Eyes of Faith


The other day I was reading a daily devotion (1 & 2 Timothy on the YouVersion Bible app) by one of my favorite teachers/ministers of the Gospel, Priscilla Shirer. At the end of the devotion was the most needed and timely prayer for me. The first line alone read (as I paraphrase): Lord, help me to see my life with eyes of faith.

That sparked so much reflection for me! …see my life with eyes of faith…wow!

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me at times see my life with eyes of faith. As I continue to grow in my walk with God, it gets a little easier…but even that is dependent on the situation (if I’m being honest). Sometimes it’s really difficult to have faith.

It’s hard to see your life with eyes of faith when you are following Christ, trying to live out Christian principles, and yet you face one hardship after another.

It’s hard to see your life with eyes of faith when:

  • It feels like all your sacrificing is not paying off.
  • You are constantly faced with disappointments
  • It seems that your hard work is in vain
  • That coworker keeps testing you
  • That promotion seems so far away
  • Your marriage is getting tested
  • Your singleness doesn’t feel like such a joy
  • Your kids have literally lost their minds Or
  • You feel like you are sucking as a mom

That’s a long list lol

Y’all life is hard, and it’s a trick of the enemy to use our difficulties to entice us to throw in the towel!

When life gets difficult, many of us tend to worry. I know I do from time to time. The problem with worrying is that it gets you nowhere, and it makes you more dependent on yourself. Worrying robs you of your faith! Worrying feeds your fears and encourages your doubts.

Living our lives with eyes of faith helps us to keep our focus on God. The same God that has the world in His hands is the same God that has His hands on you.

Let’s take every difficulty we face, every doubt, every struggle we endure and give it over to God. Let’s have enough faith and trust that God will give us wisdom on what to do with our tough situations or that He will handle it himself!

Let’s see our lives with eyes of faith!

~Hazel~

Though you are Imperfect, you are loved by a Perfect God!

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No Escape


I have several nieces and nephews, and now great nieces and a great nephew. They all are very different and unique in their own way. Each of them have their own special relationship with me. While they are very different, they all had one thing in common when it came to me: they would follow me everywhere I would go. They were like my little shadows, and some of the really young ones are still this way.

They would follow so close sometimes that I would accidentally knock them down if I made a quick turn. There were times I felt like I couldn’t escape them. However, the older they got the less interested they became in what I was doing and where I was going…they began to discover their journey.

I can remember moments of feeling relieved when this would happen because then, I could easily escape from them to do what I want, eat what I want (you know you have snuck away to eat something so a kid wouldn’t see it and beg for some), and have conversations that I wanted without interruption or innocent ears present.

Reflecting on this about my nieces and nephews, made me think about my journey with God and moving toward my fulfilled purpose. I began to remember moments along the journey that I tried to escape God because I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to hang where I wanted to hang. Drink what I wanted to drink. Smoke what I wanted to smoke (that ended quickly). Sleep with whoever I wanted to sleep with. Yet there was No Escape.

Then I began to remember moments where amazing doors were opened. Where I found/find myself doing things that I never thought I would do. Traveling places I never dreamt of seeing. Meeting people I would have never thought to connect with. Realizing in these (and more) amazing high moments I never escaped God.

One thing I’m learning is this:

In this journey, there are high moments and low moments. There are moments when everyone is rallying around you, and moments when you have not one person to talk to. Times when you feel invited and times when you feel the invitation must have been lost in the mail. No matter where you are in this journey, no matter what is thrown at you, and no matter what mistakes you make along the way, God is always with you. With Him there is No Escape!

His love can reach you on whatever road in this journey you are on; and His grace is more than enough to sustain you. The reminds me of David’s words in Psalm 139:

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

May you find peace in knowing that with God, there’s No Escape!

~Hazel~

Though you are Imperfect, you are loved by a Perfect God.

Feeling Overwhelmed?


As I sit down tonight, I look around me and a mix of emotions start to take over. On one hand, I’m so excited to sit and journal. This is one of my happy places . . . to let my thoughts spill all over lined paper using the color ink of my liking. Tonight, I chose the color “purple”; it’s so pretty on my pages 🙂 Anyway . . .

Here I am beaming with excitement to have a moment to enter my happy place I take a looksee at what is around me. The cluttered nook, the ironing board and iron that’s not in its rightful place, the mound of seminary books (plus the new ones that invaded my space today), the “pile – o – shoes” that’s lurking by the door, the basket of towels reminding me of all the laundry needing done . . . all of these things started to rob me of my excitement, joy, and sense of relaxation knowing that I can sit down and journal. Instantly, I became annoyed and frustrated. Just as those negative emotions started to consume me, I fought back! I realized that deep down I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.

At that moment, I created an atmosphere of what turned to be more like a messy “Starbucks” in my living room. I sat with my pen and journal, while the smooth melodies of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane play in the background. I sipped coffee from one of my favorite “small” coffee mugs lined with my favorite creamy, caramel sauce. With every sip of this bold, hot, caramel macchiato, “carmely” tasting coffee, I felt myself becoming more relaxed. During this moment, my feeling of overwhelmingness subsided.

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I then began to think about the 5 things I try to do to fight feeling overwhelmed. Then I decided to share them with you, so here you go:

  1. Find a “happy place” and allow yourself to get outside of yourself – This requires being intentional. What activity can you do that will allow you to relax and let your thoughts flow? For me it’s a calming atmosphere where I can journal. Maybe for some it’s working out, cooking, knitting, coloring, going for a drive, walking, or maybe just sitting still. Whatever it is, find it and get outside of yourself. Be intentional about taking some “me” time.
  2. Ask yourself: What’s most important at this time? – When you are outside of yourself you can take an inventory of self. Evaluate what are the most important things in this day/in this moment, that need to be done right away. Allow yourself to rank and prioritize your tasks.
  3. Take a deep breath and EXCUSE yourself! – Listen, what I am learning is that I am one person. I cannot do everything and be everywhere at the same time. So I have to excuse myself from time to time. I am not Superwoman. You are not Superwoman. SUPERWOMAN does not exist! You are not going to get everything done and please everyone all the time. Guess what?? It’s okay! Quit putting unnecessary expectations on yourself to be all and do all. This kind of pressure produces anxiety, doubt, fear . . . all ingredients to make for an everlasting sense of feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Stop operating in your own power – Ask God how He wants you to manage your day. This should probably be #1. Often times when we are feeling overwhelmed, we are taking on way more than we should or could handle. At least this is the case for me. Ask God: What does He wants you to take on? Does what you’re doing/managing align to God’s will for your life? Is this a God appointed task or “busy work”? Have you asked Him permission before taking on that task? Is this something He wants you to focus on right now? Often times we can easily get caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day, and become these “yes” people to every good, “bright” idea. Because we didn’t seek God first in making that decision, we become wore out from the busyness. And if He indeed called you to everything that’s on your plate, are you allowing Him to help you with everything. How much time are you spending with Him? God is always with you, but sometimes we tend to push Him out. Invite God into your day! Let His power give you the ability to handle all that you need to do. His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  5. Lastly, Think Positive – Change your attitude about your assignments for the day. If you were able to accomplish 2 out of 5 things on your list of “to do’s”, then job well done! Pat yourself on the back, and know that tomorrow is a new day. Take it one day at a time. Start and end your day with positivity!

 

Lord, thank you for your immeasurable amount of grace you extend to us daily. Help us to not adapt the personality of Superwoman, but instead tap into your “Super” power. Please forgive us for times we have not invited you into our day or sought your approval on tasks. Help us when we feel overwhelmed; and remind us through you all things are possible. Lord help us to be women who organize our lives and our tasks based off of your will for our lives. We love you, we honor you, we give you all the glory and praise. In Jesus name, Amen.

Remember this: Though you are imperfect, you are loved by a perfect God.

~Hazel~

Seasons Change: Are You Ready?


Hello my beautiful sisters!!

So tonight was so exciting! If you didn’t know, on Mondays at 8pm EST I do a live broadcast on Periscope. Tonight we talked about seasons. For the past week or so, God has been dealing with me a lot about seasons. We are all in some type of season in our life. Sometimes the difficult seasons we go through, are the one’s that we tend to not enjoy. Here are some of the things the #PerfectlyImperfect squad and I discussed on this week’s Periscope broadcast:

Many of us have our favorite time of year. For me it’s summer. I absolutely love the Summer. I love laying at the beach, boating, the fun water sports. I love being able to wear shorts, tanks, and sun dresses everyday. I love out door bbq’s, and the fact that it doesn’t get dark until 9pm. I love summer! Although it’s my favorite time of year, there is something about all the other seasons that I love as well.

Spring: I love it because my birthday is in the Spring. I love that the birds are chirping loud in the mornings. I love the smell of the fresh rain, and the blooming of flowers. I love how it seems like life is being born all over again.

Fall: I love the changing of the colors of the trees. I love that it’s not too cold, but not too hot either. I love having bonfires, roasting hot dogs, cute fall clothes, and how crisp the air is.

Winter: I love how pretty the first snow fall is. How the snow sits so comfortably on the tree branches. I love being able to snuggle up and drink hot cocoa on couch.

Yet, I find it funny for myself how I can find enjoyment in every season of the year, even if there is a certain season (like winter) that I particularly don’t enjoy. How is it that we can do that with seasons of the year; but when it comes to our own life seasons, we find it hard to enjoy the one’s that are not so pretty?

One thing that I am learning is to slow down, and embrace every season I am in. Even the difficult ones. Ecclesiastes 3:1 in the NIV says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” There is purpose to every season, and every season provides preparation for the next season. We have to understand that God has perfect timing. Everything God does is intentional, and with purpose. God has you and me at a time and season right where He wants us to be. We can’t be in such a rush to get to the next season because we will miss out on the growth, the learning, and the opportunities we are to gain in this current season we are in.

Understand that God does know your heart, and He knows the desires of your heart. However, when we are too busy focusing on how difficult our season is, or too busy complaining about how much we don’t like the way this season feels; we miss out on what God is trying to do with us and through us during this time. We can’t hear him properly. Next thing you know, we will try to put matters into our own hands and move ahead of Him.

Change is inevitable, and it is one thing that remains constant. But without change there is no growth. Nothing good comes out of comfort zones! Your difficult season may be uncomfortable for you, but in order to get to greatness, you have to get uncomfortable.

It is human nature to embrace change when it’s the change we want, but we reject change when it change that’s unexpected. We have to learn to put all of our trust and faith in God. He knows what is best for us. He has a plan for us. And how dare we interfere with His plan by trying to rush through our season, or having a jacked up attitude that keeps us in a season longer than He intended.

It’s time to get ready!! It’s time to prepare! The new season is coming! It’s Coming! Are you making the most out of the season that you are currently in?

Maybe you’re in a season of singleness & you can’t wait for the day it’s over. What are you doing to make the most out of this season?

Maybe you’re in a season of financial drought? What are you doing to make the most out of this season?

Maybe you’re in a season of transition on your job? What are you doing to make the most out of this season?

Maybe you’re in a season of trying to conceive a child but it’s not happening right now? What are you doing to make the most out of this season?

I don’t know what season you are in, but there is a time and a season for everything.

God has not forgotten about you. Seek the opportunities of this season. Ask God what would he like out of you during this time. Prioritize things based off of what He wants from you and what would give Him glory. Check that ‘tude while you’re waiting for your new season . . .it’s coming! Will you be ready??

Remember this: Though you are imperfect, you are loved by a perfect God! God has crazy love for you, & I love you too!

~Hazel~

5 Things To Consider Before Dating


Hey love bugs!!

I pray you all have had a fabulous weekend! Tonight I went to Periscope with a message to singles. I shared with the #PerfectlyImperfect community via Periscope on the 5 Things to Consider Before Dating. You can catch a replay of the broadcast by clicking here. Download the Periscope app and check out the discussion.

I wanted to make sure I bring you all in the loop as well! Again, these are some things to consider . . . to think about before the next time you decide to date:

Have you taken time to fully heal from past relationships?

I have heard this saying: “The best way to get over a man is to get under a new man.” This is absolutely FALSE!! You cannot fully embrace the person you are with by still holding on to issues with the person from your past. Not taking time to heal will cause you to make the new person pay for all the mistakes your ex(es) have made (whether you realize it or not). You wouldn’t want to pay the penalty for someone else wrong doing . . . no one does. If you don’t take this time to heal, you will run the risk of being a serial dater. You will find yourself being in and out of relationships because you are sabotaging them with issues from your past. You will find yourself dating the same type of men, but with a different face. Make sure you fully heal before bringing anyone into a messy situation.

Get some insight about yourself/work on your heart.

It is important to take some time for yourself between relationships. Evaluate what you need to work on or improve upon. Remember, it takes two to tango. They may be the reason why the relationship ended, but you also played a role as well. What are somethings you learned from your past relationships about you? How can you be better? Spend some time with God to have him reveal your heart. He will show you areas that are displeasing to him . . . it is He that makes you whole. Develop/strengthen that relationship with God . . .besides that is the best relationship you can have.

Are you holding on to anger and bitterness? Are you too independent and working that man out of his job? Chivalry is not dead ladies . . . there are some gentlemen still out there. Some times our fierce independence gets in the way. Every time he tries to do something for you, you say “I got it . . . I can take care of it . . . Don’t worry about it”. Every time he goes to open a door for you, you rush to beat him. There is nothing wrong with being independent but some of us are just way too strong. I know . . . you are used to taking care of things by yourself. Well, sis, a real man . . .a gentleman will not let you do it alone. However, if you keep assuming the role as male, he will think and feel as if he’s not needed.

Once you have gathered some insight, actually do the work to strive to be better.

Learn to forgive.

          Forgiveness is not just for the other person, but it’s for you too. It frees you up. We have to learn to forgive. When you hold on to unforgiveness, you heart is becoming harden the longer you hold on to it. No one can enter into a harden heart . . . you are not even letting God in when your heart is harden.

You also need to practice forgiveness because the Lord instructs us to do so. If we don’t forgive one another, our heavenly father won’t forgive us. Once you get this down, you will forgive much easier when your mate makes a mistake. Relationships require work. Learn to forgive.

Many singles desire to be married. Well guess what? That’s two imperfect people coming together as one. Some one is bound to make a mistake or hurt the other persons’ feelings . . . are you going to forgive?

Practice healthy communication and vulnerability.

          Now . . . this right here . . . whew! I am getting better at the communication piece, but the vulnerability is hard. However, I can honestly say that I am practicing it. Use discernment . . . not everyone can handle your vulnerability. The one person that you should be able to be completely “naked”/vulnerable with should be your spouse. If you have not practiced this while being single, you will struggle greatly with being vulnerable in your marriage. Find someone of the opposite sex that you trust and practice letting your guard down. Let God guide you to that individual.

Also, practice communicating in a healthy way. Many people listen to respond instead of actively listening. Try repeating what you heard to ensure that you understand correctly what’s being communicated. Watch your emotions when you communicate as well. Make sure those “feelings” are in check because if they are not, you can perceive something to be true that is totally false. Understand how the opposite sex communicates. Men are logical . . . they think. Women we feel. Nothing is wrong with either . . . we’re just wired different.

Ask yourself: Why do you want to be in a relationship?

          Some people think that marriage will cure their singleness. First . . . you being single does not mean you have a disease; and trust me, marriage is not the cure. There is nothing wrong with being single. Do not let anyone get in your head and make you thing that being single is bad? This is your training ground to prepare for marriage (if that’s what you desire).

Some people want a relationship because they hate being alone, and thus will settle. Any attention will get them going. Understand that not all attention is good attention. If you don’t like being with you, what makes you think someone else will like being with you?

I ask . . . why do you want to be in a relationship? Check your motives. Are you pursuing a date or are you preparing for marriage?

Remember this: Though you are imperfect, you are loved by a perfect God!

God loves you and so do I!

~Hazel~