SMILE

What does it mean to SMILE?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a SMILE is a facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward and which expresses special amusement, pleasure, or contentment. This is what I saw recently on the face of my wife. I always thought that seeing her SMILE on our wedding day was the best thing ever, but I was quickly mistaken. When she told me we were having a child that SMILE was even better. She was so excited and happy, but a few days later that SMILE turned into a face of sorrow. She miscarried. She was down… I was down… we both were down and felt as if we had been defeated, but God’s words in Joshua 1:9 commands that we be strong and courageous for the Lord our God is with us. 

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

After a few days we came to the realization that although she miscarried our assignment to become parents was not denied but delayed. So fast forward to October 3rd I came home from a long night of recruiting and quickly went to bed. Around 1am Arika woke me and said Steph guess what.. (what) I’m pregnant! She was probably expecting a grand excited response from me,but all I said was “You woke me up for that?” Haha, don’t judge me guys I was still sleep and had just got home not that long ago. There was that SMILE again. We finally made it to our first doctors appointment but it didn’t become real until the day we went to get the ultrasound. As Arika laid on the table unable to see anything, I sat in the chair and watched our child move around as if it knew we were watching. To see the head, the legs, and arms was a joy. I even think the baby waved to us. Finally, Arika was able to see and join in the experience I was already having. The SMILE she possessed this day was by far better than anything I have ever seen. She was finally able to see her creation. She was able to forget about the long days and nights she spent running to the bathroom to throw up. She was able to realize that it was all worth it for that moment and moments to come. 

On 12/9/16 we had our 2nd appointment. I think that may have been the quickest and easiest appointment I have ever experienced in my lifetime. We got the chance to hear our babies heartbeat. That SMILE returned. This SMILE is officially the best SMILE I’ve ever seen. I love seeing this… It isn’t like Arika doesn’t SMILE but this SMILE I’m seeing is different, it stands for something bigger than us. This SMILE means legacy and the next chapter in our lives. This SMILE means we will See a Miracle In Life Everyday!

Like I stated before we were Delayed not Denied and our time is now. Baby Piggee is coming to meet the world in June 2017. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time on You Baby girl or boy. Daddy is really hoping you’re a boy!

Where is your SMILE? Are you SMILING right now? Don’t let anyone or anything steal your SMILE. I wrote on our recent experience about what has caused us to SMILE even more. So let me be the encouragement piece you need to SMILE today. If no one has told you what your SMILE means, let me be the person to tell you. Your SMILE is beautiful, your SMILE is you and your SMILE is needed to help others SMILE. SO SMILE!

-Stephan T. Piggee II

My Response to Failure

I have had a revelation. One that I feel has changed my heart and my mind.

I think that the toughest thing I have faced thus far is the feeling of failure. Coming face to face with what seems to be failing the one you love. Though I have never heard the words “You have failed me.” I have allowed it to define me. I have allowed failure a seat at the table. I have allowed myself to believe that he would be better off without me. That he could go farther without my burdens. With every week that goes by, bill that comes in the mail, dish that’s left unwashed I feel I have failed him.

I am embarrassed to say it, but I have left humiliated.

If you read my posts often you know that I like to be as honest as possible. To share my struggles so that anyone who may need someone to relate can have that. Even when it is difficult to admit.

The enemy wanted me to stay in that place where I doubted what I felt I was supposed to do, where I thought I failed, and felt judged.

In what seemed like a second God made it clear to me. Everything that my husband does – getting up and going to work, taking his job seriously, working on weekends, paying bills I used to be able to help with, making sure I have gas when all my days are spent at home. Loving with me, laughing with me, even being honest with me when needed. He does all this because he feels I am worth it. Would he do it all if he didn’t feel this way?

This brought me to how husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Regardless of how far gone I feel, Christ will love me. No matter how many mistakes I make, His sacrifice for my sins cover me. While we were still sinners Christ died for is. There could be a flock of sheep all headed in the right direction, but one headed left and He stops to retrieve the lost.

Christ did all that because he feels I am worth it. Even when I feel that I am not. Christ feels that YOU are worth it. Don’t allow failure and defeat to set into your heart. It will destroy your drive to live and to go for your dreams. I thank God for the revelation in this area, and perseverance that I gained by learning it.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Journaling)

I have had something on my mind. Asking myself, “How will you approach those who you have lost all respect for respectfully?”

I have a track record of walking away from relationships that have become more toxic than worth fighting for. I don’t say this with pride, it has always been something I looked back on with some small inkling of regret, very very small. I am not the type to boldly confront a person who has hurt me and tell them off. I would take a blow and let it go, take another and let it go. I have been in relationships with friends who would secretly ridicule me and I would be around to hear, or I would find their notes. I would take the blow and let it go. I have dated one or two who had an idea of what my role was and how I was supposed to follow those guidelines. I tried to understand, to make sense of it all. I would take the blow and let it go. I have heard people I trusted speak ill of people I love. I have heard them speak ill of me, I have seen them operate out of everything except love.

I took the last blow and walked away. I walked away all those times feeling like the person or persons didn’t deserve to hear how I felt. I walked away calmly and put together, but still hurt. As I said before, this is not an action I am completely proud of. But I can’t lie and not say I am glad I had the strength to walk away. I feel that some things will never be resolved. Some people will never change, I stuck around as long as I did thinking it could happen but it didn’t. So with that being said, back to my question to myself. How will you approach those who you have lost all respect for respectfully? 

I feel like this is a question I cannot answer. All I can do is remind myself I need to pray about it more. I need to check my heart some more. From losing friends, to boyfriends, to whoever else, pain and loss is apart of life. And it shouldn’t break us but make us stronger. I know it has done that. But what I am unsure about is that small inkling of regret I have. The regret of choosing to avoid speaking up. Let me explain why time and time again I have done that.

Every relationship I mentioned have this in common, those people had their minds made up. What they thought of me, how they treated me or others was apart of who they were. Was I to stand there and take it? Spend my time and effort attempting to get them to change? At the point of giving up my answers were NO. You can give a loved one chance after chance after chance, but at some point you realize that relationship may just not work. I’ll still treat you with love and respect, but we aren’t who we used to be. Sometimes walking away can help a person realize they wronged you, or sometimes they just make a decision about you and who you are.

Writing that last paragraph, I have seemed to answer my own question I thought I could not answer. You approach a person that you have lost respect for with love. We may not see eye to eye, we may never talk about our issues, but I will never treat you with disrespect and hatred but with love. Regardless of how they respond to me, or what they have to say about me. I will display love.

Control Freak

I like to have a plan. I like to be prepared. I like to drive myself around so I can get to where I need to be on my own time. I like to voice my opinion if I feel that it will expedite the process. I like for all the chairs to pushed under the table, and for the wet towels to be hanging not lying around. I like control.

Can God be in control if I am trying to be.

Over the last 2 months I have been in a very different point in my life. I had a plan, I had it all figured out. I heard from God and finished what I thought was the plan with my own ideas. I knew what would go down step by step, only I didn’t.

In my home, there were things that just went the way I planned them because I felt I had things under control.

I lost all control. Every part of my plan failed. Everything I knew would just work out perfectly didn’t. Even things that I thought I dealt with came back to haunt me.

I am no longer the Control Freak, but weak and helpless. I don’t think I have ever felt weak and helpless.

The words weak and helpless seem to be words to evoke shame, and for a while I felt that. I felt shame for not having it all together, for not being on my game and sticking to my plan. But, I can’t feel that shame because of a promise I hold on to.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

I have never been at this place, and I needed to be broken to get here. As tough as it is. I heard tell me “It’s going to hurt.” but I wasn’t expecting this.

I last wrote about trusting God to walk upon the waters. In order to do that, I now see it takes complete abandonment of your own plans. Trust without borders means no plan B. It means I’m not on the planning committee, I am just here for instruction. And that most definitely hurts, but it will mist definitely be worth it all.

#IChoose2Delight

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1: 1-3 NIV

But those whose delight is in the law of the Lord… 

Reading the passage above, I think to myself “law” and immediately feel “Ugh”. When I think of law in our world I think of speed limits, electoral votes, and taxes. All things that are law, but no one enjoys. So, reading “whose delight is in the LAW” seems tough, but we have to read on to “of the Lord.”

Other translations say: “Instead you thrill to God’s Word,” (The Message) “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings]” (Amplified)

His precepts and teachings… When we delight (take great pleasure, give keen enjoyment) in his precepts and teachings and meditate on it day and night we then enjoy the blessing of verse 3. That sounds like good news doesn’t it? And it sounds simple too. Then why isn’t it simple to do?

Go to your bible app and search for verses in the book of Psalm with the word delight (NIV). I see 29. There are 29 verses where David speaks of finding joy in the Lord’s commands, precepts, teachings, and salvation. He speaks on how without “the law” he would have perished in his affliction (119:92), that “the law” is his counselor (119:24), that “the law” directs him along the path (119:35), he even says in that the Lord’s instruction is more valuable than thousands of pieces of silver and gold (119:72).

David shows us that the law is not to be thought of as laws of the land. But that the law is God’s instruction to us, His wisdom given to us that SAVES us. Naturally, law can be something that cause people to be upset, and rebels to go their own way. Law in most cases protects us.  For example, texting while driving, we can cause accidents and people can get hurt. In the same way God’s law protects us and it teaches us.

I know this is not the most fun thing to read about, but it gives me delight to try to explain to every reader that the Lord’s Law is not a bunch of religious rituals. It isn’t that you can’t wear hats in the church building, or makeup, or jeans. It’s all about the love of Christ given to us. I can say that it brings me joy to have encounter speaking and hearing from God when he wakes me to pray (though rolling out of bed at 4am is NO fun at all). When I am on my knees saying God I need this or that, and He tells me what I really need and what He has already provided… that frees me from pain and suffering I was inflicting on myself.

We so often go through things day to day and try to figure out the solution ourselves, or we TELL God how we need Him to handle it. Often our suffering is caused by us looking to things other than God and His Word to validate or direct us. I know I have done it, and it caused me so much unnecessary stress. But…

My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.

Psalm 119:71 NLT

David said that, not me! But I agree.

I have written all this so you can really sit and think on “the law of the Lord” and how to delight in it. What does delighting in it mean for you. As stated in the opening passage, I want to be that tree standing firm by the water, that bears fruits and never withers away. I want all I do to prosper! So I choose to delight in the Lord. I choose to discipline my flesh to meditate on His Word, and make time to pray and encounter His presence!

We have to do it. We must. I feel it is a call for His people. Revival for the believer happens when we Delight in the LORD!

Share this with your friends and loved ones! #IChoose2Delight

Featured image photo from retrieved from pinterest. 

Trust without Borders

I’ve been in an arena filled with thousands of people singing, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,  let me walk upon the water, wherever you would call me…”

It’s a song about the call from Jesus to live like He lives. The lyrics speak on the unknown of what we may face as we move in obedience to the call. The song is emotional and forces those listening to look up to heaven. We love to sing it, we love to hear Taya belt it, but are we really willing to live it?

Where would God have to lead you in order to tear down the walls of your fear? Where is that place for you, where trust has no limits?

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Jesus called Peter upon the water, He trusted that it was Jesus who called and because it was him he could walk on water as well. That sounds like Trust without borders to me. This passage teaches us so much. Peter eventually began to sank because he lost focus, but he had the faith take those few steps. 

I desire to be one who “Lives on the Edge” as my Pastor says. It is so easy to sing about, it is difficult to live out. Time after time in my adult life God has lead me to do things that made no earthly sense. He lead me to do things that others criticized. Some of the same people singing Oceans, will forget the true meaning and look down on you and your faith. But don’t be discouraged! There were probably a few disciples on the boat thinking Peter was crazy to step out of the certainty of the boat onto the water. Trust without borders requires focus on the Lord not on the winds or voices that try to knock you down. 

God has the ability to take a bad thing and use it for your benefit and for His Glory!

– Pastor Cornell Burton Jr.

There are times in life we know God is calling us to do something, we know a season has ended, but we are afraid of making the step. I urge you today to let go of fear and choose to be obedient to Christ. The process may be challenging, but the result will be for your benefit and His Glory!

I refuse to live a life of playing it safe and missing out on all God has planned for me. I refuse to face Him and know I didn’t move when He said move. I refuse to forfeit my peace and freedom to please the people around me and avoid ridicule.

I hope that you will do the same!