God Made You A Queen

"And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti." Ester 2:7 - KJV

For as long as I can remember, My GodMommy always referred to me as one of her "little Esthers". Now this is one of the stories in the Bible that is pretty cut and dry, in my opinion, in terms of it's meaning. Esther was chosen to be Queen by the King because she was beautiful, anointed and favored. She was, however, anointed to be Queen because she was beautifully favored and chosen by God. In this place as Queen, Esther made bold decisions, she was faithful, she knew her purposed and went after it no matter the cost, and did it all with grace. 

Parents always see the best in you. They know your potential and often view you based off who they know you can and will become. My GodMommy always knew what was inside of us for who we could become; modern Queen Esthers. But the biggest truth is, along with our mothers, she molded us into those women. And you have to be a Queen to raise a queen.

Durelle McPherson is one of the single most graceful, powerful, bold, beautiful, faithful, modern day Queens on this earth. Like Esther, she gives her all for her people, her loved ones. She's a fighter; she's been through you-know-where and back again but when you see her you see God's glory in all of that. She is a class act with a bit of spice. Overall she's just the type of person that you go "everyone needs a so-and-so in their life".

So I'm going to say it, EVERYONE needs a Durelle McPherson in their life! I'm eternally grateful and blessed that I do. Happy Birthday GodMommy! You are truly the best! I love you. I don't know who I would be without you, and I'm glad I didn't have to find that out. Now it's time to plan a pool day ;).

- Your Little Esther

 "Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:25-29 NASV

Life As A Smoothie

Yep, you read the title right. And no, this is not the recipe for some sort of power drink that will detox or clarify your skin. I've legitimately been looking at my life as a smoothie lately. I know you're probably confused so allow me to explain.

 

Before graduating from undergrad, I had this cute little idea of how everything in my life was going to line up. I was supposed to be in this place doing those things with these people at xyz timeframes. Yeah, God apparently had other plans. Now I'm not saying that I'm not grateful for the alternate way my life is working out. I am. But God only knows it's so much and so all over the place sometimes that I don't know which way is left.

 

So how does the smoothie come into play?

 

When you go to make a smoothie, you have all these ingredients that you add to the blender. Some are great and delicious on their own. Some are not so tasty. As you layer them in one by one you end up with this pretty little rainbow of ingredients. And then you hit puree… and everything starts to get cut up and tossed around. I bet you if those berries could talk they'd tell you that the blending isn't at all comfortable.

 

But then something amazing happens. All the craziness starts to take form, and you start to see something beautiful and coherent take shape. All the ingredients are now blended into one delicious smoothie.

 

My point?

 

Life can sometimes set you in a whirlwind of the good, the bad, the uncomfortable, and every other ingredient. But in the midst of the blending we must remember that "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose". It will keep you hopeful and fighting for that beautiful end product.

 

And trust me, it's shaping up to be one great smoothie ;)

The Strong One

In the past, whenever life hit me hard, I would always find myself asking God to give me strength. "Lord increase my strength. Make me stronger. Give me the strength to get through this." Now, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with this prayer. Would should always look to God to strengthen us. But for me, especially recently, this prayer was coming from the wrong place and my mindset within it desperately needed to be changed.

November 2015 had admittedly been the craziest and toughest month of my entire life! I'm talking faith shaking, life-altering, mind-boggling, knee buckling, tough! And with all that was required of me to help me and those I love get through it, my strength tank was slowly tipping its way to 'E'. I was asking God over and over for strength because, in my situation, I needed to be the strong one. Strong was all I was ever taught to be, what people were praying for me to be, and what I thought I needed to be. Until I realized that didn't make a lick of sense.

Here's why:

2 Corinthians 12:9 - "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

How is His power/strength made perfect in my weakness if I'm trying so hard to avoid or deny my weak moments? It's not to say that God won't still move or won't still be God and work miracles on my behalf if I do. What I learned, though, is that there is a peace that comes with just admitting to the weak moments and letting God work from there.

I think of it like this. When a couple, or family, or any people in any type of a relationship go through something hard, typically someone steps up or is asked to be the "strong one". The other person, even though times are hard, is given a bit of extra comfort and peace knowing that someone else is being strong and handling the tough stuff for them. When I was honest with God about my weak moment, I asked God to be the strong one. The peace that came with knowing He would step into that place and would never fail was a better peace than I've ever known.

My Point: It's ok to admit to God when we are weak. No matter how much we ask for strength, there is no greater strength than Him acting on His own.

Isaiah 61:3 "And provide for those who grieve in Zion... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair..."

Let's Go to Memphis

I'm probably one of a small group of Northern Black girls who listens to the country music group, Rascal Flatts. (If you don't listen to them, its worth a try.)

On one of their more recent albums they have a song called "I Have Never Been to Memphis". Gary LeVox, the lead singer goes through all the differences between where he lives, California, and where the love of his life lives, Memphis, TN. As he sings through the verses, he starts to describe what Memphis is like. It's very different from California and no where near what he is used to. But through it all, he never once speaks badly of it. Instead, he starts to talk about how he will find the things he likes and learn to love it because so long as she (his true love) is there, that's where he wants to be. He has never been there before, and it may be a bit scary to leave, but his main point is that so long as his love is there, he knows everything else will work out.

Listening to the lyrics for the first time made me think, "what if I decided to take that type of mindset with God?" A lot of times, I find He calls me out to places and tasks that are new and not my usual place of comfort. Most times, I like where I am when He calls me away. I've gotten used to that place, I know where everything is, I've become accustomed to the environment, and it's become so safe. Compared to where I am, that new place is a bit too scary. But then there's "Memphis", a place that's foreign but better than where I am because at the end of the day, THAT is where the lover of my soul resides.

"Memphis" is different for everyone. Sometimes it's a literal new location, new placement, new role, new job, new mindset, new responsibility, new gifting, etc. When God calls us to our Memphis, it's best to just keep in mind that so long as He called us there, much like Gary was, we will be well taken care of. 

So let's go to Memphis...

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhCDTEpPavc

Throw It Out!

This one is for the ladies! I often get asked how long someone should keep makeup before throwing it out. So here is a list of dates...
 

No matter how sensitive your skin may be, everyone experiences adverse reactions to expired makeup whether they are visible or not. When makeup is opened, and is exposed to the air and elements around, bacteria and other germs will collect over time. These same germs and bacteria get into your skin and pores and are especially dangerous around your eyes (note that mascara and eye creams do not last as long because of this reason). It can lead to breakouts, rashes, faster aging of your skin, pink eye, and much more.

So ladies, no mater how pretty the color, how much you paid for it, or how much is left; keeping expired makeup is not worth the health of your skin or your sight. Trash it when is necessary.

Be Beautiful, Stay Mindful

Looking for the Living Among the Dead

I went to a conference called Campus Harvest back in March through a ministry called Every Nation Campus Ministry.It was a really strange time for me but ended up being amazing! The conference was held in Durham North Carolina. My father always fusses at me because he says I have such a strong prejudice against the south. It's not really the south so much as NC specifically. 

From the time I was 5 years old I could only associate NC with death. The first time I went, it was for my grandfather's funeral.The 3rd was for my favorite aunt, Bonnie's. Several family members are buried down there so in my mind NC became the place where people and things went to die. 

Now before I go any further, this is not a shot at NC as a state. It was just based off my life experiences. Y'all have some great things down there lol. 

When I went in March we left on my Aunt Bonnie's birthday. She's buried in Henderson. This was 5 months after my grandmother passed and I wasn't coping with that either. I was excited for the trip but there was such a weight on me from the moment we entered state lines. The conference was going well but I was having a terrible time. Emotionally I was broken, hurting, and just over it. I looked at all I had lost, all that had yet to happen, and the "dead place" was weighing on me. 

Right before the last service, one of the guys in my group says to me "the trip isn't over yet, don't count God out." We were in praise and worship that night before the closing service and God clearly said (and no, it wasn't a Morgan Freeman like voice from heaven, but a small voice in me that sounded like me but wasn't words that I could have possibly thought of...) " You can not declare a place as dead that I have declared as living. I conquered death, hell, and the grave for you, so make the choice to live." Now if that wouldn't make me change my mindset immediately, I'm not sure what would have. 

So here is my point....

Often we start declaring things and naming them as negative when that was never what God meant for them to be in our lives. We fill those places with fear, doubt, pain, destruction, malice, anger, or whatever and they were simply just never meant to be called that. Then we wonder why we can't get relief from those situations. The scripture where the angel asks the Mary's "why are you looking for the living among the dead" came to mind. We want relief, we want the deliverance, we want the peace, but with our complaints, negative mindsets, or being blinded by hurt we are speaking death out our mouths and spirits. 

"You can not declare a place as dead that I have declared as living."

What have you misnamed or misdeclared in your life?

The Lion King

The Lion King on Broadway went on Tour back in May and came to Philadelphia. I had never seen it on broadway (yes the girl who grew up 20 minutes away from Manhattan never saw it), but thanks to my old job, I got to go for free!As we were sitting there watching feeling like a kid in a candy store with the phenomenal  on stage, the play came to the scene where Mufasa's spirit speaks to Simba. He said "You have forgotten me." Simba replied "No father, I could never forget you!" In response Mufasa says "You have forgotten who you are and have therefor forgotten me. Look at your reflection and remember who you are. You are my son." What was the significance of that? Well for those who don't know or may have forgotten the back story. Mufasa died trying to save Simba. When Scar, Mufasa's jealous brother and sworn enemy who plotted this whole thing, found Simba, he convinced the young cub that it was his fault and to run away. Mufasa was the ruler of the land, the KING of the Pride Lands, automatically making Simba royalty. But when Simba ran he gave up his power and authority to someone who was never meant to have it and wouldn't have to true means to handle it.Mufasa's spirit told Simba to remember who he was, ROYALTY with power and authority over all the Land.

So what's my point?

Where and in what situations have you forgotten who you are and therefor relinquished your authority? Taking it back is very simple, though. It is just a matter of remembering who you are; a child of the King and certified royalty. Your authority is even written in the books and signed in the blood. Remember who you are an act in that. Remember who He is and act through that. 

Who would have thought Disney would preach? lol

Take A Chance on Dirt


The other day I had my spotify radio on. The song "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" started to play. It features the lyrics "I don't want to take a chance on dirt while I got grass even though the grass has died". I was getting ready to belt out the lyrics, violently singing along with it when I thought to myself;  "well that's awfully stupid". 

First, there's a 50% chance that you'll get good grass. Second, trying for better is stepping out on faith, which we've been called to do. Third, say you try the other side and you get dirt. Because you stepped out on faith, God can take that dirt and turn it into a garden that will provide you with an abundance. Next thing you know that abundance may help not only you and your loved ones but also the people in your neighborhood. That help may cause someone in the neighborhood to go out and help somebody else with what they got from your garden or start their own. You can't grow without dirt anyhow. 

Of course I'm not speaking of a literal garden (unless your situation does involve an actual garden). It just stands to say that if you step out on faith, while what you see at first may not be what you pictured, and it may be covered in dirt, when God takes his hand and touches it, just one touch, he'll turn that dirt, that mess, into a blessing you never would have imagined. Then He'll take you and that blessing and use it and touch someone else. Before you know it you've got a chain reaction of blessings. 

So many times in life we get caught up with the way things look right now and instead of waiting on the change we decide that we are gonna take matters into our own hands to have control over the outcome of the situation or our future. The truth is that there isn't a single thing that we can do about it anyhow because God already had every single aspect and even our thoughts planned out. 

All we have to do is let go and move out of God's way and He will do things that will blow our mind. He can work if we let him instead of constantly being blessing blockers.. 
 

Galatians 3: 8-9New International Version (NIV)

8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[a] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
— The Bible