Category: My Words

We All Matter

It’s been awhile since I sat down to share with you all. No lie, I literally had to wipe the dust from my notebook. (I’m old school, I still write on paper). I’ve been quiet for several reasons; I never want to write for the sake of writing, when I write, I want it to be sincere and not forced. Also, I’ve been busy over the past few months. Back in March, I drove cross country to Ohio with my mother to attend the funeral of our great Aunt, I will touch on that trip in a bit; but moving on, I’ve been back and forth to Dallas, the family drove to Louisiana and Alabama, and I’ve put my house on the market in preparations for my BIG move to Dallas. So, needless to say, I’ve been busy during my extended “vacation” from employment, but the noise from the world is SO loud right now that I can no longer sit quietly and watch without saying something. I was subscribing to the thought process of many people in America right now. What thought process is that? Well let me tell you, This doesn’t affect me. What difference can I make? If you are familiar with me or my blog, then you know I wrote a blog in the past detailing my thoughts on police brutality and the thought process that many black people deal with every time they get pulled over. I shared the reality of the conversations that black parents are having with their children in order to preserve their lives during “routine” police stops. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who show compassion on this topic. I’m also surrounded by people who “stay woke” on certain topics in the world right now. Many probably don’t know what that means, so let me explain; to be “woke” means people are socially aware, they don’t pretend  there isn’t a problem with race relations or issues on injustice. We as Americans need to wake up and stop pretending like the world is not crumbling around us.

As I mentioned, back in March my mom and I drove from El Paso, TX to Middletown, OH, that drive took us through several states, but only one city and state stands out in my mind, Oklahoma City, OK. We had been driving for almost twelve hours, it was 10pm, and I was behind the wheel while my mom slept. The speed limit was 75 mph and the police were out heavy that night. With that being said, I was super aware of my surroundings, I was driving about 65 mph, both hands were on the steering wheel, etc. I looked in my mirrors and spotted a police car in the lane next to me. I told my mom, “There’s a cop behind me.” She questioned if I was speeding and I told her no, and she closed her eyes again. I put on my blinker and changed lanes (someone had been pulled over and I was in the far left lane), the cop changed lanes with me. I put on my blinker and returned to the left lane and the lights and sirens came on. “Ma, we’re being pulled over!” I said. I’ve never seen my mom wake up from sleep so quickly in my life. “Put both hands on the steering wheel.” That was her immediate response. My heart was racing and my hands were shaking because I had no clue why I was being pulled over. I wasn’t speeding, I had on my seatbelt, and I used my blinkers; why was I being pulled over? So, we both sat eyes forward, my hands on the steering wheel, my mom’s hands visible in her lap, and waited to see why we were pulled over. The police officer came to the passenger window and asked the same question that all cops ask “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  Of course I didn’t know. “No sir, I don’t know.” He proceeded to tell me that in the state of OK you must leave on your blinker for 100ft when changing lanes and I failed to leave on my blinker long enough. Although this felt like a BS stop we went through all the motions: yes sir, no sir, we’re going to a funeral sir, but I really became nervous when I had to get my drivers license “Sir, my purse is under my legs, I’m going to grab it, OK.” The officer was actually a very nice, which many officers are, he didn’t give me a ticket, but I shouldn’t have been scared when I got pulled over. We shouldn’t have to be on our “best behavior” in order to prove we aren’t doing something wrong, but this is the reality of being “other” in America. And, the sad thing about it is, this momentum continues to grow more and more. People are hurting with each passing day. The chasim is growing.

I read daily about people saying, why are we looking at race, why are we looking at gender, why are we looking at orientation? Well, we’re looking at this because these are the people being alienated. These are the people who are constantly being told, “You are not enough.” Who are we, as human beings, to tell another person, you are not enough, you don’t matter because…

This weekend, I was shopping with my sister, and I saw a coffee mug that said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” This comes from Psalms 139:14. That verse and the following verses state: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well…Your eyes have seen my unformed substances; And in Your book were all written. The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalms 139:14 & 16. This resonates strongly with me because every single one of us was created individually by the Father, and He knows each of us by name. Regardless of our lifestyle or  the pigmentation of our skin, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. As a Christian, that tells me that I am no better than the person next to me. That tells me that there is no race superior to another. Last week, people put on robes and mask and marched because a statue was being removed. A statue that symbolizes oppression, and in my opinion, these are the individuals who want to continue to keep others down. These people spewed ugly, hatefilled words, and spread terrible propaganda. This brought two thoughts to my mind 1) Why aren’t ALL Christians up in arms and disturbed by this. 2) Why are we moving in the wrong direction towards unity? These images were reminiscent of the civil rights movement in the 50s although we are living in 2017. Integration happened 60 years ago, why are we seeing these images resurfacing? Why aren’t we able to see  past how a person looks on the outside and instead look at the heart?

The answer? Because we live in a fallen world. There will never be peace until Jesus returns, but as a Christian, I know how I can make a difference. I can show the love of Christ to others, I can stop throwing rocks from my glass house because I know that I sin and I fall short of God’s glory everyday. As the body of Christ, we need to be hurting because our brothers and sisters are hurting.

My cousin, Danita Jones wrote a very poignant blog last week entitled “The Elephant of Social Justice” over at www.uknowimwrite.com. In her post, she talks about the “whatabout” people, and she hits the nail directly on the head. Take a few minutes to read this sometime this week. Her words stood out even more to me this week when I saw a post on Facebook of a pagan god with the byline, this is the statue we should be removing or something to that manner. It immediately gave me feelings. Yes! We should have this statue removed, and yes we should be upset over the image this statue represents, but it should not be brought up as a comparison. Let’s not forget that just a few days ago there were people physically hurt and one person actually lost their life. Let’s stop with the “whatabouts” as Danita stated and let’s start showing some compassion. Let’s start being the example of Christ. Now is the time to be growing Christ’s army and that can’t be done if we are being selective on who we show His love too.

Disappointments…

When I think about the word disappointment, it gives me feelings, and none of those feelings are positive. Disappointment has such a negative connotation and I suppose it should. I mean no one gets excited when they are disappointed. We never feel disappointed when everything is working in our favor. We don’t feel disappointed when we succeed. Nope, we feel disappointed when we fail. We feel disappointed when people let us down. We feel disappointed when we let others down. We feel disappointed when we ultimately have no direction or vision.

Today I am disappointed. I feel not only disappointed, but I feel discouraged. I am deprived of confidence. My confidence is shaken because today I was essentially told my feelings were invalid. My intuition is off, and now I’m left at a crossroad with no map. It has been a long time since I felt this way and I never imagined that at this age I would be at this point. Based on that, not only am I discouraged, but I am disappointed that I allowed this to be my life. As I write this down, I recognize how ridiculous this all sounds because the only person’s actions that we have control over are our own, so therefore, I should not be disappointed, but I am. I’m disappointed because I should have had a back up plan, I should have been prepared for the unknown.

Anyhow, enough of that, I’m not going to dwell on things that I can’t change, but what I need to be doing is looking forward and not allow the past to hold me back. However, I also need to find encouragement in the void. I need to find my direction again. My encouragement today comes from 1 Chronicles 28:20 “…Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the temple of the Lord is finished correctly.”

Woah! If that isn’t the encouragement that I needed I don’t know what is. I mean seriously, I need to store this word in my heart, especially on days like today when I feel less than ok; when I feel discouraged about my future. This tells me the Lord has a plan for me and He is in complete control. This tells me He won’t just leave me alone and He won’t let my hand go through all of this.

I wish I could wrap this up and put a pretty bow on it and say I know what tomorrow holds, but I don’t. I know tomorrow I will wake up and I will put both feet on the ground and take one step forward. I will hold on to this word that the Lord God is with me and He will not forsake me. Tomorrow I will have a new day to try again to find the map to my crossroad which tells me which road to journey down next.

 

The Act of Comparing Ourselves

Comparison is ruining me…

Today I want to start off using I am statements because I don’t want to reflect my feelings onto anyone else. One of the downfalls or the issues that keeps me from moving forward and walking in my purpose is comparing myself to others. Comparison is crippling to growth because we do not all have the same path as the next person. Personally, comparison is literally and physically holding me back. It is becoming my roadblock. Whoever told me that I should gauge my own success based on what success looks like for someone else? Where did that idea come from? Was I taught that in school? Probably. School teaches us that when you have the highest grades you are the most successful in the class, so most strive to be at the top. In adulthood, when working, if there is someone in the same career path and they are being successful, we are encouraged to reach out to that individual and find out  their techniques in order to emulate them so we can be successful too. There are women and men plastered all over the television, internet, and magazines who look a certain way and we then compare our bodies to those people.

Everything indicates to me that we should compare ourselves to others to find validation; however, that is not reality. We are not meant to be like anyone else except our unique selves. We are called to be individuals, which means there in no one else like you. Can you imagine how boring life would be if we were all exactly the same? That is what comparing ourselves to someone else does, it makes us emulate the next person. It makes us question our own worth, it makes us doubt our own greatness.

I was reading various Bible verses that talk about comparing ourselves to others and there are several key verses about this topic, but what stands out the most to me is Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What this verse is saying to me is the minute we start to compare ourselves with another person is the moment we being to block our blessings. What the Lord has in store for your neighbor is not the same as He has in store for you. So while we’re busy emulating someone else we can miss what He’s working out in our favor.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me comfort. I believe that over the past few years I’ve been attempting, very poorly, to emulate someone else. I’ve tried to fit into someone else’s mold and every day it was becoming more and more uncomfortable. With every turn I was hit with a different roadblock and I was not advancing. What I began to do was question myself, question my worth. I needed people to tell me I was worthy in order to find some type of validation of my worth. This should have been my wake up call, but instead I continued to compare my actions to others, I tried to be like my peers, and I failed miserably. As my sister recently told me, I needed something BIG to happen to snap me out of the rut I was existing in. Bottom line, today this verse helps to remind me that God is in charge and His will is what I should strive for, not what someone else has or is doing!

COME TOGETHER…RIGHT NOW

What’s so hard about putting pen to paper. Transposing the chaos inside your head into intelligible words on a paper – or online, that can reach others and also make some kind of sense. Lately, the chaos has been so loud inside my brain that it is deafening. The words; screaming and clawing their way out of my head want to be heard, or read. The words that resonate so loudly have to do with the state of the world we are currently living in. As Christians, we are to be in this world, but not OF this world. We are not supposed to be a part of the problem, but instead a part of the solution. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of the Lord, and more times than not I am not seeing this. I am seeing Christians attacking and judging; instead of building up the Kingdom, many of us are tearing it down, and my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for not only our country, but for God’s children. More than ever, with such discord in the world we need to be standing together. We need to be showing and being the example of God’s love; instead, I see people beating each other down with the Word, picking and choosing the scriptures that best support their message and using it as a weapon.

Never in my life have I felt such fear or terror over the state of the world. Never have I felt such anxiety over the future of our nation. Over the years, I have heard people make the statement, “We’re living in the end times,” but I never truly grasped the meaning of this statement, and once I was of an age to understand it I never really believed it. I now understand and believe, I understand that the discord and fighting is a part of the story, and with that being said, I have now become one of those individuals who says, “We are living in the end times.” We are drawing near to the end, and that means we, as Christians, need to be seeking the Lord whole heartedly. We need to be falling on our knees in prayer, but instead we are getting caught up in the social media hoopla. I am guilty of reading comments and articles on the internet and it gives me feelings. I find myself getting angry and upset, I find myself wanting to write comments and respond on post and getting caught up in this slippery slope. However, most days I am successful in staying away from the arguments and the petty nonsense on social media. As I mentioned we are to be in this world and while in this world we are to be compassionate, we are to show empathy, we are to extend grace because that is what was given to us.

There is not one person currently walking on this earth that has been the perfect example that we had in Jesus. We can only strive to be like Him and in being like Him we might have to get our hands a little dirty and show kindness  and love to some people we don’t necessarily agree with. This is what the Lord calls us to do. He does not call us to be the judge and jury over another’s actions. It’s time for us to make grown up decision and declare what we believe and stand for. It’s time for us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and show love to the unlovable. The time is coming for us to ban together and stand for what Jesus lived for. I do not want to be viewed as someone who claims to love Jesus, but treats others poorly solely because they have made mistakes or messed up in their lives. Instead, I want to be known for my heart, for my love, and for my example of God’s love. Once again, how are we building up the Kingdom when we treat it like an exclusive club that only certain people can be a part of. Unless we are showing that Christlike love to those who do not know Him, the Kingdom will not advance.

REFUGE

Welcome Back Everyone!!!!!! It’s been a bit since I sat down in front of the screen and shared with you all. I’ve missed this! Hope everyone out there had a great holiday season and made it through the Inauguration in one piece and with some semblance of peace. (That is a conversation for another day, stay tuned).

Today, I want to talk about refuge with you all. Psalms 118:8 reads, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” So last night I was looking through my notebook and I read across this verse from a study I went through a couple of months ago, and this verse immediately jumped out at me. This verse has taken on a new meaning with me as my life has taken a huge turn over the past three days…”Take refuge in the Lord.” My first thought was, exactly what does the word refuge really mean, so of course I looked up the definition, and refuge is defined as, “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Then I went ahead and looked up trust, it is defined as firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

Trust is a very fragile thing. When we place our trust in a person or an institute, we are giving away a part of ourselves. We make ourselves vulnerable to be hurt or blindsided by the decisions of another. As the definition states, it is a firm belief that you can rely undoubtably on this person. The above stated verse can now be read and understood to say, “It is better to seek shelter from trouble in the Lord instead of placing belief in the strength of man.” Here’s the thing about placing trust in another being that is not the Lord; just like you and me, this other person is human. This other person makes mistakes and also falls short of the glory daily. They are not capable of carrying the burden of complete trust, and the reason why is because everyone single person currently walking on this Earth is flawed. We live in an imperfect world, and everyone messes up.

I was dealt a terrible blow this week, I trusted in the institution which I worked to be fair in their dealings and decisions, but I quickly learned that was not the case. Based on their decision, I should feel completely broken, I should be quacking with fear, but instead I have an inner peace that can only be from the Lord. I am seeking refuge, shelter, in the Lord and I have complete trust that He will meet everyone of my needs. This is new for me. Not to feel stressed out and not to be falling apart with worry because for the first time in seven years I am without any type of employment and I have not one plan in place for my next job, but I am completely calm. If I’m honest, I have not been truly happy in almost four years. The level of discontentment was so loud at times that no matter what I did I could not quiet the noise. I was going through the motions everyday as a means to an end, and now I no longer have to do that. I can now seek what truly makes my heart happy, and truly seek out the plans that the Lord has for me. As Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I can now choose a new route to go down in life because I am no longer tethered to a place that is killing my spirit and made me question my value as a person. I know where my value lies, and it is not in the opinion of man, but with the safety of the Lord.

 

 

Why Are We Afraid To Be Emotional?

I want to first start off by saying, Hello Everyone and Happy Holidays!!!!!!!! I haven’t written in a while, and it is not because I didn’t want to chat with you, but I wasn’t quite sure what to talk about. I played with a few ideas, but nothing that jumped out to me, but this morning while having my morning coffee and reading “Wild and Free” I knew what I needed to share with you all.

This weekend, we had our annual Christmas production at church, and the choir sang a couple of songs. We sang Chris Tomlin’s “Glory in the Highest” and Kirk Franklin’s “Now Behold the Lamb” both very beautiful and powerful songs. Personally, I sang a verse in the “Now Behold the Lamb” and the lyrics go:

 Even when I broke, broke your heart

My sins tore us apart, but I’m standing right here in the midst of my tears

I claim you to be, the Lamb of God

New life can begin, for you washed away every one of my sins

Who the Son sets free, is truly free indeed

Lord, I claim you to be the Lamb of God!

Two things about these lyrics, they are powerful, and this morning I realized that these lyrics mimic exactly what I am going through in my life and what I have been talking about over the past month with you all. I was speaking with two ladies in the choir and they said something to me that made me think. One said, the words were so touching and as I sang she got chill bumps. The other said, I almost cried. She then ask me if I wanted to cry, and I responded no, I didn’t want to cry. I went on to say that I used to be extremely emotional and I would cry for everything, but as I’ve gotten older, I “toughened” up a bit, and now I have a tighter hold on my emotions, so I don’t cry like I used to. She responded to me, that she is not an overly emotional person, but when the Holy Spirit moves you can’t deny the feelings it evokes. This made me think and recognize, that in my attempt to hold in my emotions and keep them in check, I can potentially be blocking the Spirit from moving within me. It’s true that the Lord moves differently within everyone, but when we try to hold ourselves in check for whatever reasons, we are putting God in a box. AND NEWSFLASH!!!!!! He’s too BIG to be put in a box.

This raises a question within me though, why are we afraid of emotions? I think, society tells us that if we cry or show emotions, we will be viewed as weak. We will be seen as someone who can’t keep themselves in check and so they can’t make sound decisions. However, I am coming to understand and believe there is nothing wrong with being emotional or leading by emotion. Of course, we can’t make all decision based on emotion, but there are some things in life we should make emotional decisions about. I mean within your career, you have to lead with your head and not your heart, but in life decisions, we can try to be too logical and then make the wrong choices for ourselves and our future. There is nothing wrong with emotions, there is nothing wrong with tears, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling!

 

I’m Not Who I Used To Be

Praise the Lord I’m not who I used to be. I am no longer the girl who is seeking acceptance where ever it is given. I am not the girl who is seeking approval from the wrong type of people. I am now the woman who is secure in who she is as an individual. I am a woman who is stepping into her purpose. And I am a woman who is learning to listen in the quiet for direction from the Lord and discerning His voice from my own.

There was a period in my life that I was not living a life that I am particularly proud of. I was making decisions that I knew were wrong. Decisions that I knew my mother would disapprove of, and if my mother would disapprove of those decisions, then I definitely know they were not decisions the Lord would smile upon. During that period of my life, I did what I wanted and I did these things in order to “fit”in, but also to please a boy, who at that time, was not worthy of my affections. No matter what I did to hold onto him, it was never enough. You see it was not meant for me to be with him then or to even keep him.

Let me backtrack just a little bit, throughout high school and into college, I was extremely involved in church. I was in the youth group in high school and after I graduated I became a leader in the youth group and also started attending the College and Career group. I had a close group of friends who fiercely loved the Lord and I have to say life was really good; however, there was an inner curiosity inside of me about the “world” that tugged at me. The inner wild child, as my mother calls it, that was itching to break out, and when I started my first job after high school the doors to the outside world burst open and I went running through them. For the first time in my short life I was surrounded by people who were living in the world and did not have the constraints of the church holding them back from experiencing life. I don’t say this meaning that the church holds people back, but in my marginal experience, as a teenager, all I could see were rules. Rules telling me what I could and could not do, rules telling me what I should and shouldn’t say, rules inside my mother’s house that I felt were so strict that I was not allowed to live the life I thought I wanted. It did not take long for the lifestyle of my coworkers to start appealing to me, and along with that life came a boy who started whispering in my ear all the things that my young and naïve heart wanted to hear.

In the beginning, I tried to integrate him into my world, but it didn’t take long for him to pull me from my comfortable life into his chaotic and careless lifestyle. Like me, he was running from strict parents and a comfortable lifestyle and for whatever reason, we found each other and saw something in the other person that we thought we wanted. As Christians, we learn the importance of being equally yoked, and it probably took 10 years, my entire 20s, for me to actually learn and understand what that truly means. At the tender age of 20 I fell in love and we were not equally yoked. When I say I fell in love, I mean truly, madly, deeply in love. I fell with both eyes closed and a heart completely open. I walked blindly into a relationship that pulled me away from everything that I knew to be right and true. I stopped hanging with my friends and replaced them with his friends, I stopped spending time at the church and replaced it with late night kickbacks in empty parking lots. I gave away my innocence because it is what I believed I should do in order to prove my love to this other person. I did this against my better judgment because I knew it was wrong, I knew it was not what the Lord wanted for me, but I also believed it was what I needed to do in order to solidify and keep my relationship. Trust me when I say this, sex does not ensure you will hold onto someone, all it does is give your power away to another person. It ensures that this other person can hurt you more deeply than you can ever imagine.

That relationship did not give me what I thought I was seeking out of life and out of a partnership, it pulled me further and further away from the Lord. It pulled me from my family, from my friends, it compromised my morals, and it left me completely broken. More broken than I had ever been, up until that point, in my entire life. But praise the Lord, I’m not her anymore.

Have you ever prayed for the Lord to do something, left it at the Lord’s feet, and walked away trusting He will answer your prayers? Well, in my complete and total brokeness I prayed for the Lord to make me forget the love I had for this person. To take away the hurt that shattered my tender heart into a million pieces and then I left it. I’m not sure if I really 100% believed that something as big as this prayer could be answered. Everyday I got up, I went through the motions and I trudged through the days until one day the tears dried up and it didn’t hurt to breathe anymore. I no longer kept my phone next to me waiting for a message that would never come. I can’t give you an exact time line because honestly I don’t know how long it took, but one day I was talking to a friend who was there from the beginning to the end of the tumultuous relationship and she asked me if I remembered something I had said or done in the midst of this relationship and I tried to recall various stories she would tell me, and to this day I have no recollections of certain time spans within that relationship. That is when I realized just how BIG AND MERCIFUL my God is. That is when I saw how REAL my God is because HE answered my prayers. Praise the Lord He delivered me from the dangerous path that I was on, and I would love to say I learned my lesson right away, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I made a few more bad choices along the way, but that is part of my journey. Mistakes allow us to see God work in our favor, it allows us to rely on Him. That is the cool thing about the Lord, everyday we mess up and fall short of His glory and He loves us anyhow. He is standing by waiting for us to seek Him and seek His forgiveness. He loves us fiercely and unconditionally. I don’t have children of my own, but I see how my friends love their children, I know how my mother loves us, and it gives me a glimpse into how much our heavenly Father must love us, His children. He wants nothing more than for us to turn away from our sinful nature and seek Him. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV).

I will end the way I started, Praise the Lord I’m no who I used to be and thank you Lord for the promise of who I will be!