She’s Here & She’s Fearless!

I’m still here! And although I haven’t been sharing my heart via the blog, I’ve still been intentional to follow His plan for me. It’s simply led down a path I was not expecting.

Journey with me….

At the end of each year, my husband and I seek God for the one word that will guide the year to come. In November 2016, during my quiet time, God clearly told me to be FEARLESS. I knew exactly what He meant. I’ve shared with you before how each time I am instructed to walk by faith, fear immediately sets in. I come up with every possible reason why God’s instructions seem impossible. There are times I am blatantly disobedient and don’t do what I am told and then there are those times when I do it, but Lord knows I’m scared. I thought doing it scared was ok. I mean, the point is I did it…right? Well, God made Himself crystal clear this time and His words tugged at my heart. It was as if He sat beside me like a caring, yet stern father and said these words…

In the past, I have allowed you to do it scared and you have done well with each endeavor. But My child, I have proven myself to you time and time again. I have never left you. I have never failed you. I have never given you reason to doubt Me. In this new season, you must be fearless. Trust Me. I am with you.

I took a deep sigh and said, “Lord, I trust you.”

From that day to this one, I have chosen to walk fearlessly. In February, I had a fearless tshirt printed as a reminder of my conversation with my God, my Friend, my Father.  Soon after, He told me there were others who too needed to walk fearlessly. So I had more shirts printed and today, I can barely keep up with the orders! 😂

Today, I Am Fearless! This does not mean fear does not rear its ugly head. This does not mean His instructions all of a sudden make sense. This does not mean the path I’m on is crystal clear. But it does mean that because He has promised to never leave or forsake me, I will trust Him. I have decided that no longer will fear occupy space in my head when it’s proper position is under my feet. Fear is my enemy and I will use it as a footstool to propel me to heights unknown.

It’s time for you too to put fear in its proper place.

MORE FROM SHARING MY HEART…
The Sharing My Heart website is coming soon!!! There you will find all the new SMH tees (you had to know there was more than one!). And later this year, the cover of my new children’s book will be revealed there. So keep a look out for iamsharingmyheart.com. Until then, feel free to email me or contact me via Messenger with questions about SMH tees.

Who’s Praying For You?

Medical exams. Annual or those that occur less frequently. They’re not like birthdays or Christmas. I’ve never seen anyone show excitement because one is approaching. We definitely don’t advertise it on social media. Well, recently, I accompanied my mom to a medical exam that only takes place every five years. No big deal, right? Actually it’s not. This is one of those visits that reminds us just how good God is.

You see, when I was in college my mom was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (information about the disease is included below). I remember sitting in the consultation room with the doctor as he circled areas on her x-ray that revealed evidence of something abnormal within her digestive tract. I don’t remember a lot about that day, but here’s what I do recall him saying….my mom had a disease for which there was no cure.

There is (not was) no known cure for Crohn’s disease.

I felt sick and tears began to swell in my eyes. What did this mean? Could this disease end her life? Was I about to lose my mother? The doctor assured me that medicine would help but my mind continued to replay…There is no cure.

I remember my mom and I talking about it. I was in college and was expected to drive back to Atlanta on Sunday as usual, but everything within me wanted to stay home. I just wanted to be with my mommy. But staying home was not an option. Sunday came. We went to church. Then ate dinner. I knew the next words that would come out of my mom’s mouth, “I need you to go ahead and get on the road. I want you back in Atlanta before it gets dark.” With tears in my eyes, I packed the car and got on the road.

The doctor prescribed a medication just as he promised. We had no idea my mom would have to take sixteen pills a day for an indefinite amount of time. And these were no ordinary size pills. We called them “horse pills.” Not exactly sure why we gave them that name. I guess our thought was only something as big as a horse could take sixteen mega-sized pills every day.

I also remember something else very vividly. My mom told less than a handful of people about her condition. She met with our pastor and she shared the diagnosis with one, maybe two friends. That was it. I can recall one of her friends confessing scripture over my mom and praying for her constantly. I remember her giving my mom specific Bible verses to read and commit to memory. Every time we were in this friend’s presence, I can only remember her speaking words of life, faith-filled words, and making my mom laugh. Even as it became more and more difficult for my mother to take all sixteen pills, I remember her friend encouraging her and asking, “Now Betty, do you believe God will heal you?” She had a smart alec way of saying it that still makes me smile today. Then she would say, “Come on Betty. This is God we are talking about!”

Now back to the present.

As I previously stated, recently, we went to the doctor for my mom’s 5-year follow up exam. The doctor who diagnosed my mom with Crohn’s disease has since retired and she was seeing a new doctor for the very first time. They called her to the back to prep her for the medical test and within less than an hour, my name was being called to meet the new doctor in the consultation room.

The new doctor walked in. He was very cordial and immediately shared her results. “Your mother’s test came back normal.” As we looked at the x-ray together, there were no signs of anything peculiar. The doctor asked, “I see in her chart she was once diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Is she taking any meds? It must be in remission.” “No, she’s healed.” My eyes again swelled with tears, but this time for a much different reason. He stared.

You see, continuous medication or surgery are the medical options that can place Crohn’s disease in remission. My mother took the medication as long as her doctor suggested but one year later, when she returned for her annual exam, there was no sign of the disease. The doctor suggested a maintenance drug because they too used the term “remission” but my mom declined the offer. We knew God had healed her!

I share this story not because I think anyone should stop taking their prescribed medication. And we definitely have faith in a doctor’s ability to help. I’m sharing my heart for a completely different reason. My mom was very specific in who she shared her situation with. Like I said before, less than a handful of people knew. But so often, we are either so private that we tell no one at all or so public that we post it on all platforms of social media. My question to you today is, “Who’s praying for you?” Yes, God healed my mother! For more than 20 years now, she has been free from the disease with no surgery or maintenance meds. She believed God would heal her, but each day her faith had to come face-to-face with sixteen pills. During those times, I believe the prayers of those she loved and trusted, along with her own undying faith, led to the manifestation of her healing.

We all have a situation, a condition, or something that we are dealing with. It may not be medical. It could be a delayed dream, an unfulfilled promise, or a far-reaching goal. I know I told you last week to F.T.D.I. but this week, think about who you are sharing your “situation” with. Who’s praying for you? I am definitely not one who believes everyone is a dream killer or everyone is preying on you instead of praying for you. But let’s make sure we are sharing our hearts with those who, in my grandmother’s words, can get a prayer through!

Until next time….

Information about Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/basics/definition/con-20032061

F.T.D.I. (Follow The D*** Instructions)

I definitely don’t mean to come across as being abrasive, but I’ve been away for more than a month. Had to get your attention! Well, I’m back and yes, the title is correct!

So Here We Go….

My husband recently enrolled in a fitness program, because this year, we have committed to treating our bodies like the temples they were designed to be. I’m ashamed to say it, but in years past, we ate what we wanted, exercised when we wanted, and never gave much thought to either…until a recent health scare. My husband would kill me if I gave the details of our health scare. So to maintain peace in our home, I’ll move on.

Let’s just say we immediately began to make changes.

When my husband attended orientation at a new fitness center, he was provided with a lot of information: do’s and don’ts, a grocery list, examples of how to pair the right foods, and so much more. At the end of orientation, the trainers emphasized one key point which they instructed each participant to live by if success was their goal, “F.T.D.I…Follow The D*** Instructions!” They basically said, “Don’t ask if you can make substitutions. Don’t tell us what WebMD, Atkins, P90X, Whole30, or anything else recommends. Just Follow The D*** Instructions!”

I laughed when I heard it and initially thought, “Well, I guess they made themselves clear.” But you know me, I internalized the phrase. Then God reminded me of a recent speaking engagement where I shared some biblical nuggets about Joshua and the walls of Jericho. The more I thought about the Bible story, the more I had a strange suspicion that this phrase was about to take on a whole new meaning.

“‘Your entire army is to walk around the city once a day for six days, followed by seven priests walking ahead of the Ark, each carrying a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to walk around the city seven times, with the priests blowing their trumpets. Then, when they give one long, loud blast, all the people are to give a mighty shout, and the walls of the city will fall down; then move in upon the city from every direction.’ So Joshua summoned the priests and gave them their instructions….” (Joshua 6:3-6 TLB)

The instructions were not difficult, right? March around the city for a couple of days (Side Note: Just so you know…the distance around the city of Jericho was less than half a mile). Blow the trumpet on the last day, then shout. That about sums it up! Most importantly, the victory had already been promised. In verse 2, the Lord assured Joshua, “Jericho and its king and all its mighty warriors are already defeated, for I have given them to you!” The fight was fixed! We may not like it on TV, but in our own lives, we call it “favor” and we love it! So as the story goes, Joshua and the Israelites followed the instructions which yielded the victory they had been promised.

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But what about your situation? Many of you may be facing a “massive wall.” It is the only thing separating you from the promise God has revealed. He has already shown you the business, the marriage, the baby, the new opportunity, the book deal, the new house, the multiple streams of income, the larger facility, the weight loss, the additional locations, the acceptance letter, the overflow of clients, the better paying job, your gift making room for you and the enlargement of your territory. However, it’s all contingent on your obedience. But remember this…If God said it, that settles it! The fight is fixed!

I’m sure there were days the Israelites thought, “Man, why do we keep walking around this wall? Not one pebble has fallen.” But what would have happened if they had made a fleshly decision to walk around the city for five days instead of seven? How would the outcome have been different if they had treated day seven like all the other days? What if they had questioned the necessity of marching and shouting and blowing the trumpet on the seventh day? I’m sure this is why Joshua implemented the no talking rule (see verse 10)!

Come on everyone! Yes, it’s a new year, but if you continue to do things your way, the results will never yield a new you or a new opportunity. Although Jesus would never say to us “F.T.D.I.,” I know He desires for each of us to be obedient and walk by faith. In the Williams’ household, we are striving to be “Obedient Without Hesitation”! Won’t you join us???

Now Take A Moment to Share Your Heart With God
When have you chosen not to F.T.D.I.? When we say we trust God, obedience is the corresponding action that validates our confession. Take a moment and ask for forgiveness. Then, simply do what He asked you to do.

Until next time……

 

And A Child Shall Lead Them

I haven’t posted on the blog for a couple of weeks for a number of reasons. Caring for my mom after knee surgery became my primary focus. But in all honesty, there were instances when I allowed myself to become engulfed in what I had not accomplished this year, instead of being thankful for the tangible and intangible blessings I did nothing to deserve. During those moments when my selective memory served me lemons, I turned them into a snack instead of lemonade. Bad idea!

Our 7-year old daughter noticed I had not been writing. One afternoon, she said, “Mommy, have you been ‘sharing your heart’?” I looked at her, but did not respond. Almost as if she knew the answer, she said, “Listen to this. I wrote something for your blog today.” 

What Matters Most

One day a little boy planted a tree. The tree grew and grew and it sprouted leaves. Leaves were all over the place. Some were big and some were little. Half of the little leaves blew away. Soon there was only one little leaf left. He was scared. 

Fall came and the leaves changed colors. The big leaves were mean and the little leaf was nice. The big leaves made fun of the little leaf because when they were little, big leaves made fun of them too. The little leaf was yellow and the big leaves were orange. The big leaves came to the little leaf and said, “In spring, you were just like us. Why are you so different now?” The little leaf said back, “I wish I was the still same as you but I am not.” The leaves came face to face and the little leaf said, “It does not matter how we look on the outside. What matters most is what’s on the inside.”

She closed her story by asking, “Do you want to be like the big leaves or the little leaf?”

I smiled (proud mommy moment)! Although the story carried many themes, I asked God, “Is there something in particular you want me (and others) to grasp from this story?” His gentle response indicated I was to embrace every theme revealed to me. These are the things I saw as I read Chloe’s story…

  • The little boy did not plant a seed. He planted a tree. How you “see” what you have impacts everything.
  • If you plant it, it will grow. Often when we look at others, we only see growth, increase, expansion. It almost seems automatic. But know…there is always work behind the growth. Effort is required.
  • Hurt people, hurt people. Sometimes we don’t understand why people do what they do, but often it is a result of what they have experienced.
  • Peacefully discussing an issue is more advantageous than acting like an issue does not exist.
  • Learn to be comfortable with who you are.

Now that Chloe and I have shared our hearts with you, it’s your turn. Isaiah 11:6 concludes by saying, “…And a child shall lead them.” As you read the story of our 7-year old daughter, please share, here in the comments or on Facebook, how her story spoke to your heart?

 

 

Where’s My Opportunity?

“If I just had the right opportunity…” How many of us have uttered these words? We see doors opening for others and we are genuinely happy for them, but as we look into the mirror of our own lives, the reflection often seems to reveal no door at all.

From time to time, I have questioned God about this very thing. In all honesty, I recently found myself asking again. And here’s what He said…..

My child, you are very familiar with the story of Joseph, yet there is so much you fail to see. You see Joseph as the “chosen” son. You even take notice when the favor shown to him by his father causes distance between him and his brothers. You see his gift as he interprets dreams. But you also observe that as he shares those dreams, doubt, criticism, and jealousy rear their ugly head. You see him thrown into a pit and left to die. But for the love of money, he is rescued only to be sold into slavery. You see him as a man of integrity as he rejects the advances of Potiphar’s wife; yet, his story also reveals that bad things can happen to good people.

God knows (no really…He knows this about me) I am not one who enjoys all the little details. So I respectfully told the rest of the story (don’t act like you’ve never done it 🙂 ).

From there, Joseph met a baker and a butler who had dreams that Joseph willingly interpreted. But when released from prison, they forgot about Joseph until one day, Pharaoh had a dream that none could explain. Then all of a sudden, the butler remembered Joseph. Joseph’s ability to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dreams opened the door for him to be appointed chief over all of Egypt. His position was not only a blessing to him but also to the very ones who attempted to negatively impact his entire life.

I get it, God. I know the story. But where’s the opportunity?

But God said…No, you missed it.

The opportunities I present will initially be unrecognizable to the human eye. Although Joseph was in a prison cell, I presented him with an opportunity. Joseph had to decide, “Will I use my gift to help someone who may never do anything for me in return or will I ‘be still’ and wait for God to rescue me?”. Because of what I revealed to Joseph as a child, he knew he would not remain imprisoned forever. Joseph believed the dreams long before he was thrown in the pit, encountered Potiphar and his wife, or met the butler and the baker. Joseph used his gift because he knew it would bring Me glory. And in return, his gift made room for him and placed him before a king. Joseph was willing to serve when, from a human perspective, serving should have been the last thing on his mind. But he did not allow his physical position to affect his mental condition. In his heart and head, he knew I was with him and he believed that no matter what, My Word would trump any circumstance he could ever face.

Then God continued…So you asked where’s your opportunity? My child, it’s in every moment of every day.

Our opportunity may be in a pulpit or a prison, in Corporate America or a shelter, in a butcher shop or a bathroom, to one or to many. No matter where or when, choose to use what God has given you in a way that will bring Him glory. If the angels rejoice when one is saved, then why do we allow larger platforms to determine our level of impact or significance? If each one of us would share His heart with one who does not know Him, millions could be reached in minutes. Just as God was with Joseph in the pit, Potiphar’s house, and the prison, He is also with you and me. But how we handle each opportunity, simply lets Him know if we have palace potential.

 

 

No Physical Evidence

Leprosy. An infectious disease which effects the skin producing lesions and skin discoloration, and causes nerve damage resulting in muscle weakness, numbness in the hands and feet, and sometimes severe pain.

Imagine having this condition. Imagine having people consider you an outcast because of something beyond your control. Imagine a constant numbness in your legs and arms. Imagine your brain sending signals to the body to move; all the while, the muscle’s response is indifferent. Some things we don’t even want to imagine.

But imagine catching a glimpse of a man who could help. A man who had healed others. A crippled woman walked after being touched by this man. This man rebuked a fever and a woman was made well. A demon was cast out after this very man sternly uttered, “Come out of him.” And now ten lepers had their chance. They saw this man from a distance and cried out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

How would Jesus respond? Would He touch them like the crippled woman? Would He speak to their disease? Would He rebuke the pain, the numbness, and the lesions? Jesus’ reply was simple. “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

The lepers had to wonder, at least for a minute, about the directive being given to them by Jesus. Priest could not heal. Priest could only announce that a leper had been cleansed. Why would they go to the priest in their current state? There was no physical evidence of healing and no words of promise from the Healer. Simply a message to “go.”

What would you have done?

The ten lepers chose to follow Jesus’ instructions. And their obedience yielded a return far greater than their carnal minds could have ever anticipated. For the passage says, “And as they went, they were cleansed.”

We do not know how far they had to go. We do not know if they noticed a change in their condition with the first step or the 100th. We do not know how much pain they had to endure. But we do know all signs of leprosy disappeared as they obeyed Jesus’ command.

Today, don’t measure your condition or position by the standard of what has happened to or for others. Believe God. His instructions to you are what will get you through your current situation. Obey. Though there may be no physical evidence of change, move forward. “Go” without all the details. “Go” because the One who has “plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you a hope and a future” said “go.”

 

 

 

Every Good Idea Is Not A God Idea

Distractions can come in a myriad of ways. Some are blatant and easy to avoid, while others can be very inconspicuous. The day before VISION NOW, I warned the ladies about distractions. “Things will begin to happen in your life that will try to distract you from making it to VISION NOW (if they haven’t started happening already). People will call, situations will occur, anxiety will tell you it’s not worth it. Recognize these things as distractions from the enemy.” I went on to share a number of things that happened to me while planning the event. Event registration was extremely slow until the week of the event. Over 20 pair of scissors were delivered to the wrong address. One week, the eventbrite page (only my page) malfunctioned preventing people from registering. Even the Sharing My Heart folder that has been on my computer since I started the blog which holds everything I have ever written, disappeared.

But you know what? I was not moved. I recognized all these things as distractions. I knew I was following God’s instructions, but I also knew the enemy was going to do anything possible to throw me off course.

This is often what happens when people offer us their suggestions. They tell us what they think our next step should be, how we should address our current situation, even how we can bypass a couple of rungs while climbing the corporate ladder. I’m sure you’ve heard the infamous, “Well, if I were you…” or “Let me suggest…” Many of their ideas are harmless and I honestly believe people are just trying to be helpful, but I’ve learned to ask myself, “Is their suggestion part of God’s plan for my life or is it a subtle distraction?”

So many people have asked me to have another vision party because they were unable to attend. Some have even suggested that I have a vision party for kids or youth. And I don’t think any of these are bad ideas. I enjoyed every moment of VISION NOW, from planning to cleaning up afterwards. But everything that happened during VISION NOW only materialized because it was a God idea. VISION NOW was more than a vision party. One person, who helped me with the magazine covers, had their passion renewed. Another person reestablished their relationship with God. Someone’s eyes were opened to a career path they never before considered. The stories I continue to hear have much more to do with God’s infinite wisdom and timing than anything I could ever pull off on my own. But if I were to follow man’s suggestions right now, it would leave limited time for me to do what God has instructed me to do.

This message (like most) is simple. Follow God’s instructions and stay focused. When people begin to tell you what they think you should do or share their ideas of what they believe will make you successful, remember to ask God before you proceed. He will provide the clarity you need. It may sound like a good idea, but learn to only involve yourself in God ideas. After all Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you….” People don’t know. They’re just sharing their good ideas.