Be Bold. Be Strong. Be Courageous.

Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous. Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous. Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous. There you go, you’re getting it! Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous.

I remember when I applied for my current job. I honestly felt like I did not stand a chance. I applied once before years ago, but no luck. My mom kept telling me, “Jackie just apply. They keep sending me emails that they are hiring.” One day I got home and she had it pulled up and I finally applied. I had no idea how things would turn out. Eventually I received an email and went through the assessment process, and then a recruiter contacted me to set up an interview. I was so nervous, but I prayed and I prayed. God kept reminding me to use the tools that He gave me.

My interview went extremely well and by that point my recruiter and I were very comfortable with each other so I contacted her the very next day. She assured me that she would be praying for me and knew that I did well, but had no news. About three days later she called me with the news. I had landed my first real adult job. Getting the job was a blessing, but those three days of waiting were the longest three days of my life. I prayed so hard. My mom prayed. My grandma prayed. Everyone was praying. I needed prayer because I was in a place where I really needed an open door.

You see in order to succeed, you really have to believe in yourself. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This scripture is very clear. God wants us to believe in the gifts that He has placed in us and use them. Sometimes we lack the confidence to fulfill our dreams, but God wants us to be strong and courageous. He wants us to walk in the power that He has given us. In every situation of our lives we have Jesus Christ, the Son of God interceding on our behalf’s. Whether you are interviewing for a job, trying out for the band, or auditioning for the biggest opportunity of your life, know that God is with you. You have the ability to do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).

Believe in yourself and believe in God’s ability to work things out for you. All over the Bible there is talk of boldness. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, and love, and self-control.” With God on your side there is no need to be afraid. He has given us the power to overcome obstacles, the love to forgive others, and self-control in order to prevent hasty decisions. The promises of God should motivate us to walk boldly in our purpose, and give us the strength to persevere. God has given you the key, but it is up to you to turn it.

 

Be Encouraged!

For those of you who don’t know , my mom is pretty much my best friend . I talk to her on my breaks and lunches at work , and for hours when I get home . At the end of every phone call or conversation she always tells me to “Be Encouraged.” At first , it didn’t really mean much to me , but the more she said it the more encouraged I began to feel . Now, after every conversation I have with others I also like to say , “Be Encouraged! ”

I have to be honest, I am in this weird place in my life and I am sure that my mom notices.  It is not a bad place , but it is a difficult place. There are a lot of questions and also some unanswered prayers. Sometimes it feels as if God just is not listening. It’s like I am praying, tithing, believing, but yet He still is silent . The devil tries to get me all flustered, because he know that I am feeling as if he has won. I am sure some of you are feeling these exact feelings. Listen, be encouraged! You see, I am the most impatient person. I ask so many questions , and I want the responses immediately. Unfortunately, that just is not how God works.

James 1:2-4 says , “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” God needs us to have patience while He works. Through the trials that we face , God is perfecting us.Not only is He perfecting us , but He is also perfecting the blessing that He has for us. Patience is necessary in every aspect of our lives whether it be with children, spouses, coworkers, or peers. Without patience , we make hasty decisions . These hasty decisions can cost you everything. We have to trust the process and allow God’s perfect work to be done in our lives . 

Think about all the situations that God has already worked out in your life. I can think of many in mine. I prayed for a car and in God’s time He blessed me with one. I prayed for a full time job and He blessed me with that too. I prayed to go back to school, and would you look at God? He did that too! God is faithful! He will come through. We must walk by faith and stop focusing on what things look like. Trust the process and trust that our God is greater than any problem or circumstance. Be encouraged!

From JMU to NSU

On Friday, October 6th I fell in love with my HBCU . As I walked around campus I saw so many people in Durags. When I walked into the Student Center there was a live DJ and about 100 students singing along to Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go.” It felt as if I was at a big family cookout . As I walked around campus I felt enlightened. I felt excited because I remember praying to be back in school, and God granted my request.

Prior to attending Norfolk State University I attended James Madison University . It was a place where I was getting a great education , but the fight for change was too great to bear. I started writing for JMU’s newspaper, “The Breeze” in order to bring attention to issues of diversity on campus. For a school with over 20,000 students , less than 10% of the students were minorities, including international students. It was a complete culture shock for me. At first I did not mind it , but as time went on I realized that I had to leave. I was often targeted for being black . Other students would say that I was only accepted to JMU because of affirmative action while others taunted me with racial slurs. Walking around campus, it was rare to see someone who looked like me . It was like all the black people knew each other and hung out at the same spot everyday, the Center for Multicultural Student Services better known as CMSS. While attending JMU , I met some of my dearest friends . God placed them in my lives during a time of serious need. I have bonds and connections now that could never be broken .

As time went on I ended up leaving JMU.  I really had to do what was best for me and my growth . My friends supported me in my decision, making it a little bit easier. My plan was to go back after taking a semester off , but my debt to them went from $1500 to $5000.00 over a 6 month time span . They wanted all of the money before I could return . Over time I became content with leaving JMU , but I wanted to go back to school so bad. There were nights that I cried and prayed for an opportunity to return to school. I did not care what school it was as long as I was back in . One day my friend encouraged me to go to NSU for a program that they were having . The Department of Admissions was offering same day admissions. I had no clue what would happen , but I decided to RSVP and go . Of course, I was admitted and now I am in my Sophomore year. No one, but God allowed that to happen . No school would accept me because I owed JMU money . God knew my heart and He heard my prayers.

Because of this miracle , I am able to really trust God . I felt like a failure when I withdrew from JMU . I had graduated high school with over a 4.0 GPA and was Senior Class Vice President. Everyone expected such great things from me . I felt like I was letting everyone down by leaving . However, God had a plan. He always has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) . I guess what I am trying to say is continue to pray. Do not give up on your dreams and desires because it CAN happen and it WILL happen . The Word of God says, “For all things work together for the good of them that love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). I love God and I know that He has a plan for my life so I knew that things would work out , but it was in His time and not mine.

I ended up getting the fresh start that I wanted at NSU . I am surrounded by diversity and pursuing a Political Science degree. Psalms 37:4 says , “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. Once you pray and begin to trust God He will literally begin moving the mountains out of your way . Do you know how many schools I applied to before getting accepted to NSU ? Do you know how many nights I cried ? I was out of school from October 2014 until August 2016. Almost two years , but God is faithful ! Pray and believe, because faith without works is dead .

 

 

Forgiveness

Honestly, forgiveness is something that I have struggled with for years. I learned that forgiveness does not happen over night . We often say we forgive , but then we bring it up over and over again . Forgiveness is not about saying , “I accept your apology.” It is about genuinely letting go of the hurt and moving on . It is not for the other person , but it is for you .

For years, I found myself being angry with my father . My parents have been divorced since I was six months , and my mom had sole custody . No matter what their relationship looked like she always encouraged my brother and I to reach out to my father and try to have a healthy and normal relationship with him . Unfortunately for me it felt like every time I tried, I would just keep getting disappointed . Honestly, for years I resented my father . I hated when my mom would tell me I looked like him or had certain behaviors of his . I wanted no parts of him . I was angry that I could not be daddy’s little princess or could never attend a father-daughter dance. My relationship with him hindered me from trusting men . It caused me to search for love in some of the wrong places. It kept me from completely loving and accepting love .

Just recently I realized that I had to move on . I could not continue to dwell on past hurt . Every man is not the same as my father . Some men do actually keep promises. Some men are truly consistent , not perfect but consistent. While I was ruining relationships and hating my father , he was living his best life . He was perfectly content with his behavior and was not losing any sleep. I had to forgive him in order to be my best self . God would deal with him for his actions . In Romans 12:19 God reminds us of this by telling us that vengeance is His . He will take care of all of our troubles .

Forgiveness can be extremely hard to do, but it is necessary. Words hurt. Actions hurt. Lies hurt. I get it, but you have to move on. While you have acquired hate in your heart and are all upset , the very ones that hurt you are out living their best lives. They may care enough to ask for forgiveness , but they may not . Either way life goes on . I’m not saying that you have to forget their actions . In fact, if a person keeps doing the same thing and needing forgiveness they probably are not truly sorry . Forgiveness is not condoning the action, but simply letting it go . Life is too short to hold on to grudges, but we must show compassion for others just as God has done for us .

The Truth About Me

Are you ever surrounded by a million people , but still constantly feel alone ? That’s been me for most of my life . Although I know it is hard to believe , I have always felt like a Black Sheep amongst my peers . People love me and I love people, but I never found a place where I quite fit if that makes sense . Clearly, I was not made to fit in . 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

I am happy to say, that I am pretty peculiar . In order to get exercise I spend any little spare time I have long boarding. Yes, long boarding! I could movie hop all day, or watch every X-Men movie from from X-Men to X-Men: Apocalypse while eating Domino’s pizza and a Double Chocolate Chip Brownie from Papa John’s. I like going on nature walks and absorbing the suns rays . I love listening to music and comparing old school to new . I enjoy visiting museums and learning about history , but I also like reading about my history and brainstorming on ways to make a difference. I love standing up for those who don’t have a voice. I know , some of you are like she went from movies to public defender. Yes, I did ! In my head , I am the next Angela Davis and I just want to fight for my people . But then in reality the only thing I find myself fighting is sleep .

Currently , I am a political science major and I work a full time job . My long term goal is to go to law school , defend children’s rights, and open up nonprofit organizations such as group homes . How will I do it ? That is a question that I ask myself daily , but I am determined to find balance in my life so that I can ultimately meet these goals . Since I was a young girl I always stood up for what was right , even if it meant standing alone. I always knew that I wanted to defend those who could not defend themselves. I remember being in middle school and petitioning my school administration because they wanted us to sit in assigned seats during lunch .  So many people thought that I was crazy , but I believed in being fair so I fought for change . Then , when I got to high school I wanted to shake things up and give the entire senior class a voice so I ran for Vice-President of the Senior Class and won . I was able to beat someone who had held that position for the past three years. It was a huge victory .

With all that being said , my life gets pretty hectic. However, my hope is that by taking this journey with me you all will be able to grow with me . I will be sharing past life experiences as well as current ones . There will be stories of faith , but there will also be my views on some of the things going on in our society . This blog will allow you to learn who Jackie really is and why I consider myself a giant .

The Truth About Grace

The other day I had some questions about grace, so I started doing a little research . In layman turns grace is simply mercy, not merit. Grace is when you thought you lost your debit card for the tenth time this year, but your coworker placed it under your keypad . Okay , what about this ? Grace is something like when you forgot to study for a test, but at the last minute your class is cancelled and the test is rescheduled . No, no, no , I got it ! Grace is when you are on probation and you just know you’re going to fail your drug test , but God still allows you to pass it . Grace is that favor that God gives us during a time of need and distress . Grace is His unconditional love for us although we are undeserving .

Grace is the foundation on which the Gospel was built ! When God sent His only Son to die on that cross , that was the biggest example of grace that the world would ever know .  John 3:16 says , “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” YES ! So what I am telling you is that although Jesus did no wrong , healed the sick , and raised the dead He still had to hang on that cross and sacrifice His life for you and for me.  That is grace.

God shows His unwavering love for us from day to day . Next time you are wondering how something happened be sure to remember God’s grace .

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

This scripture was the first scripture that I ever learned and I am thankful because through every situation I have carried it in my heart . No matter what things looks like God has a plan for your life. When trials and tribulations come we often find ourselves asking, “God why?” Trust me , I know ! However , God is so strategic that even when we do not understand or see Him working , we must believe that He is working because He has a plan .  This scripture does not mean that you will not go through tests, but it reassures you that with God there is hope . Often times we have to go through the shaking , the beating , and the pressing in order to get to that brighter and better future . Sometimes God has to make us uncomfortable in order to realign us and make sure that we are walking in His plan for our lives.

Honestly, I feel like that is exactly what God is doing for me at this moment in my life. He is shaking me and molding me into who He has called me to be . Although it is difficult to truly understand His plan we must pray for understanding and learn to listen to the voice of God. We must adhere to His plans for our life in order to have that great future or expected end.