Are You Living With Frogs? Part II

I grew up near the Garden Valley projects in Cleveland, Ohio.   On my street there were only seven houses, two large factories, and empty fields with chemical-filled barrels.  In the brick street, we played kickball, dodgeball, tag-you-it, hang-go-get-it and hide-and-seek to create the illusion of a fun day in park.  We made the best of our youthful days in a deserted area, believe me... My friends and I had a good time creating games to play with each other.  The boys from the Valley would come over to play with the three boys on our street and they would go over under the Kinsman Bridge to “Tadpole Land” to catch frogs.  Me and the girls would go to support them by carrying the jars that they would keep the tadpoles in, but other than that, we thought it was gross to touch frogs.  We would return home with jars full of tadpoles to raise up into frogs.

One day I brought a jar home with tadpoles in it and my momma said, “Don’t you bring that thing in this house”.  I said “But Ma, it’s going to become a frog one day”.  She said “well, I don’t want it turning into a frog in my house because it ain’t supposed to be in here, frogs belong outside in a pond somewhere with the rest of them”.  So I took the tadpoles outside and because I didn’t have a pond I kept them in the jar in the back of my house. 

A couple of days later, one of my tadpoles died and I could not figure out why?  They were in the jar with plenty of water and the lid had holes in the top so that air come in but it still died.  So I decided to take the remaining tadpoles back to the pond.  But the problem was, I couldn’t remember which pond they came from.  I looked and noticed that this one pond had a lot of frogs leaping out of the water and another pond where it was just tadpoles with no frogs.  I decided to put the tadpoles in the environment where the frogs were leaping.

Now that I am older, I understand why the tadpole died. Tadpoles are part of the amphibian kingdom, naturally cold-blooded animals.  Amphibians cannot generate their own body heat, instead they rely on the temperature of their environment to help them keep warm or cool enough to survive.  You see by us taking them out of the pond and placing them in the jar, the temperature that they were used to changed and they couldn’t thrive, so they died.

Another key fact that I’ve learned about frogs is that they can change their gender.  Yes I said it, they can change from being a male to female and vice versa.  You may wonder, why would they want to change their gender? They change their gender in order for them to survive according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  I won’t go into details on how they change based on the XY and XX chromosome but what triggers their change is when they determine that there is a disproportion between the males and females or vice versa.  A chemical in their genes will activate allowing the male or female organs to disintegrate and start the development of the other organ.

DESTINY DECISION TIME! Are you living with frogs?

You may be wondering “Why is Stephanie Shea giving me a science lesson on frogs? How does this pertain to making Destiny Decisions?” Well here’s why…envision yourself as  a tadpole who’s survival requires that you rely on your environment and if there were too many of one particular type of frog, a chemical in your body automatically changes you into the predominant species.

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Now think…what type of frogs are in your environment?  Are they negative, do they have a pessimistic mindset, are they lifting you up to help you develop into a frog so that you can leap out of the pond to bigger territory.  Are the frogs in your environment not progressing, waiting on someone to make life happen for them, do they act with integrity, and do they want the best for their life and is making moves to get to where they want to go? Then ask yourself, do I want to morph into this type of frog? Or do I take the risk and allow myself to be captured and placed in a different environment whose temperature is something that I am not used to but is more suitable for me so that I can develop and thrive.

Your frogs can be your home, family, friends, your job, a relationship, a social group, or the city that you are living in. As we close out this first month of the year, think about where you want to be and if the frogs you are living with can help you leap.  Don’t be afraid to be captured by a dream, a new city, or a new relationship that can help you reach toward the destiny that God has planned for you.  Believe in yourself and trust God through this process.  You are a leaper so jump into the best life that God has planned for you in 2015!  Make destiny decisions that would keep you adjusting to different temperatures in order for you to survive

Are You Living With Frogs? Part I

This past October, I went to the T.D. Jakes Woman Thou Loose Conference.  The theme was “The Wait Is Over”.  It was the first time that I participate in this conference so I didn’t know what to expect.  I had an amazing time worshipping and I heard some dynamic messages.  One presenter was Christine Caine of Hillsong Church in Australia, we called her our “Australian Cousin”.  She delivered a powerful message from Exodus chapter eight where the Lord told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let his people go and if he didn’t, the Lord would send frogs to cover the land.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go to worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring a plague of frogs on your whole country. The Nile River will swarm with frogs. They will come into your palace, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your officials, on your people, into your ovens and into your mixing bowls. The frogs will jump on you, on your people, and on all your officials.’ ” (Exodus 8:1-4 GW).  

I don't know about you, but reading that passage made me squirm in my seat!  I mean He said that frogs will be in your bed, ovens, mixing bowls, and they would even jump on you!!! That is gross!  Well Pharaoh, as we know, refused.  So the Lord sent a plague of frogs.  Pharaoh was like Moses please tell the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my peoples and I will do as He pleases.

But here is the kicker! Moses was like “dude, okay I can do that, when do you want me to tell the Lord to have the frogs to leave y’all?  Pharaoh was like…tomorrow.  Christine had the whole audience looking at this text like seriously? Did Pharaoh really say that?  Now you probably read this text before and never thought about the word tomorrow because you were probably thinking it was cool, because God will answer his prayer tomorrow.  Hey if Pharaoh likes it, I love it…right?

Nooooooo! People read the text: “Moses answered Pharaoh, “You may have the honor of choosing when I should pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then the frogs will leave you and your homes….’Pray for me tomorrow, Pharaoh said.’” (Exodus 8:9-10)  Listen, Moses was telling Pharaoh that our God can answer your prayer, just tell me when you want me to go to the throne for you because our God is a prayer answering God…and this fool said “tomorrow”!

Christine asked “now what will make a person want to stay one more night with frogs”?  That was an excellent question!!! Today’s frogs can be drugs,  negative relationships, your past, guilt, sin, shame, a job or anything that is paralyzing you. Christine asked us “right now, in 2014 what are the frogs that is on you, in you, surrounding you, and paralyzing you?”  I mean she had an audience of 25,000 women standing up on their feet screaming because within minutes she made such a valid point that we needed to hear.

Today, I can admit that I have frogs in my life paralyzing me.  A few of them include procrastination, not trusting God, and fear. Now I know that these things are not of God and they all stem from worrying.  So I know what my task is for in 2015, and that is to pray to God to remove the frogs from me today, not tomorrow! I mean seriously, I have heard and read so many messages about trusting God and don’t fear but here I am going around the same ol’ laps just like they did in Egypt for 40 years in the wilderness.  As I go into the New Year and embrace the destiny that God has for me, I will release doubt and unbelief. I will let Him fill me up again because greater is He in me with making a decision to deal with each and every frog that tries to paralyze me daily.

DESTINY DECISION TIME! Do you want God to remove the frogs from your life today, or tomorrow?

I challenge you to think about the frogs that you have in your life and make a decision to not live with them for one more night! Instead of saying “I will start working out tomorrow, say I will start working out today!” Instead of saying “I will stop smoking tomorrow, say I will stop smoking today!” Instead of saying “I am going to stop having sex with that man after he give me money for my car note, say I will stop sleeping with him today!” Instead of saying, “I will propose to her when I feel like I got my life in order, say I will propose to her today!” Instead of saying “I will start reading my bible or a devotional at the beginning of the month, say I will start today!”  Instead of saying “I will start going to church next Sunday, say I will go to church today!” Instead of saying “I will start tithing once my bills are paid off, say I will start tithing today!”  There is no time like the present.

Listen, you have to believe that you can do it, but just know you can’t do it alone.  You need to lean on God and get yourself an accountability partner in 2015 to help you to stop going around and around in the wilderness.  You can do it!  There is nothing to big that God can’t do for you.  Just make the decision TODAY, to stop living with your frogs.

For more information about the message, check out: T.D. Jakes Woman Thou Art Loose “The Wait is Over

Trust me, all the messages will bless your life! Start TODAY, Not TOMORROW!

Boop! I'm in Love!!!

He continued to ask me out, and since I was bored and loved the attention, I kept going.  Besides, what woman is going to pass up free meals from the Chart House overlooking the Potomac River and splitting that chocolate lava cake afterwards? Not this one!

After a month, I started revisiting some of the questions that I had asked early about his faith, standards, and values surrounding things like do you believe in God? Do you have Christian friends that can chin-check you when you are stepping out line?  We had even discussed my purity walk and he said he supported me.  As he continued to reveal more about himself.

On faith: He had told me that he wasn’t into God right now.  He was just too busy to really focus on that, but he mentors a group of young men and maybe one day he will go to church with me.

On Kingdom friendships: As far as having any guys that he can talk to about relationships or life itself... He mentioned his best friend who sung in the church choir that had a woman with two other side-pieces in different parts of the U.S. BTW, this friend frequently goes to Brazil and spends mad money on women and he didn’t think there was a problem with that.

On purity (a value I hold dear):  And as far as children, he said if I wanted them, he was cool with it, besides, it would be an “honor” for a woman to want to have his seed. Plus, it would be cool any way to “practice” before we get married. 

Ignoring the fact he does not have the same faith, standards and values as me, I loved living in the moment.  I continued to hang out with him and just the other day, I had a V8! Boop! Right up side my head.  I’m crushing so hard for this guy.  I need to see him every day.  I get butterflies in my stomach every time he comes by my office. He brings me lunch and picks me up from work.  We go to dinner, and have our cuddly time together. It is so wonderful!  Aren’t you guys happy for me?  I know everyone can see the glow I got going on. 

The only thing that isn’t so wonderful is when our cuddle time gets all heated and my hormones start raging.  I mean I am flesh and I know this celibacy walk ain’t easy but I’m just saying, a sista can still get the tingling feeling, you know where.

DESTINY DECISION TIME! Do I stay in this relationship knowing we differ on things that are important to me?

I see smoke y’all! I need to get out before I get burned!

My step-mom always told me, “Stephanie, don’t hang out with a guy just to be hanging out with him, because next thing you know, Boop! Love will hit you before you know it and now you’ve fell in love with a crackhead”. I always wondered why she would say that to me before I went out on a date.  I guess she was just making sure that I stuck to my faith, standards, and values.  So many of us ignore the red flags in the beginning because we are in this whirlwind of excitement that we haven’t had in a while.  It’s like a breath of fresh air has come into our lives and we don’t want to let it go.

My stepmother’s reminder made me think, what are your “non-negotiables”?  I’m not talking about looks. I’m talking about the foundation.  It’s like when you are baking a cake – you need key  ingredients to make the cake rise to the occasion.  It needs to be moist and flavorful.  If it’s missing any important ingredient well, you done messed up the cake!  The icing is the extra topping because really, if you are good at making a cake, the icing isn’t really necessary for it to be tasty.   It just adds a little more oomph, if you know what I mean.

Now think of your dating experience as a cake.  Your faith, standards and values is your foundation when choosing to date a person. If you overlook or substitute an important part of your foundation, then the relationship is not going to survive.  The icing is your surface stuff-- the looks, height, weight, the number of children, etc.  No matter how good the icing is, you would still say, “that cake was dry or bland…it was missing something.” Don’t give up on your non-negotiables.  Stick to them. 

Stay true to yourself and have faith.  Be patient and let God continue to be your Head Pastry Chef.  James 1:14 says “Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. Don’t make your own recipe and hope that the icing will be so good that you won’t think about how bad the cake really is.  “And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22, AMP) Follow the recipe that God has given you to make a good cake. You won’t be disappointed!

What's the Situation?

Don’t you just love the summer?! All the cook-outs, day parties, and trips to the beach or city of your choice.  I can hear Future’s song playing now, “I just want to take you out and show you off; you already know that you the perfect one; girl when I’m with you, feel like a champion…I won me a trophy, I won, I won, I won a trophy.” (Yes, I can appreciate a Future song LOL). The time of year when all the women are dressed in the latest maxi-dress or the short, shorts with a cute tank looking sophisticated and sexy checking out the dudes as they walk by with swag for days and wonder,  He’s fine. What’s his situation?? 

Images courtesy of blendimages.com

Images courtesy of blendimages.com

Recently, I went to a cook-out, showing nothing but confidence in my cute tan leggings and long apricot color shirt to highlight the golden hue in my beautiful, brown skin. As I arrived, the host greeted me and introduced me to some of his friends -- married, single, young and old.  I flashed a pleasant smile, said my hellos and went to fix a plate.  With a plate full of ribs, pasta salad, string beans and baked beans in hand, a handsome man offered me a seat and pulled my chair out.  (Chivalry is alive and well!) I was thinking, what a gentleman.

He walked away and then came back with his plate and said, “Well, I guess I will sit down next to you Ms. Stephanie, if you don’t mind.”  I told him he could and as he sat, proceeded to strike up a conversation with me.  We talked about motorcycles, sports, and work.  All things that I enjoy.  Toward the end of the party, he asked if he could have my number.  I felt a little uneasy about this, but I just couldn’t pinpoint it.  Because of that, I asked him, why he wanted my number since he had only met me an hour ago.  He replied “because I like what I see and liked the conversation so I want to get to know you better.  Is that possible?”  So I thought, what the heck, it’s just a number, right?!

Three days passed and I received a call from the cook-out guy.  We chatted about the past weekend’s excitement and then he asked that notorious question, “Why is a fine woman like you single? I can’t believe no man has snatched you up yet.” I told him I’m just being patient, waiting for the right one.  I only want to be married once.  He asked if I had kids and  I told him I didn’t.  I asked him the same and he told me he had a 20-year old and a 13-year old.  I’m thinking, 13-year old huh? That uneasiness came back over me again.  Thinking…that’s a huge gap between his kids…I better ask him the question real fast because it sounds like he might be in a situation.  So I asked…are you married?  And he told me he was. 

DESTINY DECISION TIME! Do I ignore the fact that he is married and enjoy that motorcycle ride???

Images courtesy of blendimages.com

Images courtesy of blendimages.com

Dude, get to steppin!  I AM THE ONE-AND-ONLY! GOD HAS MY OWN MAN JUST FOR ME!

Some women wouldn’t care.  I was like that and I learned the hard way.  I would think, obviously his “situation” doesn’t have him in a good place right now, which is probably why he’s looking outside of his relationship. I would be naïve, and think I was the solution to the problem.  Wrong! I was selling myself short.  I didn’t think I deserved to have a man of my own. I was always taught “all men will cheat”.  Or, I would think that if I put it down better than his wife or girlfriend or support him where she was lacking, then he will leave her to be with me and not cheat on me.  Wrong again! But that is another blog; not this one!  God, said, “Stephanie, I can’t bless you with yours, if you are too busy lovin’ on someone else’s blessing”. Don’t let someone else’s blessing block your blessing.  That’s a tweet right there!

Remember, you deserve the best!  God has someone for you that will treat you with honor because you are God’s daughter.  See yourself as beautiful and worthy, despite your past.  It’s time for you to stop letting others dictate your worth and value.  Proverbs 31:10 GW… (Yes, I went there.) Some of you may know this verse: “Who can find a wife with a strong character.  She is worth far more than jewels.” If you don’t like rubies, then compare yourself to the precious stone that you love most and translate that to God saying “you are precious to me.”  You are made to be someone’s one and only forever…till death do you part.  Believe that and walk in that truth!  

So, the next time a man approach you asking for the digits, ask…What’s your situation?

Why Not You

I purchased an Essence magazine and like always, I read the word from the editor page. This particular month Constance C.R. White, previous Editor-in-Chief wrote about going after the dream or goals that we set before us, but often times we get discouraged. Basically we ask ourselves "Why me? We feel like we don't deserve it, we are not smart enough, pretty enough, lack the experience, not cultural enough or we messed up too bad."