“I don’t think anything is wr…. my flesh tells me their isn’t anything wrong with having sex if you are in a committed relationship”…. if you are going to take anything from this statement (NO JUDGMENT), it is the correction made mid sentence. The “my flesh tells me” part. I was having a conversation with my friend earlier this week about her entering in a new relationship and of course, knowing me, I asked was she sexually active. She seemed hesitant to answer and that was the statement that came out. No judgment this way. That is not my job. Her salvation does not rest in my hands. The only thing I can do and I will do, is pray for her.

Back to the “my flesh tells me” part. This is a daily struggle for me. My flesh constantly wants the driver seat and attempts to persuade my spiritual side to pop a squat in the back seat (not even the passenger side), trying to convince my spiritual self that their time will come. “Sit back and enjoy the ride. Your time to drive will come shortly”- says my flesh. EVERYDAY! When it comes to the thoughts I have, words I speak, music I listen to, places I go, people I entertain…and the list goes on.

Not trying to over exaggerate or be dramatic, but it’s real. With me on my spiritual walk and my words are slowly but surely starting to become actions, the enemy is steady plotting against me. Throwing curveballs here and there, with hints of temptations that, back in the day, would have caught my full attention. He doesn’t like me turning away from him so he is trying everything in his power to strengthen my flesh, my desires, my lusts, my (fill space here).

Its not a good feeling y’all- but very necessary. I want Christ to know that because he gave me free will, that I am CHOOSING to follow him. I am not hitting every corner perfectly, I stumble, but I am trying. I love him so much and always acknowledge his works that I don’t want to disappoint him. As much as my flesh wants to fulfill its own desires, it is not pleasing to God.

I just recently finished a book called Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman (GREAT read by the way !!!) He gives several examples in the bible of persons that claimed they wanted to follow Jesus but weren’t 100% all in. Meaning “I will follow Jesus when it is convenient for me” type of ordeal. He constantly applied it to current life and how everyday people “half-way” follow Jesus when it benefits us. In order for us to constantly remain in his will is to die to SELF; EVERYDAY!

(1) I have sex but I am in a committed relationship. We are only with each other so it is fine.

(2) I go to parties and drink but its not like I am getting drunk.

(3) I go out every Saturday but I make sure I am up every Sunday for church. Front row. Bible in hand.

(4) I listen to gospel music every Sunday but Monday through Saturday, and after church on Sunday, I listen to project pat (GUILTY)

You catch my drift. Loving God is great! Worshipping and praising and developing a relationship are all wonderful. But he wants our flesh to die, otherwise we will constantly be battling with both sides based on how we “feel” at that point and time

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME LORD. WHAT I WANNA DO..WHAT I FEEL LIKE DOING..WHAT I DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME OH FATHER! I WANT MY LIFE TO REFLECT YOU! I KNOW ALL THE THINGS I PLACE IN MY PLANNER FOR ME TO COMPLETE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS BUT WHAT TRULY MATTERS ARE THE THINGS YOU HAVE SET BEFORE ME TO COMPLETE. REMAIN IN THE FOREFRONT OF MY MIND EACH DAY LORD. THAT I DIE TO SELF AND MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELL IN ME EVERYDAY LORD. RID ME OF MYSELF OH FATHER AND REST IN ME. KILL MY FLESH LORD. MAKE MY PURPOSE TO HELP BUILD THE KINGDOM. ITS NOT ABOUT SELF ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AGENDAS, RECOGNITIONS. WHEN I DIE, ALL THAT MATTERS IS HOW MANY SEEDS I PLANTED IN PEOPLE TO KNOW AND FOLLOW YOU….AS I AM ON MY JOURNEY TO FOLLOW YOU LORD. –AMEN

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”- Matthew 16:24

 
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Debi Kirkendoll-Gay(left) works in the building next to me at the University of Missouri. Less than a year ago, she lost her husband and now she is facing another trying time. Her daughter, Shauna (right) is suffering from liver and kidney failure. The family is raising money to help out with expenses. If you would like to help this family out with their expenses, email me at alanapr.marie@gmail.com. Even those who have a heart to give but can’t, keep this family in your prayers as they are in deep need of them. God is thee ultimate healer. Doesn’t matter what the doctor says. God has the final say so. I am praying for Debi and her family. 


 
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Heeeeeey guys! Been a while. School has started for me and has kicked into full swing and I’ve just been caught in the hustle and bustle. Fortunately, a lot has been on my heart to vent about the many things I’ve been dealing with the past couple of weeks. My faith has been tested to the MAX lately but I’ve also been blessed enough to minister to other people about increasing in faith…. while going through my own situation. Aint it funny how we have all the advice in the world for people and their issues but when it comes to our own…..fall on deaf ears?? Any who….

Going back and forth to Boone County DFS (Division of Family Services) has basically become a weekly routine for me. Just as much as me attending class is. If it’s not a problem with assistance than it’s a problem with childcare. It is always something. Basically, I get childcare assistance for Addy’s daycare while I attend school but they closed my case about a month ago and it just RECENTLY opened back up. Meaning, this past month that I was taking my child to daycare, the state hasn’t been paying for it. The daycare has just been graciously letting me drop her off while I just pay the co-pay (Thank you God). Now that my case is re-opened, the state is only paying for part time childcare. Sigh Let me tell you about Boone County DFS office. Over the past year, surrounding counties around Boone County have closed down their DFS offices, so all of their clients travel here to Boone County for their cases. The office is slammed pack from open to close with a MINIMUM of a 2-hour wait prior to seeing a caseworker. They deal with so many people that no one has an assigned caseworker anymore. You see who is available that day. I’ve been 4 times within the past month. Each time I went (while waiting on the status of my case), they told me the same thing every time. “Just gotta wait.” So four times I wasted time and gas to be told what I assumed I would be told anyway. That is my problem. I am so focused on the humanistic nature of the matter that I’ve basically told God this is too big for you and I to deal with. “I’m going to try and figure this out on my own “ and he just up there laughing at me.

Each day I tell my daddy (God) that I trust him with this situation but I wake up uneasy and with anxiety about this situation. But #GodBeKnowing. After attending church and bible study this past week, Bishop led us to the book of Job. He told satan that he could mess with Job’s possession and even with him, but could NOT touch his soul. God may have let down the barrier for satan to climb over to mess with your possessions but he has no authority over your soul. God has got you covered.

Satan is having a field day with my daycare situation. He is aware that it causes me much frustration and agitation but I’ve been getting into my word more than ever to combat that. Satan will NOT have me. I will not give him the luxury of him harassing me. I’ve come to far in my relationship with Christ for me to turn back because of a petty worldly matter.

This morning after getting the news that the state was only paying part time of her childcare, the first thing on my mind was to go down to the office immediately and get it taken care of. I turned my car around and went home to complete my scheduled workout instead. #GodBeKnowing. After working out, God lead me to a scripture, book of James specifically, and it goes as follows My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, WITH NO DOUBTING, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways- James 1:2-8.

 

One thing I can say in the midst of all this childcare mania, I am grateful that they reopened my case after a month. Ironically, the ONE day I didn’t give my issue a second thought was the day I got a letter in the mail saying they reopened it. When you get out of your own problems and lend it over to God, not giving it a second thought, things happen in your favor. Right now, I just have to trust that God has this all taken care of and know that God has the final say so. No more wasting gas and wasting precious hours in the DFS office. I did my part, I am praying for an abundance of faith (which then comes an abundance of tests) that God will meet every single one of my needs. Every single one.

*This blog is dedicated to my good friend Larry. I speak of you daily in my prayers and can only fathom how you feel. TRUST him Larry. For all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. The enemy can’t have you my friend. You will be fine and so will the little man. Love You! 


 
So this past weekend….was amazing. So simple yet so satisfying. Once again, I felt an array of emotions but all ended well. In a nutshell, I went back to St. Louis over this past weekend with intent to stretch out my weekend as much as possible prior to school starting this Monday (didn’t really work such as life).

I remained pretty much lowkey and stayed in the house majority of the time but when I did step out, I was in for a major surprise.

Friday just started with irritability and agitation. Addyson did the fool all morning JUST BECAUSE I TOLD HER THAT SHE COULDN’T WATCH DORA DOWNSTAIRS BUT THAT SHE HAD TO GO UPSTAIRS IN MY ROOM TO WATCH! CRIED FOR 30 MINUTES STRAIGHT! SHE CHANGED HER WHOLE BREATHING PATTERN! ….but I digress. After that, I remained on edge throughout the remainder of the day.

Addy, Candess (Addy God Mom) and I went to a sushi restaurant later on that day for happy hour. Already agitated from earlier, Addyson spilled a cup of water all over the table. I had to internally count to 10 in order to calm myself down. Snowball affect in effect.

With intentions of going home after happy hour, some of Candess’s Abundant Life church fam were actually in The Loop (where the sushi restaurant was ) to do ministry. Two Fridays out of the month, the youth at the church go to The Loop to stop people, tell them about God, and pray for them. I could tell Candess wanted to stay but due to Addyson already causing me to be irritable, I was ready to go.

Needless to say, they convinced me to stay. We had fellowship at another restaurant, which was amazing. One of the Abundant Life members actually works with children so she was there to play with Addyson and take her off my hands for a few. #GodBeKnowing

Outside of me and not being a regular Abundant Life Member, there was another new face at the table. A girl named Courtney (assuming that is how you spell it). Homeless and 5 months pregnant due to being raped. Abundant Life invited her to sit with us and paid for her meal. Listening to her story was just…I can’t even explain the feeling. Not only being without her necessities, pregnant, also dealing with the demon of homosexuality, not having custody of her first born (five year old son), and still battling an addiction to nicotine….even while she is pregnant.

It did not take long for my irritability to subside. I began looking at Addyson and just thanking God for her; her health, her intelligence, my family support in helping me raise her. I am blessed. To see Courtney, smiling, enjoying her food and our company was just amazing to me. Despite her situation, she still managed to laugh and rub her belly and smile. She says she is excited to know the sex of the baby. She really wants a girl. I gave her the rest of the cash in my purse and told her to get some prenatal pills ASAP. She doesn’t have any type of prenatal care at this point. I gave her some names of resources that could help her and my number that I pray she uses so I can keep in touch with her. I was to see how she is doing and how that child is doing. Even if I never see her again, I have faith that God already has changed her life. As we were getting up to leave, all of us (probably 20-25 of us) all got up to pray for her and her child. I got to rub her belly before she left J

Situations as such really make you appreciate your life…flaws and all. It is always someone dealing with worse situations. That is not something I am proud of or boasting about. Courtney is now a part of my daily prayers…but it definitely increases my gratitude. And to think, I planned on going home after getting sushi. I didn’t want to fellowship. I just wanted to go home. #GodBeKnowing

“When it’s something you most likely don’t feel like doing, you probably need to” (in a spiritual sense)

 
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I can recall a couple of sermons that Bishop talked about in regards to a life plan. He discussed how “dates determine destiny.” Basically, we need to set a date for ourselves, pray over it and grow in faith to obtain our set goals. After some thought, prayer, and confirmation, I have decided to write the vision of my 5 year plan. Everything may not work out as I plan BUT I do know all things work together for good for those who love him and for those who are called to his purpose- Romans 8:28

* Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is DEAD- James 2:17

Alana’s Vision
5 Year Plan: Write it Down, Make it Plain

Ø  Each and everyday is a work in progress to grow in my relationship with Christ. Setting aside time each day for just him and I alone. I inherit Christ-Like characters through each trial laid in front of me. To be completely sold out to God (overall goal; whether 5 days or 5 years)

Ø  Graduate in December 15, 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Communication: this by far will be my best semester of undergrad (CLAIMING IT !!!)

Ø  Complete my Masters at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri with my specialty area in Non-Profit Management by December 2014

Ø  While working on my Masters, I plan to network with others in Non Profit who have a heart to help fathers just as I do. Learn the ins and outs of the laws and policies regarding fathers (non custodial parents)

Ø  Continue to mentor other teen parents, this time through a spiritual foundation

Ø  Strengthen my relationship with my daughter; show more compassion and be more attentive; raise her in the way that she should go

Ø  Closer towards the end of my five year goal, I would like to be in the process of either starting my own Non Profit or joining one similar such as Father Support Center or National Fatherhood Initiative

Ø  If in his will, I would like to pursue modeling again. If that takes off to be successful, I will use that as a platform to be involved in philanthropy

Ø  ¼ done with paying back school loans

Ø  Engaged to the man God has ordained for me

Ø  Alive, healthy, blessed, and COMPLETELY sold out for Christ

A lot in 5 years, BUT I have an abundance of faith that these goals can and will be obtained.

Please help me pray in agreement over my vision. 


 
Been a while since I’ve let myself vent, but this week in St. Louis was well needed for this posting. I’ve battled an array of emotions with only being here for a week but it provoked a much needed heart check. Green with envy goes as follows….

Being a female for 22 years of my life (lol) I’ve learned that females are just naturally jealous. Okay, well, not necessarily jealous but competitive by nature. Even when we don’t know we are, it is subconscious. We size other women up upon meeting them unintentionally. Comes as natural as our monthly menstrual cycle.

Then we slip into this comparison mode. Detail by detail we like to pick apart the other female and compare them to ourselves—what we have that she doesn’t and vice versa. Envy as they call it. People like to say they don’t “care about the next person,” but we have all been there before. This is something I noticed I was doing this past week. I wasn’t necessarily sizing another female up, but I was putting myself in a position to compare myself to another person/people.

I attended bible study this past Wednesday at a friends church (this wasn’t my first time at the church but my first time attending their bible study), and I noticed how everyone was feeling everything the pastor was saying and got something out of it. I heard “Hallelujahs” and “Thank you Jesus” all over the sanctuary, and not to say that I didn’t feel anything the pastor was saying….but this was different. I found myself comparing my praise and worship to everyone else’s. I have never spoken in tongues, never wailed out, never shouted and jumped in the middle of the aisle…that has never been me. I am looking at others around me who basically “praise the Lord” in this kind of way, and felt bad. I began to feel like my praise and worship were belittled because I didn’t do it like the people around me were. Or I wasn’t Christian enough because I wasn’t giving the Lord all of me. I know I can hold back sometimes when I spend time with him…but that’s just the reserved me.

At my home church in Columbia, I don’t remember ever having the problem of comparing my worship to other UE attendees. I’m too wrapped up in the word being preached and reflecting on my own life to be concerned with others worship. But once I came to an unfamiliar place with an un-renewed mind, I concerned myself with everything else but the word that probably was intended for me that night.

To sum up….the more time you spend concerning yourself with the next person and comparing the do’s/don’t haves… you run the risk of missing your own blessing. As the saying goes.. “What God has for me it is for me.” ß I try to keep this as a constant reminder when my flesh begins to discolor into a shade of green. I have no business concerning myself with what someone else has, whether it is something tangible or valuable such as praise and worship. Otherwise, God would have saw to it that I had those things and dwelled in me in such a way that I speak in tongues, wailed, and jump & scream in the middle of the aisles. I love God and am very grateful for the relationship that I am growing into with him. I have several moments where I cry from pure Joy due to how good he has been to me. I am not perfect and repentance has become a daily routine of mine. I am thankful for my heart check that brought me to the realization of why I began this walk in the first place. Not to view my life through comparative aspects but to whole-heartedly give God what is owed to him—my life. 

 
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That is basically where I am at right now. Well technically, at this very moment, and bored beyond my mind but overall, I just wrapped up an internship in Columbia, MO where it has literally been just Addyson and I. It’s not like I am not familiar to this; I was here last summer with Addyson taking 9 credit hours but this summer is different.

I felt God tugging on my heartstrings even last summer, but I was too caught up in myself to give it any attention. Don’t get me wrong… I have always loved God and always took time out to pray…but what I wanted was all I was worried about last summer.

1)   I was taking 12 credit hours last summer, which then turned into 9 (What was I thinking) but I would always boast about it as if to get a pat on the back for my accomplishment.

2)   My 21st birthday would soon be arriving and I was highly anticipating it.

3)   I was worried about completing my classwork at home knowing Addyson needed my attention, but yet had time to entertain a lot of foolery.

4)   I was always on highway 70 to get to St. Louis to find something to get into because I was bored in Como….

See what I mean…it was all these “I’s” and “My’s”. God found a way to isolate me last summer in Columbia but I wasn’t prepared for the transformation that would be coming…hence, this summer’s isolation. Before I get there…

I would notice that different things would always happen with me in comparison to the crowd I was with. I’m just about the youngest out of my closest friends, give or take two others, so everyone else turned 21 before me. I made sure I gave my closest friends a gift, flowers, cards, or may have even paid for their meal. If I was lucky, I was able to participate in the 21+ festivities. Then it got around to my 21st birthday. It was on a Wednesday and I had to work and had class in Columbia, so technically, I spent it here. That weekend I went home, anticipating a weekend full of pure foolery that I thought my “friends” had all planned out for me. Boy was I wrong.

People would cancel on me left and right and my closets friends were not interested in going out but didn’t want to tell me. So there I was…frustrated, upset, confused…like “I live in Columbia and I come home excited about my birthday and no one is interested in celebrating with me!” I even had intentions on going to a club with my brother but ended up leaving my ID in my pants pocket at. God works in ultra mysterious ways.

 

What I felt last year was that my “friends” were selfish deliberately set out to ruin my birthday. I remained bitter for a very long time. Shoot…. I think I’m just now getting over it. But I digress….

What I’m getting at is, that was all God’s doing—not my assumption that my “friends” were being inconsiderate. God knew I didn’t have any business partaking in anything I had intended on partaking in. Gambling (I went but lost $2 so I quit), drinking (I was inebriated that Friday night but went back home), sex (Didn’t have any intentions but at that point in my life, the idea wasn’t far-fetched). Everything my flesh wanted to do had failed me because God saw fit that I didn’t do those things.

[Ever find yourself in an environment or around certain people and all you can think is “I don’t belong here.You try to force yourself to stay but it is just that feeling in the pit of your stomach that doesn’t sit well with you. It is there for a reason. Your purpose is deeper than your present state.]

As of now, I am in Columbia again this summer BUT my intentions were to be back in St. Louis. I was looking for internship after internship in St. Louis but either I never got word back or got denied after an interview. God didn’t want me in St. Louis this summer. He knew exactly where to place me. #OperationIsolation

It has literally just been Addyson and I—all summer—no babysitter or anything (outside of daycare). On top of that, my internship was unpaid. So I was enduring a no income, lonely summer. It’s not as bad as I am making it out to be, considering I understand the reason behind it.

This summer I have grown extremely close to God. This past March I returned my body back to Jesus by becoming Celibate (another blog post) and joined a church. I made the choice to give up alcohol at the beginning of the year but have had a few slip ups here and there (I have repented). I have taken action. I’ve been humbled at the fact of no-income BUT I have not NEEDED for anything. My rent is always taken care of, even if it is last minute and my bills have been paid…even at the VERY last minute. Gas is still in my car and even though Addyson daycare is always late, they get theirs too. I haven’t shopped, haven’t been to the movies, haven’t been out to eat, haven’t been to the hairdresser (well…once I think). All the luxuries I am used to haven’t been available to me this summer—but I am okay with that.

God made sure that I increased my faith in him that I am 100% he will take care of all my needs….and he has. I’ve been attending bible study and church routinely (this time last year I couldn’t say the same). I don’t have the same desires to go to parties, bars, and the likes. Couldn’t say the same for this time last year either.

I needed this isolation. I thank him for this isolation. I praise him for this isolation. I may be bored, but I am not lonely. God will do whatever it takes to get his time with you. It takes some people to experience a MAJOR eye opener in order for God to get his time; luckily, I am able to get subtle cues.

*Side note: My phone went haywire last night so I took that time I would usually be on Twitter to catch up on Genesis and read some other Christian blogs. God WILL get his time.

Take it from me. Whenever you are feeling lonely or feel you have too much idle time, which is not a coincidence. God wants his time with you. We have time for reality TV, Twitter, OT at work that we WANT and don’t NEED, the club….you catch my drift. He wants his time. It’s the LEAST we could do. It isn’t easy, but well worth it. Let me wrap this up. My Man is waiting on me to tell him about my day :) 

 
After doing some cleaning earlier this morning, I ran across a Daily Prayer that I took from a doctor’s office two years ago when Addy had the stomach flu. It holds the same meaning to me now as it did then, and it is a tremendous blessing that I found it. Not too detailed, and can apply to anybody who chooses to read.

THIS IS MY PRAYER

Dear Lord,

I thank you for this day. I thank you for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness.

Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from you.

Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.

Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see sin through God’s eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.

And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example—to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will.

Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those who are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know You intimately. I pray for those who will choose not to continue reading this. I pray for those who don’t believe. But I thank you that I believe.

I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every member in their households. I pray for peace, love, and joy in their homes, that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.

I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for you to fight. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

This is my prayer.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 
I’ve been checked and put in my place y’all. Not rudely or disrespectfully—but a friend of mine spoke her mind about how I was coming off (unknowingly) and it gave me a greater perspective.

Basically, I’ve been on this whole Walk With Christ kick (not to minimize how important this walk is—I just like the lingo) and I’m learning that I have been coming off judgmental towards people around me just because I made the decision to strengthen my relationship with Christ. One of the ways I am doing so is by routinely going to church, and question why my friend doesn’t. Although I am questioning her church attendance jokingly, she seemed to think otherwise—as she had a right to feel as such.

“I won’t say that my feelings were hurt nor am I mad b/c neither are definitely true. But I will say that I felt like I was being judged last night by you on ALL levels. When you asked me am I saved, primarily b/c I don’t go to church every Sunday, really took me for a loop. By no means do I compare my Christianity to anyone else, but I would like to believe you know me well enough to know that I am saved. Christianity is not measured on how many times you go to church”—is what a great deal of the text read.

I was shocked. I wasn’t offended or anything like that—just shocked. I hadn’t realized that I was giving off that type of vibe because that certainly wasn’t my intention. Nor did I realize I asked her was she saved—I don’t remember asking her that and if I did I am utterly surprised at myself, considering I am not saved yet.

Regardless if I said it or not, I felt compelled to apologize (and I did) because the last person I want to be is that judgmental/pushy Christian waving my lifestyle in everyone else’s face. That’s not me…intentionally.

I did it again this past Sunday. I was sitting in church and a friend of mine came and sat next to me, an hour after service has been going on. His first words were “how are you” while mine were “boy you late!” Dope…smacks forehead* I immediately felt embarrassed after I said it because I realized I had done it again. “Alana don’t you think he knows he’s late?! He doesn’t need you to remind him” is what I thought to myself.

I had to give myself plenty self-reflection on the type of person I was becoming and why I was becoming that way. In my walk with Christ, not only am I striving to build an everlasting relationship with Christ, I want to pull in people with me. I want to encourage those who are struggling—we can encourage each other. Just because I am no longer struggling in a certain area certainly does not give me the right to judge others who are currently in that season of struggle. I am human and have flaws to last for days. But I am working on it.

If you are reading this and have ever felt that I have judged, stereotyped or labeled you, I sincerely apologize for doing such. Honestly, many times I am unaware if I am doing that but I am praying for Him to rid me of the judgmental bug and replace it with encouragement. After all, if God sat in front of me and literally told me everything I have done, do, will do wrong…MAN…I don’t ever want to experience that. I apologize. Pray for me…as I am praying for you

 
As I stated in my previous blog posting, I am currently dealing with managing my emotions. I am learning that I am in a season of maturity and self-control—when you ask God to help you work on areas of your life, he does it. It hurts when you go through growing pains…it really does. Often times when we are being tested to develop our character, we think it is the devil when it is really God just answering requests. We ask for an abundance of faith, he places us in a situation to where we can’t do anything but have faith that all will be okay. We ask for patience, he places us in a situation to where we have no choice but to be patient. It hurts! Along with Christ-like characters that I am praying for, I am also praying for the strength to endure the season.

Not to divulge too much in what is exactly going on with me (to respect the privacy of the other person—blah blah blah), I am still enduring the hard ships of single-parenthood. As many single mothers—well single parents (don’t want to single out the fathers who are active, especially considering I plan to work with single fathers) – we go through times where we have these expectations. Expectations that the non-custodial parent is supposed to hold the same weight of responsibility of our kids like we do. When things do not happen as such, meaning we find ourselves doing any and everything for our child in the VOLUNTARY absence of the other parent, we grow frustrated. Frustrated, resentful, impatient, intolerable, non-understanding, petty—we (I) let our (my) emotions get the best of us (me).

I have days where I think I accepted the fact that I am a single mother – that I will be in the season of single parenthood until God says otherwise. In those days I go about my business like usual. Wake up, get Addy to daycare, go to school and/or work, pick Addy up, do my motherly duties, go to bed, and wake up and do it all over again. It has become routine. I am used to it being just her and I. Then there are days that I reflect on how I got into this situation. I reflect on how I didn’t create her by myself but it seems as though I did. I find myself questioning God’s decision to make me her sole caregiver and asking, “why can’t ___ just get his act together and help me with our child?” I grow angry; I feel resentment dwelling inside of me. Even a little bit of unforgiveness after I clearly stated I forgive him. Sigh

These are days I need to be knee-deep in prayer. That is the season I am enduring now. I am letting my emotions get the best of me…interfering my growing process of inheriting Christ like characters. I find myself saying things that I know I will be apologetic for immediately after—even during. I find myself thinking thoughts I know I will be repenting for immediately after. Feeling things that are not of him…going back to the way I used to be and letting my spirit take a back seat to my flesh.

It is so easy to be the smaller person…in this case I really really really really want to be the smaller person. I just want to be petty. It is so much that I am on the cusp of saying, but I have come too far to revert back to the old Alana. If you are reading this, please keep me in your prayers. This may not seem like a serious issue to you…but animosity and resentment are very toxic and can harden hearts. I am praying to do the opposite. When I say I forgive, I want to mean it no matter what happens…now and forever.