Just picture it.  Jesus holding his cross.  Beaten... Bruised... Humiliated... Mocked.... Nails in his hands and feet.  Through it all, he did not go back on his promise.  He knew He had to fulfill His purpose.  Now that’s love. How many people do you know would give their life just to save yours?  I’ll wait…….

Not to many huh?

Many people search the world for love.  They look for it in people, money, possessions. I know because I used to be one of those people.  At the end of the day, those things don’t leave you fulfilled. Those things are fleeting. But not the love of God.  His love is different.  It’s unchangeable. Unshakeable. It never gives up on us. It’s faithful. Dependable. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7).  His word says that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Jesus (Romans 8:38).  That’s the type of love I want.

So wherever you find yourself this weekend, whether you are single or have a significant other, my hope is that you would think about this love story.  Anytime you don’t feel loved, read this story over and over until you are reminded that you ARE loved. Place your hand on your heart.  The very beat of your heart should let you know that He loved you enough to let you live another day.  HE LOVES YOU and no one can ever take that away from you.  This is one love story I am glad to be apart of and in time you will be glad too!

Happy Valentines Day <3