Spread Hope, Shine God's Light, and Soar
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
I remember how excited I was when I realized I could share God's gift of hope and healing by writing a book. I was excited because I love writing, and I love helping people, but some people tried to temper my excitement by advising me not to say that I would be happy if my book only helped one person. I was a little puzzled by this advice because my primary goal in writing the book was to help people. I wanted to encourage people to look up to God who can heal our hearts, restore our joy, and give us peace. I believe spreading hope is a worthwhile goal, and I am thankful God provided a platform to spread hope and shine His light.
Spiritual Rewards Matter
I admit that to the business-minded person, it probably seems unwise to invest a significant amount of time, energy, and money into a project that might only help a few people. However, as a spiritually-minded believer, my priority is to be obedient to God and allow Him to use me as a vessel to speak life into others. I am so glad that my excitement about sharing God's gift of hope and encouragement has not dwindled and that I did not allow other's opinions to deter me from answering God's call. I answered the call and left my traditional 9 to 5 job so I could finish my assignment to write my first book. While this decision has not yielded immediate earthly rewards, by God's grace, my obedience will ultimately produce priceless spiritual rewards such as
souls being saved,
lives being transformed,
faith being rekindled,
joy being revived,
minds being renewed,
hope being restored, and
wounds being healed
Despite the advice I received from that well-intentioned friend, I still believe that if my book helps one person, it is a success. In my mind, spiritual rewards matter!
The Greatest Gift Cannot Be Bought
Each year, people spend countless hours and money shopping online and in stores, trying to find that "perfect gift" for family and friends. Unfortunately, instead of getting excited about the birth of Christ, some people get more excited about giving and receiving
gifts that sparkle and shine,
designer gifts that can be worn,
expensive cars that can be driven or
the latest games and gadgets that can be played.
Although I love things that sparkle and shine, the most precious gift I have received is one that shines in my heart. In his song, "Silver and Gold," Kirk Franklin perfectly captures my feelings.
Silver and gold Silver and gold I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold No fame or fortune Nor riches untold I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold
These lyrics ring especially true for me these days. I can truly say that I would rather have Jesus than silver and gold.
Authentic Joy Comes From Above
I am grateful that I have learned not to look for joy in things you can buy or that bling, and I want to help others realize the same thing. I want to share the good news that we cannot find authentic joy until we feel the joy that comes from Heaven above.
As I share the good news of God's gift of authentic joy, I must also remind us that discovering this gift does not mean we will not experience any earthly pain. In Look Up, Step Up, and Soar: Lessons of Hope, Restoration, and Transformation for Life’s Journey, I talk about some of the pain and valley experiences I have gone through. These experiences helped me realize that authentic joy comes from God and not a job. It comes from looking up to Christ, the King, and not from a mate, money, or material things.
When I have been in life's valleys, it has been God that has comforted me, and I have learned that God speaks and comforts us in different ways. He speaks to some of us through a song, or He might speak to others through nature or someone else. In addition to the Bible, God has used other ministries like Bishop T. D. Jakes to speak to me. Reading his books, especially Woman Thou Art Loosed, healed wounds and comforted my soul, and my prayer is that God will be able to use my book to bring healing, hope, restoration, joy, and peace to others.
The joy, peace, and contentment God gave me was so overwhelming that I felt compelled to share the good news with others. In May 2020, I left my permanent job and stepped out on faith to finish writing my book. I walked away from the security of a regular paycheck and stepped into the uncertainty of being a first-time author. Although the book sales are slow, I have heard from a few people who have told me how the book has helped them. Hence, although I have not attained commercial success, I believe God is pleased that I obeyed Him and answered His call. Since I left the steady income, this Christmas, I was not able to give many material gifts, but I can share my gifts of writing and encouragement and give the things that God freely gives to me.
I can give grace
I can give love, and
I can give mercy
Under the Tree or Inside Your Heart
I am so glad that my children understand the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and that they are not bothered when there are fewer gifts under the tree. I am especially proud of my oldest child, Bobbie, who will be going off to college later this year. Although I went overboard for her first Christmas, she now knows that being blessed has nothing to do with the amount of money you have or the number of gifts received. Yes, she was spoiled as a child, and for her first Christmas, I probably bought everything in the store. When you look at the pictures, the gifts are stacked deep and wide. My daughter is now 17 years old and probably does not remember any of the gifts she received. Over the past 17 years, she has received numerous gifts, but when she leaves the house this Fall, she will not be able to take them with her. She will, however, be able to take something more important, and this gift is hidden inside her heart and not wrapped under the tree.
Over the years, my husband and I have been intentional about passing on the priceless gift that was given to us by our parents. Like our parents, we introduced our kids to Jesus Christ because we know that in Christ, there is hope, joy, and peace that cannot be contained in a box under the tree. This hope, joy, and peace, that comes from Christ, lives inside our hearts. So when Bobbie goes off to college, Christ will be with her during the ups and downs of college life. She will know that her identity and worth come from Christ and not from something she has to earn, learn, buy, or date. Her value is not determined by her class rank or who she dates. Her worth is not determined by the number of Instagram followers, but rather by who (Christ) she follows. I want her to know that Christ will be with her when her money runs out. He will be with her when her friends are not around. He will be with her regardless of whether she has a boyfriend to date. He will be with her when she is studying late. He will be pleased with her no matter what grades she makes. Christ is the unconditional gift that is more valuable than anything I could ever buy her. I am so glad that she not only carries the love and joy of Christ in her heart, but Bobbie also seeks opportunities to share this love with others through singing, writing, speaking, and mentoring.
Sparkle, Shine, Share, and Soar
I am so glad that I have learned that authentic joy does not come wrapped in a box or under a tree. It comes when we yield our lives to God and fall on our knees, and I believe God has called me to try to help others discover this priceless gift. So even though I may not have received or given any gifts that sparkle and shine, I am continually praying and asking God to help me shine His light. I pray that His light, love, and joy shine through me so that others may see and want to know Him. I believe that since I am only able to physically connect with a limited amount of people, God provided an opportunity for me to shine His light by sharing a message of hope and encouragement though my book. In Look Up, Step Up, and Soar: Lessons of Hope, Restoration, and Transformation for Life’s Journey, I encourage people to look up to God so that He can give them the priceless gifts of salvation, unconditional love, pure joy, endless hope, and inner peace. Unlike material things, these gifts cannot be found under a tree. However, if we ask God, our heavenly Father, He can place these priceless gifts inside our hearts, so we can share, shine, and soar. My prayer for all of us is that we share God's gifts and soar to be more --
More appreciative and
Most importantly, may we all soar to be more like Christ and do our part to spread joy, hope, and light.
NOTE: The book, Look Up, Step Up, and Soar: Lessons of Hope, Restoration, and Transformation for Life’s Journey, is available on Amazon and signed copies can be ordered at www.soar2bmore.com/book. A free virtual workshop, based on the book, will be held on January 9th from 11AM till 12:30PM . For more information, visit www.soar2bmore.com/events.