Granny

5 years ago today, my granny passed away. I do not speak much about this because I just go about life as if she was at home waiting for my visit. Reality is not my thing if I can escape it, I will. I suppose that is why I am such a vivid day dreamer.

My grandmother’s death was a complexing event in my life. She passed two days before my wedding day. She passed during the celebration. I am not sure I have ever experienced such joy and heartache all at one time. It surely was a curve ball to the heart.

My granny was like a second mother to me. She was my confidant, my safe place and mentor in the way that she gave without reservation. I love my granny more than I could ever explain. Since I could remember I would think about the day that she would pass away. I know that sounds strange but I tried to prepare my heart to lose such a beauty because I think if I am prepared I can control the situation. However, leave it to her to leave us in a way that no one could be prepared for, two days before my wedding day. She was not a typical gradma. She was tall, had long fingers and big feet. She never cooked me a delicious homemade meal, she did not hug me alot or sugar coat life. She was a hardworker, her veins stuck out on her hands, she whipped our tails with yard sticks and used harsh words at times. You never wondered if you had a safe place to go though, she was always there. She was the best listener and slow to give advice. She loved with her works like no one I have ever met. She gave more than she had on most days and you didn’t have to be blood to receive. She took no grief from anyone, she carried her own battles well. She was strong and loved strong. She was my hero. Everyone was family. I think what stuck out the most to me about my granny was a few times a year I would watch her invite two people into her home with no regard. These two people I knew had hurt her. Her ability to forgive baffled me. I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I wanted to forgive and I wanted to give without regard and I wanted to love hard and strong. She honestly was a candle in a dark room.

I am thankful for the time I had with granny and all the lessons she taught me. Today, on the anniversary of her death, just two days from my 5th wedding anniversary, I am thankful for the lesson she taught me through her passing. I had no idea how a lesson could come from her death, OHHH but it did. How important it is to celebrate the victories in the midst of grief. Grief will come, heartaches are inevitable, pain is a part of life but if we hold on to those things too close, to tight, we can miss out on the celebrations ,the victories, the blessings that are before us.

I think it was last winter bad weather was trying to hang on longer than we like. It was in March and we had a snowfall. My husband and I was driving through the park. I looked up and there were these beautiful pink blossoms poking through the snow covered limbs on these trees. It just clicked in me, God truly makes something beautiful out of every single situation in our lives, when we allow him too. He grows us through the storm and somehow the storm allows our blossoms be so vivid and full of color, just like the blossoms poking through that snow. The pink was brighter than what I had remembered seeing it in the Summer, the blooms looked so much more full than I had noticed them before. Immediatly I thought about my granny’s death in the midst of my greatest blessing. I was grieving at the alter but yet I was receiving that day the greatest blessing of my life. March 12th, 2016 was the most beautiful day of my life yet in the midst of the storm. This day her selfless love for me shined like never before. She truly held on until she knew I was in the arms of safety. My prayer is that I can always put my self aside and love someone to safety until the day I die. Thank you, mamaw.

Many times since I have been complexed by circumstances maybe not being exactly right and yet I was living my best life. Sometimes in the midst of the loss you are heading to the blessing. Do not allow grief to blind you from your blessing or steal the joy of the blessing. I can guarantee you your blessing will glisten so much brighter after the storm. His glory will be revealed in such a greater way than you could have ever imagined. I am so thankful that God makes all things beautiful. I am so thankful for lessons that teach me how to embrace the blessings of God with gratefulness through it all.

Triggers

Am I the only one who deals with triggers? This was the question that was rolling over and over in my mind on Saturday and early Sunday. I dislike my own thinking sometimes. It becomes a downward spiral so quickly.

So typically when I am having a hard time in just one area, a trigger will come and when it does it is just down from there. It is hard enough having these thoughts but the worst of it is knowing what is going on, being well aware, yet unable to control. My husband tells me I need to learn to compartmentalize. Somehow he is a genius at this. Something bad can happen and I’ve seen him walk into a place to complete his duties looking all unmoved, litteraly minutes later. I would agree I need to learn this skill.

I was having a bad weak. And yes, I realize other people are having a much worse week than I. I have even had much worse weeks myself. lol So I get that. However, it doesn’t change the current, real, present circumstance. As I sat in church yesterday afternoon, I was asking The Lord why when one thing happens it still triggers a lifetime of memories. In turn takes my thinking into a very dark place. Yeah, I am delivered, redeemed, set free, forgiven in all so many different ways. God has revealed himself to me. I do know He loves and cares for me. I sometimes ask The Lord why I just cannot forget. He has all power, he could erase my memory. Yet he chooses to allow me to remember.

As I sat in my pew with my eyes closed trying to ask God to create in me a clean heart and a right spirit because I know when this is going on I could care less about anything. Caring is too much to deal with during these times, so I just shut down. Anyhow, I obviously have to repent lots. : ) As I was talking to Jesus and numb as could be…not feeling a thing a scripture came in to my mind. “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45)

I thought, “that is a interesting scripture in regards to triggers,” I was a bit confused. The more I pondered on this the more it made sense to me. Often times our mind is our worst enemy. There are hurts that have happened in our lives that felt as real as if someone took a sword and shoved it in your gut and your heart. Your mind will allow triggers to keep you reliving these things over and over and over. Each time, it will feel as real as the very first time. Each time you will become hurt, angry and possibly bitter all over again. I have often felt like a complete failure, non-Christian because forgiveness is a must and if I remember I am obviously failing as a Christian. These things are hard on the heart, especially if your earnest desire is to be what God wants you to be.

David fought the giant in the physical but yet David didn’t trust in the physical. He only trusted in The Lord. David was not victorious in that battle because he was capable of handling that giant on his own. In reality he was not. David knew a sword was no viable weapon against the name of The Lord. God could have taken the giant down without David. He obviously did not need a sling shot to win a battle. However, to mold David in the eyes of himself and the eyes of the people, he needed David to fight. He needed to realize where his help comes from. He needed David to learn to lean on The Lord and not on himself. He knew David’s destiny.

We all have different struggles. Those fiery darts from the past, when they haunt your mind, pick up your sword and fight. The sword of The Lord. His Word. We cannot fight flesh and blood or even our own thoughts but God can, His Word does. When we learn to redirect our trust from ourselves, our abilities and place our trust in Him we WILL WIN. Sometimes we have to tell ourselves, “Self…..I come to you in the name of The Lord.” A battle is a battle, in the physical or mental. God is God and will fight your battles for you but he does require you to show up, not shut down. David showed up, you think he didn’t look at himself and think, I cannot? I’d say he probably did but he placed his trust in The Lord and confidence in what The Lord told him to do. He showed up. He didn’t stop. He didn’t allow his emotions or thoughts to override what God told him to do. No weapon is too strong for God.

Happy New Year

Fair warning, this is not your typical New Year happy go lucky, let’s get it post. As I was driving to work this morning all I could think about was how I cannot shake this funk and how this is not the correct or strong way that I am supposed to feel.

It is now about 11am. And I have self-talked, self-doubted, self-encouraged all morning long. Welcome to my head, all of that in about three hours’ time. I have went from one extreme to the other. Mostly because I feel maybe about 2% motivation and 98% unmotivated. I am very familiar with this place. I have visited here before.

I have spent a little over a month taking so kindly to my pj’s. I can stand in a crowd of people with a big smile on my face all the while clinching my fists wishing I could click my ruby red slippers and be back inside of my home. I often wonder if other people struggle as I do. If we are all often in attendance of a great big Masquerade Ball, publicly showing expression without revealing one’s true identity. These balls were designed for a specific, prominent class of people. They were originally formed as a celebration of marriage but throughout history often turned into an ungodly affair of untamed emotion.

These days I often find myself in positions that it is incorrect to express when you are downtrodden, feeling despair or even fearful. It could possibly be frowned upon or pinpointed as weakness. I often hear speeches in regards to fear, anxiety and depression. I often hear that we must “speak” these things out of our spirit or even pretend like they do not exist and somehow this makes them nonexistent. Many times I wonder if these people who proclaim these things has ever dealt with true depression, anxiety or fear. If they have ever been awaken out of a dead sleep feeling as if their heart would explode? Or have they ever had to muster up enough strength to place two feet on the floor to get ready for the day? Or maybe they have never felt despair in a way that took their breath away? Maybe they have never had fingernail prints in their hands from clutching their fist so hard just to make it through a conversation? All the while speaking to that mountain to be moved. Many times, men and woman shame these real, true emotions that real, true people deal with and in turn create a room full of masks with hurting people behind them.

In all honesty, this does work for a moment in time. But at night, after the party is over, the mask laying on the floor, the truth becomes evident and must be dealt with. Too many times we leave people with the impression that they must have done something wrong, or have a mental disorder, or are incapable of handling hard things because they struggle with these issues. Eventually the Masquerade Ball turns into the great fall.

Today, I would like to scream out “FREE PEOPLE FROM THE FACADE” so they can heal. Give them answers, instead of a mask to join your club. Truth is I am tired. I do fear Covid, I do fear the vaccine, I do fear for my children and grandchildren, I do fear our country’s state, I do fear how people will react to whomever the next president will be. Somedays, as much as I want to be strong enough not to gather with people of like faith, I fear the day it may not be possible. I do hope that my walk with God will endure social distancing but truth is I miss laying on the alter. I am tired of feeling ashamed or weak for longing for what I was taught to love and depend on as a child.

So, finally, after three hours of SELF talk I decided to read The WORD of God. Mask off, nope I did not start there. I googled, nope I did not have my Bible with me, mask off….I googled scriptures about rest. The very first one was one of my very favorite passages.. (Matthew 11:28-30) “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [f]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” And all I could do was read and reread. If I have been taught any one thing it IS that THE WORD of God is like breathing new life into your bones. My eyes began to tear up. My heart beat began to ease up and I could breathe.

His Word shows His understanding for our state of mind. There is no shame in this passage there is just instruction and a promise. If you take the time to learn of me/HIM, if you bind yourself to The Father, you will find rest. Maybe just maybe you are like me, you have attended church many years, said many prayers, learned much scripture and maybe just maybe you still struggle. It’s okay. But I challenge you today to remind yourself. Pull out His Word and remind yourself of who He is. He is the Alpha & Omega, the first and the last. He is the Way, Truth and the Life. He is the Rose of Sharon. He is the Bright and Morning Star. He is the good Shepherd. He is…..(Isa 9:6) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

So every single time you find yourself trying to muster strength just to breathe, remind yourself of who Jesus is…to YOU! The Word of God is true and amen. Nothing can change it and absolutely nothing can separate you from that love He so freely gave to you. He understands your make up. He knows you by name. You never have to wear a facade with Jesus. If there were no need of a savior, there would be no Jesus, if there were no need of a counselor, we would not have a Jesus, if there were no need for peace, we would not have Jesus. The sooner you release yourself from your mask the sooner your face will glow with His mercy, not your ability.

I am so thankful today that He loves us. I am thankful today that there are instructions and great provision for each of us in His Word. The answers do not lie within our own ability but in the ability of our God, after all He is as close as the mention of His name to each of us and still yet the creator of the universe. We may fear within our own hearts from time to time but when we learn to yoke ourselves with Him, the burden does become light. It does take an effort, more than just self-talk or positive thinking. It does take digging in the Word of God, learning of Him. I am convinced you never stop learning His ways. Every single time you open His Word you will be enlightened, amazed and renewed. That is a promise. Keep your eyes upon Jesus, He is going to see you through.

CRUSHING

As I laid down last night to go to sleep I kept thinking about the crushing. What it means to be crushed, how it feels to be crushed and the purpose of the crushing. None of it sounds so pleasant or appealing.

In our world today people are angry. They are reaching far for a type of justice that will go way back and alter past wrongs. I am not writing this to express my thoughts or position on these matters. I will however express my sympathy regarding injustice. I for one despise injustice. I will fight for the underdog and will pretty much cut out of my life anyone who tends to bully another around. I despise a bully and I despise people who think they are anything more than another human being. Despise is a strong word but honestly I feel strongly about it. However, I do not think you will ever win using the “eye for an eye” method. I also do not believe you will ever be able to go back and rewrite history. Oh, yeah you can tell the stories as you so choose but what is done is done.

I said all of that to say this, a lot of people are unhappy about the crushing, mainly the crushing that came many years ago to their ancestors. I would have to agree with them. Pondering on all of this got me thinking about being crushed. If I have said it once I have said it 20 times, every human at some point will face injustice of some sorts. Unfortunately no one is exempt because we are all humans fighting a daily battle with our very own ego and when ego wins someone else will be crushed.

Before I went to sleep I began to read about Lucy Farrow, who they call “the first lady of Pentecost.” The more I read the more I found out that she went through some real deal crushing in her life. Yet, she was the key player in the Azusa Street revival. She was a key player in spreading the good news regarding the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. We do not speak much about the things she faced in her life but we glory in her victories. We are a product of the environment that she created, even years and years later. If you have not researched her, I urge you to do so.

Then there is our own Sis. Willie Johnson. I think I asked the Lord 20 times during reading her book, why? Her life was so hard. The crushing. Yet, I can remember when she would visit my church and I, as a child would sit in awe of her anointing. But I never heard of her crushing until she was gone. Oh, how her legacy still moves on from generation to generation, still blessing each of us. There are so many I could write about today.

The crushing. I laid awake thinking why must such great people be so crushed? Then it hit me, the greatness came from the crushing. I woke up still thinking about the crushing. I begin to read Leviticus 24. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.”

“Beaten for the light.” WOWZER. Chills sprung up my spine. “Beaten for the light.” It all begins to make sense to me. You see the candlesticks in the tabernacle had to be filled with the purist of olive oil in order to burn continually. Back in the bible days olives were put through a crushing process in order for the purest of oil to be released from them. This oil held such a high value but it came with a price. A crushing stone was tied to a large lever. When the lever was pulled the crushing stone would come down on a basket full of olives and crush them, squeezing the oils out. Why such a large stone, for such a small olive? But it wasn’t about the olive or the stone; it was about the oil and the purity of the oil.

When test, heartaches and trial come our way and we want to lie down and say, why such a large crushing when I am just one small individual? Take heart my friend. It is not about the trial or even you but it is about the anointing that God himself is trying to purify in you so that you may be that light that sits upon the hill shining bright for the world to see, so that you may be used to change lives for generations to come. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

Oil will produce light but the purist of oils will produce light that lasts through generations. Do not despise the crushing, it has a purpose. And do not diminish the purpose of your ancestors; it was because of their crushing that our world was changed for the better throughout time. So it is true, when God is in it, crushing is always followed by light. The more crushing that comes, the more pure your lamp with burn and truly during these last days it will take the PURE light to reach our world.

 

 

The thumbprint of Poppa

Driving to work this morning I was reminiscing about all the lessons my father has taught me over the years. I use the word ALL lightly, as there have been so many. I am a bit hard headed I must admit and most lessons I have learned the hard way to say the least. I am extremely grateful for a Poppa who knows how to handle all of me.

The past few years have come with some great lessons. I can honestly say they have not been easy ones. However, nothing seems to come real easy for me. Some days I pray that He will just let me understand without teaching me…”don’t learn me that.” However, I know for myself that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. You may have understood these things for many years. I have heard them, I actually believed them because someone told me but I did not know or understand without the lessons.

I hate being weak. It actually makes me mad but all too often I find that I am weak. Learning to be okay with you can be a difficult journey. If you are anything like me you can spend hours upon hours replaying conversations, questioning did you say everything perfectly or did someone take that wrong or replaying your actions questioning did you do it just right. Living this way is exhausting.

For a few years I have felt like I needed to walk around with a resume on my back. I have carried the “am I good enough” question around like a purse I would have hung on my shoulder. Recently I decided I could and would not do that any longer. If I was ever going to fulfill my calling I had to change my thought process. I had to stop over thinking me. Yes, I do care how other’s perceive me, of course I do. I would be ignorant not too. However, I am choosing not to make that my focus any longer. How could I sincerely focus on another who may need me, if I cannot get over myself? I do not mean get over myself in an arrogant sense. I just mean stop spending so much time trying to cram myself into a cookie cutter pattern. Life is real short and if we aren’t careful we will miss our purpose trying to fit ourselves into the purpose. Comparison brings fear; fear will shut up our calling. Nothing or no one can remove the purpose unless you allow it.

As I was driving this morning the word thumbprint came into my mind. Me being me, I wanted to see what the true definition of thumbprint was. This is what I found, Thumbprint: something that identifies especially.  Which lead me to look up especially: in particular: b: for a particular purpose. I began to look around and see God’s thumbprint everywhere and how perfect it all is, the sky, the trees, the birds, the colors, you and me. We are all made differently but yet all beautifully and wonderfully made. We are all made to fulfill the great commission but yet in a very specific, particular way.

When we come to understand he has sealed us with His thumbprint we can be confident in who we are in Jesus. We can be confident in our place in His Kingdom. His thumbprint cannot be mimicked or copied; it is genuine, unique and specific. You do not have to spend your time trying to fit in, or be just right but rather find yourself lost in the hope that you are able to extend to another because of his thumbprint on your life, specifically. The grace he extended to you, He expects you to extend to another.

We all have a story to tell, a testimony to share. Not one is greater than another but yet all fits so perfectly in His Kingdom. Do not ever rob the Kingdom of God by trying to be like someone else. The mighty hand of God created you to be you with all knowledge as to what you would bring to the world for such a time as this. Grace is our teacher and it is through our weakness He is made perfect. Just as I am amazed when I look around at nature and understand each creation has a purpose, I also can look into the eyes of ALL of His children and realize they also are His handy work, beautifully and wonderfully made with a specific purpose for such a time as this. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on others, reach deeper and reach harder so no one gets left behind. I am so thankful for my Heavenly Poppa. I would not be here today if it was not for the lord.

 Esther 4:14

14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

 

Slow Down

 

Let’s Make A Trade

The passage of scripture below has been ringing in my head all week long. My husband and I spent a few days away, to relax. It was wonderful. The last few months have been mentally hard for each of us. God is so gracious to give us sweet rest.

The last few months I have been experiencing a sense of heaviness. I cannot pin point exactly what I feel all I know is how I feel. We often talk about prayer. I’ve used the term “We’ll pray” so much throughout the years, it almost feels cliché. I am a firm believer that prayer changes things. I do not only believe it, I truly know it for myself. I have experienced the power of prayer in my life. Because of those experiences, I trust in prayer. I also believe there is no way to hear from God, for Him to lead you, if you do not pray. God knew Abraham because Abraham had a relationship with God. As we have heard many times before, we must maintain our relationship with God. You cannot do that without speaking to and listening to Him. I enjoy prayer, I love prayer.

That being said, these past few months I have had a hard time in prayer. The heaviness that I feel makes me so weary. I keep hearing we need to engage in war and all I can think and tell the Lord is that I am so tired of war. I am tired of warring. Then I feel so guilty and worthless. Am I not called to war, to intercede, to be of a help in this time? I am tired. I do not want to fight. I do reach the throne of God here and there. I do breakthrough after I continue to push through the weariness in my mind. But my initial response is I am exhausted of warring.

The Lord placed this passage upon my heart this week. When I began to read it my heart leaped with a refreshing joy. It is almost as if the Lord is saying, “lets make a trade” Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….I began to think of the goodness of Jesus, I began to testify to my spirit. When I think of where He’s brought me from, I cannot help but to have joy in my heart.

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness really stood out to me. I have read this passage many times but the word “spirit” weighed in this time. A lot of times we do not understand what we are up against. We can take ownership of what we are feeling. However, a spirit that lingers in the air does not belong to you. If you have been born again through God’s grace and mercy the trade has been made. Every single good gift comes from above. It is through His grace, the ultimate sacrifice made that day paved the way for the trade. Do not take upon yourself the feelings of the principalities that roam the air. You may be opened up to feel them because you are called to pray against the attacks they’re trying to make upon the children of God but they are not yours to clothe yourself in. He has traded the heaviness for garments of praise. You have traded in those old garments for praise.

Is it possible the Lord is allowing you to feel what is oppressing the earth so that you may pray? So that you may understand how others are feeling that cannot fight. So that you may push through, stand in the gap for your city even your country? The weariness, the heaviness brings a sense of hopelessness. When people are bound in hopelessness there is no prosperity or growth. That is the plan of the enemy. Do not own the hopelessness. The trade is done for you. When we begin to speak of the goodness of Jesus…when we begin to humble ourselves and pray…when we begin to share the “good news”…the atmosphere will shift. The more people who make “the trade” the more liberty you will feel in your city. Do not allow “feelings” to bind you. It will stunt the movement of the right spirit, the spirit of the Holy Ghost. If you do not break through the weariness, if you do not continue pressing on, not only will you lose out but those around you that have not made “the trade” are going to lose out. Someone needs you. God has sent you to bind up the captive, the hopeless, and the brokenness in your city. He has allowed you to feel the pain and exhaustion so you understand the urgency. Do not own feelings, own your salvation, own your heritage and own your commission.

What a beautiful trade we read about in Isaiah Chapter 6. Every single person in this world needs to experience this. I know for myself the things that the precious blood of Jesus Christ has buried and the things He has brought to life personally. Let’s share, let’s give, let’s push through the what we do not understand and share Jesus with our world, more today than ever before.

-MY HEART

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

 

4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

 

6But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

 

7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

 

8 For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

 

9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

 

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.#decketh: Heb. decketh as a priest

 

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

 

 

HATE

Black

Hate, what a strong word! It almost stings as it comes out of your mouth. You can feel your body tense just thinking about hate. I woke up this morning with HATE on my mind. The news media is full of hate. It is almost like a plague. It starts in a specific area and before you know it, like wildfire it has infected millions.

My initial thoughts were on a national level, the outrage that is flowing across our country on the basis of racism. I actually HATE racism. Growing up my best friend’s skin color was different than mine; however her being was much like my own. I never looked at her and thought of her any differently in a negative sense. I loved her. She was my friend. She felt the same feelings I felt, she had the same struggles I had, she laughed the same as I laughed and smiled the same as I smiled, she got angry just as I got angry and was ornery as I was ornery. We did life together. We fought battles together. She stood up for me because I wore skirts every day as I stood up for her in other ways. We both, because of “class” or “religion” faced some tough ridicule during our school age years. We both survived. I periodically will check to see where she is in life now. She is a mom, the same as I, she works and has a career the same as I, she loves her family the same as I. She is now a beautiful lady that I honor because of her strength and endurance.

That being said I did see color in the way you would open a crayon box and see color but I also saw people in the same way as I saw those crayons, as people. The crayons all were a different color, no doubt about that. The crayons were all still crayons, no doubt about that either. Pretty simple, right? So I thought, until lately.

When I see a person, I truly just see a person. The hate that seems to dictate our world today, I cannot pretend to understand. It truly breaks my heart. I cannot wrap my mind around such a driving force that would persuade anyone to feel above another human. I really do not care about your status in life, your color or last name. What I do care about is YOU. YOU are a human, designed directly from The King’s hands. YOU are beautifully and wonderfully made. God’s Word says so. How could I ever believe it for myself, if I first cannot believe that for you? I cannot. We are children of God. His Word says, He desires for NO ONE to parish but for all to have eternal life. How could anyone feel the right to take another human’s destiny in their own hands? I will never understand.

As I laid there praying this morning, I became convicted and burdened, burdened for myself. I know strange, however I know me better than anyone knows me but God. The hate had me confused and examining. I have to examine what I know. I know myself. I began to dig, dig deep within my soul, checking out my inner being. As if I was taking a scope through every inch of my body. When I would come across a wound, a scar, a misunderstanding a failure it stung and my body would become tense, just the same as when I mention or think of the word HATE. I realized that unless we deal with life’s circumstance, unless we allow Jesus to heal us, hate lingers, hate becomes an ulcer that in turn will make the entire body sick. When we are sick physically we physically cannot act or react in a healthy way. When we are sick spiritually we cannot act or react in a healthy way either. Life is life; we cannot always avoid everything that will bring us harm. We can, however, allow Jesus to sift through our brokenness and heal our mind and hearts. We cannot carry the weight of  hate. It is the silent killer. It will wreak havoc on your mind, eventually destroying your body. This morning I was confused as to how such HATE could so quickly become so widespread. The answer is it has been lying silently in the heart of many. It has been widespread for years watching and waiting, ready to kill, steal and destroy. The devil uses our personal triggers, our personal wounds, our personal misunderstandings to bring division. The division feels justified because; after all we are hurting for legitimate reasons. But reacting to hurt with acts of hate does nothing more than cause more hurt and more open wounds, leaving a cycle of hate for generations to come.

No entity can survive under these circumstances. I do not care how spiritual you are, how right your doctrine is, how much you attend church….if you allow hate seeds to set in your inner being, you will never be a productive member of any entity. If hate is fed from one person to the next, this encompassing jealousy, envy and strife, that entity will never reach its full potential. You may have a victory here and there but you will never have complete success. HATE sabotages health and stunts growth. Each of us has some work to do, from the loudest protestor to the quietest person on the pew. We all have the potential to carry these weights. Until we learn to release them, to allow the blood of Jesus to flow through our veins, to allow God to heal, even when you feel justified, you will stay bound up in the current events. HATE is strong but quiet until it leads you to react. Every single time that reaction will cause some sort of hurt. Do not think you are above the person screaming in the streets for justice, if you’re quietly spreading hate seeds through gossip and strife. You are not! You’re destroying this land. You’re destroying people! This is a time to clean up the insides of our hearts and get right before His returning. We cannot help one single soul if we are sick ourselves.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7)

 

 

The Victory Garden

This morning my good friend sent me a youtube channel to watch. The videos were about war and survival, focusing on gardens. So I decided to read a little more outside of the videos. I came across articles regarding Victory Gardens. Being that I love to feed people that may be hungry, I was very intrigued by this concept.

A food shortage came about During the World War 1. The burden to feed millions of people fell on the United States.  A man named, Charles Lathrop organized The War Garden. This promotion prompted Americans to use their land to cultivate gardens. The flyers and posters read “Sow the seeds of victory.” Everyone got involved from the government to the land owners. As a result millions of new gardens were cultivated over a period of time. There were pamphlets sent out for those who were new garden cultivators. Canning “how too” instructions were even sent out in order to preserve the food longer. Everyone worked together, from the top to the bottom, for the cause. Because of the combined effort, millions of people were fed. Millions lives were saved. Generations and heritages were afforded the opportunity to live on. A nation was fed.

What if we once again decided to support, promote and cultivate “Victory Gardens”? I look around and I see people dying slowly. Sometimes, yes, it is of starvation. This breaks my heart. My new goal in life has been to scout out backpack people to see if they are hungry. Honestly, it is truly just a passion God has put in my heart. However, that is not what I am referring to today. I see people dying of hopelessness and bitterness. It is everywhere. There isn’t a certain class of people these diseases attack, it is everywhere. They didn’t see it coming, they weren’t prepared for the war and now they are starving.

Last Saturday I woke up and I couldn’t shake the feeling of “we are in a war.” Sometimes I get this feeling and it is a feeling that I have no doubt about. It is stronger than a surmise, a hunch or a thought….it is impressed upon me in a way that I have no doubt about it. I cannot explain it other than that. Well Saturday, this happened to me. “We are in a war.” Funny thing is before this I was unsure of anything. When I am unsure I am a fighter, I try to fight to figure things out my way. However, surety brings me peace. You may ask how the surety of war can bring you peace. It is because I know this one thing; The Lord God will fight for you. Deuteronomy 20:1-4  “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ The scripture tells us that there will be tribulation in this world but HE has overcome the world. John 16:3333 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. So, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

So many people believe in God, so why the hopelessness and bitterness in times of war? Is it lack of faith? Is it lack of relationship with God? Is it fear? Truth is I have no idea. I cannot pin point anyone’s shortcomings, as I have my own to bare. However I have the answer. It is in the Word of God. When we decide as a collaborative team to cultivate gardens by planting seeds of His Word in every single peace of land we come across, millions of lives will be saved. No longer will we see people malnutritioned because feasting on the true’s of Jesus Christ will fatten your entire spiritual being. Distractions can sow seeds of hopelessness and bitterness but His Word brings life. Distractions will keep your mind and heart so bound up that you forget the big picture, millions of lives that need saved. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. “Sow the seeds of victory.” Your focus will soon change. While you are planting seeds for others, you’re enriching your soil, your land…the land you and your family dwell. You’re busy ridding weeds, rocks and thorns out of your own life/garden to ensure lives are saved/fed.

Stop throwing stones, stop trying to figure it all out, stop hogging it all for yourself and become a cultivator and a promoter of “Victory Gardens.” Everyone was apart of the “Victory Garden” process, from the top to the bottom. Every single part was of equal importance. Remember every single time someone passes from this life that never understood the goodness, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ an entire generation could die there. But if we choose to stop over thinking, controlling and stone throwing and start weeding, plowing and planting generations will be saved. Our course in life is to live out His Word in every aspect. When we do this we will have a life of “Victory Gardens”, others can glean from, even in the middle of a War. Greater is He that is in YOU, than he that is in the world. Let your table be full of grace and mercy to who so ever will sup with you. Show the love of Jesus Christ daily. Spread the good news. Some may never enter my garden but they will yours, we need each other. We need to work together to fulfill this great commission. Don’t let the war distract you, allow it to enable you to live out the greatest commandment that was ever given to you. …Matthew 28:18-19

 

gardenThen Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, (JESUS NAME) and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”… Change a Nation.

 

Letting Go

I was thinking about the little things in life. Sometimes letting go is so difficult, letting go of small things that we think ties us to a specific identity. However, as good as they may seem these very things could very well keep us from our destiny, experiencing everything that was meant for us to experience. I was thinking about an article I read in regards to a man who built a castle. Yes, he built it with his own two hands. He brought in stone from the river and when that was exhausted he made his own brick with milk cartons and cement. He spent 50 years building this castle. As noble as this may sound, there is something about this story that just did not sit well with me. He spent over half of his life building a castle but the man died alone. The castle today is a dry, cold, empty monument for people to pass through.

I can not help to think about the time and energy we put into man made castles. The things we perceive to bring us contentment and stability, sometimes are the very things that hold us back from moving forward. We can work our fingers to the bone, we can spend all day and night surmising how to reach our goals and one day, at the end of our life, live in a cold, dark castle alone, never reaching our true calling and leaving a cold, dry, empty shell to the next generation to walk through.

Territorialism keeps us holding on to the little stones. Yes, eventually if you keep pulling the little stones out, stacking them on top of each other, you will build something but what for? There is a season for everything. God brings you to a place to mold you and teach you but not hold you hostage there. We hold ourselves hostage because we tie up our identity in those things rather than in God. We become dependent on the false stability and identity that is there for just a short time. If we never move, we never grow. Fear is a liar and the fear of letting go of the little stones, the little dreams, the little pats on the back; the momentary self fulfillment is a destiny thief. Oh, are the little stones important, they sure are but they are not your entire future…they are the foundation of your future. The foundation God uses to build upon but they are not the end, they are just the beginning. Do not use up the beautiful stones and when the river runs dry continue building with your own brick, your handmade brick, spending half your life working for no real cause? As noble as it seems to build a castle on your own, if God is not in it, you will be a dry, empty, exhausted, cold house of clay…where once dreams and destinies flowed through but you couldn’t let go of your own preconceived, territorial notions to grow into the vibrant, thriving work that leaves a legacy for other’s to thrive in not just walk through feeling empty.

The old man may have found great security in the big castle he built with his own hands; however his death was a result of intruders mixed with his own paranoia. There is truly no stability in a man-made castle, nor is there protection. Do not leave a monument for spectators, leave a school that enlightens, brightens and teaches students.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”

― C. JoyBell C.