God

Are You Coming In Or Are You Staying Out?

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6876E33D-053D-41C8-BD70-BD2F957F9AF4Are You Coming In Or Are You Staying Out?

I can remember on those hot summer days playing outside with my friends, we will make frequent stops at my house to either use the bathroom, get something cool to drink or going in and out “just because”. I can still hear my mom screaming from the inside of the house saying, “Are you coming in or are you staying out, because you are letting mosquitos inside the house!” My friends and I would quickly run out and shut the door behind us. My mom was very adamant about a decision being made and if we didn’t make it she was definitely going to make it for us. Having the door swinging open and close was never an ideal situation because not only were mosquitos a problem, so was her central air! Running your air conditioning unit in the summer was expensive and my hard working parents didn’t play that!

 

When I think about the importance of understanding the changes in relationships (platonic and personal), I feel like my mommy and her feelings on letting the air out. A decision has to be made. Either you are in or you are out. Managing and dealing with relationships changing is tough and sometimes down right difficult. Whether you have been friends over several years or made an acquaintance with someone fairly new that you are interested in, feeling like a relationship is starting to feel or become lukewarm has to be acknowledged but not necessarily addressed. This depends on the nature of the connection and the reason you may feel that it has reached an ‘in-between’ state.

Guess what? This is also the same way we deal with our personal relationship with God. We are in and out..just fickle… Sometimes we go to church and sometimes we don’t. We don’t pray and sometimes we do. We don’t read our bibles to gave knowledge and wisdom and sometimes we do. We don’t cultivate the relationship and build on desiring a deeper relationship with God for various reasons and then claim to not understand why we are not experiencing the fullness of God. The bible calls this behavior being ‘lukewarm.’

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ~ Revelation 3:16

This is by no means a personal attack, so please don’t take it as such. Rather, think about the areas in your life where you know you could give God more because we ALL have them. Let me raise my hand FIRST! Just like you don’t care for someone who seems to be ‘in and out’ of your life, God feels the SAME way! As a matter of fact, He is so disgusted by this behavior that He says that he is about to spit you out of his mouth! What an analogy. Picture THAT!

Make a decision about who you desire to be in God. When you think about your relationship with God, does it represent growth? If it was a chart will it have multiple spikes of high and low points or will it be a curve (not a perfect curve), but one that shows an increase that shows that you are not the same person you was 20, 15, 10, 5 years or even a month ago?!? Don’t spend your life running ‘in and out’ of your ‘Daddy’s (The Lord) house. No, once you make a choice you then form conscious, intentional decisions to walk with God every step of the way. Life is short and at some point that door to life is no longer going to swing in and out….so where will you be? IN or OUT.

Xoxo Charlene Evans

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Brew With Ms. Baritone – Podcast

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Introducing my new Podcast,”Brew With Ms. Baritone”

Check It Out!!! (click link below)

Brew With Ms. Baritone Podcast

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You Are Not Alone

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You Are Not ALONE….

 

One of my cousins got married a few years ago but before the wedding, we decided to take her on a trip to Miami, FL to celebrate! While on the trip we had a lot of activities planned but one of the activities on our last morning in Miami was a game that her best friend suggested. It didn’t have a particular name or anything but what we had to do was write down three of our “Fears” on a piece of paper. Once everyone finished we shared the three fears with the group. The exercise was so powerful and so liberating! There were laughs, tears, stories, moments of silence, and reflection while we listened to each girl reveal a part of them that they may have only mention to God in private. As I was listening, I knew my turn was approaching and for me, this was no easy exercise because I didn’t want to be emotional. *Exhale*…Here it goes….as I slowly move my eyes down to read my three fears. Now listen, I am not going to share ALL of my fears but I will share one with you that meant the most and that was “the fear of dying alone”. One of the other young ladies there, who is single like myself, agreed totally and said, “Wow…I didn’t think about that but it’s so true…I don’t want to die alone.” The best part of the exercise was what we did next. We tore off each fear into three strips of paper, folded them in no particular way, and then put them inside of a balloon. We each held our balloons up high over the balcony of the hotel, I was asked to say a prayer and we released them in the air, vowing to God to work on overcoming those FEARS!! Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes because it took a lot of courage to admit to being afraid, scared or anxious about anything in life. However, on that day, four women’s desire to overcome FEAR was greater than the FEAR itself because of our FAITH to believe that God can and will remove anything that is unlike HIM.

Okay, so let me further explain what I mean when I say “alone.” I am talking about physically being by myself when I die because no one knows when or how they are going to die. The absence of family being there or even a companion was starting to become a concern when I thought about it because if we will all be honest with ourselves for a moment, everyone desires to be loved by someone beyond the extension of family. As Christians, we do realize that we are never alone because God is with us always, in spirit, but physically, we want the return embrace of a mate God assigned to us. Even the bible states that, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring to have someone in your life but what if you don’t experience marriage on earth, does that mean that you are being denied the fullness of Joy? Not at all, however, let us put it in perspective. We all came into the earth individually even if you were born a twin, and we all are going to leave individually and be judged by God for our work.(Revelation 20:12) Our concern about being single can be consuming and a huge distraction. Being alone can have negative connotations if we accept it from people who plant seeds of “FEAR” in our minds saying, “You need to find someone or do you want to die alone?” Who said that life will follow the order of marriage, children, grandbabies then death? HE knew us before the foundation of the world and the beginning of our existence before entering the earth. He even knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30) so surely HE knows what is best. God just wants to fulfill the purpose HE has ordained for each and every one of us and being alone or married should not affect the work being done. So If I die now, what would it matter if I am by myself? Why does being alone now develop FEAR when I think about dying alone? To God, it’s not important but my relationship with Him, my work on earth to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my use of the spiritual gifts given to me to spread the Gospel IS important. My focus on my status has no relevance to my ability to fulfill my assignment in the earth just as my “Joy” has no relevance to my status. So, you are alone, or ALL ONE for now and if it never changes, what I “do” on earth, not my “status”, is God’s desire for my life. Hello Fear…I am not alone….so Goodbye.

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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The Best View Comes After The Hardest Climb

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When I think about the difference between looking at a beautiful view that I took the elevator to see or one that didn’t require any physical effort vs. looking at a beautiful view that I climbed a mountain by hiking or any other physical effort to see, there is one major difference…

How I got there….

It affects the appreciation value…Yes, its true! And I will challenge anyone who cares to debate that…but here is what some won’t admit…it feels GOOD when you don’t have to put in the ‘work’ to appreciate something verses it being given to you. But our God is AWESOME…you know why? Because in life, God will allow us to experience BOTH….its called by Faith and by Favor….

We all have heard the scripture “Faith without works is dead” James 2:14-26 and having Faith requires that we ‘Work’ because work towards what we believe ignites the power of our Faith. When I think about some of life’s accomplishments that God has allowed for me to experience, they were never given to me. The work it took in order to achieve the end results of success will forever be implanted in my memory. Going through a process in order to accomplish anything in life creates lessons and an opportunity to learn what to do and what not to do. It fuels the teacher in us because there are now points of reference. You have the ability, because of the experience, to share with someone else and that to me is powerful and enlightening. The work of Faith is not easy and it has moments that feel like pure Hell and torture, but when we make the decision to keep going until the end, we have a different, profound love and deep admiration for the “VIEW”….

Then there’s Favor….So what exactly is favor?

It essentially is a gift from God. This ‘gift’ is not contingent upon anything that we say or do. It is God’s way of blessing us through His Grace. God gives us His grace to empower us to become like Christ.

God’s grace is His unmerited favor toward men through the blood of His Son. This unmerited favor includes not only being forgiven of sin but also receiving access to the very presence of God in the same way Jesus has access to Him. God will open doors of opportunity and create blessings for us with no ‘work’ on our part. As I mentioned earlier, He would allow us to take the ‘Elevator’ up to enjoy that view….no sweat, no climbing, no hills, no extra weight (or backpack), just a push of a button going UP….

We would LOVE for every thing we experience in life to be THAT easy, right? Of course! But if our gracious God had to go through trials and transgressions while on earth, he said, that we would also so we are not exempt from the ‘pain’ of life as we climb….but I’m grateful for the BALANCE that is created in me as a result of Faith & Favor!

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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Every Time We Speak, We Are Prophesying Our Future

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A scripture I hold very close to my heart is Proverbs 18:21 and it says,”The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”(NIV)….

So in other words, your life takes on the shape of what is spoken! Yes, being negative attracts negativity just as being positive attracts positivity. What will the fruit of your lips taste like? LIFE….or DEATH?

Years ago, I wrote this poem called,”Lips-based off of Proverbs 18:21″ which is on my poetry CD,”Wildflower Vol.1. Check out a snippet of the poem here and option to purchase! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chiccybaritone  —shameless plug::Ha! The  message in the poem is simply this…be careful what you SPEAK! If you feel like you live a defeated life and ‘everything bad always happens to me’ then check your conversation…Do you complain all the time? Have something negative to say all the time? Never look at a situation in a positive manner? Predict every outcome to be bad? Speak discouragement over every situation that is challenging? (….this list of negativity can go on and on, but I think you get the point) then your words and thoughts will begin to shape your life!

Going into 2016 and what this year will LOOK like for you will depend on what your ‘release’ out of your mouth. Your life will begin to take shape based on what you speak. So make a conscious decision to watch the words you speak…the conversations that you have…and believe by FAITH, that everything will work out! God said it would and I believe it! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I have enjoyed sharing my top 5 nuggets of 2015 with you. I pray these Blogs have been a blessing to you! Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

2016..today is page 1 of 365

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#5 (last blog for the New Year series)

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Give Back

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Give Back

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

Maya Angelou

“The only way you can serve God is by serving other people.”

Rick Warren

“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.”

Albert Einstein

“Happiness… consists in giving, and in serving others.”

Henry Drummond

“Identify your divine gift and use it to serve humanity.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

Trust me…I could have made this whole Blog post a list of quotes pertaining to Giving Back through acts of service because that is how important serving others is to me and hopefully you feel the same way.

This nugget #4 is one of those, “exceptions to the rules.” Which only means this is not only unique to something I made a priority in 2015 but this is something that has been a lifetime practice for me, starting in my home. My mom and dad are givers and being around it became a part of me. Every quote that I chose to illustrate ‘Giving Back’ are all special in unique ways.

Earlier this week, I posted this on Facebook & Twitter:

***Pet Peeve: Selfish People

It is outrageous to me for people to be selfish when nothing we do can be accomplished ALONE…ever…yep, I said it…think about that for a minute….

And now think about how impactful and powerful God could really use you if you used your gifts, talents and abilities with the goal of helping someone else!

That is what God would want. Here are a few bible verses about “Giving” that I want to share along with the quotes I mentioned earlier:

**Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “ 

**2 Cor. 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

**Prov. 18:16 “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” 

**Prov. 11:25 “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Being a ‘giver’ and creating a life of ‘service’ to others has been the most fulfilling part of my life. I take great joy in being a blessing not for acknowledgment or show, but because I am the child of the “Most High” God who gave the most sacrificing gift to us all…His son Jesus the Christ!

So, even if your parents never taught you what it means to ‘give to others’ you have one of the greatest examples in Jesus who gave unselfishly! I promise you, in some of my most hurtful, disappointing times in my life, I found ways to give of myself. It took my mind off of me and put it on someone else in need. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained….I challenge you all to do more “Giving Back in 2016!”

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#4

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Wake up…

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Wake Up…

But first let me explain what I mean when I say “Wake up”. There are many people who are ‘unresponsive’ to how they are feeling…really feeling, about the latest events in the world, more so in South Carolina, that has received national attention. This attention has also cause a lot of tension in our Country and a lot of people talking…and some, not talking, that I feel should speak up and speak out but they have chosen not to..why?

I don’t think that all public opinion is effective but there are some voices that are choosing to not respond to the latest tragedies in the United States..What I don’t want to sound like is a ‘broken record’ reiterating every incident and any details surrounding those incidents but for those who have said,”I’m just going to go back in my hole (figuratively) and wait until it all blows over or becomes a thing of yesterday,” I want to challenge you to speak UP because what’s on your mind may be that very perspective that someone struggling with the reality of every hate crime, massacre or racist issue need to hear. While I struggled initially with the back to back events (Charleston, SC Mother Emmanuel AME church massacre to 9 black people in the middle of bible study, The debate and protest over the Confederate Flag in Columbia, SC coming down and the U.S Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage) I took a ‘pause’ to pray and seek spiritual guidance from my Savior Jesus Christ because my ‘natural’ response will be the wrong response. Then I begin to have these conversations with my friends and family. My desire is that I represent God every time I open my mouth…Yes, it’s the ultimate challenge, but the power of the ‘pause’ helps me to direct my thoughts FIRST to what I should say that would represent my God and my faith. As a poet, I take it very seriously what words I choose to use because my desire first is to speak TRUTH and in LOVE…then to edify the spirit of the listener…and if creatively you are entertained, well that’s a bonus *smile*…but what I am troubled by is the ‘careful’ response to not  ‘offend’ because clearly, as long as you are living, there will be a time in your life where offense will come, but what’s important is stating your difference, in LOVE, and thinking about what is the standard of your LOVE.

Think about that statement for a minute. What does LOVE represent to you and how you view people? While hate and evil is an inevitable part of this world, and many people are responding because of their own fear to their ignorance, what would you want to say or do that will be the difference in the outcome of every situation I listed above? For me, I will write about it, talk about it and move in whatever direction God would have for me to move in order to bring awareness which is different for everyone. But being “unresponsive” is not acceptable…you know why?

Because there may be young people either in your home, your family or in your community that need to understand the history behind what is going on. They need to hear other perspectives outside of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. etc.) and TV. They need the voice of experience, maturity and honesty to penetrate what is or is not being said. And as much as we may not want to admit to it, one thing I know for sure when it comes to change…..

Communication will always be our life line to change!

“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

You have the power to change the mindset of anyone who is talking ‘destructively” or living a ‘destructive’ life simply by what you speak and the power of what you speak. It can go either way—but saying nothing…at all…should not be an option. So, here’s my alarm clock (blog) reminder to you to “Wake Up”

~Chiccy Baritone

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In dedication to Valentine’s Day 2015—One of a kind LOVE

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ONE of a kind

By Charlene Evans

Many have heard of the 4 different types of love based on the ancient Greek language and some have not. Well, If you have not, allow me to introduce you to the four kinds of love and a brief description (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love)

  • Agápe means “love” (unconditional love) in modern day Greek, such as in the term s’agapo, which means “I love you”. In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true love” rather than the attraction suggested by “eros“. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. Agape was appropriated by Christians for use to express the unconditional love of God. Before agape love there was no other word to express such great love.
  • Éros is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love;” however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage.
  • Philia means friendship or affectionate love in modern Greek. In ancient texts, philos denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
  • Storge means “affection” in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant.

We all, after reading the four types, can probably more than likely fit people in our lives in one of the categories or multiple. But the one category that I would like to focus on is Agape. In my opinion, it’s listed first because it is supreme! It requires you to look beyond the conditions that are hindering you to give love in the manner where it has no boundaries.  I have heard pastor’s preach about Agape love and reference this type of love that Jesus has for all of us but practicing this type of love is not impossible but challenging. Disappointments and offenses, unmet expectations and betrayal are only a few of the types of conditions that can cause you to fall out of love with someone. But what about the command that Jesus has placed on us,

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34) It doesn’t get any simpler than that, huh? I didn’t think so, but what I thought about is if we love HIM (Jesus) and He is asking us to do something, no matter how hard it may be, shouldn’t we just do it? Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

So, what God commands is not a debate but a requirement and when the love of the father is spiritually in us, we will do it because we LOVE Him. There is none like HIM on the earth…never have and never will be. And if we never had “Agape” love mirrored in front of us in our childhood or never taught what it meant to love anyone on that level, I have good news! You have an example in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He Loves US so much that he died for our sins and HIS desire is that no man should perish but have everlasting life! So, if we represent Jesus Christ and our God is LOVE (1John 4:8) we will strive to love like HIM and represent exactly what we are as an example of the love HE has shown…. “One of a KIND”.

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Being Mary Jane…An Ode to My Young Ladies…

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For informational purposes, “Being Mary Jane” is an American drama television series created by Mara Brock Akil and starring Gabrielle Union, that debuted January 7, 2014, on BET. The story is about a young, black, professional woman with a career as a tv anchor, a lavish lifestyle, single and has a ‘worldwind’ affair with a married man. The series takes you through her emotional rollercoaster ride with her personal life, her family and her job showing the extent that a woman would go without considering the consequences of her very careless decisions and desperate heart to have the fairytale ‘every after’.

I watched the series from the time they aired it to the season finale…

For me, it was ‘entertainment’ and not to be taken literally. I personally can not say that I have dated or even had an affair with a married man but it happens and tv has made this “acceptable” clouding the perception of what it does to a woman’s well-being and moral.

Some will easily say,”Well, why do you watch it if appears as if it portrays this young, professional black woman so degrading?”

For some Christians, like myself, watching a show that does not reflect my Christian beliefs does not persuade me to feel as if what she is doing is OKAY but it does help me to address it with young girls. Some of them don’t see it as ‘entertainment’ because it has been there reality through the lives of other adults in and out of their homes. As an artist, whose desire is to “SpeakLIFE” through poetry, real life situations are my breeding grounds for creating a piece of work that will offer other options that honor who God created you to be as a woman. God desires for us to carry ourselves with respect for our bodies. And mentally, its important to THINK about the choices you make before your hormones respond!

The negative influence of t.v in reference to music videos and reality shows on our young ladies has increased to an all time high in the 20th Century. There are no filters to the nonsense and the disrespect that women have allowed in their lives. I still believe in the values of our young ladies beginning in the HOME and then the parents making sure that their children, girls and boys, have positive influences that reflect their morals and values. Nice suggestion, but I do understand that this is not the case with every young lady. Some come from broken homes where there is not a mother there or a female that can be that role model.

So what do you do?

This is a matter of OUTREACH for every Woman to grab a couple of young girls and start the conversations. SHOW them the options of life that they may not have been exposed to them through a parent or love one. Not because they didn’t desire to show them, but because they probably didn’t KNOW…and its true…it takes a VILLAGE to raise children…always have and always will…

So as I close, I wanted to share not what I would necessarily consider a “poem” but more so some words of encouragement to our young ladies..a verse of some thoughts…Poetically…

Be YOU….
not Mary Jane
Living life with no roadblocks and letting your
biological clock tell time is
Disastrous
and
Deceptive
Not even contraceptives can prevent
the dis-EASE
of your insecurities
Young girl
God gave you the WORLD
but you won’t take it
because someone told you
with all of the evil and hate
you wouldn’t make it
but you are HERE
so open your ear to HEAR
the direction of your spiritual connection
because you are a QUEEN
belonging to the most high GOD
He is KING
young girl…
I ODE to you…As a your fellow QUEEN,
I am assigned to do
everything I can to pour back into you
We have work to do
ending these words but never my love for you

xoxo Chiccy Baritone
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Keep Treading!

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Definition of Treading water:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Water treading is an aspect of swimming that involves a swimmer staying in a vertical position in the water while keeping his or her head above the surface of the water. Treading water provides the swimmer an opportunity to keep the head from becoming submerged while not providing sufficient directional thrust to overcome inertia and propel the swimmer in any specific direction.

I started off with the definition of “Treading” water for a reason. I didn’t know how to at first and was a little scared of the possibility of not being able to come back up if I found myself going under water. I practiced this exercise with my boyfriend who is an experienced swimmer and while listening to him give me instructions on what to do, I was holding on to the edge of the pool. When it was time to tread water, I only did it close to the edge because if I found myself going under and not able to pull myself up, I could always reach for the edge to help me.

He took notice and said, ”Charlene, you need to get away from the edge and tread because if there is no edge around, you need to have faith in knowing you have the technique down in order to keep yourself up.” So I inched away from the edge and said out loud,”Charlene you can do this! Don’t be afraid.” My boyfriend, watching and listening as I spoke out loud my faith said,” I got you…I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Here goes nothing….I moved towards the center of the pool….breathe in slowly to relax myself and most importantly “think” about what I needed to do…

So…I was treading and as my boyfriend watched intensely, I felt my faith build and build! Wow! I am treading water!!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!

This was a HUGE accomplishment for me because I am not “best friends” with swimming let along treading water but I felt great and excited. Then, God spoke to my spirit:

“You are holding on to what’s familiar. I have called you OUT but you only come out far enough so that you can be able to go back to the edge if you need to; afraid to drown in a land that is unknown to you. But, I told you before; I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will not let you drown in this next season of your life.”

I immediate begin to tear up with joy because I trust the voice of God and His instructions. This process that God is not only taking me through but taking you through (yes the one reading this!) will feel like you are about to drown or go under because you have not experienced this place in your life before. You don’t have a voice in your life that has done it quite the way that God is giving it to you to do so you don’t feel like you will live through it but you will…

Just “Keep Treading”

Don’t stop moving…I know you feel tired…you don’t feel like you have support…everyone you have shared your vision with has made you feel like it is not possible but it is! God has a PLAN for your life! Jeremiah 29:11 says,”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Your instructor (God) is holding you up Just “Keep Treading”……YES!

XOXO God Bless!

Chiccy

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