From the outside, Tierra Mia Coffee looks like any other coffee shop. With a drive-through for convenience and quaint outside seating to enjoy when the weather isn’t too hot, you might expect a very ordinary feel inside. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Upon entering the coffee shop, you hear beautiful, peaceful music playing, and the lyrics are all in Spanish. The music isn’t too loud; it’s just right for reading a book or chatting with friends.

For a moment, I felt like I had stepped into a charming café in the heart of South America. Big leather armchairs, comfortable sofas, as well as wooden tables and chairs populate this nicely adorned restaurant. Captivating artwork lines the walls of the coffee shop. The artwork appears to be actual photographs from various landscapes in South America, possibly with family members.

I visited Tierra Mia Coffee in Pico Rivera, California, on a Saturday afternoon; the drive-through was really busy, but there was plenty of available seating inside.

I brought a friend with me so I didn’t do much writing on the day that I visited. I plan to return on another day. The nice, big armchairs are perfect for writing with a paper, a tablet, or a laptop. The windows bring in a lot of light, but there are parts of the café that are dimmer and more conducive for writing with an electronic device.

With a unique Latin-inspired menu, Tierra Mia Coffee welcomes all coffee lovers and is located in nine cities throughout California. You can enjoy your traditional favorite cappuccino or a one-of-a-kind horchata cappuccino. They also serve a variety of coffees, smoothies, and pastries.

El mejor café viene de tierra mia.

Known as a hot spot for writers, I visited the Coffee Commissary in West Hollywood. I wanted to breathe in the atmosphere and partake of not only the coffee, but also the ambiance conducive for expert wordsmiths.

Upon arriving, I parked by a meter directly in front of the coffee shop. I immediately walked inside to exchange my $5.00 bill for some quarters and was warmly welcomed by the staff. When I explained why I needed the quarters, a friendly staff member dressed handsomely in a red bowtie said that free parking was available around the corner. He invited me to come back in and settle down once I had parked. I felt very much at home.

When I returned, I asked what type of drink was their specialty. Once I heard the name “cinnamon cappuccino,” I was sold. Only good things can come from the combination of cinnamon and cappuccino. I was not disappointed. (See insert for the picture of the drink.)

As I observed my surroundings, I found everything to be neat and orderly bordering on a minimalist decor. With a rustic yet modern feel accentuated by the blending of wood and metal elements, I felt like I was caught somewhere between an old-western film and the latest sci-fi picture. Few seats were available inside, and most of them were already taken, so I made my way outside.

I sat outside and within my view were five people with MacBooks who were typing away on their latest project, I’m sure. Two additional people also had laptops and were focused as they typed to the chatter and life-filled sounds filling the nearby streets. Still, two others hid behind their books, as alternate worlds unfolded in their minds.

At the table next to me, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of the gentleman and two ladies. They were discussing a script for a movie. They were coming up with characters and background information. Only in Hollywood.

I decided to capture my time at the Coffee Commissary by working on some writing of my own while sipping my delicious cappuccino. Halfway through my cappuccino, I felt an extra surge of energy and quickly utilized this jolt to get more writing done.

I returned my mug before I left and was quickly told, “Thanks for coming in.” The Coffee Commissary is a welcoming yet uncluttered space that will allow your mind to imagine and create.

Part 6: God Hears Your Cry

Throughout our lives, we will make a myriad of decisions and transitions. During times of transition maybe things haven’t changed like you’ve wanted them to change. What do you do?

I am reminded that one of the best things we can do is cry out to the Lord. I remember several years ago, I cried out to the Lord about several things going on in my life. I was working at a job I did not like at all; I literally felt like I was losing brain cells on a daily basis. I loved the people I worked with, but the job itself was boring to me. And I desired some days off that I really wasn’t able to take. So I started praying and asking God for a new job and for some time off.

I remember crying out to God and asking Him to do what seemed like some very impossible things.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you (NKJV).

A few months later, in March I received a phone call one day from a principal who had received my name from a friend. He said that he had a “very unusual situation” and needed an English teacher right away. He asked if I could come in for an interview the next day. I said, “Yes,” and the following day I took the position. With the position, I was given the summer months off, which was a well-needed break. Also, my pay doubled, and I received an all-expense paid trip to California.

God did even more than I asked Him for. He desires to do the same for you. Cry out to Him today and watch Him do the impossible for you!

Part 5: Don’t Give in to the Pressure of Time

Tick, tock…tick, tock…what is that sound? It is the pressure of time. The clock is ticking away, and there is pressure to make a decision. Oftentimes, if you give in to the pressure of time, you will make a wrong decision and regret it later. Ask me how I know this? I have done this many times, too many times in fact.

In our daily life and especially when making a transition in life, it is critical to listen to the Lord. Did you realize that He has the perfect scenario? He really does! Did you ever think about the fact that He sees everything, including the past, the present, and the future? You can trust Him. I have found that during a transition I must set aside more time to spend with the Lord to receive His directions.

Isaiah 55:8 says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (ESV).

God’s ways and thoughts are higher than your ways and thoughts. What does that mean? Oftentimes, the direction you receive from Him won’t make logical sense to your mind. Why does He do this? I’m not sure, but I can truthfully say that in the end I had very little to do with the outcome; it was all Him! He receives the honor and glory for what took place.

Don’t be afraid to step out on what He says. Don’t be afraid to do something you haven’t done before. Follow His direction, and you will wind up in the perfect place of blessing and grace–a place that fully satisfies your heart where every gift and talent in you flows.

Stay steady as you trust the Lord and listen to Him. He is working behind the scenes to create a perfect scenario just for you.

Part 4: How To Handle Open Doors

When transitioning in any area of life, we are always looking for the open doors, and that is good. If God said it, He is leading and guiding us to what He has promised us. We need to be expecting doors to open and stay in a place of faith and trust in God.

But…is every open door a leading from the Lord?

I have learned that not every open door is a “leading of the Lord.” It can look good, smell good, and taste good, but you must take the time to ask the Lord about it. He is always looking out for your best interests. He has the best plan for each person individually.

I was thinking today about what Jesus said in Mark 13. He said that in the last days there would be people saying, “Here is the Messiah” or “There he is.” Jesus said, “Don’t believe it because I have warned you about it ahead of time.” Then he proceeded to share how His return will happen.

During a transition, rely on what God has already said to you. Rely on the things He has spoken to you in your heart before you ever made the transition. This will help to keep you steady and on course.

Many people may come saying, “You should do this” or “You should do that” but what you really need to do is follow the leading of the Lord. You know and recognize His voice. He got you this far. He is not going to leave you. And if you will look back at your journal and notes of previous days, you will be reminded of what He has already spoken to you and those words will be a light on your path.

Praying for a continued smooth and easy transition for you.

Part 3: Don’t look back, thinking you had it better “back there”

One of the biggest temptations in navigating through a transition is thinking you had it better “back there.” This is something that got the Israelites into big trouble.

The Israelites came out of Egypt by the Lord’s mighty hand; He supernaturally delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh where they lived in oppression and bondage. Now they are out! They are free! But what do they start doing? They begin complaining. They begin looking back. This is very easy to do.

Even if what you experienced previously was bad, it was familiar. We as human beings like the familiar. We like all our “ducks in a row.”

I really like things a certain way. I can be very particular. My students could tell you that. When I was teaching, everything in the classroom had a designated place. I never deviated from that. Call it “OCD.” Call it “organization.” I call it “peaceful living” rather than chaos.

When the Israelites complained, they doubted God’s ability to do better for them than what they had before. They didn’t see God’s loving hand guiding them into better lives and better situations. And their grumbling and complaining limited what God could do in their lives.

So, what do you do when you are tempted to look back? Begin to look forward. Make a list of things you are looking forward to. God said that He would do exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or think (see Ephesians 3:20).

Just recently I put together my own personal list of the things that God said He would do better for me in this season of my life. I am believing for better relationships, a better job, a better place to live, better finances, better ministry opportunities, and a completely better life.

What are you looking forward to?

Part 2: Look for Ways to be a Blessing to Others

There is a temptation during a big transition to focus on yourself and your needs. It’s easy to do this as there are lots of details to focus on and practical things to take care of. But it is important to continue to look for ways to sow into other people’s lives.

Galatians 6:7 says, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. This is the law of sowing and reaping. Whether you are sowing kind words or tangible items, you are planting good seed for a wonderful harvest.

During my transition, I decided to get rid of all my furniture to make it easier to move halfway across the country. In that process, I asked the Lord about each individual item; should I sell it or sow it? The Lord was faithful to show me exactly what to do with each piece of furniture.

You see, the Lord knows what is on the other end of your transition. He knows what you will need when you get to the other side. He has a perfect plan to meet all of your needs during the process and after the transition. And He also has a perfect plan to meet the needs of the people around you, in your sphere of influence.

Another area to consider is volunteering in your new location. I know that moving and leaving all your friends can be lonely at times. Volunteering to help a church or another organization opens a great opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends.

You can do it! Please let me know other ways you have found to be a blessing and sow into other people’s lives during a big transition. I would love to hear!

After just about getting to the other side of several major transitions in my life, I have a few helpful suggestions to maintaining your sanity before, during, and after transition.

I have just transitioned in several areas at once:
1. I quit my very stable, well-paying job (not something I recommend unless you know the Lord is leading you and you’ve saved up some money).
2. I left all my friends and family and moved halfway across the country.
3. I left my church of 10 years and started going to a new church.
4. I sold or gave away all of my furniture and most of my belongings.
5. I went from living by myself in a nice superb to living with someone in the country with chickens, roosters, goats, and pigs.
6. I began working at a brand new job.

Part 1: Be Open to Correction

Right before the big transition, I found the Lord dealing with me in some very strong areas of correction. He even made it clear to me that I had not transitioned yet because there were some “heart issues” that needed to be dealt with. Ouch! That hurt at first and I thought, “Why me, Lord?” But He reminded me that He chastises or punishes those whom He loves because He is dealing with us as real children (see Hebrews 12:6).

Those areas if not dealt with can do one of 2 things: either keep you out of the promised land or once you get into the promised land, this little area of sin will be an open door for the enemy. God reveals sin so we can repent and get it right in order to receive all of His wonderful blessings.

Don’t be surprised if you find the Lord dealing with you right before a big transition. He is positioning you to receive His very best for your life. I never want to fail to receive from the Lord. When He prompts us to repent, it is because He so longs to shower us with blessings!

I know so many people who are in transition right now! That is so exciting! This is a time when people are stepping into new jobs, launching into new ministries, making divine connections, and fulfilling great visions and dreams. Transition is an exhilarating time, but it can also be a little scary.

There will be times when things you’ve done for years don’t feel right anymore. And new things will seem scary. I’ve noticed that there is a process to moving from one place to another, whether it be a physical place, a new job, a new church, or new relationships.

These are the steps I’ve noticed in my own life:

1. God puts a vision in our heart
2. He gives you a taste of it but you don’t step into it just yet
3. You believe and agree with Him
4. You don’t let other people talk you out of it
5. You prepare the way by speaking words in agreement with His will
6. You step out when He says NOW!

We are led by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:14). The Spirit of God doesn’t lead us with huge neon signs, although that certainly would be nice! The Spirit of God leads us by an inward knowing. Kenneth E. Hagin has a wonderful book, How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God; I highly recommend it! When you have the “green light” on the inside, keep going in that direction. No matter what the circumstances, that peace on the inside will keep you going in the right direction.

By following that “green light” on the inside, your path will get brighter and brighter. Proverbs 4:18 says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Your path is supposed to get brighter and brighter!

Focus on where you are headed; God has the most perfect way to bring to pass the vision in your heart.

Be Uniquely You!

July 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

As we walk through life, there can be a pressure to do, be, or perform like someone else. Whether you are in business or in church, other people sometimes want you to conform to a particular standard. And you want to fit. You want people to like you. But you were called to stand out!

This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or not go to church. What it does mean is you have to find your uniqueness within that place. How are you different? What can you offer? What special skills and talents do you bring? What problems can you solve? Where can you make a difference?

Will every organization welcome this? Unfortunately, no. But you can pray and ask the Lord to bring you to a place where every gift and talent in you is able to flow.

You might be thinking, “Is there really such a place?” I know at one time I wondered if I was believing too much or expecting too much.

I am reminded of what Paul said in Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

The awesome thing is that God works with you. He wants the best for you! He puts the dreams and desires in your heart, but you partner with Him in seeing the plan of God come to life by asking Him for those things.

How can you be uniquely you?
1. Recognize that greatness lies within you.
2. Acknowledge that you have a purpose and assignment.
3. Connect to the purpose by reading and studying the Word of God.
4. Think about and agree with that purpose by speaking it out.
5. Pursue that purpose by looking for open doors in that area.

What are your unique gifts and talents? What would you do for free without any compensation? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What are your dreams? I would love to know!