Monday, October 12, 2015

Every Season

This weekend I went to a conference in MO. I had worship music playing in my car while driving. Desert Song (written by Jill McCloghry) came on my playlist and as I was listening to the song, God began to speak to me. The bridge of the song says:

All of my life 
In every season 
You are still God
I have a reason to sing 
I have a reason to worship 

I began to think about all the seasons I have been through and the one I am currently in. There have been seasons of healing, seasons of being on top of the mountain, seasons of loneliness, seasons of depression, seasons of feeling bloodied, beat up, and defeated, seasons of feeling victorious, seasons of pain, and seasons of being faithful while waiting for the next thing to happen and wondering if it ever will. 

The thing that I realize about all of these seasons is that God never changed. He remained the same. He was my constant. He never left my side. I also realized that in every season of my life I have ALWAYS had a reason to sing and praise; even when I felt defeated and didn't think I could go on, I still had breath in my lungs and a life to live. I still knew that God was going to help me make it another day. I want to remind you that NO MATTER what you are facing, no matter what may be happening or not happening for you God is with you. He has not forgot you. He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Keep your eyes and heart focused on Him. You have a reason to sing. You have a reason to worship.

Monday, August 3, 2015

For Such a Time as This


The story of Esther has always been one that inspired me. Esther was willing to risk her own life for the sake of her people. She knew that the only way she could save the Jews was to go before the King and Esther was postured in a place of royalty for this purpose. However, even the queen was not allowed go before the king without being asked by him. If anyone went before the king and he didn't raise his scepter, they would be killed. Her uncle Mordecai told her that she was called for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). I have been told several times that I am called for such a time as this. I recently began to ask myself, “Do I have enough trust in God and even obedience in God that I would be willing to put my physical life on the line to do what he told me?” We say all the time that we are willing to do whatever God asks of us, but I wonder how many of us really mean it? Would we give up our very life to save someone else's? Would we lay down the things that matter the most to us for the sake of our destiny? We all have greatness on the inside of us, but are we willing to sacrifice our time, money and resources to access that greatness and achieve our dreams? Are we willing to pay the price? Do we have a desire to accomplish something that is far greater than ourselves? Let's make a choice today to rise up and live out our "for such a time as this moments"!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Struggle is Real

Most of you know that I have been on a journey to get and be healthy. I have struggled with being overweight most of my adult life. I have lost weight and gained it all back plus some more than once. My struggle to be healthy and to live a healthy lifestyle does not really come from laziness or lack of discipline, although making good food choices can be tough and does require discipline. My battle is mental. I have struggled with feeling inadequate, insecure, discouraged, feeling as that I wasn’t important or didn’t matter. Because of these insecurities I did not want people to notice me or pay attention to me and in an effort to cope with these feeling I would eat. I would eat junk and eat when I wasn’t hungry because it was how I coped with the way I felt about myself; rather than dealing with the root issues. 

In June of this year I found myself the heaviest I have ever been, weighing in at 248 pounds. I felt horrible and I hated seeing myself in pictures. I was honestly disgusted with the way I looked and wanted desperately for it to be different. I was forced to take a hard look at myself and this is when I realized what I had been doing, using food as a vice. It was in this moment that I had to decide whether I was going to continue to feed my feelings with food or whether I was going to deal with my insecurities and my feeling of inadequacies. It was in this moment that the struggle became real for me. It was in this moment that I understood what was really going on and I was now responsible to do something about it.

I wish I could say this has been an easy process but I would be lying. It has taken a lot of discipline, accountability, and determination. The insecurities, body issues, emotional eating, and cravings didn't just stop because I decided I wanted to deal with them. I had to fight through those everyday. I had to decide to allow God to be my source of comfort instead of food. I had to allow people to know how I was really feeling so they could help me through the tough moments. I had to force myself to do what was right instead of what felt good in the moment. Minute by minute and day by day I had to make a choice to fuel my body with healthy food and to workout. I had to choose to deal with my insecurities head on. I had to come to a place where I was able to accept the fact that I am beautiful and adequate and worth people noticing and loving.  I had to decide to love myself. I had to daily choose to conquer my thoughts and dismiss them. As I began to do this I began to have victories I could celebrate. With each small victory I gained a little more confidence in myself and was motivated to keep going and to push harder.

I’m not perfect. I still mess up sometimes but I have people in my life who help keep me on track and motivated. In the course of 7 months I have lost around 50 pds and 30.5 body inches. I have completely changed my eating and I am usually at the gym 4-6 times a week.

I wanted to share my struggle with you because I want you to have the courage and confidence to conquer whatever it is you struggle with. It may be health, insecurity, a failed marriage, abandonment, or something else. I want you to know that you don't have to stay there. You don't have to be a victim of what life is throwing at you or of past decisions. Today is a new day. Put on your boxing gloves, fight your struggles, and live victoriously!!!


Left - June 2013 and Right - October 2013
 





Saturday, December 28, 2013

Simply Love


Love means to have affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor. It also means a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. Love and loving people is something that I am extremely passionate about.

In our society, love has become an emotion that we turn on and off based on what is convenient and feels good in the moment. It has become a word that we toss around without really thinking of the implications and commitment that should go with that word.

I am seeing more and more people being loved when it is fun, easy, and convenient; when everything is great in their lives and the blessings are flowing. Basically we like to love and support people when there is no work involved. However, when things get messy we want to turn our backs and walk away rather than get a little dirty helping someone through the mess.

Here's the deal: Life is messy and life is complicated.  Things are not always black and white...even though we wish they were. We never really know the depth of what is going on in someone's life and we don't need to know. Their life is not for us to judge. It's not our business nor is it our place.

Our job is to love people right where they are, in the middle of the mess, in the complicated times, in the times when it isn't easy or fun. That is when people need us the most. That is when people need to be loved and supported. We need to stop walking out on people when they do something we don't agree with or commit a sin. Everybody sins. None of us are perfect.

I want to challenge you to live each day simply loving people right where they are; in the middle of the messy and complicated; to not be the person who walks out during tough times. Try being the person who walks in during tough times and simply loves!! Love heals, covers, appreciates, is sometimes inconvenient, and often difficult. However, I believe loving is one of the most important thing we can do.

Much Love,
Dallas

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crutches


I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of college age students. God gave me a powerful word to share with these students and I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with you today.  I spoke to them about how we choose who our circumstances dictate us to become.

As many of you know, I grew up in a dysfunctional household that was filled with abuse and rejection. When I was no longer in this household I began to start down the same path, making a lot of mistakes and getting involved in things I had not business being involved in. When I was 22 I began a relationship with God and everything changed for me. See for the first time in my life I had a hope that things could be different. However, I had to allow myself to be changed. I had to allow God into the deep places of my heart and bring healing to my pain.

When this was happening I was extremely uncomfortable because as I allowed God to heal my heart I began to feel things I had not felt in a long time. I began to be happy, hopeful, caring, loving, and lovable. During this time I wanted to run back to what was comfortable which was hopelessness, depression, drugs, alcohol, and many other things. These things had been my crutches for so long. They allowed me to function in the midst of being miserable, defeated, and hopeless. Functioning without my crutches was difficult. However, I knew this was a defining moment in my life. I knew that I could press through the process, being uncomfortable for a season, and be able to get rid of my crutches once and for all or I could continue to allow my crutches to lead me into a life full of despair, hurt, and disappointment. The decision was mine. I had to choose whether I was going to let my circumstances, the hand I had been dealt continue to define me as a victim or if I would fight through being uncomfortable, learning to walk without crutches, and become victorious. I chose to become victorious.

I often think about Joseph and how he had to make the same decision, whether to be a victim or victor. Joseph was given a dream from God. He shared this dream with his brothers and they plotted to kill him, threw him in a well, and then sold him into Slavery. He was then falsely accused of sleeping with Potiphar’s wife, put into prison, forgotten about, and then he finally begins to see his dream come to fruition. I’m sure Joseph probably felt abandoned, rejected, and often discouraged. It is completely understandable that he would feel that way. Joseph could have chose to become angry, bitter, resentful, sad, discouraged, doubtful, mad, to want revenge, and never accomplish his dreams. Joseph chose to rise above his circumstances and reach for the sky. He chose not to let his circumstances keep him from all that God had and wanted for him.

I would encourage you today to examine your heart and ask God what crutches you might be holding onto and what areas you need to allow Him to bring change.  Then I would encourage you to throw down those crutches and allow God to help you change the way you let your circumstances define you. Choose today to go from victim to victor!!

Much Love,
Dallas

Monday, September 2, 2013

Peace In the Midst...

2013 has been a year like none other. Having started this year finishing my degree, I had high anticipation of things to come. There are things I thought I would be doing this year that I am not YET doing. However, I am continuing to be faithful with what God gives me. I have learned it is important to seize every opportunity that comes our way to love people, tell them about Jesus, and show them who Jesus is through our actions. After all, this is what ministry is about. We should always be about the one. We should live our life striving to know our creator and make Him known. As I have been faithful to accept the opportunities given to me, I have been given more.

This year I have walked with people through both very good times and very bad times. I have officiated weddings and spoken at funerals. I have counseled, loved, and supported people through tragedy, marital issues, and the loss of precious loved ones. There were moments when I didn’t understand what happened or why and nor did I pretend to. Sometimes as ministers and friends we think we need to understand or have the answers. That is simply not true. It is okay not to have all the answers. What I did know and understand was that people needed the love and grace of God like never before.

Through all the good times and bad times this year that I have experienced personally or helped someone through I always had peace. I had peace because I know that no matter what God is in control. He is with us and never leaves us. This year has reminded me that life is so short and so valuable. We only have one life. What we do with that life matters. What matters most is Jesus is Lord and that we have accepted Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Through all of life’s ups and downs there is comfort, grace, and a peace that passes understanding in knowing that no matter what God is always there for you and always has a plan for you. 

Much Love,
Dallas

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pressing Through the Process

As some of you may know I recently began a journey to get in shape, become healthy, and to take better care of the body that God gave me. I am calling this ever important journey operation be healthy.  I am more determined than ever to make this vitally important lifestyle change because I know there is only one me and If I don't take care of myself I may not be able to accomplish all that I desire and all that God has planned for me.

At the beginning of this journey I decided to register for a half marathon. I am using the race date to help keep me on track with training and a goal to reach. 

Today the running schedule called for a 6.5 mile run. I can not run 6.5 miles yet and I was a little uncertain about whether or not I could go the distance. However, I set out with my team to do a run/walk. I started out strong and felt great. I went from unsure about the distance to confident I could get it done. Then mile 4 happened. During mile 4 fatigue began to set it, my feet were tired, I was hungry, and hot. I stopped running for a second and was beginning to doubt my ability to finish the run. In my mind there was no way I was going to make it back to the starting point. I had no choice though. My car was at the starting point. My only option was to push through how I was feeling, to push through the doubt and keep going. While I was running those last 2.5 miles I started to feel better again. The fatigue was going away. My hunger was going away. My stamina was coming back.

God began to speak to me during this time. I began to think about how many people get to that place of fatigue in their life journey, about how many people give up on the path to achieving their dreams. As I thought about this God began speaking to me. He said if you press through the fatigue and if you won't quit when you're discouraged, you will make it. In those times of fatigue, discouragement, frustration, and pain God will give you everything you need to make it the finish line and to achieve the dreams. As we press through we open the door for God to shower us with grace and strength to persevere. We open the door for Him to supply everything we need. It is in that moment of pressing that we stop relying on our own strength and have to begin relying on His strength. Nothing is impossible with God's strength. My encouragement to you today is to NEVER give up, NEVER stop pressing through. DON'T give up on your dream half way there. Allow God to be your source and your center. He will take you farther than you ever imagined you could go on your own. When I completed my run I learned it was a 6.9 mile run. I went almost a half-mile more than planned and almost three miles after I thought I couldn't go any farther. Believe in yourself enough and the God we serve enough to allow Him to show up and show out in your life. 

Much Love,
Dallas

Philippians 4:13     2 Corinthians 4:9     2 Corinthians 12:9