Have you ever looked back on your life and thought to yourself, “Wow! How did I survive all that?” Most of us have a story to tell reflecting God’s love and mercy and so did Joseph.
Joseph’s hardship started the moment he was sold into slavery by his envious brothers. After being sold to the slave traders, he was sold again to one of Pharaoh’s officials – Potiphar. From being sold twice to being thrown into jail for false accusations for 12 years, things weren’t looking too bright for the kid. However, even so, “…the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison“ (Genesis 39:21). Long story short, a few years later the tables have turned. Joseph ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh. When the brothers became aware of the situation, they feared he was going to seek revenge. But he didn’t. Instead he let them know: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20).
When you read through each scenario of Joseph’s life, you see how God was forming him and preparing him for his purpose, to save thousands of people in Egypt and in the surrounding regions.
Having said this, every single scenario in our lives has also been played for a reason. This past year has been a year of so many questions. “Why God? When God? How God?” I couldn’t understand the way God was moving in my life. Nothing was making any sense. It felt as if someone pressed the pause button on my entire career and personal life. I wasn’t getting the job I wanted and and other areas of my life were nonexistent. But God! Won’t He do it? Oh yes He will!
After job hunting for over a year, God opened that door with that job opportunity for me. And right at that moment, each past humiliation; hurt; rejection, made perfect sense. God was preparing me to walk through that door. Have I not been prepared, my old way of thinking and my old way of perceiving things wouldn’t have allowed me to operate accurately.
THROUGH EVERY SET BACK
Remember that in every setback God moves us closer towards our purpose if we allow Him to. No matter how irrational and unfair your situation may be, trust that God is always in the midst of it and means it for good. He is moving mountains we don’t see.
Are you allowing yourself to grow through what you’re going through? Are you ready to walk through that door?
“If not now then when? If not me then who?” – Malcom X
Is time speeding up or is it just me? Who else thinks that 2017 flew by extremely fast? I am still a bit astonished of how fast it went. As last year was coming to an end, I looked back at how it went and to be really honest it wasn’t that productive. Procrastination and fear played a big part of 2017. Fear of stepping out of my comfort zone; fear of failing; fear of the critics of family and friends; and fear of not being good enough. You see, fear paralyzes you if you allow it to. It makes you unable to move and act. It robs your peace of mind by telling you you’re not good enough.
You have to reach that point where you look fear straight in the eye and kick it right in the gut. As believers we know that: “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Take control of your thoughts — you have the power to do so; step out of your comfort zone. Believe that you can conquer every fear and shut out every doubt.
There are many women that have done this at some point in their lives. Three of which I admire greatly after reading their story. Each of the following women chose to rise above fear and doubt: 1. Queen Esther of Persia. Esther rose above the fear of failing. By doing this she became the one who saved Israel from an ethnic cleansing in 473 B.C. 2. Rosa Parks – “first lady of civil rights”. Mrs. Parks rose above the fear of what others might think of her. She became the first woman and third non-US government official to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. 3. Oprah Winfrey — one of the most influential women in the world. I admire Oprah, she rose above many fears and became the richest African-American; North America’s first multi-billionaire black person; and first [black] woman to own her own talk show, which is the highest rated television show of its kind in history.
Now the question is how do we get there? How can we rise above fear? The answer is very simple, by putting an end to all the lies in our head. By telling ourselves that we are more than capable of anything.
Ladies, the time is now. “If not now then when? If not you then who?” The world needs you; the world needs us. There are things that God has called you to do that need to be done now. Be that courageous, ambitious and encouraging woman, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, wife and friend that this world needs you to be. Tomorrow is too late. Yesterday is over, the time is now!
D. Arelis XO
I just can’t say this enough, I love the story of queen Esther. Esther was chosen by God to save the Israelites from an ethnic cleansing in 437 B.C. She was a brave woman. There was nothing that was going to stop her from standing against the edict of the king — not even the possibility of her losing her life. She entered in with that attitude of “…and if I perish, I perish” — completely confident and trusting that God was going before her.
As women in today’s society, it can be intimidating to step into the world and do what God created us to do. Being a woman is not the easiest. The thought of knowing that there are others that are more experienced than we are or perhaps can do things better than us can be frightening and needs to change. You see, Esther did not come from a royal family nor was she “equipped” to have the title of a queen. But when God has chosen you for a specific task, no living being on the face of this earth can stand against that. I can’t imagine how intimidating that role would have been for her. However, one thing I do know for sure is that she quickly understood that when God has a purpose for your life, He will give you all that you need in order to fulfill that purpose.
Therefore, just as God was with Esther every step of the way, so will He also be with you and fully equip you to do what He has appointing you to do. Be strong and courageous; you were made for such a time as this!
D. Arelis XO
“All of my life, in every season you are still God. I have a reason to sing; I have a reason to worship”, is what I was singing yesterday. This song brought me all the way back to four years ago when I was going through the hardest time of my life – I laid there on my apartment floor crying out to God as this song ministered to my heart. It was my prayer in the desert, all that was within me did indeed feel dry. But even though I felt hopeless, deep down I knew that my God would provide, and guess what? He did! He provided me with peace and strength to get back up.
Now listening to it again after a long time, it amazes me how these powerful lyrics still minister to my heart. This time it made me look at my life now and the season I’m in right now, and I can honestly say today that, “He is still God. I sure have a reason to sing and a reason to worship.” When I look back I say to myself “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Hmmm He is good indeeddd 🙂
D. Arelis XO
Through the years I’ve learned that with change comes new challenges – new opportunities. I personally love trying out new things. For example, several months ago I was wrestling with the thought of becoming a vegetarian. Yes, I wanted to cut out meat completely from my diet. However, at the same time I hesitated to do so because to be honest, I thought to myself “what if I won’t be able to commit to my decision? Am I going to miss eating all this food that I know will not do my body any good?” So at the time, I decided to set my awesome plan on hold. I couldn’t step into something life-changing with a doubtful mind.
A few months later, December 2013 to be exact, I made up my mind. I started to inform myself on healthy eating by reading articles on nutrition and health. Now as I was gathering information and marinating my thoughts on what ended up being my final decision, I realized that this choice was a personal one, a choice that only I could make and that it was going to be one that will benefit no one else but me. I did not decide to change because someone else talked me into doing so. If that were the case, I would probably have given up in the process because it wouldn’t have been my personal conviction.
In relation to all this, God used this “changing experience” to show me how our spiritual lives can somewhat relate. As believers, often times people will tell us how we should live our lives, what we should do or not do. One thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that if you’ve not received that personal conviction in your heart, you will have a hard time changing your patterns – whatever it may be. Don’t do something because someone else is telling you to do so; do it because you want to and you know that it is good.
“Changing can be like climbing a mountain; to reach the top it is hard work…”, of course this can be applicable to all parts of our lives, especially our spiritual lives. The moment you decide to give your life to Christ, you have to change your worldly patterns, which can be a challenge. However, “…once you’re there you will see things you’ve never seen before”, you can be certain that once you’re walking in the perfect and acceptable will of God, you will begin to experience Him on a whole other level.
D. Arelis XO