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. 

To Love Your Neighbor is to Love Yourself

July 20, 2017

On a plane, you are told that in case of an emergency, always put your mask on first before assisting someone else. Because, how can you help someone else breathe when you don't even have breath?

I work as a nanny, and I get the cool opportunity to travel with a little one and his family. While holding him on a plane recently, the reality of what I just mentioned hit me. Even though everything inside of me would want to help him out first, if something was to go wrong, it was imperative that I’d help myself first. Ugh! That truth hurts so bad.

Far too often, I put others before myself. It just makes me feel better to know that everyone else is taking care of. I figure I can just squeeze myself somewhere into my busy schedule. Then I burn out. I pour all that I have into the people around me, and in return, am left empty. And what good is an empty well? I have to remind myself that its okay to be selfish sometimes. That if I’m gonna be any good to other’s I’ve got to be good to myself first. Not only do I need to bee good to myself, but I need to allow Him to be good to me. 

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” | Mark 12:31

This verse can sometimes be used just a little too much. Okay not too much, but maybe out of context. You see, love your neighbor means more than being nice to the people around you. Love your neighbor means to love yourself. 

It’s kind of like the old saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated." How can you fully love someone, if you haven't taken the time to fully love yourself, or more importantly, to allow yourself to be fully loved? This is SO important, especially for leaders. We have to be constantly fueling ourselves to be able to pour into others.

Every now and then I get caught up in life, and the Lord throws me this question.
"How's your heart?" 
Ummm... beating?
This calls for a heart check!

I am learning to love myself, and to allow myself to be loved. When those heart check moments arise, I realize I need to sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness of Jesus.

Love yourself my friend, and more importantly, allow yourself to be loved. Submerge yourself in His grace, and lose yourself in His presence. Take that same fierceness you have for the hearts’ of others, others, and  pursue His heart. Remain in Him, and Him in you. 

As much as the Lord wants you to go out and love on people, He wants to love on you. Dive into His word, worship at His feet. Sit with the Lord, and allow His love to pour over you. 

Love your neighbor, and love yourself. 

"This is my comfort, my consolation, and my breath of fresh air in the midst of my depression and loss. Your Word nourishes and repairs, it revives my life and your promises restore me and make me whole.”  | Psalm 119:50 

Scars vs. Bruises

June 7, 2017

When I was 9 years old, I had a pretty traumatic bike fall. (If we are being honest, I still have pretty traumatic bike falls today.) But this particular fall tells a pretty sweet story. I was riding my bike in my grandparents’ super cool concrete backyard when I made a sharp turn, causing me to fall, and my bike’s handlebar to jab me right in the middle of my chest. Long story short, the accident left a huge dent in the middle of my chest, but after spending hours in the ER, it was determined that there were no broken bones, just some bruising. It still hurt like it was broken though. I had to do everything with caution, and my grandma banned us from riding bikes for a while. I remember my cousin and sister being so mad at me. Like I totally meant to nearly kill myself. Over time my chest healed, and we were eventually allowed back on our bikes. But there was a pretty nasty circle shaped scar in the middle of my still slightly dented chest, and if you look close enough, (which you shouldn’t) you can still see that scar today, some 11 years later.

I love getting to tell that story. Can you imagine the faces I get when I'm all “Dude, my chest literally caved in!” What is so cool and blog post worthy about it, is that even though I definitely felt broken, I wasn’t. While the bruising hurt like hell, it soon faded, but the scar remained. That’s the thing that makes scars and bruises so different. Bruises may hurt and they may be ugly, but they eventually go away. Scars on the other  hand, they remain, as they tell a sweet story of victory.

I never understood why after rising from the dead, the scars on Jesus’ hands and feet remained. Like you are Jesus! You literally just rose from the dead, and you couldn’t fix the holes in your hands?!?!?

“So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he replied, "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe. A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” | John 20:25-27

Those scars didn't remain for His sake, but for our own.

Our past hurts, experiences, and sin, they are no longer bruises, but scars, scars that say “I survived.” Yeah, they don't paint the prettiest of pictures, and that is okay. Its okay to not have enjoyed the whole process of getting the scar,  (to be honest, that’d be kinda weird if you did. ) but it shouldn't be something that continues to hurt you. Remember, its a scar, which means that wound has healed.

Jesus’ wounds are much like the nails that pinned Him to the cross. They represented the enemy's false triumph, the moment he THOUGHT he won. The scars though, the represent victory, Jesus defeating death. 

What were the nails in your life? What hurt, mistake, loss had you pinned down in defeat? And what story do your scars now tell? Or maybe you’ve still got some nails in your hands. Can you imagine the story that scar is gonna tell some day?!?!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” | Isaiah 53 : 5

Love Always,

Destinee Nicole

Some Assembling Required

April 18, 2017

A few weeks ago, I did something very “adult-ey.” I bought, and built a bookshelf all myself. You see, I had been storing my books in  a plastic bin, but as my collection grew, books began to pour out of the bin, had planted themselves all over the floor. I chose this shelf solely based on the fact that it appeared easy to assemble, but as I started to pull the pieces out of the box, I realized that this shelf would take way more effort than I intended. Not gonna lie, I was pretty annoyed. I just wanted to snap a few things together, and have a perfectly built shelf for all my books to rest on. That’s when the gears in my brain started turning, and this blog post came about.

Work defined in the Webster’s Dictionary is: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. The key word here is “effort”. I think a lot of times we forget that results = work. Today especially, we have become entitled, expecting things to be handed to us without doing any kind of work to receive them. There is not a single thing on this earth that came to be without work. Nothing comes out of nothing, but all things come out of something.

This is where our relationship with the Lord can get a little messy. How many of us, accepted Christ, and then expected everything to change over night? I’ll speak for myself when I say that I STILL sometimes find myself in this position. “Well I’ve got God, so its gonna work out.” I say as I lay in my bed doing absolutely nothing.

I remember the beginning of this school year. I was desperately in need of a job after one didn’t work out. I’d come home after school everyday, laying in my bed and in my misery. When I should have been submitting applications and making phone calls, I did absolutely nothing. One day I prayed out to God, “Where are you? Why is nothing happening?  I NEED A JOB!!” Then it hit me! God was waiting on me to make the first move, to put my faith into action.

God never promised that our walk with Him would be easy.  He said it plain as day that there would be trials and tribulations. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." | John 16:33

The cool part about all of this is that we know how the story ends. The victory has already been won, the hardest part already taken care of. Some once told me, “God’s already done the hard part, and you just have to do the busy work.” All things require effort, work, and dedication. And while sometimes that work feels crappy, its work that is worth it!

We must not look at this life as something that comes perfect right out of the box, but something that requires some assembling.

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” | Proverbs 14:23

Love always,
Destinee  Nicole

Latest Instagrams

© Destinee Nicole. Design by FCD.