Listening for God’s Voice in Hard Times 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Artwork by Alyson Nailah Designs

Recently, fellow Our Words Collaborative writer, Ari Heick, wrote about the word God gave her for 2016, “relentless,” and how she is coming to understand this in a more expansive way: “God will answer my prayers and will fight all my battles for me. I need only to be still. I need only to be relentless in my pursuit of Him. I can let go of everything else without any guilt or shame. I am who God created me to be and there is no condemnation in that. I will release my worries to God. I will stop striving. I will stop trying to fix things or control things…”

Her devotional resonated deeply, and also reminded me of God’s word for us this year – breakthrough. He revealed it on a crisp autumn day. Mom and I drove with Nai to The Healing Rooms in Chevy Chase, MD. We were seeking prayer and healing for her. You see, the words do not always flow easily for our little one. She struggles to express herself verbally and for the past few years, as we cheer her on in speech and occupational therapy, we pray for deliverence, the complete unlocking of her voice.

This journey teaches us daily to embrace compassion, and see not with earthly eyes but spiritual ones, pressing through with unshakable faith. Often, friends, the experiences you and I label “mundane” such as conversations and self expression are miracles for others.

And so, on this brisk Saturday, a beautiful young African woman with skin the color of mahogany, ran up to us after our prayer, as Nai bounced around on the church playground, and insisted with quiet conviction, “God has a word for you all – it is breakthrough.” While the volunteers were praying for us, she said, “I prayed, too.” God had told her a breakthrough was coming not only for our precious Nai, but the entire family. Immediately, I ran and told Mom, my voice overcome with ecstatic delight, and soon after I texted my husband and two sisters, ending each sentence with exclamation points and joyful emojis.

For months I held on to this word, and then life, in all of its unjust fury, nearly trampled us. Frequent setbacks in various areas threaten to obscure our vision, but still, we press on and believe. Not long ago, I discovered a beautiful song by gospel singer and pastor Travis Greene, “The Hill.” Towards the end as he recounts several astounding testimonies, he says something which I now hold close to my heart: “Trust God too much to give up.”

Whatever word or purpose God has given you, friends, do not release it, pull it closer to you and declare this promise over every area of your life. Mom often reminds me, particularly during periods of frustration or despair, God must do a work in us and this takes time. Perhaps instead of a large breakthrough, in His infinite grace, God creates a series of breakthroughs, growing us spiritually, situation by situation, moment by moment.

One day while reading the book of Luke (18: 1-8), I discovered a persistent woman and in her tenaciousness and grit, I see myself. Maybe you find yourself in her as well? She is the widow who presses the judge relentlessly for a solution:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Mancomes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Do not lose heart, no matter how large the mountain looms, or what the doctor gloomily reports. Above all, beloveds, believe God, for He alone is faithful and will deliver each of us from many obstacles, transforming them into opportunities for His presence to become magnified.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord,

Help me to shut out every voice and listen only for yours. Allow my days to be guided by your wisdom and direction, not consumed by worry and fear. Let me hear your words in nature, through people I meet, and allow me to see others as you see them – liberated and whole.

Open my heart to your grace, and forgive me for succumbing to weariness. I speak Jeremiah 29:11 over every challenge I encounter: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In Jesus mighty name, I pray, Amen.

Previously published at Our Words Collaborative where I am a monthly contributor, along with a tribe of other writers.

 Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: Christian Musicians, Travis Greene, Jessi Hughes & U.S. Olympic Champion Simone Biles 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Gospel singer & minister Travis Greene

I listen to Christian music more than ever these days, the words simply resonate deeply with my spirit. And I feel God speaking to me so clearly in each song. I’m sharing some of my favs. today, along with the usual round up of articles, podcasts and book recommendations. Enjoy, lovelies!

Travis Greene singing his uplifting song, “Intentional,” still gives me chills, y’all.

Mali Music, oh how his songs catapult me up from despair. His song, I Believe, is such a gem! “I choose to look on the bright side despite all the negativity I am surrounded by… So much I don’t have answers for… that’s what makes me trust you more.” And I adore this ode to long lasting love.

Love & The Outcome remind us God’s love isn’t about anything we can ever do to deserve it, but His unfailing grace with “The God I Know.”

Francesca Battistelli’s powerful song / video, “He Knows My Name” infused with women telling their stories of struggle and triumph through their relationships with a God. “His forever, held and treasured… I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes.”

I met Jessi Hughes on Instagram. She is such a beautiful and multitalented soul, who has been called into the ministry; we also work together at Our Words Collaborative, where we share our faith journey daily with readers. Her new single, “I Know Who I am” is “a joyful fusion of soulful blues vocals and the vibrant dance rhythms of West Africa – you will be uplifted and want to dance.”

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, “Magic Lessons,”about helping creatives get unstuck is awesome! She not only coaches folks, but connects them with other talented and accomplished people in a variety of fields – writers, photographers and performers. Check out these broadcasts about one woman’s heartfelt photography project and another’s childhood dream to become a comedic writer.

This week I discovered The Liberated Heart podcast hosted by Cassandra N. Vincent. I love how she combines her  own life experiences with practical insights about the Christian journey.  I really enjoyed the recent broadcast, Fix  Your Crown & Fully Embrace Who You Are.

Could Simone Biles be any more inspiring?! I love this recent article in Time magazine that delves into her life. And this awesome piece in Clutch magazine about how Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles are encouraging another generation of young black girls.

Inspiration For Your Ears: Mama Power,  Building Your Brand & Self Acceptance

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo via Pixaby

I spend lots of time listening to inspirational content. Do you know what I love even more? Sharing it with you, lovelies! 

Here’s my weekly round up:  

Travis Greene’s uplifting song, “Intentional”  about how God brings forth beauty, working all things out for our good, will have you pressing repeat. My baby girl Nai and I rock out to it everyday! 

As Mamas, taking care of ourselves often comes last, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This awesome podcast from MOMentity breaks it all down.

My bestie Shan, creator of The Free Gurl Club, has an awesome  YouTube show. This week she unpacked self acceptance and love. It’s all about celebrating you, and realizing you are enough! 

Abiola is the truth! The writer / speaker / go-to-lady for empowering yourself has an awesome talk on getting clear about your brand and what you have to offer.