From Feces to Fertilizer

Hey you guys! I apologize for not posting last week, but I’m back with a message that I pray will bless you. God is doing some really mind blowing things in my life right now and as the weeks go, I promise I will share them with you soon! Through all that God is doing, I couldn’t help but thank Him for how He is turning the absolute worst part of me into something that can be used for His glory and to build His Kingdom and His people. So with that being said, let me share a message from my book with you entitled “From Feces to Fertilizer.”
Feces are defined as waste matter eliminated from the animals’ bowels and is also known as excrement. Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Fertilizer is often made from animal manure, such as cow and horse manure. What occurs is the natural chemicals from the manure burns off all of the bad elements from the roots of the plant which then enhances the growth process of the plant. So something that people view as disgusting, dirty, nasty, and waste can then be turned around and used to make plants (fruits and vegetables) that are essential to our well-being.
Now if God can take feces and turn it into fertilizer which is used to make things grow, surely He can take every failure, heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, setback, sorrow, dry place, loss, and delay, and turn it into something that will cause you or even someone else to grow!
Instead of focusing on all of the bad things that have happened in your life, change your perspective. Think about how those negative things caused you to evolve into the God strong person that you are today. All of those past setbacks were things that God knew He could use to burn off the waste in you and cultivate you so that the best part of you can come forth. 
Remember, God doesn’t waste pain. God doesn’t waste disappointment. God doesn’t waste tribulation. God doesn’t waste heartbreak. He has a plan for all of those things and in some way or another He will use those things to help you grow.
So let our prayer be, “God thank You for everything that has occurred in my life up until this point, even the things that I thought were working against me. God thank You for using those situations to make me into exactly who You’ve called me to be. Thank You for turning the waste in me into fertilizer that has only helped me to grow.” 
  

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By imtoughenough

Really Anointed. Really Addicted.

I know some of your minds are spinning just reading the title of this post! Honestly, my stomach is churning because I can’t believe I’m actually sharing this with you! I’m not sure how this message will be received but I am confident that someone will see themselves in this post and moreover will see the power of the true and living God! My only request is that you open your mind, your heart, and your spirit and let the Lord minister to you as you read. So here we go……

When I was 16/17 years old I began to dabble in recreational drug use. It was something that I occasionally did in high school and on into college. I would go months and even sometimes years without touching it, but then I would all of a sudden pick the habit back up. In 2010 I picked this drug habit up and I didn’t put it back down. I began getting high EVERY SINGLE DAY and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I could not wait to get off of work and get to my drug. We were homies! I know it may sound strange, but that was my reality. During this time I still had an amazing career. I was extremely active in my community. I mentored many. I actively participated in my ministry. And I still got my high on a daily basis.

Now I’m not naive. I’ve been in relationship with Jesus for a long time now and I knew what I was doing wasn’t “right”. But then I began to try to reason with God. I told Him that I would give Him everything else, but not my addiction. I loved getting high and I figured with all of the other ratchetedness I was letting go of, this would be an even trade off. Straight up FOOLISH, I know.

So here I was, a teacher (both in school and in my ministry), a preacher, a mentor, a prayer warrior, a servant, and did all of it well and was still an addict all at the same time. Suddenly I began feeling conviction when I got high. I told myself I could stop at any time, I just didn’t want to. I was convinced that I couldn’t’ be an addict, not me. But the truth of the matter was that quitting was a lot more complicated than I ever thought and that was because I had a real addiction.

In September 2013 I’d gotten myself into a really sticky situation. I was 2 months behind on my rent and I was facing eviction. It was a Monday (Labor Day to be exact) and I sat on my couch and started getting high. I was so stressed out that I just wanted to be as high as possible so that I would not be able to think about what was going on. The more I smoked, the more sober I was. I couldn’t get high to save my life. And as clear as day, I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, “You won’t be able to smoke this away, you’re going to have to let me take it away!” I put the drugs down that night and I haven’t looked back since! In the blink of an eye the desire, the taste, the addiction was gone! Only a true and living God could do it!

So here I am, almost 2 years later, and still drug free! I’ve been extremely hesitant to share this story. I’m a very private person and this story is allowing you all access beyond the veil of my life. Recently I’ve began sharing this testimony with others and to my surprise, people are being blessed by it. As much as I want to keep my business to myself, I understand that we overcome by the words of our testimonies. By keeping this to myself, I am denying others to know and see the power of a living God working in the lives of His people. This deliverance never has been about me. It is for the world to know and understand who God is and what He can do for those who believe and trust Him. Thank you all for allowing me to be candid. Thank you for not judging. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share what God has done to, through, and for me. I realize that I am TOUGH ENOUGH to tackle the obstacle of guilt, shame, embarrassment, inadequacy, and regret that came along with being an addict and you are too!

addiction-recovery

By imtoughenough

Bouncing Back Is Harder Than Sticking It Out!

see so many of my friends are making a conscious decision to live healthier lifestyles. I think we’ve seen our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members struggle with preventable diseases for so long and we refuse to do the same. So kudos to all of you! Me personally, I’m on my way back to that road! 3 years ago I made up in my mind that I wanted to live! I wanted to be around to fulfill this amazing destiny that God had laid out before me, however, I knew that that may not be a possibility if I kept treating my body like I’d been doing in the past! So I changed my eating habits, started hitting the gym twice a day, and over the course of about 6-7 months I dropped 40 pounds! 

Now after the initial weight loss, I began to get a bit relaxed in perusing my health goals. I gradually started eating what I once ate. I wasn’t in the gym as much. I slowly began to see old habits that I broke sneak back into my life. The scale started moving in the opposite direction. And now, 3 years later, I’m struggling to get back in the press. I definitely don’t remember it being this hard 3 years ago! Bouncing back has proven to be far more difficult than the fight to just stick to it the first time!
This same concept is applicable to so many different areas in our lives, especially our spiritual walk. Often times we find ourselves slowly regressing in various areas. And we can see ourselves moving backwards, but we feel as though we have things under control and can get back on track at anytime. So instead of fighting to continue progressing, we fall back and let things ride. Next thing you know, we are standing in a place that is all to familiar, but is extremely uncomfortable. We then realize that it would have been much easier to have fought to stay where we were than it is trying to get back to where we were. Fighting to stay in the press is hard. It’s challenging. It cost us our will and our way, but I promise it is worth it in the end!
Have you ever been there? God knows I have, one too many times! But I’ve got good news! Today is an opportunity to jump back in the fight. Right now is your chance to make a decision to discipline your spirit so that you can bounce back from this minor setback! You have what it takes to get it done! I believe in you! This setback doesn’t have to define you. You have the option to let it refine you so that you can come back better than ever! I know you can do it because you are TOUGH! 
By imtoughenough

Transformer Mentality

A few months ago I began having a conversation with my godsons. I asked them about one of their favorite movies, Transformers. They excitedly told me what the plot was, who the key characters were, and what the final outcome was. The more I listened, the more intrigued I became. I then asked them who their favorite characters were. Jayson quickly responded by saying Sam! When asked why, he said, because Sam is actually human and the Transformers listen to him. Jaedyn said Bumble Bee, no, Optimus Prime. His reason was because Optimus Prime always knew what to do and he was a great leader. So of course I ended up watching the movie. I had to see for myself.

One thing that I took notice to in the movie was the fact that as regular cars or trucks the Transformers had no real power. It wasn’t until they actually transformed into autobots that they could fight off and defeat the “bad guys” who were trying to destroy the earth. The transformers understood that everything they needed to save the world was already inside of them, but they couldn’t save the world in the state they were in. Once they transformed, they recognized what they possessed. Once they transformed they were able to use what was already there to bring down the enemy.

We are the same way. It isn’t until we allow our minds to be transformed that we realize and can walk in the power or authority that God has given us. Once we realize what is in us, we will begin to utilize what He placed in us to bring down the plots and the plans of the enemy! So instead of always asking someone to pray for you, you pray heaven down on your own behalf. Instead of waiting on someone else to give you an encouraging word, you speak to your own spirit and encourage yourself. Instead of running from a fight with the enemy, you put on your armor and you run to the fight!

Now the autobots aren’t the only ones that went through a transformation. Sam, the human, had to transform as well. In the beginning of the movie Sam didn’t see anything special about himself. When he first saw Bumble Bee (his car) transform, he was terrified! However as the movie continued, not only did his fear jump out the window, but Sam embraced the fact that he had what it took to get the job done. Have you grasped hold to the fact that you actually have what it takes to get the job done?

Today I’m here to simply encourage you to take on the transformer mentality. Every fear, doubt, worry, or concern that may be attempting to rise up in you, all you have to do is let God “transform” you! Allow God to change your mind and perspective so that you can comprehend all that you need to accomplish what He has called you to do is already inside of you. All you have to do is tap in and use it. Don’t fight the transformation. Let it happen!

  

By imtoughenough

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!

There’s a song that has been out for quite a while and it says:  
“I love you Jesus. I worship and adore You. Just want to tell You, Lord I love You more than ANYTHING”
Now most of us who know this song sing it and often times find ourselves in deep worship as it is sang. However, how truthful are we really being when we make that confession? A while back I was in the middle of worship and as I sang that song, God checked me and said, “Don’t sing it if you don’t mean it.” 
I immediately begin to tell God that I really did mean what I was singing to Him. And as I attempted to make my case, He began to play back my life to me. He started to show me situations, people, habits, fleshly feelings, materialistic things, worries, doubts, and even fears that I’d allowed to manifest and make themselves bigger than He was in my life.
In that moment the Lord made an appeal to me to either BE REAL OR BE REVEALED! I was saddened because I really thought I did love Him more than anything, but obviously I was wrong. For months the praise team continuously sang the song but every time I opened my mouth to join in, the Holy Spirit would simply remind me, “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” John 14:15 says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” One of His commandments is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” 
Often times we think of idol gods as a carved out statue or figure that people bow down to and cry out to, however, that is not always the case.
An idol god is anything that rises up and is given power to control our thoughts, our words, and our actions. It is anything that causes us to do or say anything that is contrary to our God. And if our words, if our worship isn’t real, if it isn’t authentic as it could be, me must allow the Lord to reveal us to us so that we can offer Him something pure and untainted.
So my question to you today is simple. Do you really love God MORE than ANYTHING? Do you love Him enough to let Him tackle your flesh? Do you love Him enough to offer your “issues” and your “problems” to Him? Do you love Him enough to walk away when He says walk away or let go when He says let go? Do you love Him enough to sacrifice what He is requiring? Do you love Him more than anything?
So as we go through this week, let that question seep into your spirit. Be honest enough so that even if that confession isn’t completely true, God can do the work in you so that it will be.
By imtoughenough

Timing Is Everything

Over the past year or so I’ve had the opportunity to occasionally work with my cousin in her bakery, Lei’s Lei’s Cuisine. I’ve watched her measure, mix, and bake what I’ve come to know as yummy perfection.

After all of her ingredients are perfectly blended together, she has to put her cakes in the oven to bake. Now because she is a master baker and she is usually making more than one cake at a time, to ensure that the cakes in the oven cook completely through and to make sure the cakes don’t burn, she often uses a timer. The timer is used as a tool to indicate whether or not the cake is ready for the next step in completing the cake. 
She very rarely opens the oven door during the baking process. She told me that if you open the door to soon, the cake will fall. So even though all the ingredients are there, even though  she followed her recipe perfectly, if she takes it out of the oven too soon, the cake will be ruined. Now occasionally she will use a toothpick to check and see if the cake is ready. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the cake is ready to come out of the oven.   
So how does this apply to us? We are the cake and God is the master baker. He puts us in the oven of life to prepare us for the great works that He has called us too. Now the oven is hot and it is extremely uncomfortable but it is necessary to cook out all of the “stuff” that doesn’t benefit us and that God can’t use to His glory. Now we often times begin to complain because we feel like we’ve been in the oven too long. So God will use the toothpick (our reaction and response to trials and tribulations) to see if we are ready to come out or not. If we don’t respond appropriately, He will keep us in a little longer. The cake can’t take itself out, only the baker can, but only when it’s ready! So stop trying to get out of the oven! God knows exactly what he is doing! Have a great week!  

 

By imtoughenough

Fact vs Truth

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, but thank you guys for sticking around! Sometimes you have to pull back for a moment to get your mind and your spirit back in check and then you can come back stronger than ever….I’m BACK! So here we go!

While on my mini hiatus I dealt with a serious battle of loneliness. This wasn’t that single woman with no kids type of loneliness. This was that I miss my parents and I’m the only child type of loneliness. As many of you already know, I lost both of my parents 16 months apart when I was 17 and 19. My mother was a single parent and I grew up as an only child. I have literally been on my own since I was 19 years old. I’ve been running a household, paying bills, and handling business for myself for a long time now. I’m not telling you this for pity purposes, this is simply to give you a little background history.

Although my parents are not physically with me anymore, God has blessed me with a second to none support system ranging from family, to friends, to church family, to teachers/professors, to mentors, and so much more! There has never been a time when I needed these people and they weren’t there. But even with all of these amazing people in my life, I occasionally feel extremely lonely and over the past few months this feeling has been so heavy that it almost completely overtook me. I’ve had one too many sleepless nights. I’ve shed one too many tears. I’ve tossed and turned and face too much turmoil over this feeling. I prayed, I fasted, but I just couldn’t seem to shake it.

So I finally talked to my Pastor about what was really going on with me. I told her that I felt lonely and uncovered without my parents, especially my mother. I told her that I felt like no one understood what I was going through. After letting me vent and get it all out, she explained to me that I was putting too much energy into the FACTS while ignoring the TRUTH. As the conversation continued, she led me to understand that the fact of the matter was that my parents were no longer here and I am an only child, and according to the world’s standard, I am alone. However, the truth of the matter is that although I am alone, I’m never lonely.

First and foremost, God promised me that He would never leave me nor forsake me. Secondly, God has surrounded me with people who I know without a shadow of a doubt love me and care deeply for me and would do anything in their power to help me. It is the tactic of the enemy to try to get me to focus on the fact and not the truth. How many times has he done that to you? Don’t be surprised or caught off guard by it, that’s just his low down dirty way. It is up to us as believers to shut the enemy down when he tries to bring that mess to us.

So now that I’ve reset my thoughts on the truth, I’m back and ready to keep fighting. I’m ready to keep making a liar out of the devil. I’m prepared to keep stomping in victory. Are you with me?

By imtoughenough

Let It Go

A few years ago I read a piece by T.D. Jakes called “Let It Go.” This message has loudly resounded in my head for almost a decade now. Here recently, I’ve found myself having to live that same message.

There is so much power in letting go. Whether it’s a person, a bad habit, a relationship, a friendship, unforgiveness (towards others or yourself), heart breaks and aches, bitterness, resentment, or even your own will. Whatever it is that we are struggling to let go of, we have to understand that if God is requiring us to let it go, He has something so much better waiting for us. Holding on to things and people that we need to let go of keeps us in a prison that we have the keys to. As crazy as that may sound, we do it all the time!

Something that I’ve recently been struggling with is letting people go. I’ve always been the type of person who considered myself to have life long friends. This meant once we were friends, we would be friends until one of us stopped breathing. Over the past year, two people who’d been “doing life” with me for almost a decade and the other nearly two decades suddenly chose to walk away. Without reason and without notice, I looked up and they were gone.

Of course I’ve had a million and one “whys.” I’ve rattled my brain trying to figure out where I’ve offended them. I’ve offered unaccepted apologies. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve done everything that I know to do to try to make things right, but nothing has changed the situations.

So I’ve had to come to some uncomfortable but necessary realizations. Some things (including people) are only assigned to our lives for a season. When we think of the word season, we usually think of a short period. However, that’s not always how God dictates it. A season can last a few months, a few years, or even a few decades. However, after you’ve poured into a person all that God has desired for you to pour in and you’ve received everything you were to receive and vice versa, your assignment to their life and their assignment to yours is up.

The issue is, we get so comfortable with their presence that we find it difficult to let them go. We plan out our lives and we put people in places far down the road that God never intended for them to be. So when the assignment is over and God uproots them out of our lives, we feel hurt, confused, angry, and all sort of other emotions. Like a child, we kick and scream and ask why when we can no longer have what we want.

Like I stated earlier, I’ve went through all of those emotions, but after I got over myself, I began to think clearly and get some great revelation. Just because the season is over, there doesn’t have to be beef between you and the other person. You don’t have to hold any malice or ill intent in your heart towards them. Their exit out of your life does not eradicate the good fruit that was produced from their presence. No, you may not understand it, but you can always trust God when He is supernaturally orchestrating your life. I love how in Isaiah 55:8 (NLT) God reminds us: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” So earnestly pray for them and wish them God’s absolute best! Appreciate and cherish those that God has chosen to stay and keep it moving.

It takes guts to let go of something or someone that you hold near and dear to you, but it’s often times necessary. Use those keys and open that prison door. Free yourself! It may be uncomfortable right now, but I promise you, you will be ok and life will go on. You have too much life to live to get stuck here. Destiny’s child said it best “Ain’t no feeling like being free, when your mind is made up and your heart is in the right place!” So simply put, LET IT GO!

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By imtoughenough

The 4 D’s

So here we are, 9 days into the New Year, and what exactly have you changed? This was the question that I asked myself as I stood in the mirror this morning. Unfortunately, my answer was not the one that I would have preferred it to be. I had all of these plans for this New Year, however nothing about my current actions have resembled a desire to change. I haven’t taken any steps to be different from what or who I was this time last year. A hard truth, yes I know.

In 2014 I kicked down the door of the big 3-0! To celebrate my birthday, I invited some of my family and closest friends to meet me downtown by the waterfalls (I love scenery) as I released 30 balloons. Each balloon had a different word written on it. Each word was something that I planned to release as I kissed my 20’s goodbye and that I refused to take into my 30’s. I gave a great speech, my friends and I shed a few tears, and I released balloons, but the question is did I really let anything go? Now I’m not naïve enough to think that these things would change overnight. These were habits and behaviors that I’d grown accustom to for the last 30 years. By releasing the balloons I was making a commitment to do better in these areas. So the question still remains, am I doing any better?

Now I would love to give you all this life changing testimony that I released those balloons and I haven’t looked back…ummmm….no! I will be 1000% honest, that’s not my story. Yes, I let some things go. Yes, I walked away from some people who I needed to, but those were merely the fruits of the issues. I still have yet to completely destroy the roots. There is a message in my book called, “Kill the Root, Kill the Fruit.” I’ve found myself continuously rereading this message. It is only when you pull up and destroy the root of a plant that it will stop growing back. As long as the root is still intact, even if it isn’t the season for the fruit to grow, in the right conditions, the fruit still has the potential to keep coming back.

Killing the roots of bad habits or unsavory behaviors require us to absolutely change our minds. When you change your mind, you will have no choice but to discipline your body and spirit. Staying in the vein of honesty, discipline is something that I have struggled with and I admit I am lacking. Because I’ve seen it work before, I know that DISCIPLINE leads to DILIGENCE. DILIGENCE leads to DEDICATION. DEDICATION leads to DYNAMIC RESULTS. In 2015 I’m looking for dynamic results!

So this year, will you join me? Will you commit with me to start today? Can you make a vow to yourself that you will begin to exercise the discipline that is necessary to live your very best life? Will you kill those roots that have kept you grounded in a place that you had no business in? Now this will not be easy friends and you won’t be able to do it on your own. If we are going to be successful in this, now more than ever, we are going to have to lean and depend on God for the help and the grace to do it. I can’t wait to have this conversation this time next year so we can discuss how far we’ve come. I know that just like me, you are T.O.U.G.H. enough to get it done!

By imtoughenough

What I Learned From the Washing Machine

A few nights ago I put a load of clothes in the washing machine. For some strange reason I decided to just sit there and watch the clothes wash. As I watched I noticed how the clean water became dirty as the cycle went on. Even though my clothes didn’t look that dirty, there was obviously more dirt in the clothes than my natural eyes could see. One thing that really caught my attention was how the clothes were tossing and turning, getting all bent out of shape, they were being slung around from side to side, they were being thrown up against the side of the washer, floating to the top, only to be pulled back down, etc. The process actually looked kind of painful!

And because I’d chosen to put the washing machine on “heavy”, this process got worse before it got better! But then the rinse cycle started (of course I had to close the lid). I sat and listened as the washing machine harshly sucked the water out of the clothes, so hard to the point where the clothes were stuck to the side of the machine. Just when I thought it was over, this process started all over again. And just like the clothes survive the first cycle, they did it again. But the most grueling part of this process came almost at the very end. The clothes still had to endure the spin cycle.

I listened as the machine spun ferociously, even shaking and rocking a little bit, while the water beat up on the clothes. But then when the cycle finally stopped and I pulled the clothes out, not only had they endured a process that from the outside looking in should had left the clothes in shreds, but they were fresh and clean. And even though they were wrinkled up, they came out better than they were when than they went in!

So how does this lesson from the washing machine apply to us?  For a moment reflect over this past year. We’ve had the opportunity to celebrate many great moments! There were lots of wonderful memories created. However, with each high time we’ve been faced with just as much turmoil and tribulation.

But just like the clothes, God has allowed us to go through the washing machine process. He saw that there was and still is some stuff that needed to come out of us that we can’t see with our natural eyes. So the trials, the set backs, the failures, the mistakes, the falls, the turn arounds, the low times, the dry places, the moments of uncertainty, the points of despair, the disappointments, the heartaches, the heartbreaks, the losses, the walk outs, the upsets, and the straight up knock downs were all necessary.

What we thought was going to take us out, really and truly was all apart of the cleansing process. Those moments were painful, they were uncomfortable, but they were working for our good! They showed us areas about ourselves that we still have room to grow and improve!  And some of us, every time we thought we’d endured the roughest part, here comes the spin cycle, putting us in a place in which we really wanted to tap out and give in. However,  the fact that we are still here reminds us that we didn’t give up, and we didn’t give in! We found out that we are BETTER, we are BRAVER, we are STRONGER, and we are TOUGHER than we ever thought! God proved to us that we are indeed, BUILT TO LAST!

And even though we might have some wrinkles and we probably feel like we’ve been through a whirlwind, we are coming out better than we were when we went in! So as we kiss this year goodbye and embrace 2015, let all of that gunk wash down the drain of 2014. Don’t feel sorry for your self for what you had to endure this year. The only fact that matters is that you made it! We have one day left! So I encourage you to COUNT IT ALL JOY! This year gave much more than it has taken away! It’s all in how you look at it!

Before this year ends, be sure to thank God for the process. Thank God for how He has developed you. Thank God that He has shown you what fortitude looks like.  And last but not least, thank God that in spite of it all, you are still going to have a STRONG FINISH!

By imtoughenough