God Answers Our Prayers

Many people wonder does God hear their prayers. God does hear our prayers. The issue we may face is that what we pray for may not be in God’s will. It may not be His will despite how bad we desire the things we want. Years ago I was diagnosed with severe mental illness.

I was raised in the church. I knew praying was how people tried to fix their problems. I thought I could pray away my mental illness. As the years rolled on I would learn about God’s will. He has a perfect plan for our lives.

For many years I thought God failed to answer my prayers. As time went on I began to see that God did not need to answer my prayer about mental illness. The truth was it was a part of the plan. Once I realized that I began to live free and accept that chronic illnesses exist.

My illness was no different. Many believers feel mental illness is some spirit that needs to be prayed away from a person. The problem I have with that is if you can accept chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure my illness was no different.

I want people who suffer from mental illness or any illness to know that God has a plan. As it stands today research tells us that mental illnesses have no cure.

There are things that we go through that often we can’t understand or don’t make sense in our natural understanding. Though this is true God is still God. I had to learn this because, after eighteen years, I realized that God answered my prayer the way He saw fit.

While I was praying it away God was teaching me how to live with it. The years came and went. There were a few hospitalizations, but God was with me through it all.

There were times when things could have been worse than they happened in my life. A lot of the struggles I faced brought me closer to God in many ways. Some of the things I went through were also humbling experiences.

We must remember God does answer prayers. I wanted God to take away what I felt I could not handle. God knew what I did not see. I felt the load was too big. God saw that I had the strength and courage to battle mental illness and not be consumed by it.

The road became too rocky many times. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I endured sleepless nights and being misunderstood. For every trial, God showed me grace. It was not because I was perfect or did everything right. It was because that is just what God does.

My prayer life got stronger. I don’t take certain things for granted like I used to. I learned that there is nothing like family no matter what. We all get it wrong. We hurt people and people hurt us. It may be unintentional and other times we hurt others because we are hurting.

We must incorporate forgiveness as well. Forgiveness is every day. Forgiveness is also about forgiving yourself. “Then Peter came to him and said, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Jesus was not giving forgiveness a limit He was making the point that it’s over and over.

A strong prayer life does not make troubling times stop. It does make them easier to bare. God may not answer your prayers the way you want Him to, but He still answers prayers.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)”.

God Does not need a Perfect Christian

Being a light to others is not about perfection (Matthew 5:16). It is about the heart, motives, and attitude. God is the only one who knows when our spirit needs a check (Jeremiah 17:9-10). He also knows when our motives are impure. Don’t be deceived by people with a form of godliness who are not sincere about their walk with God. How will you know you might ask? The Bible says you will know them by their fruit. This is still not about being a perfect Christian.

It has everything to do with what comes out of a person. This means what they do and what they say. Many Christians struggle to bridle their tongue, manage anger, and be pure in actions and deeds. I have not arrived I have to watch it as well. I’m sensitive, sometimes easily offended, anger creeps in, and my words may not be the best.

Though this is true we have to strive to work on ourselves every day. I’m not accepting that is just how I am. As believers, we should continually be able to be molded and shaped by God. This is important so we can grow spiritually (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Don’t strive to appear holy, but strive to be the difference the world needs. You may miss the mark, but God understands. Don’t get stuck trying to prove to people you know God. We have all met Christians who there no question that they know God. They wear their relationship with God like a garment. You can see it in everything that they do. Are they perfect? No, but the things that used to trip them up happen a lot less.

God’s words tell us we can get angry but sin not. God already knows things will upset us, but we should respond differently through practice. It takes being aware that the negative response we continue to have needs work. Perfection is something we can never obtain down here on Earth. We can learn to strive to be better than we were yesterday and take life one step at a time.

I haven’t arrived and to be honest, no one has. We all have things we need to work on. Yes, some of us need more work than others. However, God understands this, and He gives us grace. Give yourself grace and remember to give other people grace.

God does not need a perfect Christian. All He needs is for you to be willing to be used by Him to bring others to Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25). Also, to be a light in an often dark world (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Leaving the Past Behind

The past has its relevance but it should not control your present or future. You are bigger and stronger than your past. You can overcome all things with God. God intended for us to overcome our stumbling blocks and the struggles we face.

Your future can be whatever your heart desires no matter what your past has been. You have to push in and press in. It’s okay to set new goals and dream again. You are not defined by your past.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

Paul became sold out for Christ and his whole life was changed by one encounter with God. He was not perfected in his walk with Christ. Paul was willing to press closer and closer no matter how hard it got for him.

We should be the same way. We should press through life and keep God first. After Paul had his encounter with God he held on and never let go to the promises of God. He did not allow his past or present circumstances dictate his salvation and who God was in his life. We should take on this same change in our own lives.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

We can’t change our past. God does not want us stuck on things that we can’t change. Paul was clear, he knew he had not perfected the letting go of the past but he was sure of trying and striving to forget them. His goal was to reach forward despite what he had faced in his past.

This is no easy task. We all have memories and we remember our struggles. This is about a spiritual forgetting and letting go. It is about reaching forward and working to heal from the struggles and trauma many of us have faced.

You can’t do it alone. God placed billions of people on this Earth. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek therapy if needed. Seek treatment for whatever has you stuck. The best medicine at times is prayer, spending time with God, and studying the word. God wants us to overcome our past.

It’s up to you. Remember you don’t have to have your future mapped out. You can start little by little leaving the past behind. Leave it behind until you stop reliving it and it becomes just a memory.

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

We can’t escape going through things in life, but we can trust that God has a plan. Some days make us question who God is in our lives. The truth is nothing is certain. We can trust as Paul did that our upward call is the eternal prize through salvation. It may take some time, but you can leave the past behind.

Don’t let Your Past Define You

Trauma is not something that can be erased. Once you have experienced trauma it is a lifelong journey to recovery. If you’ve been wondering about the flashbacks and constant psychological reminders, it’s normal. It disrupts sleep, relationships, and affects how you cope with stress.

You have to consciously choose not to allow your past to dictate your future. You are not your past. You can overcome all the things you’ve endured. God is Sovereign which means He is in full control no matter what happens to us. No matter what you have gone through you can change the outcome of your future.

If this is true, how can I let go and move past my pain? Be gentle with yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Use therapy to help yourself heal. Give yourself time to move on. Get busy creating a beautiful future. Create boundaries in relationships and stick to them. Do what is best for you and put yourself first.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things of old. Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”.

Isaiah 40:31 ” But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint”.

Experiencing trauma does make it more challenging to be able to be successful in your pursuits than people who have never endured trauma. We must remember that we have to take life a step at a time. We have to set a new pace. It’s important to be aware that life will be different after years of trauma from our childhood or adulthood.

You are not alone in experiencing childhood trauma. I live the aftermath of my childhood and adulthood every day. Is it easy? No. I have to make a conscious decision every day to move forward. Some days are harder than others. The life I am living is unique indeed. I choose to set the standard for myself not what other people are doing.

You do not have to be defined by your past. Remember, you didn’t go through the trauma you have endured in a day, it takes time to move forward. Every day that you are striving is a blessing. Every day that you put one foot in front of the other is a blessing.

Remember you are not your past. Don’t let it define your purpose and destiny.

You’ve Survived the Storm. It’s Time to Move On.

Our lives are similar to the seasons of nature. There are winter seasons, fall seasons, spring seasons, and summer seasons. Some of the seasons we are in can be harder than others. They can come with loss, hardship, and pain. They can come with burdens and things we may have even thought we overcome but are revisiting again.

No matter how hard the season is we will survive. How much does one endure and yet have room to let go and shed the pain? I wish I truly had an answer for that because many storms have filled us up with grief and hurt.

I can say that there are better days ahead. Starting over after a storm is hard. Trying to dream again and believing that trying again is worth it, is hard. I encourage you to do it for yourself and through God. We can do nothing without Him.

He has a purpose in every storm we go through. We have to stop seeing life through the lens of pain, let go, and allow God to do the inner work in our lives. It is not easy and it takes time. Sometimes it takes years before we really let things go.

Over the course of our lives, we learn how to survive the storms we face. We also learn how to avoid future storms through experience. After the storm is over what do you do to heal? You take it one step and day at a time. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be careful with how you deal with the pain.

Many of us are holding on to season after season of hurt. No matter how far we are from the storms we faced we may feel like it’s still raining. We may feel like we are still in the storm. We have not learned how to move on. We have not realized that the season is over.

Moving on is a challenge, but you can do it. You got through the hard part, you survived the storm. Strive to move forward and give yourself grace. Try to not let the offenses keep you bound. Therapy is a great place to heal and get out the inner issues you still deal with. Get busy, sometimes sitting idle is not a good thing. It can bring overthinking. Find things you enjoy doing alone or with others.

Surround yourself with healthy relationships and establish healthy boundaries. Learn that saying “No” is okay. Learn that changing your mind after you have committed to something is also okay. These things are important. Some of the storms we face can be because of our connection with toxic people.

You can live again. You can dream again. You can rebuild. The storm is over it’s time to heal and work to move on.

Complete Your Assignment

I wanted things to be perfect, without a struggle. This caused me to run when things got too hard. As many wise women have told me “you may run but if your assignment is not finished God will take you over that mountain again”. You must be willing to stay in the assignment God gives you.

Sarah became jealous of Hagar for conceiving a child with Abraham because Hagar grew haughty and looked down on Sarah. Sarah began to mistreat Hagar and Hagar ran away (Genesis 16:5-6).

After Hagar ended up with no place to go she cried out to God. An Angel spoke to Hagar. (Genesis 16:9), “Return to your mistress and submit yourself to her hand”. (Genesis 16:11), “Behold you are with child. (The Assignment) “And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael. Because the Lord has heard your affliction.”

Mary was chosen to bear Jesus, and she grew fearful. An Angel comforts Mary. (Luke 1:28), “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among the women.” The Angel brings more comfort. “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God”. The Angel gives her the assignment. (Luke 1:31) “And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call Him Jesus.

These assignments brought much adversity to Hagar and Mary. They each had to obediently complete the assignment no matter how hard it got.

Many of us run from assignments because we do not recognize them as our purpose. Hagar and Mary both were visited by an Angel sent by God. God uses people, dreams, and circumstances to speak to us and confirm His purpose that we must carry out.

(Ephesians 2:10)”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Walking into our purpose is not an option it is commanded by God. God has created each of us, for His purpose and glory.

When He chooses our assignment, He requires us to answer the call. When we decide to complete the assignment, we must be obedient to the process, and by faith put all our trust in Him.

You can spend your life running, stuck, confused, and unhappy or you can choose to seek God about His purpose for your life. Everyone’s assignment is different. When we look at Hagar and Mary the assignments were distinctly different.

They were called to complete their assignment. It is the same with us today. Complete your assignment.

When the Rubber meets the Road

Sometimes in life what we plan, what we think, what we had in mind, and our reality when it’s time to do what is required of us is a “when the rubber meets the road” situation. Life is full of twists and turns.

When the rubber meets the road is different. We are trying to go somewhere and we come to a place where it’s hard and we aren’t sure if we will obtain our goal. Times like these make us question was the journey worth it? We may wonder if we missed God somewhere or if we are connected to Him at all? This is the place where faith is tested and quitting would seem easier than fighting through the uncertainty. We all have reached this place and some have fought and others have thrown in the towel.

This life is filled with hardships, unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes crushed dreams. The one thing that is constant is God’s love for us through it all whether we are in a relationship with Him or not. His grace is sufficient for whosoever needs it. In the times when you question his presence, it’s the air in your lungs that is the answer to your question.

When the rubber meets the road, and what you plan versus what you are faced with doesn’t measure up, keep going. When fear grips your future, do it afraid. It is easy to quit. We all have quit at something to only look back and wonder “what if”. Quitting leaves no room for opportunity. You may learn through the regret to hang in there when fear grips you again. The issue with quitting is the door closes and you miss the opportunity behind it.

There are so many times when I don’t know what the right path is, but what is certain is that I can’t quit because I am fearful and unsure. Everything that we all have accomplished we put in a lot of effort not knowing where or how it would end.

This message is for the person that wants things to change but is in fear from past experiences that things won’t work out.

Joseph started out his life with visions from God (Genesis 37:5-7). The visions would one day bring him to the greatest position. Joseph was met with some hard circumstances but he never gave up despite the troubles he faced. His brothers betrayed him, and he finally found a place to call home and was betrayed again, later he had to endure prison (Genesis 37:18-20), (Genesis chapters 38 and 39).

Through it all God used him. He could have allowed prison to be his final place but he didn’t he had gifts and he used them. His gifts got him out of prison and he became Prince of Egypt beside Pharaoh (Genesis chapter 40 and 41).

Joseph could have been like so many of us today with what he faced. He had years of hardship but when the rubber met the road he pressed in and used the gifts God gave him and his life soared. He later saw the brothers who betrayed him in his youth and he humbly had mercy on them and was reunited with them.

When you are in your hard places and what you had in mind is not your reality what will you do? Will you throw in the towel and make your temporary situation more permanent than what it has to be? Will you press in and push through the mountain you face not sure where you will land? Will you seek God for guidance and patiently wait on his answer?

Whatever you decide don’t give up when the rubber meets the road. Use it to move you forward.

When it won’t Stop Raining

There was a shell of her from all the rain

She grew to expect rain more than sunshine

The rain came so often with only peaks of sunshine

The people around her carried in so much rain she set an umbrella across her life.

When sunshine came she was unimpressed and waited for rain

The men she came to know loved her in a raincoat

One day a man dropped by when it was raining

The man told her if she stopped preparing for rain she would get more sunshine and the happiness she desired.

You get what you prepare for.

“As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Poem by: Shakera Williams copyrighted

Living Life through the Pain

We have all been through times where life was hard and it seemed like we wouldn’t make it. Some of us have been abused and had no one to save us but God. Some of us have loved and failed at love. You may have wanted things and it seems as if life would not allow us to have them though we felt it robbery not to. There may have been times where you have looked death in the face and wondered where God was?

Whatever has caused the grief or pain you faced God is still there. He is there in the trauma from your past as a whisper of hope. He was with David, Moses, and Abraham all through the hard places. When Joseph was sold off and thrown into a pit by those supposed to love him, God still made his dreams come true. The things that have hurt us in life and been unfair God will use it.

Though life has been unfortunate and caused you to doubt, God cares He wants to use your pain. With life comes setbacks, grief, hurt, offenses, but He never stops being God in any of it.

Living life through the pain we all face is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going. It’s hard to strive for better. As circumstances come we change because they change us. Despite this, we can make it. We can move past the pain.

If it takes therapy to learn from the pain, then get the therapy you need to center your life. Therapy is the antidote that changed the way I view the things I went through. I needed someone to be able to make sense of the hurt and validate it and help me work through it. In therapy there is no judgment there is just support. If a therapist is judging you then you definitely need a new one.

If you need to move to get away from what may be holding you back then move. Moving away brings newness. It helps to be somewhere different. In essence, you are still going to have to confront your past but moving creates a new environment to do so.

Pain comes with life but we don’t have to continue to create the same patterns and cycles of dysfunction. We can learn from what has not worked and strive to make a different path for our lives and our families. Living life through the pain is a journey but you can overcome what has been hard. It takes a good support system and doing the hard work of change.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

A Relationship with God is a Fortress

God is our refuge and our strength when all else fails (Psalm 46:1). God centers us when life is falling apart. God said He would never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Being rooted and grounded by a relationship with God is important. All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). God created us for greatness. He created us for His glory. Nothing is too big for God. We find out about God through His word.

God intended for us to build a relationship with Him so that He guides us through life. Since the garden God has wanted relationship with us. Fellowship with God is what changes our lives. A healthy prayer life strengthens our connection with God. Studying the word of God teaches us about the character of God.

God sees our lives afar off. With Him revelation is given so we can stay on path with our purpose. It took me years to realize obedience to God is important and a requirement not a suggestion. Sometimes God says no because He sees what we can’t see. Sometimes we are ahead of Him.

The breath in our longs is because of God. We can do nothing without Him. Let’s build the strongest relationship with Him. He never changes. He doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t keep score. He believes in second chances and redemption.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress, My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).