YOUR NAME MATTERS

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Growing up I HATED my last name. SPYIES? OMG, I have heard it all, “are you a spy”?, “Spies, like 007”?, “Do you work for the CIA”? I mean every possible corny spy joke from kindergarten until now, I’ve unfortunately heard them all, and if not, I am sure soon, someone will make up an even cornier one. It wasn’t until my I had a conversation with my late grandfather regarding our family history, where I encountered a new found respect for my last name and the legacy the name carried. It’s a name that bears roots in Cuba, France, Bahamas, and America–a name of vast diversity. It’s a name of uniqueness.  It’s so set apart that you won’t find any other family that bears the name with the same spelling. It’s a name that embraces fighting through adversities and being victorious. A legacy of hard working women and men who went after the dreams they wanted from professional baseball to a lineage of fighters for our country. I was so impressed. How dare I ever shun the last name of such uniqueness and richness?!?!

In biblical days, names held much significance. A name could depict aspects of a person’s birth, expressions of parent’s reactions to the birth of their child, it was given to secure the solidarity of familial ties, and many to show the character or affiliation with God. A NAME MEANT SOMETHING! Another thing that was very common in the bible was when a person was transitioning from one phase to the next, their name was changed–this is the type of event I think of when transitioning from the stage of singleness to marriage. It was a new name depicting a change in direction. A new name that was evidence of becoming a member of a new family or having a new responsibility, with all the rights and privileges that exists within that family/assignment. It is evidence of a new connection that embodied all of the characteristics designed for that purpose. 

 


A NAME MEANT SOMETHING!

MEN DON’T GIVE IT AWAY CASUALLY–WOMEN DON’T TAKE IT WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT’S BEHIND THAT NAME…

Ahh…KNOWING… Let’s talk about that!

In biblical days, the greek word ginosko “to know” someone had weight/value to it. They didn’t “know” someone through a friend, or “know” someone through social media. When Abraham “knew” Sarah–boy did he “know” her…

Let’s look at some definitions-

GINOSKO- TO KNOW

1) TO HAVE FACTS OR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT A PERSON
2) TO BE KNOWLEDGABLE AND AWARE OF A PERSON
3) TO HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH A PERSON
4) TO SEE OR EXPERIENCE A PERSON
5) TO BE CERTAIN OF A PERSON

Wow!!! DO YOU REALLY KNOW HIM? DO YOU REALLY KNOW HER?

What things have you learned about your significant other?
What things have you learned through family, friends and colleagues?
Have you experienced different seasons with this individual?
How do they react in conflict or crisis situations?
When you think of carrying their last name, what thoughts come to mind?
What legacy will be passed down to your children based on this name?
Outside of their earthly surname, does he/she hold the name “child of God”, “follow of God”, Man/Woman after God’s own heart? Hmmmm…

Just questions for thought.

As women, when a man purposefully proposes or expresses interest regarding you taking on his last name, there is value in there, just as there is honor in you accepting that name.

That means that he is certain about you, understands you, has seen and experienced you enough to trust the transferral of his family history, legacy, and collaborative purpose to you. He trusts you enough to unite as means of creating a new lineage with you as a matriarch. How honorable is that?

However, when a man finds a woman with a good name (good reputation), the conditions become mighty favorable for him.

Proverbs 22:1 states: A good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Favor is better than silver or gold. 

Proverbs 12:4 states: A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Proverbs 18:22 states: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 31:10 states: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

So often in our generation to people so casually take on the name of one person after another, not truly understanding the weight of a good reputation (good name) and the significance behind changing your last name or attaching your surname to another individual. So we jeopardize access to divine favor, all for the sake of a status update or a ring. IT IS JUST NOT WORTH IT! 

CHOOSE WISELY.

Peace, Love and Blessings,

Brandi

STUCK IN NEUTRAL–THE NEW STATE OF THE CHURCH?

This probably won’t be one of my most popular blogs, and it’s okay, but it’s my duty to share, what God is revealing to me, through my studies. 

I’m so sad to hear about the man who was shot at Creflo Dollar’s church today. Hearing things like this going on in churches has taken me to a level of prayer for not only believers but non-believers as well.  

Last night during my small group class, the question was asked–IS THE CHURCH WINNING? From the inside the average “church-goer” would assume that the church is indeed winning. Let see–just using my own experiences as an example–you have packed out ministries, packed out services at various times during the weeks, especially Sundays, people praying in the most eloquent ways that one has ever heard, so seemingly it looks as if we are in fact winning; however, winning isn’t defined by your enrollment of members in classes, number of members on your rosters, amount in the building fund or tithing envelopes, or the activities I stated above.  You can have all of that and still far way from the mission of Christ. Believe it or not this is what is seen from the outside. Judgement, manipulation, hypocrisy, backbiting, pretense, people out for quickie feel good messages treating their relationshp with God like any other casual relationship–feels good for the moment, but doesn’t add any long-term quality to your life because you haven’t taken that relationship with him to that deeper level. It’s sad because though this is a partial representation of what’s in the church–it is far from what the original state of the church was designed to be. IS THIS A TRUE EXAMPLE OF CHRISTLIKE LIVING?  Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. So if this is the goal of disciples (Followers of Christ <—what “church-goers should be”–the question still lies, IS THE CHURCH WINNING

Being a winning Church begins with being a winning individual for Christ.  It starts at the head level. We must first accept Christ as Lord (person of deity, control and power) of our life. As our mind shifts, changes within our heart are made–our actions and priorities began to line up with what we already know…and as our heart changes, our behavior changes–we become more intentional about the work of Christ. 

With the new perspective God has given me on why I have a second chance at life, I am constantly checking myself and asked myself this very question: If I weren’t a Christian, and someone introduced me to myself–would I want to follow my own lifestyle? Weirdly worded question I know, but a serious self reflection for me.  It made me examine my life more closely to see if what I really “preaching” I’m truly practicing–because it’s not only by our words, but also our actions that will either repel people away from the life of Christ or draw them near. 

So it doesn’t surprise me that we see all of this activity that is disconnected from the mission of Christ (Shootings, accusations of homosexuality from leadership, men spreading HIV to single women in the church, married pastors having affairs and getting women pregnant out of wed-lock). SIN is SIN; however, my Pastor described sin perfectly last Sunday–STUCK IN NEUTRAL…Until we get out of our own selfish desires and in tune with what we were designed for as individuals–the vehicle to winning souls  (THE CHURCH)  in the Kingdom of God will be in this exact position STUCK IN NEUTRAL and in this position, we as a body will never be driven to go the distance in discipleship as God has so commanded. 

 

New Shoes for a New Journey

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If the shoe fits, wear it, right? That’s what I’ve personally thought for the longest time. Finding athletic shoes was more about fashion rather than function–style rather than substance. All that mattered was that which was only appealing to the eye and the cost factor. After all, I just needed to make sure my shoes looked right with my outfit and didn’t break the bank. As I matured, I realized the importance of having just the right fit–not just in my athletic wear, but also in my relationships.

I’ve had a pair of red New Balance tennis shoes for about 10 years. They typically looked brand new, because I have never had an athletic bone in my body, so they’ve never been exposed to any real physical impact. When I decided that I wanted put forth more energy in becoming physically fit, I soon began to realize that what was once stylish, inexpensive and comfortable was no longer appropriate for the goals that I wished to achieve. I realized that exercising in the “comfort” of my own home in those “comfortable”shoes had a completely different feel when the environment changed and the conditions became more taxing. My comfort had suddenly transformed into discomfort. Aches and pains that didn’t exists previously, began to emerge. “Oh, I’m just out of shape”, I’d think to myself. Though that was true indeed, the pains felt thoughout out my body boiled down to one specific thing–my shoes.

Talking to one of my friends who had avidly taken up running, she mentioned that she was going to get her feet measured for new running shoes, after she sustained a runner’s injury. A bit ignorant to the entire idea of getting feet measured, “Couldn’t you just pick some shoes off of the rack?”, I thought to myself. She began to educate me on various orthopedic disorders one could encounter, all from participating in various activities and not having shoes that were properly fit.

After talking to her, I realized, having the fit for my new journey is so key on so many different levels. Little did I know that it would speak volumes into me examining my relationships.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS TO A PROPER FITTING?

1) BALANCE: Having the proper fit, will help yield the maintaining of balance. It ensures evenly distributed weight, so that you can feel the contact of the surface that you are walking on. When your sole (souls) are off-balance, it breeds more difficulty recognizing the surface changes. You began to become more susceptible to stumbling and perhaps falling when encountering challenging terrain.

2) FLEXIBILITY: Like properly fit shoes, a relationship should be flexible. A shoe properly designed to the anatomy of an individual’s foot, BENDS in the RIGHT places. If your shoes are not flexible enough, the muscles and other components of your body begin to fight against the improperly fit shoe, making the wearer more prone to injury. So it is with relationships. If you are connected to an individual not properly fit for you, you may find yourself making compromises that may subject you to more harm rather than good.

3) CORE STRENGTH: Another common thread of properly fit shoes and relationships is the condition of the middle sole. Like the middle sole of a good athletic shoe should be, the soul/heart of the properly fit individual should be as firm. If both soles/souls are too cushioned, it causes instability and causes one to sway from side to side. It’s the core that makes all the difference.

HOW DO I GET IT?

1) YOU MUST TRUST THE SPECIALIST

As a runner entrusts the specialist to adequately measure, diagnose and figure out the proper design for their foot, so is it when it comes to our trust in God relating to our mate. We must trust that because He designed us, and knows the innermost parts of our anatomy, that maybe, just maybe He has the knowledge regarding the appropriate fit for our mate. TRUST HIM!

2) ALLOW THE APPROPRIATE BREAK-IN PERIOD

Though there are varying opinions regarding if properly fit shoes require a break in period, understand that though one individual could wear new shoes right out of the box and be completely comfortable with those shoes, some break-in periods take a little longer. Similarly to relationships–just because one person’s relationship was comfortable and felt like “the one” right from the start doesn’t mean that because your relationship isn’t suitable for you, just because it is taking some time to get adjusted to. GIVE IT TIME.

Conversely, one may find that in the midst of wearing properly fitted shoes that after a few days and a few miles, something just doesn’t feel right. As I have learned from my friend, even some of the “specialist” can miss the mark at times. However, when it comes to relationships, if we continue to place our trust in He who SPECIALIZES in the creation–like Him,the relationship perfectly fit for you will never fail.

So, in closing,

There’s a common cliche that says, “EVERYONE CAN’T GO WITH YOU WHERE YOU ARE GOING”. So it was with these New Balance shoes and perhaps some shoes you own. Sometimes we need new shoes for a new journey and only God knows where this new journey may lead…

BLESSINGS ON THE JOURNEY WHEREEVER GOD MAY LEAD–YOU AND YOUR HEART.

EMOTIONAL FLOODING

Okay, here I go…being way more transparent that I wish on FB, but I KNOW it’s not just for me.

Tony Robbins did a session on Oprah’s Life Class last night called Emotional Flooding. It’s an exercise where instead of you thinking about the negatives, you flood your emotions with the things that you are grateful for. This exercise changed my life. Here I was having a great morning and one song, threw me into an emotional frenzy, making me get all emotional about what is seemingly a hedge of thorns around me-keeping me from finding true love. I didn’t understand why I’ve been hurt so much or why meeting someone of like mind, like faith where there is a mutual attraction in most areas is soooo difficult of me.

Perhaps you may be experiencing something similar where you don’t quite understand why things are at a stand still–perhaps not in the area of love, but perhaps finances, career, whatever, may these words bless you.

God showed me 1) be grateful that I have kept you despite the many times you’ve tried to work your way out of my protection. 2) Be grateful that what I kept you were from situations you were not even aware 3) Be grateful that my no is not never, but it’s a not right now, only to ensure you be in a situation that will produce fruit 4) Be grateful that you have this time to learn more about yourself and grow 5) be grateful that you have time to learn about Me and Grow 6) Be grateful that you have had personal encounters with patience, faith, trust–you will need these things in the future. 7) be grateful that you have such a big heart and have the time that you can pour love into the lives of people who have no access to it. That’s the epitome of My love.

When I tell you that exercise brought me to my knees in thanks. I’ve never been so grateful for this season. In every difficult situation in life, I urge you to take 4 minutes out of your day to do this exercise. Have a box of Kleenex near by too! ♥ Hope this helped someone!

SWEET AS HONEY–THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR WORDS

Sometimes to obtain wisdom, you have to extract from the wise. That’s what I love about King Solomon.  Sometimes when I read the book of Proverbs, it just blows my mind–I believe it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible.

One of my favorite scriptures that I had to meditate on today  is:

Proverbs 16: 23-24 

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Harmful words can cause deep wounds that could be resistant to healing as more and more harmful expressions (bacteria) seep into an already gaping wound. Although our wounds may heal, sometimes there are lasting scars, some more susceptible to abrasion than others. We try to bandage the wounds with facades of having thick skin–acting out the childhood cliché, “but words will never hurt me”…BUT, the truth of the matter is WORDS DO HURT.  If the hurtful words from the past aren’t quite healed all the way,  it’s easy for old wounds to re-open. If we don’t allow ourselves the proper healing time (not by reflecting, but forgiving and moving forward) eventually, over time the overlap of harsh, unedifying words can become necrotic.  It can begin eating away at our character, causing us to become guarded, negative and hard.  This can further promote the spread of toxic/poisonous communication to others.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT…

Ancient research has found that honey has several valuable properties for healing.  That’s what’s so powerful about this scripture. GO AHEAD SOLOMON WITH YO’ WISE SELF! 

Let’s take a look:

1) Honey prohibits the growth of bacteria from entering a wound (Protective)

2) Honey helps keeps skin moist, encouraging the growth of new tissue, reduces the likelihood of scarring, and promotes easy removal of bandages (Soothing/Healing)

3) Helps kills cells that cause cancer (Kills antibodies that can invade and demolish the body)

How are the words that flow from your lip? Do they inflict hurt or do they encourage? Do they exhibit these qualities listed above or are completely opposite?

As we continue to crucify our flesh daily–let us keep in mind that our words have meaning and can impact others in harmful ways. Instead, let’s strive to impact in healthy ways. Tell the truth in love, be genuine, encourage, and help lift up…after all, the words we speak, we may have to eat someday. Might as well make it tasty!

THE CHRONICLES OF AN ASPIRING AUTHOR

So I’m up…researching, reflecting and writing in the midnight hours. Though it’s been a long day, I find either very early morning or at midnight is the best time to write.

When you bask in silence, clarity emerges.


WRITING IS A SACRIFICE!

Sometimes you lose a lot of sleep and have to find extra time in your day. Extra time? What’s that? <–gotta be a joke!

Sometimes you feel afraid because you think you are going to be judged on your transparency. But ultimately you have to come to an understanding that everyone has not been handed the tasks that you have been handed, as you haven't been handed the task they have been handed. You have to be comfortable in who you are and as Nike says, "JUST DO IT"!

I realize that it is time to stop being afraid, muzzling the words that are placed in me, because holding my writing back, could be holding back a breakthrough for someone else. If what I write just blesses ONE person, then I fulfilled my assignment!

I don't want to be a writer to just get something out and say, "I wrote a book". I want to write multiple books. I want my writing to have impact across the world–touch strangers whom I've never met, inspire them to keep fighting and not give up hope. I want to really make a difference.

In our world today, it’s not the most popular read because it’s not gossiping about the most current trends in Hollywood, highlighting the most current events.

My type of writing is not the most popular because it highlights the power of Christ and to be honest, Christ wasn’t the most popular man on campus. 🙂 #truth.com

However, this is my assignment and I truly believe God’s plans defies popularity.

2012–I can’t wait to see what this year will unfold. #writingunafraid