Sunday, January 27, 2013


"When a person's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."-Proverbs 16:7 (God's Word translation)

Recently I went with a friend to see the film "Les Miserables" starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. I was mesmerized by their performances as well as the underlying themes of love, mercy and redemption throughout the film.

The story was written by Victor Hugo about life in 19th century France. The main character, Jean Valjean was convicted for stealing bread to feed his sister's children. Valjean managed to break parole and was aggressively hunted by the policeman, Javert. Valjean was shown mercy by a priest, who offered him food and shelter. Once Valjean accepted this undeserved favour (definition of mercy), he was able to bestow the same mercy to others who crossed his path. Even Javert, once he caught up with Valjean, allowed him to escape, which left him in a dilemma. For those who still want to see the film, I will not give away anymore.

I will confess I cried like a baby throughout the film. Nose running, eyes red, the works! I was not a pretty sight! Once I returned home and processed my emotions, I realized that the film reminded me of the depth of Christ's love and mercy towards me. Jesus left the majesty and magnificence of heaven to come to earth to die a cruel death for my sins. I deserved to die for my thoughts and deeds, not Him. Yet He decided that, despite my thoughts and deeds, I was worthy enough to have my life spared so that I could have eternal life with Him in Heaven.  This is God's love in action towards me....and you can experience it too! This verse came to mind after watching the film:

"The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends."-John 15:13 (God's Word translation)

Never take His love for granted! Hope you make the time to see the film. It is amazing! If you are not into musicals, you may find it difficult to sit through. In my opinion, I think it's worth it!

Until next time....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"God-centered" esteem

"I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and wonderfully made."-Psalms 139-14 (GOD'S WORD Translation)

When I think about my life up until now and the choices I've made based on "low self-esteem";  it saddens me. This includes poor financial decisions, engaging in inappropriate peer relationships and career miss-steps. As a young child, I did not think myself attractive or very interesting. So from early on, I decided I would live in the shadow of my very witty and outgoing friends. This, I thought, would increase my "likeability" factor. In spite of my best efforts to be charming, I went to my Graduation Ball (that is the equivalent of prom in this country) alone while my best friends were escorted by their boyfriends. That certainly did not do much for my "self-esteem!"

Shortly after graduation, I migrated to the United States from Jamaica to attend college. All of sudden, the opposite sex began to take an interest in me. Boy did I find tremendous solace in that! This was new territory for me! From then on, I depended on the affirmation from others, especially the opposite sex, to elevate my self-confidence. So when boys noticed me, my self-esteem shot up, but when they ignored me, it was a shot to my ego!

This erratic behavior continued most of my adult life....until I discovered this verse in Psalms 139. I've known this verse yet never believed it for myself. That I, Cheryl, "is amazingly and wonderfully made!". Even repeating it brings tears to my eyes at times. If God believes that I am amazing, then I should too...right? Well for some reason I still had difficulty believing what Christ thought of me. As a result, all of my actions reflected the belief system that I was unworthy.

To overcome this negative thought process, I decided to make the choice to view myself as God sees me....which is as an AMAZING BEING!! I believed that if I TRULY grasped this concept, I could have the abundant life that the Bible repeatedly talks about.

So for those who struggle with this issue....replace it with "God-centered" esteem. In other words, BELIEVE that you ARE an AMAZING and WONDERFUL creation of God!!! Regardless of the vacillating thoughts of self, the affirmation of others and past or current circumstances; whether good or bad. Your confidence should ONLY depend on what God says about you because He is our Creator. God is incapable of making mistakes. So when we are tempted to lower our standards and/or go against God's principles, we can overpower those feelings/thoughts/deeds by proclaiming His Word. God only wants what's best for us just because He loves us, even though we don't deserve it. He is a gracious and merciful God! I have so much freedom in knowing that I don't have to live in defeat anymore! Trust me, it is not easy believing that I am an amazing and wonderful creation. Nevertheless, when I ponder that my "Daddy" thinks soooo highly of me, there is absolutely no reason for me to believe otherwise. HALLELUJAH!!!

Until next time....

Friday, January 11, 2013

Overcoming negative emotions

"Give ALL your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you"-1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

As I ponder on this verse, I think about the events in my world this past week. There were lay-offs recently at my place of employment. Since then, there have been rumours that there may be more. As a single woman, that's not news that you want to hear. Next I receive my first paycheck of 2013! To my surprise, (not really) more taxes have been taken out making my paycheck much smaller than it was last year. Mind you, last year I already thought that my paycheck was too small to begin with. Then tending to my mother's physical needs as she battles an incurable disease and ensuring that she receives the best possible care at an affordable price! Then basically trying to find ways to navigate through situations and/or get rid of feelings that you know are not in your best interest......Whew! I am exhausted just writing about all of this. Yet there is so much more that I could share, but I won't bore you with the rest.

As I meditate on this verse, I realize that I don't have to carry these burdens on my own. There IS someone who is WILLING and ABLE to do this for me. None of these circumstances came as a surprise to God! He knew ahead of time that this was going to happen and He ALREADY has a plan in place to resolve them perfectly. ALL I have to do and just trust that He will!!

The thing is, giving Him all our cares is not the challenge...BELIEVING that he CARES about you is unfortunately the difficulty. There are times when I struggle with this concept... even though I profess to be a Christian and have been for a long time. I struggle because I know the inappropriate thoughts and "UnChrist-like" deeds that I have committed......Then I meditate on another verse...

"No fear exists where His love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love"-1 John 4:18 (God's Word Translation).

God loves me, He really LOVES me...He sacrificed His Son...... for ME. So there isn't anything He wouldn't do for me, as long as it is in His will, which is perfect!!! He is not going to punish me for my poor choices. Jesus' love makes it safe for me to confess them and when I do, He will forgive me. Nonetheless, this does not give me license to blatantly sin. However when I do, I have the assurance that He will not love us less because of our behaviors and choices. I will still have to suffer the consequences of my choices, BUT He will love me regardless!! That brings me such comfort!!

These revelations have helped me. I understand that any challenge that may come my way, Jesus will resolve them. In His way and in His time!! All we have to do is trust Him.

Now this word is for Christians ONLY!!!! If you have not made Jesus, your Lord and Savior, you can do that right now. Then you will be able to experience this freedom that I am talking about. All you have to do is say a short prayer. It could go something like this:

" Father, I am sorry for doing things my own way and not trusting You as I should. Please forgive me! Thank you for loving me and sacrificing Your Son for me. In Jesus' name, Amen"  

That's it!!! If you've said this prayer, Welcome!!! You are officially "adopted" into THEE Royal Family!!!

I hope these words will empower and encourage you as you go through this next week and the weeks and months to come. I want to leave you with a prayer:

" Father, thank you for loving us even though we don't deserve it. Thank you for leaving us with Your Holy Spirit to direct us on this journey called LIFE. Holy Spirit do Your work in us so that we can become more like Jesus everyday. Help us to love one another as You have loved us. In Jesus' name. Amen".

Until next time....

Friday, January 4, 2013

This is my first post, EVER!!!. I have always wanted to blog, but thought that  I was not disciplined or had anything valuable to share.

However, as I reflect on the year that has past, I realize that I have so many reasons to give God thanks. One is that my family and I are relatively healthy. Although I have to amend that statement by mentioning that unfortunately my mother is suffering with Alzheimer's disease. In July, I became licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Florida. Therefore the possibilities are endless as what I could accomplish with my training. Lastly my son is a college graduate!!! Yay!!

In spite of all of these accomplishments, I have to give God praise for achieving these goals. His love has been so amazing this past year. He has seen me through many trials and tribulations. Big and small. Even though I don't give Him thanks as I ought, He loves me anyway!!!!

My plan is to blog weekly about my struggles and triumphs on this journey called LIFE. My prayer is that you receive as much joy and encouragement from these posts as I do from the One who gives me strength.

Dear Father,

I pray these posts reach those who don't have a relationship with You and are hurting.  Lord let those within the reach of this blog know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that their hope and trust should ONLY be in You.

In Jesus' name.