Tag Archive | perseverance

The Path


My old roommate and I took a bike ride in Peninsula last week.  For the uninformed Peninsula is about 20 minutes south of Cleveland.  I had never visited there prior to and it was cool to do a little road trip in the middle of the week.  We intended on renting bikes and catching the train back but the next stop for the train proved to be further than anticipated and we didn’t make it in time.  Instead of cutting our ride short we opted to go the distance and ended up biking over 10 miles!  Not too shabby for a couple of folks who hadn’t biked in years! 😊😏 As soon as my feet hit the pedals the serenity of nature engulfed me and I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness.  I know my friend felt the same and we peddled forward with grace and peace.

At one point we stopped for directions and were told that if we kept along the path the next train stop would be about 7 miles out.  We kept that goal in mind but as I shared earlier, we didn’t make it.  Still, I watched as we passed sign after sign, paying attention to the names of the paths.  There were so many!  It was clear to me that we needed to stay on our path in order to get to where we were going.  It was also clear God was giving me a picture of this spiritual race.

There are so many paths in this life.  There are so many arrows pointing this way and that way.  Some look appealing and inviting but not all will get you to where you need to be.

In this instance we stuck with our path and we made it back safely.  Sometimes sticking to the same path can get boring, especially when you are called to go the distance.  It can feel like you are missing out.  You can even get weary.  But every time I get off the path I end up in pain.  I end up functioning as a lesser version of myself and experiencing a shame I know my Father never desired for me.

One thing I’m grateful for is His grace to get back on the right path and to have a friend (or several) to ride it out with.

Thank You Lord for bringing me Lianna and so many who stick closer to me than a brother.  Your grace is sufficient and I am not deserving.


SHALOM

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Blog Series: Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles (Candra Evans)

We are starting off our new series “Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles” with Mrs. Candra Evans!  I have been so honored to have connected with Candra and so inspired by her faith and perseverence.  There are not many I can say I look up to on this spiritual path however she definitely made the cut!  Her tenacity and humility count her as one who has  “Pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  Please show her some love in the comments below and by visiting her blog (see bio).  Thanks!

Me: How long were you single?

Candra: I always say eighteen years considering that I wanted love and marriage since I graduated high school. I presumed that meeting my future husband would happen in college and we would be married and pursuing our careers together soon after. God blessed me to marry at the sweet age of 36.

Me: When you think back on your time of singleness what is one word you would use to describe that time and why?

Candra: Uncertainty – As the years came and went, I found myself unsure of an answered prayer. I was unsure if marriage was part of God’s plan for my life. I was unsure of how I would face the world as a single woman of a certain age. Many times I felt insecure in my faith and my worth as a woman.

Me: What were some of the hard times of your singleness? What were some of the great times?

Candra: Some of the most difficult times was being filled with the hope of love, only to find that yet again, it was not meant to be. There were online dating disappointments and the holiday embarrassments of telling relatives that you don’t have a special someone. I recall not feeling so bad about it, until taking in the stunned gazes.

Glory be to God that when I allowed it, great times came in abundance. It took being firm about being positive. That wasn’t easy, but because my heart was open to it, God strengthened me by the power of His Spirit. In military like fashion I forged a bond with the Holy Ghost. I declared that I would live and declare the glory of God. In this season I found my purpose, I had fun with friends, and I took every opportunity to try something new. I discovered so much about myself and before I knew it, I was thriving.

Me: Why do you think God incorporated a longer season of singleness in your story than some of your peers?

Candra: Good question. In my uncertainty phase I asked myself this often. Was it something I did? Did I disobey God somehow? Then I gained a better understanding of grace and realized that I could never be “good enough”. There have been many benefits of getting married at this age. I am wiser. My life in Christ has direction. I have a greater appreciation for my marriage. Most of all, I am able to help others in their longer season of singleness.

Still, I always come back to this bottom line. My resolve is that my life is not my own. I entrusted my life to God and through my pain God has been glorified many times over. Whatever happens God allows for my best interest. It was better for me to marry at 36. Now that I have my desire, I can affirm that God got it right. He did this thing better than I ever could have on my own.

Me: What advice would you give to those who are waiting on God’s best and desire not to settle in their relationship choice?

Candra: Be true to yourself and your convictions. Do not make decisions that will complicate your life and your future.

There are a large number of those who mourn because they gave years of their lives to the wrong person. They settled for what they knew in their heart was not true. They said it was better than being alone. They said that they could make it work. Now they grieve. And if not careful, allow that grief to push them into another compromised relationship.

Maintain your blessed place in God’s will and in His Kingdom. There is no place better.

There really isn’t.

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Candra Evans is a minister, blogger and creator of Abundantly You for Christian Singles. She began blogging about her own Christian single journey in 2009. After many years of waiting, God blessed her to marry Pastor Ron Evans, Jr. in 2011. They currently minister and live in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Healing in Layers

About a week ago I accidentally knocked my hand against my book shelf.  I was sort of in a rush as my friend and I were packing for a road trip (shout out to Ji!) and then all of a sudden BAM I was slowed down.  Intense pain followed and I looked down to see what the issue was.  The skin was split open on my finger and blood was running profusely.  I apologize for those of you with queesy stomachs!  Its about to get a little real here on this post!

I rushed to the sink, ran my finger under the faucet and applied a towel and some Peroxide before looking for a bandaid.  The cut looked kind of deep but I had plans for the weekend and no insurance to cover that kind of injury so I kept it moving.  Over the course of the trip I applied new bandaids and kept an eye on the cut.  I knew I could have used a stitch or two when I saw the white meat appear after the  bleeding stopped.  But again, I was going to have to be a “G” in the situation and let my body do its natural healing thing.  My friend was great and gave me tips as she has suffered her own self inflicted injuries recently.  After the trip I’m not gonna lie, I started getting concerned.  It was such a deep cut and I was wondering how in the world the skin would ever close up.  My friend asked if it scabbed over yet and I shared it had not.  At her recommendation I added some Neosporin which I do feel helped.

Within days I noticed extra layers forming over the white part of the cut and I felt a sense of relief.  It was healing!  The skin was growing back!

At this point I am reminded of a scripture God gave me earlier this year:

Mark‬ ‭8:22-25‬ 

“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.”

So you’re probably wondering, “Nicole, what does this have to do with you cutting your finger???” Well, my friend I will tell you!  In this passage Christ heals a man but the healing is not instant.  Initially the man sees a little but his vision isn’t 💯. Instead it takes another time for Christ to touch the man.  And its not like this is some imperfect being who doesn’t “have enough faith” to heal someone!  We are talking about Jesus here folks!  So it must be that some wounds are so deep they need to be healed in layers (see the connection now?)😉.  Some wounds need to have the bandages changed a few times, have some antibiotic cream applied, need to have a closer eye kept on them to prevent infection.  As much as you may want you cannot just slap a bandaid on it and keep it moving.  Though there are times God does allow for that!  There was a time a man was lame and all Christ said was “Take up your bed and walk ” and the guy walked!  Those are the times I personally like best!  Instant healing!

But there is something to be learned and appreciated when your healing takes time.  You develop in perseverance, self control, and the like.  You adjust your expectations of who God is and who you are.  God is not a genie in a bottle ready to give you everything you want when you want it and you are not a needy, insecure person who needs His manifestation to feel loved (though I’m saying “you” I’m talking to myself folks).

Instead you learn He sometimes chooses to build your character and faith through the wait.  He sometimes handles you with care and heals you in layers.  And although at times you wonder if the healing will ever come, you realize it is coming but–quietly. 

Slowly. 

And over time.

SHALOM 
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The Key To Life

Several years ago I received a prophetic word that “I will run on an excellent path”. I thought those were high praises from God. But what exactly did it mean? The definition of excellent is: “extremely good or outstanding”. I have always valued excellence. I have always wanted to be the best. Even as a child I beat myself up for not getting A’s on my report card. I was always very hard on myself. Now that I’m maturing in my faith I’m learning that my understanding of excellence is not always the Father’s understanding of excellence.

As I prayed this morning He showed me that this path is tailor made for my success. It has felt so challenging to me at times because it has exposed my weaknesses and required more perseverance and strength than I could ever possibly display. Of course that is the intent. I could not run an excellent path without the Holy Spirit. I could not keep the faith, persevere or overcome. The problem is I want to. I default to self reliance. I default to being too hard on myself. But this morning I was told this path is made in my favor. 

Dare I say yours is too? 

When I have struggled, God has given me TIME to recoup. He has not required me to have it all together and to even pass the test right away. Similar to Elijah when he faced fear God did not condemn him. Instead He met Him with a still, small voice and then set out to restore him. He gave him time.

Lately I have felt like knowing Christ is the key to life. The Holy Spirit leads you and guides you on the path that will yield the best possible outcome for you. The trick is that it can seem like He is playing you or you are losing out (especially when you compare your path to others). But thats only when we lean to our own understanding. We do not see the whole picture. We do not see the final outcome.

But He does. 

What better way to be guaranteed success at life then by being led by the One who designed it?

My life is proof that following Him leads to success.

SHALOM