Devotional Diva Turns 10!

On July 15, 2008, founder Renee Johnson (now Renee Fisher) wrote on Facebook that her work was cut out for her thanks to her coach. That was the day DevotionalDiva.com was born!

Editor’s Note: I asked Renee to share a note on the anniversary of Devotional Diva turning ten! Here is her letter:

It was my (Renee’s) dream to become a published author, and my coach, Marcia Ramsland, suggested I use DevotionalDiva.com as my website and brand because I had already blogged hundreds of devotionals.

I worked hard to launch the website in September and bought the trademark. Within a few short months, I had a literary agent and a publisher for my first book, a 365-daily devotional for 20-somethings entitled Faithbook of Jesus.

My first book sold so well that I was offered a second contract from NavPress. Then the economy tanked and my contract was canceled. I had no idea what God was up to or what might come next.

Another dream of mine came true, In 2011, I married a wonderful man and God gave me a new identity, and not just because of my new last name. He called me “Peaceful” despite my health issues of anxiety and severe eczema. 

What started out as one woman bravely sharing her story of overcoming incredible odds became a mantra to spur others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

I had no idea that God would use my voice to empower hundreds of women to share their story so they too could be set free. 

It was such a comfort for me to create an online platform that encouraged women to share their joys as well as their sufferings. I loved inviting women, as well as being asked by many women for the opportunity to share their story. 

When Devotional Diva® took on a life of its own, I knew it was time to pass the baton to the next generation. It was never mine, to begin with. I was just the steward!

I met Maggie Winterton at the San Diego Christian Writers Guild in 2013 when she asked if she could share her story. Her courage to talk openly about her trials and tribulations inspired me.

The next year, I felt called to step down as Editor-in-Chief.

After Maggie saw my original decision to end Devotional Diva, she felt God compelling her to email me and offer to help keep DD up. 

If it wasn’t for Maggie’s courage once more, Devotional Diva® would have ended.

It felt like an Abraham moment when God asked me to sacrifice my baby. Not only was Maggie the only person to ask me, she now owns the website and the trademark. This is a relief to me because I am no longer a devotional writer. I help women self-publish their stories with the world on my website here. I don’t have enough words to say thank you to the many women, including Maggie herself who bravely shared and will continue to share their story. 

The bravest thing we can do is to use the voice God gave us to speak up and share from the heart. To be open about all the things. 


renee fisher

Renee Fisher is an author, coach and consultant who recently launched a full-service creative agency for authors. She is passionate about defending dreams and spurring others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). #DreamDefender. Renee is a BIG fan of glitter, a graduate of Biola University and lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Starfish.”

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Grace for the Least of Us (Especially Me)

grace

Grace For the Least of Us – Especially Me

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Heather Ream. This is SUCH a powerful message about grace. Thanks, Heather!

When I was 10 years old, our church hosted their first Halloween event.  Unsuspecting patrons, thinking they were touring a run-of-the-mill haunted house, were shown the horrors of hell and what awaited us in eternity unless we accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation.  As people finished the tour, they were given the opportunity to learn more about the Lord.  Some found it so moving, they became saved that very night.

One of those people was my cousin, a popular, charismatic kid who was already getting into trouble in and away from school, despite the fact that he was well-loved and had ample opportunities for success.  I adored him, but I didn’t understand how he could act so bad yet still supposedly feel remorse for his sin.  I also didn’t understand why my mom was breathless with joy about him.  “He’s part of the Lord’s family now, Heather!  And he always will be!” she had exclaimed.  My cousin was already a favorite in our family and in our school.  And now he could act the way he did and still be loved by Jesus, too?  I was pea-green with envy.

As adults, my cousin and I took wildly different paths.  I was blessed with a wonderful husband and found deep spiritual satisfaction serving my community – a “decent” woman by most accounts, with a reputation for helping others without being asked.  My cousin, however, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for drug manufacturing – after he had already served 7 years for aggravated robbery. 

Throughout my life, my mother continually defended my cousin’s adolescent spiritual epiphany.  Several years ago, he wrote a touching poem about needing God’s protection in jail and mailed it to her.  She framed his poem and displayed it proudly.  “Give me a break,” I told her, “Don’t you realize that he only seems to love God when he’s up for parole?”  I wasn’t having it. 

“I can’t prove what’s in his heart, Heather,” she said, “but I believe him when he says he is saved.”

Late last year, things began to change with Mom.  She became more impulsive, argumentative, and just plain rude.  I had always enjoyed debating her on the finer points of theology, but suddenly her counterpoints completely deviated from Scripture.  Eventually, she withdrew from discussion altogether.  This baffled and irritated me, as she was cornerstone in my own Christian walk.  When we received the diagnosis of vascular dementia, however, I was relieved.  I now understood she had a broken brain, not a change of heart.  But I still wasn’t prepared for the emotional upheaval the diagnosis unleashed.

“God hates me,” she began telling me over and over. “He did this to punish me.”  Sometimes her tone was self-pitying, sometimes it had a streak of nastiness.  No matter how many ways I calmly explained that this wasn’t the case, she would not or could believe me.  No matter how many times I prayed with her or reminded her of her favorite Bible stories or examples of God’s provision in her life, she would not or could not believe me.

She has developed a reputation of being a difficult patient in her nursing home.  While the staff understands her diagnosis, there is also evidence that her some of her behavior is intentional.  Yet, I often spend time with her nurses, pleading her case.  I guess what I’m saying is, I can’t prove what’s in her heart, but I believe her when she says she was saved. 

I believe her because I still have the memories of every time she sacrificed her own well-being for her children.  I remember the feeling of being loved by her, often deficiently but no doubt constantly.  I remember her prayers on my behalf, her encouragement of me to use my God-given talents boundlessly.  I believe it because I know it. 

No doubt she believes the same thing about my cousin. 

That’s not to say that I definitely know what’s in anyone’s heart.  Those thoughts are visible only to the Author of All.  But if I truly believe that God’s grace applies to those who call on His name with repentance, even imperfectly, then I have to believe that she may be right about him. 

Limitless grace is not a license to sin, nor is it a blanket eternal pardon for those who do not know Jesus. 

It is instead a priceless, undeserved gift of a patient Creator.  After all, when does grace expire?  Is it after my mother’s purposeful refusal of medication for the 3rd time, or the 4th?  Does it perhaps expire on a thin mattress when an inmate lies in the dark, planning for his survival?  Is it reinstated after a beautiful poem?  Did grace exist for me when I jealously dismissed my cousin’s conversion?  Was it retroactively applied when I walked the long Baptist aisle at age 11 and told my pastor I wanted to be saved?

The truth is, grace either works for every Christian or for no Christian. 

Otherwise, we may spend our days only doling out love and forgiveness for the kind of repentance that looks “right.”  If I believe what the Bible teaches, then I must change my petty, myopic view of grace.  If I don’t, I’m merely a pardoned offender, serving a self-imposed sentence in a prison cell that was unlocked long ago.


Heather Ream is an emerging writer from Knoxville, Tennessee.  The Lord blessed her with an incredible husband, Ben, and a joyful desire to serve others in her community.  You can follow her East Tennessee adventures at www.runningtowardthefire.blogspot.com.  

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Say No to Crises

Say No to Crises

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. I have to say this is probably the most relevant to my life devotional I’ve ever read. “Midnight crises,” as my husband calls them, are my specialty. Don’t forget to check out Agnes’ last post, Experiencing God’s Love.)

 

Crises! Crises! Crises! One crises seem to follow another, doesn’t it?  I recall a season in my life when I was in one crises, getting ready to come out of it whilst another one was waiting right around the corner.  It was physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I started to recall a time in my life when all hope was lost but God supernaturally intervened – this was the beginning of my victory over my crises situations.

My friends, how do we respond to crises situations in our lives.  The word of God assures us of His unfailing love and promises to us. However, we are required to act and be intentional with our faith and never fail to:

  • Remember God loves us and he is on our side no matter what the situation looks and feels like. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Praise Him during our crises (Psalm 92:1-2)
  • Decide to be positive with our words and thoughts by meditating and speaking the word of God into our life (Joshua 1:8)
  • Affirm our expectation as if it has already come to pass (Romans 4:18-21)
  • Replace negative with positive thoughts (1 Samuel 17:33-37)
  • Take captive of every thoughts that is not of God (Philippians 4:8)

Christ follower, realign your thinking with God’s words and say No to crises. If you are currently not a Christ follower, Jesus loves you – come and experience Him today.

All glory to God!

Agnes Amos-ColemanAgnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

 


Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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His Grace is Sufficient

Grace

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. Maria’s devotionals are always so personal and build such a connection with the reader. Check out her last devotional, “When it Rains,” here.P.S. Devotional Diva is going on a two-week break after this post!)

 

I had a complaint-no I had many complaints.  These complaints I reviewed, meditated on, and professed every morning as I sat in my time with the Lord.  I complained about people, situations, people, things, events, people etc.  After I finished my complaining then I would begin my time thanking God.  I had always heard,

“cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7.

But the whole scripture says,

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 

So, I believed I was doing the right thing, telling Him all about my problems.  I felt like David in Psalms 143:1

Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.”

After I got it all out the only response I received, if any at all was, “My grace is sufficient.”  I hadn’t learned to sit quietly in my suffering yet.  In fact, I am really not quiet about anything let alone suffering.  Suffering always increased my complaints. The truth is I’m a whiner, a complainer, and I get frustrated when I don’t see the move of the Lord in what I see as a “dire” situation.  I remember days of standing in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror crying.   I always found it was more effective when I could look at how pathetic I was.  I wanted to see what God saw.  Looking back, I was just pitiful.

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:14-16,

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

I realize that I need to grow up and stop complaining.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me,” 1 Corinthians 13:11.

I am learning to be thankful and simply praise Him for who He is.  I awoke this morning thanking God for those things that are “good, lovely, pure and praiseworthy.”  Philippians 4:8,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

His grace alone is sufficient for me just because of who He is.

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 weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Not only is His grace sufficient but I am undeserving of even that.  But because of who He is, I have access to it.  Not because of who I am but who He is.  Thank you Lord for your grace.  By definition, grace is defined as, “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” Also as “a virtue coming from God”, “approval or favor” or a “temporary exemption.”  I marvel at all these definitions of “grace” and know even further that I am not deserving of it, so why do I complain?

I am not worthy of Him or His grace but He willingly, undeservingly gives it to me daily.  And His grace alone gets me through each day.  Not only is He “grace”, but love and He is indeed concerned about my life details and the things that bother me.  Although I don’t see any quick change in my “situations”, I know He is faithful and is moving despite my “seeing” it.  I will not complain.

So this day I am thankful, thankful for this day that He allowed me to see, thankful for his mercy, thankful for my blessings, thankful for everything He brings me today, and most of all for His grace to continue on in my faith walk without complaint.  His grace is indeed sufficient.

 

Maria DraytonMaria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

 


Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

 

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Appointed Turning Points

transitions

Appointed Turning Points

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Ann Grace. Ann sent this to me after she read my June editor’s note, and it was such a blessing to me in my time of transitions! Thank you!]

These days, transitions surround me. Currently, I look at my eldest daughter as she travels through this passage into women-hood. She’s 12 and a half and is getting a hunch that Aunt Flow is about to visit her. She’s a bit nervous about the unknown and continues to earnestly ask the Lord to keep it away for another 3 more years. lol. I totally understand her desire to postpone the dreaded bleeding fest, but at the same time, I want her to be proud of becoming a young woman. But then again, is this really something to look forward to? Is it ok to be scared and ask the Lord to withhold this growth in life?

I personally dread unwanted transitions in life.
But without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I read this scripture the other day and was quickly reminded to not look at my past as a place I want to stay in no matter how easy it was or looked. Yes, transitions are hard and sometimes scary, but the Lord can use our failures and fortunes in life to grow us.

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8-11 ESV

A few years ago, I was forced to figure out how to function joyfully without a husband, father and spiritual leader of our home. I was thrown into multiple roles I never even planned for! I had to decide whether the Lord was true in His promises. Would He truly be a Father to the fatherless and a husband to this young widow like He said? Many sleepless nights drenched in tears brought me to a place of surrounding my wish to live the way it “use to be.” I had to accept this unwanted change no matter how much I wanted to rewind to my mediocre past. After finally getting the hang of being a widow and raising five young kids, the Lord changed everything on me again.

The Lord would bring me a handsome, God-fearing Air Force officer who would swoop me off my feet and become my second husband. What a whirlwind of change awaited us. New military orders were given and the purging began. This included selling two houses, one car, buying another, moving to a new state, getting pregnant, having an unexpected stillbirth and now expecting a new bundle of joy in a few short months! We are exhausted from the sudden changes in life and desperately want to be left alone.
But the Lord, in His mercy, was and continues to break us. Breaking me from my selfishness and pride. He wants my heart to change. To grow. To rely on Him once more. And that means Him showing me my character. My failures. Me. I need to be reduced in my pain in order to continue to be blessed. I need His strength to shine through my weakness.

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

I am slowly learning these days that I can’t just sit back and expect my heart to change overnight. I must work at it. For me, this takes actions that include going to Godly couple’s discipleship and seeking the Lord daily with prayer and reading His Word. It’s been tough to see my fault and failures in life, but it is forcing me to surrender my pride. I am constantly being humbled as I realize the need to apologize daily for the ugliness my heart still has.

I know my heart will never truly be completed and pure until I reach Glory, but in that changeover from this earth to heaven, I take heart knowing that the Lord will walk these hard roads of transitions in life with me making everything beautiful in His time.

I am not a blogger, professional writer, photographer or foodie. I’m simply a mother of five (soon to be six) who has walked a road of grief after losing a husband and baby. I continue to encounter a Lord who is faithful. My desire is for others to know Him like I do and let Him be glorified in all I do say and do.

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Working it Out

Working It Out

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Lois Robinson. This is a great testimony of faith and following God’s lead!]

I got married at a young age – 18 to be exact. My husband, who was the pastor’s son, and I had been dating for a couple of years and we knew that we were following God’s plan for our lives. We were planning to get married one year later but felt God pushing us to bring the date one year closer. My parents were not happy about this change, but we agreed to go forward with the plans.

Our wedding day turned out to be perfect and we were so thrilled to be joined together. We visited Paris, France for our honeymoon and when we returned to Long Island, NY, we moved into our little one bedroom rental house.

We visited my parents a few days later to give them gifts that we had brought back from our trip and left. If I had known what was about to unfold perhaps I might have done things a bit differently.

A couple days after, I received a call from my sister telling me that our dad had passed away. He had collapsed and had a heart attack. I was in total shock as my father had no known sickness or disease other than the fact that he was overweight.

When I was finally able to get the pictures from my wedding, I cherished them more than ever because they are the last pictures I have of my father. If my husband and I had waited the extra year like we had originally planned, I wouldn’t have had him to walk me down the aisle.
A year later I got pregnant and my husband’s mother became very sick with cancer. We were frequently visiting the hospital and praying for her healing but God called her home and she didn’t get to see her expected grandchild.

It was at this point that my husband became really burdened about his calling in life. He wanted God’s direction and wanted to be totally sure before stepping forward. Everyone expected him to be a pastor but he wanted God to direct him in this. He went to work one day and a stranger began to speak to my husband about things he could not have known. This brought a change and my husband took this as God’s way of speaking to him.

My husband began to assist his father in the ministry by preaching when his father was ill. There were days when his father could not get out of bed.

We had two young children at this time. Our first child was a boy and our second was a girl. We were happy and had been married for 5 years now. The state of Pennsylvania had become our home as the cost of living on Long Island had become very high.

It was only a couple of months later that my husband’s father passed away and we were to bury another parent. Our lives had seemed to turn upside down and filled with grief with the passing of our parents.
Yet, God was working to prepare my husband and I for the calling He had placed on our lives. In 2010 our lives changed yet again as my husband became the pastor of the church and it is here that we serve His people. No one could have known what the future held but God was preparing us and holding us for “such a time as this.”As my 30th birthday approaches, I look back and see that God had called us long before we realized it. He gave us the strength to withstand it all: the trials, the grief while raising our young family. God will also give you the strength to bring you through whatever you have to face in this life.

As a pastors wife, mom of 3 young kids, student, and blogger, I certainly have a busy schedule! I am passionate about helping other Christian women improve their marriage and family relationships which is why I started my blog called Loftforum: Living Our Faith Together.

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Experiencing God’s Love

Are You Admiring or Experiencing God’s Love?

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. Did you miss Agnes’ last post? Here is God’s Way or Your Way.)

For many years, I admired God’s love – I was born and raised in a Christian family, went to church regularly, was legalistic about my beliefs, and was afraid of the Lord instead of having the fear of the Lord.  Then, the truth of God’s word in (Ephesians 2:4-5) was illuminated in my heart

 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

So, what is standing in our way of experiencing the love of God – is it the voices of insecurity; doubt; comparison; accusation; fear and unforgiveness or other voices?  I don’t know about you but these voices certainly stood in my way of experiencing Him.

My friends, how can we transition from admiring to experiencing God’s love?  We must accept the truth of God’s word that:

  • God made us to love us – this is a simple but irrevocably true message of the gospel that He loved us so much and gave His only son Jesus to die for us on the cross so we might have eternal life (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this.
  • By the power of the Holy Spirit – we can choose to walk in victory to defeat all the voices that are stopping us from experiencing God’s love (Galatians 5:16).
  • No one stands alone – the spirit that marked our Lord Jesus Christ is that nobody should be alone. Engage with others in a Christian community – ask what you can do for others – not what they can do for you (Romans 12:15).

Christ follower, choose to experience God’s love and not just admire it.  If you are currently not a Christ follower, choose to believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life (John 14:6).

All glory to God!

 

Agnes Amos-ColemanAgnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace SuccessGod Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and DivorceThe Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

 

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I AM

I AM

[This is a guest story by Nekia Foxx. Those two little words, “I AM” are so powerful! Hope this is an encouragement to you today.]

“I AM.”

It’s funny how such a simple word proceeds the most Prolific AND POWERFUL elements of self. I’m grateful to have experienced life those far from many different angles. I’ve chosen after it all to put me FIRST… I’ve taken the route of pouring into another vessel expecting them to do the same… epic fail every time. I’ve headed the route of needed constant validation from another which only drained me dry… At the end of the day you ate your biggest, cheerleader, prayer warrior, teammate, lover, friend and the list goes on.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no one will love you more than the LORD. And by building a relationship with him he will show you your true self and teach you how to love yourself like never before.

Something as simple as getting in the mirror and looking at yourself straight in the eyes. Telling your essence how POWERFUL you are. How beautiful and proud you are. How much you LOVE EVERYTHING about yourself your strengths and weaknesses.

I am the most amazing vessel in the world. I am chosen for GREATNESS. I am meek, gentle, kind, thoughtful, loved and loving, patient, bold, brilliant, prosperous, motivated, victorious and the list never ends of the goodness of God that resides in me…

Until I made a decision to just BE. with or without I am STILL…. ALL OF IT. I had to get to a point were nothing else mattered but how I felt about myself, my GOD and my LIFE…

The enemy sets you up to attract everything you don’t want until you see your own worth. The moment you acknowledge your own worth you begin to operate in the essence of ABUNDANCE and the lack connection is stripped away from you.

Growing up I constantly sought the attention and love from my father. And this AMAZING man of a dad wasn’t allowed to reciprocate the LOVE emotionally that I so yearned for. Which lead to me thinking I was never enough. I would go far and beyond to do everything to just get a “GOOD job” from him. But nothing ever seemed like it was enough. I was an overachiever, cleaned the house, didn’t sneak out with boys, my name wasn’t around town, made good grades but no matter what I still got the same treatment. Which over time I built up a wall to protect my feelings and got so cold hearted internally as a defense mechanism. I carried that on for years…

Even in my adult life I attracted lots of men that knew I was an amazing woman but just couldn’t express it. Which caused me to repeat the same cycle from my childhood over and over again. Not receiving love, and expecting the worse… so Ms. GUARDED was my name. That disposition has gone on so long until It started to affect everything about me. I was constantly defensive, always confrontational and abrasive and in reality I was just scared. I finally got to a point where the depression and lack of sleep could no longer continue. Remind you from the outside everything was GREAT, Very successful, looked cute but miserable… I cried out to GOD… and he showed me the root cause of my pain. It all stemmed from me not loving my own self which made it hard to even receive GOD’S LOVE, which was the only way to really be healed from it all.

At the end of the day the old route was continuous torture so I wanted more. I didn’t want my biggest fears to stay my constant REALITY. Which was not living my best life and never being truly happy.

That’s when I got the courage to BELIEVE I was AMAZING… even if no one else said it agreed I started to BELIEVE it. I noticed my spirit coming back into my body… It was a process but through GOD Grace and MERCY he restored my soul… the depression started to leave, my heart started to beat again with hope and I finally was able to smile just to be alive…

 That’s why loving THYSELF is the biggest task that yields the greatest rewards in our lives. I’m grateful to stand in my power TODAY because this chocolate sister fought long and hard to be here, in my right mind and in the NOW…

YOU ARE EXACTLY HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF…

YOU are the best thing that has ever happened to this earth and I want you to know that I love you but, GOD the great I am that I AM…  LOVES YOU MORE👼


Nekia Foxx also known as the ” Transformation Engineer ” is a Master Stylist and CEO/ Founder of Nekia Foxx & Co. better recognized as ” The Transformation Place”. She is a transformational thinker and an impassioned speaker, best selling Author and Certified General Contractor.

 

 


 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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When it Rains…

when it rains

When it Rains…

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. Here is her last post if you missed it, “Wait on God.”  Incredibly, Maria sent me this devotional right after the sudden loss of my grandmother when I really needed it. God is amazing.]

The forecast was seven days of rain with possible thunderstorms.  I’m not a fan of rain.  Though, I lived in Seattle for most of my life, where the forecast always seemed to be either overcast, cloudy or rain for most of the year.  You might think that I would be used to it by now, I’m not.  I love the summer, thrive in the sun and the warm summer nights.  Even this winter tested me, the winter months seemed to never end and some days the high was only six degrees.  But after many months I had hope, we had a couple of sunny days where the temperature reached 90 degrees and I was ecstatic.  “It’s almost here!!!! Summer!!!” I thought to myself.   If I could stay in summer forever, it would not be a bad thing. But it doesn’t, it can’t.  In life we have similar seasons.

At one point in my life, I cried out to the Lord, “When will I get to have joy, peace and happiness? When will it be my turn?!”  The rain never seemed to end, I felt like my life had been flooded.  If you are going through your season of rain, be encouraged that it does not last forever.  Solomon explains it perfectly in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”  The sun will come out, you will persevere and come out stronger and wiser.

“These things I have spoken unto you, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” (John 16:33-NIV).

Rain is necessary.  It’s necessary for growth.  I wish I were exempt from pain, trials, suffering and the like, but I am not-we’re not.  Matthew 5: 44-45 (NIV),

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.” 

I remember one day when it rained so hard it poured in my life.  I had just left one of my clients in route to another when my phone rang.  I was finishing out my last week of my job and had just recently found a new job that required me to go to training in Chicago for a week.  It was my uncle.

“When was the last time you talked to your dad?” he asked.

“Last week,” I responded.

“Well, he was found yesterday and he passed.” 

It was like a ton of bricks falling on top of me all at once.  I swerved to the side of the road and parked as he continued to talk.  “We don’t know how he passed yet, but I just wanted to call and let you know.”  I was devastated.  All of a sudden the anxiety of a new job seemed nothing in comparison to my immediate loss.  I thought back to the last time we spoke and I remember us laughing together and him giving me much needed advice, “pressure will burst any pipe, be careful you’re not stressing over things you can do nothing about.”  Now my mind was swirling, trying to understand, trying to make sense of it, trying to cope with my new existence.  I had already lost my mother a few years earlier, now my dad?  That night I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned, longing for one more conversation.  My dad had lived in Chicago, so I hadn’t seen him since my last visit.  I cried all night.  I felt alone with no more parents in this world.  Life always seemed to deal me the worst-case scenarios.

I called my new boss, as they had already bought my plane ticket to Chicago for training, but the funeral was in Mississippi the Sunday before training was to begin.  I couldn’t figure it out, how was I going to go to a funeral and then a week of training?  How was this even my current dilemma?  The new job switched my flight to Mississippi a couple days before.  All I had to do was buy the ticket from Mississippi to Chicago.  They could not delay my training.

Two days later as I was cleaning my desk out at my job, my aunt called.  “Your grandmother passed last night.”

“What?!” I exclaimed.  “This can’t be real!”

I explained to her my dad had just died a couple days before.  She explained that they would be having the funeral, Sunday of the following week, the week right before my training, the same day as my dad’s.  I couldn’t understand.

“Now, I have to go to not one funeral but two on the same day?!”

My grandmother had lived in Mississippi as well.  My faith had been shook.  “Don’t you love me? Don’t you see what I’m already going through?” I had cried out to the Lord.

I went to both funerals that next Sunday and cried all day.  I wondered to myself how a body could even hold so much water.  The tears just kept flowing.  I left the next day for training and arrived in Chicago where I had to push past my grief and focus on a new job.  But constant reminders stayed in my suitcase- I had packed both Obituaries so my losses were on my mind the whole week.  It was finally Friday and my training class had become new friends that supported me the whole week.  But shock was all I experienced when the class was asked to share a memorable moment they had during training.  A classmate explained, “One thing I learned this week was about life and persevering.  Maria, to me, is the strongest person in this class, I can’t imagine losing my dad last week and then coming to training the whole week without being able to grieve.  I admire Maria’s strength and learned from it.” I guess you never know who’s looking and how God uses us.

So, I’ve had my share of many years of rain in life with thunderstorms but I’ve come to understand that it’s necessary for my growth.  Although seven days of rain is not a lot at all.  It can make you tired, weary, and craving sun.  Especially after a long winter.  When the sun came I rejoiced, I was grateful, and I celebrated its arrival.   Just like “life seasons”, I know they are not going to last forever- things will change.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 (NIV), “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Maria DraytonMaria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

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Aint No Mountain High Enough

mountain

Aint No Mountain High Enough

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Lynare Pipitone. This is an amazing health testimony by Lynare today! God can move any mountain you have!]

I love looking at mountain peaks; from my window, while sitting in a comfortable recliner, wrapped in my favorite blanket. That was the scene in February as I relaxed into my usual morning routine of coffee with Jesus before I tackled the day. However, as I read my daily devotional a sentence jumped from the page and put a very definite check in my spirit. Prepare for a steep climb. I am teaching you a difficult lesson but do not be afraid. I am with you.

 I knew without a shadow of a doubt this word was for me.

The idea of some sort of struggle stayed with me all day. I was not prepared to leave my safe and comfortable mental state to climb a mountain. That night I wrestled with God. Lord, I complained, I am in no physical condition for a test or trial.  I’m too old for this. I can’t handle one more thing. I’m happy hanging out in the lowlands where I’m comfortable. 

I’m sure you get the picture. I was speaking out of fear. The next morning, I sat on the recliner, coffee in hand, and asked for forgiveness. I knew in my heart my savior and friend had my back. I began to memorize scripture verses to repeat each time fear tried to get the best of me.

“Don’t be afraid (insert your name), for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10(NLT)

February and most of March came and went. My husband and I planned a quick vacation and we were really looking forward to some R&R. I hated to tell him I made a visit to see my doctor because I was having symptoms that sent up a red flag. The doctor sent me to the hospital for a stress test. Sure enough, a cardiologist met me at the door and told me I had a blockage that needed to be treated immediately. He sent me home with Nitroglycerine and implicit instructions. Total rest until after a Heart Catherization.

The next few days were a blur. The images from the stress test conclusively showed a blockage that was confirmed by two other specialists. Because of my fatigue, breathlessness, and heavy pressure in my chest they scheduled the procedure right away. I immediately called for prayer back-up and thanked the Lord for letting me find the problem before I had a heart attack or stroke. I felt truly blessed and ironically not afraid.

We arrived at the hospital amid an unprecedented snow storm that hit the entire east coast the first day of spring. The surgeon explained that he would reach my heart through a main artery in my wrist and when he located the blockage they would use a stent to keep the artery open. I waved goodbye to my husband and daughter as the team wheeled me into the operating room. I trust you Jesus, I repeated in my mind.

When I opened my eyes, my husband was smiling. “You won’t believe this!” He said. “The doctor was amazed. He said for a woman your age your heart is so clean it was impossible to measure any plaque in your arteries!”  One scripture verse jumped to my mind.

“Nothing is too hard for the Lord.” (Genesis 18:14)

The surgical team called their mistake a “False Positive.” I call it groping for answers. I learned a lot so far climbing this mountain. I am confident that no matter what the circumstances look like I don’t need to let bad news throw me off course. Instead of stressing about things I can’t change I need to let the Word of God saturate my mind and emotions while I follow life’s path to my final destination. Ultimately, our lives are in His capable hands and we can trust God with the outcome. Do I think my climb is over? No Way! I am looking forward to the journey and reaching the summit.

Lynare Pipitone is a wife, mother, successful business woman and Real Estate investor with a desire to share her Christian faith. She became an author and blogger eight years ago to encourage other believers to finish the race God set before them with passion and purpose. Her work appeared in Grandparenting through Obstacles, a collage of true stories about the changing role of grandparenting in todays society.  She hosts an inspirational blog, Voices From the Wilderness, and is finishing her first novel.

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