#lifelessons

I AM BACK: Mourning into Dancing!

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11
 

I AM BACK!!! I know I have been “ghost” and I wanted to provide some clarity on what has been taking place "behind the scenes".

All I can say is that the first half of the year has been quite a rollercoaster. So much has happened in such a short period of time. It has truly been a journey of understanding who stands with me.  From planning my first La Belle Vie Essentials event to dealing with an attack on my father’s health … Life can literally change in an instant. The verse “If God is for us, who can be against us” came to life this season for my family & I. I am so happy that today I can recite Psalm 30:11. God has changed my tears to joy and I am forever grateful.

The time period from the end of May and most of June, I truly felt like my world stood still. It was as if I was walking in a fog and I literally took things day by day. Those who know me, know that I am truly a “daddy’s girl”. I have a great relationship with both of my parents, my mom is my best friend. My father and I share a special bond and I consider myself his “right-hand”. I have pestered my parents to take care of their health this year. They are both ministers and are accustomed to putting individuals before themselves. During a routine heart catheter procedure the doctors found that my father had three clogged arteries. At the end of May he had a stint put into one of the arteries, and the day before my birthday he had heart bypass surgery.

My family leaned on God, our personal relationships/support, family, church family and friends. It is in this season that I learned it is in the darkest hour you know who stands with you. I will be forever be grateful to those who stood in the gap with my family by providing around the clock prayer, words of encouragement, check in calls/texts, sitting with us in the hospital, holding our hands and literally assisting us in one of the most difficult times of our lives.

Even as I write this, tears are streaming down my face. I am known as the “backbone” for my family and a source of assistance and strength. I held it together for my family, but every evening during that time period I would just go home and cry alone or in front of my husband. I just told God I wasn’t ready to lose my father. People at work were shocked to find out all the details of what happened later on because I kept things together. Secret is … I wasn’t relying on my own strength. I had God and a multitude of individuals who were surrounding me in prayer.

I am happy to say that my father is doing well, and is recovering. Each day he is gaining his strength back and getting back to his “normal” step. We know that this a long road to recovery and lifestyle changes but we are grateful that he is alive and was released from the hospital the Friday before Father’s Day so we could properly celebrate him.

Although ultimately my father did not want the bypass surgery, we accepted God’s will in this situation. We received so much prayer and confirmation during this time. I just wanted to encourage someone to let you know that even if things do not end up the way you anticipated, God is still in control. He WILL turn your mourning into dancing. One of my mentors reminded me “God is. God can. God will”.

There were other factors that kept me busy for the past couple months, however, I wanted to share this testimony. I look forward to getting back on track with all the blog posts, videos, events and new apparel. Stay tuned & God Bless!!

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle Joseph

Motivational Monday

 

 

#MotivationalMonday Happy Monday beautiful people! You did not wake up today to be mediocre! Put your best foot forward today in every aspect of your life: school, work, career, with family and friends. Colossians 3:17 states: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Make sure your work ethic reflects Christ ... at the end of the day that is who we ought to please. Make it a great day!

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Marriage is a Mirror

As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my final #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal.  Last week we discussed that marriage is instituted to glorify God. Today we will go over the fact that marriage is like a mirror.


An interesting thing that I have found in my 10 months of being married is that marriage is like a mirror. You ever look into a mirror and see your imperfections? Wrinkles, blemishes or age spots etc … the things we wish we could change, but for the most part have little control over. Mirrors can be real lifesavers, they reflect the present state and give us an opportunity to fix the imperfections.


Marriage at times amplifies our imperfections and our unresolved issues. Whether is issues of abandonment, trust or patience – this becomes amplified in marriage. Just as we look in the mirrors at times and see things we do not like, there are some characteristic traits that need an adjustment. By living so closely with another person, you begin to get a picture of what you really look like. You start to see where you need to adjust and change. Unfortunately, many expect marriage to be something that makes them look better, not something that reveals where they don't look so good. Rather than see where we need to change, we opt to project our own negative images on our spouses and point out where they need to change. Are you willing to accept criticism and make changes? In the Bible, Adam played the blame game like this: "That woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.


Scripture speaks to us time and time again about reflecting Christ because we are made in His image. Colossians 3:10 states “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”. When we accept Christ we know we are to reflect Him. There were moments in my marriage due to feeling overwhelmed that I would give very short responses or spend more time on work or getting things done for my organization. Being overwhelmed and frustrated did not give me a pass to not speak to my husband in love. I took time to reflect and sincerely apologize. There is a saying that my dad would always drill in my head as a child “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you”.  At the end of the day, we are not only a reflection of Christ but we are to reflect our spouse.


To my followers who are single: What areas in your life do you need to work on reflecting Christ? Make a list of 2-3 things that you will be committed to work on before the end of the year. Place it on an index card or in your prayer journal and diligently work on reflecting Christ.


To my followers who are married: If we believe our spouse is present in the marriage to make us look better, instead of being a mirror to help us see who we really are, we will think our marriage is inadequate whenever one of our faults is revealed. Be open to receive criticism. Open the lines of communication to allow your spouse to feel comfortable to speak to you about imperfections.


My prayer is that God will help us in our imperfections. In the area(s) that we are not reflecting Him, may He refine us and mold us into who He wants us to be. No one is perfect, but we can strive to reflect Christ in every aspect of our life.


For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Marriage is made to Glorify God

 

 

 

As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my last two #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal. Just wanted to share what I have learned and experienced in my marriage thus far. I was going to save this for the end of the year, but it fits perfectly with our blog series this month.

 

Marriage was instituted to glorify God. One of the main things I have witnessed as I have counseled others and have even struggled with, is the notion that marriage is to glorify God. Our idea of marriage has been misconstrued over time & not in line with God’s purpose for marriage. We have turned marriage into “what’s in it for me”. Hard lesson: it is not about you. Marriage is more than a than a contract, a piece of paper, or pledge. In marriage you are not only committing to each other in companionship, you are committing to each other in everything. Nothing comes before your spouse.

 

In a nutshell, marriage is to represent how Christ loves the church. Marriage unites two sinners and shows the relationship between Christ and the church. It is put on display in front of the whole world to see. Ephesians 5:25-27 states “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.”.

 

My husband and I grew up with great examples of a healthy marriage. Both sets of parents have been married for over 30 years. We understood that marriage would take “work” and “sacrifice” in order to be successful. One of my mentors drilled into my head that marriage is about sacrifice, not compromise. There would be moments ahead where we would not be able to compromise, and would have to sacrifice.

 

Prior to getting married I knew that marriage would take “work”. As I described to one of my mentees, marriage is the type of work you enjoy … not the 9-5 job that you hate. With that in mind I was aware that there would be days where I would feel overwhelmed but I would need to push through. I have heard people say “marriage isn’t what I expected”. The question is what did you expect (moment of self-examination). Are the expectations you have for your spouse fair? Can you live up to those expectations? I learned from the beginning that I could not place my happiness in the hands of my husband. That is so unfair. He is human just like me. There will be moments where he “fails” me.

 

In the beginning we struggled because my love language is “quality time”. My husband works late nights and due to his photography business, he also works weekends. In that instance I felt as if my “needs” were not being met. I had two choices: 1) Be angry and hold it against him 2) Communicate and work through it. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). I choose to be wise. Instead of nagging I prayed that he would work less hours, prayed that I would continue to love in tough times and sacrificed my own time for him. After some time, he is the one that came to me with solutions. We made sure we did our best to never skip a date night (#FridayNightDateNight) and established good communication when one felt “neglected”.

 

Let’s be real. That small incident could have grown into something much larger. If I chose to be angry .. everything he did thereafter would make me want to explode. If he left the cabinet doors open, forgot to take out the trash or did not help me cook during the week … my anger and frustration would just build. I wouldn’t love him with sacrificial love. This is what self-examination is all about. Looking at yourself and understanding what you are capable of doing, BUT choosing to do the right thing.

 

For my followers who are single: Please remember a man who will lead you to God and not to sin, is always worth the wait! Be patient in your season of singleness. The person that God wants for you will bring you closer to the God. You will see biblical traits in them (fruit). You have to examine their lives because that is the person you are going to be with until death. You need someone who is going to run the Christian race and keep up with you. If you think that you have found the one keep praying and God will tell you in prayer and thorough confirmation. If you are waiting for a spouse, keep praying that God sends someone your way. While you are praying for someone, someone is also praying for you. Trust in the Lord.

 

For my followers who are married: Is your marriage a reflection of God? Since we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27 ) your marriage should reflect Him. Are you being selfish, stubborn, belitting? Always ask yourself if your actions are glorifying God. Learn to makes sacrifices and love in that manner. Stop thinking about the things you aren’t getting, and focus on what your spouse does very well.

 

My prayer is that God will teach us how to build up our relationships, friendships and marriage, & keep us from tearing it down. Whether in word or in deed, we need to seek to honor each other and glorify God daily. May we have the strength to walk in sacrificial love, and a deep desire to press on in faith. Even on the days when it doesn’t feel good to do so, may we continue to walk in His will.

 

I will most likely do a video at the end of the year to celebrate my one year anniversary of marriage and share some more insight on the things I have learned.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Let's Return to the Lord

 

#MotivationalMonday Happy Monday beautiful people! As we continue to examine ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually we find our verse in Lamentations 3. Let us examine our ways and contrast it against the word of God. Does your actions line up with the word of God? Are you living a life that is honorable to Him? Let's work on honoring God on a daily basis with our words, actions and lifestyle. As we continue to press forward towards the goal, He will see us through every obstacle. Be encouraged!

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Examine our Thoughts & Emotions

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As we continue on our path of “Self-Examination" in the following areas: physical, mental and spiritual – I wanted to speak on addressing our thoughts and emotions.


At times we are truly emotional beings. We get upset, hold grudges and remain in the bondage of unforgiveness. Ephesians 4:26-27 states “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”.  In essence we are not to give the devil any opportunity. This means within our relationships with others, friendships and marriage. We need to protect our thoughts, actions and emotions.


God gives us the best example. He isquick to forgive, and  fast to forget. We need to learn to follow His  example of forgiveness and grace. A wise man takes control of his anger and gives it over to God, but a foolish man lets his anger control him. He invites it in to stay. We are not perfect, we never have been–we never will be. We’re bound to hurt each other and say things that sting. That is a part of life. The important things is to recognize the moments we do this and apologize.


We need to pray that God will help us understand one another, and to view each other through a veil of grace and apply this in every aspect of our lives (including towards ourselves).  If we let each other down, we will also be the hand that picks one another up. Scripture tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath (being upset). We need God’s help, and pray that He teaches us to examine our hearts and to calm ourselves down.


My God guide and protect our thoughts & emotions. May He help us to stay positive and to remove negative thoughts before they take root. Scripture after scripture tells us to take our thoughts captive, to keep our bodies from sin, and to guard our hearts according to His Word. The smallest temptation can turn into sin and take root when we allow it to step through the door. What may start out as a simple argument can grow into something far worse if we invite these thoughts in and allow them to grow. There’s a war that is waging inside us. The best way to calm that war is by guarding our thoughts, kneeling in prayer, and admitting that we need God’s help.


May God give us the strength to let go of anger and any grudges we hold. Remind us to count the many blessings we have, and to find. May He help us to heal from those things we have lost, to be content with the things that we have, and to dwell on our future together instead of the past. With Him and through Him, we become a mighty force, set on fire, filled with His Spirit, and ready to fight for our marriage.


For my followers who are single: Ask God to examine your heart, thoughts and emotions in this season. He is yearning for you to be a reflection of Him in your daily life amongst friends, family, peers and coworkers. With His help you will be able to put all of this in check and create healthy relationships.


For my followers who are married: Think of ways that your thoughts and emotions may have been an obstacle in the past. Address those deep rooted issues in your life and put it before God in prayer. Ask Him to help you keep your thoughts and emotions in line so you can have a healthy marriage and maintain good standing in your other relationships.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Share Your Story: Empowered to Live Again

God can heal and restore any loss you experience in life. In 2008, I went through a heartbreaking divorce, foreclosure and unemployment with a 3 year old and 1 month baby in my arms all in the same year! I found myself broken, confused and in despair. I fell into a deep depression.


Crawling out of my black hole was the hardest journey of my life. I had to hold on to all the messages I've heard growing up and the verses I read in the Bible to keep me going. The only problem was that I was so broken I was mad at God. I didn't know why I was going through so much and I question him everyday. I sought help from a Christian counselor and prayed every day that the nightmare would end. I felt as if my life was over. When I accepted the fact that what I was going through was real and that I had to move on with my life things begin to change. I stopped being mad at God when I realized that man make their own decisions apart from God because he gave them free will. I begin to work on forgiveness because anger and bitterness overwhelmed me. It was through the process of inner healing that I was able to rise again.


Forgiveness is not easy especially when the people who hurt you are your loved ones. But when you experience this type of heartbreak think about Jesus . He left his heavenly kingdom and came on earth to die for our sins so we may have life. Now that's great love 


If you are determined to get back up when life knocks you down then I’m here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m healthier, wiser, and stronger then I’ve ever been in my life. I want to encourage you to decide to become an over-comer today. Look forward to a brighter tomorrow and LIVE AGAIN!


I’m now remarried to an amazing supportive husband, mother of three beautiful children and a successful mentor. I believe that if  it wasn’t for God who was on my side I would not be here today encouraging you all. I now understand and have accepted the fact that my pain was meant to encourage Others. I now understand the verse that says "all things work for the good of those love the Lord"" (Romans 8:28).

 

Michaelle: Thank you so much for being so transparent and sharing your story & testimony with us. As we are working through self-examination this month we needed to hear about both mental and spiritual health. You sought out a Christian counselor and knew you needed to forgive in order to heal (heart check). So amazed by your resilience and the work you are doing in the kingdom.

 

Please check out Michaelle's website "Empowered to Live Again" here. She is doing awesome work within the community and for the kingdom of God.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

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  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