Up Against the Wall

by Danielle N. Hall

7/4/2017

Have you ever had one of those seasons where so much was coming at you and you either just got your throwing hand ready to hurl the towel or you simply said: “What’s next?!” Last summer was certainly one of those seasons for me! There was trouble with my health, in my home, and with my home…I must admit: I felt a bit defeated for a second…I felt like my back was against the wall and I didn’t have fight in me. Waving the white flag of surrender sounded like a really great idea, BUT I’ve got that true Brock-Smith blood in me…the kind that doesn’t know anything but determination.

As I am recounting this experience, a familiar inspirational song comes to mind: Made a Way by Travis Greene. 

You made a way

When our backs were against the wall

And it looked as if it was over

You made a way

And we’re standing here

Only because You made a way

You made a way

I must say that these lyrics echo the sentiments of my heart. As I mentioned before: I faced health challenges and home challenges. The combination of all things was somewhat overwhelming. Allow me to elaborate…

Last July, I endured one of the longest bouts of vertigo I’d ever had since my first attack over 20 years ago. Just before the 4th of July, I’d attended a family/church fellowship at Solomons Island. Ain’t nothing like good family, good food, and good fellowship! However, my enjoyable time was brief…that horrible party pooper, aka vertigo, showed up on the scene.

“They” say: “When it rains, it pours!”. Well, vertigo rained on my parade and I was pouring with sweat! Fortunately, it only lasted for a couple of days. However, it had soon returned. The timing was less than ideal. The tension measurement in the household had been thicker than a McDonalds milkshake. (Side Note: they need to serve those milkshakes with spoons and not straws, but I digress). Perhaps this truth perpetuated the longer than usual recovery time. Things were a bit bleak on the homefront and we were at the point of making a life altering decision. Though I thought I was prepared to handle the change, thoughts of the change were stressful. 

Anyhow, after having been essentially bed ridden for about a week, I peeled myself out of the bed and walked gingerly over to our leasing office. I was blindsided by the surprise news that I received. When the words parted the lips of the property manager, I pretty much was speechless, but in my mind I was like: “Nooooo, I wasn’t ready!!!”. “It couldn’t be that bad” you might say, but trust me…given the timing and the circumstances, it def was a BFD to me. So on July 15th, as I sat in the chair in the office of the property manager, Mrs. S, I heard these words: “Oh, you’re set for ABSOLUTE eviction on August 2nd.” I was informed that these were irreversible plans of the Sherriff. I inquired about our options and she informed me there was no amount of money or anything else that would change what we were facing…It was a decision set by the sheriff. The last thing I was trying to hear, while dealing with both vertigo and a strained home situation, was that in a very short time we were going to be without a home. The thought of having to share that info with my three little ones was heartbreaking.

I will say that was one of a very few times where I felt defeated. I was sick and tired, literally. You have to understand how debilitating vertigo is to fully appreciate these circumstances. Quitting is not in my makeup…I’m a Brock-Smith, we are too determined, but in the above described moment, I didn’t feel like fighting anymore and I was ok with letting the chips fall how they may. 

On the evening of Sunday, July 17th, I had a conversation with my longtime spiritual advisor: my first grade teacher. In said conversation, she reminded me of who I am in Christ and she fervently prayed. After a major ugly cry, I suddenly no longer felt defeated and I also felt an immediate turn around physically.  I’d done some research and had made some appointments to view a few rental homes. We checked the places out and hadn’t really found “the one” yet. 

Our backs were up against the wall. Time was running out and we had none to waste because the 2nd of August was approaching. While at my desk at work one afternoon, the Lord spoke to me and said: “Call and ask again”. This was in reference to the leasing office and our options. I heeded His voice and called. To my pleasant surprise, the property manager had a different response. She said if you bring $xxxx.xx before we close today it will cancel the eviction. By the grace of God, we were able to combine resources and I darted off from the office to make sure we did our part to get the requested amount turned in. CLEARLY THIS WAS THE LORD’S DOING! He made a way, when our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it was over.

What I want you to get most from this particular post is that it doesn’t matter how grim or impossible a situation may be, God is sovereign and He is able. HE has the final say. As a matter of fact, in the midst of that trying season, at church I had to lead the song “Sovereign God” by Maurette Brown Clark. In that moment, the message in the song was very personal to me. Before ministering in song, the Lord nudged me to share my testimony about the situation I was in at that moment. I was apprehensive because it was embarrassing, but I know better than to not heed His voice. I did as He said, and I was the recipient of a check for $1500 from an anonymous source who followed the voice of God! 

This type of experience is not happenstance and is the reason I have great faith. God is faithful and has proven Himself to be so…over and over and over. He is not a tyrant, but He IS a good, good Father. Who wouldn’t want to serve a God like that?! 

Below are the links to the two songs mentioned in this post. I hope they bless you…especially when you feel like you’re up against the wall!

“Made A Way” https://g.co/kgs/fgQuA9

“Sovereign God” https://g.co/kgs/NDHniv

 

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V.O.I.C.E.

by Danielle N. Hall

6/2/2017


Ladies, you may have been violated and experienced #sexualassault or #sexualabuse, but be encouraged by His Word that tells us:

“But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37 

#WeWin

Join V.O.I.C.E. for our next Winning Wednesday gathering. You can register here for #FREE

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/voice-winning-wednesdays-tickets-34997574688

If Loving You Is Right, I Don’t Wanna Be Wrong

by Danielle N. Hall

4/9/2017

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Lately I’ve been thinking of the beginning lyrics to Kirk Franklin’s Song “Love”: 

“Love, a word that comes and goes, but few people really know what it means to really love somebody.”

As I ponder these lyrics, I’d have to admit that there may be some validity to that statement. In my opinion, what some believe is love just isn’t. Real love is not self-serving. As a matter fact, one of the ways Merriam-Webster defines love is as follows: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another“. There are many who say they love, but their love only extends as far as your last deed towards them. In other words, their love begs the question: “What have you done for me lately?” Moreover, some who say that they love you may have an uncanny way of keeping track of offenses. I’m so grateful that God’s love doesn’t resemble that. According to His Word, this is what love looks like:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (VOICE)

This is what real love is! Ask yourself these questions:

-When was the last time you told someone “I love you”? 

-When was the last time you showed someone that you love him/her? 

-Is the love that you have unconditional?

Prayerfully, the answer to the last question is “yes”, but for many of us the truth is that we do attach conditions to our love. With that being the case, can we honestly call it “love“? God commands us in His word to love our neighbor, but He didn’t say to do so only when our fellow brothers and sisters are being neighborly. His word says that “love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening.” 

I know there are times when I disappoint God and there are times when I may have broken His heart, yet He still has the capacity to love me…in spite of me. He saw the best in me, when everyone else around could only see the worst in me. His love is steadfast and unmatched, He gave His only begotten Son just to show how sacrificial and unselfish His love is. What an example! The least I can do as an expression of my gratitude for this extreme act of loving kindness is to do as He has commanded. If loving you is right, I don’t want to be wrong! Just as He loves me, flaws and all, I extend the same to my fellow brothers and sisters.

Angels Watching Over Me

by Danielle N. Hall

3/30/2017


Two weeks ago from today, I’d had what I would consider a good day. The work day had come to an end and I prepared to leave to head to praise team/choir rehearsal: as is custom every Thursday. What I did not know is I’d be walking outside to a not so good discovery on what had been a good day.  I walked towards my car and discovered that the rear driver’s side tire had gone flat. I had a few thoughts, but my primary thoughts were that this is something that’s gonna cost me both money and time that I don’t have. I called my husband to inform him of my situation and he did offer to come to the rescue. I told him to just hold on and let me think for a minute because it would be quite a distance to travel from where he was to where I was.

My next phone call was one that I’d reluctantly make to the insurance company. You see, the way my insurance is set up, I’d be responsible for fees up front and would have to submit the necessary info to get reimbursement. Before I placed that call, though, I did make one other call and it was  quite short in duration. It kinda went like this: “Lord, please just send somebody to help.” That was my request and I had faith that He’d favorably respond to my call. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew time was of the essence. 

Just as I’d dialed the number to Allstate, a gentleman appeared and was walking on the service road that leads up to our office building. I blew my horn and waved him over and asked if he knew how to change a tire. He answered affirmatively and asked me to pop the trunk so he could get what he needed to handle the task at hand. It turns out it was tougher than what I thought. 

When I solicited his assistance it was 6:20pm. As he was taking care of the tire, I asked him where he was headed and if I could give him a ride. He declined and said that it was just a 5 minute walk. Oh, did I mention this was a 20 degree day?! He informed me that he was heading to the early bird special at Bingo which started at 6:30pm. I again offered a ride and even a couple of dollars. He respectfully declined. He finally said to me: “This could be me one day.” 

While having the tire issue addressed was certainly a blessing, I was more blessed by this man’s extreme kindness, to the point of inconvenience, with nothing expected in return. I thank God for immediately answering my call, for being a present help in the time of trouble, and for His angels who are so busy watching over me because my tire could’ve gone flat while driving on the highway. I was even able to catch the tail end of praise team rehearsal and all of choir rehearsal, while this man opted to both walk in the frigid air and to be late for what he had planned just so he could assist me. Indeed, he was an angel. 

“For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.” – Psalm 91:11 (NLT)

For a closing thought ponder the following: Are you willing to be inconvenienced for the benefit of someone else?

Through the Fire

by Danielle N. Hall

3/21/2017

(Originally written on 3/14 for My Sister’s Corner)


I remember learning of a lady by the name of Edith Childs about 10 years ago. If you recall during the campaign of former President Barack Obama, there was this catchy chant: “Fired up! Ready to go!”. Apparently Childs, a councilor in Greenwood, SC, was responsible for getting this chant going. Since it’s popular debut in 2008, I must say that I find myself saying it often when I’m on assignment or on a mission. The truth is, I’m passionate about serving and I can’t help but to be fired up and ready to go! There are, however, times when being motivated is challenging. 

When life happens, it can sometimes be overwhelming and draining. During these times I’m reminded of the account in Daniel Chapter 3…when Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego are cast into the fiery furnace which was punishment for those who failed to compromise and bow down to the decree of King Nebuchadnezzar. In the case of these 3 fellows, they weren’t just thrown into the furnace: they were first bound and the furnace was heated seven times hotter than usual. Yet, they remained steadfast. While in the fire, two things were discovered: they weren’t alone and they weren’t consumed.

We learn from this passage that when we purpose in our hearts to honor God because we are passionate about His love and His will for us, though He will allow us to be tested, He doesn’t desire for us to be consumed. They say “He’ll turn your test into a testimony.” I can say I’ve had to endure many tests and have had to do so all the more since I’ve given my life to the Lord. From dealing with sexual abuse earlier in life to trying to balance between home, work, ministry, and self: there have been maaaaaany tests. From them I have a testimony and that is: “I’m fired up and ready to go!”. Not only do I have a testimony, I’ve got a song. “Through the fire, to the limit…Through the fire, through whatever!”. 

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test you [that is, to test the quality of your faith], as though something strange or unusual were happening to you. But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, keep on rejoicing, so that when His glory filled with His radiance and splendor is revealed, you may rejoice with great joy.” -1 Peter 4:12-13 (AMP)

Christ’s purpose fueled His passion. How could one be so passionate…even to the point of death? When you understand your purpose, you’re willing to go through whatever, come what may, to fulfill it. In John 4:34 (AMP), Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to completely finish His work.” He consumed purpose so that nothing else would consume Him. That same mind that Christ has is the one we’re encouraged to also have in us. When we adopt a Christlike mindset and are as steadfast as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we can also go through the fire and not be consumed. 

For a final thought I’d like to leave you with these tips for keeping the fire burning…even while going through the fire:

1) Pause to celebrate the small victories. 

2) Renew your mind daily.

3) Surround yourself with firestarters.

4) Feast on His Word, so you can discover and absorb your purpose.

These helpful hints can help us go “through the fire, to the limit…through the fire, through whatever!”. 

“No Matter What”

by Danielle N. Hall

3/7/2017

A couple of weeks ago, my youngest son was responsible for completing a project for his World Culture class. The instructions were to “create a colorful collage containing pictures of American leaders in all fields of Black history” on the front and, on the back, place the bios of 5 chosen leaders & the bio of a person who has had a significant impact in his life. For the person who has had a significant impact on him, he chose his father. He diligently put the finishing touches on the board the night before the due date. The following morning, I decided to read the bio he wrote on his father and there were three words that stood out in his writing: NO MATTER WHAT. He wrote them in the body of the bio and then repeated them separately at the bottom of the page. 


For some reason, these words grabbed me and made me think of God’s love and His grace. I thought “What a great thing I could write my next blog about!”. It’s something that I’ve experienced and embraced time after time and, when I think about it, I’m brought to tears of gratitude.

If you’ve never experienced this TRUE love, then you don’t understand how to love in that way. God’s love is without boundaries: it’s unconditional.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us so much that He died for us. For I am convinced and continue to be convinced—(beyond any doubt) that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the unlimited love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37-39 (AMP)

In other words, God loves us NO MATTER WHAT. The question is: “Do YOU have the same capacity to love NO MATTER WHAT?”. I think we must first understand what love is and is not.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

When you love someone, it doesn’t come with strings attached. That’s the way God love is. It doesn’t keep record of offenses, it’s patient, and it seeks to give. I mean, God loved us so much that He gave His ONLY begotten Son!

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – John 3:16 (VOICE) 

Are YOU willing to give a love that wasn’t earned? That’s the kind of love God freely gave to us. It was free to us, but it cost a life. No one has greater love than to lay down his/her life. God did this for us in spite of our sins. As a matter of fact He did it because of our sins. How gracious and merciful is that?! When I consider some of my thoughts, words, and deeds and how God knew them beforehand and then I realize that He gave me a waiver for the cost of sin, I’m both grateful and encouraged to extend the same sacrificial love to others.

You can only pour out what you’re filled with…receive the love God has for you so that your capacity may be stretched to love others without limits…to love NO MATTER WHAT.

Murder, She Wrote

by Danielle N. Hall

2/17/2017

It’s taken me over a month to finally get this thought out…

What a year 2016 was! There were deaths of so many people who we’d come to know or admire over the years or who we came to know of after their deaths. There was Prince, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Muhammad Ali, George Michael, Janet Reno, Arnold Palmer, and then there was Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The list is much more extensive. In some way, the news of the deaths touched us. The controversial deaths, of the last two mentioned, troubled our core and shed more light on an epidemic of the abuse of power of those in authority. I’d like to turn your attention to yet another systemic problem that has claimed more lives than few: character assassination.


In the age where social media engagement is just as routine as laundering your clothes, we are privy to a host of people’s opinions: good, bad, or indifferent. I’ve observed some of the most hate-filled and inconsiderate expressions of many. Having differing opinions, from the topic of political preference to the topic of lifestyle, should not warrant the spewing of sentiments laced with venom.

I’ll refrain from naming any particular individual(s) because the issue stretches far beyond the contentious utterances of one person or a few people. Social media isn’t the only place where we witness these heinous accounts: we’ve been privy to them in our families, on our jobs, and EVEN in “the church”. I want to be very careful of finger pointing because I don’t want to be guilty of the very topic being addressed here. I think what’s important is that we individually govern our thoughts and understand that just because something is permissible to say, it may not be profitable.

Consider this: each word spoken is a seed that will take root and then grow into a plant you’ll have to eat the fruit of. 

A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words. – Proverbs 18:20 (AMP)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a picky eater!

Sometimes, when people attack the character of others it’s because they’ve either not discovered or not acknowledged the truth about themselves. We all have a flaw or two and being hasty to cast judgment isn’t advisable. At times I’m impatient, easily angered, or lazy. I know that about myself and I acknowledge it.  I’ve also been guilty of speaking ill of others. You know what they say: when you know better, you do better. We ALL have room for improvement and before you part your lips to attack the character of another, just remember that one day you’ll have to eat the fruit.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” – Proverbs 18:21 (AMP)