There May Not Be a Tomorrow

So unless you don’t own a television or have a Facebook account, or any other form of social media, then you have heard the devastating news that legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant and his beautiful talented daughter died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with two other teammates of hers, their parents, the pilot, and the assistant coach to the girls’ basketball team. The news was, to put it mildly, shocking and honestly when I first heard it I had to ask was this another one of those death hoax things going around on the internet. Sadly the news was true and surreal.

Any time someone dies it sends your mind into overdrive thinking so many different thoughts you can hardly keep them straight. However, in instances like this with someone of this stature, someone who seemed almost invincible, and who had such a huge impact on the lives of so many people that he had never even met, it just hits a bit differently. You look at the legacy of someone like him and you start to think about the inspiring words he has said and the amazing things that he has done and the things that he still had on his heart to do. You almost immediately can feel how big of a loss this is for his family, his friends, his fans, and the lives that he had yet to touch.

There are many things that can be said about Kobe Bryant, whether you were a fan of his or not, and that is that he had tremendous work ethic and his ambition was certainly something to strive for. He definitely lived his life to the fullest with purpose and with intention. For that very reason, while I’m sure there are many things that he wanted to do with his second act after retiring from basketball, I don’t think he left this earth with any regrets as to the legacy he was leaving behind because he never let any grass grow under his feet. He had a plan when he was younger about what he was going to do with his life and he committed to that plan and much the same way he planned out his basketball career at a young age, he had planned out his retirement as well and he made strides to accomplish those goals with every decision he made.

We all think that we have forever to do something on this earth with our lives. We have these massive plans for what we want to do years from now but the truth is that we don’t even know if we’ll get tomorrow, let alone years from now. We all have loved ones that we may not talk to on a regular basis or that we hold some kind of anger towards and are withholding forgiveness for some distant time in the future when we can forgive them at our leisure but what if that day doesn’t come.

We don’t know how much time any of us has on this earth and at any moment our time could be up. Don’t keep putting off until tomorrow the things that you want to accomplish in your life and more importantly don’t keep waiting to tell the people you love how you feel about them. It shouldn’t take moments like the death of someone who even after accomplishing so much still had such a promising future in order to get people to stop letting the grass grow under their feet (myself included) and putting things off until some tomorrow that may never come. You are here for a purpose so stop planning for a big future and start living today. Stop thinking people know how you feel and just tell them. Stop saying I’ll forgive them later and forgive them now. Until next time #BePresent #BeMindful #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Doing More than Just Enough

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

~Deuteronomy 5:33

So this Sunday’s message was about restoration of one’s soul, healing from all of the hurts in order to be in the position where God can use you for his greater purpose. One thing that the pastor mentioned was being obedient to God’s word and the direction that he gives you for your life. I don’t necessarily struggle with wanting to be obedient to God’s word. My struggle comes in the form of my inherent nature to question and second guess literally everything.

It’s not that I don’t trust whatever God would have me do. I guess the thing I tend to question most is whether or not the direction that I am hearing is from God or just subconsciously something I want to do myself. They say sometimes that the way you can tell the two apart is because when God instructs you it is usually going to be something you don’t want to do and something that will put you out of your comfort zone.

Another thing that I am working with that my pastor touched on was that we tend to obey the parts of God’s word that we want to and pretend not to hear the parts that we don’t agree with God about because we can’t see the bigger picture. We cherry pick the way we’re going to adhere to God’s will but that’s not what the Bible says that we are supposed to do. There is a difference between doing ALL and doing JUST ENOUGH.

When my pastor said that I had to rethink a lot of things regarding that statement because there are times when God will tell me to do something, or to ask someone for help with something and because of my doubts, or fears and anxiety, or because it might make me extremely uncomfortable, or even worse, because of my pride, I only half way do what he has told me to do. I convince myself that it’s okay because I’ve almost done everything God wanted me to do and I rationalize that he would understand because he knows me better than anyone right.

The thing is when we are asking God for ALL that he has in this life for us and we are walking in faith that he can do exceedingly and abundantly for our lives, we can’t then say well I’m just going to do half of what I was told to do. We are supposed to be doing God’s will, not ours, because his plans are always going to be better for us than the one’s we have for ourselves. It’s about having trust in God knowing what is best for us and not relying on our own interpretation of his word and his direction for us.  

The thing is that I hate being uncomfortable. I have a routine and a list for nearly everything. I don’t like surprises (unless they are good one’s of course lol) and I always question whether I’ve made the right decision or not, often times second guessing myself out of something good. A lot of the things that God instructs me to do, things regarding all of my dreams and the purpose I feel I was put here to achieve, are things that make me very uncomfortable and anxious and I try to skirt my way around them doing the parts that I feel okay with and leaving out the parts of the instruction that make me almost have a full blown panic attack. However, that is not what God said for me to do. He didn’t say do things halfway. I know that I don’t want just half of his blessings that he has for me. I can’t ask God to do all he can for me if I’m not willing to do all he asks of me. That means ALL, not JUST ENOUGH. Until next time… #BeObedient #BeFaithful #BeUncomfortable

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Time That Is Not Our Own

It’s a brand New Year, in a brand new decade and I don’t know about you guys but I have no more time to waste. I’ve been thinking a lot about the time that we spend doing things that do not lend themselves to the purpose that we are placed on this earth for, whatever that purpose may be for you. We let our presumed obligations and even our loving hearts guilt us into giving time to things that will not eventually bear fruit and often leaves us with unfinished goals.

I use to believe that to think of myself first would be completely selfish and just not being a good servant of God and the purpose that he has for me. However, in having a recent conversation with a friend of mine, Ms. L., I remembered something very important. She reminded me that I am God’s child too. I mean it’s not that I don’t know that already but sometimes I forget that focusing on me doesn’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about others. Oftentimes we are more worried about tending to someone else’s needs (especially if you have children) and having compassion for what other people might want that we forget about what might be best for us.

When it comes to following our dreams and living out our purpose, we tend to put time into things, and often people, who take us away from what it is we are supposed to be focused on. We feel like we owe them that time, our time, when in reality, we don’t owe anyone else our time. In fact our time is not even ours to give away. The time that we have here on this earth is God’s time, in which he is entrusting us to accomplish certain goals and tasks, at certain intervals of our lives, for the betterment of an end result that is not even for us to see.

This is in no way me saying that other people don’t matter. In fact it is quite the opposite. Sometimes what we are supposed to be spending our time on will eventually better the lives of someone else who needs it. However, if we are not in the right place in our journey, at the precise time that we were designated to get there, then we will have missed that opportunity to be the blessing in someone else’s life that we were supposed to be, all because we devoted time to something else that was not even our mission to begin with.

We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if we can not devote time to things or people the way that we might have been able to when we weren’t sure what our purpose was. Time is precious and it’s not promised to anyone and we have to be careful with what we do with it because there are important things that need to be done while we are still here to do them. The time that you have been given is the time that God has given you in order to do with it what he wants you to do with it. We don’t owe that time to anyone else. So this year, let’s start placing the focus back on ourselves and let’s not waste anymore time that isn’t ours to waste in the first place. Until next time… #BeFocused #BeMindful #BeProductive

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Hope Never Fails

 

I’ve been very open here about the fact that this past year has been extremely trying and there have been moments when, naturally I got worried, but I never gave up or quit. The last couple of weeks, as I stared down the face of my daughter and I being evicted from our home, might have been the first time during this whole storm that I’ve been going through that I actually started to truly lose a little but of the Hope that I was holding on to and I had a very frank and needed conversation with God. Now I talk to God on a daily basis but this particular conversation was more meditative and this time I said my peace and asked for guidance and instead of continuing to talk I stopped and I really listened. There was no TV on that overpowered my thoughts, no music playing in the background, no games being played to past the time. There was silence and I had stopped doing all the talking and just listened.

Now I’m not saying that I’ve never gotten a sign from God before because I have plenty of times and there are times where I hear a bit of a whisper telling the right thing to do that I believe to be God, but I must admit that I have never heard him in a clear and unfiltered way until the other night. I heard him clearly, as I would hear a person standing next to me, and he told me to have patience (which is something I deeply struggle with), he told me to let him work it out and he told me not to rush him and that he’s got me. Instinctively I know this already but to hear it, so clearly is a feeling that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s freeing and gave me such clarity. The next morning, Sunday, in the message one of the last key points the pastor made was that Hope is patience and knowing that God’s got you and he will work it out and he will not fail you. It was even more clarity to what I had already been told the night before.

In the message the Sunday before my pastor made a really good point and it’s that if we were to get everything we wanted, when we wanted it, there would never be any reason to have hope. When we hope we are hoping for something that we want to come to fruition, a new position in our lives that we want to be elevated to, or to conquer a particular battle. We can’t see any of those things but that’s what Hope is, believing in the things yet to come and the future that you can’t see. Hope is a very powerful thing.

There may be times when you might be going through some things and ALL that you have left is HOPE and you put your faith into that hope. I just want to let you know that your hope is not misplaced and even when it seems like you’re out of all hope and that nothing is going to work out in your favor, just remember that not only does God have the ability to perform miracles that you never expected but he can do so instantly. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and the storm will not last forever so when you feel like there’s nothing left to hold onto, hold onto HOPE!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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I Choose Faith Over Worry

For as long as I can remember I have always been a worrier. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in time or the day in which I went from a child without a care in the world to one who, even if I didn’t know the word to describe the feeling at the time, filled up on the inside with the worry that I innately carried with me into my adulthood. It could’ve been something I had seen or witnessed and buried in my subconscious so I can not now remember, or it could be one of the many times that I had worried if I was going to get hit by my mother simply for existing that day. Whatever moment it was that turned me into a person who would carry worry into my everyday habits, the habitual nature had been developed long before I knew how the power of Faith truly worked.

I recently read an article written by a friend that revisited the popular children’s Sunday school song In His Hands. The song tells us that God has the whole world in his hand, meaning every last one of us can rest in the palm of his hands. Every battle we face, every test that we fail, every victory that we win, all rest in his hands. Now as a child I did not understand the true meaning and power behind the words in that song but having lived a little and experienced a lot I get more than ever the meaning behind those words.

I have certainly been tested this last year and the funny thing to me is that even in this extremely difficult time that I am having I have never had more Faith in God and his power than I do right at this very moment. I say it’s funny because as I pointed out earlier, I am a worrier by nature and have been since I was a child so I literally worry about nearly everything. Now I’m not saying that my nature of worry has completely gone away because I’m still human, but my faith is unwavering and ever strengthening.

No matter what we face in this world, whatever figurative rocks are being thrown at you, worrying about it is not going to change the outcome. Even if we fall flat on our faces, we are still falling into the loving hands of God’s protection. We are still going to be nurtured by his unconditional love and he will still see us through whatever the battle is that we are being tested by. Not only will he see us through it but he will make us stronger for having fought that battle.

Sometimes I know that it would be nice to be able to see what the outcome is going to be, maybe get a little hint that everything will be okay, but as someone very wise recently told me, it’s not for me to see. God’s got me and that is essentially all that I really need to know. So when you feel antsy and you start to feel that worry creep up inside of you and you start to get impatient with the not knowing where things are headed, just keep in mind that God’s got you and no matter what you’re in HIS hands. Until next time… #BeinFaith #BeEmpowred

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Your Vision Is Not for Everybody to Understand

Not everyone sees your vision

I once was one of those people who got so excited about their dreams and their vision that I would tell any and everyone who would listen. I thought that if I was excited then surely the people that I hold near and dear to my heart would love to hear what goes on in my cluttered mind of ideas. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t have supportive friends who understood that I had a vision and I’m not even saying that they wished me any type of failure or anything but as I’ve gotten older I slowly (and I mean really slowly) have realized that everyone cannot see what it is that you see.

They’re not going to express the same level of excitement, or have the same ambitious drive to stand by you while you struggle to achieve that dream. However, I do think that there should be a certain level of support that is there whether they understand or not and that the people around you shouldn’t constantly try their hand at talking you out of your dream or worse, trying to shape your dream for you into something that they can accept. I don’t really reach out to people like I used to anymore. I have some select people in my life who I hold very dear to me but still, even to these very important people I will not ever go into detail about my dreams or my vision because I’ve grown tired of people giving me the what if’s and trying to either talk me down from my dreams or shape my dreams for their own comfort.

I read a quote once that said to stop letting people who weren’t given your dream and your vision talk you out of yours because they were never meant to see what you see. God gave the vision and purpose that you have for your life to you, not them and sometimes you have to protect that vision. Granted I didn’t adhere to that quote when I first read it, I certainly do now. It can be a little lonely at times, keeping all of these visions for my future to myself and I did have a friend I was very close to who I was able to share those things with because she got it, she really understood, but life happened and she got married and her journey began to really propel forward while mine stayed stagnant and we drifted apart, but I wish her well and I am still cheering her on from the sidelines.

All of this was to say that if you are feeling down because you feel like no one understands you or your goals, don’t let it get you down, let it make you work harder. Your goals and your dreams aren’t meant for others to understand because they’re not for them, they are for you. Sometimes you have to go after your dreams quietly so you don’t lose the focus and the drive that you need to make things happen the way you want, or rather, the way that God intended for things to unfold for you because truly, God’s plans for you will always be bigger than yours are. Don’t feed into what others think you can’t do, or how people may think your dreams are too big to be possible. Be quiet about your moves and let your results speak volumes!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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I May Have Been Down but I was Never Out

Down but Not Out

So let’s talk about failure! I hate to fail and what’s ironic is that though I hate to fail I seem to be doing a lot of it. Granted, I don’t view everything that has happened in my life as failures but I have failed enough times to make anyone want to just lie down and give up. In fact, I think that a lot of this past year and half long bout with depression was pretty much just that, me being so tired of failing that I just wanted to lie down and accept defeat.

Writing is definitely not for the faint of heart and rejection is a part of the package that comes with this career but sometimes it can feel so jarring to one’s self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities. I’ve been shopping my novels around to different agents and while I’ve had some of them ask to see the whole novel, which in itself can be cause to celebrate, in the end I have not been received with the kind of acceptance that I crave and truly thought I was talented enough to get. Logically I know that being rejected by a publisher or an agent is not a personal attack on my abilities but as most of you writers know, your novels tend to feel like your babies and my work is personal for me because I always add a touch of myself into my characters (well my main characters anyway).

But I’m learning, or rather remembering that my failures are not what is going to define my eventual success. In reality, my failures are what is going to propel me forward into my destined prosperity. These are the moments that will build me up and make me stronger so that I can be better and excel further than even I thought possible. I’ve always heard that when we plan, God laughs and he must be really laughing it up at me because since the age of ten I’ve had some pretty big plans for my life and career. I had milestones, in my mind, that I just knew that I was going to hit at just the time I envisioned hitting them, some I even thought I would hit earlier than I expected. I couldn’t have been more wrong and being that wrong is just plain hurtful.

However, if some of those plans had come to pass there would be a lot of other wonderful moments that I wouldn’t have had happen, mainly my daughter being born, and I could never regret her. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be, in many cases, what protects us from a disaster right around the corner. In other cases it can just be the sign to let you know that while you may be going in the right direction, you’re not quite ready just yet. There are lessons in the failures that we go through but sometimes what matters is not the actual act of failing itself but rather what those failures can add to our overall story.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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