How to Achieve Hard Stuff

I considered myself to be a fairly fit person until I met Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is a sight to behold, about 10 miles outside of downtown Atlanta,  it is the world’s largest piece of exposed granite. It is a sight to behold. When you get to the top of Stone Mountain, the view will take your breath away with a breathtaking view of Atlanta and the surrounding areas, it is glorious. On one side of the mountain is a carving of the leaders of the Confederate army, which is fraught with all types of controversy as to whether it should be removed but that is the subject for another post.

The road to Stone Mountain is steep, uneven and deceiving with jutting rocks and gravel. It is so deceiving you will ascend to one portion of the mountain and believe you have reached the top and then you will catch sight just ahead of an even steeper incline in front of you. It is completely unpredictable. At the end of summer, September 2018, I began my first of many hikes up Stone Mountain. The battle up the mountain made me consider what it means to achieve hard stuff in this world, to go against the tide, to scale high heights that not many would attempt.

It is not easy but so worth it. Once, I finally made it to the top, the view was so worth it. It was even more worth it for the euphoria of accomplishment and overcoming a difficult challenge. In my way down, in a moment of deep reflection, I began to list the top 5 necessary items and tools to achieve hard stuff so here are my musings:

5. Don’t be surprised by a lack of motivation or times of frustration, prepare for it.

When you start the challenge, you are going to be hyped, excited, ready to take on the world. It will not last, it never does. Most people think it will so they do not prepare for when it does not and they believe they no longer supposed to continue. Not true. Everything is seasonal, even motivation but the key is to keep going even when you are not feeling it. How do you do that? Great question. Here some other tips to keep yourself motivated in the midst of an uphill battle.

4. Get your tribe.

I started hiking by myself but eventually fell in step with a group. 
one was a man who looked to be in his 60s, another was a family with a boy who looked to be like 3 or 4 years old with a walking stick. Everytime I looked at these two athletes and the other people in our little makeshift group, I said surely, if they can do it, I can too. My ankle started throbbing at one point, I stopped briefly to stretch it out and then kept moving to catch up with the group. Get people around you who are moving in the same direction who will push you to make it.

3. Acknowledge the pain but do not bask in it.

Doing hard stuff is well…hard, no ifs, ands or buts around it, that is why so many people avoid hard stuff, it takes determination, time and resources do hard stuff. Some things you encounter will be painful, I guarantee it. But similar to what I mentioned with my ankle, acknowledge the pain but don’t fall into the trap of self pity and fear. I can say this honestly because I did it for years, it is easy to do but I believe if you keep moving you will learn how to manage the pain yet still make the destination (and win!) or the pain will go away on its own and the goal is still met (another win!) Keep moving, don’t let pain stop you.

2. Focus on the end to get you through.

At one point, every muscle in my body felt like it was screaming and ready to give up in protest. So, I started to play a game where I imagined myself at the top, wind blowing through my hair, relaxed and accomplished. Did it make the pain stop? Nope. Did it make it bearable? Absolutely. I stopped focusing on it, it was like an annoying photo bomber who just refuses to step out of your frame but it was not the main thing. The main thing was the top, the goal of completing, finishing, accomplishing, my mind was already there just had to physically get there

1. Pay it Forward.

When I got to the top, it was glorious, my body felt like one big ball of hurt but my mind and spirit felt incredible. It was better than I imagined the view, the feeling, the wind and the sense of peace and accomplishment. I basked in it for awhile and the headed back down the mountain, triumphant and pleased. Well on the way down the mountain, I ran into my former self, so many people still making the upward battle, faces twisted in pain, chests heaving, wondering when and if the end will ever come. And I started cheerleading, I encouraged them, told them “you are almost there, great job, keep going, you are going to feel so great when you are done.” I saw there faces relax for a bit, renewed confidence and focus and their pace quicken a bit in anticipation for the end. We all need encouragement, we are just wired that way. Once we make it, we have an obligation to help others, we cannot do it for them, we may not be able to carry them but we can encourage them, we can be open to serve as inspiration that they can do it too and it is possible.

I believe we are created for hard stuff, if you are not moving forward, you are falling back.

Look at how beautifully complex our bodies and minds are, we were created to solve problems, achieve the unattainable and scale the impossible.

We owe it to our Creator and we owe it to ourselves.

Go get it.

Good Dirt

I am not extremely familiar with horticulture but I am pretty familiar with the basics. The cycle of horticulture is standard, the cycle of planting, tending, watering, growing, pruning and harvesting. This concept is a powerful analogy of the concept of our lives. In the lives of humans, ideas, habits, mindsets, activities are planted in our lives either through things we have adopted through experiences like family or environment, things we have learned and adopted along the way. These systems will inevitably produce a harvest, one that we appreciate or one that we struggle with. When these new habits or thoughts are presented to our lives, we often do not give much thought to the outcome, perhaps at the time it addresses a need or seems like a worthy pastime.

I remember when I started feeling anxious as a child. It was all tied to my mother. As a precocious only child raised by a single mother, I viewed my parent as my only lifeline and I constantly worried something would happen to her. I remember fearfully looking out a large picture window in the living room of our flat waiting for my mom to arrive home. My ten year old mind would race fearing she had been in a car accident or accosted by an armed person because she should have been home ten minutes ago. Each night, she would arrive home a few minutes later and I would breathe a huge sigh of relief. This went on for years and my fears graduated to what people thought of me, my future, my job, my safety, and anything else I could find to be afraid of. In retrospect, I never learned the skill of acknowledging and addressing fear in a positive manner. I never challenged the fear with trust or love. And so it grew, like a seed planted, I watered it with insecurity, fear, ignorance and consistency. As an adult in her thirties, I bore the harvest of years of unaddressed fears. I suffered anxiety attacks every day and would sleep for hours just to escape the thoughts. Sometimes, I would wake up and mercifully, I could function for awhile, most often I could not, they would instantly return.

Through misery and pain, I learned something had to change and it needed to be me. I began to plant different seeds through actively seeking a relationship with God, facing my vulnerabilities and dysfunctions, allowing God to heal my insecurities and destroy lies with truth. It was a slow process, too slow for my liking. But, we must understand planting and harvesting is a slow process despite the desire for immediate results.

God’s process is so much better than immediate results. It was four years before I started to feel some substantive relief But, during that time, I experienced the most ugly and beautiful time of my life as I clung to God as the only lifeline who could help me. God rooted me in Him, I can never fool myself into thinking I did anything, during those four years I was sustained by God. Not only did I keep my job but I thrived in my job, received a promotion and received awards for the work I had done. Simultaneously, I became the president of a non profit organization with over 150 members and managed a team of 12 board members, all while experiencing the most challenging season of my life. In hindsight, it is incredible and glorious to see the favor of God in your life even as you struggle.

Every day, you are planting with the thoughts you think, the activities you do, the people you spend time with and the words you say. Make them good, make them holy so it will reap and incredible harvest. A good question to ask, is will this thought, person or experience bring me a positive result in the future? Or negative? Then with your knowledge make a choice.

the Bible says, “the power of life and death is in the power of the tongue and those that love it, shall eat its fruit, Proverbs 18:21. In Deuteronomy 30:19-20 it says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”

We make choices every day, recognize that choices are connected to the future, they have promissory notes that state, if you do this, this will happen or if you select this, that will happen. Choose that which will serve God and bring life. Choose wisely.

How to Make Better Decisions

It was my birthday (YAY!) and I was running errands and getting ready to attend a celebratory dinner with a friend. I stopped by the mall and decided to peep into a designer store. This store was the one that I always peered into with wide eyes but never went in, because, I just know everything was out of my price range.  Not today. High on birthday gladness, I boldly walked right into the store and started looking at pieces. Just as I suspected, most of the clothing items were well out of my budget, like more than my rent out of my budget. However, I spied a pretty pair of wide leg pants and after inspecting the price, was shocked to see they were expensive but not expensive expensive like the other items. I tried them on and they fit perfectly, the sales women complimented me profusely and once I told them it was my birthday, they just exclaimed, Well you just have to get them, it is your day.” I began to think to my self, “you know what it is my day! I deserve these, I need them.” Never mind, I was saving money to pay down debt, I deserved those pants! So I bought them and walked out of the mall feeling triumphant.

Two weeks later, one of the seams in the pants came a loose, I got it fixed and then another seam came a loose and the pants turned into an utter tattered mess. I COMPLETELY regretted making such an emotional decision, can anyone relate to making such a poor emotional decision?

As human beings we make a lot of decisions each day, they are necessary and important, yet many of the decisions made are based on our emotions, how we feel at any particular moment. Basing decisions on our feelings is  an inherent problem because  feelings change from day to day, heck minute by minute! Emotional decisions can leave us with regret, emptiness and shame wondering, how did I get this so wrong??

The decisions we make leave clues about who we are and what we value. Decisions lead to habits, habits lead to a lifestyle and lifestyles do provide certain results in our lives, positive and negative. If you tell me about your decisions, I can learn what you value and prioritize where you place your self esteem and ultimately where you are headed. Ultimately, decisions point to the direction in which your life is headed and consequently, your destination. Decisions, not intention will lead your life.

So given the gravity of decisions, how do we make better ones?


Most companies have a mission statement as well as values that dictate the company operations, brand, people and vision. This mission statement is a beacon of light communicating priorities and vision to employees and customers alike. At companies that are really excelling you can ask any employee at random and he/she can say the mission statement without missing a beat.

You, my friend, are also a brand, a force in your own right and therefore, should have your own mission statement, your own values that you live your life by.

We all have values but have you given thought to them or even written them down?  If you are not sure where to start, think about what is most important to you? What principles do you live your life by? What wakes you up in the morning?

For me, my values are God over everything, purpose, loving people, joy and lightness. In my life when I encounter decisions, I put them next to my mission statement and and
I ask myself, will this exemplify loving God with all my heart, loving myself, loving others? Will this set people free in their mind, spirit and body? If the answer is no, the decision is easy. If I a m unsure then I need to seek God for answers. I have learned to be prayerful about many things, my purpose, who to hire? What to do on a daily basis? And even what to eat?

Line up every decision and compare it to your values, nothing is excluded, include friends, job opportunities, goals, activities, matters of the heart and everything between, and then, decide accordingly.


We have qualified, your emotions cannot be your barometer, they change too much, they are unsteady and not trustworthy. In contrast, you have to find something weighty, strong, stable and consistent to use as a foundation.

My foundation is God, Jesus and the Bible, it is stable when I am not. When I do not feel like forgiving someone, I read the Bible and decide to do it anyway. When I feel like worrying because I do not have control and am scared, I read the Word and it encourages me not to worry no matter what I face and to let it go. It pushes me beyond emotion to make decisions that align to the values I have set for myself. It is absolute.


There are decisions and habits so ingrained in our being, we have to do considerable digging and self reflection to change those decisions. Some decisions are so ingrained they are automatic like judging others or speaking negatively to yourself or even deciding to pursue something you have never done before.

Begin to ask yourself, why you do, what you do? Please note, this is not for the faint of heart, this is designed for those who understand the gravity of decisions and are focused on making thoughtful decisions that will lead them to their goals.

As you assess your decisions, you may trace them all the way back to your childhood. Maybe Mom taught you the best way to handle conflict is to ignore it so now you run from conflict and give excuses to yourself why you cannot face it. Maybe you told a love interest your feelings and he/she betrayed you, so now you keep your heart tucked away so no one can break it again. The decisions we make and the habits we conduct over and over again are often tied to past experience or hurts deeply ingrained in our psyche.

Recognizing the genesis of these roots is the first step and then taking action to address it. This can be done in counseling, using affirmations to start overcoming the fear and past hurts and letting God take the time to heal your heart. As you undergo the healing process, you will identify alternative actions for those that used to be automatic. When the decisions come, you will perceive it differently and in turn select differently. As you move towards better decisions, the outcomes will also change for the better.

How to Face Fear and Win

Hello Darling!

Have you ever felt absolutely paralyzed by fear? Unable to make a move forward, just rooted in place by sheer terror, I certainly have and it is the worst. It has taken me a number of years to learn how to face my fears and overcome them God’s way. I am excited to share with you what I have learned in hopes to save you from unnecessary pain and suffering.

Fear is manufactured by the enemy of our soul to steal, kill and destroy that which is our destiny and ultimately our blessings.

That is his only intention. How many times have the things you fear actually happened? I guarantee the answer is rarely most likely never. Somehow God has always stepped in, He always moved, always showed up and showed out. Oftentimes our imaginations are always much worse than the reality and we make inferences about outcomes based on our limited understanding of the circumstances. So why fear?

Fear is the archenemy of faith and they cannot coexist together, one will take the throne of your life.

The devil is hoping you will succumb to your fears, he knows, that when we fear, we are in his territory and he is free to play with our minds. God works by faith, we must believe in order for God to move in our lives. Trust is the drawbridge for God to enter the tower of our problems and destroy them. When in fear, we conveniently forget the numerous times God has delivered us from past situations. We become so fixated on the current situation that we are unable to recount God’s deliverance or even draw upon His love. This has happened to me more times than I count and then when God delivers me as He always does, I am repentant and sad, feeling horrible now on the other side that I did not trust. But when faced with another anxiety inducing situation, I get back on the merry go round of fear and of course, God mounts his white horse as always and does His part again despite my faithlessness. When does it stop?

It stops when we stop. It stops when we decide no more.

As the righteous, we are instructed to live by faith not sight, to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and resist the devil, to be anxious for nothing but come to our Father with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God.

And then accept and revel in his peace….Simple right?

It is deceptively simple. And we must believe that God is capable and willing to help us. The last thing I want to share with you before we talk about the keys to freedom is fear is a SIN. It says in Romans 14:23, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Many times when we are anxious or worried, we are seeking to control the situation, figure it out in our own human strength. In essence, we are saying, God, I know you are all powerful, all omniscient and the absolute manifestation of all that is good and loving, but I do not trust you to do what you say, I do not trust who you are or actually, I do not trust that this is all going to turn out the way I WANT IT.

So, God, step aside, I GOT THIS. Sounds pretty bad, right? IT IS.

Fear is defiance, rebellion and just straight up disobedience. Period. Point blank. The end.

I bet you are like me and do not want to be disobedient, so now with this new knowledge, how do we stop?

I would like to share with you a few life changes to kick fear in the butt once and for all.

Let’s go……


If you are not spending daily time with the Lord, you are losing.

How can you trust someone you do not know?

Ladies, the Word is truth, sharper than a two edged sword. The Word will change you from the inside out, make you stronger and show you God’s way of living life. You cannot go into battle without a weapon and that is what the Word is in your daily life.


How many times have you read something and not absorbed it? Plenty, I am sure. When reading the Bible, focus on quality rather than quantity.

When you read the Word, meditate on it, which, means reflective contemplation, to determine meaning, significance or a plan of action.

The Bible is timeless and is just as applicable now as it was thousands of years ago. So as you read consider, what does this mean? What is God saying to me? How can I apply it to my life? Another way to meditate on the Word is to journal about what God is saying to you through the passage. Another option I use often is to create notecards of certain Bible verses and carry them with me throughout the day to remind myself often of God’s promises. I also prop notecards up on the dash of my car to look at them as needed when I drive. I also have a vision board that shows the manifestation of God’s Word in my life. You can also put up post-its around your house to refer to as well. Do what works for you to weave God’s Word into your daily life.


When you fear, PRAY.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for us.” So when you feel fear, your fears upon Him. And keep doing it. If you have to keep casting those fears throughout the day, keep doing it. Although, it may seem like overkill, keep doing it. Just as your mind became trained to fear, it must now be trained to release fear to the only one who can do something about it. Use God’s promises that you learn in the Word to cast out fear in prayer. Write out a prayer strategy to overcome recurring fears.


Beautiful, understand who is the boss and it is not these thoughts or even your mind. Proverbs 23:7 says,”As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you believe, you cannot overcome fear, you will not be able to.

But, I am here to tell you, YOU CAN.

The power that resurrected Jesus Christ lives in you, so what exactly does that mean?

You have the most powerful, healing and life giving being inside of you, the power to overcome all evil lives inside of you in the Holy Spirit. Everything must submit to the power of God including your body and mind.

Once you fully understand and walk in this fact, the battle is won.

Also understand these two things:


Stop believing your own thoughts. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

God knows our thoughts are unstable and unreliable, so He seeks to give us stability through our trust in Him. Always line up your thoughts against the character and Word of God, if they do not match, go with God.


I guarantee what you are facing is not new to God, He has overcome it before. Create a list of all the problems and challenges God has brought you through and all of your answered prayers. Refer to it often when facing challenges, you may be surprised to realize, God has already brought you something similar in the past. The only way fear works is to get you fixated on the present situation so much so that you forget the power of God. Perhaps you have never encountered anything like the issue you are facing, if so, go to the Bible. Read about the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, the defeat of Jericho or the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grow in faith and be encouraged by the powerful examples of God’s love and loyalty in the Bible, that is why they are there.

Stop Running and Resist, FIGHT.

Let’s just be clear, you are in a battle.

You are battling for your faith, peace and ultimately God’s purpose and blessings for your life. In order to win this battle, you have to fight but not in your own strength, fight with God’s time tested weapons, God wins every time. I have tried to handle them in other ways and lost dismally. When I first started to feel anxious thoughts, I ran from them, I tried to drown them out in television, sleep, work, people, just trying to stay busy to outrun them. It worked for awhile and then they came back full force. I believe my battle with anxiety was much worse and lengthened because I tried to run for so long. I was so scared, I refused to face them. But James 4:7 says, “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.” These instructions are purposeful and ordered for a reason, once you submit your fear to God and trust Him to see you through, you can then resist the devil with the weapons of God and he will have to leave you. Why? The devil cannot withstand the power of God, he was made by God. The created can never overcome the Creator. Stop running and start fighting with the power of God.

The devil is hoping you will fight in your own strength because he knows you will not win. But the fight is fixed, God has already won the fight for you through Jesus Christ. Use the strategies and weapons He has given you to win and live the abundant life He has for you.

Be Blessed!


P.S. God knows the fight against fear is REAL and He gives us so many verses in the Bible that can be used to combat fear. Here are some of my favorites to get you started!

Hebrews 11:16

And without faith it is impossible to please Him for those that come to Him must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Matthew 9:29

Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, According to your faith, let it be done to you and their sight was restored.

Matthew 17:20

Because you have so little faith, Truly, I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Romans 1:17

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith.

Romans 14:23

Everything that does not come from faith is sin.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love.

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

Beauty Trap

Hi Darling!

Beauty is an addiction and an obsession for many.

This world has equated the worth of women to the perception of their beauty. The impossible measure of beauty has caused many so much pain and that was never God’s intention in making women.

Many of us are always seeking the magic answer that will make us more beautiful, more desirable to the world. I just got finished watching 30 minutes on Youtube of mid-twenty wholesome, beautiful girls spending an inordinate of times transforming themselves with endless loads of makeup into glamazons. Amid compliments of “girl, your face is beat” and “SLAY….” they are just a shadow of their makeup-free, fresh-faced selves. When did we get so obsessed with our looks to the detriment of our inner beauty? When did we get so obsessed with ourselves? Trust me, I put myself in this category as well.

God made us beautiful, every single one of us.

Each one of us, He knit us perfectly in our mother’s wombs. When we were little, we knew we were magnificent and no one could not tell us any different. Slowly but surely, somewhere around grade school, the self confidence, the internal assurance began to crumble.

I remember one incident that especially hurt my self esteem. My mother had gone out of town and I was staying with a family friend. I really adored the daughters of this family, the older I worshiped and the younger I adored. On one particular day, it was just myself and the older daughter in the house. She was on the phone talking to a friend and complaining bitterly about me, “Her hair is so nappy and so thick, god, it is ugly!” In the next room, I heard every word she uttered and remembered the shame and embarrassment.

Subconsciously, I believed that something was wrong with me, with my hair and maybe I was not as amazing and beautiful as my mother told me.

As I grew, whenever there was a rejection it seemed like a confirmation of that destructive thought, “I am not pretty, I am not OK as I am.”

So I got in line, I permed my hair, I wore makeup, I wore the right clothing, I worked on being friends with the right girls and sought affirmation from men. I was elated when I received it and crushed when I did not receive it.

But no matter what, there was always this emptiness, I equate it to a black hole because the affirmation and the acceptance felt good for a little while but eventually I was needy again.

This world is unforgiving with women and it can never affirm us, people can never affirm us, only God can.

We have to go to God to find our worth to find our true beauty. He is the only one who can affirm us and fill up the black hole with his love, acceptance and encouragement, not people.

So here are my top five reasons why God can be the only answer to the aching question, “am I beautiful?”

Top 5 Reasons to Seek God for Affirmation

“A king’s heart is a water channel in the Lord’s hand:He directs it wherever He chooses.” Why waste your time seeking affirmation from ants when you can serve the Almighty God? He controls all things and all people.When God is rooting for you, He can turn the heart of your boss, the heart of your spouse, the heart of your enemy to benefit you. Proverbs 21:1 says in the Lord’s hand, the king can provide abundance, favor and blessings to God’s chosen. Look at the stories of Esther, Joseph, David, Daniel, and many others in the Bible who God hand picked and elevated through the governing powers of that time. Stop sitting at the kids table when God has a seat for you with adults.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 says fearing the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom and those who fear the Lord shall be praised. Fleeting means vanishing quickly, short-lived brief and swift. So therefore, if you have hung your life on being beautiful what happens when beauty fades? Do not root your worth in temporal things.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Your beauty should be innate as much a part of you as your energy and your soul. Beauty should not be something you can take off or put on for that matter like jewelry, clothes or makeup, it should be baked into your spirit. Taking on the character of Jesus, his humility and his kindness is beauty incarnate. When you find your beauty in worldly things in your external looks, it is counterfeit, not lasting. Find your affirmation and worth in the character of Jesus.

“For it was You who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful and I know this very well.” I read Psalm 139:14 countless times but I understood this verse much differently as I grew closer to the Lord. God made every single one of us, each person He handcrafted with precision and purpose. I do not know if you have ever knitted before, I tried it for a half a second and gave up in frustration. Knitting is not for the impatient, it is for the precise, the painstaking and the patient. And God took his time with you, He was precise, He was particular and He was purposeful. God makes no mistakes, He made you for a time such as this, He made you to look just as you do and you are perfection in His eyes, bump what everyone else thinks.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly that you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” I was whining about some small annoyance to a dear sister friend in Christ, she listened patiently and then quoted Romans 12:3. It snapped me right out of my self-obsessed coma and I thanked her quickly for the correction. A huge reason why we crave affirmation is to feed our always hungry, never satisfied egos. Behind all of it is a sin that has proven to be the downfall of many including our enemy, that is PRIDE. Ladies, we have to check ourselves, check our prideful attitudes and our obsession with self. Jesus never thought of Himself only others, He was extremely obedient to God to the point of dying for us. We, too, must lay down our focus on self and focus on Christ.

God-dentity Part 1

Hey Darling!

Who are you?

It is a loaded question that stumps many. The dictionary defines identity as the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. Each of us has a self-defined identity whether you acknowledge it or not.

So what is your identity?

I asked several people this question and after a long pause, many launched into lengthy descriptions of a role, a position, demographic characteristics, status or even their achievements. The responses consisted of am an employee of a certain organization, a mother of three, a wife, part of a certain social group, I live in this certain area of town, I am part of this socioeconomic group, I am part of this ethnicity or even drive this type of car. I also heard responses based in skill, talent or achievements pertaining to intelligence, hard work, wit, extraordinary talent or even financial acumen.

Most of the responses were quite impressive but all flawed. All flawed because they are completely and utterly fickle and can fail us at a moment’s notice.

What happens if you lose your job? Or you get sick and are unable to maintain your appearance? What if you have a financial crisis and can no longer maintain the lifestyle you have built?

I am not spouting doom and gloom, this is just the course of life, we live in seasons and the only thing constant in life is change.

What happens when you have built your identity on something so shaky and it fails?

It is just like the parable, Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says, anyone who listens to the word of God is wise and builds his home on solid rock even with the violent storms and flood, the house will stand because it is built on stable and sound foundation. However, those who do not obey the word of God, build their house on sand and when the same storms and floods come, the house will collapse with a mighty crash.


These two homes represent two disparate ways of life. I imagine the homes could be identical, Jesus does not say but imagine the same aesthetics, same square footage, same room placement, furniture, down to the hard wood floors.

However the foundation makes all the difference, under pressure, one will endure and thrive, the other will be destroyed.

What is your foundation based on? The unstable and sinking sand of the world or the powerful bedrock of God’s unchanging word?

Spend a few moments thinking about your own identity, is it sandy or rocky?

If you are still baffled, think about this, how do you introduce yourself to others? Where do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? These are often telltale signs of where our sense of identity and self-worth lies.

I can honestly say my foundation was based in sand for a long time and in the storm, my house collapsed so I know this to be true. I based my identity on my possessions, other people’s opinions and affirmation of me, my social standing etc. It did not sustain me, people disappointed me, the stuff did not fulfill me and most hurtful of all, I failed myself. But by the grace of God, my house was rebuilt, this time on the rock with clear dependence on Jesus and placing my identity in Him and only Him, Before launching into a discussion about how to form our identity in Jesus, let’s start at the beginning with how God formed our identity.

Let’s take it back to Genesis, yes, the beginning of it all.

In the beginning, God created the foundation of our world horizontally, light and dark, sun, moon and stars, water and land. Then God began building vertically, first the trees and the plants that are formed in the water and land, then the animals that feed and depend on the trees and plants and then God created the pinnacle of His creation, man to rule over all of his creation. Genesis 1:26 says, Then God said, let us make human beings in our image to be like us.

You look like God, let that sink in.


If you really meditate on that, it will change your life. It is impossible to feel negatively about the way you look or anything about you, if you live in that fact.

The perfect and all powerful God looks like me. The flip side is you definitely cannot think negatively about the looks of any other person because he or she also looks like God. This truth will change your perspective about the appearance and characteristics of yourself and others.

You were made perfectly and intentionally, Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

At a former job, one of my co-workers is a knitting fanatic and invited our whole office to attend a knitting class right outside of Washington DC, in Alexandria, Virginia. I have always thought I was decently coordinated but knitting made me feel like I had six thumbs and one elbow. In short, I was bad, knitting is not my gift. But i did pick up on some key truths regarding the art of knitting that helped me to understand this verse better.

Trust me, knitting is truly an art.

Real talk, knitting is complex but also delicate work, much more so than sewing or crocheting. Before you can even get into the exciting part, you have to “cast on” which is the foundational process of knitting. If you make a mistake especially in the casting on process, you have to start all the way over.

Also, knitting is not quick work, it requires patience and persistence. My knitting co-worker needed several days to knit a scarf and several weeks to knit a sweater! Knitting is painstaking work without immediate gratification, it takes time to create a masterpiece worth presenting to your loved one. Hopefully, you are catching the parallels to the handiwork of God in your mother’s womb, He made you complex and He took His time, He was patient, He worked with precision yet delicately in love. When you came from your mother’s womb, you were His masterpiece, sculpted with His perfect hand.

I do not know about you but that fills me with so much confidence and joy to know the Creator of all things, heaven and earth, took His precious time to painstakingly form every part of my being.

And we are fearfully and wonderfully made, each one of us unique and different like the stamp of our thumb prints. Even identical twins, though they make look the same have different thumb prints, so amazing!

So I have to ask, where did we get so deluded?

We began to believe we need the external things of the world for validation of our identity. But God made us in His own image and not only that made us perfectly in our mother’s womb. The things of this world will convince you that you need more, need to do more, have more and just be more than what you are. However, God says, I made you enough from the beginning, no worldly additions are needed, you are enough. As you allow me to live in you and use you for your glory, you are free to be your best self, who I created you to be.

I hope this has encouraged you to know how loved and precious you are to God.

We are just scratching the surface, next week, we will dig into more discussion of how to form our identity in Jesus.

God-dentity Part 2

Hi Darling!

Imagine a beautiful baby princess who is stolen from birth and forced into slavery.

She grows up as a slave with no knowledge of her royal background and who she actually is. The king searches for years for his baby girl tirelessly but cannot find her and bring her home.

After thirty years, he finally locates and rescues his daughter. He is elated that he has found the one he loves most and is excited to be with her and restore her to the royal lineage.

Returned back to royal surroundings, she has a crown on her head, her clothes are beautiful with people now attending to her every need but, she still wakes up unconsciously preparing for a day of hard labor. Although she has all the benefits and surroundings of a queen, her mindset is still that of a slave. Often, this is the predicament of many Christian women even after we have accepted the Lord into our lives.

Although, we have been saved, our mindset is unchanged because we do not fully understand who we are and what has been given just for us.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it erected a massive and untenable chasm between God and man. Even at that point of separation, God made a promise that he would reunite us to Him and He did that though Jesus.

When Jesus died on the cross, there was a Great Exchange, where He bore all of our sin, shame and wretchedness and in exchange, we received all of the beauty that is God, all the light, perfection, goodness, kindness and love.

Therefore all of our sin died with Him so we do not have to experience the shame and egret of the past or fear of the future.

However, many Christians have not truly received the full blessing of the Lord. We have not truly taken advantage of the grace that God has given us through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I do believe this pains our Heavenly Father.

How do you feel when you sacrifice all that you have for another and they treat your sacrifice carelessly or worse do not even acknowledge or use it?


As women who love the Lord, we should see it as our obligation and duty to live the abundant life God gave us.

I am not speaking of prosperity, although that can certainly be a blessing from God, I am speaking of freedom from spiritual bondage and of living in the fruit of the Spirit with love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, self-control.

I remember there was a time when I felt guilty for being too happy and surely something bad would happen next.

No! Not God’s will

So because of Jesus, who are we?


I am clean in God’s sight. I am honored and loved by Him. Isaiah 43:4


The blood of Christ saved you. This blood is of great worth and no amount of money can buy it. Christ was given as a lamb without sin and without spot. 1 Peter 1:19


God thinks I am beautiful. He sees no flaw in me Song of Songs 4:7


I am blessed by God and He surrounds me with favor as with a shield. Psalm 139:13-14


How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand..Psalm 139:17-18


For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:4


No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

These are just a few characteristics of your identity through Jesus and there are countless others articulated in the Bible.

Sometimes, it can be hard to believe these things when everything indicates differently.

How do you overcome negativity with God’ss truths? With the Word of God.

I can honestly say when I first began reading the Bible, my thoughts did not change overnight. It happened gradually and it was those day by day tests of casting down negative thoughts, choosing to operate in faith, believing God’s words over my own negative thoughts.

I would prop certain Bible verses on the dash of my car and say them over and over to myself, my favorite was, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for those who come to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

I still have to renew my mind consistently to fully live the abundant life. Consistency has been so important for me to maintain close relationship with God and actualize who He created me to be.

Determine a routine for renewing your mind about who you are in the sight of God.

When you hear something negative cast it down by saying, “Nope! God said I am chosen, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, I belong to God that I may declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness into His wonderful light!”


Matrimony Musings

Hi Darling,

It is marriage season and I am EXCITED! As I prepare for the marriages of friends and family, I started reflecting on marriage and what it really means for us as believers. Marriage was created by God to be pure, beautiful, sacrificial and long lasting but somewhere along the way things changed…


Guilty as charged, I used to look at marriage in that way.

Time to grow up!

We must enter into marriage sober and fully prepared for the commitment that marriage is. For those of us who have subconsciously built the fantasy of marriage through the likes of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (my personal favorite) and romantic comedies like Pretty Woman, we are in for a rude awakening.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage is meant to be joyful, life-giving and earth shattering but these movies and images just do not provide a REALISTIC view of marriage. Having yet to make a marriage covenant to another, I can only speak humbly from what I have observed and the insight I have received from personal married mentors.


A few months ago, I was at bible study at church and the pastor was completing a three part series on how to restore a broken marriage. As the sermon entered the Q&A portion, there were light moments but there were some painful ones. One woman in tears, pleaded with the pastor to give her advice for how to deal with her husband’s mid life crisis, she stated he went to bed a sweet kind man one day and woke up transformed into a man she does not recognize. Another woman talked about being married to someone who did not believe in God and even forbade her to tithe and yet another shared the pain of being married to a man who cheated on her incessantly.

This is the side of marriage that is not often shown on the silver screen or thought of when one prepares for her wedding day. But, the trials and sorrows of marriage are REAL, just as real as the the honeymoon period and the other joyful times that we singles anticipate. We have to fully understand the lifetime commitment of marriage. The world has made it so easy to marry and divorce when things are not going well but that is not the original purpose of a marriage designed by God.


“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[ her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:22-27

Marriage is a call to sacrifice, a call to give. It is quite ironic that most marry to receive and not give.


Don’t get married yet, you are not ready.


Don’t do it yet.


Hold off on marriage.


One of the last acts Jesus committed before he gave the ultimate sacrifice was to wash the feet of his disciples. These twelve disciples were his family; he was closest to them than any other human beings in the world. And he chose to show his love by washing their feet, not their heads, arms or legs but washing one of the dirtiest parts of a human body with love, attention and care. Marriage should be entered into with a heart of service. if two individuals enter into a marriage to serve one another, there will be balance and peace.

We, as human beings are naturally needy. We need help for our fears, insecurities, addictions, problems. But, when we seek another person to solve all our problems, it creates an imbalance and unrealistic expectations.

How can you cure me when you suffer from the same disease of sin?

Only God can provide healing for the emptiness and brokenness we feel.

As a spouse, forgiveness is so important for a healthy marriage. As believers, we are called to care for each other at our lowest moments and times when we are most ugly and unlovable. Some might call this unconditional love, love that is ever present no matter the circumstances or situation. When you say this, some mention situations of physical violence. In those situations, a person should remove him/herself from the environment and love from afar. God does not want us physically hurt under any circumstances.

And others may say, “ Yinka, I cannot forgive him, you do not know what he did or said to me.” You are right, you cannot forgive him in your own strength, you need Jesus to forgive him. There are some things that are beyond our flesh and sometimes forgiveness and love can be difficult to emote when a person has hurt you to your core. But, Jesus is the answer. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, in the history, there has been no other man who has suffered and experienced more than our savior and right in the middle of the throes of his agony, he prayed for those individuals who had inflicted so much pain on him even as they mocked him. He can give that power to you.

And lastly, let’s talk about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. There is a reason why God commanded wives to respect their husband and husbands to love their wives. He made us so he understands our wiring and what we need. Men desperately need respect and honor, they need to know their wives think highly of them, value them and honor their opinions, deeds and who they are as individuals.

I remember when I was in my 20s and had my first serious boyfriend and we were in a public place and I corrected something that he said in a not so kind way. Also, I remember riding in circles for hours on a first date who insisted the movie theater is just around the corner. I let him know he did not know where he was going and we needed to ask someone for directions. Yet another situation, I felt one of my male friends said something inappropriate and called him out on it in public.


First of all let me say my delivery was not good. Secondly, men naturally recoil at disrespect especially publicly.

Now that I am a bit more seasoned and a lot wiser, I would have handled those situations completely different.

Men absolutely need respect, but maybe it is hard for you to respect your husband because of what has happened in the past.

This is where you have to ask God to change your heart, help restore the respect for your husband. You must make a choice to dwell on his positives rather than his negatives and the good will increase.

Singles, as you prepare for marriage, do an inner evaluation to understand the areas you may need to work on as you prepare for marriage and ask for God’s help to grow you.

The Power of Faith

Hi Darling!

Doubt. One of the greatest weapons the devil uses to thwart the miracles of God.

God is all that is miraculous in this world, He does miracles like how we take breaths. It is necessary and intrinsic to who He is and the best part is He loves to do it. He is giving, loving and gracious, He absolutely loves to rescue, restore and bless His children.

So with all that said, why are there not more miracles??

In Mark 6, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth, ready to bless them with the word of God and the miracles of healing and salvation but he could not because they had no faith. They were too familiar with him, they knew his family, they remembered him as a child and could not wrap their minds around Jesus the Savior.

So what did Jesus do? He left. He took all His power, His salvation, His miracles that He graciously did for so many and He left.

There is a lesson for here for us, in the face of stubborn doubt and unbelief, Jesus cannot work and move our situation. Doubt chokes faith and immobilizes it not allowing grace and blessing to flow in our lives.

And typically whatever issue that you struggle with the most in the area of faith is where God most wants to bless you.

So let’s unpack this issue of doubt some more. I can tell you where I get tripped up and I believe it will be familiar for many, it is the question of how?

We just do not see how it can happen. The cost is too high, the statistics are too bad, no one like me has ever done it before or it is impossible to achieve it so quickly are the thoughts that race through our heads when we face a seemingly impossible situation.

And right in that moment of ruminating the utter hopelessness of your situation, you have to STOP!

The how is NOT your responsibility or problem, you are trespassing in a territory that is not your own.

The how is God’s plan and not yours.

So my friend, you must let go of the reins, pass them over and allow God to guide the situation. Easier said than done right?

We live in a society that is all about doing, if you have a problem, DO something about it, don’t just sit there and that can make faith hard.

I remember when I was waiting for God to provide a job for me to move to Atlanta. He had specifically told me to stop applying for jobs and just be still about it. I knew God told me I was moving but there was no job not even any prospects. Friends would ask me, well what company are you interested in? Where are you applying? All I could muster up was not sure what company and I am not applying. I would then say I am praying and believing God for the job. The incredulous expressions said it all, “how are you going to get a job without applying for it??” Their guess was as good as mine but I stayed the course. During that period of waiting, I got busy doing other things, I prepared to go on a missions trip, launched my ministry in DC as well as prayed and fasted for God to do a miracle. One day, a friend of mine who lived in Atlanta contacted me said she had seen a job that would be perfect for me, she sent them my resume, within two weeks, I interviewed over the phone and had an on-site interview in Atlanta with the staff for the organization I would support…not having applied for the job. When I finally did complete an application, it was a formality, they already decided to select me for a position. A miracle…

God is good and He is consistent but in order for Him to do a miracle in your life, you must give Him the room to do it and that space is called faith.

So how can you build up your faith?

Prayer and Fasting, this is huge, your flesh and spirit are on opposite sides of the spectrum, the first is self-led and the other God-led. Think of it like a seesaw, when you discipline and starve your flesh, your spirit gains strength and the same could be said vice-versa. You should fast as led by the Holy Spirit and a good rule of thumb is if you do not want to fast from it, you probably should. If there is an activity or food that is a stronghold in your life, that is a good candidate for fasting. The prayer part is just as important as the act of fasting, both go hand in hand. The prayer is what strengthens your resolve and spirit.

Identify a Faith Hero. There are so many great examples of faith in the Bible. Hebrews 11, one of my favorite passage of the Bible details the numerous individuals who put their faith in God. The Bible is not a bunch of fairy tales for us to enjoy in the confines of the church or Sunday school. They are examples meant to inspire courage, faith and trust in our Father. Despite the changing times, these stories of faith are still very relevant today and we can draw parallels from their lives to ours. Three of my favorite faith heroes are David, Daniel and Joseph, each one of them remained rooted in faith despite the impossible and life threatening circumstances. God always came to their rescue and met them at the level of their faith.

Spend Time in the Word of God. As you spend time in the Word of God, you will get to know the Lord. A relationship with God is like any relationship, the more time you spend with Him, the more you will know Him and the more you know Him, the more you can trust Him. He longs to be known by you. Also, just like any relationship, trust engenders love and greater intimacy.

Don’t be like the children of Israel in Numbers 13, 14. God brought them so far, delivered them from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, provided them with manna and then quail among many other .miracles. He provided for them, protected them, professed to them and just loved them. Yet, when it came time for them to pass the last test, they failed. They looked at themselves rather than looking towards Him. They got so caught up in their own frailties, weaknesses and fears, they denounced him. They complained about the Lord and did not see the immense blessing in the Promised Land.

In order to get to the Promised Land, it requires faith in God. Why?

Because that is how God gets the glory, that is how you know God is at work when he gifts you The Promised Land by faith.

God can only do that when you cannot receive the Promised Land in your own strength.

Perhaps, the statistics are not in your favor and you do not have the right credit score or resources for a much needed home or perhaps, your child is sick and you do not have money for the care or medicine. Or just maybe, God has promised you abundant land for your family but it is already occupied and the inhabitants are powerful and frightening.

Where God guides, He will provide, we must believe that so we can take hold of all that God has ready for us.

The Gift of Boldness Part 1

Hey Darling!

Perhaps you are like me and nothing inspires you more than a story of boldness.

A protagonist who is facing what seems to be an impossible situation, yet is able to overcome and triumph with amazing rewards and results. One of my favorite movies is the Lord of the Rings, the plot line focuses on the unassuming hobbit Frodo and his charming companion Samwise. 

Frodo and Samwise experience a journey unlike any other in a quest to return peace and goodness back to their world by destroying an  evil ring. Unlike the other characters in this story, Frodo  and Samwise lack many of the qualities we would associate with heroism, they are not talented in fighting battles, extraordinarily intelligent or even experienced in overcoming evil. But they have willing hearts and a great deal of courage. These are often the most important qualities for people who achieve amazing results in the face of impossible odds.

So what are the impossible odds in your life, those challenges and struggles that seem insurmountable or impossible to overcome? Those issues that can put a dark cloud over the landscape of your life so much so that you begin to believe the sun will never come out again. There are times where those situations require you to do the opposite of your instincts, to do the unthinkable and the unexplainable by acting in boldness.

Boldness is just in a word unforgettable, it has the potential to leave an indelible impression on the minds and lives of those who experience it. T

he Bible is chock full of testimonies of boldness of people who trust God in the midst of insurmountable obstacles like famine, death, captivity, handicaps and powerful armies.

One of the most lauded examples of boldness and my personal favorite is the story of David and Goliath. When the story begins, the Israelites and Philistines are at war, the Philistines send their best warrior, Goliath, a giant experienced in the art of battle and combat. The Israelites must now send their best warrior to fight Goliath with the winner achieving victory for his whole kingdom. But, there is a problem, every Israelite warrior including King Saul are absolutely terrified by Goliath and refuse to fight him.

Enter David, a naive yet confident young shepherd who by all outward appearances seems to be  the absolute worst person to square off against the feared Goliath. But, unlike the other warriors, David volunteers, he actively seeks an opportunity to fight and beat Goliath. After some discussion and bargaining, David gets his wish and confronts Goliath with his own weapons of choice, a shepherd’s staff, sling and five smooth stones. 

And then the impossible happens, David slings a stone at Goliath, kills him and wins the battle for Israel. I can only imagine the shock and awe that followed not just from Israel but the Philistine nation as well. 

There is an unsettling that takes place when the impossible is achieved, it shakes the very foundation of our consciousness and our way of seeing the world, it bangs out doors where there were previously only steel walls. That is the power of boldness and operating in the power of God to achieve the unimaginable for His glory.

To understand what David was able to accomplish in this pivotal moment in his life, we have to understand the makings of David, the makings of this boldness.

Isolation with God. David’s profession was a shepherd, as a result, he spent a lot of time in isolation away from people with just sheep and God. Alone time with God is so important to creating a spirit of boldness. When alone, God has the time to speak to you, change you and shape you into the person He has called you to be. The person He has called you to be is like Him and yes, God is powerful, loving and giving but He is also a rabble rouser, unconventional and definitely bold. Whoever or whatever you spend time with will pass on their characteristics to you. This is why it is so important that you make the effort to immerse yourself in the word of God, keep company with Godly people and listen to Godly media. When you spend all of your time with worldly people participating in worldly activities,  you will unconsciously adopt worldly beliefs, thoughts and mannerisms. Have you ever had a group of friends and over time you notice you begin to sound like each other. You use the same phrases, talk with the same cadence and even think similarly? Whatever or whomever you are joined to will affect your life and not always in a positive manner. Romans 12:2 says, “ Do not confirm to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so you can prove what is the pleasing and perfect will of God.” David spent oodles of time with God, therefore, it is not a surprise that when faced with the same situation as others he acted differently, he acted in boldness with the spirit of God. 

A Servant’s Heart. Shepherding is a humbling profession, it was not a well respected position in those times in Israel. As a shepherd, you are a servant of the sheep, of all things. It is your responsibility to make sure they are well taken care of, fed, protected, rested and thriving. Sheep are not necessarily the easiest to tend, they have minds of their own, they will wander off, be stubborn or even refuse to obey the commands of the shepherd. David undoubtedly had to deal with all of these frustrations yet he took pride in caring for them. In 1 Samuel 17:34, David says, “ When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.” When you serve others, it changes your outlook on life, you recognize your life is not for yourself but tied to others and their ability to thrive.

The Forgotten One. Samuel, the most renowned prophet, arrived in Bethlehem to anoint the future king of Israel from the house of Jesse. Jesse and all of his sons were invited to have an audience with Samuel. Can you imagine the excitement and anticipation? It was probably one of the most exciting moments for Jesse and his family. However, they intentionally or unintentionally forgot the most crucial member of their family in this instance, David. But God passed over all seven of Jesse’s older brothers to honor David. 1 Samuel 16:10, “ All seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “ The Lord has not chosen any of these. Then Samuel asked, “ Are these all the sons you have?” There is still the youngest, Jesse replied, But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” Send for him at once, Samuel said, we will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 

When you are forgotten by the world, it leaves a gap for God to find you. God loves to take who the world has forgotten and make them significant for His glory. God showcases His glory with the ignored and sidelined. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” 

If you have felt forgotten, passed over or otherwise ignored, take heart, this is exactly the position in which God can use you boldly for his glory.