…Mouth Guard

Hi! My name is SH and I’m a roaring extrovert. If we’ve met you probably already knew this. People often assume that being an extrovert means that you’re just social. There is some truth to this, but the true definition of being an extrovert is someone who processes and draws energy externally. This is me in every sense. When I pray I have to do it out loud even if I am praying alone. When I’m processing situations and ideas I have to talk through or write them out. I ask a lot of questions. SM has told me many times that I ask really deep questions.

I’m also a talker. If you sit next to me on a bus, train, plane; in a movie theater or at a park we’ll end up talking. I want to know you. I want to understand your life. Where did you come from? What fears do you have and why? How many pets do you own? I feed off of people. I’m really proud of being an extrovert. It’s helped me build wonderful relationships. I have found that for some reason people open up to me. They talk to me about any and everything. In many ways I have been entrusted with the wonderful ability to speak into people’s lives and to share stories. But there is also added responsibility to this.

As an extrovert I am often surprised and sometimes not so surprised that some of the people closest to me are introverts, including SM. As much as I love being an extrovert I secretly envy introverts. They’re so deep and mysterious. They’re often very selective with the words they choose. Having spent a lot of time with introverts God has really taught me the importance of processing internally, by allowing myself to hear from the Holy Spirit before responding.

As Christians we have amazing power. When I started walking with God I underestimated the power He gives us. This was until my pastor’s wife, MJ, spoke directly into my life on two occasions when there was absolutely no way she or anyone could have known my thoughts. She heard from the Holy Spirit. To further that, there have been countless times that I have had something on my heart and without me uttering a word LJ has spoken directly to it in the exact moment. He heard from the Holy Spirit and responded in obedience. Both MJ and LJ happen to be introverts. My envy is stirring.

Envy aside, I’ve learned that we can all possess this amazing power if we heed the Apostle Paul’s advice:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…
(James 1:19 NIV)

When we listen we are not just providing an ear to those around us. We are hearing what God has to say. Then we can respond or not respond how the Holy Spirit directs us. Sometimes God prompts us to offer an encouraging word. Sometimes we’re called to pray. We’ll never know if we don’t listen and that requires resisting the urge to respond instantaneously.

I’m not suggesting that God wants me to become an introvert. He made me an extrovert for a reason. But one of my goals last year was to become a better listener. I want to be able to speak God’s words of Life into the people He entrusts into my care. With that, I’m guarding my mouth and opening my ears to the Holy Spirit.

Have you struggled with hearing from the Holy Spirit? How are you overcoming this?

Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna

**SM and I are praying for those who have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. If there is anyway we can pray for you specifically, do not hesitate to send us a note.

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…Spoiler

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

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. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-31

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. 1 John 5:4

He has already won.

SM.

P.S. That means there’s no need to worry, beloved. It’s no secret. In Him, we win!

…Flash Light

This past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity of mousing my way through a corn maze. Yes, you read that correctly. I spent my Saturday night trying to get through a corn maze. Allow me to explain. My best friend since college, SG, was celebrating her birthday and decided to plan an activity that was different from the norm. Us twenty-something professionals can’t get enough of our dinners, brunches and happy hours, but her festivities called for something a bit different. As such, our group of 30 divided into guys versus girls and wagered who could make it out of the maze first. It was dark and cold. There we were; a bunch of women navigating our way through this monstrous puzzle. Every twist and turn left us wondering which direction we would go next and what would be the consequences of such a decision.

Spending time in the maze made me think about life (because honestly being in a maze for an hour forces you to think about life and whether you’ll make it out alive) and how sometimes it can feel like a maze. There are moments where I feel as if I’m taking turn after turn only to return to the same place I started. Sometimes life feels dark and I feel alone. But, just as us girls used our flash lights to help navigate every turn, nook and cranny on Saturday, God has promised that His word will be a divine flash light as we navigate the journey of life. It provided such comfort as I recalled all the moments where I needed guidance and a scripture came to mind that put my circumstance into perspective. Or, where God spoke into my life through dreams, Godly counsel and prophesy. His word and promises have illuminated my life.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

Us ladies made it out alive. In fact, we beat the boys in record time, 50 minutes. I’m so thankful we serve a loving God who provides us with everything we need to get through life, including His light.

Have you experienced moments of darkness in your life? How did God light the path of direction for you?

Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna

…Welcome Home

In less than two weeks, both my husband and my boo, SH, returned from their work and leisure travel, respectively. Each time my hubs comes back from a trip, I have some sort of surprise waiting for him — cookies, welcome signs, Jordan basketball shorts — you name it, he’s received it and will continue to (because he deserves it and because I’m ubber excited to have him back home).

It never matters how long or how short of a time period that he is away. I always miss him and I am always looking forward to his return. I’ll even be honest enough to share that I text him some days even when he’s just at work 30 minutes away, to let him know that I cannot take being apart from him in that moment and anticipate the instant we’re both together at home that evening #dramatic #mushball #completesap

When SH came back into my life last week, I felt that a missing piece to my day had finally been recovered. I was so happy to have her back and available to communicate anything and everything with. My gchat was complete; my iMessage was messaging a bit more. Frankly, my heart was full and my mushiness was running over!

The joy and love and warmth that I felt upon the return of people that I love, into my everyday life, reminded me and charged me to appreciate the joy that God feels upon our reconciliation back to Him.

He is patiently and lovingly awaiting our return to home, in Him – whether it’s from a long journey of life apart from His Lordship and salvation or a shorter trip back in daily repentance from sin. He cannot take us living apart from Him in any moment and anticipates the instant we’re together again. His invitation home is always open. And, the promises and gifts that He has waiting for us when we return are more than enough.

He gave us the following parable, among many, just to explain this simple truth:

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:20-24

Who wouldn’t want to return to that? Be encouraged; be purposeful; and allow Him to welcome you back today. Home sweet home.

SM.