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Keeping Death In Mind

March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.

A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

In Preparation For the Promised Land

On Bebe Booth - Till My Pen Runs Dry

My time here in Los Angeles has been quite the roller coaster of experiences. I've grown so much over the past 7yrs, it's truly hard to believe it's already been that long since I landed in the city of dreams. What's most fascinating is I haven't even truly begun the journey God has planned for me. I've only been in preparation during my time here. I've been on the SHELF, the very back of the shelf where things gather dust cause they're too far back to reach. During my time on this shelf I was being molded by the Potter. Having my character, integrity, nature, attitude and relationship with God tested, shaped and remolded into His image and likeness. He was reshaping my desires to align with His. Cleansing me of my past. Testing my desires to see if I truly loved Him against all obstacles, opposition and trials, to see if I would stick with Him through thick and thin or only when things were going my way, would I allow Him to build our relationship and trust, or hit the road the second things became difficult. He also spent a great deal of time testing my ability to serve others. Teaching me the value and importance of putting others wants and desires before my own.

During this time of testing, I've watched less qualified individuals get promotions I had prepared years for. I watched jobs and opportunities be given to others that I was praying and believing for. I've watched others advance while I remained shelved, hidden and unnoticed. I watched others go on grand adventures I yearned & longed for. I watched pockets all around me being filled while mine were being drained, even though I was faithful to tithe and was abundant in my desire to give. I had doors that would change my life forever slam close as I was just about to enter with my dance shoes on, singing and shouting for joy. I had well meaning friends tell me what they've done to make it and what I might be doing wrong to have not made it. I had people look down on me because I don't dress like them or have the fancy things they do. I've had many exciting opportunities dangle before me that I knew I was NOT meant to take, but I could have if I wanted to back out of the ultimate vision and plan God has for my life, to end my immediate suffering. But what then? What is to become of me after taking the less difficult path? After receiving this immediate gratification, what's left? What is to become of my God ordained purpose? I can't even count how many times I allowed myself to feel forsaken, how many pity parties I threw myself as a party of ONE when my heart was broken. Oh ... the tears my pillow has collected over the years. How many nights I've been simply crushed asking God why my prayers didn't go through, why He refused to bless me as "I saw fit." LOL .. But truth be told, any prayer that wasn't answered was only a delay or for my protection .. but at times I didn't want to hear God say yet AGAIN, "Not yet, sweet child, that will take you in the wrong direction, you have much work to still accomplish on the shelf. Soon you will receive all you've asked for. Trust my plan, for it is a GOOD PLAN. A plan to prosper you. To help you. To give you more then you can imagine. To use you immensely. Just be patient. Continue on the path before you. Eventually, you will arrive. Do not give up for I am with you, I will strengthen you along the way."

Most of the time the 'Waiting Process' can be the hardest part of your calling. Doing ONLY what's in front of you. Staying out of God's way by not attempting to HELP HIM. Accepting His will over your own. Praying and lovingly supporting others who are living your dream. Helping others achieve the desires in your own heart. Being excited for other people's promotions and advancements. Dancing with those who have what you can't seem to attain whether that be in health, career, finances, relationships or opportunities. It's a true testament of character when you can be happy for those who advance long before you. When you can get excited for the blessings others are receiving, while watching from the sidelines, covered in the soot from those who have sped past you, while you remain in a state that feels much like neutral. However ... you must not forget, there will come a time when YOUR BLESSING too shall arrive and you will also want those around you to celebrate and dance with you, for your journey to the Promised Land has been long and you will want to rest your feet with those who love you and support you. We each have suffered and sacrificed for our dreams to be fulfilled and we EACH deserve to be celebrated when our time comes. Being envious or jealous of someone won't advance your dream .. it will only make you appear ungrateful and unloving toward those who are in the trenches with you. I've always lived by this mindset >> What you make happen for another, God will make happen for you! As the bible states, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." ------->> You have no idea who's going to put your name up for promotion, who's going to be first in line to celebrate with you ... so get to dancing with all your friends & family, those in the trenches AND those in the palace.

It's important to remember, when you've done everything you can do to accomplish the goal at hand ... you can only trust God's perfect timing to bring it to pass. I surrendered my entire life to Christ 15yrs ago. In that full surrender I included the men I date and the one I would one day MARRY. Thus far every man I've gone out with God has said, "He's not the one for you, let him go!" I even fell in love with a man that had been my friend for many years, and when I went to tell him, God closed that door of opportunity and said, "You can not share this news with him .. he's not your future husband. Let him go and I will free you of your desire for him." Walking with God at times is very much like being navigated through a LAND MINE .. if you don't pay attention to His voice, leadership, guidance and promptings everything can blow up in your face REAL QUICK !!!! And the closer you get to your destiny, the more LAND MINES you find all around you. So I don't move to the left or to the right without confirmation and or direction from God. He's my sole focus. He's my one and only truth. He's the lamp unto my feet and the voice of wisdom unto my heart. He's my husband, my leader, my best friend, my partner in crime and the ultimate love of my life. He's always had me in the palm of His hand and I'll always be forever His.

This year God is calling us to decide if we are IN or OUT! That's not just a call to salvation but to the DEPTH you are willing to GO INTO JESUS!!! Are you going to fully surrender and let Him do what He WILLS with your life? Or were you more or less just hoping to sneak into the flock when the wolves show up behind you? Are you where you should be in your walk with God? To truly answer this question, you need to ask yourself >> Are you making any progress in your spiritual life? Are you walking with Jesus or just standing still? What direction are you moving in? Are you resisting change? Are you running like Jonah? Cause he was eventually caught. Are you using the tools that God gave you, or have you buried them and chosen NOT to use them? What will you need to strengthen your character? What do you need to LET GO of to grow in your relationship with Christ? What is keeping you from THRIVING and doing what you love? Are you ready to go after what truly fulfills you? How bad do you want it? Is it worth the cost of your comfort? Are you ready to give up your OWN strategies and do what God tells you, even if it seems impossible? Are you willing to face Goliath?

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