The Importance of Knowing What Season You’re In

13957414_1021119508006291_550689597_nWhile in college my life was extremely busy. My schedule was packed. At one point I was working two jobs and taking 19 credit hours of class. For those of you who don’t know, that is the maximum amount of hours a college student can take. Not to mention, all the time I spent in a practice room practicing instruments or singing and doing homework. I had every hour of my day on a strict schedule and if I didn’t stick with it, I wouldn’t get homework done, or I would miss meals, or I wouldn’t get enough sleep, or I wouldn’t get to see my friends on the weekends, or I wouldn’t get to spend time with God. That amount of work was needed for that season. I had to buckle down and finish my degree. That was a season of hard work and a full schedule.

On the day of graduation, however, my season of life immediately changed. I didn’t need to work so hard anymore because I had accomplished my goal. I got my degree. It was such a strange feeling. I always felt like I should be doing something. I tried to fill my schedule with unnecessary work that I felt I should be doing. My plans to basically work myself to death always fell through because I didn’t recognize what season I was in, and God simply wouldn’t allow it. I was in a season of rest. A season where God wanted to take care of all my needs and not have me work for it. Not once did I take a moment to ask God what season I was in. It would’ve saved me a lot of trouble. I would get frustrated and stressed out when God wouldn’t allow me to work for all the things I wanted. In my logical mind it didn’t make sense how my needs would be taken care of. I was used to working hard and it’s very much in my personality to work hard and get things done and accomplish goals. No matter how hard I tried, my plans just did not match up with God’s plans. I planned to work myself to death with a schedule full of never ending tasks, while God planned for me to rest and not lift a finger because I had just come out of a season of busyness.

You see, when you don’t recognize what season you’re in, you will make plans and get upset, frustrated, discouraged, and even think that God isn’t answering your prayers because you’re trying to force your plan and idea of what season you should be in on your life when that was never something God had for you. Instead of getting angry and trying to conquer the world in one day and complaining, asking God “Why aren’t you on my side?!” Try asking Holy Spirit what season you’re in. Ask God what his plans for your life are. His ways and his plans for our lives are so much higher than our own. It’s quite possible that his plans and ways for your life are different than yours. Struggle comes when we don’t surrender.

We can make our plans,
    but the Lord determines our steps.  Proverbs 16:9

Each season has a purpose that will prepare you for the next. Currently, I’m still in a season of rest. I’m learning here and now that there will always be an opportunity to work hard and have a busy full schedule, but a moment of peace and rest is few and far between and must be fought for. Rest is so important that when the Lord created the earth, he took a whole day to rest and look back at what he had built.

There will be a time for everything. Take time to learn what season God has you in and enjoy it. Be present in the moment and stop worrying about tomorrow. God loves you and his plans are never to disappoint you, but to give you a better, brighter tomorrow.

 

xoxo,

Ndi

A Season of Transition & Shut Doors

13835624_1012948908823351_2125631985_oCurrently, in my life I am in the midst of a season of transition. Most times during a season of transition, it is also a season of venturing out into the unknown and trusting God in new territory. It seems like the only way to find out if something is the right fit is to try it and open the door. Hardly ever do we receive a clear play-by-play plan from Holy Spirit of how the future will play out. In the last week or so I felt myself getting frustrated and feeling disappointed because it seemed just about every door that I thought would be a great opportunity for me was being shut in my face. I thought behind these doors would be solutions to my problems and the answers to my prayers…but they WEREN’T. Sitting in my townhouse alone, I brought it up to the Lord. I was frustrated and upset, but most of all I didn’t understand what he was doing in that moment.

In the most gentle way, Holy Spirit showed me a picture of me walking into new territory on a pathway. On this pathway there were question marks on doors that were lined on each side of the pathway. As I opened door after door, I was met with nothing behind each one. In this vision I saw my frustration. Holy Spirit went on to tell me that in seasons of transition there were will always be uncertainty and an element of mystery because he doesn’t reveal all the details of his plan. We shouldn’t be disappointed though when we open a door and it doesn’t work out because it just means it wasn’t a part of God’s plan. This is new territory, so not everything is going to go the way we planned from the beginning. It will always be better though.

The next day after this heart-to-heart with the Lord my sister Ido was napping in her car during a lunch break. She heard knocking as if there were a door in the car and an audible voice saying, “Keep knocking and the door will be opened.” I think we can all agree the audible voice of the Lord is enough to confirm all Holy Spirit spoke to me about.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11

Behind the next door could be our answer. We have to keep knocking and not get caught in the discouragement of not having our original plan work out. It just means God’s plan is so much better, so we have to dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. Be persistent in prayer. Be persistent in standing in faith. Most of all be persistent in surrendering to God, knowing his plan is the best plan.

We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Getting up After You’ve Been Knocked Down

tear
Right now I'm sitting in my living room, looking at the time. There are only a few hours left in 2014. As I reflect back on this year I remember facing a lot of heartache. Actually, if I'm being honest the Lord allowed me to go through a series of events this summer that left my heart in shreds. It wasn't anything that I did wrong or could prevent from happening, it just happened. It was as if a fire came through my life and relentlessly destroyed just about everything. I want to be completely transparent and vulnerable because I know this will help someone. After my summer was all over with, I didn't want to get up out of the ashes. I didn't FEEL like doing anything. I didn't let the Lord in to heal me and help me to move on. Instead I surrounded myself with people and let the busy-ness of life take over. I just threw a rug over my shredded heart in hopes it would get better.

It was only until a couple of days ago that I sat at my Granny's house in total peace and quiet with no internet, no people, that the Lord was able to speak to me again. He said "Let it go and give it to me." I wanted to say, "Lord I'm not hurt. I'm fine." but the tears proved otherwise. Finally, in the quietness of my Granny's house, the Holy Spirit was able to speak to me. "Can we address this together?"

In October I attended a Christian conference where the Holy Spirit gave me a revelation. He showed me a picture of myself flattened out on the ground like a pancake under a 2 ton weight. It was very cartoonish. The Lord removed the weight but I was still squished on the ground. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that Jesus was the same way after he died. He was crushed by life. The weight of the world's sin was on him. Friends betrayed him. Strangers had it out for him. His heart was probably in shreds too. He probably felt like he couldn't back up from this. "How in the world will I be able to resurrect?" is something he might have thought. That's when the Holy Spirit showed me a vision of heaven. There was a huge race going on like as if someone was running a marathon. People were crowding around each side. All of heaven was cheering on Jesus saying "You can do it!! Get up, Jesus! Get up!" The Champion of Heaven was able to rise again and conquer death after everyone thought that he was defeated. In the same way all of heaven was cheering on Jesus to get back up after he had been knocked down, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, "All of heaven is cheering you on. Get back up baby! I know you can do it!"

Some of you feel like 2014 just about crushed you as flat as a pancake and it's been hard to get up to keep going and to heal. I want you to know that in the same way all of heaven cheered Jesus on to resurrect, they are cheering you on too. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can overcome and move beyond our past. People didn't expect Jesus to come back from all that he had been through. People may not expect you to bounce back from what you've been through, but because the champion of heaven got back up and conquered the grave through him we can also get back up. "…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33

For a while after I went through my fiery trials, I just wanted to sit in my ashes. Don't fall into the trap of not surrendering your ashes to the Lord. You may not understand why you had to lose that loved one, or why that relationship didn't work out, or why your family had to struggle, or why you had to go through health problems or circumstances that people still don't know you went through. That's okay. It's okay not to understand. Surrender the questions to the Lord. When we don't understand He is still good.
" I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth" Psalm 34:1

There is such a beautiful promise that we find in the Word. When we let go of our ashes, the Lord blesses us with beauty. "To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3

Let’s trade in the hurt, the pain, the disappointment for something so much better.

I’m sure without a doubt that Jesus finished this race we call life because we are his joy. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t sit down. Get back up and finish strong. We can move forward because Christ is our joy and our reward. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14

Yes you went through a lot in 2014, but it’s time to get up and heal with the Lord. It’s time to let go of the questions and disappointments. Don’t let your past define your future. It’s a new year. I pray it’s full of beauty, joy, and festive praise for you. Welcome to 2015.

Much love in Christ,

xoxo Ndi

Maintaining Peace in the Storm

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:1-3

Most people that know me would say I’m always laughing, making jokes, and smiling. Some probably think I’ve never seen a bad day. It’s only because God has delivered me through so many traumatic life circumstances that I’m able to have joy. 

Can I be honest with you guys today? This last month has been really hard on me. Within a very short period of time I have gone through loss after loss after loss. My family went through a difficult situation where all of our lives were in danger. My summer plans to do my dream internship in New York fell apart. I lost thousands of dollars of savings. My cat ran away. A close friend of 7 years was choosing not to speak to me when I needed her most. My phone was stolen (later returned). I was being gossiped about. And most recently, my little chihuahua that I’ve had for almost half my life passed away unexpectedly. You would think it would stop there but it doesn’t. I could go on and on with this list but I just want to give you a picture of my life lately. 

Before any of this happened, I was already feeling tired,emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. So when all of this happened, saying I was tired was an understatement. I was exhausted. There were a few nights that I just wept and poured out my heart to God. I told him I don’t know how much more I can take. I was starting to feel like Job. In the Bible everything was taken from Job suddenly. Servant after servant came telling him his family, his wealth, his animals were all gone. Later his health deteriorated as well. Everything he had was ripped away from him.

After my dog Princess died, it felt like salt in an already open wound or like being kicked in the stomach when I was already down. The demonic attacks on my family and I were getting more and more personal. I sat in my room praying to God “Lord, please don’t take everything.” He didn’t answer me, but brought to my remembrance what he spoke to me at the very beginning of 2014. While everyone was making New Year’s resolutions I prayed and asked God what this year would be like. He revealed to me that this year would be like Psalm 23. He said that I would watch each verse unfold in my life. When I read the scripture I wasn’t really looking forward to the whole darkest valley thing.

At one point or another each of us will go through a storm in our life. It’s not a matter of if but when it will happen. Some experience more extreme storms than others. Sometimes they are brought upon us because of our own choices other times they are simply an attack of the enemy. However, we are not entitled to an explanation as to why we go through the things we go through. God’s ways are sovereign and his thoughts are so much higher than ours. If God allowed it, there has to be a purpose. He will never allow us to go through something that is more than we can bear (1 Cor. 10:13). Even if something terrible happened and it was not a part of his plan, He can turn it around for his glory (Rom.8:28).

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Through each storm in our life, God will always provide comfort. The Israelites were having a hard time after escaping slavery in Egypt. However, God still comforted them. When they were stranded in the wilderness, God provided manna as food for them. In Hebrew the literal translation for manna is “What is this?”. When we go through trials in life God provides comfort for us and we say “What is this?”. It could be exactly what we need, but we still question God and ask him to explain himself. We look at our circumstances and say “God, what is this?” We want to Him to explain why we are going through these trials. But God doesn’t owe us an explanation. Sometimes he will give us one but not always. God is so wonderful and mysterious we couldn’t possibly understand everything He does. When he doesn’t give us an explanation we still need to trust him because He’s faithful. If everything is His, then it was never ours to begin with. It’s important to release everything to Him. We are only stewards of his possessions.

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? Job 2:10

God gave me a revelation while in the midst of my own storm concerning Psalm 23. After reading this portion of scripture over and over I realized that in order to receive a greater measure of anointing, blessings and favor, you HAVE to go through a dark season with God. If you look at the order of the scriptures in Psalm 23 first God establishes that he’s with us and he’s guiding us. Then, He walks with us through the darkest times of our life. Then immediately after we see in the next verse it says “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:5-6.

The day my dog Princess died I took my other little chihuahua Tito for a walk. I have had Tito for even longer than Princess and they were companions for several years ever since Princess was born. I knew Tito was starting to realize that Princess had passed and was getting very sad about it, so I thought a walk would get his mind off things. Tito who is usually a very vocal dog was silent as we passed people and other dogs in the neighborhood. I remember that day being very dark and cloudy outside because it was about to storm and rain. At the beginning of our walk Tito was excited to be outside, but as we turned around to go back home he was starting to lag behind and look discouraged. I said to him, “Come on Tito. We’re almost home.” He looked at me and had a burst of energy to keep going, but soon was tired again. I picked him up and held him while he laid his head on my chest. We finished the rest of our walk that way.

Suddenly, God showed me how He does the same for us during the darkest times of our lives. Sometimes we don’t know it, but the trials are about to end and there’s breakthrough on the other side. Tito didn’t know we were almost home. We hear God’s voice and try to keep going but it feels like we can’t. Just like I held Tito, God holds us when we feel that we have no strength left. Notice I didn’t pick up Tito and run home. God doesn’t pick us up and run to hurry and get out of our darkest valley. He lets us know he’s present. Because He’s Lord, we don’t have to be afraid. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is. God can handle what we go through. We just need to relax and rest on His chest. In my arms Tito was safe from other dogs that came chasing after us. In God’s arms we’re safe.

After all of Job’s tests and trials. God blessed him with twice than what he had before! A lot of times God wants to use these trials and storms to bring promotion and bless us. Even though the enemy meant to destroy us, God uses our situations to position us to be blessed even more and to bring him glory. We have to maintain the right attitude though. God wants to be just in blessing us with more. It’s so easy to get a bad attitude, lose your peace and miss what God is doing in this season. When you’re going through a storm, it’s a critical time to draw closer to God and strengthen your relationship with God.

Here are practical ways to maintain your peace during a storm. One is to magnify God and not the problems. To magnify means to enlarge something. By constantly dwelling on the problems you start to make them larger than they really are. God is so much bigger than any circumstance. Also, don’t feed fear. Don’t give in to fear and fearful thoughts. By feeding fear you are diminishing your faith. Ask God to cover you in His love because His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Declare scripture over your life. If you feel like you are becoming fearful, remember that faith comes by hearing. So declare out loud what the scriptures say about you and God’s promises. Another way to maintain your peace is by worshiping. When we worship the Bible says His Spirit inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). Our praise literally changes the atmosphere. Encourage yourself by remembering all the times when God has done something for you and shown himself faithful. And finally, count your blessings and be thankful for all that God has blessed you with even while you’re going through a hard time. If you feel yourself getting bitter and discouraged about your circumstances, it’s because you haven’t released it to Him. Let go. It’s out of your control, so just let Him in to comfort you. Bitterness and discouragement can fester when we listen to the lies of the enemy. He’ll tell us we’re alone and that God doesn’t love us and things are only going to get worse. But when thoughts like that come up quickly cast them down in the name of Jesus. Don’t listen to them. Most times when we go through a storm we have an open wound from that. We have to acknowledge the pain and not just brush it off. Pour out your heart to God. Tell him how you’re feeling. It’s okay to cry. It’s not a sign of weakness. Even if we are weak, in our weakness Christ’s power and strength is made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9). The quicker we admit we are hurt to God, the quicker we are able to start healing and be comforted by His presence. Ignoring a wound and listening to lies causes bitterness and discouragement. Another way to combat bitterness and discouragement is by putting on the full armor of God (Eph. 6) and stopping any negative thinking and speaking. Negative thinking and speaking is only going to encourage your pity party. With everything in you fight the negative thinking and speaking.

I know a lot of you reading are going through a storm right now. It may seem like it doesn’t end, but just like the night has to end, the sun will rise again. Don’t let the devil steal your peace. Keep your eyes fixed on God and not the circumstances. He’s taking you deeper to places of trust where you’ve never been. He’s preparing you to be effective in your calling. Learn what you can now. Don’t miss what God has for you in this season. Because he loves us, we can trust him. We may not understand why everything happens, but the one who does is leading us. Sometimes God strips us of things to bless us with better. Allow this night season to refine you in your character. Surrender everything to him and just rest. His promises are true and you’re going to make it.

.. appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

xoxo,

Ndi

How to Worship like a Prostitute

It may seem strange, but if each of us learn to worship like a prostitute our lives would be less stressful, and our relationship with God would be much richer. 

A few weeks ago, I went on a mission trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, during spring break with a campus ministry. For months I had been preparing my heart for the trip because I knew God had something special He wanted to do on the trip. The first day the team got there we worked with the Dream Center (a city outreach ministry that feeds the homeless, does dental procedures, and offers veterinary services for animals) which only operated one day out of the month. It just so happened that the week my team was there, they were operating. My dear friend Jovita and I worked on the prayer ministry team. The objective was to go to each person waiting in line, ask if they needed prayer, then pray. Jovita and I came up to one woman who visibly had all her walls up. She had a scowl on her face and did not look approachable. I said, “Hi, do you have any prayer requests?”. She was quick to say no. But I was not going to give up that easy. I was thinking to myself, “Oh come on lady! You don’t need anything??” Jovita and I began speaking with her more and she began telling us her whole life story. It turned out that she was from Florida and she had been sex trafficked for more than 12 years of her life and was now homeless living at  a women’s shelter. What broke my heart was that she had experienced all this heartache and more and she was only the tender age of 22. Her name was Kathy. Kathy had no family to turn to or anyone to say they love her just because of she’s herself. She told us she believed in a higher power but doesn’t know what to call him and didn’t believe in Jesus. I could feel the love of God welling up inside of me. She still refused to have Jovita and I pray for her, so I asked the Holy Spirit to tell me anything that I could say to get her to lower her walls. The Holy Spirit told me “Ask about her bad dreams at night.” So I said, “You’ve been telling us all of this, but what about your bad dreams that you’ve been having at night?” She looked at me very shocked and said “How did you know?”. I just told her the Holy Spirit told me. She described to me very demonic attacks that she had been having at night and in her dreams. I interpreted her dream and said finally “See there’s a prayer need! Can we pray for you?” She just smiled hesitantly and said “I guess…” I was so excited!! As Jovita and I prayed for this woman, you could sense the power and love of God touching her life.  She told us later that she felt peace, like she was floating, and like she was clean. We began to encourage her in the Lord, but then I realized she didn’t even have Jesus, the person who made a way for us to get to God. I asked her if she would like to accept Jesus into her heart and she said YES! As Jovita and I led her to the Lord, her whole countenance changed. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. It was especially special to my heart because last year on a mission trip to Thailand when I worked with a sex trafficking ministry, I did not have the privilege of seeing a prostitute I ministered to come to know the Lord. I was honored that God used my friend and I in New Orleans to touch another woman’s life that was victimized by sex trafficking. God allowed me to witness the power of His love firsthand. Being apart of that experience was like seeing a young daughter reunited with her with her father after him being absent for a long time. Kathy was so excited. Afterwards, we connected her with a local church.

Can you just imagine the way that she’ll worship God when she goes to church? For so many years of her life people had abandoned her, judged her, beaten her down, and used her. God’s love is so persistent though. He sent Jovita and I on to go on a specific trip at a specific time just to meet her so He could show her how much He loves her. He revealed to her that He’s not like people who take advantage and leave. His love is pure and here to stay. I can’t imagine how much abandon she will worship with.

Fast forward to last week and I’m on my face before the Lord. I’m pouring out my heart to Him because I’m tired. Physically, I’m tired. Emotionally, I’m tired. Spiritually, I’m tired. Tired of not surrendering everything. I don’t care who sees or knows. As I’m bowed down, my hair is on the dirty floor and my tears cover the ground. I don’t try to fix anything to make it look prettier. I just close my eyes, and the Lord shows me a picture of Mary Magdalene. The prostitute who poured out everything she had probably quite literally for Jesus. She gave him every drop of oil in her alabaster jar. Her oil was worth more than a year’s salary back then. She cried at his feet and wiped her tears with her hair. In my head I thought, “So what are you trying to say Lord? So, I’m a prostitute now?”. Haha but in all seriousness, how many times do we prostitute ourselves to other lovers? How quick do we make other things idols in our lives? It could be anything from relationships, to games, to social networks, to hobbies.

Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! The heavens are shocked and shrink back in horror and dismay,’ says the Lord. ‘For my people have done two things: They have abandoned me- the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!’ Jeremiah 2:11-13

We exhaust ourselves worshiping all these other things that cannot and will not ever fill us. God will allow us to become tired and frustrated from prostituting ourselves, until we surrender and realize He alone is worthy of all our adoration. He is our first love. The one who fills us and makes us whole. 

Mary Magdalene got it. She realized she was a prostitute literally and spiritually. She was culturally unworthy of love. She was tired. She tried other lovers and always came up empty. Yet despite all these factors, the Messiah did not overlook her. At the revelation of who Jesus was, she decided to surrender everything, not caring what other people thought or how ugly or unacceptable it looked. You better believe the fragrance of her worship permeated the whole room. 

As she knelt behind him at his feet weeping, her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Mary Magdalene worshiped with abandon by kissing Jesus’ feet and anointing them with perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”…… “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:38-47

 

Because Mary Magdalene recognized her sins and how merciful Jesus had been to love her unconditionally, she worshiped him extravagantly. She humbled her heart and gained favor from God.

Time to examine yourself. Are you taking the grace of God for granted? “Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols.” Jeremiah 2:20. Are you prostituting yourself to other lovers? God has been faithful to set us free, so are you still only showing God a little love? He’s worthy of making ourselves undignified. He’s worthy of our affection, even if others talk about us. Jesus paid a high price for all of us. The least he deserves is all of our love. 

So you’re wondering how you can worship like a prostitute? When you think about it, a prostitute gives herself away wholly in body, spirit, and soul. Do you give yourself away to God in body, spirit and soul? Step one: Leave your other lovers behind that have taken your First Love’s place. Step two: Realize how much you’ve been forgiven and set free from and most of all how much God loves you. Step three: Surrender everything. So many times we stress ourselves out by carrying all these extra things God never told us to carry in the first place. We want people to fill us. We want hobbies to fill us. We want things to fill us. Release it. It’s okay. Let’s get our eyes fixed on Christ and give him the praise and worship he deserves. Mary Magdalene, the had the right idea. Let’s follow in her footsteps.

I love you with the love of Christ,
Ndi

 

keep-calm-and-bow-down-to-the-king-10

Taking my purity ring off to have sex, then putting it back on when it’s over.

This blog is my very personal testimony of God’s grace and goodness in my life regarding my purity.

I’m sure some of you are wondering about the title of this blog. You’re probably thinking “Wow Ndi! I thought you were a Christian! I thought you were a worship leader! I never thought you would do anything like that!” Whoa whoa whoa. I want to make one thing clear. I am still all those things. I have never done anything like the title of my blog describes, however, this is what someone thought I did.

Let me explain. A couple years ago I was at a different job and it had come to my co-workers’ attention that I was wearing a ring on my ring finger. The ring was my purity ring which has written on it in tiny script “Love Waits”. My purity ring has been the center of many funny incidents, but those are stories for another time. Anyway, my co-workers began asking me so many questions about my ring. One guy in particular asked me specifically what my purity ring meant to me. I told him that it means I’ve made a promise to God to not have sex until marriage. To him that sounded so foreign and he could hardly believe me. He said “Are you sure you don’t just take it off before you have sex, then put it back on later???” Honestly, I thought it was kind of funny that he thought I did that. I said, “I’m sure.” Hearing me say this sparked even more curiosity and a girl co-worker asked, “So does that mean you’re…a virgin?” I could tell she felt awkward for asking but the curiosity was too much for her to handle. I didn’t feel awkward answering though. I simply said “Yes.”

This is what my actual purity ring looks like.

This is what my actual purity ring looks like.

Usually, I only share my testimony about purity with females unless asked direct questions from a guy. I mostly do that just to guard my heart because some guys get funny ideas after I share and look at me like I’m a sandwich. Haha! I felt as though the Holy Spirit really wanted me to encourage people today, men and women, young men and young women. I believe every testimony about purity is unique and can be used in God’s kingdom.

For me, I have seen God supernaturally protect my purity in so many ways since I was a young girl. And I will do my best to put your curiosities or questions to rest by showing you how. I have been in relationship with God since I was a very young child and distinctly remembering His presence leading and guiding me. When I was 10 years old in 6th grade, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me, “I don’t want you to have a boyfriend until after you graduate high school”. I said yes to that. I agreed not to enter into a relationship until after high school. I also said yes to many other request God asked of me as I got older. I’m sure it seems crazy, but the Holy Spirit gave me the wisdom to make that decision at a young age and helped me understand why it was important. Fast forward to now, my senior year in college, and I still have never had a boyfriend. Some people think that is so bizarre, but if you want to know something especially peculiar, not only have I never had a boyfriend, I have never been kissed. I never have viewed pornography. I have never masturbated. I have never sent nude pictures of myself or have received nude pictures. The farthest I’ve ever gone with a guy is a hug. Haha! In the words of my older sister, I’m a “super virgin”. I don’t want anyone to think I’m extra holy just because I haven’t done any of these things. It is only by the grace of God that He has kept me pure. None of this happened by accident either. I don’t come from family that has a legacy of super virgins. I know that my life was perfectly orchestrated by God. He has supernaturally preserved my innocence. I had to trust Him though. Everyday I have to trust him. I have to trust that He knows what He’s doing, and that I’m not a freak of nature but His beautiful spotless bride. There have been several SEVERAL opportunities for me to just throw it all away and step ahead of God and say, “Lord, you don’t know what you’re doing! I need a boyfriend now! I have a disease and it’s called singleness!”. Haha! Even if I tried to step outside of God’s plan for my life regarding my purity, the Holy Spirit inside of me would be so grieved that I would literally be on my face crying out in repentance.

Last year around January 2013 I was in Thailand on a mission trip and my dear friend John LaChapelle was also on the trip with me. Each morning the team would spend time building each other up in the Lord, in whatever way that looked like. One morning it was John’s turn to choose what the team would do. He had spent that morning asking God what He wanted to say to each of us. He wrote notes out to each team member relaying what the Holy Spirit spoke to him for us. My note said something along the lines of “I see God placing an encampment of protection around you.” He quoted a scripture about Ruth and Boaz and how Boaz told the men not to touch her. John went on to say that God has done the same for me. What John didn’t know was that the night before I was up late rolling in bed feeling like a freak of nature again, crying God why me. The night before, my teammates shared their testimony about purity and mine looked nothing like theirs, so I was feeling like an outsider even among Christians. That night I was rolling around in bed complaining to God saying, “God why did you make me so darn pure?!? I feel silly!!” I was being a baby. Sometimes I do that. The next morning God gave me his answer through John LaChapelle because I obviously wasn’t listening. It’s because all this time, He’s been protecting me. He put a “do not touch” sign on my head to protect me from random meaningless relationships with guys who had no purpose in my life.

My testimony is not the same as everyone else’s nor is it better. I know some people can relate to me though. Some of you have been reading this saying “That’s me!”. You don’t have to feel like you’re left out. Count your purity as a blessing. I want to encourage all the super virgins out there or even the technical virgins or Christians who have already had premarital sex. Me saying yes to God as a young girl came with a high price. I was often made fun of by Christians and non-Christians, pressured, and the butt of many jokes and sometimes still am. At times I felt as if there was something wrong with me, but that’s not true. I’m perfectly normal. I have to submit my desires to God everyday and choose to say yes even though I want to say no sometimes to His plan. If you want to experience God’s purity in your life, you need to count the cost before you say yes. There will be sacrifices that He will require of you, but His plans are so much better and sweeter than ours are. They give a greater reward.

“16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Fix your eyes on Him. We only see in part but God sees in whole. He knows how much our decisions will affect us today and tomorrow. That’s why He is worthy of our trust. He loves us. His plans are to protect us and give us life more abundantly. The devil HATES purity. He hates it so much it makes him cringe. He will do everything in his power to defile it and use anyone available to do it. Do you know why? Because our purity means we are without blame. Satan is called the accuser and goes before God accusing God’s children of all the wrong we’ve done, so that he has the chance to bring destruction in our lives. If we are living in purity, He has nothing on us! It was because of Jesus, our very own spotless Lamb, that by his purity we were brought out of a life of death and decay and reconciled to God. It was by Jesus’ purity that were given salvation! Jesus was a virgin!! A super virgin!! I don’t know about you but that makes me extremely happy and excited!! I want to be like Jesus!! I don’t care if I get made fun of for being a super virgin. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is a super virgin and He is sitting on the throne and is reigning and those people making fun of me are not.

If you have been living in guilt and shame for past decisions you have made or decisions others have made against your will, God wants to bring healing and freedom to your life right now. You need to forgive yourself of your mistakes and the mistakes of others. The accuser will condemn you and make you feel guilt for your past so that you can’t move forward in your calling. Paul in the Bible brutally murdered hundreds of Christians, but once he gave his life to Christ. This is what he said.

“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14

He couldn’t allow his past to hold him back. In Christ all things are made new. Even if you messed up just this morning, God makes all things new. Satan doesn’t want you to move on or realize what you have available to you. When we repent and I mean truly repent and turn from our old life and old way of thinking, God promises forgiveness. When He looks at us He doesn’t see our sin anymore, but the righteousness of Christ. I’m not pure because of anything that I’ve done, but because Christ clothes me in His purity and righteousness. He can do the same for you and bring restoration for your life. We can rejoice because our shame is removed and though we’re undeserving we’ve been chosen as Christ’s bride and given his robes of righteousness. In Christ there is freedom.

“10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 “

Rejoice in knowing that the King of King chose you and has made you His spotless bride! I love you! Be encouraged!

xoxo,

Ndi

Ignorance is Not Bliss

We have all heard the phrase “ignorance is bliss” at one point in our lives, but let’s just think about how much truth is in that statement. There’s so much wrong with that.

The definition of ignorance is “lack of knowledge or information”.  Ignorance can get people into a lot of trouble. I mean take for example, if I ever got stranded in a forest by myself for months and I was ignorant to what foods were poisonous and which were not, I’m in a life or death position all because of my ignorance. In that situation I would certainly not be on my death bed after eating poisonous berries saying “oh yeah. Ignorance is totally bliss.” No. I’d be an idiot to say that. My ignorance just killed me.

“…my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. ‘Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.’ ” Hosea 4:6

Right in this very verse we see the definition of ignorance. My people are destroyed because of ignorance. If you take apart this word, you can find the word ignore. The verse goes on to say that because God’s people ignored Him and his laws, He’s now going to ignore them too.

I just want to take a moment to say that I believe that if you are reading my blog right now, that it’s for a reason. I believe that it is not by accident, but you are in the right place at the right time and that God divinely intertwined our lives just so I could say what I’m about to say.

I say this with all sincerity and a heavy heart. Are you ignoring God? Berries destroyed my life hypothetically. It was all because of my ignorance. I could have lived so much longer, done so many things, and enjoyed life, but it was all cut short because of my ignorance. I didn’t get to experience the fullness of all God had planned for me. Are you shorthanding yourself because of your ignorance? Do you feel empty? Are you ignoring that a relationship with God is what you need? The devil  wants you to stay ignorant to the truth that Jesus loves you so much that he did whatever it took just to have the chance to be in relationship with you. Jesus died knowing you could still reject him and not want to be in relationship with him.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10

Do you see the parallel that satan wants to destroy you and ignorance does destroy people? God never intended for His people to be lonely, depressed, or to feel purposeless. He came so that we could have life more abundantly. That means more than we can imagine handling all by ourselves. Don’t settle for less than what He’s promised you today. Don’t ignore it either.

The difference between truth and fact is that facts can change, but truth will be same no matter how much time has passed. Time has no diminishing effect on truth. Trees were still trees one hundred years ago. This is the truth. Trees are also real whether we believe in them or not. The same is true for God. He is truth. We needed him one hundred years ago and we need Him now. One day we are all going to stand before Him and He’s going to separate those He knows from those He does not. No one can say “God why didn’t you make yourself clearer to me? How was I supposed to know you are real?”. He makes himself clear to us every single day, whether we hear it from a person or not.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” Psalm 10:1-2.

Think about it. How many trees have you seen today? They weren’t hiding. They were in plain sight, but you chose to ignore them. How many blessings did God pour out on you today? They weren’t hidden but you chose to ignore them. Open your eyes and see all the ways God has made himself clear to you. I beg you, not to ignore him anymore. Open your eyes and see how many ways God has poured out  his love on you. If you have any questions or doubts in your mind about God’s existence, I want to encourage you. I was not always like this, sure in my faith. But I sought out the answers to my questions with abandon. I did whatever it took so that I could find out for myself. When I did that I had an encounter with His presence that marked me and left me never the same. It drowned out every voice of doubt.

His word says,”If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13

I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a dare. It’s also a promise. So if you want to know if God does exist, if he really loves you, I want to challenge you to seek him with your WHOLE heart. Don’t live in ignorance anymore. Don’t ignore that God is offering you a life that so much sweeter than one without Him. He wants to see you live without depression, without loneliness, and walking in your purpose. No it’s not always going to be easy, but I promise it’s worth it to find out.

And if you are already a believer I encourage you to learn what the Word says. Study it because it’ll expose the lies of the enemy and cultivate life in your life. Don’t let yourself be ignorant to what His Word says. Don’t ignore what it says either. His commands are not burdensome but they bring life and protection and so many other blessings.

It is my prayer that everyone reading would experience what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring us life and life more abundantly.

xoxo,

Ndi