Traveling Light…

leadership, life, matters of the heart, relationships

Change may be on the horizon for 2020. If you can relate, keep reading.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1

I can imagine that many of us will have to “drop” some things during this season as God continues to refine, prune, and mold/shape us for the sake of his will and Glory. These are not always the most comfortable moments as some long-term commitments are all of a sudden becoming modified or non-existent and more casual pursuits are evolving into something more permanent. God has a way of showing us just how strategic he is when our comfort zones are turned completely upside down.

photo of person wearing converse all star sneakers

I’m sure a lot went through Abram’s mind in Genesis 12 as he packed his family and belongings up and traveled on a road that was unfamiliar. Keep reading further and it seems like Abram’s journey was a day-by-day, moment-by-moment kind of excursion. All he knew was that God told him to leave the old places behind and this was enough.

How can we “travel light” – knowing that God’s leading to something different is enough for us as well?

people crossing the street

We must take separation from the past very seriously.

This is sometimes tough, especially when we’ve felt attachment to certain things. But there was a reason God was calling Abram out of his native land. He wasn’t just forfeiting a two-story home, sprawling backyard, and wrap-around porch – figuratively speaking. God was ultimately calling Abram unto himself to worship. The separation was not about hate or neglecting folks, but it was a nurturing of a deeper dependence on God who wanted to purposefully multiply a nation through him. Abram’s former environment just wouldn’t do.

How are our own former environments not conducive anymore? How do they hinder our spiritual growth or serve as idols. “Traveling light” becomes a lot less complicated when we are wholeheartedly disconnected from the very things God desires us to leave behind. The disconnection voices something so wonderful and beautiful: God is enough and the journey that he allows is enough.

We can be sure Abram needed strength for the journey as we do too. He found this in God’s presence – in moments of worship and intimacy with the Lord who was not only the God of his transition but also the God of his heart.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. (Genesis 12)

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of #grace

How will you be traveling “lighter” into the new month? Into the new year?

What if life as you know it is turned upside down?

Gain strength for the journey – CLICK HERE – Resources + Books + Bible Studies

When Women Gather: Mental Wellness Conversation + More

leadership, matters of the heart

I recently had the pleasure to meet with Kim Jones, founder and organizer of the GEM Experience in Trenton, NJ. Her upcoming event in February 2020 will include a panel discussion on mental wellness, domestic violence, and life changing moments just for women.

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I’ll be one of the featured panelists and I’m super excited about being able to contribute to this much needed discussion that benefits a diverse group of women.  The energy at our initial meet-up was epic as those who will be involved in February had an opportunity to share a bit of their story and their connection to mental wellness. I was able to glean off of the strength in the room as women testified of how they survived and overcame some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Meeting with these beautiful women also reminded me of my “why” concerning the work I’ve done at Healthy Relationships Network for over two years.

It’s always a pleasure to be in the company of focused and like-minded women.

I’m learning more and more that the gathering of women for a cause:

  • is necessary as there are arising issues and problems that need the creativity, intelligence, passion, and attention of women who are willing to help
  • can increase the personal morale of women who often feel “alone” or isolated  in the work they do
  • is advantageous for the communities, groups, and individuals served as talents, gifts, and resources are pooled together to enhance the effectiveness of the mission

*How are you working with other women in collaborative and impactful ways? Feel free to share in the comments section.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of #grace

Accepting the Call to “Be”…

leadership, life, matters of the heart

Many of us will wear many hats, titles, and positions; but no other calling is more sacred than the call to just “be” in God’s presence…

There were so many pivotal moments in the New Testament Bible where Jesus was very much active – preaching, teaching, discipling, counseling, healing, and preparing for His destination to the cross. I’m so thankful for the service and sacrifice of Christ because without this truth – I, you, and the whole world for that matter would be without hope.

#ThankYouJesus

I recently did a teaching at a women’s event about Jesus’ busy life, His purposeful mission to bring hope to a broken world, and the absolute dedication He had to RESTING. When and why would Jesus, being fully empowered by Heaven itself, need to slow down?

Although Jesus was 100% God, Jesus was also 100% human.

beautiful boat daylight foggy

So we witness, over and over again, in the scriptures where Jesus would literally retreat to isolated places, mountains, different towns, boats, and moments of strategic prayer in a complete mode of trusting and depending on the Father to renew and refresh Him (Mark 1:12, Mark 1:16, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15-16, Mark 2:13, Luke 6:12-13, Matthew 14:23, Mark 7:24, Mark 9:2, John 10:39-41, Mark 14:32).

So how much more should we accept the call to just “be” in a culture that constantly promotes the idea of constantly “doing” – especially during the holiday season?

How can busy folks like ourselves slow down during the frenzy of holiday gatherings, parties, shopping, outreach events, work overtime, and new year hustling?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep what’s important first – time with God and quality time with family/friends.
  • Resist the temptation to pack the calendar with Christmas events done “in His name” as every spiritual venture is not a direct connection to a deeper faith in Christ.
  • Adopt the courage to just “be” as we embrace a few quiet moments with intentional meditation over our favorite cup of tea/coffee and a willingness to pause and reflect on the miracle birth of a Savior.

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Have you checked out my latest Home Life Journal update? I share my reflections on making regular days count, the holiday season, and more – CLICK HERE. 

11 Things to Do as You Wait…

leadership, life, matters of the heart

  I won’t sugar-coat this reality: waiting can be a frustrating and sometimes intimidating process for any one of us…

personal organizer and pink flowers on desk

Consider these 11 tips:

  1. Reject a “false start.” Think of when Abraham and Sarah solicited Hagar to “help” them achieve what God promised them. Read more HERE.

  2. Enjoy the “right now” and the ability to appreciate what you’ve accomplished already.

  3. Believe that there is a “bigger picture.”

  4. Trust that God’s plans for you are good. We can’t “out-perform” God’s goodness and strategic purpose. 

  5. Avoid obsessing over your calendars. Yes, be wise and plan accordingly. But understand God’s timing doesn’t function in ours.

  6. Pray, ponder, and think before you act. Are you tempted to “rush” as a direct result of an emotional reaction to something in your environment? This can be a good and bad thing. Discern if you need a moment to cool down or if an immediate course of action needs to be taken.

  7. Resist comparing your agenda to someone else’s life and timeline.

  8. Rest. Turn off the phone, tv, and other noise. Simply take a moment to pause and rejuvenate.

  9. Realize your growth potential. No other experience can compare to the kind rooted in patience, endurance, and perseverance. 

  10. Prepare. Tweak the resume (and send the resume😊). Draft the proposal. Write the plan. Seek wise counsel. Enroll in a training session or course.

  11. Pray always. Surrender your will, emotions, and every part of you that is tempted to get unfocused.

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View the latest resources, bible studies, and books – CLICK HERE.

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Like Jesus Did: Creating “Buzz”

leadership, matters of the heart

There is no better model for serving others than how Jesus did here on earth…

We are clearly not witnessing any shortage of leadership agendas and propaganda. My social media feed is bombarded with sponsored posts by organizations and individuals who desire folks to buy-in to what they are claiming to offer. Certainly there is some good information out there, but I’m led to remind the most dedicated, gifted, and passionate leaders of this: don’t forget to “create a buzz” like Jesus did.

Creating Buzz: the practice of generating an excitement among users and consumers about a particular product, service, brand or product

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Too often, today’s leaders are focused on the quantitative impact of numbers, followers, stats, and data driven by losses and gains. Jesus’ greatest desire for the crowds who followed him close was that they be connected to something bigger than the “buzz” and the announcement that he was in the room, region, or territory. Jesus’ hope was that all who believed and followed him would be connected to the Father in heaven forever (John 3:16). There was no time to be focused on the “buzz” of his arrival but the eternal impact of his departure (John 14:2)

Here are 3 things to consider when “creating buzz” like Jesus did:

  • It’s about God’s glory. Jesus often told people that he encountered with the transformative power of the gospel to be quiet about his involvement in their lives (Luke 8:56). More often than not, they would proclaim his name and deeds anyway. How humbling to know that our deeds don’t have to be the center of all of our social media posts and conversations. If we simply commit to purposeful work with the right motives, then what we do in private will not only be noted in heaven but be honored by whom God chooses.
  • You won’t have to sell your soul. Yes, you will need to put the work in regarding what needs to be done, but not at the expense of proper rest and time with God. There will be a level of ease in what God has anointed you to do. It will feel like “breathing” to you as you execute your gifting for the Glory of God. Have you ever seen a singer belt out a song with passion and absolute comfort in their own skin or witnessed a teacher lay out their points of reference with skill? Surely they put the work in and prepared as necessary, but their gifting made room for them to shine. The doors of opportunity flew open at God’s command as he orchestrated their steps to not only perform but excel. They didn’t have to beg their audience to applaud or force themselves on people who weren’t interested. God had already set their stage of success.
  • Operate graciously. I love Jesus’ total commitment to stay focused on his mission. He fully knew that folks like the Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to disturb, oppose, and compete with his influence (Matthew 16:1-4). Yes, Jesus was direct and confronted the naysayers when necessary but he remained gracious in the process. His tactics were not retaliation, but he used these occurrences as teachable moments for his audience. Jesus knew the attention needed to stay on his heavenly mission and not his enemy. You too can learn from this type of graciousness. It can be tempting to pay close attention to others while missing out on all the wonderful things that God is doing in your life and purposeful work. Dare not engage in trying to be “noisy” for the sake of attention. Remain focused. Don’t compete and learn how to graciously bow out of trying to be the most popular or powerful.

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Because answering the call isn’t always easy…

Copy of Copy of Untitled Design (1)Excerpted from her 2015 best-selling book – Affirmations for Women: God’s Healing Words for the Heart – Keturah Ford has revised one of the chapters in the form of a Bible Study. Be inspired to not only pursue your calling but pursue it with confidence. Download a copy – CLICK HERE.

Here’s to “Firsts”

leadership, matters of the heart

#Leadership #MattersOfTheHeart

Exactly two years ago, I had no idea what I was being drawn to. I really didn’t have a clue about “my next big move” or what specifically God wanted me to do in my ministry and service to women. I was compelled to publish a resource – CLICK HERE – that would educate women about God’s view concerning healthy relationships in lieu of the recent reports of increased domestic violence, female-victim assaults, and murders at the hands of vicious perpetrators. My heart was overwhelmed by how young some of the female victims were.

I had to do something… Even if it was just something small…

So I became more active on social media. I wrote inspirational posts, blogged more, and spread the word about an Ebook I’d published about faith and dating. A few months later, I made Healthy Relationships Network official. The year was 2017 and I was gaining some focus about my calling. Since then, I’ve gotten more training while pursuing certification as a Trauma Healing Facilitator. I rented office space, ran support groups, searched out biblical scriptures about how God helps people in need/crisis, and served as a guest speaker at several college campuses, churches, and radio stations. It’s been a journey and God has been so faithful.

I write this post all to say: Believe God when he nudges you to do something bigger than yourself. Small steps matter too.

It’s easy to yield to doubt and fear as the temptation to stay “comfortable” is a reality.  I am a living witness that my running shoes were calling my name a few times as I sought to get as far away as I could from this purposeful work. Still I say, the journey has been worth it. It’s worth it because God is with me. He is in the work that I do. I sense his nearness as more people are served and His grace, healing, and love is made more known to those who need to understand that God is on their side.

So here’s to “firsts” – first plans, first meetings, first proposals, first steps toward the call to serve…

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Healthy Relationships Network’s first resource

CLICK HERE

Our Partnerships Matter…

leadership, matters of the heart

#Leadership #MattersOfTheHeart

Sometimes what we want and what God wants are two entirely different things…

Godly career people, CEOs, ministers, missionaries, authors, founders, presidents, etc. desire to do right by their Lord and the people they serve. Such leaders are often caught between several choices in any given year that could either make or break the success and longevity of their mission. It can often feel like an awkward place to be as they pray, ponder, and weigh the pros and cons of all the contributing factors of their choices.

Additionally, great leaders don’t approach all of their affairs alone and will often pursue partnerships, networking opportunities, and team efforts to bring their vision to pass.

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Certainly their collaborative efforts must be a “God-thing” because unity is the righteous way to go. Or is it?

Consider King Jehoshaphat of 2 Chronicles 20: 35 -37

35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. 36 They agreed to make ships to go to Tarshish, and these were built in Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has destroyed your works.” So the ships were wrecked and were unable to sail to Tarshish.…

King Jehoshaphat seemed to be putting a great deal of effort in his new business affairs of building ships for trading. I’m sure the prospect of such an endeavor was promising as the idea itself was extremely exciting and lucrative. But we can see that business came to a halt because of this reason: King Jehoshaphat’s association. How disappointed he must have been to find out that his vision, hard work, drawn-out plans, and pursuits were “ship-wrecked” literally. What a sight it must have been to see the new construction go to waste as the ships were stationary and unable to sail anywhere. #Tragic

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I’m sure the King’s choice felt “right” in the high emotions of excitement and forming something new. Still, God had the final say. This leader’s partnership choices mattered to the Lord.

What can we learn as leaders on a mission? What can we learn from King Jehoshaphat’s story as leaders destined to work with others on important projects?

  • Pray about all business affairs and related choices.
  • Ask God for wisdom – the wisdom to properly discern versus acting on emotions alone.
  • Decipher between “good people” and “good partnerships” – every “good” person or friend is not a guaranteed successful partnership.
  • Remember that God is gracious. It’s not too late to modify or change a questionable partnership choice you’ve engaged in. Pray for the tact and wisdom of how to best handle it.
  • Don’t wait to pray for partnerships. Begin now. Pray that God send the partnerships that will most glorify HIM and serve others well.
  • Selectivity in partnerships does not make anyone less of a “Christian” as unity of mind and heart with other believers should still be of utmost importance.

#OurPartnershipsMatter

#business #ministry #entrepreneur #influencer #writer #blogger #CEO #leader #emotions #collaboration #relationships #Christianity #faith #prayer

Because answering the call isn’t always easy…

Copy of Copy of Untitled Design (1)Excerpted from her 2015 best-selling book – Affirmations for Women: God’s Healing Words for the Heart – Keturah Ford has revised one of the chapters in the form of a Bible Study. Be inspired to not only pursue your calling but pursue it with confidence. Download your copy – CLICK HERE.