When Life Gets Messy

April 12, 2018

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I work as a nanny. My precious little is 15 months, and is growing more and more everyday. It has been the most amazing thing to see him go from a tiny newborn, to a walking, talking ball of energy. He is so stinking cute, and so stinking funny, but SO stinking stubborn. For the past few weeks, we have been struggling with eating. He just decided that he doesn’t want to eat anymore, and it takes nearly an hour for us to get some bites.

A couple days ago, his mom dropped some news on me that literally made my heart drop. “The pediatrician said to go ahead and start introducing the fork and spoon." WHAT? My boy has not even gotten this eating with your hands thing down. We are going to introduce potential weapons?!?! Anxiety instantly poured over my body, and I began dreading our next meal time. We had already had breakfast, so lunch would be the time that all hell broke loose!

12:30 came, and it was time for my little guy to experience a whole new level of independence. Sweet potato and avocado. Did we really have to start this today? I rolled up his sleeves, broke out the silicone bib (you know the one with a food catcher), and had the wipes on deck. Lets do this.

We started off pretty smooth. He enjoyed the idea of putting the spoon in his avocado, and was surpassingly distracted enough to let me feed him the entire bowl using my own spoon. Alright, this wasn't too bad.Then came the sweet potato. By this time, he was starting to get the hang of it. He wanted real access to the bowl of an orange mess waiting to happen, and I of course gave in to his sweet face and fake cries. I placed the bowl on his high-chair, hoping the suction cup at the bottom would be strong enough to withstand his excitement. BABY. WENT. IN. The bowl never left the high-chair, but all of its contents did. There was sweet potato EVERYWHERE. It was in his hair, down his arms, and all over me. But he was eating, and eating better than he had in weeks. I guess he just had to get messy.

Sometimes, life has to get messy.

I won’t go as far as calling myself a clean freak, but I thrive off of cleanliness. I need a clean and controlled environment at all times. Anything that’s gonna cause a mess usually stresses me out, because I know I will have to clean it. Still, messes are inevitable, and being that my job literally involves working with human mess machines, I have learned to deal with it. 

Its been the same for life, except I still struggle with accepting it. When life gets messy, I go into full drama queen mode. WHY CAN’T THINGS JUST STAY UNDER CONTROL?!?! I go off into crazy rants about how my life is falling apart, and how God is just watching it happen. Only to find out, that in some way or another,  my mess ALWAYS works out for my good.

This reminds me of a very popular passage in the bible. It is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. In the passage, Lazarus, who is the friend of Jesus, falls ill. When Jesus gets this news, instead of going to see Lazarus, he decides to stay at the place he’s at for 3 more days. Well, Lazarus dies, and Jesus states that He is glad He wasn’t there. 

“Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.” | John 11:14-15

After he is long gone, Jesus finally decides to go visit his friend, and after some sass from his sister Mary along with despair from his sister Martha, Jesus ultimately raises Lazarus from the dead. But why not just heal him? Why did the family have to experience such trauma, only to have their loved one revived anyway? Because sometimes, its gotta get messy.

Do you think Mary and Martha would have believed in the power of Jesus to the same extent, had they not experienced Lazarus’ death? Not at all. Its unfortunate, but we are often times a “show me better than you can tell me” kind of people. Its not enough to hear about it, we’ve got to see it!

I have a sign in my place that reads “grow through what you go through.” I have it hanging up in the kitchen, because thats usually the messiest room in our apartment, and is always bringing out the Mary in me. 

My little can’t grow into a big boy who can feed himself (though I would much rather him stay my baby forever anyway) if he isn’t allowed to get messy. Life’s gotta get messy y’all! 

Grow through what you go through.

Get messy. Roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty, because that’s the only way you are going to grow. Use all the yucky parts of your life as a chance to mature, and become a better you. 

Love always, 
Destinee Nicole

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” | James 1:2 MSG

The Truth About My Relationship With Fear

April 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, I was asked an initially very weird question by the mother of a teenager. “Do your friends call you mean names?” What? Ummm, no. She was talking about a group of friends that her daughter wanted to hangout with. They weren’t always the nicest, but for some reason, she still wanted to be in their circle. They were her friends, and they were her people.

That drive home had me all kinds of messed up. That question was burned in my head. “Do your friends call you mean names?” Destinee, why are you still thinking about this. You are not 13 anymore. You don’t have friends like that. OH YES I DO! His name is fear.

I’ve shared bits and pieces about my struggle with fear, but I’ve left out probably the most important part. The truth about my relationship with fear, is that in many ways, it is my best friend. WAS my best friend. 

Fear moved into my life when I was fairly young, and I carried it with me like a child carries their “blankie”. I learned to cling to fear, allowing it to become my constant and my normal. Eventually, it was all I knew.

You see, fear has a way of controlling you. It seeps into your mind, whispering the most sincere sounding lies into your ear. It shows up in every aspect of your life, and distorts your discernment. Everything was scary. Everything was bad.

I was afraid of not being afraid.

How crazy does that sound?!?! But, it is the only way I can describe the irrational relationship I had with fear. This thing held me captive for so long. To me its lies rang truer than true. I was in too deep. Fear had me, and I accepted that. I allowed it mold and shape me. I gave it complete control over everything that I did. If fear told me not to do it, I wasn’t doing it.  Because thats what friends are for right? They tell what you should and should not do. They walk with you through the toughest seasons of life. And they are always there. FEAR WAS ALWAYS THERE.

You know that saying “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”? Yeah I’m starting to feel like  that is some of the dumbest advice around. What good is it to keep negative around?  Really, how beneficial was it for me to hang tight to Fear?

The moment I realized this, I knew I had to kick fear out. I knew it was time that I look fear in the eye, grab it by the throat, and throw it out of the out of the space he uninvitedly settled in my heart.

I am grateful for that day, and that random question. Fear and I are no longer doing life together, but fear is still very present in my life. Its lies are continuously whispering over me, except this time, truth belts back. I may have fear, but fear doesn’t have me.

This journey is far from over, but I am closer than I’ve ever been before. I still feel fear constantly, but it no longer has a grip on me. I’m calling the shots this time. And when fear decides he wants to square up, he can take that up with my friend Jesus.

I want to challenge you today, to take a look at your life. What currently has a grip on your life? Are you allowing it to? And if so, when are you gonna break it off?

Love Always,

Destinee Nicole

To the Girl Who Hides Behind a Smile,

March 2, 2018

I get it. 

I too have had my fair share of days of using my generic grin as an emotional shield. For years I told myself “fake it till you make it”. Because if I tried hard enough, it’d become real right? Not at all, but I so desperately wanted it to. I wanted my smile to be real. I wanted my laugh to be genuine. I so badly wanted my pain to no exist, so I told myself it didn’t.

Except it did. It existed big time. “Get over it.” “Its all in your head.” I repeated these phrases to myself daily with the hopes that the pain would somehow listen, and fade away. It is not all in your head, and you aren’t going to just get over it. But you will get THROUGH it.

If we are being honest, I sometimes find myself back there. Back at the place that convinced me that the only way to not feel pain, was to not feel at all. The place that forced me to believe that my hurt was not real. But then I am reminded of the truth.

Your pain is real. What you feel is not a figment of your imagination. It is not some plea for attention. It is a feeling. A feeling that worth being addressed . A feeling that is totally capable of going away. But not without some work on your part. 

To the girl who hides behind a smile,

You can come out now. Its okay. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The first step to fixing a problem, is admitting you have one.”  This could not be more true. You have to address your pain. You have to admit that it is there, if you ever want it to go away.

It will be hard. Facing your pain head on is no easy task, but it is the first step in the right direction. It is okay to feel. Your emotions are there for a reason. So cry. Get mad. Let it all out. FEEL. 

But don’t stay there. Don’t allow these emotions to overtake your life, in stead use them to fuel you. Let those painful moments ignite a fight in you. It does get better. I promise. But you have to believe it. I know that is so much easier said than done, but I also know that it is truth. 

Our God loves us far too much to let us stay in the ugly. However, God can’t move until we let him in. For a long time, I didn’t understand what it meant to let God into my heart. How the heck do I do that, and why wont He just go there? Because I kept Him out. I guarded my heart, and clinged to my sadness. I allowed my smile, to convince me that I had it all together,  when inside I was dying. 

Let Him in, and let Him have it. Give it all to Him, the good, bad, and ugly. Remove the mask, and let Him see the pain, He already knows is there. This is job that only HE can do. SO let Him.

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” - Dwight L. Moody


February 13, 2018

A few days ago I was slicing a mango, because I like to pretend that I’m healthy, and received yet another random revelation. The mango has become one of my favorite fruits, but oh my goodness the process to prepare the darn thing drives me crazy. You have to peel off all the skin while trying to keep as much of the meat as possible. Trying to slice the fruit is like holding a wet bar of soap in your hands. And in an attempt to preserve as much meat as possible, you end up with pieces of the pit, in your messy creation. I’m probably just lacking domestic skills, buy y’all its a struggle. 

Think back to the day that you made the decision to give your life to Jesus. This may have been way back in the day, pretty recent, or still in the making, but I’ll bet you our storylines all have a common denominator. 

When you gave your life to Christ, did you really give Him all of it right away? Or was it a process? For me, it took some removing of the layers, as well as some slicing and dicing. This journey has been mess, and in many ways, hard to grip. Most of all, it has been a constant battle between my now, and my past.

The day after this fruit spiritually punched me in the throat, I attended my church’s prayer service where my pastor mentioned something about being in the pit of your life. Honestly, I cant remember what he said (Sorry Pastor!), but I do remember that it got me to thinking about my experience with the mango, and lead me to write this post. 

Your past matters.
Something I was always convinced of, was that my past wasn’t important. Time and time again, I was told “Leave the past in the past.” I get it, what’s done is done, and I cannot dwell in the things I cannot change. However, I cannot act as if that they didn’t happen. I CAN embrace them, learn from them, and grow through them. I would not be here today, had yesterday not happened. 

BUT, your past does not define you. 
No one buys a mango with the intention of eating the pit, at least I hope not. Still, the pit is vital to the fruit. It is because of the pit, they we are able to enjoy the fruit, but at the end of the day, the meat is what makes a mango a mango. Not its over-sized, super annoying LOG in the middle. This is the same as our lives. Surely our past helps to mold us into the people we are today, but it is not us. There is a reason it is called our past. Because it is not our now. Its not how the story ends.

So cut it off.
It is okay to acknowledge the pit, but don’t stay there. Don’t let that nasty seed thing ruin the goodness of the fruit you bear. It is so important that we learn to truly let go of all the ugly, nasty hurt of our past that somehow seeps into our present. IT’S OVER. It’s done its job, and now its time to let it go. Cut it off, and throw it away.

Now on to the fruit.
At the end of all this mango mayhem, I am left with this yummy fruit that thanks to being from Texas, I drench in chili powder, and inhale in very few bites. Though the process was messy, frustrating, and painful (you, know they 570,483 times I’ve sliced a finger) at the end of it all, the fruit was good. 

The pit of our lives can be dark, lonely and just plain annoying, but when cared for correctly, it bears the most beautiful fruit. 
So if you are in a pit, coming of a pit, or looking back at the ugly thing, GET OUT. CUT IT OUT. AND STAY OUT.

Love always,
Destinee Johnson

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalm | 40:2

This is Why We Exist.

October 11, 2017

My heart breaks for our world, and I’m sure yours does too. At least I hope it does.

This is why we exist. For a time such as this.

We do not exist to criticize, condemn, or compare. Our salvation is not meant to be used as a means of ridicule. Our lives were not spared, so that we could live them for ourselves. We were created, knitted in our mothers’ wombs for a time such as this.

So, stop the finger wagging. Get over the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Take the attention off of yourself for a single moment, and do the very thing we were put on this earth to do. 

Stop saying this world needs Jesus, and show them. 
What would Jesus do at a time like this? 
Would He go around looking for someone to blame? 
Would he insist that things would be different, had we elected a different president, or passed a different law? 
Would Jesus go out of his way to add to the hurt, at such a time as this?

I hate to break it to you,  but no politician, party, or congressman could have prevented what happened in Vegas. No law could have changed the condition of that man’s heart. 

Its not a government problem. 
Its not a gun problem. 
Its a not even a religion problem. 
Its a heart problem. The issue is in the heart.

So what difference are we making when we play the blame game? How much progress are we making when we bottle up our salvation, and rub it in people’s face.

You were worth dying for. 
Don’t you know that they were too? Why don’t they know this? They DESERVE TO KNOW THIS.
Why is that an atheist can point out everything we are “against”, but nothing that we are for? 
We cannot allow the face of Christianity to remain ugly. 
We cannot keep truth to ourselves.

Bear your cross. Put Jesus on your back. 
Our world so desperately needs Jesus. Our neighbors need to know that there is more. That Jesus is real, and His grace is sufficient.

This is why we exist. 

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