#encouragement

Keep Moving Forward

 #MotivationalMonday Happy Monday beautiful people! Today I encourage you to simply MOVE FORWARD! Keep a pure heart, intentions and actions and you will become stronger and stronger as it states in Job 17:9. It is important that despite the obstacles we face, we continue to press forward towards the goals. Today, move forward on that business idea, homework and/or work you've been procrastinating to complete or that "leap of faith" in whatever in your life. The time is NOW! Make it happen. Be blessed!

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

Declarations

Last month we started a new initiative entitled "I Declare" via our social media accounts.

The word dec·la·ra·tion means a "formal or explicit statement or announcement; the formal announcement of the beginning of a state or condition". This new series of declarations are made to speak to our circumstance, mountains and even fears.

We want YOU to repeat the declaration, believe it and make it your own.

For this declaration  we are standing firm on Nehemiah 8:10 which states "the joy of the Lord is your strength". Declare that God will do mighty things in your life, and your days will be filled with love & laughter. Claim it! Believe it! Receive it!

If you are not following us on our social media accounts - please do so!
We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even YouTube.

There is also a specific Instagram page dedicated to our online store. Check us out!

As always, thank you for your continued support <3

For His glory only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

 

Blind Faith

My name is Ludnie Saint Julien.  I was born and raised in Haiti and I moved to the United States six years ago. It has been a good journey for my family and I, and we have been blessed. Like everyone, I have a story and to share it with you.

When I got married 6 years ago, I thought everything would be perfect. When I was growing up in Haiti, I always thought that America was a country where people have a good life. For example, I thought Americans had all have money;  which meant they can shop any time they want, never run out of food or anything just like we see in the movies. It didn’t take me long after I moved here to realize that they were all dreams. God has shown us some ways.

The struggle started about 2-3 months after my husband and I got married. First thing, he was hospitalized & diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He almost had a heart attack. The struggle continued. He couldn’t find a good job although he was a  licensed Registered Nurse.  He applied everywhere, no one ever called him. Sometimes he would find part time jobs with an agency but work 1-5 days a month.  So you can only imagine how we struggled. How can you survive with that? I recall one time we were looking for 25 cents to buy a gallon of water, we couldn’t find it. We were opening drawers looking for pennies to see if we can reach 25 cents. I just remember that even with everything that was going on in our life, we never stopped praying. We never stopped going to church and participating in anything. We never stopped believing that it was a test that either God was giving us, OR that the devil was mad at us for doing a good thing (which is not living in fornication and that we got married).

Later on, we moved to Kissimmee with the help of a friend who offered us hospitality so my husband could find a job. God blessed him with a job, we didn’t take long to move to our own apartment & things started to get better. It didn’t take until we said that we were ready to have children that the devil started to work again. I got pregnant on the first try. Everyone was happy! I even started having morning sickness. Things were going great …. and then BOOM! one day I miscarried. I simply said ‘’Okay God, if it’s not Your will now, I’ll wait’’.  I just took it to my Lord. It took me two years before I got pregnant again. Everything was going well, and by my 2nd trimester, my body started to go back to normal. My belly was growing, and when we went for a checkup, but there was no heartbeat. The worst part about it was that they found out that I had a partial molar pregnancy. The baby died since 14 weeks, and they had to do an emergency D&C (dilation and curettage) because I was getting infected internally. That day, I felt the same way I was when I received the news about my mother’s death. I was like really God??  NOT AGAIN! But I had to stay strong for my husband and my family.

We had to wait for a whole year to follow up with high risk pregnancy by having blood test done every month. They would monitor my hormone levels closely to make sure that I did not develop cancer before we would be allowed to try getting pregnant again. When they finally told us we were ready, we quickly we started to try. We tried everything. I took all kinds of hormones. Some of the hormones were dangerous. For instance, I was taking some hormones that would increase my eggs maturation to the point to make me release more than one egg each month. The risk of taking it for a long period of time is a high chance of developing cancer. That hormone also had seeveral side effects. A year passed, but still nothing happened. My body was so stressed; it started to shut down. I became frustrated. I was desperate. I used to cry in my car coming from work to home. I cried in my bed. I couldn’t pray anymore. I kept asking God why me. I did everything He wanted me to. I’m married; I go to church, I pray, I help others. Why was everyone else having children and not me. I even went further to say that some people were not even married because I was so mad at Him.

My husband on the other end was complaining about how he was getting old and didn't have a child. It was frustrating. Four years of marriage and we couldn’t have any child.  One day while I was at church, Pastor Danielle was preaching about BLIND FAITH. She came to me and said, God will give you what you’re asking for, but He wants you to go in closet, on your knees, and talk to him. This sermon changed my life. That day, I realized that sometimes God wants us to stop begging and stop asking, but just put your faith into Him. He knows exactly what we want, but He wants us to ask and believe; just wait for Him. So I stopped everything; all hormones, other twins med, and stopped going to the doctor. I went on my knees and did that prayer:  “God you know what I want. I’ve been crying and begging, and nothing happens. Today it is the last day I’m going to ask you this. I am not doing it anymore; I am not crying anymore. I am your servant, and I shouldn’t be unhappy. Now, there is one thing I am asking.  If you give me a baby before the year ends, on the christening day, I will testify, and I will feed the entire church’’. I also told Him that I don’t want to have a high risk pregnancy, and I want to have a normal delivery with no epidural.  TWO MONTH LATER WE WERE EXPECTING and God have given us a beautiful, healthy baby girl named GRACE-ANN. She is my grace from God. Everything went the way I ask Him. After my first trimester at the high risk clinic, the doctor told me to find a regular gynecologist because everything is normal. I was not "at risk". Yes God, yes, just the way I asked Him. I smile with the doctor knowing that I got another the victory. And to make my testimony complete, I had normal delivery with no epidural, and I didn’t suffer at all. That was one of the best experience of my life, and without God, all these wouldn’t happen. 

Life is beautiful when we let God keep control over everything. I never lost faith on Him. When my husband and I didn’t have food to eat, we fasted the whole day. God knows your situation. He knows your needs. He will fulfill them when the time is right. He just wants you to be patient. In my situation, my husband and I thought we were ready, but God Himself wanted us to wait. While we were waiting, we were exercising our faith. And today, He puts us in a better place; a place where we can actually share our story, and encourage others to keep walking with Him in whatever circumstances in life. Started from a studio in little Haiti to a five bedroom house; from 5 years trying to conceive, one miscarriage and a dying baby to a beautiful, hyper, smart, and healthy daughter. We are blessed, and we can’t thank Him enough for His blessings upon us.  He can do the same for you. Don’t be discouraged. Just put your faith stronger in Him. Just like me, if you believe, you HAVE BLIND FAITH and start making plans in the name of Jesus because life is too beautiful for you to be sad or crying all the time. He will answer your prayers.

May God bless you and everything in your life including your will and your plans.

Thank you for reading my family’s story! Be Blessed!

Special thanks to Ludnie for sharing her story. This truly touched me because I recall as she labored in prayer to get pregnant. I recall during our Father's Day service I had her pin her husband with a flower in faith that he would be a father by that following year ... and it happened!! This testimony inspires us to have blind faith and not look at our situations but to God. Again, thank you Ludnie! We appreciate your transparency.

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle

Worth The Wait

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.    I was single for SEVEN years!   Singlehood is not a disease or a plague  . Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.  Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.  During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.  Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.  This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.  I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.  I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!  P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.  For His Glory Only, XOXO Danielle J.

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.

I was single for SEVEN years! Singlehood is not a disease or a plague. Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.

Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.

During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.

Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.

This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.

I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.

I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!

P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Identity Crisis? Learning Who You Are In Christ

The thing that I love about God is that He always confirms and re-confirms His Word. I was amazed to see that Heather Lindsey made a video on "Identity" last week after I made my video. I always feel when God is sending the same message through different avenues - it is the Holy Spirit doing the work of dropping it into our spirits. Take a look at this video!

The caption of the video says it best:

Struggling with people bondage or being firm in who God called you to be? Check out this short video on learning who you are in Christ.

 

Identity Crisis: Overcoming Negativity by Grace

As you get to know me through reading each entry on my blog, I want to hit on different areas of my life that have brought me pain and be transparent.

 

My latest YouTube video entitled “Identity Crisis” showcases some of the name calling I have endured both in my face and behind my back. There were words such as: “holier than thou”, fat, spoiled, silver spoon, fake, self-righteous, ugly, strange and overly sensitive. This type of name calling did not only occur in my adolescent years, but also into adulthood. It hasn’t been only been name calling. As a youth minister I have had people walk out on my sermons, negativity spoken over my ministry and it has been said that although I am worrying about others souls I need to pay attention to my own. I have even walked into rooms and been laughed at. Now, these words or actions may not seem that bad, but when it comes from individuals you were once close to, it being said in front of you or behind your back on a consistent basis can have a detrimental effect.  Like makeup – for a very long time I covered everything up. The scars of those words and the emotional affect it had on me was always dealt internally. One of the things that I still struggle with is dealing with things internally, and I do not quickly open up to others. &nbsp;I have gone through many tests and trials, things that would cause me to stop walking in my purpose, but I have made a decision to keep moving forward. You have to realize you were not designed to fail, but to only succeed with the help of Jesus Christ.     Steps to Overcoming   -   Prayer   – It is SO important to remain steadfast in prayer. Pray that you do not change the way you are for other people, pray you do not grow to hate and pray for your enemies.   -   Scripture Reading   – Combat negativity with Scripture. If something is said against you, quote a Scripture against it. Let what God says about you ring louder than what others have to say. Speak Life! Scriptures that have helped me: &nbsp;1 Peter 5:7, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 37:1-6 &amp; 11, 1 Peter 3:9, John 15:18, Deuteronomy 28:13, Matthew 5:10-12 &amp; 44 (There are so many more I would have to do another post)   -   Core Support System   – Have a core group of people that you can go to that will uplift you and encourage you.   -   Encourage others   – Sometimes we focus on what we are going through and forget about others. The purpose of being a believer is to assist others. It is so much greater than us.   Since my younger years I have kept this quote near my heart– “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him” – Booker T. Washington. (I still think it is on my Facebook page since college lol). I have learned to build others up, because I know what it is like to be torn down. No matter who has put you down – your parents, siblings, extended family members, teachers or friends … you are an OVERCOMER! Whatever has been spoken against you, speak against it with it with the word of God. The beauty in going through things and overcoming, is understanding the purpose at the end. I have found determination in detriment, resilience in the midst of rejection, and most importantly purpose in my pain. I want to encourage anyone who is facing what I have faced to let you them know that “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”. You have more people standing with you, then against you. Be blessed!     For HIS glory only! XOXO Danielle  P.S. If you haven't checked out the video yet - Check it out  here !

My latest YouTube video entitled “Identity Crisis” showcases some of the name calling I have endured both in my face and behind my back. There were words such as: “holier than thou”, fat, spoiled, silver spoon, fake, self-righteous, ugly, strange and overly sensitive. This type of name calling did not only occur in my adolescent years, but also into adulthood. It hasn’t been only been name calling. As a youth minister I have had people walk out on my sermons, negativity spoken over my ministry and it has been said that although I am worrying about others souls I need to pay attention to my own. I have even walked into rooms and been laughed at. Now, these words or actions may not seem that bad, but when it comes from individuals you were once close to, it being said in front of you or behind your back on a consistent basis can have a detrimental effect.

Like makeup – for a very long time I covered everything up. The scars of those words and the emotional affect it had on me was always dealt internally. One of the things that I still struggle with is dealing with things internally, and I do not quickly open up to others.  I have gone through many tests and trials, things that would cause me to stop walking in my purpose, but I have made a decision to keep moving forward. You have to realize you were not designed to fail, but to only succeed with the help of Jesus Christ.
 

Steps to Overcoming

- Prayer – It is SO important to remain steadfast in prayer. Pray that you do not change the way you are for other people, pray you do not grow to hate and pray for your enemies.


- Scripture Reading – Combat negativity with Scripture. If something is said against you, quote a Scripture against it. Let what God says about you ring louder than what others have to say. Speak Life! Scriptures that have helped me:  1 Peter 5:7, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 37:1-6 & 11, 1 Peter 3:9, John 15:18, Deuteronomy 28:13, Matthew 5:10-12 & 44 (There are so many more I would have to do another post)


- Core Support System – Have a core group of people that you can go to that will uplift you and encourage you.


- Encourage others – Sometimes we focus on what we are going through and forget about others.
The purpose of being a believer is to assist others. It is so much greater than us.


Since my younger years I have kept this quote near my heart– “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him” – Booker T. Washington. (I still think it is on my Facebook page since college lol). I have learned to build others up, because I know what it is like to be torn down. No matter who has put you down – your parents, siblings, extended family members, teachers or friends … you are an OVERCOMER! Whatever has been spoken against you, speak against it with it with the word of God. The beauty in going through things and overcoming, is understanding the purpose at the end. I have found determination in detriment, resilience in the midst of rejection, and most importantly purpose in my pain. I want to encourage anyone who is facing what I have faced to let you them know that “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”. You have more people standing with you, then against you. Be blessed!

 

For HIS glory only!
XOXO
Danielle

P.S. If you haven't checked out the video yet - Check it out here!

Stay In Your Lane

My commute from home to work consists of heavy construction in certain areas. There is a major project to repave many roads in my area. One morning as I was driving, I realized that my lane was a bit higher than the others, and I realized they had completed that portion of the road already. As I was driving, I saw the first sign that said “Uneven Lanes” and then a second sign that stated “Stay in Your Lane”. We often use the phrase “stay in your lane” to reproach others to either mind their own business or focus on their own personal issues, but I immediately thought of something else. The thought came into my mind of how in life, we do not like to stay in our lane. We want to skip through the process and want to switch lanes believing that we will reach our destination faster. Sometimes we do not even see that our lane is already paved and sitting higher. God is calling us to higher but it is going to take us surrendering our own road map, and giving way to His direction.

Proverbs 16:9 states “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” We may see the road that lies ahead of us and may know the destination, but we do not know the turns God has mapped out for us. I am NOT saying do not have plans or goals. What I am saying is, be open to yielding your plans to God’s will. At times it may be difficult to stay in your lane. You will see cars (people) passing you by quickly and seemingly reaching the destination before you. You may even feel like you are stuck in “traffic” and nothing is moving in your direction. If you stay in your lane, you will reach your destination safely and in God’s appointed time. What is better than that?

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed and outlined by God. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. Please do not go off on your own, instead walk straight along the road He set for you. God has prescribed the right way to live through His word. You will never have any regrets and will not need to compare your life with others. You will be in the exact position God ordained for you. We need to &nbsp;learn and understand the pattern of His righteous ways and we will not deviate and get out of our lane.  For HIS glory only….. May God richly bless you! XOXO Danielle

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed and outlined by God. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. Please do not go off on your own, instead walk straight along the road He set for you. God has prescribed the right way to live through His word. You will never have any regrets and will not need to compare your life with others. You will be in the exact position God ordained for you. We need to  learn and understand the pattern of His righteous ways and we will not deviate and get out of our lane.

For HIS glory only…..
May God richly bless you!
XOXO
Danielle

First Love

Do you remember the first time you fell in love?

The feeling of being in love is at times difficult to put into words. The moment when you realize you are “in love” with someone it is etched in your memory. When you love someone, you put time and effort into the relationship. There is constant communication, date nights and getting to know the person. Let’s not forget the emotions that come with falling in love – passion, compassion for their thoughts and feelings, and excitement. This turns into long telephone calls of nothingness at times. Oh! I cannot forget the butterflies in the tummy. This reminds me of when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord & Savior. In those beginning stages, I was reading the Word, attending church almost every other day and praying all the time. It was as if I prayed, and my prayers were answered instantly. Things were great. I got involved in church, taught Sunday School and assisted with my youth group. I became busy in the “work” which at times came at the cost of my personal relationship and connection with Christ. Never equate “busyness” with spirituality. Your spiritual connection comes with spending time with Christ – your first true love.

In Revelation 2, there is a great depiction of those busy in the work of Christ. A letter to one of the seven churches, and this one in particular is the “Loveless Church” says the following in Revelation 2:2-3:  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. These verses give the description best – hard working, persevering, does not tolerate wickedness and knows false prophets. All of those things are awesome qualities and great “works”, however, there is one problem stated in verse 4 - Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. The love you had at first was undeniable and on fire ….. but you got busy.

What I received out of this Scripture is that we begin to fall in love with doing things and not loving on Christ (spending time with Him). Can you imagine a husband and wife living in the same house and not speaking to each other? That relationship would more than likely end in a divorce because of a lack of communication. Can you imagine if all that was said to the wife or husband was negativity? That relationship would be very rocky. It is the same with us – what you give attention to grows. Just as if I had a plant that I neglected, it would wither and die - we need to look at it the same way spiritually. Never forsake your first love.

Ensure you know which direction you are going in. It was once said to me  “Direction is so much more important than speed, many are going nowhere fast”.  I want to take that statement a step further and say that connection is more important than speed, achievements, and accolades, because many are going to hell fast. Knowing Christ requires intimacy and sacrifice. When you stand before Christ will he say “Well done my good and faithful servant” or “Depart from me! I never knew you”?

I challenge you to go back to your first love! Remember how “on fire” you were when you first encountered Christ. Get back to the basics!

For HIS glory only…..
May God richly bless you!
XOXO
Danielle