God Wins

Man… We all have our assignments, don’t we? Love is a big part of my assignment. I am to be a safe haven for people. I have the ability to speak plainly and lovingly at the same time. I don’t mince words or sugarcoat, but I am not brutal and cutting in my delivery. My stature and disposition are such that I tend to be accepted by most. I can talk to just about anyone and get on just fine. Although I am a Christian, I am able to be an open, loving and safe person for literally anyone to come to for prayer, no matter what faith or lack thereof, they possess. I have people who are atheists, agnostic, witches and more, all of whom I love dearly, come to me for prayer, knowing full well it’s Jesus all day over here. I seem to get passes in places and spaces and hearts where others are irrevocably shut out, and God has blessed me to be able to do it while not compromising who I am at all, not even one iota. I love it. Well, I mostly love it.

Sometimes, I want to fly off the handle a bit. Sometimes, I want to just brutally state things that I know are true, but that is not my assignment. I seem to be a go between of sorts for people on their way to the Father who would never go to some others I know. I wish I could be as snarky as I feel in some moments, but I know that would destroy things in ways that frankly, I’m not willing to. My ability to be loving has to override my need to be right. It’s sometimes a difficult place to be in but God is faithful. He gives me words and more love than enough and even safe people of my own to rant and vent to when I have let Him have an earful.

I wrote another (probably cryptic) post on my Facebook wall today. It’s interesting- I’ve been doing it for a while now and while I can clearly see where some people’s hearts are, they don’t at all realize where they are in the moment.

There are things that are about to take place and I am praying. My latest post is as follows:

“I know I keep saying this, but I will be praying. Lotta hurt coming for some. Some will enjoy and have their popcorn and cake, while others will be scared, angry, confused and utterly shocked. For those who will find themselves in the latter group, I will be praying for you and sending you love. All will be OK even though it won’t feel that way.”

Inevitably, some who I know (in my heart) will fall into that latter, hurting group, show they don’t have any idea, nothing in them is stirred to see what’s right before us. It is for them I pray most, as it seems they will be the most hurt. What seems so obvious to some, just isn’t for others. It doesn’t make one better though. We can and have all been deceived at times.

Another post I wrote was about a brother who asked God why others didn’t see what to him is completely obvious. God told him that those who love the truth, see. How sad. Even more than ever, I believe 2020 was about exposure and clarity of vision. Either way, I will celebrate as God has placed in my heart some serious celebratory vibes, lol. And, I will also be praying for those who won’t enjoy the plot twist that is to come. It really is a great thing for us all. Simply because God wins.

Loving On My Abba

God is amazing. I am in such awe of Him. I love how He moves, blesses and protects us. I love how He uses any and everything to reach us, change us and elevate us. I love how merciful and gracious He is, how He cares about every little detail. I see how He plays with me and helps me practice hearing Him. Just the other day, as we looked for something we didn’t even end up needing, I closed my eyes and saw what looked like a picture of what we were looking for. I went to that location and found it there. I feel that was God practicing with me. Every interaction isn’t as obvious as neon lights, screaming a message. Sometimes, actually, a lot of the time for me, He speaks calmly, quietly, almost imperceptibly. I hear Him this way often. I wonder how many times I miss Him.

I love how good He was to me and my family in 2020, when so many collectively complained about the year. It was an amazing year in so many ways. I am now seeing that the last few years, while incredibly difficult and painful, were also not just great years, but pivotal years for me. I needed to deal with and go through it to come out the way God intended. I love how He is teaching me to look to Him and trust Him in deeper ways. I am far less concerned about how I am perceived by others now. I feel like a new person and at the same time, more of who I really am. I am ok with others’ disappointment. I’m ok that I won’t always be understood or accepted. I don’t need to break things down to people so that I am vindicated or justified in their eyes. It doesn’t matter. God has me covered. I am not so easily swayed or manipulated any longer. I have a much better understanding of where others end and I begin and I’m not confused about how, when and where to draw definitive lines. I’m no longer banging my head against a wall, trying to understand, make sense of, or participate in toxicity and chaos. I am free and at peace.

If there’s joy to be found, God will help me find it. We have fun with that. If there’s a reason to laugh, tickled, I will be. If there’s something to be done by me, I will do it. If I need to pull back and have a seat, I will do that too. I aim to keep my head to the chest of my sweet Abba. I aim to be ever aware of His rhythm and flow along, because with Him, I am safe. His love knows no bounds. How utterly beautiful He is.

I’m A Little Teacup (Apparently)

All my life, I have had what I now recognize as a prophetic gift. I would inexplicably know, hear or sense things. There weren’t many people I could openly talk to about any of it but it was there, showing up at various times in my life, over and over again. Sometimes, I’d blurt something out, other times, I’d just know. There were even times, I acted on what I knew and all would work out beautifully.

I don’t believe my gift is just for me, but I now see that it is not just for others either. I enjoy ministering prophetically, and I do so, not just in “appropriate”, church related areas and events, but wherever I am, whenever I feel I should. I feel compelled to do what God leads me to do, even if others don’t like it or agree. I just do, and I don’t apologize for that.

God gives us what we need as we are able to handle it. He is so good, He wouldn’t give us something good that we couldn’t handle, only to have it crush us. I got pretty good at ministering prophetically to others, it would get especially interesting and fun when I’d be paired with my oldest daughter. We have a sort of “Wonder Twin Power Activate!” kind of thing when paired together. We often see parts of the exact same message God has for people we minister to, and have been known to give really nice, more full pictures of things for people. It’s nice.

After some years of ministering to others, a group of friends and I began to focus on hearing God for ourselves more. We all agreed that hearing for others felt better, more accurate. When hearing something for ourselves, it got tricky. So many questions come to mind. Am I making it up? Is this me just telling myself what I want to hear, or is this really God? Lord, can you give me confirmation through something or someone else? Am I hearing you right? Can I trust that I am hearing from you, but for me this time?

I (low key) enjoy challenges, so along with my friends, I began a journey of getting to a point where I am more confident in hearing God for myself. I’m still on this journey and others, of course, but I am definitely not where I was and I believe it was all a massive set up, by God.

He began to tell me things for and about myself. He’d then confirm them in many ways, oftentimes, before I would think to ask for any confirmation. Without going into a long story, He has walked me through some unimaginable stuff, telling me exactly how to do it- and it didn’t always make even a little bit of natural sense- but it has been nothing short of glorious. The faith that I have in Him has grown exponentially. I’m pretty buff in the spirit, hahaha! With Him and because of Him, I am able to walk pathways not many can walk, and I am able to do it with my joy, peace and strength in tact. Perhaps these are stories I will tell someday. For now, let’s just say, I am one who looks nothing like all I’ve been through. When some hear my stories, they are shocked because again, you’d never know if I didn’t say anything. That’s how gracious God is though.

As long as I live, I will do what He wants me to do and say what He wants me to say to others. Right now, I’m just grateful that it isn’t just for others. It’s for me too.

I’ll end with a vision God showed me a few days ago. I eagerly sent a message to my Gary about it the next morning. He interprets dreams and visions… Here’s what I wrote:

“Good morning beloved Dad! I had a vision as I went to bed last night. I saw a white teacup. It was tilted over to pour and what was pouring out was crystal clear rivers of waters. It was an impossible amount pouring out of this small teacup, but it poured continuously and vigorously. Basically, a river pouring from a little white teacup, hahaha!”

Lol, I can still see the teacup. That water was not slowing or stopping. It was gushing forth with no end in sight.

Do you know what my dad said? His reply was simple. He said, “The teacup is you.” How sweet is God?!

Moments of Pause

Several years ago, I learned to pause. I would intentionally stop and do nothing, even if just for a minute or two. Over the years, this time has proven to be an amazing reset and reprieve as there’s always something to do in a house of 7.

During these moments, I rarely actually pray. I simply turn my heart and mind towards God and am open to hearing from Him in these moments. One of the things I have noticed is that it has caused me to be far more in tune with Him. At the busiest points of my day, in the midst of all the noise, I can still hear Him clearly. It’s as if, in the intentional moments, I am tuning in more pointedly and as I leave that moment, the tuning that I have gained remains, only to be improved with the following intentional pauses.

I love and appreciate that in the midst of anxiety ridden moments, I can still hear Him. I love it when He asks me, “What are you looking at?” in those moments, jarring me from sinking further into despair. I am able to shift my focus and look at Him because He is just so beautiful. It feels like such an amazing cheat to have in life. We never have to wallow in despair and anguish. What a gift!

My time of pausing typically includes me just listening to whatever sounds are around me. Right now, my children are asleep and I hear my cockatiel Birdie, singing and chirping beautifully. I hear planes flying overhead, cars whizzing by, birds outside, the hum of the refrigerator and the clicking of my fingers as I type this. I really enjoy the simple beauty in just being.

God is changing my pauses now in an interesting way (for me). My pause now includes worship music at times. Being a classically trained coloratura soprano who has sung in church for most of my life, one would surmise (incorrectly) that I listen to music all the time. Music is a sore spot for me. Oftentimes, it is very triggering, especially now. It takes me back to times that I had forgotten about, feelings I’d buried because I couldn’t deal with them at the time. It brings too much to the forefront, too fast and too intensely and I hate it. Most of the time, I don’t mind when my husband and children play music around me. We have fun singing during road trips and have frequent dance parties in our living room, but sometimes, depending on the type of music being played, I can’t handle it and seek to escape. On my own, I am far more prone to listen to books or lectures than music. Now, God has me actually wanting to hear music at times during my pauses and it is quite glorious.

I would like to share one of my current favorite pause songs by Rick Pino called Pour My Love On You. Click here for the link. I hope you enjoy it. It really blesses me every time I listen.

I’m still not listening to music in the car as I drive, though. Don’t want to. Love you…

Harmful Perceptions and Mindsets

In Disney’s Pocahontas, when they sang, “They’re different from us, which means they can’t be trusted”, it was easy to see how self-righteous they were. I believe it was easier for viewers to see because we got to see both sides.

We got a glimpse into how both sides lived and thought and had a picture that was more broad. From what I can see, the sentiment from that song has permeated a good deal of people in America.

On one hand, we say we love freedom and free speech, but the moment someone says something in opposition to the narrative we have chosen to believe, we damn them. They are wrong, we are right. We condemn what we don’t understand and label people accordingly. We call them hateful names, believe them to be deceived and worse, all while missing the venom spewing from our very pores. All this, because we don’t understand their point of view. How childish… How self-righteous… How, narcissistic.

Our thinking and comprehension is finite. We have little more than tunnel vision when it comes to many things. We need each other to see things more clearly. We need God. In some instances, we seem to be able to face this fact, but the idea that someone you don’t understand is suddenly deemed whatever horrible label you want to assign to them, is sheer lunacy. Just say you don’t understand! You know your side, how about you listen to another side? You just might learn something.

People’s hearts are so wounded. It grieves me to witness the horrific things that come out of those I previously thought were mature, balanced, and kind. I am even more amazed as I see that they are completely blinded to their hatred. It is true that when pressure is applied in one’s life, what’s inside comes out. For some, it is a shining moment, where obvious inner beauty shines forth as with diamonds that have endured tremendous pressure. For others, what comes forth is simply rancid and ugly.

My prayer today is that we can all learn to look inward. As I type, Michael Jackson’s Man In the Mirror plays in my mind. We truly need to be the change we wish to see. Many of us have heard that often, but how many of us actually live like that? If you have hatred and are holding grudges, spewing all forms of malice in anyone’s direction, you are bound and only hurting and deceiving yourself. Galations 5:1 in The Passion Translation reads, “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free– not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.”

If you see yourself still bound, still as a victim, still being oppressed and depressed by some elusive other, you won’t experience the freedom Jesus died and paid for. As long as you see yourself this way, yeah, you are oppressed. You need little help from anyone else to keep you that way too. You do it yourself just by your thinking. You turn your back on what the Word of God says, in favor of… what? As my dad, Russ would say, “How’s that been working for ya?” We have to stop putting all the focus on some elusive other, look inward, get real with what’s there, and seek to heal. Famous Actor Denzel Washington said, “We can’t blame the system. It starts at home. By the time the system is involved, it’s already too late.”

Truly, it starts with that “Man In the Mirror”. As long as we are looking outward for others to fix our issues, we will only be as good as they are to us, moment by moment. I don’t know about you. You are free to do what you want, but I am not set up for that kind of bondage. I am free.

Who Is Responsible For My Wounds?

We live in an unjust world. We live in a world where people, for whatever reason, can do us wrong, wreak havoc in our lives on many layers, and simply walk away without ever taking any responsibility at all, never making any attempt to make amends or right the wrong(s).

I believe, a very difficult truth to stomach, is that our wounds are our responsibility. Recovery from any wounds is never easy, although some wounds are easier to recover from than others, but if we wait around for the offender(s) to make things right for us we may very well wait until we die, all while we sit, feeling justified and angry or pretending our wounds don’t exist.

Some of us actually allow ourselves to get comfortable in our pain, preferring the position of victimization, taking it on as an identity of sorts, nursing and in some cases, deepening our own wounds without any further help from the original offender(s). We can make things worse for ourselves and be completely deceived all the while.

I believe this isn’t necessary. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. It was for freedom that he has made us free but we have a choice in the matter. At every turn, we have free will. We can decide to just stay enraged, hurt and grow more and more bitter, or we can take him at his word, move into experiencing all he paid for on the cross, and actually be healed.

The path to healing is not linear, easy or fun, but it is far better than remaining stagnant, steeped in anger, fear, frustration, and confusion, all while trying to make someone else take responsibility and make things right for us.

I am not saying we should be an open door, allowing any and everything to come our way without us seeking to protect ourselves. That should be common sense. Most of us, when we come home for the day or before going to bed at night, lock our doors. Boundaries are necessary. We must guard our hearts in the same way or we will slowly allow what the enemy has sent our way, to utterly destroy us.

I don’t say any of this from any sort of rosy position. I say this as one with experiences, many times over, where I have been mistreated without any sort of recompense.

I say this as the 14 year old girl, whose mother decided to leave her and her 9 year old cousin home alone overnight while she went to on a trip to a casino and rape occurred when we allowed neighborhood friends over that evening after school.

I say this as the one whose rapist told many that “He had her”, never making any sort of amends ever, even up until he died.

I say this as the girl whose mother, when she learned of the rape, said, “I thought about whether I may be responsible for that happening to you, but I decided I’m not. I deserved to get away.”

I say it as the Black woman who has been the token in several workplaces, knew it, and has personally experienced racism and discrimination.

I say this as the woman who, with God’s leading has decided to stand up and say, “No more!” to years of abuse, betrayal and more from the very person who should have protected me, loved me and cared for me, all while my character is being tarnished to all who will listen behind my back because I have stepped out of my “proper” place.

Of the few who dared approach me upfront, only one has asked me why I backed away. The others who approached me came to try and convince me to fix what I did not break. I feel they came to me because they know I am the safer one to speak to in such a manner. Others just talk about me behind my back, believing whatever is being said about me.

There is no responsibility being taken. There are no apologies, no changed behavior. Nothing. So who will fix this? Who will fix me? Should I go around enraged, unloading my anger on any and every one who hits one of my many raw nerve endings I possess and sometimes nurse as dear friends? Should I wait for the day they will see their errors and seek repentance? Would that fix me? Would it make me brand new if they did? Who will fix it all for me? Who will take responsibility for me?

I won’t go to my offenders for help in repairing my wounds. It doesn’t work. They are massively wounded themselves to even have the self-awareness necessary to even glance my way, and I know this like I know my name. I choose to take responsibility for my own wounds, face what is, and go to The Great Physician. I won’t go to people to do for me what I know, only God can do for me. I take full responsibility for my wounds. My position, my confession, and my declaration over my life is that with God’s help and by Jesus’ stripes, I AM HEALED.

The God Cheat

There have been so many times I thought to write. There have been many things I thought to write about, but each time, I just didn’t. I have had so many different things on my mind. I have several new things I am already doing and a few others that want to get into, so, as usual, I’m all over the place.

I pray all is well with you and yours during this time. For many, it is fraught with fear, uncertainty, sadness and more. I pray often for us all, and especially those having a tough time as we wait out this pandemic.

I never want to appear callous or as if I take grave things lightly, especially when others around me are clearly suffering. I am sensitive to that as I have been told throughout my life that I didn’t take things seriously because I wasn’t perceived to be worried enough.

The fact is, I trust God. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bouts of fear and He doesn’t have to pull me back into sanity, but as I heard a doctor say on a video, (paraphrasing) “If I can’t trust God to protect me from this virus, how can I say I trust Him for salvation and an eternity with Him in Heaven?”

In the beginning of this, I remember a moment where I felt fear creeping in. It was because of false information being circulated. Thankfully, God set me straight and showed me where I was to get my information. Ever since then, I have felt hope and peace and even joy in the midst of it all.

In this moment, I sat to write because I suddenly turned my attention to Abba and said, “Are you serious? Am I really sitting here happy and making plans and enjoying this time? It seems like I am cheating. It seems kind of wrong.” I am enjoying time with my husband and our 5 children. I am planning and delving into new things and old things that I used to enjoy, like rollerskating. Numerous blessings have come about because of and in spite of all that is going on. Things just look, hopeful and bright. I won’t apologize for this, and I refuse to allow anything or anyone rob me of this.

A former pastor of mine used to say peace isn’t the absence of conflict. You know you have peace when all hell is breaking loose around you and you’re good. I am using wisdom when I have to go out, but I am grateful that I am not afraid. I see this as an opportunity to grow deeper in intimacy and trust in God. I remember when I felt that first bout of fear coming on, I asked God to help me to trust Him because I didn’t really know how. The really cool thing is, even with Him saying we are to trust Him, He is the one who helps us to do it. He does it all. I pray you are well.

Loneliness

I am convinced that the idea of loneliness is a scam. Perhaps it’s our feelings, trying to lie to us.

The fact is, we are surrounded. We are never, ever alone, not even for a millisecond.

I have not felt lonely in a long time, several years now. I’ve noticed a few times recently, that I am tempted to feel I am alone but it never seems to take hold these days and I am grateful.

I’m grateful that I hear from God so well, that if that inkling comes, I hear Him say, “Hi.” or, “I’m here.” It is actually difficult for me to feel alone in this world.

Truly, I shouldn’t feel alone. No one should. It’s a lie. The truth is, I am in union with Him. There’s nothing I can do to change that and I don’t want to. Maybe I could ignore it, but why would I want to even do that?

My prayer for you is that if you don’t experience this as your reality, that you will. You are never alone. You never have been, nor will you ever be, and that is an amazing thing to consider.

Owning My Stories

Anne Lamott says we own everything that happens to us and that we should tell our stories. This brings up fear, sadness, false shame, false guilt and anger for me.

I don’t enjoy causing anyone pain, whether it be directly or indirectly. I have gone out of my way to not say things, or to say them only when absolutely necessary, with such meticulous calculation, that I can cause the least amount of pain possible. I see now that this is another layer of codependence. This is another way I take on responsibilities that are not my own, and frankly, I want to be done with this harmful practice. It serves no one, not even the ones who think they would fare better with my silence and enabling.

When I was ordained 3 years ago, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I remember low-key begging my mother to keep quiet about it and of course she didn’t. Anything I didn’t want shared, should not have been discussed with her, lol because it would always be as good as broadcasted before anyone who would listen. It took far too long for me to understand this. I think part of the reason I felt unofficial was because I didn’t feel I had a clear understanding of my purpose.

I now understand my ultimate purpose is to love and be loved by Him. From there, I have gifts and things to share, all from a place of overflowing love from my Abba. These are things I get to do, not absolutely have to do. There’s no ball and chain that comes along with this deal. There is freedom, peace, love, joy, and when the trials of life come, there’s my Abba, walking me through it all. We do it all together.

I am naturally, an open person. I don’t like superficial conversations and small talk. That is draining to me over time. If you look at my very first blog post, I’m sure there was a level of vulnerability there because it’s just who and how I am. I make no apologies for that, but now, things are different. God has shown me areas of my life that I need to face full on. Things I need to accept and deal with, and in doing so, I need to speak and share openly.

It hurts. The last thing I want to do is cause others to feel uncomfortable, but my sharing my story is just that- me sharing my story. I am not responsible for others’ feelings or actions beyond that.

Anne Lomott’s quote says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

God is giving me greater clarity on my ministry, and in order to do it, I must have room to speak openly. I will do my best to be sensitive to others, but I will not shy away from where God leads. I said earlier, that beyond loving and being loved by God, I get to do other things. I refuse to live a mundane existence where I cower in fear of man or woman. When it comes to my life, I want Jesus to get what he so dearly paid for because I love him. I love him more than I fear you. There’s more to come, dear reader.

Sacrificial Praise (& Worship)

God bless those who deal with pain day in and day out, with no definitive end in sight. I must say first, that I don’t believe this is God’s will for anyone. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world but he also said he has overcome the world. He didn’t say he, Holy Spirit and the Father were conspiring together, figuring who they would dole out what ailment to for this amazing “opportunity for growth” or something else that we like to make up when we don’t understand another’s suffering. If sickness and death were God’s pleasure, he’d be downright crazy to have sent Jesus to take care of it all. No, God is not crazy, and I don’t pretend to understand much beyond His being a good God and giving us the ability to heal.

That said, today marks 16 days of dealing with pain from back spasms. I’m not sure how I managed this, but I did and boy does it hurt.

At first it was a pain that I ignored. Then I took notice of it but still kept going as normal until the pain jolted me to respect its presence and had me crying because I couldn’t do much without feeling it.

Once I was in bed, I began to feel sorry for myself and even got angry. I am not good at sitting still, and frankly, I didn’t. I still managed to make a sourdough cake, sourdough pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon bread, lasagna, hummus, tuna dip, sourdough crackers and more. Again, I am not a good patient.

Thankfully, a friend introduced me to a Christian talk show called Better Together. One of the women on the show reminded me of how, when we get to Heaven, there will be no more pain and suffering. The type of praise and worship we are able to give here on earth, the sacrificial, sweet smelling aroma, born of pain, trials and tribulation, will no longer be something we can offer our Heavenly Father once we are gone from this earth. That gave me another jolt, albeit a nicer jolt than the back spasms provided.

I suddenly had an opportunity! Instead of wallowing and being angry about the pain and having to be still, I could offer a sacrifice of praise to my dear Abba. No, I wasn’t thanking Him for the pain, that’s stupid and weird, plus He didn’t cause it. I could spend that time however, praising Him and loving on Him in spite of it all. It reminded me of the last miscarriage I had before giving birth to my youngest son, Jonathan.

I was literally contracting, and could feel when my baby left my body. In that moment, something changed as I stood before a crowd, leading worship with my daughter and my dad Russ, singing Great Are You Lord to my Abba. It felt amazing. By the time I got home, I had bled through everything and found the remains of my child. Thankfully, my pants were black so no one noticed.

That memory is bittersweet, obviously because I miscarried again, but it is a very sweet memory because I was making a statement and taking a stance that all of hell likely shuddered to witness. Yes, I was hurting, both physically and emotionally, but I was still worshiping my God right in the midst of it all and receiving a healing that I can’t begin to describe. And it was no coincidence that the son God named and promised me I would have, is called, Jonathan, “Yahweh has given”.

Again, I’m not saying this is a good thing to be able to be in pain to praise God. I know how to praise Him when I am not in any pain too. But now, when I feel the pain from these muscle spasms (which has greatly diminished, thank you Jesus), I will use it as an opportunity to worship. I won’t be able to worship this way when I get to Heaven, so for now, I am taking advantage of it.