Take Good Care of You!

1 Timothy 3:5 – King James Version
For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

Well all righty then! Boy, did I get a swift kick in the pants last Thursday!! I mean a wake up call so real I had to share.

I went to the dentist because my tooth on my right lower side, the one in the very back, has been throbbing. Wake me up in the middle of the night throbbing and I can’t eat a thing on that side throbbing! Yep, pain.

I have to admit that I have needed to have this same tooth removed for mmmm……well, honestly, maybe over two years! I hear you, so be kind to me!!! (smile) Yes, two years or better!!  I kept putting it off by saying I needed the money for other things. The kids needed this, I had this bill, we needed to eat out more than I felt like cooking….the list of excuses could go on and on. I have to pay over a hundred bucks with insurance and somehow it just hasn’t happened.

That all has changed! You see, the tooth next to the cracked one is now decayed. Lying next to the first bad one has not been good for that tooth and it is now joining its brother – it has to go too!!  It’s either got to go or I can have a root canal and a crown done on it to save it. I think I heard about twenty-five or so collective groans as you read this because you all know that even with insurance, the co-pays are high! So, I will have them both removed and I will be gumming for real on that side. Please stop laughing at me!!! 😦

The sad fact is that this could have been avoided had I taken care of the first tooth two years ago. I have to blame myself for not making me a priority. That’s what you do when you think you have been given a red cape – you think you are Superwoman and can save the world.

But you really can’t save anybody if you don’t first take care of you. How often do we go without or neglect ourselves for everyone else’s needs? Yes, we have responsibilities to take care of our families but we cannot make ourselves an afterthought. Neither should we allow our loved ones to treat us this way as well. If we don’t care about ourselves and make sure our health is a priority, who else will?

So I admonish you today to make those appointments that you have been putting off. When was the last time you had your eyes checked, your teeth cleaned, your mammogram done, your pap smear, your prostrate checked, and, in fact, a yearly physical? Are you up to date on your tetanus shot? Do you know what your normal blood pressure is or your own blood type?

My direction for this year has been and will continue to be to live on purpose. To do this, I must take the proper steps to make sure I am healthy enough to answer the call that God has placed on my life.

I must lead my children by example. They must see a mother who does her best to feel and look her best so that she can be there for them.

As I write to you, I am surely writing to myself. Please take care of YOU now before anything that is a small issue becomes a major problem. If you could ask my two teeth all about it, they would tell you that they wish I had taken my own advice maybe two plus years ago. I would have all my teeth, spared myself some pain, and avoided the cost for partial dentures that will be needed down the line! (ok, that alone is depressing and the subject of another blog  – I have reached the age where I may need a partial! what in the world!!!)

Starting today, now, this moment, take good care of YOU!!! Live your best life now! Make a renewed commitment to make YOUrself a priority! Someone needs to see the Jesus in you that only YOU can show them.

Loving God includes taking care of yourself so that when you are healthy, you can feed His sheep!

Pray for me – my teefs are coming out tomorrow!!!  😦

Living Victoriously By Making My Health A Priority!

I Love The Lord (for Whitney and for me!)

John 21:17 – King James Version
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 
As I continue to reflect on the life and death of a singer I loved so very much, I know I am not alone in my sadness at the thought of that special voice silenced way too soon for us all. I felt like Whitney Houston was my long lost sister who sang exactly what I would have sung if I had the gift she was blessed with. I can hear any one of her songs and know where I was, who I was dating, who I was in love with, and who broke my heart. The history of my life all rolled up in that voice I will never get tired of hearing.

The world watched as her life was celebrated in a homegoing service fit for the diva she was. More importantly, it was fit for the child of God she was. Yes, she was His child, just as much as you and I are. I choose not to condemn her for the mistakes she may have made that were so publicly displayed across the tabloids. For surely, “we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. I am not excusing her either. When we abuse our bodies with things not meant to go into the temple, we run the risk of losing our health and ultimately, our very lives.

In fact, this all scares me! I may not drink or pop pills, but I do not eat all the right things at the right times and need to lose a few pounds for real. What am I doing to my temple that keeps me not feeling my best?

I didn’t get a chance to watch the entire service, but I did get to see and hear what Tyler Perry said about Whitney. How it was grace that kept her from childhood to adulthood, and from his conversations with her, he knew she loved the Lord. When he sat down, I clapped and cheered along with the crowd and had a YES moment in my house, all by myself! Yes, that’s it! YES, YES!!!

You see, when my eyes close for the last time on this earth, when I have spoken my last words, when I have sung my last song, and cried my last tear, I want someone at my service to simply say, “Victoria truly loved the Lord. Yes, she sure did! She loved Him with her whole heart and wanted to meet Him when He came back for His people.”

To say “I love the Lord” means so much. Those words mean that I accept Him into my heart, and do my best each day to live my life doing what He wanted me to do on this earth. That I am striving to do His will and fulfill the purpose He has for me in the time I am allotted.

To love Him completely is to show compassion and concern for His people. To help someone along the way that is lost and in need of guidance, provide comfort when needed or give them hope that they can live a better life when they turn it over to Jesus.  To teach my children to fear Him and give Him glory with their lives.

I love Him because He first loved me and gave me an opportunity to be able to be with Him forever! How can I not love Him back and tell others what He has done for me? I, too, am a product of grace that is simply amazing!! My life is full of example after example of how that love has kept me over the years.

I don’t understand all the philosophical or mystical meanings behind death. All I know is that I don’t like it and don’t want anyone I hold dear to leave me. I sympathize with anyone who loses a loved one because I know the pain. So today, I can relate to the pain Whitney’s family and friends feel.

I also know that millions watched what happens when the people of God come together and do what we do – praise God despite the loss, give God glory even though our hearts are broken, worship when we cry! Glory to God!! I don’t know exactly why she had to go at the age of 48, but I know that my God got the glory as we celebrated her life!

I praise Him today for the hope we have in Jesus that our lost loved ones are resting in His arms and we will see them again!

I found this video on YouTube of one of my favorite songs of all time. The words are are on this blog site because it tells what is in my heart.

I hope you can sing this song with me!!!!  I LOVE THE LORD, HE HEARD MY CRY, AND PITIED EVERY GROAN. LONG AS I LIVE AND TROUBLES RISE, I’LL HASTEN TO HIS THRONE!

http://youtu.be/3WbZIjG_3sE  – SING YOLANDA!!!  YES!!!!

LIVING VICTORIOUSLY MEANS I LOVE THE LORD!!!!

I Still Have The Scars

2 Corinthians 5:17 – King James Version
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I went to wash the gel off my hands this morning after putting it in all through my hair to curl it up. I did the usual….squeezed some liquid soap into my palms as I ran them under the water to lather up.  It was then that I saw them…..black marks at the tips of at least four of my fingers. Yep, black marks that are the leftovers from what happens when you hold a joint too tightly to try and get all you could out of it. I didn’t care then that holding it to the bitter end would burn my fingers and that, years later, I would still have the scars.

As I looked at the scars, I remembered what seems a lifetime ago. Getting high and drinking. Making a game out of coming home that way and no one ever detected in my house that I was out of control. If I had to anaylze myself then, there were many reasons why I was behaving this way. Trying to fit in, trying to find my place in the world, trying to escape family problems and self-esteem issues.

As I sit here and write, tears are streaming down my face. I know without a doubt that I went to church every week and sang in the choir and didn’t really know the love of Christ. I sang about it and read about and repeated the commandments and other scriptures week after week. But His love did not reign in me. How could it when I was on such a self-destructive path?

I did stop getting high on weed and crack because I could see that having no money when I got paid was not the life for me. But if I can be real here, it was years later, many years later, before I could look at myself and see that I was worth so much more than the abusive situations I found myself in. That no relationship can top the one I am in with my Creator. That no man can love me more than God can!

As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, I had to stop and give God praise! I shouted out and cried and my middle baby came to see what was wrong. I told her that I was all right! That sometimes you get a glimpse of where God brought you from and you had to praise Him right then!

I don’t know about you but life is tough for me right about now. I’m in the midst of a few transitions and experiencing moments of not really knowing what will happen next which is enough to drive me crazy! But as I thought about where I used to be, I had to give God glory for it was only His grace that has changed me and rearranged me.

If you are still here, I know you have had circumstances happen to you that have threatened to take you out! Wounds that cut so deep that you thought the bleeding and pain would never stop. Scars present and visible from the beatings, literally and figuratively. I know some people who are still hurting and are still battered and bruised. People who walk around going through the motions of life, not knowing how to let go of past hurts and pain too much to even talk about.

I know what it’s like to not feel good about what you see in the mirror. To be so disrespected that you don’t feel like you are worth anything.

I can’t exactly pin point all of my aha moments – those moments of clarity that come to awaken you out of the mundane and the old way of thinking. I do know this – that as I began to look at myself the way Christ does, I began to see that I am worthy. Because He loved me enough to die for me, to forgive my faults and my past and my issues, I can love myself. I can lift my head up and strive daily to be better for myself, my children, and anyone else I come in contact with that needs to know that they can make it!

Yeah, I was broken, but I’m still here! I was hurt, but I’m still here! I cried, yep, still do – but I’m still here!! Have some scars, heck, got a lot of scars, but I am still here.

My scars are not my shame. As I lift my hands in worship, I show God that the scars are not hidden. They remind me as I look at them what can happen when your life is yielded to the love reflected in the face of Jesus. He loves ME!! He really loves me! My scars are indeed a testimony of grace too amazing to comprehend.

I most certainly still have the scars but more importantly, I have the love that gave me the wisdom to know that I had to leave that old life alone, the strength to live life on purpose now, and the courage to tell somebody else that you can make it. You can be free today if you give it all to Jesus! Your secrets are safe with Him.

I pray that you will take your pain, your hurts, your battle scars to Him. Ask Him to make you a new creature. Your life will never be the same – I promise you that!  To God be the glory for the great things He has done in me!!!

I AM LIVING VICTORIOUSLY!!! 

A Defining Moment

Exodus 33:5
For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, ……I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment…….

I sat in awe this morning as I watched “Good Morning America”. One of the featured stories was about a woman who had lost 500 pounds. She held up a skirt that was 12 inches of material which she stated was the skirt she would wear when she went out of the house – the good one! As she held up the skirt against her body, it was simply amazing to see how much weight she must have lost in order to have been able to fit into that large skirt.

Robin Roberts asked her what was that one moment when she decided that enough was enough – that weight had to simply go! For her, it was when her mother was in the hospital battling cancer and she was the only family member who could not fit in the room. When her mother was released, she was sitting by her mother’s bedside and her mom asked her if she needed her to get up and fix her something to eat. This woman said that in that moment, she knew she had to change her life. Her cancer ridden mother wanted to get up to make sure her daughter was able to eat since she could not fix food for herself.

Her defining moment was watching her sick mother look beyond the sickness to make sure that she was fed. She made up her mind that her life had to change and she took steps to make sure she was not just skinnier but healthier. She was able to lose 500 pounds!!!

This story touched me today. I sat there all choked up and I knew I had to write. I am in the midst of changing more than a few things in my life and could relate to this theme of having a defining moment.

As I thought about my life, I realized that there are several moments that have occurred recently that have given me cause to take stock of where I am going and how I want to live for the rest of my days. The sermons by TD Jakes about living on purpose, listening to my pastor talk about prayer, and also sitting in his mentoring Monday sessions and hearing phrases like “re-tooling yourself”. What are you, Victoria, going to do to make a change in your life?

There have been moments even at home and at work that have been pivotal moments. Circumstances that have made me say, nope, not doing this anymore, not living in the shadow of my former self. I have got to be the me God made me to be.

As odd as it may seem, I feel like I weigh 500 pounds. The pressures of life, my own health issues, carrying what I see my friends and family going through in my heart. BUT!!!  It’s time for a change! I can control certain aspects of my health. I can eat healthier and get more rest. I can have a better prayer life. I can simply let God be God and not try to fix everything myself.

We have now entered into the second month of 2012. The ball has dropped over 31 days ago and all the aspirations to make this year different are all thought of. What have you done to make it happen? Only you know what your “it” is. Are you closer to realizing your dream by what you did in January? Are the plans in place to continue to make this year your best ever?

Today is a brand new day. You still have an opportunity to live your best life NOW!!! The fact that you are still here and reading this blog means that God is not finished with you yet. You have a purpose and a calling that is unique to you! Do not look at your own limitations because on our own we cannot do anything! But with God all things are possible!!! (Mark 10:27)

When you hit that defining moment, do not hesitate to act upon it. Do not doubt that you are about to take the necessary steps to make your life be all it can be in God. He is waiting to help you and will sustain you. My sister told me once that I should not expect anyone to understand my purpose and my calling because they did not give it to me.

That message still resounds in my head today and I pass it on to you. You cannot expect everyone to understand what you are doing when they are not the Creator. Only He knows the design that is the tapestry of your life. Only He can bring together all the threads to make you the beautiful and bright light He designed you to be!

Trust Him and know that it is all working together for your good! I am happy today because my defining moments are all under His control!

I am more than a conqueror! I am living victoriously!