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.

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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)

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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

A Christmas I’ll Never Forget: A Broken Marriage Engagement + New Direction in Life…

life, love, matters of the heart, relationships

Some events in my life I’ll never forget as their impact have changed the direction of my life – forever.

One of these events in particular took place during the Christmas season of 2005. I know that seems like a million years ago to some of you reading this. I was young, passionate, zealous for the things of God, and about to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

I’d been “on and off again” in a romantic relationship with someone for about five years at that particular time. When he proposed marriage with one of the most gorgeous rings I had ever seen (most who saw it would agree), I thought that this could perhaps be “it.”

macro shot of solitaire ring on flower

I accepted the ring but soon after began to feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep and began to question my choice for a variety of reasons. Still I kept up the facade. I continued to wear the ring as I made some “loose plans” to set a date for the wedding. One might think I would be happy, but I was truly miserable. I remember this feeling like it was yesterday because these were the days leading up to Christmas.

egg nog bottle near cupcake red berry fruits and ice cold drinks

When I should have been enjoying eggnog, Christmas lights, and most importantly honoring the birth of Jesus — I was privately suffering and pondering my complicated history with my ex-fiancé.

This blog post is in no way an attack against him but a reflection of my own choices and behavior. I take full responsibility. #Slander

So Christmas day finally arrived. I was grouchy and moody for no apparent reason. My mom even gently confronted me about my behavior before our traditional family dinner. I knew that I needed to make the hard decision to call off my marriage engagement. I had prayed long and hard and found no peace in the idea of spending the rest of my life with my ex-fiancé. This decision wasn’t like casually picking out a new pair of shoes – this was serious.

close up of shoes and bag

It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done to date. Some people in my life questioned my choice. I was criticized. Someone even tried to convince me that I was acting irrationally.

But what I learned in the moment were key lessons that I still carry with me today:

  • Don’t stop praying and inquiring of God’s throne when unsure about something. It’s better to tarry and wait for God to answer than settle for something that only “appears” to be a good thing.
  • God has the final say. I had begun to make my plans as life seemed to be “aligning” itself with my goals, age, etc. But the perfect will of the only true and wise God stands.
  • God had a very specific purpose (and husband) for my life. I met my husband of 13 years soon after my broken engagement. I answered the call to teach/preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and even established a consulting organization to help at-risk women in unhealthy or complicated relationships.
  • My biggest “gain” was not a new relationship, things, or opportunities but it was more of God himself. God’s love for me is unprecedented. He truly leads me like the patient and kind shepherd that he is. #Psalm23

I can imagine that you are a real person like me – all of your plans have not come into fruition. Some things you set out to do have gotten lost in the challenges of U-turns, pit stops, and delayed progress.

Read more about how God can use these circumstances in your life for good in my latest book, Life Redirected.

CLICK HERE 

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Jason and I (May 2019)

Words You Need to Ditch Right Away

life, matters of the heart

What you see in the mirror always seems to be inferior – even on your best day… Perhaps you are this woman. If so, keep reading…

There are many words that we can use to describe ourselves. What we say has a significant impact – more than we sometimes realize.

 Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruit.

For instance, when someone informs me that a certain thing can’t possibly happen for them, I cringe a little because I know that this short four letter word – can’t –  is setting the tone for their next steps if they’re not careful. I absolutely believe in the sovereignty of God as his ways and timing for our existence are in his hands. However, I know that any one of our days has the potential to move beyond the “can’t” word of our speech.

four woman at the conference room

Consider the following biblical passage:

Luke 13: 10-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit

10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

What if this particular woman had believed the “can’t” of her life?

  • I can’t go to the synagogue because people might criticize me.
  • I can’t expect anything different than what has already been happening over and over again.
  • I can’t believe any other words besides the negative words around me.
  • I can’t receive healing from Jesus.

That last “can’t” is tragic in itself. What if the woman hadn’t made her way to Jesus’ path (disability and all) when he invited her into his presence?

I’m intrigued with her ability to think beyond the “can’t” of her life. Her tenacity brought a revival in more ways than one:

  • Not only is her physical body revived but her spiritual self is renewed as she glorified God publicly and out in the open. #Revival
  • The usual dynamics of the synagogue and the leader’s rules are challenged by Jesus who is called to set the captive free on any day that is deemed fit by God, heaven, and the perfect will of the One who created time. #Revival
  • God is glorified in an environment where 18 years of suffering is transformed into a testimony of the goodness of a King who seeks and saves his own. #Revival

What “can’t” are you facing at the moment? How can you give it to God and allow him to handle it in his way, timing, and purpose? Is it possible to say – “I can’t, but I know a God who can?“

Life has a way of presenting “the impossible” – which gives us unique opportunities to put some faith-fueled vocabulary and phrases into practice:

  1. I feel weak, but my God is strong and working through me.
  2. I’ve been waiting awhile, but God’s grace is sufficient.
  3. I want to give up, but his love carries me day by day, moment by moment.
  4. This situation is out of control, but God holds my hand through it all.
  5. I’m just hanging on, but my hope is in the One who gives me life – forever.

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#DitchCant #SayGodCan #AccordingToHisWillWayTiming
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Go beyond the blog – check out Keturah’s latest Bible Studies + Books – CLICK HERE

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.

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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. 

The Call to Serve: Marriage

love, matters of the heart

November 4th will mark thirteen years for us…

I remember it like it was yesterday. On November 4, 2006, we said our “I do’s” in front of about 150 witnesses in the beautiful, cool, and crisp fall season of New Jersey. The wedding reception with our loved ones, Bahamas honeymoon, and endless celebratory moments were a wonderful entry point to our marriage. Real life for us began not only in the good times, but also the bad times. Some of the things we’ve faced together as a couple – I know it was only the Lord who kept our hearts, sanity, and faith.

It’s been an interesting journey and I don’t regret one moment. Every year I’m convinced that my role as a wife is a unique calling designed by God to serve Jason.

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Daytime date of hiking in the park (May 2019)

I feel like I am constantly learning and growing in this area as I depend on God to enlighten me regarding it. Marriage is one of the most intentional areas of my life and if not tended to with a posture of service (sacrifice), I will neglect the important things for sure. I’m not afraid to say that it’s tempting to take my spouse for granted in our busy lives while pushing to the side the necessary dating, couples’ prayer time, spontaneous fun (not just sex), and focused attention.

This thing called marriage takes work.

But it’s worth it and I’m up for the challenge…

Happy Anniversary, Jason. I look forward to many more to come. #Year13 #Called ToMarriage #CalledToServe

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“Because answering the call isn’t always easy…

Ironically enough, Keturah shares her personal and spiritual journey of ending a previous marriage engagement in order to answer God’s call to obedience. She would then encounter Jason – her husband of thirteen years and a deeper sense of just how sovereign and purposeful the Lord is. CLICK HERE to download and read.

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.

woman wears beige suit hand shaking man wear suit

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

black and white boat clouds coast

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.

Let’s Be Honest…

life, matters of the heart

#Life #MattersOfTheHeart

Life has a way of presenting circumstances that are painful and sometimes quite traumatic. The fallen state of this world and humanity places us in vulnerable positions of being affected by a society filled with crime, abuse, mistreatment, poverty, war, disease, hunger, and so much more. Additionally, relationships and families are a target for brokenness as all of the previously mentioned tragedies can impact people spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

Sometimes hope is lost in God and people. #LetsBeHonest

The painful existence of wounds of the heart and mind – trauma – is more common than we can imagine as the “after shock + effects” may be clearly seen when we encounter a perpetually angry/rude and troubled co-worker, a defiant child, or difficult family member who seems to always want to argue. We don’t have to look very far to identify the traumatized. Truthfully, the trauma may even lie in our very own hearts.

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The months of April and May (2019) have taught me even more as a Bible Teacher and Trauma Healing Group Facilitator that pain should not be “hidden” – it’s not natural nor biblical. As I recently had the privilege of facilitating at Transformation Church of Trenton, New Jersey – it was a beautiful lesson and reminder for us all that we will suffer in some capacity – but we do not have to “package it” as a weight to be carried.

How can we be more honest about our pain and trauma?

  • Talk to God like we’ve never done before. This is good. This is biblical. A sizable portion of the Psalms were written by folks who were having a hard time in life and needed an outlet for their pain. God was the one they turned to when they couldn’t even turn to anyone else.
  • Speak with a trusted friend, leader, or mentor who is aware of the skill of listening. Listening is a skill and a great listener will ask the right questions, give constructive feedback, maintain privacy, and not be quick to judge your pain as insignificant, a sign of weakness, or an inconvenience to their schedule. The more times you share with a trusted and skilled listener, the easier it becomes to process your painful circumstances.
  • Seek professional services. Some cultural beliefs would have us view professional help as a lack of trust in God himself. This is certainly not true. Proverbs 11:14 states:

King James Version
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.

Darby Bible Translation
Where no advice is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

World English Bible
Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.

#LetsBeHonest

How have you had to be more honest about your pain? Has addressing it been more helpful? How do you feel about the concept of “skilled listening” when seeking help?

photography of women talking to each other