The Power to Choose

One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the power of choice. This has to also be the most under-used or misused gift we have. So many abdicate the power of choice in lieu of  “fate”, which is not mentioned in scripture. You may say, but Michelle, the word says that “man makes plans but it is the determination of the Lord that prevails. Could it be His will prevails according to the choices you made? Perhaps you showed Him by your choice you could not be trusted with certain things or not ready for others.  A “que sera”, “who knows, what will be will be” attitude is a weak excuse for not mastering your life and taking responsibility for the choices or lack of choices that you make. God holds us accountable for those choices. The way to make wise choices is to know the mind of God and do what you know He woud do. To love what He loves and hate what He hates.  If you truly have the mind of Christ you are “perfect” or “mature” enough to make wise decisions. The only thing that keeps us from making sound decisions is lack of information or fear. I have two remedies for that. First pursue God who freely gives wisdom without being condescending, the second is to develop a deep, abiding and perfect love for God. Love perfected casts out all fear because you have grown into trusting God completely without question. With these two things established in our lives we are empowered to make right choices. It is ironic that Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly look identical upon first introduction. In the book of Proverbs we see them both preparing banquets and inviting guests to come and partake of the fare they are serving. They both do the same thing with very different results. One dinner party leads to life, the other to death! Seemingly harmless choices can lead to life or death every day of our lives. Think carefully how you approach and respond to circumstances in your relationships, finances, work life, etc Your choices and habits determine your future. Ask God to help you make the right ones.

Ending the Fantasy

I wish love just happened but it doesn’t. If you don’t work your relationship, your relationship will not work. That means you have to dig in, do the work to keep your love alive and thriving. That means you have to communicate. Have meetings to handle your business. The business of love that is! Any company that wants to grow takes the time to take stock of their progress, locate the weak links, what is not working and reconfgure accordingly. Don’t leave your emotions open to assumptions. My mother always used to say, the word assume broken down makes an “ass of you and me!” The donkey version, not the curse word version :) But it is true. Things are never what they seem, therefore do not assume. Ask questions, speak the truth in love, help your partner love you. They won’t know how to unless you tell them and show them. Be a living example of what you expect. Don’t frustrate your partner with unspoken expectations. Misplaced expectations are the enemy of every relationship. Guard against it. Nurture a non-threatening environment to share honestly how you are feeling and what you need from your partner. When they get something right celebrate what they did so they will do it again! Take your time, breathe in, breathe out and calmly state your case minus attitude. Don’t make your partner feel as if they need to defend themselves, empower them to want to meet your need. First examine if you are meeting their needs, don’t leave yourself open to the distraction of their unmet needs while highlighting yours! There is no room for pride in a relationship. Jesus thought it not robbery to leave the lofty halls of heaven to come and die for us. We too must be willing to die to our “rights” and discover our rights hidden in Christ. There is a difference between having a healthy understanding of your value and being ruled by pride. One knows how God wants you to be treated versus how you want to be treated. And remember Gods standard will always be higher than yours! In this life, there are  no lights, camera, action in the romance department.  No quick fixes that magically happen. That means we have to keep it real! While being really loving. Pursuing peace, growth and reconciliation. That is the purpose of relationship, to make us all closer to God and one another. In the end  He is glorified and His kingdom multiplies because you make Him look good in your relationship. So end the fantasy of being whisked away on a white horse and be willing to walk it out with your partner. Trust me, it works!

Rebound or Recover?

So many have asked how do you recover from love violated and trust destroyed… It’s scary but one must take the leap and dare to love again. I remember years ago I was running track at school. I had become quite good at jumping hurdles. I was made for it. I was fast with extra long legs that caused me to soar easily over the obstacles placed in my path. One day I suppose I had grown a bit too confident. I didn’t pace myself well or count out my steps correctly to prepare for the leap. Sure enough I brought my leg down too soon and dragged the hurdle behind me, wounding myself as the hurdle scraped the length of my leg leaving me with quite an ugly and painful scar. From that moment I couldn’t bring myself to jump again. I faltered everytime I approached a hurdle. In my disappointment I abandoned something I had loved and excelled at. I never trusted myself to get it right again. Love is like that. Perhaps we grow too confident and don’t do the work it takes to keep our hearts intact. We underestimate our instincts and overestimate the capacity of our partners to take care of our hearts. We don’t pace the relationship well, we leap too soon, relax when we shouldn’t, or wesimply make repeated bad choices. And then worse of all, once we’ve been hurt we fear leaping again and forsake the very thing that gave us joy altogether. This is usually when we cut off the wrong person and miss out on the love that we truly wanted!

The key to a healthy recovery is in the cliff notes version, a few simple steps:

1) Acknowledge that love will always be a risk, but it is a wonderful decision. After all God took a risk on loving us all. Some of us responded, some did not.

2) Every heartache holds valuable lessons that strengthen us for the next experience.  You do not have to have a repeat of your last disappointment. Live, love and learn.

3) Acknowledge the pain. Take responsibility for the parts that are yours, whether you ignored the signs or contributed to the demise of your relationship only you can say– but be honest with yourself. The truth will make you free!

4) Choose to accept the humanity of the other person and forgive. People can only do what they know to do. If they don’t know how to love you properly that is not your fault. It is your fault for not taking the time to know if they were worthy of trusting them with your heart.

5) Remind yourself that your past does not dictate your future. Love is worth the risk because of the great rewards in store when we get it right. Know that  you will never lose if you choose to love in spite of the other persons response. We are always the richer for giving. Dare to love again. Remember the deception always comes before the blessing, don’t miss it! Run slower, jump higher and love as if you’ve never been hurt before.

If you want to read more on this topic. order my book Release the Pain, Embrace the Joy, How to Get Past Disappointment and The Real Deal on Overcoming Heartache. log on to michellehammond.com and click on the store to order. Love does prevail!

How To Love Well

So impressed with the comment by this sister on my facebook page I had to post it here!

The Message version of Phillipians 1:9 says, ” So this is my prayer that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your hed and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lovers’ life circumpsoect and exemplary, al life Jesus will be proud of; bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ atrractive to all. I asked the question what does loving will look like and sister girl said:

Yolanda Robinson Fluffe For me it would have to mirror the word of God. There is no such thing as a perfect person but when it comes to a respectable level of love it’s a given. There are base levels of living love that we must show to one another as well as speaking words of love to one another. Love is agape! Unconditional love! Love is a verb! Therefore it requires action! Love is giving! Giving your very best at all times with out expectancy! Not always will those we love reflect that same love back to us! However God still requires that we give, for it it is the right and fitting thing to do. We put this into action by “thanks living” when we live the love we give the love! We must have the accurate understanding of what true love is and be willing to give it! We must also know that a large portion of the love we have within us was put their without measure by God so that we have a endless supply to lavish upon our spouses, children, family, ad friends! God is so awesome he gave us enough to love our enemies and the ability to be kind! He said we are to use a small portion to love ourselves! However the sustaining love that is need to nurture us has to be given to us from others. As a wife God gave her love so that it is given to her husband and the husbands love belongs to the wife! So we must not hoard the love that dwells with in us it was put there to be given to others! I will give it in thoughts, words, and deed! And it will definitely be unconditional!

Couldn’t have said it better myself, you go girl! I’m not mad at cha’ just don’t take my job!

He Said, She Said

  • Keith Russell Lee When a man truly understands his role as King and Priest of the household and his wife understands her role and they understand the PURPOSE of God why they are together, infidelity is not a problem. Infidelity becomes a problem when we do not understand PURPOSE and the urgency of fulfilling God’s plan! That’s the short answer! Stay tuned for the teaching series! LOL!
  • Michelle McKinney Hammond Keith you know you said that! Say it again, say it loud! so true. marriage has a purpose that transcends our personal pleasure! Its about power couples being formed to carry out God’s kingdom agenda and glorify Him here on earth. Pleasure is the fruit of that. I appreciate you, spoken like a true man of God. I honor you for that. You should do a teaching series on that…
  • Sara Dormon Of course men can be faithful…but first they must be faithful to God and then being faithful to their wife will be easier. Let’s not forget these unfaithful men and being that way with women….faithfulness to anything is a choice and one you may have to make every day or every hour…but it can be done. I have a faithful husband of 38 years
  • Kingsley Okoroafor Michelle I am confused this time!
  • Michelle McKinney Hammond Kingsley why are you confused? Basically I was saying the bible acknowledges that faithfulness is a problem for mankind. However God’s faithfulness shows us it is possible because if He is our father we inherit His capacity for faithfulness. sometimes when you look around you and it seems that no one is keeping Gods standard you begin to wonder if you are alone and naive, but we should be encouraged that God rewards obedience in His own time. In the meantime we can put an end to unfaithfulness by making individual choices where we are to honor one another’s relationships. If everyone one said no to someone who was attached, no one would be able to cheat! I know that’s another mouthful but I hope that clears up any confusion.

Faithful, the new Sexy!

So sad that the popular assumption is that all men are unfaithful. I feel for brothers who are sincerely holding it down! Call me naive but I believe there are a lot of men who remain faithful to wives, significant lovers and other. It has to be possible. Why would God tell people to be faithful if He didn’t give them the capacity to do so? His grace is not limited to the work of redemption, His grace extends to empower us to live the way He called us to live. Keep in mind all of those commandments, and there are more than ten people! are not killjoy suggestions, God’s commands all point to helping us have healthy relationships, health, wealth and a life well lived! That is what He wants for all of us. When we don’t follow His instructions, we hurt ourselves. He is in heaven! He is above our failures, they do not impact His position on His throne or anything that goes on in heaven except for the fact that He is grieved because He wants us to triumph in every aspect of our lives. He knows that unfaithfulness is expensive. The Word says the adulterer lacks understanding, and destroys his (or her) own soul. The adulturer inherits a curse, dishonor and is brought to bread. Yikes, was that fling really worth it? Ask any divorced person how much a broken relationship costs, in alimony and stress. Let’s consider the cost before we get swept away by momentary distractions that ultimately lead nowhere. God cannot be tempted because He is completely satisfied with Himself. All that He desires is contained within Him. That is so powerful. And yet that is why He remains faithful to us. Nothing can distract or separate Him from His love for us. That is why we love Him so much. Because He first loves us the way we want to be loved. Safe to say then that the one who remains faithful has understanding, is wise and loves his/her own soul. That is a sexy man/woman, confident and fulfilled in their present relationship. That is always attractive. There is nothing sexier than a man or woman who is completely committed to their commitment to the one they love. C’mon y’all… bring sexy back. Stay faithful!

A Whole New World

I’m still getting up pinching myself every morning and saying, “I really am living in Ghana!” Have I said how much I love it? Is it utopia? No, but it is where God has placed me and I have learned in His presence, the fullness of His will, there is joy. Not just His joy but blessing, provision and endless opportunities for true fulfillment. As I look forward to the new year unfolding I am opening my hands to God and demanding nothing while expecting everything. My greatest desire is to be a tool that God can use to perfection in His hands to bless others. I want to bind up some broken hearts and set some captives free– emotionally and spiritually. He can use you, He can use me to be an agent of change where ever we are! All you have to do is just keep showing up where He points and you are sure to experience the adventure of a lifetime. This is a day to day journey with new twists and turns daily! Did I say daily, oh yes, daily. No day is ever the same, because God is ever unfolding Himself. He will never tell you what He is up to, He will simply show you more of Himself. As we see Him , we come to know and experience what we are looking for… and that my friend is true life!

Settling in….

I’ve been asked what I miss about the States and I have to say nothing! This is not a negative, it is an indication of how wonderful it is to be in the center of God’s will for my life. No looking back like Lot’s wife, I am not interested in becoming paralyzed. I am looking forward to taking life to another level. There is something to be said for resting in Gods’ will. You can’t buy peace, but yet if you find it you need to pursue it with all your heart. And that my friend is exactly what I’m doing!When you allow God to write the script of your life, you are guaranteed a happy ending. Even when the plot twists and there is conflict in your story, the end is always guaranteed to be great. So allow him to be the director, producer, and the finisher of all you do. Trust me, it’s all good and He makes everything beautiful in its time.

adjustments and the rest…

Everyone keeps asking me how I’m adjusting to living in Ghana and I have to say there has been no adjustment! I suppose that is the real way to know if you are in the center of God’s will. It has been seamless. No struggle, like sliding down a jello mountain. I’m still waiting for my belongings to arrive from the states and then I will move into my house! Yay! I’ve had a house in my heart for years and now I finally get one and its cheaper than my apartment was back in Chicago and a whole lot bigger! Truly the blessings  of the Lord maketh rich and add no sorrow. Funny the small things that are making a big difference for me since I got here. Like truly lazy Sundays… fancy that. Going to church on Sunday and really resting the rest of the day. I’ve discovered the difference observing the Sabbath makes. I actually feel refreshed and ready to start my week on Monday. Clear-headed and ready to jump in. I definitely think I get more done because I took the time to recharge my battery. Now Gods’ Word says that if we turn away from doing our own pleasure on the Sabbath He will cause us to walk on the high places of the earth. Could it be that rest sets the atmosphere for promotion because we are better equipped for the climb after a good rest? Just a little something to think about. how much do we really accomplish when we are stressed, overworked, exhausted and grouchy? You can’t afford not to rest! Take a breather, trust me everything will still be waiting for you when you get back to it.

Hey thanks y’all for all the good wishes. I love you ever so….

Packing/Unpacking

Well finally the last box is out. Why is it that packig takes so much longer than unpacking? Perhaps because it is far easier to destroy than to take inventory…
going over the details of one’s life is truly revealing about what you treasure. What you are willing to let go of is even more interesting. Finally, I’m all packed up and ready to go. Saying goodbye to the home I had known for almost ten years was bitter sweet. sad to part, excited to move on… Well Lord, here I come!