Portrait of Grace

Being human and imperfect is a hard job when you’ve been conditioned to strive for perfection. Can I get an amen from my Southern sisters out there? Or really from any woman in the world. It’s almost as if perfection is this unattainable goal that provides a purpose to continue to persevere. In my mind and heart, I know I can’t achieve it, but at least there’s a reason behind my breaths. There’s a chance every morning that this could be the day that I do something right—the day that I’ll fill in a piece of the pie of perfection. See, we perfectionists have got it all wrong. So wrong. Especially those of us who are believers.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Jeremiah 18. I didn’t even have to look it up to confirm. That’s how much I love it.

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”

Just in case you missed this:

“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”

The CEV says, “And when the clay would not take the shape he wanted.” That’s me. I’m not easily malleable. I’m a difficult piece of clay to mold. I wiggle around, squirm, and writhe, making the Potter’s job harder than it should be. The most comforting part of this passage is, “he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”

When unfavorable things happen, I have a habit of saying “It’s fine. I’m fine.” When I’m wiggling, squirming, and writhing around, God is saying, “It’s fine. You’re fine.” He just reworks this stubborn, difficult, rebellious clay into good. He desires to make me into who He has commissioned me to be.

This would be a perfect moment to play some old school, mass choir, back and forth rocking, hand clapping, Walter & Tramaine Hawkins! Mother Hawkins said, “You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in. The Potter wants to put you back together again.” If you’re not into old school gospel like I am, Vashawn Mitchell remade this song with Fantasia Barrino and Mother Barrino. I digress.

Though we’re human and fallible, it is still hard to accept our shortcomings. My divorce made me feel much like Hester Prynne; except my scarlet letter was an embroidered “D”. I have noticed that this is a common sentiment for those of us who have failed. (Read as everyone). As much as we try to hide it, we wear our guilt and shame as a cloak that weighs us down—warding off grace. After one year of coping and months of counseling, I finally threw off my cloak and welcomed undeserved grace.

I made a mistake.
Not only can I admit my mistake, I also accepted it.
It happens. We all fall short.

My counselor (who is an amazing, inspiring woman of God) asked me what I see myself as. I responded, “A portrait of grace.”
Aren’t we all? Imagine God as a painter–as we are all His handiwork. He created you in His image and throughout life, much like the clay, you’ve been spoiled. You’re flawed. You’re bruised. You’re broken. You’re anything but this so called “masterpiece”. Surely, your past and your failures have muddled the beauty of His work. Right?

Wrong.
That is as far from the truth as your transgressions are from the east and the west.

What you’ve deemed as vile and unforgivable are beautiful strokes in your portrait. Your past, your hurts, and your hang-ups have all been incorporated into a blameless, righteous, and holy portrait of grace. Think about your life and attribute each significant event, whether good or bad, as a stroke in a portrait of you. What ashes has He turned into beauty? What sorrow has he turned into joy? See yourself as He see you.

What does your portrait look like?

The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3

Blessings and Buts

Lackluster faith has been a theme in my life. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. As my relationship with God has become more intimate, I’ve noticed the lackluster tint that once clouded my faith has dissolved. I am not only confident of who God is in my life, but also of who I am in Him. I think that the woes of life, the weariness, the seemingly never ending valleys tend to distract us of God’s omnipotence. As I’ve examined my life, I have now seen that in those times, He was still there even when I’d left Him. We often take the exhaustion of being derailed from our expectations of a “perfect” life and let it overcast our faith and our view of God.

When He speaks, we can’t hear Him. When He sends small blessings, we ignore them. When He beckons us to Him, we run away. When He speaks truth to us, we reject it. When he knocks at our heart’s door, we cover our ears and make sure the locks are bolted. We oppose Him. Though He has chosen us, we try to convince Him of the truth that we’re just too unworthy to be loved (and we are). Undeserved grace is offered, but we don’t accept it.

My love for writing began with poetry and songs. I didn’t discover the joy of fiction until college. Lately, I’ve fallen back into the realm of poetry and song. I wrote this as a conversation between me and God. I noticed that my “buts” often get in the way of my blessings. You (as am I) are responsible for responding to the truth. Your response can either hurt or hinder. Don’t be a but!

Where are you while I’m in the valley? Do you hear my prayers?

I am here. Holding your hand. Although you are unaware.

But God, do you see me suffering here in agonizing pain?

I am here. Holding your hand. Your prayers are not in vain.

But I’ll never recover from this heartache. I’ll never be the same.

I am here. Holding your hand. Watching you grow despite the rain.

In this world you’ll have trouble, but daughter do not fear–

I know you’ve overcome the world, but I feel so alone down here.

I am here. Holding your hand. Daughter, I’m always near.

I know Your Word says You’ll never leave or forsake me–

Daughter, it’s time for you to be free.

But how can this be?

Where my Spirit is, there is liberty.

But I’m so bound by the shackles of my sins.

In Me, you’re more than a conqueror. Daughter, you will always win.

Draw neigh to me and I’ll draw neigh to you.

Stay joined to me and fruit you will bear.

Only rotten fruit! I am forever tainted. The scars will always be there.

I have scars from where I hung for the guilt you no longer have to wear.

You are a new creature. Old things have passed away. Forever, you are made new.

Daughter, cast all your cares on Me. The only person holding back your freedom is you.

I am here. Holding your hand. Leading you along the way.

Abandon your doubts, your buts and your fears. Abide and find your sweet spot in Me today.

A for Conscious Effort

My first blog of the year! Yay!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A for effort”? I’m sure you have. I always thought it was a cute way of saying, “You suck at life. Good try though.” Last night, I realized that I was so wrong.

I really hate talking on the phone. Mostly because I have a soft, small voice with a really thick Southern accent. So either people can’t hear me and they’re constantly asking me to repeat myself OR the Alabama twang in my voice is so pungent, they can’t understand me; thus constantly asking me to repeat myself. I do have a point to saying all of this. I am blessed to have really cool friends. I mostly text them, but on the rare occasion of phone calls they’re always full of little nuggets of wisdom.

Last night was one of those full moon nights where I had a phone conversation with one of my favorite people in the world. Mr. Claude Ball (click that link for his awesome website) said this last night. I can’t remember the full quote, so here is the Tashara paraphrase, “If someone is in Christ their heart will lean towards the truth. They will seek out the truth above all else.”

My response to this?

“Yes! Now that’s a word. That’s a message right there!” At the moment, I was being silly, but also serious.

How many of you began the year with delusions and lies? Those of us who are in Christ have probably over committed ourselves at church, YouVersion Bible reading plans, and the infamous Daniel fast to start the year off dedicating ourselves to suffering for the gospel. You probably don’t even know much about Daniel or why he was only eating fruits and vegetables. You might even think he fought Goliath. None of that matters though. What matters at the beginning of a new year is commitment.

Then you fail.

A for effort!

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12: 2 (NLT)

Make a conscious effort.

So once this wonderful conversation was over at 1 am, I lay in bed thinking about seeking the truth and I kept going back to the phrase, “Make a conscious effort.” This was followed by, “But what if I fail?”

What exactly does conscious mean?

Conscious (adj): Intentional. Considered and deliberate or done with critical awareness.

Those who know me, know that the past few years of my life have been an absolute beautiful disaster. I didn’t make a resolution at the beginning of the year. Instead, I consciously decided to get out a shovel, dig through all of the crap, and clean out my closet. We get so caught up in being better and doing better that we forget spraying perfume into a trash can only works temporarily. Eventually, you have to take out the trash AND clean out the trash can.

Because I am in Christ, as Claude reminded me last night, I have a propensity toward the truth. I desire whatever God desires for me. Now, I might not like what it is at the time (i.e. still living in Raleigh) but His thoughts are nothing like mine. His ways are far beyond anything I can imagine. Though his thoughts are higher than mine, God is so gracious and because He wants me to be like Him, He changes my thoughts. He transforms little ol’ me into a much better (righteous) version of me. Then He takes time to teach me and show me His will. His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Let that sit in for a minute.

God says, “Forget resolutions. I’ll change your thoughts, then change you and teach you my perfect will for you. I’ll show my plans that are for good and not evil. My plans to prosper you and to give you a hope and a future. Just make a conscious effort and then let me work.”

The coolest thing about all of this is when you fail (because you’re human and you will), the world doesn’t end. God doesn’t shun you. He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to you. He looks at you and says, “Hey son. Hey daughter. A for effort! Tomorrow you will have another chance to get it right. You will wake up to brand new mercies and a clean slate. Tomorrow, make a conscious effort.”

I have the best part time job. It takes up my weekends and sometimes my weekdays, but it’s incredible. I tutor children in English. Not only do I get to read the most imaginative stories, I am able to watch as children improve in reading, in writing and in confidence. I have a six year old student whom I am so enamored with. She is so intelligent and so lovely, but does not know it. Yesterday, I had to tell her father that she has to believe that she’s an awesome reader. She has to believe that she’s smart and can conquer anything. I’m a great tutor, but this is something I can’t fix. I can help. I can force feed her affirmations (and I do), but nothing will happen until she believes it.

Today, she made a conscious effort to focus and do better. She didn’t read every word swiftly or spell every sight word correctly, but that did not take away from her effort.

Each day make a conscious effort to intentionally seek out the truth. Be so aware of Who is leading you that you cannot even see outside of His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Do not clutter your thoughts with failure, fears, and doubts. At the end of this, all that matters is hearing, “Well done thy good and faithful servant. Well done despite failures, despite fears and doubts, despite the times you wanted to (and maybe did) give up. Because of you made a conscious effort and allowed me to work, well done.”

Make a conscious, intentional, considered and deliberate effort and watch how that is multiplied into something greater than what you can ask or think.

Monday Spotlight: Kioshana LaCount

On Mondays, I want to spotlight young adults who are accomplishing their dreams. I think that it is important to show that we’re not all Tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagraming our lives away. Some of us are actually living and conquering life.

I am so excited to feature Ms. Kioshana LaCount. I have grown up with (and competed with) this lovely woman. She is incredibly intelligent, talented, witty, and a strong woman who is an inspiration to women of all ages.

Wordpress1Kioshana LaCount is the owner of The Excellence Initiative, LLC, a career education and coaching firm based in Gadsden, AL. The Excellence Initiative provides clients with an innovative, leading edge approach to career education through such services as:  online GED preparation, resume and interview consultation, coaching for special populations (veterans, LGBT persons, etc.), and more.  The company also has a keen focus on youth development, and will soon be unveiling youth entrepreneurship and personal branding components. Kioshana has over 11 years of experience in working in the career services and life skills fields, teaching and empowering people both young and old to work at continually improving their lives.  Her professional career spans the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors, and she has served in such positions as Resource Development Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Alabama, Parent Educator for the United Way of Etowah County, and, most recently, Lead Career Transition Specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps Program. She serves as Regional Director for the Network for Women in Business, co-author of the book “Network to Increase Your Net Worth” and the creator of the blog www.JobSnobbing.com.  Kioshana graduated first in her class from Alabama State University’s College of Business Administration, where she holds a degree in Marketing and International Business. 

I had the pleasure to ask Kio a few questions. Check out the interview below:

What inspired you to start the Excellence Initiative?

I was inspired to found the Excellence Initiative because of my day job, actually.  I am a career coach for the US Dept of Labor’s Job Corps program, which is a job training program for teens and young adults who have socio-economic or educational barriers to employment.  My job is to assist completers of the program in finding and maintaining employment after they separate.  I noticed that with many of my students, and with other people that I worked with as a freelance coach in my off time, that there was a serious disconnect in what employers were looking for and what they had to offer.  Many times I saw clients who lived in areas where jobs were very scarce, or they simply didn’t have the skill set to meet the requirements of whatever positions actually were available.

I have over 11 years of experience (including volunteer and professional positions) in working to assist young people to better themselves through career and life skills training.  I’ve worked for some really great programs in the past, including the Boys and Girls Clubs and United Way, in addition to Job Corps… but I still felt that there was more that I could do, and that there were still some needs that weren’t met.

Thus, I (along with my partner) started Excellence GED, an online GED prep service.  From there it has grown to what the Excellence Initiative is now, offering: individual/group coaching, workshops, resume and interview building and assistance, and personal branding.  The services we now offer are more broad-based, and we serve clients from all across the employment spectrum, from those who are just getting started in the job market to those seasoned professionals looking for additional development or a career change.  It’s really been a great ride, and I’m looking forward to seeing it continue to grow in the coming years.

Tell us about your contribution to Network to Increase your Net worth:

network

Network to Increase Your Net Worth was really something that just kind of fell into my lap.  I had been in contact with Toni Coleman-Brown (the compiler) about working with her Network for Women in Business, because I wanted to found a chapter in the local area.  I was accepted as a member and eventually named Regional Director for my area (Alabama).  The opportunity to collaborate on NINW was something offered only to the Regional Directors.  When Toni told me about the book project, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. 

The premise of the anthology is networking advice for women entrepreneurs.  Of course, my portion of the book details my personal area of expertise, “Leveraging Community Service as a Means of Networking”.  Basically, it’s about how to grow a business and/or advance your career through community service.  Community service is something that I’ve been passionate about and heavily involved in since my early teens, and so I talked about my firsthand experience with how helping others has helped me grow my own business, make connections, etc.  I also give advice on options for exploring service opportunities in your local area, and give readers information on ways they can get involved, regardless of age, interest, or amount of time available to commit.

We started writing in June and completed the book for publication by the end of September.  I have really loved getting to know the other women, and was fascinated by the breadth of information that we all had to share with the readers.  It is truly a great book, and I am really proud to have been a part of it.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of NWIN can shoot me an email at kioshana.lacount@gmail.com or order online here:  http://thenetworkforwomeninbusiness.com/kio

What projects are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on my first solo book, which is set to be published in January of next year.  The book, titled “Job Snobbing” is a career development guide for young professionals.  It details my personal method for career development, as well as why we as young adults need to focus on developing careers instead of chasing “jobs”.  I’m really excited about being able to share this with a wider audience, and am looking forward to its release.

I’m also working on a web series on entrepreneurship/youth entrepreneurship that will be published on my blog – JobSnobbing.com

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I see myself as completely self-employed, and living a location-independent life.  I plan to make a career as an author and coach, and I envision myself traveling around the world for speaking engagements and offering my skills and services to a diverse clientele. I would like at some point down the road to teach college, but probably only in an adjunct capacity, because I don’t want to be tied to any one place for a long period of time. 

I’m working now toward achieving those goals by implementing several changes in my everyday life.  I practice writing daily, committing to spending at least 20-30 minutes developing my craft each morning.  I’ve also decided to resume work on my MBA, and will be re-entering graduate school in January after taking a brief hiatus to re-evaluate and re-assess my goals and priorities as it relates to additional education.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are the top 3 items on the list?

I do!  My list is fairly lengthy, but the top three things on it are:

  1. 1.    Visit every continent in the world at least once (except Antarctica – not interested in going to Antarctica).  I’ve already knocked out four continents during college, so I’ve only got two left to go before I can check this one off my list.  I plan on visiting the other two (Australia and South America) before I turn 30, so I may need to revisit/expand that goal.
  2. 2.    Learn a new language.  I am obsessed with words and communication, and I am fascinated with languages outside of my native English.  I am decent at Spanish and French (nowhere near fluent, though), and I know a handful of words in less popular languages, such as Korean, Japanese, and Wolof (the native tongue of Senegal).  What I would really like, though, is to become fluent in a different language.  That actually leads me to my next item…
  3. 3.    Live abroad for at least a year.  I’m sure you see a theme developing here – :) I was bitten by the travel bug when I was in undergrad at Alabama State.  During my four years at ASU, the college sent me to seven different countries for varying lengths of time.  I’ve visited Spain, Senegal, Korea, Japan… and I’ve absolutely loved it.  I love America, but I’m always fascinated by the centuries and centuries of history that other countries have that we simply cannot compete with in the US.  I want to live as an expatriate at least once in my life, preferably somewhere in Europe.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“F*** what other people think – do you.”

And yes – that’s a direct quote, from a mentor of mine from college.

What is your main goal for your life?

When I was in 11th grade, I read a quote by Maya Angelou that has become by mantra.  It goes:

“This is my life; this is my one time to be me.  I want to experience every good thing.”

I believe that we are all in a state of perpetual evolution, and I want to make sure that I am always growing, pushing myself harder, going further, developing myself and doing what makes me happy.  My two priorities in life are to die with as few regrets as possible and to have lived a life that meant something to the people I leave behind.  Everything else is just details. 

What three adjectives would you use to describe your life?

Honest, kinetic, and mine

After speaking with Kio, I feel like I want to go hire a travel agent, take a year off from reality and travel the world. This isn’t feasible for my lifestyle right now, but this interview alone has inspired me to loosen up a little and also live life freely and passionately.

P_KioshanaLLaCount

Kioshana can be contacted via:

Email – kioshana.lacount@gmail.com

Websitewww.excellecellc.com / www.jobsnobbing.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/#!/coachkioshana

https://www.facebook.com/#!/ExcellenceInitiative

Twitter:  @MsJobSnob

LinkedIn:  Kioshana L. LaCount

Kioshana is available for speaking engagements to small or large groups, as well as hosting workshops and providing individual coaching sessions.  Please contact her at Kioshana.lacount@gmail.com

Fruit Chandelier: Love

Someone cue Keyshia Cole.

*Singing* Loooooooove never knew what I was missing, but I knew once we started kissing, I found…

Kidding.

Last week we discussed a “Fruit Chandelier.” I thought that comparing the Fruit of the Spirit to a chandelier instead of a fruit basket was much more modern and more of my style.  We started a dialogue telling which “fruit” or “bulb” was the most difficult for us. If you’re unfamiliar with the list, here it is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

This week we will talk about love. It is virtually impossible to delve into the subject of love with just one blog. I wish we were all sitting down in a circle eating red velvet cake (something that I love), but since we’re not let’s discuss in the comment section. Today, we’ll simply discuss why we should love. On the next blog, we’ll discuss what love does.

It’s obvious why love is the first of the list.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31

This is my command: Love each other. – John 15:17

Loving is not a request, it’s a requirement. Jesus doesn’t say, “Love me when you feel like it. Love me when everything is perfect. Love me only when I bless you. Love me when it’s convenient for you.” He says, “Love me with all of everything that you are.”

Does this make it easy? No. Do I love being in Raleigh? No. Do I love going to my job every morning? No. Do I love being miles away from my family? No. There’s a lot of things in my life that I do not love, but this does not give me the right to stop loving God or to stop loving others. As much as this is hard to believe and digest, life is not about you. Love isn’t even about you. Everything you are and everything you do should be out of an act of love because He first loved you.

We use love so loosely and so frequently that it has lost it’s luster. Our culture and the media have tainted the pure fabric of love. If we return back to the Biblical essence of love that is described all over the Bible and more specifically in 1 Corinthians 13, how different would your life look. How different would the world look? What would change if we lived our lives in love?

One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:14 (CEV), “Love is more important than anything else, it is what ties everything completely together.” This verse is scattered all around my apartment. It is repeated many times in my book, Knocking on the Devil’s Door. My publishing company is named, “314 Publishing.” This verse is even on the back of my business cards. Since love is more important than anything else and it ties everything completely together, can we truly be lights if the center bulb is dim?

The dictionary defines love as an “intense desire or deep affection of someone or something.” An emotionally centered definition for an emotionally charged action. Since love is so emotionally charged, it is sometimes abused and even abandoned. It is easy to cut off love when someone betrays you, hurts you, or angers you. Can we truly be compassionate if we are harboring seeds that do not produce fruits of love?

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” You are known by your fruits. Love is an inherent quality that you already possess. What is hindering you from operating in the spirit of love?

This fruit was a bit harder for me than I thought. Studying the act of love has proven to be even more challenging. We’ll get into that later. Stay tuned.

Comment with your feelings about love. How bright is your bulb burning?

Read, Read, Read – Waking up Dead

A new fiction novel has been released!

3D_Waking_up_Dead

I am very excited to say that I actually know this author. Not only is Margo Bond Collins one of the best professors I’ve ever had, she’s also a talented writer and a great friend. Her new novel, Waking Up Dead  is available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook.

Here is a synposis:

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

I must say that as an Alabama native, I believe that Callie is one lucky woman to wake in the great state of Alabama. Well, aside from the death, murder witnessing and all of that.

I have purchased my copy of Waking Up Dead and you should too! The title alone should capture you and it’s only $2.99, so there’s no excuse! If you need further persuasion, check out the 5 Star Reviews on Amazon. If you need just one more push, read the excerpt below.

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When I died, I expected to go to heaven.

Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.

Instead, I went to Alabama.

Yeah. I know. It’s weird.

I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife–and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.

At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it–ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.

And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.

You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me–I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.

Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.

Not this dead chick, anyway.

Congratulations, Margo!

MargoBondCollins

Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.

Connect with Margo

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575

Tumblr: http://vampirarchybooks.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18428064-waking-up-dead

Fruit Chandelier

I am intrigued by the Fruits of the Spirit, so I asked a few friends if they wanted to study them and of course they agreed! I initially thought that we would do one a day, but then I started studying and realized that more time will be needed. I will not subject you to the cliche analogy of a fruit basket. Instead let’s think of a gorgeous, blinged out, chandelier with 9 main bulbs. Since we are supposed to be the light of the world, let’s imagine each “fruit” being a bulb.

I will admit that my chandelier is totally missing a few bulbs. Some of the bulbs are there, but they flicker and a few are completely out. Sure there is light still shining, but it’s not as bright as it could and should be. Take a look at this list:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

I think it’s interesting that “fruit” is singular; as if all of these characteristics are packed into one combination plate or like a close knit family unit that cannot be separated. So if that is true, why am I lacking some of them?

Before we even start to examine these one by one, determine which bulb is dim (or completely out) in your chandelier. By looking at the list it doesn’t seem like this would be such a challenging subject, but as a friend said last night “people just won’t let you act right.” Obviously, it’s other people’s fault! I wish sarcasm was one of the bulbs. It would outshine every other bulb in my chandelier.

Since there is 9 of these, let’s take a few days with each one. We’ll just go in order and start with love. I’ll post a blog with my thoughts and you can come here and comment and share your discoveries! For now, talk that talk to me and leave a comment and tell which one is the most challenging for you.

Fruit_of_the_Spirit_colors

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