My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

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The Caterpillar and I

My first impulse was to step on it. I don’t like bugs. But as I watched it, the caterpillar’s body, slow, a little clumsy, yet beautiful, I was fascinated. It was out of its element, crawling, seemly getting nowhere — reminding me of life sometimes.

Sometimes it seems no matter how hard we try or how fast we move we’ll never get to our destination. The challenge? Remain steady and keep at it even when progress seems slow.

In your caterpillar phase remember that change is closer than you may think. Avoid the burden of comparing yourself to others who are designed differently than you.

Not everyone will recognize your beauty. Don’t be deterred by those who only see a bug.

Remind yourself that you are being transformed daily and soon you’ll leave the tedious task of crawling and take to the air doing what you were ultimately designed to do.

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A worthwhile exchange: releasing it all for God

Max Lucado tells a story of this six-year-old girl who had a string of pearls – they were fake, she loved them — she wore them everyday, everywhere with everything.

She was a daddy’s girl – she loved her daddy. He traveled often and was gone for days, but the first day of his return was a day of celebration.

This particular day they had played all afternoon after he returned from a week-long trip to the Orient. That evening as he tucked her in bed he asked, “Do you love me?”
“Yes daddy, I love you more than anything,” she answered.
“Anything?” he asked.
“Anything.”
He thought for a moment, “More than your pearls? Would you give them to me?
“Oh daddy, I couldn’t do that, you know I love my pearls!”
“I understand,” he said and kissed her goodnight.

That evening and the next day she thought about what he had asked. That night, offering her pearls to him, she said, “Take them daddy, I love you more.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” he answered as he reached for his briefcase. “I brought you a gift.”

She opened the small box, gasping with surprise, her dad had bought her genuine pearls…

The challenge is to offer things to God before I wrap my emotional arms around them – relationships, things I would love and stubbornly refuse to release once I become attached. I’ve never seen relationships that seemed perfect gone wrong so quickly once offered to God. Things exposed that I did not want to see, words that revealed hearts I thought I knew, and the whisper of God made crystal clear – would you willing exchange what you think you have/need even though you don’t know what I have in store?

I ask you the question that Max Lucado asked me — What pearls is God hoping you will release?

Song: Burn it all down by Lexi

What’s in a shout? The trouble with Jericho…

He was big, brash and braggadocios. When he spoke the atmosphere vibrated. As he stomped, the earth trembled. He had one goal in mind — intimidation — shout loud and long until fear paralyzed his enemies.

What’s in a shout? Does it possess some kind of power? For, had it been all about volume, this loud-mouth Goliath with his head now severed from his body would not be sprawled at David’s feet.

But shouting works, sometimes…? Doesn’t it? Remember Jericho? On the seventh day, marching for the seventh time — soldiers, priests, weapons, ram horns, and God Himself (represented by The Ark of the Covenant) — then a long blast, followed by a loud shout — fallen walls, and the city of Jericho was exposed.

I’m fascinated by this, but what grabs me most is the conversation, covenant and  commitment that Joshua had with Jehovah. (Joshua 1:1-5; 3:5-13; 5:15; 6:8-19)

Their Conversations provide great insight into their Relationship.
The Covenant reminds us as it did Joshua that God keeps His word. Joshua’s (& the Israelites’) response was obedience.
His Commitment to God was proven even before he became a leader. With reverential submission to God Joshua led the people.

I believe here lies the trouble with our modern-day Jerichoes. For, shouting has neither toppled them nor shown evidence that we are victors. Like Goliath, shouting and boasting in our own might, we may have misunderstood what powers our shout.

In obedience to God: For seven days the Israelites followed His strategy — they circled Jericho twelve times without uttering a word — the city was under siege. On the thirteen day Joshua commanded, “Shout; for Jehovah has given you the city…”

Don’t miss what comes next, for fallen walls did not make them victors. God had commanded that when He took care of the walls (they fell FLAT,) no matter where the soldiers were they should charge straight into the city and possess it.

It is said that shouting during warfare was meant to confuse the enemy — The thing that won Jericho and that will win our modern-day Jerichoes is an unshakable faith in God, belief in His ability to accomplish His word; and our part — bold acts of obedience.

If I have no voice – In memory of Trayvon Martin (POEM)

If I have no voice, will you stand up for me?
Would you dare cry out when injustice you see?
If I have no voice, where will you be
when bullies with guns have silenced me?

Demand justice…! Uphold truth…!
With courage charge forth in the midst of abuse,
Guided by wisdom, stay the course,
the fight for justice is long — it has to be endured.

There are others like me — dead with no voice,
Silence is killing others — a different kind of trigger that will eventually implode,
Some are so scared they dare not speak,
Will you stand up for them when justice they seek?

Bullies come in all forms and sizes,
some hurt with their words, others with their glances,
Some take the lives of others, there are Zimmerman’s all around,
Cry out for justice…, cry long… and cry loud.

I had so many dreams of what I’d become,
my dreams were stolen, it was senseless, and so wrong.
Dr. King had a dream, was his stolen too?
Have we grown, have we changed, or am I still so different from you?

The challenge remains… but now it’s up to you,
After you’ve stood for me, there’s still so much to do,
Be that voice that wouldn’t be silent, in your schools and neighbourhoods
Stamping out injustice, violence and bullying from the ‘burbs to the hood.

Jehovah-Jireh and the little black dress

The story of the little black dress is really about God'a ability to provide.

The Lord will provide

I believe symbols are imperative, for as a people we are sometimes prone to forgetfulness. Often in the Old Testament the people of God were instructed to hold on to something, even an ordinary thing, as a  reminder of the extraordinary display of God’s power.

In Exodus 16, Moses instructed Aaron to take some manna and keep it for generations to come so that they can be reminded that God provided bread in the desert.

In Joshua 4, Joshua instructed 12 men to take 12 rocks from the middle of the Jordan River so that in the future it can be remembered that on their way to possess the land that God had given them, He had cut off the flow of the river so that His people could pass over on dry land. 

Manna, rocks and my little black dress have something in common, they are reminders that Jehovah will provide.

I had purchased my dress more than a year ago and on Tuesday evening as I slipped into that dress once again to attend the 2011 NARI CotY (Contract of the Year) Awards I was definitely in need of that reminder. I had spent days pouring over John’s account of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6) and found myself stuck at Andrew’s response to Jesus.

Read the story again, and see if you find yourself there. I certainly did. The crowd had followed Jesus and He had ministered to them by teaching them and healing them. It was now late and they were hungry. The only food in their midst is discovered by Andrew, it’s a poor boy’s lunch. Andrew brings it to Jesus and says, “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and two fish, but how far will they go among so many?

Do you find yourself being challenged by those “HOW” questions? How long, how far, how much, how soon, how in the world is this possible?

Let me tell you about the little black dress. It happened over a year ago the night before an event I was to attend. I’d decided to get creative with something I’d had for years, but that night in my dreams I saw a little black bubble dress. The next day as I took a shortcut through a store to get to my car I turned around just as I was about to exit the building and hanging on the wall was my black dress.

It’s significant to me to remember that had I not seen it in my dreams I would have turned back around and headed out the door. But when I saw my dress I got it from the wall and took it to the cashier. When I inquired about the price she had no idea and after checking with management she came back, scanned random items behind her, and I left with a gorgeous, black dress for which I paid $9.97.

The dress is my symbol, it reminds me that even when I give away what I need, God has the power to take what little I have left and show Himself as Jehovah-Jireh. He’s our God, our provider.

I love Jesus’ response to Andrew’s question. He simply instructs them to have the people sit in the green pastures.

How far can 5 loaves and 2 fish go?  As far as Jesus commands them to. Jesus took the poor boy’s lunch, gave thanks for the little that was available, and did what in the natural 8 months wages could not do, he provided for the people until they were satisfied.

Jesus is still answering those how questions. Whenever we feel as if what we have or who we are is not enough, take it to Jesus and trust Him to make up the difference.

More than enough by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Breathe, Just Breathe. Bearing Life’s Challenges

My heart was pounding – this unfamiliar beat was unsettling, especially at 4:30 a.m., but a waking thought, a reminder of a certain challenge was causing me to pa….

Dona, DONA, breathe, just breathe, something within me whispered.

I inhaled, drawing deeply, held and released my breath slowly. I repeated it again and again until my heart rate slowed and I felt my body relax.

What had happened? Life. It has a way of delivering pleasure mingled with pain, ease along with hardship, joy partnered with sorrow, health and sickness,… and just when we feel as if we have our ducks all lined up, in a second, a strong wind can blow and take off with some of those ducks.

But the challenges of life are “common to men,” so the Bible reminds me. As I started thinking about plans I have to change and sacrifices that will have to be made I remembered hearing about this young man who had seen someone along the road who needed help, he had stopped to assist and had been hit by a vehicle, he had lost a leg. I thought about my 38-year-old cousin who had just discovered she has cancer, stage 4. I thought about the challenges of others in our nation and around the world and I wanted to whisper to them, breathe, just breathe.

Though challenges are common here are 6 choice-actions that will help us to bear them:
1. Refuse to engage battles that are unimportant
2. Be focused – seek resolutions. There is a hidden strength within all of us
3. Laugh often, give it all you have
4. Refresh others and you will be refreshed
5. When life gets overwhelming reset priorities
6. Do what helps you to breathe easy…

So this evening I had pulled out the laptop, searched for the Gaithers on YouTube, gathered with my mom and Laura and we raised our voices in song after song… “Through It All“, “Because He Lives“, “The Love of God“, “It Is Well“…

The journey to hair – REthink beauty!

Natural hair, fro, kinky curly hair

There's a journey to appreciating the "different"

A black woman’s hair is very much like her nature — misunderstood by many — even her own. In its natural state, without knowledge of its nature, it may appear to be coarse and stubborn, hard and inflexibly, lacking beauty and dignity — Think again! There is a journey to the love of natural hair – that space of enlightenment and appreciation.

In the right hands, with the investment of time and care one will find that natural hair is not stubborn at all — but soft and yielding yet strong and enduring, with the ability to flex, bend, twist, change, adjust.

It has a uniqueness and beauty all its own — it is distinct — yet it recognizes the beauty and uniqueness of all others even those unlike itself.

Because it appreciates the beauty of variety, in wisdom it asks — what if every flower were a lily, every tree an oak, every fruit a mango, the only color red, the only texture curly…  what if everyone looked like you… or me?

Take the challenge and REthink beauty!

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