Its been awhile since I've written here. So much has changed yet so much has changed. One thing that has continued to develop is my theology on romantic relationships. Its a sensitive topic for me personally because my first thoughts of singleness and marriage can be traced back to my childhood.
When I was teenager, there was this thing called a bible store. These stores were a playground for any christian that was trying to grow in their faith or hide from the world . I remember walking through those doors about once a month, hearing Hillsong's instrumental track of Shout to the Lord. Books, bibles, and vhs tapes were everywhere. There were even christian toys! This store was called Blessings. And for the most part I would agree that this store was a blessing to my life as a teenage woman.
Every time we visited, I went to the girly section of the store and saw this journal. On the front of the hard cover it said “While I Wait”. There was a frilly image of a young lady and man embracing as if they just exited a fairytale love story. As I opened the journal, I read a short introduction describing the purpose of this journal. Page after page it became clear that these prompts were created to help the participant wait with expectation and excitement for a spouse. I quickly found my mom and asked if she could buy it for me... she said yes; and the rest was history...at least for a couple years…
For a number of my teen years, I would write in my journal. Answering the prompts I would tell my ‘future’ husband how much I loved him and why I was waiting for him... what I was doing with my day, and the list goes on. After a while, the excitement began to wane and I just wanted him to hurry up and find me. What I didn’t realize is that some of my motivations for getting married was not God honoring. What I also did not realize was that I was assuming that there were certain blessings that I was entitled to simply because I was a christian.
While I greatly benefited from the encouragement that the ‘True Love Waits’ campaign brought to encourage abstinence, I wrestled a great deal in my early 20’s when I didn’t have a ring by spring. Years prior I interpreted that this 'waiting' had an expiration date, but in reality I was persevering for something that was not promised to me in this life. That's why I want to have a dialogue about this. What does scripture have to say about a part of our life that shapes a portion of our identity?
God’s view of singleness
But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
For those who may not be familiar with this passage, Jesus had just finished answering a question that was posed by the pharisees regarding if they could divorce for any and every reason. Jesus was telling them no, and they were asking why so Jesus shares why it was allowed in the past. After hearing this response some of the disciples actually thought it would be better not to marry. Jesus, a single man, the author and finisher of our faith knew the weight of what it meant to be married was restoring the integrity of what it means to be married.
We have the family of God, most of whom would love to get together, hang out, eat together etc. If the Lord has assigned for you to be married than yes their is a spouse,but its also possible that your assignment is to remain unmarried...how will you steward that unknown and potentially unfulfilled desire?
2. Is marriage the goal?
If Marriage was the goal, Jesus would’ve been married. Marriage is a shadow of what is to come but it is not everything. Let me say that again, If Marriage was the goal, Jesus would’ve been married. Marriage is a shadow of what is to come but it is not everything.
If we get into serious dating relationships to have a blessed outlet for relief of sexual tensions, we are using another person for our own gains.
7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
For a while I've seen marriage approached as...'Who is going to match our list of things?' instead of asking, 'Am I prepared to die to myself in a million different ways?' Am I willing to sign up to potentially be more poor than I am now, take care of someone if they become terminally ill, and deal with their attitude if they can’t have things their way? It’s a rude awakening to think that something will be about making you happy, when both parties have to learn to do things a new way. In reality, in scripture marriage is honorable, but it is encouraged to remain unmarried. If you are engaged, and you’re having trouble honoring one another in purity, then you get married...that’s a whole different way of looking at it huh? What if we started admiring singleness? That was the state of being that Paul promoted...How would our lives and community change if we celebrated those who remained single, especially for the cause of Christ?
3. Family and Friends
I don't see marriage as a promise laid out in scripture. Nor do I see it implied as an inherit right of christians. As I did this search, it scared me because that's what I inherently thought. That God owed me a husband and I was scared to face the music. What God does promise is that we will be a part of a family and friendship. (Psalm 68:6) “
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
A brother is born for adversity:(Proverbs 17:17)
As we look at some of the greatest relationships in scripture, we see David and Jonathan
loving each other with a deep, sacrificial love...We see Elijah and Elisha...Elisha gave up everything to follow Elijah and learned from him. We have Ruth and Naomi...two widows, separated by age but not status. Even Jesus modeled what healthy friendship could look like as he traveled with his disciples and the women who cared for him along the way. These men and women were not only Jesus friends but also his family.(Matthew 12:47-50)
In my mid 20's this conversation had a tipping point. Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't have a ring by spring, I wasn't in a relationship and I couldn't understand why...why was God withholding from me...Then these two questions came to mind:
1. Will God and I still be ok if I do not get married?
2. Will I be ok if I’ve 'remained pure', said no to being in relationship with unequally yoked individuals (in order to save myself ) YET I dont ever get married?
Those were two questions I had to keep asking myself...sometimes the answer was yes I'd be ok, other times the answer was no.
If you are an unmarried (as I currently am) enjoy this time and don't wish it away. I didn't meet my fiancé until the Lord made it clear to me that he didn't owe me anything. It stopped me in my tracks. Over time he kept asking me the question above until I finally surrendered (which happened multiple times). A couple years after that I met my fiancé Now I don't think that's the recipe for meeting a spouse, but that is how the Lord had to speak to me...was I expecting God to reward me for my good behavior? And would I be ok if I didn't get the reward I expected?
If we treat each other as family there may still remain a desire to get married...and that may never go away, but we'll get to experience what it is like to be apart of family. And it may not be fulfilled the way its been dreamed up hope. But if we are there for each other as the body of Christ, having fun, enjoying each other's company, our perspective on marriage and the joy of singlehood can get an upgrade. At the end of the day, we were created for connection… there are plenty of biblical heroes that are not indicated as married. Of course people remember Paul, but before Paul there was Anna the prophetess who remained unmarried and prayed for the coming of the messiah, there was Elijah, Daniel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist. We must be careful that we are not looking for something in one person, that we should all be bringing to the table as the body of Christ.
How have you journeyed through being single? Has it caused conflict in your relationship with he Lord?
Much Love Family,
Its been a while since I blogged. When I looked to my left, I was shocked to see that March was the last time something was written and published. In this season I've taken some time away to focus on character development through reading, engaging in mentorship relationships and pulling back to refocus on the next phase of life.
I've been planning, brainstorming, planning again.lol But in the midst of that, I felt like the Lord was calling me to come sit at his feet and rest. He was calling me back to the days where I had nothing better to do than sit in his presence. And those days were immensely fulfilling.
The truth is that there are so many things vying for our attention, 'Good things', 'bad' things. Being an adult, is comprised of numerous little and big responsibilities. Between bills, grocery shopping, doctors appointments, one can begin to wonder where time is venturing to. Are we living or surviving?
This summer indeed has been unique. In some ways I felt like I have been surviving. I found myself excited for the newness that was before me. Yet, this newness was not and is not happening as quickly as I initially gauged. I began to feel low until I eventually realized that I'm in a season of warfare and waiting.
I know I'm not alone out there. There are many of us that have dreams. Maybe its a business, maybe its self improvement, maybe its to get back to school. Either way, we have things that we know God has called us to do or things we simply desire. But sometimes the Lord has us in a season of waiting so we can learn again the joy of sitting at his feet and trusting him completely. The warfare isn't about whether we arrive to our destination but rather how we enter it. Sometimes he has us in a season of waiting because he's developing character and perseverance.
When it was time for the Israelites to exit Egypt, they not only brought out the spoil of their enemies, they brought out the spoil of their attitude, which wasn't of much value. They did not know how to be free and they did not know how to stop complaining. How many times does the Lord want to usher a new season into our lives but he allows us to remain in the wilderness so that we can learn how to respect him and trust him to handle our lives without us knowing the details? The thing is that it isn't punishment, he just wouldn't be a good parent if he gave us something we could not handle. The land he wanted to bring them into required total dependence on Him and Him alone. Yet there was a refusal to fully trust God's leadership.
I find myself in this warfare. This is the same warfare that has been happening since the garden. Will we trust that God is exactly who he says he is? Will we trust that he is for our good? Jesus passed this test. He trusted that God, our father, was for his good and that the wilderness would not destroy him but rather unveil the character that was waiting to be revealed through him, to the glory of God. Jesus knew that the wilderness was an incubator for development and an opportunity to choose to trust the Lord.
Either way, whatever you find yourself waiting for, I encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and submit yourself to the working of the Holy Spirit. Don't fight it or else you may find yourself cursing that very thing that our God wants to use to bless you. Below is a song that has been ministering to me in this season. I hope it ministers to you too.
For most of us, we have spent years learning about Martin Luther King, Fredrick Douglass, Rosa Parks and other African American contributors to society. These are amazing men and women that have changed the course of history, but there are so many more! Most will never go down in history for their contributions. But here are a few. I hope you enjoy! Share it with a friends if you learn something new.
16. Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones was one of the most prolific Black inventors ever. Frederick Jones patented more than sixty inventions, however, he is best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks in 1935 (a roof-mounted cooling device). Jones was the first person to invent a practical, mechanical refrigeration system for trucks and railroad cars, which eliminated the risk of food spoilage during long-distance shipping trips. The system was, in turn, adapted to a variety of other common carriers, including ships. Frederick Jones was issued the patent on July 12, 1940.
15. Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Jonson was brought up in Mobile, Alabama in the 1960s. He was so talented in engineering that he worked for Nasa and helped test the first stealth bomber. He is also the inventor of the super soaker.
14. Norbert Rillieux
Norbert Rillieux was born on March 17, 1806 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Norbert was born a free man, although his mother was a slave. His father was a wealthy White engineer involved in the cotton industry. Rillieux patented the multiple-effect vacuum pan evaporator. This device heated sugar cane juice in a partial vacuum, reducing its boiling point, allowing much greater fuel efficiency. This innovation, adopted in sugar refining, escalated production, reduced the price, and was responsible for transforming sugar into a household item. Similar technology was subsequently developed for the production of soap, gelatin, and glue. Some have called Rillieux’s evaporator the greatest invention in the history of American chemical engineering.
13. Bessie Blount
Bessie Blount (1914-2009) was a physical therapist who worked with injured soldiers during World War II. She recognized their need and desire to do more on their own, and she invented an assistive device that permitted people who had lost limbs to feed themselves. Her next invention was for something she saw that could be used by any hospital—a disposable emesis basin (the kidney shaped basins used in hospitals for medical waste). With much experimentation, she developed a paper mulch that could be mixed and baked. This provided a relatively easy method to manufacture multiple basins that could be tossed after use. After the publication of her paper, she started hearing from people who wanted her opinion on forgeries. This led to a new career in forensics. By the late 1960s she was assisting police departments in both Vineland, New Jersey, and Norfolk, Virginia. Eventually, she joined the Portsmouth, Virginia police department as a chief examiner.
12. Elijah McCoy
In 1872, McCoy developed an automatic lubricator that spread oil evenly over a train's engine while it was still moving. The invention allowed trains to run for long periods of time without stopping, which saved both time and money. McCoy was a prolific inventor, securing dozens of patents in his lifetime. As his invention grew in popularity, inferior copycats emerged. Railway engineers requested "the real McCoy." The popular expression, meaning "the real thing," is still used today.
11. William J. Seymour
Of all the outstanding black American religious leaders in the twentieth century, one of the least recognized is William Seymour, the unsung pastor of the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles and catalyst of the worldwide Pentecostal movement. Only in the last few decades have scholars become aware of his importance, beginning perhaps with Yale University historian Sidney Ahlstrom, who said Seymour personified a black piety "which exerted its greatest direct influence on American religious history"—placing Seymour's impact ahead of figures like W. E. B. Dubois and Martin Luther King, Jr.
10. Otis Boykin
Boykin, in his lifetime, ultimately invented more than 25 electronic devices. One of his early inventions was an improved electrical resistor for computers, radios, televisions and an assortment of other electronic devices. Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles and small component thick-film resistors for computers. Boykin’s most famous invention was probably a control unit for the pacemaker. The device, essentially, uses electrical impulses to maintain a regular heartbeat. Ironically, Boykin died of heart failure in 1982.
9. Sarah Boone
Born in the Deep South—in Summit, Pike County, Mississippi—in the 1860s or 1870s, Sarah Boone made her name by inventing the ironing board. Boone was a rarity during her time, a female African-American inventor. In her patent application, she wrote that the purpose of her invention was "to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies' garments." Prior to that time, most people ironed using a board of wood rested across a pair of chairs or tables. She was living in New Haven, Connecticut, when her patent was granted in 1892. She died in 1900.
8. Amanda Beery Smith
After this encounter, she was consumed by a new desire to fast and pray. God opened up many doors for her to preach—notably on the holiness of God—in America, England, India, Africa, and elsewhere throughout the world. Amanda Beery Smith ministered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In an era in which many black people were not even allowed to speak in church or address white people as equals, she was given supernatural favor to preach to white believers as a black woman.
7. Garrett Morgan
Garrett Morgan was an inventor and businessman from Cleveland who invented a device called the Morgan safety hood and smoke protector in 1914. On July 25, 1916, Garrett Morgan made national news for using his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. Morgan and a team of volunteers donned the new “gas masks” and went to the rescue. After the rescue, Morgan’s company received requests from fire departments around the country who wished to purchase the new masks. The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I. In 1914, Garrett Morgan was awarded a patent for a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector. After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Garrett Morgan took his turn at inventing a traffic signal. Other inventors had experimented with, marketed, and even patented traffic signals, however, Garrett Morgan was one of the first to apply for and acquire a U.S. patent for an inexpensive to produce traffic signal.
6. Fred Shuttlesworth
Shuttlesworth was born in Mount Meigs, Alabama during the height of lynching and segregation in the south. In his youth, his family moved to Birmingham for better economic opportunities and education. He graduated from high school as class valedictorian. Then Shuttlesworth went on to earn his education from Selma University and Alabama State College. He would go on to become one of the most prominent civil rights activist in 1950s and onward. In 1953, Shuttlesworth became pastor at Birmingham’s Bethel Baptist Church where he started fighting for civil rights in the city. He began to push for Black police, and in 1956, he founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. His work in Birmingham attracted the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shuttlesworth, King and Ralph David Abernathy were instrumental figures in the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The men were commonly known as the Big Three, spearheading the movement and leading countless protests against segregation. Shuttlesworth also provided housing and resources for the student protesters and the Freedom Riders.
5. Patricia Bath
Dr. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist from New York, but living in Los Angeles when she received her patent, became the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. Patricia Bath’s patent (no. 4,744,360), a method for removing cataract lenses, transformed eye surgery, using a laser device making the procedure more accurate (Cataract Laserphaco Probe). The probe, patented in 1988, is designed to use the power of a laser to quickly and painlessly vaporize cataracts from patients’ eyes, replacing the more common method of using a grinding, drill-like device to remove the afflictions. With another invention, Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years.
4. Eliza Davis George
Eliza and another missionary opened a school for children in the interior of Liberia, where there were few missionaries or churches. They called the school Bible Industrial Academy, and their aim was to teach children to read the Bible and show them helpful life skills. Within the first two years they had fifty children attending the academy and saw more than 1,000 people accept the Lord in the nearby villages.
Eliza served as an evangelist, teacher, and church planter throughout Sinoe County, Liberia. Wherever she established ministries, she trained Liberian young people and sent them as missionaries to take the Word of God to their own people and to provide education for their children.
3. George Edward Alcorn
Physicist George Edward Alcorn, Jr. is best known for his development of the imaging x-ray spectrometer. An x-ray spectrometer assists scientists in identifying a material by producing an x-ray spectrum of it, allowing it to be examined visually. This is especially advantageous when the material is not able to be broken down physically. Alcorn patented his “method for fabricating an imaging x-ray spectrometer” in 1984. He was cited for his method’s innovative use of the thermomigration of aluminum. For this achievement he was recognized with the NASA/GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) Inventor of the Year Award.
2. Lewis Latimer
Lewis Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1848. He was the son of George and Rebecca Latimer, escaped slaves from Virginia. Latimer was hired as the assistant manager and draftsman for U.S. Electric Lighting Company owned by Hiram Maxim. Maxim was the chief rival to Thomas Edison. Maxim greatly desired to improve on Edison’s light bulb and focused on the main weakness of Edison’s bulb – their short life span (generally only a few days.) Latimer set out to make a longer lasting bulb. Latimer devised a way of encasing the filament within an cardboard envelope which prevented the carbon from breaking and thereby provided a much longer life to the bulb and hence made the bulbs less expensive and more efficient. This enabled electric lighting to be installed within homes and throughout streets.
1. Jarena Lee
Like Sojourner Truth, Jarena Lee spoke truth to power and paved the way for other mid- to late 19th-century black female preachers to achieve validation as pulpit leaders, although neither she nor Truth received official clerical appointments.
Thank you for reading! Below are bibliographies for the websites where I gathered this information. Continue to research people who made a difference that aren't talked about as much.
“Bessie Blount Griffin, Physical Therapist and Inventor.” America Comes Alive, 5 Oct. 2017, americacomesalive.com/2016/02/11/bessie-blount-griffin-physical-therapist-and-inventor/.
Kenyatta R. Gilbert, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Howard University. “Hidden Figures: How Black Women Preachers Spoke Truth to Power.” The Conversation, 1 Mar. 2018, theconversation.com/hidden-figures-how-black-women-preachers-spoke-truth-to-power-73185.
“Lonnie Johnson: The Father of the Super Soaker.” BBC News, BBC, 15 Aug. 2016, www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37062579.
Riley, Ricky. “8 Fascinating Facts About Civil Rights Leader Fred Shuttlesworth.” Atlanta Black Star, 6 Nov. 2015, atlantablackstar.com/2015/11/06/8-fascinating-facts-about-civil-rights-leader-fred-shuttlesworth/2/.
“Sarah Boone.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 14 Feb. 2018, www.biography.com/people/sarah-boone-21329877.
SYNAN, VINSON. “Pentecostalism: William Seymour.” Christianity Today, www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-65/pentecostalism-william-seymour.html.
“Top 10 African American Inventors.” List Verse.com, 29 Oct. 2007, teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/inventors/images/boykin.jpg.
I rarely get pedicures. Not because I don’t like them, but because it takes time and money that I don’t want to spend in this season of life. I’m also very ticklish in my feet. The last time I got a pedicure, I almost kicked the pedicurist by accident.lol
While I was away on a work trip, I began to soak my feet. This is something I rarely do. As I sat there and rested, I became aware of the stillness I felt. I hadn’t felt so still and quiet in a long time.
I also noticed how soft my skin became, particularly my feet. the skin was so soft that with a simple graze of my hand, the dead skin easily rolled off onto my fingertips. Surprised and excited, I started to think of the times I’ve done my own 'pedicures'. I love painting my nails and going through the steps but I started to ask myself, "what if I soaked my nails before painting them? Would I have an easier time clipping them? Would the nail polish set more effectively? etc… I soon realized that the quality of a pedicure is not in the painting, the clipping, its in what happens before hand that makes the other activities fruitful and full of quality.
The parallel became apparent in my life. God has been asking me to come sit, ‘soak’ in his presence, but I look at the time and the cost and try to find a way to keep everything. But that is not conducive to quality time with the lover of my soul. There is a depth that God is inviting me, us, into. But it requires us to take time to ‘soak’. Time to allow the presence and word of God to soften our hearts, quiet our minds so that he can literally wipe away the dead stuff in order to allow the renewing of my minds to take place. In addition, it allows for the pruning of God to be seen through the eyes of eternity. When I feel connected to God, pruning still hurts but the sting does not last as long due to the opportunity to view it through the eyes of Jesus.
Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel.
1metallurgy : the scum or unwanted material that forms on the surface of molten metal
2: waste or foreign matter : impurity
Dross surfaces in a purification process that is used in precious metals. Before the heat hits, the dross, impurities, hide within the metal. We all have things that we are aware of, other things we aren’t aware of that keep us from being a pure vessel. We are human. Yet this is one of my favorite passages in scripture, because it gives me hope and can be a profound prayer before the Lord.
My prayer for myself and anyone else that feels the way that I do, would be that we would soak in the presence of God. That we would pay the cost of spending quality time with him. That we would continuously come before God’s presence asking him to make us like him. Asking him to empower us by the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life that is worthy of the gospel.
*picture from tripsavvy.com
It was such an honor to promote American Idol on Good Morning America!! Meeting the cast was such a blast. Thank you American Idol and Good Morning America for having me! Check out the video below for footage!
"...On earth as it is in heaven.." something we pray or sing quite often. When I think of Heaven on Earth, I think of restoration, people coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord, miracles like Jesus did, I think of love. Love is a miracle.
When I say love, I'm not referencing the gushy love where you meet someone you would like to spend the rest of your life with but the love that we are admonished to have for one another. The love where we bear with one another. Love's adversary is fear, and fear has caused a severe case of emotional and spiritual inflammation within the USA.
I love history. A part of me would really love to delve into some history but for the sake of time, I'd rather bring our attention to a few things I'd encourage you to think through.
1)How would you like to be remembered in history 50 years from now?
Watching Hidden Figures was amazing. If you haven't seen it, rent it right now.lol The judge scene in Virginia was one of the most intoxicating moments for me because the judge was forced to think about the role he would play in the narrative of Janelle Monae's character. He had the choice to be on her side or to be silent and go about his business as usual. He quickly realized that he could be apart of rewriting history. Which one sounds more appealing? Which option sounds like the heart of God the father?
2) Before making a conclusion, please ask yourself, how many close friends of color (that think politically differently and/or come from a different socioeconomic background) do I have? And if I have those friends, 'how often do I ask to hear their views on what is happening " Am I listening to hear what they have to say or am I listening to see how I will respond?
It is so important to have friends of diverse thinking and backgrounds, not just skin tone. Each person brings light to similar and different ideas that you would have never thought of on your own. When we don't sit in the discomfort of letting someone have a different opinion than us, We take away their voice. We do not want that to happen to us so we must take the extra step to ensure it does not happen to anyone else. My encouragement would be to find 3-5 people you can talk to from 3 different perspectives so that you can think through these things.
Discussion used to encompass the sharing of different opinions. Now it feels like a lost art form. In discussion everyone did not have to feel the same way but it was an opportunity to hear ideas. When you really listen to different ideas you either find your own opinions strengthened and/or you see the flaws within your own thinking. Most of the time, it is both.
3) When is the last time I lamented over someone else's pain?
I think lamenting is very important to the Lord. So important that there is a book in the bible dedicated to it. The word lament means to" wail and to mourn." According to one definition, it meant not only wailing and mourning but to tear out your hair and beat your chest. That is how intense of an emotion was felt. Though lamenting for those who are in pain can get taxing, it is also great because it keeps us balanced and soft hearted. If we feel too much then we take on the world that wasn't meant for us to carry. But there is a celebration that awaits us if we are faithful in the process. Celebration without process reroutes to denial.
4) Who are people/people groups in my community that need to experience justice?
I am currently refraining from sharing more of my views online because I hope to have conversations real time conversations. The best dialogue on this topic will not be found in blogs alone but rather face to face interactions between human beings.
Lets pray for the families of the police officers that lost their lives, the family of the reporter, those that were injured, and the countless others who have experienced emotional inflammation in some way or another. Even those that we each perceive as 'enemies', lets pray that those who claim the name of Christ would hear from him.
Lets ask God, what courageous thing would you like me to do? Maybe that is a call to raise awareness? Maybe that is having the conversation with someone about what life is like as an american that is not white. At some point we must all draw a line in the sand. Wherever your biggest area of influence is, let justice roll through it. I know we can't see the full restoration of heaven on Earth but piece by piece, person by person, we can each play a part in bringing heaven here to Earth. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Let's do our best to engage in challenging conversations in order to push past the temptation to remain silent.
Much love to you all and thank you for taking the time to read
Dreams... what comes to mind when I hear that word? For some of us, we think about the good, frightening or corky images we have at night while trying to rest. What did I eat last night to make me dream about that? For the rest of us, we think of the things we want to do with our time here on earth. Whether they've started to come true or not, waiting for a hoped end can make our heart sick if it starts to take longer than we expect it.
The other day I was reading a book that mentioned the story of a woman named Hannah. Hannah could not give birth to children. Back in biblical times, not being able to give birth to children was one of the number one things that would cause shame. As if the shame wasn't burdening enough, the other wife of her husband taunted her because of this.
1 Sam 1:3-7
"Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
1 Samuel 1:9-1o Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably.
Sometimes we wonder why our life feels barren. It's like we feel purposeless, food doesn't taste as good, the ministry we are called to feels barren, maybe we feel like don't belong. And we ask God why do I feel empty? Am I fulfilling my purpose? Will I ever have a 'baby'? And if you've ever had anyone tease you about your dream, you probably feel even smaller.
1 Sam 1: 11-20
"Then she made a vow:
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.
It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!” Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.” Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.” “Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant. Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.
Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, “I asked God for him.”"
Isn't it interesting that God didn't give Hannah a child until she was willing to give it back to God? God waited for her to be willing to surrender her gift back to the gift-giver. When we are waiting to see things happen in our lives, maybe God is waiting for us to develop a mindset and a heart posture of giving everything back to him, before he grants our request. Maybe he wants to reveal destiny to us through prayer, people, and other creative ways before he grants promise. Sometimes he is pruning us so that we know how to handle his gifts. Maybe he is waiting for us to receive instruction regarding the role his gift plays not only in our enjoyment but his glory. There are even times, like Hannah, where God allows us to feel the tension of our dignity being on the line so that we can inquire about his plan. Sometimes the blessing we are waiting for is wrapped up in our decisiveness to be obedient to the Lord.
For those of us that feel like Hannah in some way or form, you will not be remain in this season of barrenness forever! Embrace the wilderness season. God is pruning you so that by the time you are ready to 'conceive' and 'give birth' you are postured to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Hannah you are being trained, taught and equipped to be faithful in the midst of despair. Hannah you are being met by God so that he can do a beautiful thing through you. In the midst he is fortifying you to withstand the ridicule that comes with obedience to the father.
If you read on to chap 2 you'll notice that Hannah gave birth to 5 more kids. The Lord blessed her 5xs what she was expecting! I wonder how many times Hannah thought about keeping Samuel after he was born. She probably considered it. But she was faithful.
I am so grateful for the opportunities i've had this past July, as well as within the past 6 months. It is the fulfillment of dreams I've had over the past year stretching to a lifetime. I drew a parrellel the other day regarding the timing of God's outpouring and realized that once I had extended another level of forgiveness to someone that hurt me, all this stuff started to happen. Not only that but God knew I would want to share my journey with them so he waited until I was at a certain place before answering my prayers.
He was waiting on my heart to change before he answered my prayers because he knew it would be sweeter. It has left me to pray and ask God, what are some of the dreams you have for me coming up? What do you want to do that I am unaware of. I encourage you to pray the same and share it below so I can be praying for you.
Knots Don’t Remain Forever
I never thought I would get a massage. The thought of someone that I did not know touching me felt too close for comfort. But I finally gave in two weeks ago after receiving it as a gift. This gift opened my eyes beyond my initial anticipation.
Until I got a massage, I didn’t realize that my back had so many knots in it. For the past couple years I have felt stiff but I assumed it was normal. While lying on the massage table,I asked the masseuse-“ On a scale of 1-10, how bad is my back?” she replied with a chuckle “hmm I would say a 9 (haha)… not really, It’s about an eight..” I cringed. I probably became more tight at the thought that I was an eight. All this time, My muscles have become so tight but I had become numb to it.
Numbness is scary. It is scary because you think you can feel but in reality, your ability to feel is limited. It has reached it’s capacity until one becomes aware of the truth. I would never have known I was numb to the pain I was feeling if I did not get a massage. What makes it worse is that left to myself, I would not have tried it. It took someone else seeing that I was numb to my own pain, for me to get the help I needed.
It makes me wonder, what knots have I neglected to let God make me aware of? What have I become numb to? What have I gotten so used to that I pass it off as normal when God wants to bring healing? The Lord does not want his children walking around numb and/or afraid. He can gently help us work through the pain that we accumulate over the span of time. The Lord wants us to experience wholeness, yet it does come at a cost.
Ever since getting my massage, I have become aware of the knots in my back. Though my back felt great it also felt worse because now I could feel the pain that laid dormant. So I have already scheduled another appointment! haha If I could go back every day, I probably wouldn't have any knots. Though I cannot go back everyday, I can go back to the great physician daily. The one that I can come to just as I am and exchange ashes for beauty, pain for joy. Though life will never be perfect, living life based off the truth that I am his daughter makes the difference. That reminder is enough to believe that knots don’t remain forever. Every day I can experience his safe, healing touch. Freedom is his portion.
God will never fail us. Even if things don’t work out the way that we think it should work out, he still does not fail. Sometimes this truth feels plausible and other times it feels like a mystery I will forever unravel. Yet he is faithful to his children and mankind. We are his beloved, his treasure, the ones he fought for. He isn’t going anywhere and he will not leave us numb to our pain.