Why, oh why, is this blog even here

As of today (Nov. 8, 2010) this blog will be a series of post following my journey in life. Don't worry, I lack any real Christian credibility ( other than loving Christ) so there will be no preaching, only reflecting on my daily struggles to be a good Christian, a decent wife, an OUTSTANDING mother and an ok person. Feel free to judge!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

30 days of Praise

Over the holidays my church connect group leader suggested we re-gift or make homemade gifts for our secret Santa game. I chose to regift and recreate a blessing given to me a few years ago while attending Kingdom Vision International Church in Columbus, Miss. The pastor there blessed us with "90 days of ridiculous praise," in which he gave us a list of 90 scripture-based affirmations to meditate and pray on over a 3 month period.
This simple idea changed my life. I was able to learn about the Bible and use it as a guide and crutch through life simultaneously without feeling ignorant. 
So I shared this idea with my group.
Now I'm sharing it with you. So for the next 30 days,  I'm going to focus on specific scriptures that may be useful in dealing with or understanding everyday issues!
The first three are based on a study guide my husband found at Creflo Dollar Ministries
Worshiping through the blood of Jesus is something we are personally working on at home right now, as we explore and strengthen our faith at home.

Empowered by the Blood of Jesus: Five Points of Victory

When Jesus was beaten, tormented, scourged, and nailed to the cross, blood poured from His back, head, hands, and feet; and He was also pierced in His side. Each place from which His blood flowed is significant because it represents a unique aspect of our deliverance. It is through these five points of victory that we have complete redemption and victory over satanic oppression.

  1. The Five Points of Victory from which Jesus’ blood flowed:     
    1. His back, which endured the stripes needed to bring about our healing.  
      1. Pilate had Jesus scourged (John 19:1).
      2. A scourge is not a whip; it is a multi-headed torture device with a thick handle and 39 long branches.
      3. Sharp objects such as small stones, bones, metal, and glass were fastened to the end of each branch.
      4. When prisoners were scourged, they were stripped, bound, and forced to lie face down. Their bare flesh was then “scourged.” 
      5. When the scourge made contact with a person’s flesh, the objects at the end of each branch tore the flesh off.  
      6. Jesus’ body was so badly marred by the abuse He endured that He was unrecognizable.
    2. His head, which bore the crown of thorns.
    3. His hands, which were nailed to the cross.
    4. His feet, which were nailed to the cross.
    5. His side, which was pierced by the Roman soldier.
  2. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
    1. The brutal scourging on Jesus’ back is the price He paid for our divine healing.
      1. “Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4).
      2. Jesus took on our grief and sorrows.
      3. We can be completely free from pain, sickness, and infirmities when we activate our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
      4. We activate our faith by proclaiming our complete deliverance from sickness and disease— because of His sacrifice.
    2. During His ministry on Earth, Jesus went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
      1. Jesus cast out demons that were oppressing people and healed many people who were sick.
      2. Some illnesses are the result of demonic oppression (Matthew 8:16).
  3. If we believe and rely on Him we will see the glory of God (John 11:40, AMP).  
    1. We do not have to beg God to heal us.
      1. We can come to Him in confidence, knowing that Jesus paid for our healing with the stripes on His back.

Scripture References:

  • John 19:1
  • Isaiah 53:3-5
  • Acts 10:38
  • Matthew 8:16
  • John 11:40, AMP

A woman on fire!

Working at a newspaper, I am rarely angered by opinion pieces. As a copy editor I've become numb to the ignorance, bigotry and gracelessness I often come across on the Opinion page. But recently the Lord lit a fire in my heart regarding the opinion of a man writing for a publication aimed at the black community in Southwest Missouri.
My husband (the neat freak)  has since thrown the paper out so I can't quote from it, but I'll paraphrase (as much as possible) without prejudice.
Basically the principle idea of the article was that in America a black man can't even pick cotton anymore. Opportunities are so limited, that "we" are left behind in the occupations that used to be the only things black people were permitted to do. He gave a slew of statistics about black men without diplomas, without degrees, locked away, selling drugs and lost to gang life. He blamed the demise of the black family, the black community and laid out everything black men needed to do to "save" the value of the black community.
So on to the fire.
Later that week, while reading a Walter Mosely novel where the central character argued before St. Peter that he didn't deserve hell because racism and classism made sinning his mode of survival,  the fire ignited again.
In the context of heaven vs. hell it became clear that discrimination of any kind was a tool of the devil. A tool to lead people away from their missions in life; a vessel for hate, an excuse for defeat. Hatred curses the hater and the hated.
So I became angry. I wasn't angry at racism, that's a hilarious fact of life; but I was angry that this educated man, was willing to dismiss me and my children as a lost cause because we can't pick cotton anymore!
What made me the angriest was that nowhere in this man's observations did he take into account the successes of the black woman. It was as if our high rate of graduation, our college degrees our six figure salaries somehow didn't count in the black community.
Let me just put this out there, as my grandmother told me a long time ago, we do not come from cotton picking people. As a black woman I was raised to succeed at school, at work, at home and in life -- not in the fields.
So what if the answer to any oppressed group was not to stop racism, not to find new crops to slave over, but to reject racism and classism, and sexism and accept God's gifts that come with being oppressed; resilience, faithfulness, creativity and hunger!
I am so hungry to receive God's Grace that I will push through any isms that might get in my way.
That was the fire I felt burning in me and I pray it continues to burn until the day I die.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simply Cintia: Day 23: Encouragement

Simply Cintia: Day 23: Encouragement: "Day 22: Happy Reminders Archives: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3"

I was encouraged by this and I hope you are too. It's not every day in our culture that we are uplifted by our peers.
So much of our interactions are competitive and defensive, so when I watched this blogpost of my friend Cintia I literally felt a weight lifted off of my heart.
It's hard to walk around with worldly armor! Unlike God's armor, which defies the gravity of stress, fear, worry and doubt, worldly armor can take on a literal manifestation in your life. Think about it, if you were a knight of olde, your armor would weigh more than you, it would need to to protect you from a battle axe or sword. The mental and emotional armor we wear daily carries the same weight. All in preparation to do battle with the world! But the Lord tells us we don't need this armor, it's just weighing us down — it's just keeping us down! We need to trust in His supernatural armor and take down our natural defenses. So take down the back-breaking sarcasm, the back-biting, the name-calling, finger-pointing, reactive, angry, vengeful armor of the world and put on the light-as-a-feather, loving, forgiving, uplifting, rejoicing, ENCOURAGING armor of the Lord.
My heart was filled with this message, just watching Cintia speak.
I was looking into the eyes of a person who genuinely wanted me to succeed in life — a person asking me to encourage others to do the same.
This is not an unusual feeling when checking out Cintia's blog or talking to her in general; she has a healing spirit that makes it virtually impossible to feel anger or frustration in her presence! It's like the woman breathes peace, and I thank her for those moments when she helps me to do the same.
Watch the post, pay it forward and encourage the people around you to encourage the people they encounter!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I read a story shared on The Crunk Feminist Collective  about  a woman who meets her sister for the first time on Facebook. Reading this story, all I could think was, 'WOW, What a blessing!'
I've never met my father. Throughout my life I've been told the story of how he met my mother, why he didn't stay. I knew he had a 'real' family and a 'real' daughter out there in the world — probably right there with him. But all I ever had was his name. A super generic, million just like it, pointless to google, name.
I'm embarrassed to say how long I waited for him to show up. I'm ashamed of how many times I stood on stages for award ceremonies, graduations, spelling bees scanning the audience for an eerily familiar face and an instant connection.
I can't tell you how much not having a father has impacted my life, but I will confess it's a very sensitive subject. Despite how much I've always wanted to meet my father, there's one person I would have liked to meet more — his 'real' daughter.
As a young girl, I loved her instantly, from the moment my mother told me she existed. It was a passing comment for my mother — one small detail she could give her desperate for information daughter. But for me it was a revelation. Somewhere out there I had a big sister. One day we would meet, talk, laugh — create our own family. It was a beautiful dream.
As an adolescent, I envied her. I imagined she must be smart, beautiful and extremely successful, that my father could be satisfied enough to not come looking for me. Only a massive failure, or perhaps a failed organ would ever move him to look for me. Surely he saw the early signs of inferiority when he first laid eyes on me as an infant. Next to my perfect sister, I reasoned, he saw no use for me in his life.
And now as an adult, I still have my sister on a floating pedestal. She's now my phantom opponent. Instead of envying her, however, my efforts have been turned to out-doing her. I guess a part of me hopes that if he ever does track me down, my success will make him wish he'd thought better of abandoning me all those years ago.
So reading this story about a woman who knew her father, but had never met her half-sister, I felt extremely connected. There's something about knowing there's a person out there who might look a little like you, or be able to tell you things about your father that your mother can't — there's something truly beautiful about that. There's a connection I feel with her, that she may not even know about.
I pray that through the Blood of Jesus I will be blessed enough to find my blood-bonded lost ones someday and reading that account of it working out for one woman gave me a little hope that it could happen for me.
While I wait on my blessing, however, I'll pray that the pain and envy that have come with the rejection of not knowing my father be washed away with the same blood that will bring us together.
And in case you happen to stumble upon this blog Mr. Timothy Carter, you (or your daughter) can find me whenever you want. I'm just a click away.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Patiently waiting

It's strange that we associate the heart with feelings. In all my years, I've always found the stomach to be a much more clear indicator of how I'm feeling.
Butterflies of anxiety, excitement; the sudden empty rush of fear; and my least favorite, yet most frequent abdominal indicator, the deep, heavy burden of worry.
I worry a lot.
Though God tells us not to, I find it nearly impossible to navigate my feelings away from the strong worry magnate in my gut. So today, for accountability's sake, I'm putting it out there. I will not worry!
In making this proclamation I had to examine the root of my worry. I came across one reoccurring themes in my worrying heart stomach.
Often times when I'm worried, I distort the whole "pray without ceasing" idea into, nagging God about my problems. God heard my prayer the first time, in fact he knew about it before I asked. But when "too much time" lapsed between the question and the answer, the worry set in. And what I found is that I wasn't worried God couldn't come through, I was more concerned that he wouldn't. That perhaps I was in the middle of a learning obstacle; Perhaps the Lord had put me in the middle of a situation I couldn't pray or act my way out of, but rather pray and act my way through it. What I realized at this point was that, if I had the presence of mind to analyze the issue like this, then I wasn't worried about the outcome, I was irritated by it and the lack of control I had over it. If I know in the end everything is going to be OK, why am I so worried about the journey the Lord takes me on? I can't control everything. In the future when I catch myself in these times I'll pray the prayer of serenity

God, grant me the Serenity to accept things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that I have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of my past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for me and my love for man kind and the
Strength to get up and try again even when I feel it is hopeless.
From the Word:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?"  Matthew 6: 25-34 
 From my heart: 
Lord I know I am worthy of your blessing and I know I will receive them in Your time. Lord give me the strength and wisdom to utilize your light to eliminate even the shadow of a doubt out of my heart, mind and stomach!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Clean slate

Is it because I spend so much time online, that the devil uses it to trap me? Or is it because I'm so rooted in Christ that I can see the attacks coming?  I'm thinking it's both! Regardless of the messenger, I am once again, back on a Facebook rant.
Today's ramblings are brought to you by young women with too much time!
So, my story begins on New Year's Eve. I, sitting in front of my computer, waiting on a late story for the holiday paper, was perusing through Facebook statuses seeing how my peers were ringing in the new year.
Most were cherishing time spent with their family, friends, coworkers ... but there's always that one.
You know the one. The annoying, unknown acquaintance who you couldn't pick out in a line-up "friend" who went to school with you, or before you, or just happens to be friends with 80% of your friends. This is a person you don't really know, but thought 'whatever' when their friend request came across your profile. These people are a waste of your virtual time and space. They serve no purpose but to add numbers to your friend count. You should delete them. I should delete them.
This is the lesson I learned in the wee hours of the new year.
So, I'm scrolling through posts of blessings and "happy new year's " when I was assaulted with a slew of expletives wishing a very sarcastic blessing to no one in particular.
I was appalled.
When posting anything on my wall, I try to consider all eyes that may fall on my profile, that's just common courtesy. But why in the world would you start a new year off with a curse? It was really not what I needed to be reading as I sat at work counting down the hours  until I could be with my family.
I know I shouldn't judge, and I'm not, that just really turned me off.
So I deleted her. I then preceded to delete other little negative Nancys.
My advice to you, cut those with no value to your mission out of your life. I know it sounds harsh and judgemental, but it's really just common sense.
If your friend is going through something, let them know that you are there for them, but if they can't bring anything to the table but hatred and self-loathing, you are going to have to take a break.
I felt better, cutting loose the haters. I bet you will too.