Answering The Call

ringing phone

1 Corinthians 7:17 – But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.

We all receive calls that we sometimes just don’t want to answer. There are the calls we receive from a bill collector, a friend, a family member that we don’t respond to for a lot of reasons. Then, there is the call we receive from God. Yea, I know you have been there. I know I am not the only one.

It’s not unusual for us to not take calls from family members and bill collectors to avoid a conversation we don’t want to have. Sometimes there may be consequences. The call from God is something that we as humans tend avoid for a longer time and with certainty there are consequences. We can come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid the calling God has on our life. I know I’m guilty of that. I’ve ran from what God has called me to do for years.

Why, because I wasn’t feeling secure in myself. I couldn’t see what God saw in me. I only saw my many flaws and short comings. God would tell me to walk up and pray for a person. Shame, uncertainty and fear would not let me move. I would freeze in my tracks. I didn’t feel equipped to do the work. We have read multiple accounts in the bible where someone was called and hesitated.

Questioning God is not unusual. Abraham was called twice by God. Once when in Ur of the Chaldee’s and a year later In Haran. Moses didn’t think he could speak to Pharaoh, He saw first-hand the power of God with the burning bush and still he had questions. When instructed to go to Pharaoh he asked “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelite’s out of Egypt (Exodus 3:11). Yet, in the end he responded to the call.

Questioning God and putting on the brakes for the calling of your life is not uncommon. What I know is that the plans God has for us always lead to our good.

Dear God,

I just want to say thank you for the many blessings I have received. Without You I would not have the strength to walk boldly into my calling. I want to pray for those who maybe struggling with answering the call You have on their life. That they be surrounded with the love and support to use their gifts to serve You.

Amen

Lord We Need You Now

 

cross

Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This week’s chain of events have not only shook up the world, but at times shook up  the homes in which we live. When I learned Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, LA it made me instantly sad.  This was before I saw the manner in which he lost his life. Then the very next day to find out Philando Castile was killed.  I became angry. I couldn’t believe it was happening again and all in the same week.  As I watched the news in utter surprise my eyes began to fill up with tears of sadness and anger.  My heart ached for the families of those two men and others who were close them.

As a mother I began to think of our three sons and daughter.  We have raised them to be kind to everyone.  Since they were old enough to ask questions about what they see and experience we’ve talked about being a citizen here and what it means as they get older to be law abiding citizens.  Yet, when I saw the police officer pointing his gun at an already dying man, I began to lose hope for our nation and what our children may experience as they get older. I looked at my husband who is Caucasian and thought he’s never been stopped by law enforcement because of the color of his skin.  In that moment it became apparent to me that it’s on me to explain to our children what it takes to survive in our country as an African American.

I am so frustrated!  Why, because I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and my kids have asked and will be asking me why do police officers kill us and treat us differently?  They have asked does daddy ever have to go through this?  For a split second, I forgot my husband and I were on the same team and share a similar world view. We have built our house on love and communication.  Yet, there was a period of time during those two days seeing the manner in which the two men lost their lives it was hard for me to see past his skin color. I felt like he could not understand where my emotions lied.

To my disbelief I then witnessed the events leading to the loss of life of police officers in Dallas. I began to cry out to God in prayer asking what would He have me/us to do? Instantly I heard a voice say, “love your neighbor.”  I live near the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul.  My family and I frequently walk throughout the neighborhood.  As we took a walk the next day, we were passing St. Paul police officers supervising the protest in the late morning. We stopped and had conversations with them, and I could see that beneath their uniforms they are just like us – Parents, spouses, community members – they were also concerned about the situation our country is facing.  There reasons were in-twined with the work they do and they life they live outside of work.  We talked, thanked them for what they do, gave them our vote of confidence, they were willing to listen and eager to be understood.

It is important for me to say this.  Those who have taken the oath to protect and serve do the work I can not do.  I am not equipped to face that challenge.  To say I will take the bullet so another, a total stranger can live…can’t do it.   Yes, I will do it for my children.  Let’s celebrate and thank police officers for their courage and conviction. Let’s not let the 2% cause us to place judgement on the 98% remaining.  In the same way let’s do this for people who like like me.  We are all made and created by the same God.

Dear God,
I just come to You humbly and graciously giving You all the praise and the glory in our nations time of sorrow. We all are hurting right now and looking for answers. I just ask Lord that You continue to put in our  hearts a spirit of love, as we enter very tough conversations with one another. That we will continue to give each other  grace just like You have given us. I ask that You be with the family and friends of those who have lost love one’s to senseless killing. As we enter this week God please give us the courage we need to put on the full armor of God and that a hedge of protection will cover each and everyone of us.

Amen

Father Take My Hand

 

father and son

Ephesians 6:11-18  – 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

If I can be totally honest, writing this week’s blog has been very difficult for me.  I had no idea how impacted I have been by the mass murder in Orlando, FL.  The lives lost, the impact on their loved ones and the city of Orlando.  I ask myself did they get to say I love you, I am sorry if I have offended you and just so many more things to have closure on.  The finality of death closes the open opportunities we have to love each other.  Yes, I am speaking to situations in my own life.
My thoughts are on the personal conflicts going on in my very own family. I’ve watched my husband for years try to be the best father that he can be to our oldest son. I have also watched how the enemy has come after that father-son relationship. Even to the point of using family members that feel like they’re helping, but are only making it harder for him to be a part of his sons life.
As his wife it’s been hard to watch him try to mask the hurt and sadness. It’s like the enemy is coming after him and the relationship with his son from every angle.  There are a myriad of things occurring that could break him down as a father, man, and  as a son/child of God.  Being strong in his faith is constantly being challenged.
My words to him is that tomorrow is not guaranteed so cherish the time that you have with your son and allow God to do the rest of the work.  The battle he is facing is not his but it is the Lord’s.
This I know for sure – he can be of good courage because there is nothing to hard for God.
Dear God,
I come to you Father with a heavy heart and I want to turn it over to you. Please be with my family, the Orlando families and friends as they look for peace.  Also, I pray for fathers who are no longer with us because of senseless acts and for their children who no longer have their father with them.  Father God, I ask that the children and loved ones of those who have lost a father will stand boldly and strongly with your help. In the matchless name of Jesus I pray.  Amen

Plug in

plug in

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

It’s very interesting how our society is so plugged in to electronics and social-media. It affects the young and old. Our sons can have a total meltdown when their tablet or Nintendo 3ds is taken away or when it needs to be charged. Sometimes my husband and I are no better. If we can’t find our cell phones it’s like somebody just cut off our arm or took our best friend away.

The other day my 2 year old helped me realize that my family has a serious issue with being plugged in.   It was 6 o’clock in morning and I was awakened by his screaming. He couldn’t turn on my iPad to watch a movie. I thought “this is ridiculous.” But then I started to ask myself if God feels like the parent of a screaming two year old when we don’t plug into Him and into his word on a daily basis. We then expect for God to give us what we ask for in our prayers.

My challenge to you is to unplug from social media, electronics, and your cell phone for 30 minutes or even an hour each day to just plug into God.

Dear God,

Thank You for another beautiful day. I am filled with joy as I take this time just to spend it with You. I pray this week that when I want to check my social media or watch television that I am reminded of You and Your love for me. Help me to spend time with You. Allow me to be productive, invest in my family and actively love others.

Amen.

Miracles: Out of the Dark

lightatendoftunnel

Mark 10:27- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God

It wasn’t too long ago when I witnessed how God will move in your life. I found myself in a really dark place in life. The relationship I was in was very unhealthy.  For some reason I could not see my way out.  I didn’t have enough fight in me anymore. I would look in my children’s eyes and I felt as though I had failed them as a mother.

I began to pray to God to help me and my children find a way out. The very next morning I woke up and God did something that I would never have imagined. He showed me my life and asked me to allow him to lead. He told me that it wouldn’t be easy but to trust him. The next week every event that occurred was exactly what God had shown me.

I made the decision that I wanted and needed to be set free from my relationship. I stepped out on faith. I didn’t tell anyone except my immediate family that I was going to leave the state and go back home. Being led by the spirit I packed up as many bags as possible with the help of my mother with items for me and my children. I made sure I had all of my identification for my trip back home in my wallet. I waited for my ex to leave the house that was my time to break free.

We loaded up the car and the kids and headed to the airport. As I pulled up to the airport I began to reach for my identification.  Suddenly I realized my I.D. had been removed. I began crying and told my mother to go ahead without me and take the kids back to my home state. My mother looked at me and said, “no, you are getting on this plane.”

I began looking for my driver’s license with the help of an airport worker.  After looking for what seemed like a life time but was perhaps 15 minutes I started to lose hope. My phone beeped and it was my ex began to calling me. I didn’t answer. My mother came out of the airport with three airline tickets for me and my children. I asked her how is this possible, because I never showed my i.d. to the agent.

The check-in agent, the other airport employee’s all came up to me and said you will be okay. I got to the security check point and didn’t have anything to show who I was. They asked for a birth certificate, social security card, or i.d. which I didn’t have. The agent talked to the other airport employees. He turned to me and said, ” young lady I want you and your children to take train G…to that midnight train to glory.”

I went through security and got on the train. I walked up to the gate and the door was closed. The gate agent said, “we have been waiting for you all.” The door was opened.  This is something that never happens.  My children and I walked onto the airplane. I found my seat and I just began to cry. I felt like I was beginning to see the light. I arrived in the next city for my layover. I sat on the plane and realized I needed to switch planes.  As soon as I walked off the plane to get to the next gate (which was quite a ways) a woman driving an airport transport saw me and my kids. She looked at the man that was already riding and said “something in my spirit is telling me I have to pick this woman and her children up and take them on to their gate.”

I looked over at her in disbelief. She said, “Yes, you sweetheart get on.” I got to the gate and boarded my plane to go home. When I got home I didn’t have a penny to my name and only weighed 98 lbs at 5’8″, but I was filled with the Holy Spirit. When I look back over that experience I just begin to thank God for being with me every step of the way.

Dear God,

Thank you for waking me up this morning and allowing me to share my testimony with people. I want to lift up any person that may be going through tough times right now in prayer.  This prayer is for them.  “Father God step in right now in the name of Jesus.  Let a peace about the situation flood over them.  Let them know this is a temporary issue and the brighter day is coming.  Keep your eye on the prize!  Amen.

“Weeping may endure for a night but joy will come in the morning.”

 

Grief: Mending A Broken Heart

Psalms 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 When I think of someone grieving, I think of the loss of life. I often think of my grandparents passing away when I was in my young twenties. The grieving process was very hard for me then. I still grieve them but in a different way.

I also know what it’s like to grieve a living person. For years I grieved my father who is very much alive, but he was not present for most of my life. As a child it was really hard for me to understand. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done to make him not want a relationship with me. I prayed to God for answers, but it felt like I was not being heard.

 Although I didn’t recognize it as an adolescent, I sought the approval of boys and men who were in my life.  As some might say, I had “daddy” issues. In hope that things would change, I went to college in the same state where my father lived.  I knew being that close to him our relationship would improve. However, our relationship remained very strained, which just made the situation more frustrating.

 Now, as I think about it I realize  that for most of my life I cycled through four of the five stages of grief for most of my life – denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. At age 29, I had a sharp realization that the void of not having my father present continued to have an enormous affect on every area of my life. I longed to get to the point where the memories of my father weren’t associated with anger and sadness.

 To do this I knew I had to do some things differently – starting with my prayers. I changed my prayer from seeking answers to praying that I would accept my father just where he was at in his life. Not where I wanted him to be.  

As I prayed this prayer the void of not having my biological father in my life began to be filled by my heavenly father. He reminded me that he would “never leave me nor forsake me”. I began to find inner peace and got to the fifth stage of grieving which is acceptance.  I’m proud to say that with the help of my heavenly father, my dad and I have a relationship today.

 Dear God,

Thank you for always being there in my time of need; giving me a sense of comfort as I grieve. Please allow me to continue to grow in my spiritual relationship with You. I will always remember  to put you first no matter the circumstance.

Amen

Fear: Who do you run to?

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Sweaty palms, your heart beating at a crazy rate, feeling paralyzed in the moment, the urge to run, crying, or even screaming. These describe some of the many things that may come with fear. I know all of us have dealt with fear at some point in our lives. The question is who do we run to when we are faced with fear?  

When I was younger I ran to my mother, grandparents, or a sibling to get the reassurance that everything was going to be okay.  Now that I am older I sometimes will turn to my husband for reassurance. Then there are those times when the reassurance of a loved one just doesn’t work. 

A couple of months ago, I went through a time like this when I could not get the feeling that things were going to be okay. I had a flare up with my multiple sclerosis (MS).  My eyes were impacted. As a result of my MS, I have something called optic neuritis. So, literally over the course of a day, I lost my eye sight in one eye. My worst fear had come to life. 

I began to cry and realized I couldn’t even cry out of one eye. I grew frustrated and sick to my stomach. My family tried to give me words of comfort, but I didn’t find comfort. It was not until I turned to God and began to pray that I found comfort. I began to feel the warm embrace of the Holy Spirit across my face and in my heart. I knew that my sight would be restored. 

I went to my eye doctor and they told me this flare up had caused permanent damage to my eye. I was not sure what that meant. I immediately thought that I would be blind in one eye forever. Again, myriad emotions began to rise in me. I had to catch myself before I was consumed with fear. 

I took my power back! I prayed to God again and began to feel a sense of peace. I was reminded that God had not given me the spirit of fear, but he gives us the spirit of peace. Fear is the one thing the enemy has. He wants to try and destroy us and make us respond to life’s challenges with a range of emotions not grounded in our faith.

Dear God,

Thank for You allowing me to see another beautiful day. I appreciate all the wonderful support  my loved ones give me. I ask that You help me turn to You in my time of need. Help me to always remember You and not to give in to the spirit of fear, but embrace power, love, and self-discipline.

Amen

 

.