Plans: When You Make Them And GOD Changes Them (Pt 2)

Like I wrote in my previous post (Pt 1), my plan was to finish college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with hopes of getting a job with one of the top accounting firms. That plan also included me later on taking the C.P.A. Examination, and after a few years I wanted to open my own Accounting firm.

1GOD came in and took full control when I didn’t even realize what was happening. I went from one day wanting and working towards being an Accountant/CPA who wanted a high rise condo, black Lincoln Navigator and nice lifestyle, to a regular girl who became suddenly highly more interested in cooking, baking, making soaps, candles and body products with my own two hands with the help of GOD.

1I was able to sit back and finally realize how much I had been changing. I was always someone who was a great cook. However, I was more of a Corporate America kind of girl.  Here I had went from being a Corporate America girl to a Handmade Domestic Engineer.

I had to ask myself what was really going on. Here I was thousands of miles away from Corporate America where I had last worked for a fortune 500 insurance company as an Associate Accountant. After the LORD had spoken to me about giving up my job and going back to the Caribbean. Here I was back in the Caribbean without a job, a position, much less a title and a paycheck.

1It was a long hard and very difficult journey. By the time I had moved back to the Caribbean, I was already in full force back-slidden mode in my walk with the LORD. The high position corporate job in America had about taken over my entire life. I barely had time for myself, let alone did I have any time to spend with the LORD. I was constantly working. Despite my broken relationship with the LORD. HE wasn’t done with me just yet.

I remember thinking to myself this must be GOD. There was no way that this was my doing. I would have never up and traded my corporate job for being a regular Handmade Soap maker without any money, a business or any prospects. Despite all of the difficult challenges that I faced while there, GOD still had a plan for my life. I really couldn’t see it at the time.  A lot of my best strength came out of the hardships that I had endured while living there.

Fast forward to 2014, by then I had already returned back to the LORD. GOD began speaking to me through HIS word. One Sunday while I was on my way to church, I was reading the Word when GOD began to speak to me. HE began to show me that it was time for me to leave the place where I was living. It was also time for me to let some things, places and people go.

1In between all of that, I always dreamt of doing radio in the Caribbean where I lived.  I wanted to be able to give a lot of the Artist who contributed and sang those good ole wholesome songs that I grew up listening to a chance to have their music played on the air. I wanted them to get their rightful dues, respect and recognition. I wanted those artist and their work to be acknowledged properly and rightfully. Quite frankly, I wanted this generation to hear what real music sounded like.

Besides wanting to work in radio, I also wanted to write Christian Fiction and be a Motivational Speaker one day. I always enjoyed encouraging and motivating others, especially when it came to the things of the LORD. However, went it came time to encourage myself, I truly struggled with this. I was the girl who could encourage others, but couldn’t find a lick of encouragement for herself when it came to getting my dreams off the ground.

1 I slowly began preparing for where GOD was leading me. In 2016 GOD started speaking to me about starting a Podcast. It really wasn’t something that I was interested in doing. Nonetheless, I was obedient and began to do a lot research about starting a podcast. I spent countless hours, days and months doing research through reading books, articles and watching YouTube videos.

As I started doing the research on the type of equipment that would be needed, I realized a had a few pieces in my film production kit that I could use. On a bare bones budget I was able to acquire a few more pieces. I had no idea what the name or content of what the podcast was going to be.

I began praying and seeking GOD’s face daily for direction. On August of this year, GOD had given me the name and the format for the podcast. The Words of Encouragement Podcast was born. I remember GOD saying to me, “You always wanted to be a motivational speaker. Here is your chance. Now is the time.”

I couldn’t believe it. I had been praying regarding becoming a Motivational Speaker more and more. However, in my mind I pictured myself in a big place on stage motivating other people. That’s when GOD once again spoke to me and said, “You get to motivate people from wherever you are.” I didn’t have to get dressed up, I didn’t have to pack a suitcase. I didn’t have to stand anywhere. All I had to do is seek HIS face in prayer and through HIS Word. I just had to lean on HIM and trust HIM.

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I would have never thought of this in a million years. GOD came up with such a brilliant plan and idea. There are times when I just sit back and smile with great joy as I think about where GOD has brought me from. I am so happy that GOD exchanged my own worldly and fleshly plans for HIS plans.

I am so thankful and grateful. Most importantly, I am so humbled to know that GOD would use a broken vessel like me for HIS Kingdom and HIS Glory. As I prepare each week for every Podcast episode, I seek GOD’s face for direction. After all, without HIM I could never do it. Today I am able to encourage myself with the help of the Holy Spirit as I listen back to some of my very own episodes. It took me encouraging others on a broader platform in me being able to now encourage myself in the LORD.

It’s not about numbers, statistics or likes. It’s about reaching people for CHRIST one play, one like, one follow and one download at a time.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your tender mercies. Thank you for not giving up on me during my darkest and most stubborn period of my life. Oh, how I thank YOU each day for exchanging my dreams and plans for Your plans instead. I am forever grateful. Amen. 

For more information on my Podcast you can click the links below.

I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/words-of-encouragement/id1278809297

Spreaker.com  https://www.spreaker.com/show/words-of-encouragement_1

Podocmatic.com: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/cocoabrownflanders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans: When You Make Them And GOD Changes Them (Part 1)

Nothing like having your favorite homemade sandwich (2 slices of Oatbran/Multigrain Bread with sliced Cheddar Cheese and Genoa Salami) with a piping-hot cup of coffee with my favorite coffee creamer (Hazelnut) as a smile creeps across my face deep down into my heart. I then realize how far that GOD has brought me from.
It seems like the older I get the least interested I am in the worldly materials of life, although I could use some of them. I remember when I first started college in 1998 at the The College of Staten Island (CUNY). I had big dreams and even bigger plans for my life. I wanted to become a CPA and work for one of the Big 6 Accounting firms, eventually opening my own private office in the future.

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I can’t even drive. However, back then I saw myself blazing across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in my brand new shiny black Lincoln Navigator (Those SUV were hot at the time) on my way home from a hard and ambitious day a the office Auditing or Balancing accounts. Driving home to my newly purchased Condo in one of those expensive high-rise buildings in Manhattan.
In in the Spring of 2000 I moved to Los Angeles a place that I had always dreamed of moving to since I was a child. I always wanted to meet those singers who sang some of those beautiful songs that I grew up hearing as a kid while still living in the U.S. After 4 years of living in Los Angeles, I had enough. I wasn’t interested in becoming a star, so there was need for me to be there any longer. I was beginning to miss the Caribbean (Sint Maarten). Even though I missed the island I wasn’t ready to move home as yet. I was starting to miss the simplicity of certain things like eating a Chicken Leg and Baked/Fried Johnny Cakes, Conchs and Dumpling, or just some good ole Saltfish (codfish), Cornmeal Dumplings with Provisions. Let’s not forget the good ole Coconut Tart and Sweet Potato Pudding during Christmas time.
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While living in Los Angeles in between working full-time during the day and attending school part-time during the evening in pursuit of completing my Associate’s Degree in Accounting with the hopes of transferring back to the University of my choice to complete my Bachelor Degree and then sitting for the CPA Examination. I came across a little Extension Catalog from my college offering Continuing Education and Extension Courses. It was there that I stumbled upon a class titled “Making Your Own Body Products”
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I never heard or seen such a thing before. As far as I knew people didn’t make their own Body products, companies such as Revlon, Jergens and Colgate made these items in huge industrial factories in large steel kettles. My curiosity was piqued, I paid the fee and took the class one bright and beautiful sunny Saturday morning as I watched and listened to the Plain clothed teacher talk about Making Your Own Body Products and Soaps. As she talked about the various carrier and essential oils, top middle and bottom notes. I was amazed. I was definitely stirred. By the end of that class we had each made a batch of our very own bath salts to take home in a nice shiny packaging.

Sometimes You Just Have To Say No

Today’s Blog post was inspired by Mathew 25 and based on the verses 9 – 13 (The Parable of the Ten Virgins)

Last week as I was doing my Daily Devotion while reading the Bible. I was reading Mathew 25. The day before was the great eclipse, and I sat there remembering a conversation I had with an acquaintance over 20 years ago. We were sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen discussing the Signs of the End Times.

Later that evening after the eclipse. I decided to read Mathew 24. The following day I felt led by the Holy Spirit to read Mathew 25. As I began reading the LORD started to show me through the help of the Holy Spirit that I was very much like both the Wise and the Foolish Virgins.

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I specifically remember the LORD speaking to me loud and clear when I got to verse 9, “No, they replied, there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

The LORD really began to speak to me heavily during this verse. He said to me, “You need to learn to do that at times. You need to learn to say NO.” He then proceeded and asked me, “How many times have you given away your last, whether it be money, time or energy to others that truthfully didn’t really need your help.”

I couldn’t help but admit that the LORD was telling me the truth. I know that I had been giving away too much of myself (my oil), but it seems like often times I was having a difficult time saying no to a lot of these people. Sometimes when I did have the courage to say no, I still felt like I was being a bad person.

Even though, I knew I couldn’t continue to help them because at this point and time in my life, I needed help myself. Here I was trying to get my online soap business started, my production company up and going. GOD was really calling me to these things, but prior to that I still had a very busy life and it was getting even more busier.

About a month ago I found myself falling into a deep depression. Once again I had helped someone out of the kindness of my heart and they didn’t even have the decency to tell me they didn’t need my cheap labor anymore. I was totally devastated because once again I had sacrificed myself to help this person. I wanted to be Christ like.

I tried placing myself in the person’s shoes and I broke down and decided to help them even though I wasn’t sure if I should have. I did pray and I could have sworn that the LORD told me to help her. I believe he did tell me to help this person. And of course, the person took my sacrificial help for granted.

I became exceedingly angry. I began to question GOD by asking him, “Why is it that everyone else can benefit from me, but I can’t benefit from myself?” I decided that things had to change. However, I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. So I sought GOD’s face for answers as to why I was going through this over and over. The LORD then directed me to this Chapter.

A few days prior HE began to show me that I had been sowing seed into the wrong territories causing me not to get a return on my harvest. I was totally shocked. I was so bent on doing the right thing, but in reality HE showed me that I was doing the right thing for the wrong people. It was kinda like throwing my pearls to swine. The bible speaks about this. GOD warns us in the Bible regarding doing this. There is no harvest to be reaped when we throw our pearls to swine.

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That’s why it is important to seek GOD’s face every step of the way as we go along in life. Not saying no at times, especially when it is truly needed is also a form of disobedience to GOD. It also can cause us to be steered off course towards our God-given destiny. It can cause us to be delayed and miss what GOD truly has for us.

The person(s) who truly love you and want what is best for you. Will understand when you sometimes say no. That’ means that they were meant to be in your life. If someone gets angry with you for saying no when you have always said yes, then clearly that person definitely does not belong in your life.

The moral to the story. Stop giving away you Oil to people that don’t have your best interest at heart. Remember we have to walk in wisdom…God’s wisdom that is. I’d also like to share something that the LORD taught me a few years ago.

He said, “Arlena, you need to know the difference between,”

An Acquaintance and a Friend. A Relative and a Family Member, A Sheep and a Wolf.

“Also, you need to know when to give someone five minutes vs five hours, five hours vs five days, five days vs five weeks, five weeks vs five months, five months vs five years and five years vs a lifetime.

Let us be like the wise Virgins and prepare ourselves for life. Most importantly let us prepare ourselves for when the Bridegroom returns. Let’s make sure our wicks are trimmed and our lamps are lit. Most importantly, let us make sure we have enough oil as we wait for the return of the Bridegroom.