Where You Are Right Now


The month of June is about to hit the half way point and life is looking very different. Since late January when I posted “The Road Less Traveled” my life has gone through more changes. This obviously comes as no surprise, however there was one change which did catch me completely off guard. This change has forced me to work through fear, unforgiveness and revisited somewhere I have not been since I was a young girl. As I walked through the past few months I grappled to understand what God was doing and why this stage of the process was necessary. Through embracing what was and still is most unpleasant I stand on the winds of change; a change which has caused me to experience such contentment and new hope. The road less traveled led me where I did not want to go, but it has birthed fresh vision for my purpose and a greater trust in God. Where You Are Right Now is often the key to turning the page into the next chapter of your life.

Many fail to walk in all that God has for them because they do not fully embrace the process the Lord has set before them. It is usually very uncomfortable, at times painful and will require you to humble yourself. In this instance is required me to move back in with my mother. The woman who abused me for almost half my life, and to this day feels no remorse or guilt for her behaviour. Initially when it appeared that this was the direction things were going I out right refused. I bug my heels in (as if that would ever work well with God or overpower the Holy Spirit). Fortunate for me the Lord backed me into a corner, therefore I had no other option but to cooperate.

Coming back home to live with my mother was like pinpointing the source of all life’s pain. All my issues growing up started being at with my mother. So many painful memories, so naturally I thought revisiting them seemed pointless but yet there I was. Strangely enough with each passing day things started to change for me. I started seeing myself in a new light and freshness developed in my relationship with the Lord. My mother of course is the same and I am having to find a way to deal with that, however God was giving me a second chance to be who I was created to be. The pain from my childhood has shaped so much of who I was and the Lord was and is committed to setting me free. Free to live a life full of joy, hope and purpose unencumbered with the past. What a gracious God. He not only has a purpose for our lives, but He also wants to see us free to live life to the upmost. And I happy to say a long standing stronghold is crumbling to the ground.

It’s not everyday you get to go back and redo the past; to do-over situations or certain moments in time for the sole purpose of moving ahead into your future. I was angry and afraid initially when this scenario came about. Going back to live with parent who was the author of your abuse would be unnerving even for the most mature person, but the enemy is the author of all pain and suffering. Our family members or whoever “they” were were simply ponds in his hands. This is why the bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). This time here has not been pleasant or enjoyable, but it has worked out a greater purpose which I know God will use for His glory. I can now go into this new chapter of my life knowing God has spared no expense in preparing me and fully embrace whatever is ahead.

Where you are right now may very well be the key to the next chapter of your life. Don’t run from it, embrace it! It might not be what you want, but it will be what you need!!

 

Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

The Road Less Traveled


As I continue to launch in 2017 it is not without reflection. Often before a new year starts I take a break from my regular routine and focus on the Lord and His plan for my life. I try to get a sense of where I am and if there are any loose ends that need to be tied up before the new year begins. I dedicate more time to prayer, fasting and reduce my time on social media. However this year things were different. I was sick for most of the Christmas season, plus I was preparing to move. Fortunately what kept me on track was a sermon series by my Pastors. It was entitled “The Spirit Filled Life.” Through this message I was empowered to finally take The Road Less Traveled. My earnest desire has always been to live out God’s best, but I deeply craved a life of stability rather than one of faith-filled adventure. It is a road the Lord has wanted me to take for quite some time, however due to a number of circumstances I never had the courage to do it. Nevertheless I believe this moment marks the end of a chapter and the start of a new one.

I have always had a fear of “What if I miss it?” What if I am spiritually “off” and God is not really leading me down the path I’m on. (These are the type of terms we use in the church to express when someone is misguided or misunderstanding what the Lord is saying or how He is leading in a particular area.) Never mind that the Word of God says in Psalms 37:23 (NKJV) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” He is true to His Word. We ought to be confident in the Lord’s love and character, however this can sometimes escapes those young in their faith. These thoughts used to cross my mind and cause me to worry. Recently the Lord pinpoint the root cause and I realized just how much certain experiences effect one young in their faith.

Early on when I first began attending church God was doing so much in my life. There was a three years period where the Lord was doing an immense healing and restoration process; putting the pieces of my life back together. Towards the end of the that time is where I began taking small steps of faith whenever I felt His spirit leading. God being the faithful Father was right there encouraging me on. The more I did I began to tangibly see God’s hand at work in my life. As I trusted God with small things it became easier to trust Him with bigger and more complicated situations. Things steadily progressed and eventually led up to a major God encounter in 2005. This involved attending a conference outside the country, which was paid by a woman I met briefly prior to leaving on the trip. There are, of course, many details about this experience that would take to long to mention, but essentially the Lord tore the roof off what I thought was possible and drastically increased my of level faith and expectation. Going forward I knew my life would never be the same again.

Surprisedly, when I returned home I was met with mixed reviews. Although there were those who rejoiced for and with me, there were some that were sceptical. I received little encourage to embrace this new found faith and freedom the Lord was presenting. I was made to feel spiritually off when I did. Most acknowledged that is was indeed a “great” experience, but that I had to come to terms with facts. That it was just an experience. This was the moment I began to doubt myself and second guess what the Lord would speak to me. (As if to give merit that a contrary spirit was leading me down this path and I could not trust what I felt the Holy Spirit was speaking to me). Looking back now there was this unspoken message: Stay the same. Continue to fit in and comply with the current status quo or suffer the alternative. Be singled out as rebellious, not submitted to authority, and spiritually misguided. Needless to say I did not understand it at the time, but it is clear now. I was being set apart and it was entirely the Lord’s doing.

My mindset on things had begun to change. I no longer saw situations and circumstances as limitations. I saw them as opportunities for the power of God to move in and through my life. But it came with a price. Having to deal with criticism. Back then I was still considered as a new kid on the block. My brand of different was not sitting well with the older, and more seasoned Christians. Unfortunately through a series of events a seed of doubt were planted in my mind. I began to doubt the Lord’s leading. I did things to avoid peoples’ rejection. If I didn’t I was regularly labeled as someone who was unwilling to submit to authority, spiritually off, seeking the lime light, and wanting position. I perceived as a threat, therefore was to be kept under control.

Being labeled hurts, however at some point you have to take a stand. I finally chose to follow Christ and His unique path for my life; not forfeiting who I am to suit the ideas and expectations of others. It has meant walking much of my journey alone. And that’s ok! I have learned to press into God’s presence and really heavily on His Word to see me through every situations. There are times I wished I had someone to talk to and He does provide those people. Nevertheless if He doesn’t the Lord is my source. I look back now and it makes me sad. That I allowed people who chose to settle for simple and mundane affect my faith and walk with Christ. Either way it is a lesson learned and for that I am thankful. The beautiful thing about following the path God has laid out for me is I no longer need to make my life make sense to anyone other than Jesus. With each day my longing to know what He desires increases and the approval of other diminishes.

To move forward unencumbered I must forget the past. Isaiah 43:18a says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past…….Forget the former things means letting go of the past including every negative experience. I can not dwell on it or have it captivate my thoughts. I must continue to fight to hold onto my faith, my freedom and the clarity the Holy Spirit gives me. As I do I gain greater understanding of my purpose, receive clearer direction of what to do next, and experience greater joy while I step closer to completing my God-given earthly assignment.

Taking the road less traveled it is not something to be afraid of. It is something to be embraced. It is one filled with miracles and the tangible presence of God. The reality is you are going to get labeled no matter what you do. You might as well get labelled as the one who wholeheartedly followed the Lord and fulfilled your purpose. Trust me….different is better…..

Pressing Into His Presence


In a season of breaking down walls life is not without hope. We serve a God who is beyond faithful and His ultimate desire is to see us live out His divine plan for our lives. The Lord’s will is not to leave His people in desolation indefinitely, however there is indeed a purpose to the breaking down process. However, the key is to not give up hope or allow the current circumstances to overwhelm you in the interim. I have had to seek after a greater measure of the Lord’s peace. Not the kind of peace which leads to passivity, but rather one that leads to having an overcoming spirit; a tenacity from deep within seeing beyond the present into the fulfillment of God’s promise. This can only come through by being immersed in the Word of God and spending time in His presence.

Pressing into the Lord’s presence has become a essential and now permanent discipline. As I continue to yield to the life lead by the spirit I have had to relinquish all normalcy with respect to daily living. I recently began reading the book of Acts and I marvelled at how they lived. Minimal personal possessions, completely devoted to community and willingly funded the ministry by liquidating all personal assets. This is a foreign concept to 20th century North American church. In my morning time with the Lord I was reflecting on where I currently am, and I can honestly relate to the early Acts church. While my life is overshadowed by uncertainty and personal possessions are few I am experiencing a peace I have never had before. I am not overwhelmed with worry or am trying to figure things out. I simply am engaging my heart and mind in what I believe the Lord has called me do to. Each day I put my hands to what the Lord has called me to do inspire of whatever else is going on around me.

When you lay down worry you free your mind to focus fully on kingdom tasks the Lord has assigned to you. Jesus specifically says in Matthew 6DO NOT WORRY.” He does on to say that we ought to “seek the kingdom of God above all else” ie. meaning all our focus should be go to the building of His kingdom before the cares of life. In doing this you open up yourself to receive all you need for daily living. Prayers are answered, provision and healing is release when you put the kingdom of God first. And the only way to put the kingdom of God first is to lay down worry and receive peace; peace to look past the temporal and daily walk in what God has purposed you to accomplish on behalf of His kingdom.

The truth is it has taken a number of years to get here. There are days where I struggle, but I quickly work it through. I can recall countless moments of frustration, hopelessness; many of where I lacked any of understanding what God was trying to accomplish in and through my life. But there is something sweet about surrender. It is releasing the burden of having to know what to do or the need to fix everything. Nevertheless, the key is to also understand that it happens in stages. Some where along the way you give up measure of worry. Then yielding becomes simple. Daily I simply remind my mind, my will and emotions. Pressing into His presence is what has made this possible and His presence is what will help me to keep it going.

All God requires is for you to get up and daily say “Lord how can I build your kingdom?” As you put purpose in your heart to seek the kingdom’s agenda I have doubt the Father tell you what is on His heart…..

Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

Wall of Accomplishments


Growing up I always thought life was bleak. In all honesty I never believed I’d make it to my twenties, so being optimistic was a waste of energy. Also with no career aspirations planning for the future seemed like a mute point. Of course when the Lord came along everything changed. (This goes to show you that when God has a plan NOTHING can stop it!). I regularly started attending church soon after I got my first apartment. After moving around a lot for a number of years I was very thankful to finally have a permanent place a residence. As the dust began to settle it was clear I was going to have to start my life from ground zero. My Pastor at the time was a lawyer and extremely big on education, therefore she took me under her wing. With great compassion, patience and determination she helped me begin my journey towards academic success.

One of our first disagreements on the issue had to do with academic upgrading. I did NOT want to go. I just wanted to get a “regular job.” Needless to say I tried her patience lol. I can see her now looking at me through those glasses of hers. She would say “Enough if this nonsense, you are going to school!” Although I fought the idea for a while it was evident that school was in my future. A desire for a “job” simply would have satisfied my longing for stability. So much of my life up until that point was so erratic. I craved it. The idea of potential, higher education and pursuing an unknown future simply was not high on my priority list. My self-esteem was still low and a brighter future seemed out of reach. High school had been a complete right off, therefore to embark on an educational journey from what felt like rock bottom appeared like an insurmountable task. Nevertheless Pastor Nourse was not taking no for an answer! She used to say to “I can’t talk to you! You don’t see yourself properly! You are going to school!” It took some time, however I did eventually see the light. After a few round of academic upgrading, which Pastor Nourse insisted I take, I later went onto to college and university.

Getting into college was surprisingly a breeze and once I got settled in I began to fly through my courses. There were a few minor mishaps here and there, but nothing major. Academically I excelled. Graduating with honours from two college programs I went on to pursue an undergraduate degree with a scholarship I had received. As time went on I gained employment with reputable agencies within my field of study. A few insecurities surfaced along the way, nevertheless the Lord was faithful to help me work through them all. With each success and accomplishment the old version of who I used to be became a distant memory. I now had something new to look at. A Wall of Accomplishments. With every success and every accomplishment a wall was constructed. But the truth was the pain and shame of who I once was was still there. The wall just became something I hid behind. I am sure you have some idea where I am going with this. The Lord is not in the business of leaving you the same way He found you. It is His desire that we are made “whole”, however this is predicated on us and our willingness to let Him into the broken places of our lives.

In John 5 the Lord poses a question. Speaking to a lame man He says in vs.6Wilt thou be made whole?” (KJV) or in the (NIV) “Do you want to get well?” This is an indication our level of wellness is up to us. It does not solely rest on God and His ability to heal. Considering all of this I reluctantly allowed the Lord to breakdown my wall of accomplishments. This involved being stripped of life successes and reduced to a similar version of what I was pre-God/salvation. This included experiencing poverty and displacement; a measure of exposure I was not anticipating. But there I was. No wall or success to hide behind. I found myself with nothing, but my pain to look at. That’s when the Lord began to pour in His love bringing a new level of wholeness to my life. The broken pieces of my spirit were being put back together. I finally realized my identity in Christ was an absolute truth. With all God had done in my life I still had not arrived at that conclusion. Allowing the Lord to breakdown my wall was by far one of the most painful experiences I ever had to go through, but because of it I am being made whole.

The last five and half years have been a life changing process. One I think will take the rest of my life to tell. It is my earnest pray that you will take what I have shared and seek God for your own process. To seek for the wisdom to know what He is trying to accomplish in your life and to yield to the methods He desires to use. And that through the pain you will see His mighty hand at work; moulding and shaping you. My prayer is when you reach to the end you will say it was all worth it and give God all the glory!!
Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

Breaking The Cycle


The bible says in Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) “life and death are in the power of the tongue” and yet there are those who seem to have lost sight of this truth. I have always marvelled at the cavalier way in which words are used; giving no regard to the havoc being reeked on someone else’ life. I myself grew up in a home where there was physical, verbal and emotional abuse. And although the physical abuse did cause some damage, what has  taken me the longest to get over is the verbal abuse. The words my mother used cut so deep it made the physical abuse easier to bear. To this day there are certain words and phases, if used, immediately causes me to get into defensive mode. I do it almost without thinking; but I am thankful for Jesus and the healing power found in the blood, and the freedom available in Jesus Christ.

Walking through the process of restoration, after being torn down by someone’s words, is not an over night thing. I sincerely wish it was. For me the initial damage that was done during my early childhood years and all the way into young adulthood was so extensive, that unfortunately when things would be said it would only aggravate a wound that was still in the process of being healed. Not to down grade any of the current experiences, but it is safe to say the affect would not have been so sever if I didn’t already have a sensitivity in that area. Allow me to explain.

Recently I experienced a number of people freely share their personal opinion of me. It was not shared in love and I did not leave the conversation feeling built up or encouraged to be a better person and strive for God’s standard. Their words were most unkind, rude and rather thoughtless. I was extremely hurt. Now normally these types of situations affect someone for a few days, maybe, or possibly a week; but it rattled me to the core for quite some time. As I worked through this issue in prayer I began to see the magnitude of the words that were spoken in the past and how they had affected my thinking. The current situation was only exposing a preexisting problem. The words spoken by these individuals did not have much merit or any real power. Secondly, they came from people who are not invested in me or acquainted with what God is doing in my life; therefore such comments don’t really hold a lot of weight. (Although it is my practice to take whatever is said to the Lord and ask Him to show me if there is any truth to it. I have learned not to be an open slate in which to receive any thought or opinion that crosses someone’s mind). Nevertheless, what got me so unravelled was I feared what they were saying was true. My past still haunted me in many ways.  It was clear I was still stuck in a pattern of thinking. The bible calls this a stronghold.

This is why I love my church. Every Friday night we have a time of prayer. This past Friday my Pastor spoke on Isaiah 54:17 (NASB). It is says “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the LORD.” All that has been spoken was an attempt to destroy me. To destroy any chance of me fulfilling the plan of God on my life; but yesterday I saw my pattern of thinking was being perpetuated by those same negative words.  The current situations were affecting me more than they should because deep down I believed what they were saying. How can you out live a lie when it is something you actually believe. In showing me this the Lord has changed my whole outlook, renewed my mind, and I must say all situations are seen in a totally new light.

Romans 12:2 says that we as Christians (followers of Christ) are to be transformed by the “renewing your mind.” How we think must change if we are going to walk in victory, but especially if we are going to know what “God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I am amazed at how God unravelled the issue and in the very next moment brought
the solution. A stronghold – a destructive pattern of thinking – has been completely destroyed. I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I can now move ahead more freely, and with much more clarity. I no longer see words as weapons against me. I am liberated mentally of all negative words that have been spoken. As I continue to renew my mind in the Word of God Hw will continually change me from the inside out.

The bible says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We all have ways of thinking which could be characterized as harmful or destructive. They blatantly work against the Holy Spirit in our lives. I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas to you. A mind transformed is a transformed life.

Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

Embracing Your Unique Distinction


So I recently made my way through a book called “Without Rival.” It’s written by Lisa Bevere and she addresses the need in “Embracing Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison.” Now in all honesty I never thought I was prone to comparison. At times I struggle with insecurities, like everyone else, but using the Word of God I have always managed to work through them. Nevertheless in looking at “Embracing Your Identity” it felt similar to what the Lord had placed in my heart. He gave me the term “Embracing Your Unique Distinction.” I believe in doing this there is not only liberty and freedom, but also clarity of purpose and clear direction.

I believe this is an area we avoid discussing. Rarely do we critically assess our lives and how we feel about the direction our life had taken. However there is one thing I have come to realize while on the journey to embracing my own unique distinction. You must become aware and accept where you don’t fit. I have always believed what the bible says; that “your gift will make room for you.” Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV) says “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men”, but I have learned this does not mean your gift will always be received. Just because you are gifted and even called to a particular area does not guarantee these “great men” will welcome your gift with open arms. It only says your gift will bring you before them ie. present an opportunity. The uniqueness and distinctiveness of your gift may not be perceived as gift or useful. So the question is what do you do when this happens?

I will share with you what the Lord shared with me. Matthew 10:14 says “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words [ie receive your gift/service], when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (NKJV). Basically at some point if and when what you have offered is not received or utilized (over a consistence period of time) it is time to move on. This is what the Holy Spirit impressed upon me regarding my situation. Why try and continue to fit when clearly no room is being made. At the end of the day the rejection of your gift is not your fault. A willingness to obey God and offer your talents for His service is all God requires. Whether it is accepted and utilized is entirely up to these great men.

It has taken a lot for me to hold onto to what makes my gift unique. It would have me much easier to conform to people’s expectations and simply change to meet their tastes. If I was different or willing to modify myself in some way what I had to offer may have been more readily accepted, but it would have not been worth it. I would have lost something far more precious in the process and it was a price I was unwilling to pay.

I encourage you commit to God and yield to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to refine you and your gift. Conforming to the boxes other people have in their minds might give you what you want in the immediate, but not in the long run. Not every door that opens is meant to be open forever and every person will see the value in your gift. Don’t let that get to you. If they can’t see the value in it, it may simply be they lack the understanding of how to use it. Continue to trust God. Someone will come along who will see your gift as a great asset. The best part about is you won’t have to convince them!!

Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

Weeds of Insecurity


I heard a minister say once “as God begins to prepare you for what He has in store there will be degrees of separation” ie. a severing of relationships, a change in routines, activities and patterns of behaviour. The past six months there have been a number of changes, many of which have taken some time to adjust too. I have shared in previous posts the many things the Lord has addressed throughout this journey, but I must say nothing prepared me for to the Weed of Insecurity He is uprooting in this season of my life. And as painful as it is to allow it to remain would be detrimental to me living a victorious life in Christ and greatly hinder my ability to walk in the calling Christ has laid out for me. Knowing this I lay my heart before the Lord realizing I have avoided this process for a far too long. It is God’s desires to uproot every weed that has taken root in our lives, therefore we must wholeheartedly cooperate in order to successfully walk into the next season.

For those of you who don’t know it has been a few months since I started a business “The WTR School of Arts & WorshipAND officially launched a Christian inspirational brand “Little Rose: Share, Teach & Inspire.” The brand is something I have been working on for five years by compiling a diverse collection of written material. The was goal is to write biblically based inspirational content touching a wide range of topics and share them through a blog type platform. However when the idea came to create a school of worship, that was something I did not anticipate. The truth is although I love worship and can sing I never would consider myself an expert. I simply had a desire to honour God through my life and worship Him daily as a part of lifestyle. The byproduct of that is that you do grow in your understanding of worship and deepen your fellowship with the Holy Spirit (which I just have to say is AMAZING). These two things combined with a growing knowledge of the Word of God is recipe for an ever thriving, passionate worship life which coincidentally positively affects how you lead a song or worship service.

One of the things about pursuing this business venture is I really don’t have anyone or anything validating me and endorsing what I’m doing. It has been a challenge believing in myself and the gift God has given me, especially now that my brother (in-law) passed away. Walter was the only who ever really believed in my musical gift and encouraged me to use it. I met him when I was thirteen years old before he married my sister. I was shy and desperately insecure girl who just came out of foster care. I was very guarded due to my past experiences, but surprisingly enough he took a liking to me, even with my bad attitude. Walter was always there supporting and encouraging me, and soon became a trusted confidant and dear friend.

Walter was the guy who was always in your corner. We didn’t always agree on everything or see things eye to eye, but I could count on him. His word and his love could be trusted, and for me that was very rare. Fast forward to today I struggle not being able to talk to him. He had become a father figure. Whenever I was unsure of myself or needed to talk about anything I would speak to Walter. I never had to be afraid to speak my mind or be worried if he would get offended by how I was or what I said. He knew me, the real me and still loved me. This whole school of worship was his idea. I initially only agreed to it to get him to change the subject, but as I prayed and thought it through it seemed like something I should take seriously. The only catch was I was relying on him for moral support; to be here to guide me throughout this process. Unfortunately it didn’t end up working out that way.

Going forward with this business on my own has forced me to deal with many insecurities I’ve had for years. I am having to trust God more than I ever have before, and be secure in who I am and what He has called me to do. Ironically enough we tend to think God would address areas of insecurity in a kind and gentle manner, however when the problem runs deep it often calls for a more aggressive approach. Uprooting weeds or “pruning” is a rather painful and intrusive process. Much of what the Lord is cutting off now are things I have lived with my entire life. At times this ordeal leaves me silent, at a complete loss for words and rather lonely. The trying circumstances and “fiery” trials I face are anything, but gentle; cutting away at everything that will not bear fruit. Yielding to it is the only option for real sustainable breakthrough.

Watching Walter’s health fail was extreme hard, yet loosing he altogether never really crossed my mind. I just thought he would always be apart of my life; sharing in my successes, and supporting me through my failures. Yet here I am, and in spite of the current circumstances I must move forward. Before he died he made me promise I would pursue the business. I am so thankful to have had him in my life and I am going to do my best to honour my vow. Looking back now many people live their whole lives and never have anyone believe in them the way Walter believed in me. He knew how afraid I was and knew what I would forfeit if I succumbed to my insecurities, therefore the uprooting process is simply unavoidable.

I encourage you today to not allow fear to deter you from doing what God has called you to do. Don’t allow the weed of insecurity to overtake you. Uproot it at all cost. Turn to the Word of God and rely heavily on the Holy Spirit. Only then can your gift flourish and be used to fulfill your God-given assignment on the earth.
Blessed and Highly Favored
http://www.wtrlittlerose.com

P.S.

The school of worship is named after Walter; in honour of him and his legacy left behind.    ~ Walter Terrance Riley ~