My name is LaShona with a “La” for melody, a capital “S”, and a long “o” . But I’ve been called LaShonda, Shalonda, Shalona and (a favorite) Lasagna.
Like a mispronounced name, sometimes we are labeled as something or someone we are not. Those labels can be hurtful, demoralizing and relegate us to boxes that can’t possibly contain all of who we are.
That label? That’s not your name. It’s not who you are. Just because it’s what you’ve been called doesn’t mean you have to answer.
“But now, this is what the Lord, your Creator says, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1 AMP
Some mornings are picture perfect. Other mornings? Not so much. Maybe it’s been one of “those” mornings or one of “those” weeks…the good news is we don’t have to finish the way we started. REFOCUS. RECLAIM. REFRESH…RESTART.
Sometimes faith looks like walking in the opposite direction, going against our natural tendencies and everything we think we know. It’s uncomfortable, intimidating and…like a breeze of fresh, brisk air awakening the senses. Listen carefully, walk closely, God is doing something great.
Ready, set and we’re off! The holiday season is in full swing. Expressions of gratitude, tidings of comfort & joy and shopping deals abound. But for some of us there is only stress and trepidation. The goodness and beauty of the season are eclipsed by neverending to-do lists and unrealistic expectations.
So what if we changed our perspective? Minimized perfection and magnified grace. What if we decided to simply opt out? Opt out of traditions and expectations that weigh us with dread and mask us with insincerity. What if we dared to do something different? Let our “yes” be genuine and purposeful. Let our “no” be firm and free of guilt. What if in the midst of it all we took time to just be…Grateful.
Unable to contain in just one day,
A lifetime of profession.
A daily exercise of appreciation,
For this life uniquely my own,
For the glorious triumphs,
For the disheartening defeats,
For the gift of grace,
For mercies renewed,
For everyday blessings,
For the difficult journeys,
For the smallest joys,
For the sting of self-reflection,
For the hope in growth,
For love unfettered and unconditional,
For the joy of family,
For the solace of friends.
Thanks to a God so Magnificent, so Wonderful, and so Good.
Humbled by His presence and in awe of His care. -LAS
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.”
When I think of God’s goodness, I alternate between tears of gratitude and dances of joy. But maybe you’re thinking “God is good? How is that true with all that’s happening in the world? With all that’s happening in my life?”
Because God’s goodness is not conditional. Goodness is His nature. He is always present, providing ways, offering grace and giving comfort.
I pray you see and experience His goodness today.
“O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalms 34:8 AMP
I’d stopped and started more times than I could count. Waded into the water only to quickly retreat to the familiarity of the shore.
What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I needed to do something different. I needed accountability.
I’d done writing conferences and workshops but always shied away groups. I’d convinced myself I wasn’t a group type of girl- I dreaded group projects in school, I was the poster child for “works well independently.” But obviously that mindset was not serving me well as a writer.
So when I finally took the leap and joined the YBJ Writing Accountability Group, my expectations were tempered. I figured I could gracefully bow out if it didn’t suit me. What I didn’t expect was to feel immediately and absolutely at home with a group of women I’d just met. Led by Yvonne Marie, M.Ed., these women were determined to live life on purpose with Christ at the center, using every gift and expression to serve and honor Him. As a writer and beyond, the group has challenged, encouraged and motivated me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.
What does accountability mean to you? Where in your life do you need it most? Pursue it, invite it, embrace it -because you’ll never know the blessing that awaits.