Lost and Found by Sarah Jakes

I have to write about this book! When it first came out in 2014 I got the book for a Mother’s day gift from my sister. ( I was actually hounding her to get the book for me, and my husband at the time is the one that actually exposed me to her, he was the one that exposed me to a lot of the pastors that I listen to, or the church that we went to, it was him that made the initial step for us to listen to Creflo Dollar, or John Hagee (one of his favorites), Joyce Meyer, and T.D. Jakes. Since his mom was a Christian he had grown up all of his life hearing the word, and being exposed to different ministries including television ones. So when I  started believing, it took a while for me to start going to church and when I did go to church it was off and on, but we would always make it a point to watch television ministries.

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I just give this little background because I find that it is so funny (ironic) how my ex-husband is the one that suggested I get the book and how it is a direct reflection on our tarnished relationship.

I read the book when it came out and could not put it down! I even had another one of my friends read it, and although she could relate to the book, she was not the least bit interested. I got so much from it then, but the funny thing about it is that when you are in a different space in your life, it’s crazy how you could read the same material that you have read before and it have a different meaning to you. When I first read it, I was married, but now that I have read it again, I FEEL LIKE DURING THE WHOLE BOOK SHE WAS TALKING TO ME.

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Let me tell you about the book. Sarah is talking about her journey, how she gave birth to a baby boy at the tender age of 14 (and being the daughter of a well known pastor T.D. Jakes) this was not something that was very favorable (well not that teenage pregnancy is, but just adding that ingredient to it ( I could imagine how terribly difficult that must have been). But that is not where her story ends. She talks about how she tried to overcome disappointment and shame by overachieving in certain aspects of her life, and by trying to build a foundation of forgiveness through her own strength.

Doing this (or thinking that she can) caused her to fall into relationships and do things that by her own words “put herself on sale”. In her relationship with her ex-husband she was exposed to disrespect and infidelity, and although from the very beginning of the relationship there were red flags all over, she chose to be in a relationship with someone that did not value her, because she did not value herself. But it’s funny because she had to go through all that she went through to become the woman that GOD had been calling her to be all this time. If she would not have went through what she went through she would not have had a story (testimony) to share.

While I was reading her story I could not help but to have flashbacks of my own. It may have not been the exact same story, but all in all I too know what it is like to “put yourself on discount”. I myself did not know what my true worth was and allowed someone to bring out the worst in me, while trying to change him. I have come to embrace my scars, my journey, and the road that GOD has allowed me to take so that I can become the person/woman HE is needing me to become. Although it may not be the fairytale life that we so imagine when we are little girls, until we learn that GOD loves us for who we are (mistakes and all), we will never really truly know how to love and how to receive that love.

Sarah Jakes (Roberts) is now in a healthy marriage, and although I don’t know her personally, I can definitely see how her story connects and how GOD was working it out all along.

You see once we give our lives over to HIM, HE has no choice but to bless it, because you are walking in HIS WILL. He puts the desires in your heart (and we all know that life is NOT easy…far from it), but with GOD in your life you cannot help but to have hope and peace.

I encourage you, if you are a woman (young and/or seasoned), and you are feeling like the decisions that you have made in your life regarding relationships have disqualified you from having a voice or standards, then that is a LIE!

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GOD has a plan for you and I encourage you to seek HIS guidance and plan for it!

Well that is it for now. Remember “Never get to comfortable, always keep GOD first”

Sincerely,

Keisha

My personal book club

Soooo…if you know me, you know that I am a self-proclaimed nerd! (well not really, I was given this title since I was younger, but I am just now grabbing a hold of it, and embracing it). But as I am getting older it has been increasingly hard to read, I went from reading a book every couple of days to trying to finish the same book within a few months, to not reading at all.

But I have been on a mission to get back to my first love! READING!!!!

That’s me, that’s me!! (Well I hope anyway). On my quest to get back into my first love, I have made a vow with myself to read a book every month. January didn’t go so well…it’s all good, I can start in February, I thought. I wanted to get some new books, but they were not in my budget, so I just started to re-read some of my old books ( I want to build my library back up). But I will make a list of the books that I have read so far, and give a little review (when I mean small review I mean SMALL, I am not a book review person… (in other posts)

And I will make a list of the books that I plan on reading (buying) or even re-reading again.

Here is my list of books that I currently have in my growing library:

Reposition yourself- TD Jakes

The Wait -DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good

Lost and Found- Sarah Jakes

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man- Steve Harvey

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success- Steve Harvey

Cover Girls- T.D. Jakes

Dusty Crowns- Heather Lindsey

I Need a Day to Pray- Tina Campbell

Suddenly Single Mom- Jeanette Hanscome

These books have been a blessing to me. I encourage you to go out and get a title or 2, and let me know what you think.

Remember “Never get too comfortable always put GOD first”

Sincerely,

Keisha

 

His and Hers Views Panel

 

I was recently invited to be on a panel for a church event that was focused on relationships between Christian men and women (i.e dating, courting, so forth). It was me (a recently divorced mom, 3 single males (pastors, one of them a single father), and a married couple. So we got to have a variety of perspectives in the room. It was soooooo good!!!

The questions were pertaining to dating, and how Christians should date, what are some red flags in a courtship and the main discussion was practicing and remaining celibate until marriage.

Now when I was invited to do this, I was completely honored. (Especially because of my cause). It is my mission to motivate young girls (and women) to take care of themselves so that they can have a positive self-esteem, and learn their worth through Jesus Christ. *If you do not know my story I wrote about it in my blog post called  “Ready to Forgive?” (I wont go into my story), but I will say that I was in an unhealthy relationship for years, and on top of that I did NOT put GOD FIRST, and it caused great heartbreak and confusion! When you allow people in your life that does not have the same focus as you, it can cause detrimental effects in your life. I believe in the quote “you are who you hang with”. Eventually something is going to have to give, either you get tired of being strong for both of you, or you lower your standards in order to try and be equally yoked with that person. Either way you are  not being true to yourself, and therefore it can cause you to live a life of mediocracy.

Anyway so I was honored to be able to have the opportunity to share my story and help someone! Anyone! so that they are not blinded by dissilloutions, in having and maintaining standards for themselves. And number 1 is to seek GODS GUIDANCE. Once you have the wisdom to know that it is HIM that you should be seeking in order for Him to guide your life, you will start making wiser choices in relationships.

I cannot sit here and quote everything that was said during this event. But I would like to you know that it was very interesting.

I wrote the questions that were asked, and how I did/would have answered them.

Hope you enjoy!!!

 

His and Hers Views Questions and Answers and Introduction:

Hello my name is Keisha and I am a recently divorced single mom of 3 beautiful kids. I participated in an unhealthy relationship for a total of about 15 yrs. Even though there were RED FLAGS from the beginning, as the relationship started with no foundation, and continued with no foundation, and DEFINITELY WITHOUT GOD IN THE FOREFRONT! And that was exactly the problem.

I tried and tried everything in my power to try and make our relationship work, but I finally had ENOUGH! It was during this time in my life (I was so broken and confused that I felt like I was backed up against a wall). This is when I made the choice to seek GOD!

*ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN A BELIEVER FOR 15 YRS. (AS IT WAS MY EX HUSBANDS MOM WHO PLANTED THE SEED OF THE WORD TO ME), I KNEW ABOUT GOD, KNEW THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS FOR MY SINS, BUT I DID NOT HAVE AN ACTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. He took me to a verse that literally saved my life (HEBREWS 12:1) “THEREFORE SINCE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY SUCH A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES, LET US THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS AND THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES. AND LET US RUN WITH PERSERVERANCE THE RACE MARKED OUT FOR US FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS THE PIONEER AND PERFECTER OF FAITH”

I heard HIM!!! I heard HIM talking to me, and HE was telling me that HE has a purpose for my life, and that in order for the purpose to be filled I needed to do some cleaning up! I believe that Jesus SAVED MY LIFE, HE has given me another opportunity to live the abundant life that HE has set out for me.

There is another piece to the story, not only did HE want me out of that relationship but HE wanted me to share my testimony so that I could encourage other women to value themselves so that they don’t settle for anyone.

It was very difficult at first. As no one wants to talk about their divorce, and re-live the pain that goes with that, but as I spend time with the Lord, HE has given me courage and speaks to me about what HE is needing me to do. *You see when you are spending time with HIM and diligently seeking HIM, HIS voice becomes clear and you start to gain wisdom and understanding under HIS WILL.

So as I was felt embarrassed to tell my story, Jesus brought me to Philippians 1:20

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ASHMED but I will still have sufficient courage, so that now as always Christ will be exhaulted in my body”.

HE SAID IT LOUD AND CLEAR! SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY

(HE has also put it in my heart to start a blog, and start writing and reading again…as this is something that I used to do, but because life happens I stopped), He is walking me through starting an organization that HE told me to name ABUNDANTLY AUTHENTIC and this is geared towards mom and daughters to educate, empower, and practice having a positive self-esteem.

 

I know that I am divorced and have 3 kids, so I am not the ideal representative for a celibate person, (or some people might be like “what does she need to be celibate for, she already been there done that), but celibacy is more than just abstaining from sex, if I could sum it up in 1 phrase it would be “Investing in yourself”

  • Has practicing abstinence and celibacy been a result due to enduring unhealthy relationships?

A: Yes it has been. Although I have only been divorced for a few months, but separated for almost 1 year, I am and will be forever grateful that GOD has chosen to give me another chance at life! I believe that HE did not get me out of an unhealthy relationship to jump into another one. When I think about the heartache and the detrimental effects of the relationship that I was in, the main thing is that GOD was not involved, and I don’t want any part of relationship that HE IS NOT THE FOREFRONT IN! IT’S TOO DANGEROUS

 Have your relationships been more of a cautionary tale, in regards to abstinence, that let led you to practice it? If so, explain?

  • A: I have not been in a relationship since my divorce, so I cannot fully answer this question.

What are some of the benefits to waiting while you date? What are some of the consequences?

  • A: I would say that there are A LOT of benefits. You can use this time to (as I stated earlier) to “Invest in yourself”, the number 1 way that you can do this is by developing your relationship with GOD.
  • Spend time with HIM
  • Get to know Him
  • Read HIS word
  • Worship Him

He will reveal what HE is needing from you, what His plans is for your life, He will guide you, He will protect you. You need to diligently seek HIM, put HIM first, ask His opinion on EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE!

He will start to give you discernment. And will start to let you see your life in a whole new set of lenses, (HIS LENSES), you will start to want to do things that you never wanted to do before (for me it was hiking and camping). He will put things on your heart that will get you out of your comfort zone. He will take out and place people in your life that will expose you to new things. If you really pay attention He will close doors even before they have had the opportunity of really open up. Before you even start to think about (speaking to that old boyfriend “oh it won’t hurt just to say hi”, “oh let me just look on his facebook page”) We need to pay attention to these things because it could plant seeds… looking on that page might bring back old feelings and reminiscing, saying hi, can spark a conversation and might open up doors to invite him to start calling again and the more you guys talk the more those feelings come back, and next thing you know you are in the same situation.

  • It allows you to stay FOCUSED. GOD has a master plan and a lot of times we get in our own way. Staying focused with our goals and what we are trying to obtain will make it a lot easier to follow through with practicing being celibate.
  • Once you start spending time with HIM and start walking in your purpose for your life, you become a whole different person, you will start to see things differently, and value yourself enough to have standards.

What are some things the opposite sex does (that you wish they’d stop doing) that hinders your ability to exercise celibacy?

A: This is one that I cannot fully answer also. I do not have enough experience yet to give my full opinion.

If you were on a date with a Christian and they said , “I believe intimacy helps to connect with the other person and see if they are the one for me”, what would you do/say? And what does that say about them?

A: If I was on a date with a Christian and they told me this, I would let them know that I do not agree with that statement. I would reinforce (what we probably already talked about), and I would probably inform them on other way that they could get “intimate” without being physical. So that the next person that they get involved with, maybe they will have more ideas on how to respect other people’s space.

Do you believe there is a healthy way of intimacy? If so, how?

A: Yes, I do believe that there is a healthy way of intimacy, I believe that

  • Caring for a person’s well being, by staying consistent in their lives and their day to day
  • Honoring that person’s boundaries (celibacy, so forth)
  • Investing in that person (doing things that they like)
  • Being creative in the time that you are spending with that person
  • (take a dancing, or cooking class together; go to church together, pick a night to have game night with family or friends, go horseback riding, volunteer together…)

Should Christians date? Is it necessary and why? Do you believe we’re going at it the wrong way? If so describe ways to go about it the right way?

A: I think that it is ok to date. There have to be boundaries that NEEDS to be set. And dating the “worldly way” (meaning going out to dinner and movies “netflix and chilling”, 3 month rule and so forth) that is NOT THE WAY THAT WE SHOULD APPROACH DATING.

  • First of all with EVERYTHING THAT WE DO WE NEED TO PUT HIM FIRST, IT SAYS IN THE BIBLE “SEEK ME FIRST IN ALL THINGS”
  • We need to date with a purpose, (please do not waste your time or that other person’s time)
  • Have standards and stick with them
  • Don’t make excuses for people, PAY ATTENTION ( if that person goes shopping excessively and talking about being broke, then it won’t change unless THEY work on it and/ or you won’t change that person) (pay attention to that person’s attitude toward life, be friends first, give yourself time to get to know that person!

I am sure that everyone has their own views on how they feel like they should date, but I am answering these questions as a woman of GOD. I encourage you to take a look a on all of the questions and ponder on them. If you are a single person and are dating, (or not actively dating), you should really see what you want, so that when it is time to set those boundaries you will already have prepared and know what you want!

Alrighty!! That is all for tonight. I pray that you are inspired by this post.

Always remember “Never get too comfortable, always put GOD first”

Sincerely,

Keisha

 

 

 

 

What tithing has taught me

As a woman of GOD there are many things that I am learning, and I am in the constant growth and always going to be a work in progress. As I am walking into my purpose in life and as I am allowing GOD to guide me to what HE is wanting me to be and things that He is wanting me to progress towards. One thing that the Lord got on me about IMMEDIATELY was my financial status. One of my goals was to get out of debt, and to take control of my life, one way that He wants me to do that is to CLEAN UP MY LIFE! HE WANTS ME TO PRACTICE DISCIPLINE. The Lord has put so many things on my heart and in my path so that I am able to live for him. But one of the ways that He is allowing me to do this is by tithing. HE has put it on my heart to give back to Him. It has been something that has been on my heart since I have turned my life over to HIM, but of course I did not get the full scope of what and why He needed me to do this (and I felt like He knew my financial situation, so why would He be asking me to do this, if He knows that I cannot afford it). But I got tired of working my butt off, and not seeing the fruit of my labor. I got tired of getting paid and instead of being excited about it, dreading it and being anxious. I got tired of letting money rule over my emotions and allowing it to control me.

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So one day I finally got the courage and took a stand in order to STOP the insanity. I did some research and started praying and asking GOD for HIS guidance on this. Here is what HE lead me to, and told me: I was reading the story of Joseph and if you do not know the story starts in Genisis 37:1. And in the story Joseph’s life starts off very hard, he is sold into slavery by his brothers, he is put into jail for something that he did not do; but because of his gift of interpreting dreams he is given the opportunity to work for the king. During his time of working for the king (he was put 2nd in charge, and given the reign to make all of the decisions in the land), Joseph has the knowledge that the land is going to have full abundance for 7yrs, but soon after the that they will have 7yrs of famine. So in order for them to be ok, they should prepare by saving while they are in abundance so that when the famine does happen then they will not be affected greatly.

*I took this to believe that GOD was telling me that I need to prepare. We should NOT be living on lack or lack of preparation. Even though things might seem like they are ok now… we will all have hard times at some point in our lives, but if we prepare for these time to come, it will be ALOT more easier on us.

The next verse that he brought me to is the famous Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this “says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe”.

*This is one of the most obvious and popular verses out there, but when you really take a look at HE is telling us, it says TO TEST HIM. Now we all know we are not supposed to be testing GOD. But I take it as Him encouraging us to trust Him on this! That if we obey His word and give HIM the first fruits of our income that HE will do HIS do diligence to make sure that we are blessed beyond our own abilities.

Along with these scriptures and doing my very own research and having to take the faith and the courage to be able take control of my finances, I believe that WE GET TO THITHE. God has blessed me with a steady employment to be able to give back to HIM. Think about it, yes I may have been worried about how I am going to pay my bills and not so excited on paydays, but I would have been much more anxious and depressed if I didn’t have a job. He has blessed me to be order to be able to take care of my family and my needs.

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Listen, there are a lot of people out there that would love to be in the situation that I am in. Yes it could be a lot better, but it could be a lot worse also.

There is also something I would like you to understand, GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR MONEY. It’s not about that. GOD wants us to Put HIM FIRST. And He is not a magician, meaning that just because you tithe a few times doesn’t mean that you are going to get rich. That is not the purpose. The purpose is for you to keep HIM first and to trust HIM in ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE.

These are the things that I have learned from tithing:

I have learned to be more disciplined in my finances and other areas of my life.

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It takes a lot to make sure that when you get paid you give 10% of your income to the church and/or charity of your choice. Let me tell you what happens mentally (one of the main things that you think about, is ALL the things that you could be doing with the money that you are “giving away”). You start to think about who you’re giving the money to, you make excuses and start thinking “well I don’t trust them, or I don’t know what they are going to do with the money”(well friends let me tell you something, it’s not your issue to worry about). As long as you know that you gave from your heart, and did your part, then GOD will take care of it after that.

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So now I prepare myself. As soon as I get paid, that is the first things that I do. I do it on-line or I take it out of my account immediately so that I do not get tempted or accidently spend my tithing money. That takes discipline.

Another thing that I have learned is not be so uptight about money. I would have been counting every dollar and stressed out over every penny before I started tithing, but now I make it a habit to give away a little bit of money when I get a chance. Even if it’s only $5.00.

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Sounds crazy huh? But it’s true, we have to make the conscious decision to do things purposefully, and when you make it your business to be a blessing to others it kinda becomes natural, (practice makes perfect).

Tithing has allowed me to take control of my finances. I finally decided to go on a budget and STICK WITH IT.

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I chose a close friend of mine to hold me accountable, she helped me work on my budget, and even though I was in the negative we made plans to get out of the negative. I got to hear someone else’s perspective, give me advise, ideas, and let me see things through the eyes of someone else.

I can confidently say that since I have made the decision to tithe and have committed to it, I have seen nothing but increase in my life, and I am not just talking about financial increase, but increase in other areas of my life!

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GOD IS GOOD!!!

Take a second to take an inventory of your financial life. And I encourage you to give tithing a chance. But if you do decide to do it, it has to be totally for the Lord. You cannot go into this selfishly, and you cannot expect anything. Check your heart and your motives first, and PRAY ABOUT IT, and see how GOD is going to allow you to accomplish HIS will for your life.  Just do what you gotta do, and let GOD do the rest.

Well I hope and pray that you were blessed my this post. Always remember “Never get too comfortable always keep GOD first”

Sincerely,

Keisha