Lessons and more lessons: 2020

Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.

The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.

I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.

Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.

I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).

I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.

Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.

The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe.  I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.

Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?

I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!

Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.

 

 

 

The Life of an Overcomer Presents: Tasha Marie

“My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise.”
-Ms. Tasha Marie

img_1407Born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, Tasha Marie currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Tasha is a fashionista, a blogger, and an upcoming author and speaker. When I first read her blog, I remember thinking, this woman is the truth! The healing and transparency that exudes each post will have you waving your hand in the air like you just don’t care. Get your healing sister!

The time has gone where we are ashamed of our stories and ashamed of our struggle. Shame grows in silence. You may not start a blog, but whatever you need to do to heal, make that happen. Uh oh! I got caught up. Oops.

There are so many things I could say about Tasha Marie. She is kind, she is beautiful, and she loves fiercely. It’s important to know that when a person decides to come from behind a perfectly erected wall that was built for their personal security, it was an intentional act of God. It was also an act of sheer determination and perseverance on behalf of said person.

I have to say, talking with Tasha Marie her voice sounds sure, confident, and peaceful. Her sound conveys hope. The sound of her voice says, “the angels are singing over me and I don’t look or sound like what I’ve been through.” Her voice sounds like a reminder God is with you.

Have you ever spoken to someone, and more than what they were saying, they had a “sound” that could convey peace and calm to your heart? Just me? Okay. As a person who deals with anxiety, sound is important. Shout out to the people whose voices are a soothing balm to anxious souls.

Okay, okay…I’m getting into the interview. Are you ready? I present to some and introduce to others, Ms. Tasha Marie:

Me: Tell me about you?img_1464

Tasha Marie: I have been in Atlanta for over two years. It’s been an uncomfortable and challenging experience, like living in hell. Not the whole time, but I’ve been confronted with things that caused me to grow up.
I moved here because I got married, which I no longer am. That transition has been very difficult. I am in the process of rediscovering and learning myself. I am learning to love me again. I am falling in love with God again – in a different way. We were “beefing” at one point. (Don’t act as if you and God have always been on the same page, or even the same book. Hello?)

I am very family-oriented. I love family. Moving here, I gave that up. I didn’t know anyone here other than my spouse. It has been interesting to see how I grow and change being away from my family. I am learning to allow other people in my life and be like a family for me. It’s been an adventure, but it’s been hard.

I love fashion. This is funny because I use to be a tomboy. However, I still enjoy wearing basketball shorts, wife beaters and Chuck Taylor’s.

img_1410I love to travel and make new memories. I love to shop, hence the fashion blog. I’m a good person when you get to know me. I am a little rough around the edges. As an introvert, I realize that sometimes my demeanor can appear unapproachable, but I have improved and continue to improve.

I love to see people in their element doing what they love and passionate about. It brings so much joy to me. Supporting and encouraging people is like second nature to me. I love to help people. I want to be for others what I needed someone to be for me.

I’m becoming more into myself. Becoming more of who I am and who God called has called me to be. I have discovered many new things about myself. It has been interesting. I am growing and coming out of my shell more, discovering who I am, and the beauty of me.

Me: Tell me about your character? What makes you happy?

Tasha Marie: I am trustworthy. Being able to write and travel makes me happy. I am rediscovering the things that make me happy. Movies make me happy. Being able to finally find a community where I can be myself and talk freely without restrictions.
I am dependable. I am there for people – I want to be there for people the way I needed people to be there for me. That is important to me. I love to encourage and affirm people. (Tasha does this quite well. And will “snatch your edges” if you have any. 😏)

I take joy in seeing people in their element and doing the things they love. Knowing where they started and see where they ended.

I love music and dancing. I enjoy singing (mostly when I’m home alone…Lol). Most people don’t know I can sing. I enjoy writing and poetry.

Me: What does overcomer mean to you?img_1463

Tasha Marie: Ability to be triumphant. To prevail through adversity and what life throws at you. You fought. You overpowered what was trying to overpower you. Even in the moments when you felt like giving up, you persevere through it. You pushed yourself when you were afraid or seemed you wouldn’t make it through. Whatever life threw at you, you fought and were victorious in the end.

Me: What have you overcome?

Tasha Marie: Depression and suicidal thoughts, being sexually abused when I was younger, surviving cervical cancer, low self-esteem and self-worth, and most recently, my divorce. These are things that took a lot of work for me to overcome.

Me: Tell me about that work?

Tasha Marie: I knew God. I grew up in the church. I was very aware of God. When I went to college I wasn’t in church much. Some of the things I battled and went through, I realize it was God who loved me and protected me. He was there for me and protected me from myself. I was a mess!!

img_0813_originalI battled with low self-value and self-worth because of things that happened in my past. My father was not a part of my life, and I did not feel loved and appreciated. I looked for it in various ways. I had to fight for years to come out of depression.

I had to learn to love myself. The things I didn’t like about myself, I had to tell myself, “Tasha, you’re beautiful.” I didn’t love my gap, and I had to remind myself I am beautiful and to tell myself that I love those things. It was hard because I didn’t know how to articulate those feelings.

I wrote a lot. I started reprogramming how I saw myself. I began to build my confidence in myself. I used to be a tomboy, so I began to take care of myself. I started dressing up and getting into fashion. I hated my body, so I used to cover myself up a lot.
With my divorce, I had to sit in my truth. I had to own my mistakes. I had to own that I was a rude person back in the day. I had to own that I had been really mean and I didn’t like the way I made people feel sometimes. I was hard on myself and critical. I had to start owning those truths about myself. I had to learn to work on those things to be better so people wouldn’t view me that way.

I had to learn to be vulnerable. I thought vulnerability was a weakness. I had to learn to be vulnerable with God because we haven’t always seen eye to eye. I would ask him, “If you love me, why did you allow this to happen? Why didn’t you protect me? Why…”
I always struggled with seeing God as Father because of my natural father. It wasn’t easy to love him because I felt like He didn’t love me because of the things that transpired in my life.img_1405

When I hear people talk about Abba father, I would think, I don’t know how to be a daughter because my natural father wasn’t a part of my life. How do I be a daughter or allow someone to be a father to me when I don’t know what a father looks like or what they’re supposed to do? I’ve heard of what they’re supposed to do, but never seen or felt it. How do I receive that when I am supposed to be looking at God as Father? I struggled with seeing these things.

In the midst of my struggle, God has still shown me grace. He did not abandon me in the moments when I thought He did. It’s still hard, but I’ve been re-repairing my relationship with God. Learning all of who He is has helped me to overcome many things.

I have had to do my work. I had to own my truth, I had to sit in it. I asked myself, “What are you going to do to correct that?” I had to learn to trust people again. I had to learn to love people, allow them into my space. This was difficult because I never felt safe with people getting close to me.

img_1404It’s uncomfortable work, but it’s worth it. I had to go back to those uncomfortable spaces of traumatic events, reliving the events of sexual abuse, spaces where I was hurting because the little girl in me needed to be healed. The little girl in me is the one who doesn’t feel safe. (Take a deep breath, let that marinate.)

I had to go back to those places and allow myself to grieve. The failed relationships, friendships, and the things which I tried and failed. I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve and properly assess how they affected me. The journey has been tumultuous, but I know at the end of it there is beauty. The work that I am doing now will be beautiful in the end.

Me: Tell me about your blog?

Tasha Marie: I enjoy writing; it’s how I express myself. I always felt like I didn’t have a voice. It’s something I struggle with today. Thinking if people would want to hear what I have to say. I have a story and do people need to hear my story? I still struggle with that. However, because of the things I have experienced, I can’t be silent anymore.

In 2018, I started my blog. One day I told myself that if I didn’t start it, I knew I would never do it. So, on Thanksgiving 2018, I published my first blog. I needed an outlet to be able to talk about the things I have experienced. Although I am a very transparent person, it has been difficult to share my truth. It has been helping others heal and it has helped me in my healing process as well.img_1409

It allows me a platform to tell my testimony. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Blogging a way for me to put my testimony out there. It is a way for people to know they are not alone with the things they struggle with. Sometimes I feel like I share too much, but then I get messages thanking me for being transparent.
I write about my life experiences that I have overcome. I have a blog called I Survived It. I write about the things I’ve learned during my process or my journey since moving to Atlanta because it’s been very interesting.

It is also an outlet to remind myself that I do have a voice. I am learning to remove the muzzle from my mouth. I am learning to be more open and transparent about sensitive subjects. Furthermore, it’s a way for me to remind myself I am not invisible. I have a voice. I am healing in the process of my journey.

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Dance, Lady!

Me: Will we get a book from you in the future?

Tasha Marie: Yes. I have been contemplating writing a book for a while. I have a title. I have written an outline for it, but I haven’t written it out. Some of the blogs I write, I could incorporate in the book. I have to remind myself it needs to be written because sometimes I disqualify myself. I have to believe in myself that what I have to say is worth saying. Prayerfully, I will release it in 2020. No, I will not give you a deadline, because you will hold me to it. (You see how she talks to me? Tuh! 😂)

When I meet people, I tell them that when they meet me, they meet growth. They have no idea the journey I have been on to get to this point. Even talking to people is growth for me. The most many would get out of me is, “Hey.” If you don’t ask a question, I am not supplying information. (Y’all! She sounds just like me! My Atlanta people don’t know this side of me, but where my Texas people at? They know. Glory to His name!)

Moving here was uncomfortable for me, especially not knowing anyone other than my husband at the time. He is an extrovert, so it was an adjustment. For me, it felt like an invasion of space. Though uncomfortable, it was necessary. You get a lot of revelation after the fact. Marriage will bring out things in you that you didn’t know existed. It also exposes things you were aware of that you need to improve or learn at the moment you have to work on.img_1408

This move was both good and bad. God worked on me both inward and outward. He exposed many things I needed to work on. He reveals things to heal them. I used to say, “God examine my heart.” You have to be careful what you ask for because if you’re not ready to face it, you’ll find yourself in an awkward place. The people around you don’t understand what is going on, but I didn’t understand it either.

This journey, although it has been very hard, has caused me to grow up spiritually and mentally. I am self-aware, due to the things I’ve endured over the past two years. Some things I was aware of and ran from it. Some things I wasn’t aware of and had to face. He took away all of my comfort zones – I’ve been uncomfortable for two years. Even though I’m uncomfortable, I am settled because the uncomfortable feeling is not as unbearable as it was in the beginning. It’s a journey.

I am smiling more now.

Me: Where do you see yourself in 2020?

Tasha Marie: I’m working on a lot of things. Some of my dreams have been resurrected. My hope is alive again. My creativity is flourishing. There will be journals. My website will be up. I am working on a book. I love photography so I will be more active in that, not for business, but for the joy of it.

img_1462I will be more one with myself than I have ever been, I will be the best version of myself as I walk into who I am meant to be. You will see her almost at her full capacity. I am nervous to meet her, because of all that comes with it. I see myself speaking – there will be speaking engagements. There will be entrepreneurial endeavors. My blog will flourish. I will do more fashion and assisting people with fashion from a stylist perspective.

2020 will be a big year regarding Tasha Marie, the brand. (Yes! You have to declare your own destiny!)

The people God has set to staff my life will prayerfully be in place. A solid community.

My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise. I will gain beauty for ashes. I will gain my wings. (Did you feel that resonate in your heart? Grab that for yourself. Daughter, son, ARISE!)

You may find Tasha Marie at:
Facebook: Tasha Marie
IG: BeyondtheJaggedPieces and _Tasha_Marie__
Blog: https://beyondthejaggedpieces.wordpress.com/

Work it!

Hello, Overcomers! How are you?

In this life of mental health, we tend to struggle with consistency. Consistency and discipline is so important.

For me, when I’m doing well, I forget that I have meds to take. I forget that I need to get out and get sunlight. I forget that I need to keep making positive declarations. I forget that I should get some form of exercise. I forget that I must continue to engage in things that contribute to me having good mental health.

I am the first to admit, you can be working your plan and still have “moments.” However, there are many times that the problem is that we’re not working our plan.

Even if you have to write a daily routine, stick to your plan. A deviation to your plan will clue you into the idea that something is off. We can be more proactive with our mental health when we have a plan.

Community – tell your plan to your community of friends. Allow them the space to remind you of your plan to help get you back on track. Allow them the opportunity to support you. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a “moment,” you don’t realize you’re in that moment until it becomes some days and you find it hard to pull out of it.

Having a plan, and a community who knows your plan helps everyone involved to assist you. Also, ask your counselor to help you manage as new things come up. Utilize every resource available to you.

If you work your plan, your plan will work for you.

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I’d love to hear from you. What would you like for me to discuss?
How are you doing?
You can also follow me on my social media pages.

 

Love, Hope & Joy

Hello all! I decided today would be a great day to share an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. Enjoy…

Amy was so depressed. She didn’t want to bother her friends. She knew they were busy. However, after being in bed three days, her guardian angel, Hope, was flustered.

“I hate to bust your angelic wings, but what she needs is a little Joy. No pun intended.” Joy quipped.

“Oh dear heaven!” Hope slapped her wings together in frustration. “Here you are again, in my personal business.”

“You don’t have any personal business. This is all God’s business or did you forget? I keep telling you the Joy of the Lord is where strength comes from.”

“And we also know that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ That’s why I’m here. So go…” While Hope and Joy are arguing, Amy is holding a bottle of pills. She’s sick of it all.

“Ladies! Ladies!” Love steps in. “Stop it. You’re off focus again. Look.” Amy was pouring a glass of water and had several bottles of pills lined up on the counter. Hope and Joy looked at each other. They knew what to do. Before Amy could reach for the first bottle, a strong wind blew through her kitchen and pills and bottles were flying everywhere!

Conveniently, most of the pills flew down the drain. Amy was so stunned with what was going on around her she didn’t hear her doorbell ringing. Her best friend, Keya, was at the door. After ringing the doorbell for several minutes, Keya decided to use her spare key to get in.

Hearing all the commotion, Kenya rushed to the kitchen. “Amy! What’s the matter? I got your text. Why didn’t you tell me you were so depressed? I’m so sorry I haven’t been here.” Amy was still stunned as she looked at her friend.

“You got a text? I turned my phone off three days ago.” Keya showed her a text message that came from her phone. It read, “I love you, sister, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”

After a long talk, Keya decided to take Amy home with her until her mother flew into town. Spending time in the nurturing warmth of a mother’s love would help tremendously. She would also seek counseling and formulate a safety plan.

A safety plan is a specific plan you set in place for yourself to ensure your safety whether physical or emotional. The plan usually includes coping mechanism, phone numbers, and maybe personal reminders for you or ways you can distract yourself.  

If you are ever feeling like Amy, please contact either of these numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
Or text: Crisis Text Line: Text RISE to 741741  

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This is an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. You can purchase it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QC2GD93/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_BKGPCbDK92FJ3

For a paper copy, email me at nicolesharonwrites@gmail.com

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You can handle it.

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You can handle being healed…

I was talking to a friend, and she said these words to me. “Nicole, you can handle being healed.” I stopped her mid-sentence. Wait! Ma’am! What you say?

So, here’s the thing. I have been on this journey to healing and wholeness. I’ve been asking God, what does that look like? How will I act? Who will I be? What will change?

Trauma, pain, sadness, low self-esteem, insecurity, isolation, etc. becomes comfortable when that’s all you know. It effects the way you view your life, your relationships, other people… It’s all a smoke screen. It doesn’t allow you to see life clearly.

Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it is so uncomfortable. I admit, there is fear in the unknown. Who am I without pain? How will my perspective change once the negative thoughts that have become my friends are evicted from my mind? What will I think about? Who will my new “friends” be? (Can you tell I overthink?)

No one can give me the blueprint of how it’s going to look and, as much as I would like to know, the date when the project of rebuilding my life will be complete. Note to self: settle in sis, for the rest of your life you will be evolving, growing, changing, rebuilding – constantly under construction. Learn to enjoy the beauty of each season.

I think I will. How about you? Let’s make this resolve together: I resolve to go through my journey and trust that God will never leave me. I don’t know what the journey cost me, but I know the payoff is priceless. I resolve to stay in the fight. Though bruised and scarred, I will win.

I stand in strength.

Knowing God made me who I am.

He doesn’t waste His energy on anything or anyone that is not of value.

I can do this.

I will stand.

I will fight.

I am more than a conqueror.

I am an overcomer.

The pressure will not break me.

I will not be silent.

He created me for greatness.

I am whole.

I am prosperous.

The victory is mine.

I am an overcomer.

I’m talking to YOU!

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God. Loves. You.

I’m asking you to read this declaration and take it personally. Say this to yourself. Breathe it in.

God’s love is not based on condition or on what I can do. I don’t have to perform for God. He loves me no matter what.

There is nothing I can do that’s good enough to earn the unconditional love of God.

He’s always looking out for me, always seeking me. I am a priority to Him.

There’s nothing I can do to make Him have good thoughts towards me – He already has good thoughts towards me and about me.

His love in infinite and unexplainable. I’ll never grasp the full depth of His love. It’s a pure, untainted, unblemished, endless love.

He doesn’t withhold His love when I mess up. His love is always available.

He’s the only person who knows absolutely everything about me, yet He CHOOSES to love me anyway.


Check out my most recent Facebook live, https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1801846973247216&id=172853770084028

 

Nothing Wasted

Happy Monday, Overcomers!

Today is a good day, so let’s make the most of it.

I want to share about a book I’m reading called “Hinds Feet on High Places,” by Hannah Hurnard. I read this book years ago, but I felt a strong urge to pick it up again last week. Truth is, I don’t remember most of what happened, so it’s like reading it for the first time.

I won’t tell the story, but in the beginning of the story, the “Good Shepherd” tells Much-Afraid (yes that’s her name) that nothing he and his father makes is wasted.

This is what I want you to know today:

Nothing the Father creates is a waste; neither is it worthless. You are supposed to be here. You are loved. You are worth it. You are enough. God loves you.

Come on now, get up.

You can do it. Keep pushing. Your future is cheering for you!

Affirmed.

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Hello, Overcomers! How are you? For the past few weeks, I’ve been digging into the word affirmed. I never really gave this word much thought. Nor did I ever contemplate its full meaning. This is what I’m tapping into on this journey…

The first time I heard the word “affirmed,” was about twenty years ago. I can hear her say it, “God says, ‘I affirm you.’” It was in the late nineties during Mrs. Serita Jakes’ first Woman to Woman conference. She made this declaration as she ministered. I didn’t like it. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t. It didn’t sound good to my ears – at all. Although the announcement knocked at the door of my heart, I didn’t know how to receive it.

Twenty-plus years later, this word is part of my daily affirmations. How “like God” is that? When I think of affirmations, I think of positive statements that I say over myself in alignment with what God says about me.

Wait a minute! God is saying something about me! I never processed the weight of that thought until I wrote it! WOW!! – – Guess what? He’s saying good things!

Let’s look at the word affirmation. In the Webster’s Dictionary, this is what it says:
-To say that something is true in a confident way.
-To show a strong belief in or dedication to.

I’m excited because affirm is a verb. That means it’s an action word. God is affirming me. He has affirmed me. And He will affirm me. In my past, I was affirmed. In my present, I am affirmed. In my future, GOD. AFFIRMS. ME.

What does this mean? According to the definition of affirm, He is confidently speaking the truth about me. He can’t lie, so whatever He says concerning me is truth. It also means He has strong belief in me. Not only that, but He is dedicated to me! He’s dedicated to His word over me! He loves me! According to Jeremiah 1:12, He is watching over His word to perform it! He’s performing it for me, in me, and through me!

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 MSG

For all of God’s promises find their “yes” of fulfillment in him. And as his “yes” and our “amen” ascend to God, we bring him glory! Now, it is God himself who has anointed us. And he is constantly strengthening both you and us in union with Christ. He knows we are his since he has also stamped his seal of love over our hearts and has given us the Holy Spirit like an engagement ring is given to a bride—a down payment of the blessings to come! 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 TPT

“The Will”

Happy Monday, Overcomers! It’s a great day, yes?

In my normal fashion, I’ll jump right in. A will is a legal document that indicates how a person wants his or her money and/or property to be distributed after death.

We know that God has a will for us. We know that the earth and everything in it belongs to Him. We also know that He’s alive. He died, but He rose again.

Isn’t it amazing to know that God our Father has left us an inheritance that we have access to now, and He’s not dead!

Today I want to remind you of your inheritance. God wrote a will, and all you have to do show up to the reading in order to recieve it.

How do you show up? I’m glad you asked. Right where you are, in your home, at your desk, in your car or wherever you are. All you have to do is submit your life to Christ, read the will (the Bible), and ask God what His plans are for you.

Knowing that you have an inheritance gives your life meaning. It gives you something to look forward to. Will you commit to finding out God’s will for your life?

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.Jeremiah 29:‬11 MSG

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 NLT