My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for Faith

KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

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.

The time for courage

“Gift of Jehovah,” that’s what his name means. I sat at my desk on Tuesday morning, working, but the tears would not stop. He was dead. For several days my mind offered up a single cry, “Father, I don’t understand…” I had really admired this 19-year-old who was so responsibly and committed to his faith and his work in the church.

I tried searching the internet for news about the accident — it’s sometimes hard for me to process things without facts. I did not find anything about him but there were so many others who had died during that week and I found myself grieving for them and their families as well.

If what my faith teaches is true, that, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,”  then, is it not time for courage? I found myself troubled by this question, “Where will eternity find all those who had died?”

I was reminded of Matthew’s re-commitment to God on Sunday, he had held his hand up high when Pastor Garmon had asked if anyone wanted to renew their commitment to Christ, and I sat next to him as he reaffirmed that commitment out loud. I realize that if I believe “The Book” then Matthew’s life, no matter how much we miss him, is not lost. Paul said while we live we have the opportunity to glorify Christ and bring benefit to others, but when we die, if we know The Christ, we gain.

Matthew’s death reminds me that we have no guarantee of the length of the days of our loved ones –they can be taken in the next second, minute, hour, day; So I ask again, is it not time for courage?

In Acts 4:13 the Bible tells us that as Peter and John boldly proclaimed that there is only one way to God — that is through Jesus Christ — that those who opposed the message were astonished at their courage. Courage to speak the truth of The Word even though it could cost them their lives.

My prayer is that God would give us the courage to live and speak the Good News of the Gospel with clarity, conviction and boldness. Courage to work through those things in the body of Christ that divide us and cause others to question the validity of The Faith. Courage to decide to do life according to the Word so that we don’t cause others to stumble. Courage to reach and love those in our space back to a relationship with Christ. Courage to reach our world.

In the meantime and in-between time

Plant hope, faith, peace, obedience, common sense and gratefulness in in between times

Be patient with the process

Are you at the place you want to be? How are you handling the in-between time on your way there. I confess, I don’t like the uncertainty of in-between things, this flux of not being here but not quite there. I hate just-below-the-knee dresses. I like my dresses preferably short…, or long. I don’t understand capris, even though I wear them occasionally I take issue with this indecisive garment that can’t decide if it wants to be long or short. It’s unusual for me to buy 1, 2 or 3 inch heels, I like my shoes the way I like my shoes. I find this length of my natural hair somewhat challenging, though it’s growing it is in this in-between stage of being neither long nor short.

But don’t get confused, these are just external, minor, in-between things that I can control to a certain extent. Much of life can find us in “in-between” places dealing with things beyond our control, yet, we have to learn to flourish in these places.

Here are 6 seeds to plant in the soil of “in-betweeness”:

Hope: We don’t all start out on the same playing field, don’t let that make you bitter. Hope in God, seek him in your planning, commit yourself to work your plan, and be steadfast.

Faith: Though this is not a guarantee against pain or hardship it guarantees that the object of our faith, God, loves us, and can take the challenging and the painful and work them for our good and His glory

Peace: Remind yourself of what God says, it will remind you of why you can have peace even in challenging times

Obedience: Offer God the right to yourself, surrender everything of you to him and obey His word.

Common sense: If it took years of unwise decisions to get you to a certain place, be patient with the rectification process, adhere to wise principles and stay committed to change

Gratefulness: Take time and correct faulty thinking. Be thankful! not for everything but in every situation give thanks, the unchanging factor is God.

The journey to “suddenly” – It can all change in a moment

There is a journey to suddenly, a time of growth, transformation, readiness - then, "Suddenly"
Prepared for “Suddenly”

I really don’t know how it happened… I kept wondering if things were ever going to change — get better, you know? I was at a point of desperation, and just when I thought I could not hold on for another second, suddenly there was a knock on the door and my life changed completely…

I don’t know whose story those lines are from but I know that we have all longed to get that place of “Suddenly.”  That pivotal moment when our faith interrupts reality and we know it has to be something supernatural, a God thing, because just a second before suddenly occurred there was absolutely no evidence that things would, or could possibly even change.
A funeral procession, a grieving woman who had recently lost her husband now cries over her dead son, her only son, THEN SUDDENLY….
A grave yard for a home, living among dead people, clothes torn, restrained with chains, his mind and body no longer his own, THEN SUDDENLY…
A  church service, a woman who could not even lift her head toward heaven because of her crippled body — bent over for 18 years, THEN SUDDENLY…
He sits on the roadside, begging, blind, and crying for mercy, THEN SUDDENLY….
I don’t understand God’s timing, but in my own life I’ve come to appreciate the journey to “Suddenly.” That season of stillness, challenges, pressure, growth, change. I believe with all my heart that God makes the difference. He shows up in our circumstances, and with a word and a touch; years of graveside, crippled, blinded, churched and dead living meets the transformation of “Suddenly.”

Are you in a situation that desperately needs the God of “Suddenly?” Seek Him and remain steadfast in your faith.

From the mouth of Babes… Stand on God’s word

There is so much we can learn as children. Learning to trust and stand on God's word are lessons we can't learn too early in life

Stand on the word of God

I was on the phone talking with my grand-nephew, at 3 years he seems to be at the questioning stage. “Aunty Dona, way you be?” he asked in our island dialect. “I’m in Atlanta,” I answered. He kept going down the list, “Way uncle Livingston? Way you daddy be?” After he had finished the list of all the people he could think about in our lives, I asked him same questions.

“J’ where are you? Where is your daddy? Where is …?” After he got tired of my questions I heard him say ” I be , I be, I …, correcting  him I said,  “J’, say I am.”  “I BE, I BE, I BE…”  “J’Kwon, say I am.”  “I BE…” in the midst of thinking what a strong-willed child he was, I caught the rest of what he was saying and realized that he may not have had it right, but I was not right either. “…I BE, I BE,” he continued, “yes, that’s the book for me, …” Normally during our conversations he would sing a song and I had missed his transition to song. He had started singing a song I had learned as a child. “The B-I-B-L-E , yes, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E…”

I started singing with him and afterward thought how teachable we are as children. That was a song that had shaped so much of my faith as a child and young adult. We would sing that song as a medley and we would transition to “Jesus will never fail, never fail…, no, no, no. Jesus will satisfy, satisfy…yes, yes, yes!

Faith and trust in God had been so simple to me as a child. I had had wonderful Sunday school teachers who had taught me the steadfastness and dependability of God and I had figured at an early age that though my biological father was absent and my stepfather was elsewhere emotionally, my heavenly Father was always present.

I had strayed from that faith as an adult but those childhood lessons had still shaped so much of what I did and had established a longing that had made it impossible for me to remain disconnected from God. As I type this post, I pause to sing with assurance some of that same medley, “No, no, never will the Saviour leave me, no, no, never will He forsake me…”

In times of despair, hardship or even failure, I challenge you to draw on your faith. If you have children teach them now by your words and your walk. This is Dona Halliday reminding you, as my nephew reminded me, we can stand on the word of  God.

Learning the Faith Walk – Stepping on your fear

Leave fear behind and do the faith walk

"Join the faith walk, it dispels fear"

I hate saying this out loud, so I’m just going  to whisper — “I can’t swim”. Just imagine, an island girl who has loved and spent so much time at the beach never learning to swim. I love the ocean and when I think of vacation I think about heading to the beach. Refreshing means cool water against my body, waves massaging me, causing me to relax and unwind, lounging on the beach enjoying nature, and for some reason swimming was never a part of that. It was time to make a change, however, so I decided to use the pool at the “Y” to rectify this situation and almost a year later I’m just having a breakthrough.

I’ve always known that the thing that has hindered me most from learning to swim is that though I love the water I’m also terrified of it. My comfort level has always been where my feet can still feel solid ground beneath me and if I can’t feel it, fear sets it. FEAR — that paralyzing, limiting, stagnating force that keeps us stuck, casts doubts on our efforts and if not challenged robs us of our courage to try, move, learn, change, grow, leave, achieve and conquer.

I had to deal with that fear because I was determine to make a change — I needed a breakthrough. But this breakthrough actually came as a result of seeing other people trying and learning more so than having someone teach me. I happened to be at the pool when a class showed up for a make-up session. I watched fearful, timid, uncertain grown ups as they followed their instructor’s directives—splash around, sink, gasp and fail but kept right on trying. I had not paid to take this class but I decided to observe, try and learn as much as I could.

I listened and joined in the splashing, much sinking and gasping, then a light came on. Instead of allowing fear to cause me to reach for the comfort of firm footing when I felt I was sinking, I realized I became buoyant when I relaxed, and moving my arms and legs lifted me and caused me rise to the surface. It was amazing! The more I experienced positive buoyancy and was able to move in the water, the more I wanted to try. Soon I forgot about fear and afterward wondered why I had allowed fear to hold me captive for so long.

This seemingly simple lesson has re-enforced my journey to ensure that fear is not controlling any area of my life. I’ve been learning the faith walk, that is recognizing my fear triggers and in faith stepping on and over those things that otherwise would hold me captive. I’m developing confidence in the One who reminds me to “Fear not,” that is allowing me to trust and relax, enabling me to not sweat the small or large stuff as I journey. I’ve learned to keep moving and if I fail to get up and try again. As I grow and change there is this hunger for more growth and a new voice of faith is replacing that old voice of fear.

Is it fear that’s keeping you where you are? Is it fear that’s making it impossible for you to stay put? Is it fear that’s causing you to conform, to feed that desire to fit in? This is Dona Halliday challenging you to face your fears and experience the transforming power of the “faith walk”.

Take a listen to my favorite worshiper, Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s, I]l trust you Lord

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