Monthly Archives: January 2012

Superwoman Syndrome

Luke 7: 36-50(NIV): Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

 36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

How many of us hear stories like this one? Stories about women who eagerly desire to give up their all for Christ? From the very first time I read this passage about a year ago I noticed that the woman did not have a name. She was merely the woman who was known as a sinner. Obviously the emphasis what put on what she did rather than who she was. The next thing I noticed was how brave this woman was. Could you imagine entering the house of a Pharisee as a commonly known sinner? This woman had faith that led her to do the unthinkable even if it would cause her to lose her life. She doesn’t sound like a Superwoman to me; she sounds like a Proverbs 31 woman who desperately wants to be consumed by the power, love, and presence of her Lord.

Like I mentioned before, it isn’t often that we hear stories like this one. Our world is too consumed with the spirit of Jezebel. For those who aren’t familiar, Jezebel was a rebellious woman in the Bible who was very powerful and wicked. She married King Ahab and they together worshiped the false god, Baal. Jezebel was a witch and operated with a spirit of control as she indulged in covetousness, taking everything she or her husband desired, even if it meant shedding the blood of an innocent individual. While I think about women in the media during my life I think of Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj, as they are clear examples of the I will sexually seduce a man, make him my slave, destroy him, then dismiss him.  There are MANY more but just focusing on these two, do you think these two women know what it means to be the bride of the most high God? God doesn’t want a wild, rough neck, blasphemous wife. I know because I was once that type of individual. I would spot a guy, make up in my mind that he is the guy I wanted, get him until I was bored with him, then throw him back into the sea. And no, that isn’t being an independent woman living life freely, it is being a whore.

I am currently enrolled in a woman’s art and identity course. Trust me, I am not in the class because I think that kind of stuff is interesting but because my college requires us to take a women’s studies course. In summary, I think the class is really weird. I guess I really dislike the class because of the spiritual aspect of it. A year ago I might have been with the class, engaged as they pump their fists while they discuss the power of women, or the lack there of. But after receiving wisdom from God, I just sit in class and watch a spirit of Jezebel greet a spirit of lesbianism for an entire class period. We all know that woman experienced inequality and we know that God never means for us to be treated like dirt but lets not mask that as reasons for us to be man haters. Yes, woman was made after man and yes, there is much to say about that. Women have a specific role and I can guarantee that trying to be superior to a man isn’t one of them. How can we not respect and be righteously submissive to a man on earth and expect that we will be humble, gentle, yielding, and sensitive to God?

I can’t speak for anyone else but I love being a woman and I love and accept that I am not a man. In class, as we read articles written by feminist authors, I cringe as they constantly desire to be like men, if not more superior. Many wonder why men are unable to rise and be men while many women knowingly or unknowingly castrate men before they even get a chance to express their masculinity. A little less than a year ago I was in a relationship with a young man who I call Calev, but things were very difficult as I was still brainwashed with the whole, I am an independent Black woman mindset. Calev desperately wanted to be a man and wanted to provide for and protect me but all I could think about was graduating and coming out on top. When he wanted to talk I would sometimes brush him off stating that my academic work was more important that talking to him. When he suggested us living different places I immediately told him that I want to live in Georgia so if he doesn’t like Georgia then he needs to move on. I can give many more examples but my point is that the idea that I didn’t need anyone else, especially a man, was overtaking my mind. Of course school is important but who wants to be one of those women who makes 6  figures but comes home to spend her evenings in quiet, without a husband or children? All too often have I come across women who are physically attractive, who have a great sense of style, who are well-educated, and who can’t even identify with the term debt but hate their lives. They stand around giving speeches about how successful they are but dip and dodge mentioning the reality of how lonely they feel.

Mind you most of these women aren’t saved because there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. With Christ we are never lonely nor are we ever alone. Actually, we don’t have to speak about a woman being able to be with a man physically because frankly, every woman in the world won’t experience an earthly wedding but if she is the bride of Christ, then there will certainly be a spiritual wedding. Back to Calev, things are much different and healthier now. It is the small things that I appreciate like when he takes the initiative to pray first and when he takes responsibility to be the man God wants him to be. I have happily stepped down from wanting to always be first, heard the loudest, and heard most often. We aren’t dating anymore as there is nothing in the Bible that mentions dating but we are courting and in this process God has been showing me that I am no Superwoman. When the world tells us that we can do everything a man can do or better, it is a blatant lie. When I watch Calev seek the plan God has for his life, I see the things he does and how he does them in such a way that only a man can. With that, I also recognize the way I operate and how is it unique to womanhood. Men and women don’t complete but rather compliment each other. There is such beauty in allowing a man to be a man. The women in my family have been known to lead matriarchal households where they are the head and the men just kind of tag along. When we come to our Groom that must change because Christianity is patriarchal. I was raised to never need a man, if I get married to always have my personal stash of money and possessions aside from what my husband and I shared, and that a man should never come between me and my female friends. Does anyone else see how these “rules” set us up to be lesbians before we even know what a lesbian is? If God pairs us with a husband who is after His own heart why would we want to keep anything from him? Why would a grown woman be married but remain closer to a female friend than to her husband? I personally believe that once we reach a certain age that we innately want to  have our tightest earthly relationship with the opposite sex. I would be concerned if a woman shares her deepest and most personal sentiments with another woman when she should be sharing that intimacy with her husband. And if you are with someone who you feel like you can’t trust, then you shouldn’t be with them.

The Superwoman Syndrome conditions us at a very young age to believe that we should postpone marriage and children until we get our own piece of the American pie. If I collected a nickel for each time I heard the, “If a man cannot match you financially then he isn’t for you” phrase, I would be rich. I believe that you can marry a rich bum and that you can also marry a poor bum. Forget the money, I need a husband who is willing to fast and pray for me, not a man who finds comfort in the fact that he can commit adultery and make things better by upgrading my wedding band.

I know I always go back to Proverbs 31 but it is always relevant, just as every word of God is. Two weeks ago I was at the hair salon and my stylist began asking me about all that was new in my life. As usual, I started off by telling her my recent accomplishments in school and different career options I have been thinking about pursuing. After about 2 mins she cut me off and said, “Okay enough about business. You have always handled business and been on top of your school work. What about your love life?” I had to laugh because although I am in a courtship, I typically keep those details between me and close friends and family. I was so excited to tell her about all of the love God is giving me from all different directions and how I am just soaking it all up. Could you imagine that months ago I was brushing Calev off for a dollar? To be the most paid woman I know? To prove that I didn’t need a man for anything, other than to fix my car?

Somebody puhleaseee come get this Superwoman cape because there is no place for it here. I have a Groom whose Holy Spirit I need to be vulnerable to, a Groom who desires to protect me and provide for me, and a Groom who is so powerful and divine that I willingly want to be submissive to Him. Actually, now that I think about the goodness of the Lord and Him teaching me my role as His bride, no one needs to come get this Superwoman cape because I am throwing it out my front door. Who needs to be a Superwoman when God surpasses any and every idea of a Superman? Submit to the authority of our God so that we may overcome the spirit of Jezebel.

Advertisements

In Boiling Water

Hmhmm where do I start?

Okay, I will start with being honest. This first week in my wilderness experience feels like it is one of worst weeks of my life. I can’t even tell you why but after looking for every avenue possible for me to get back to America, I have become content with knowing that I am not going anywhere. Not because I said so, not because my parents said so, and not even because my study abroad program director said so… but because God said so.

I was mad at God every day of my first week here. I knew it was wrong but I knew He was the reason I am here and the reason why I ought to remain here. And to make matters worse, frustrating events would happen to make me even more angry. It was almost like Satan was sitting back, having a good laugh while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. After spending days late for each of my classes because I got lost in the middle of Europe, buying a pair of expensive gloves to keep my hands warm then losing them within 24 hours, trying to fill up on bread and water at dinner, getting shin splints from all of the walking we have been doing, and feeling unexplainable spiritual oppression…. I told God that I quit.

I wanted to quit writing on the blog, I wanted to end this wilderness experience, and I even possibly wanted to go back to my old way of doing things. I knew all of what I was saying was crazy but I was so mad that I couldn’t help but say it and hoping to mean it. I didn’t mean it but I did want my way. I began to think about Job and the way he talked to God about his conditions. I remember the first time I read Job and thought about how rude he was to God but guess what, I was being just as rude this week. Then I questioned, “Wait…God called Job His servant in Job 1:8 even when He knew how Job would talk to Him?” I am certainly no Job but if Job had his little, God just end things now moment then maybe it wasn’t so odd that I was finding myself at that same place. Interestingly enough, the week leading up to me leaving for Europe God led me to read Job. I always love when God tells Job about himself starting with, Job 38:1 (NIV) “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” I was praying that God would tell me off before I really thought or said something that I would truly regret. That is, if I haven’t already.

Lord knows regardless of how foolish I act I certainly would never want to lose my relationship with my Father, my Groom , my Everything. I was walking home the other day and this is what I told God: I hate being here. I hate getting lost. I hate being cold. I hate how boring my classes are. I hate having to walk everywhere. I hate experiencing jet lag. I hate majority of the food. I hate when people try talking to me when I just want to be alone. And I hate…. then I stopped with the next sentence. I can’t even remember what I was going to say next but what I did realize was that God didn’t respond at all. You know when you are having a conversation with someone and you say something then there is an awkward silence and then you wonder if you said the wrong thing? Yea, it was one of those and it humbled me. I immediately apologized and started again with: Thank you God for perfect health. Thank you God for allowing me to be in Europe. Thank you God for a sound mind. Thank you God for financial stability. Thank you God for legs to be able to walk. Thank you God for a coat, thermals, and boots to keep me warm from the cold. Thank you God for friends who wish to know me better. Thank you God for giving me a safe place to sleep. Thank you God for food and a digestive track that allows me to eat anything I wish. Thank you God for letting me know that man does not live on bread alone (Luke 4:4). And thank you God for giving me salvation. Whew! After that I began to feel more like myself. God still remained quiet but at least my last statements didn’t sound like I was being a selfish, spoiled, and foolish brat.

I was telling God to use me, cleanse me, and mold me so that I may fulfill the plan He has for me but in my heart I was saying, “No God I don’t want to. That isn’t what I want. I don’t think I can do that. Can I leave now? Yea, I know I said I was ready but I don’t think I can ever be ready for this. Yes, of course I love you but can I do Your will somewhere else?”

I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning wondering what my issue was. Like what is my problem!? I already told my dad that I want to leave and all he could offer me was encouragement. My selfish power card of getting what I want and when I want it has officially been revoked. Once I faced reality the only thing I could do was cry out to the Lord for answers. I knew He wanted me to write about what I am experiencing right now but I didn’t know where to begin until He put on my heart:

Luke 14:25-30(NIV): The Cost of Being a Disciple 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”

Hmhmm… Maybe I haven’t counted the cost of being a disciple, or at least counted accurately.

Get my sentiments?

So I am sitting here wondering if my perspective is so wrong because I received all of the victories that come from being a disciple and skimmed over the print that mentions trials and tribulations. I am unsure if this is the primary issue but I know it is certainly one of them. Pick up your cross daily it says! I can’t get through today with the faith, ambition, and energy from yesterday! I pray for strength to carry my cross here and everywhere else because seriously…I would be in big trouble if I left my cross at home.

Luke 14:31-32(NIV) 31 Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.”

The only thing I can say is, “I am sorry God.” Sorry God for being selfish. Sorry God for thinking my way is better than Yours. Sorry God for questioning Your wisdom. Sorry God for tossing my faith for comfort. Sorry God for basically saying, “Yea, I was happy that you saved me but now since I am having to deal with unfavorable circumstances I am ready to trade that for the sinful life I once lived. The life of getting everything I wanted including drinking ,smoking, and freakin’ my way to Hell.” That stuff was deadly but at the time I wanted it.

For anyone who finds this article as a surprise, you shouldn’t. We are only human and we each find our way and yes, there will be mistakes along the way. I am not proud or even satisfied about the way I have been acting towards God but I have prayed and asked for help, even in the midst of plotting ways to get back to Georgia. I have to start somewhere and although I currently wish I was home, I pray more, read the Bible more, and try to meditate on the Lord more. There has to be a breakthrough because I am a firm believer that once I step out of the hedge of protection the blood of Jesus provides for me, Satan will be waiting to knock my head off. Losing my salvation and going to Hell is never worth it. Even as I write this article I am finding myself singing songs of praise as if I were back home. Sometimes Satan will try to keep us quiet so that his voice becomes louder than the voice of God.

Nope! Not happening here. I will fight as a frontline warrior of God. Fasting, praying, and reading the Word will be my medicine when I feel spiritually sick and emotionally furious. Just the other day God was showing me how what He is doing on the inside of my cup is pouring outward and I refuse to go backwards. I want to encourage anyone who may be reading this. Count the cost of being a disciple and although things may appear to be difficult, know that counting the cost (even if you have to double-check and recheck 5 times more),and eternal salvation is worth it. All of this turmoil during the first week is only confirmation of the mighty works God has planned! I can either remain childish and say, “I Quit” or say, “God this is difficult but I know You will strengthen and direct me with each step.” This is certainly work but He never said His path was easy. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and prepare for war.


Mirror Mirror…

Low self-esteem is certainly difficult for the individual who suffers from it but may be even more difficult for those who are friends or family of the individual. I can recall the many times feeling frustrated as I listened to friends desperately fish for compliments but deny it when I call them out on it. I recognized low self-esteem as being a huge struggle for everyone who hasn’t found their identity in Christ. The most beautiful and the most handsome still have a list of things that they hate about themselves. The most financially stable and the most intelligent still find something that just isn’t up to par. But guess what? The blood of Jesus was shed to bridge the gap between our deficiencies and His perfection.

I saw the commercial above about a month and a half ago and it did not sit well with me at all. I actually couldn’t watch it after the first time but I didn’t understand why. I don’t know Jennifer Hudson and I have never stepped foot in a Weight Watchers a day in my life. I tried to make sense of what made me uncomfortable but I gave it some days for God to reveal it to me.

Self hate.

I am not saying that Jennifer hates herself but that is what the commercial stirred in me. There is a spirit of self-hatred that thrived on the unrealistic pressures society presents in the media and rested on the spiritual ignorance for majority of my life. But how could I have self hate? I have everything I could ask for. How could I not believe that I was beautiful? People offer compliments all of the time. They couldn’t be lying could they? I mean guys think I am attractive and growing up I was apart of the “pretty girls” crew. What more confirmation did I need?

Regardless of what people told me, I knew that I had self-hatred and I thank God for telling me why.

The answer is that beauty cannot be defined by this world! The world recognizes the outside of the cup while the Lord knows the heart hidden inside. As long as the inside of my cup was empty and tainted with sin I was very ugly and in that state I was rejected by God. Although consciously I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t see myself as being beautiful like others did, spiritually it made so much sense.

People try to compensate. Just like rejection (or any other void), people go about coping with low-esteem in different ways. There are people who are arrogant and egotistic, trying to convince not others, but themselves that they are great and attractive. Then there are people, similar to the route I took, who believe the lies of the enemy and become confused about whether they are attractive or not but decide to believe the most negative option.

I was talking with my mother-in-Christ this past summer and I was asking her what makes a woman virtuous. I had already read Proverbs 31 but I wanted to know what attributes she should have. Is she graceful? Beautiful? Charming? Intelligent? Is she thin? Is she tall? Does she have black hair? But more importantly, I wanted to know HOW she got them because honestly…I didn’t want to go another day without them. I was tired of trying to believe the compliments of others and knowing deep down that although I desperately wanted to believe them, I just couldn’t. I knew there had to be an answer and I knew that Christ was the foundation of it.

My mother-in-Christ basically led me back to the Bible, defining beauty the way Christ does. That made sense but those attributes seemed so distant and unrealistic for 2011. “Women don’t work the way the Proverbs 31 woman works,” I thought to myself. How would I prove to be beautiful in that way? There are no fields near me. Again, trying to understand spiritual things with a carnal mind.

So a few days ago I looked at myself in the mirror getting ready for school as usual. But I stopped as I looked at someone who looked like me but with something a little extra, with beauty. This may sound a little weird but I stood there trying to figure out what had changed. Moles still in the same place? Check. Nose the same size? Check. A few freckles still resting under my eyes? Check. Eyes still brown? Check. Lips still above chin? Check. I couldn’t figure out what was different about the person I see most, me. God began to help me make sense of things when He told me that what He was doing on the inside of my cup was pouring outside. For the first time I saw myself as beautiful, pure, and spiritually alive. Believe me, you can look at the face of an individual and see spiritual life or death. It isn’t even that I am beautiful but the beauty of Christ dwells within me. And that is the magnificent thing in all of this. Again, less of us and more of Him.

Take time to read some of the verses about attractiveness stated by the Word of God.

Agreeable 

Proverbs 19:13 (ESV)A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.” 

Proverbs 21:9 (ESV) It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” 

Proverbs 21:19 (ESV) It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.” 

Excellent 

Proverbs 31:10 (ESV) An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” 

Faithful & Trustworthy 

1 Timothy 3:11 (ESV) Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” 

Gracious & Honorable 

Proverbs 12:4 (ESV) A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches.” 

Helpful 

Genesis 2:18, 22-24  (ESV)Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” 

Kindhearted & Generous 

Proverbs 31:20-21 (ESV)She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.”

Proverbs 31:26 (ESV) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” 

Submissive & Respectful

1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 

Ephesians 5:22-23, 33 (ESV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior… However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Colossians 3:18 (ESV) Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. “

Titus 2:2-5  (ESV)Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. “

1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”

Wise 

Proverbs 14:1 (ESV)The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.”

Beautiful Women in the Bible 

Genesis 24:16 (ESV) The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.”  

Ruth 1:16-17 (ESV)But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 

Esther 2:7 (ESV) He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Song of Solomon 4:1 (ESV) Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.”

To be beautiful is to be a fervent servant of Christ. It makes sense to me now and basically, to be attractive to God is to be unattractive to the world. As I continue to look at myself in the mirror, in awe of the “new-found” beauty, I am prepared to be viewed as less attractive to the world. I never understood why people loved my prom and high school graduation pictures so much because although I was attractive to the world, I was empty from His Spirit and full with low self-esteem. It takes the discernment of God for someone to recognize His beauty. Even for males who may be reading this, the beauty of God isn’t only limited to women. Men too should desire to be made beautiful or handsome, whichever you prefer, in the eyes of God. And the key to that is not being muscular enough, thin enough, dark enough, light enough, tall enough, having the best hair texture, having the most beautiful smile, having the most fashionable clothes, or even being the most outgoing. Being a servant of God while He makes you His bride without spot or blemish will allow His beauty to shine through you. If the inside of the cup is attractive, the outside will be a reflection of that. So for all of those who feel unattractive, allow God to carve your beauty as only His eye can identify such virtue. The world can only identify lust.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I find it so cool to finally see myself as being genuinely beautiful. Of course I still have to allow God to remove the lies embedded in my mind for so long but this is a start. Physical attractiveness wasn’t fulfilling the confidence I needed so I began to seek more. I was looking for something that God so desperately wanted to give me. It is really that simple. For the past 20 years I looked into a mirror and saw someone who may be physically attractive but who was certainly spiritually repulsive. Thank God for His amazing sculpting skills.

I have found beauty… in Him, at last. 


Wilderness Anyone?


For those who don’t know, I am approaching my first big wilderness experience. I will be leaving home to reside in another country for almost half of a year. This wilderness experience will be an interesting one as the idea of being alone with God is a new idea within itself. I will admit my hesitation about the trip when I first began to think about those who I will miss the most and the comfort zone I will be leaving. There is a bigger mission to a wilderness experience than just leaving and saying goodbye, you also get a chance to enter and say hello. God reassured me that this time away will be a grooming process and is vital for me to come back home stronger than I left. Believing the truth of God and the many works He wants to do with and through me is enough for me to shake my fears about leaving. His never-ending truth makes me want to never leave the path where He hides me under His wing (Psalm 91:4) while He chisels and molds me as He finds fit (Isaiah 64:8). This wilderness experience will certainly not be entirely easy as God has been reminding me that even Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1).

I want to share some of the emotional aspects of preparing for my wilderness experience. I am sitting here, face covered with tears, wondering how I asked God for this blessing then became upset when He gave it to me. I have always loved traveling so the opportunity to study abroad was something I have always wanted to do even before college. As shared a bit in I am Going To Be A Dermatologist, at one point my grades had dropped so low that I basically gave up hope of spending a semester anywhere other than at my home institution. Well God had different plans. Going against my own logic and reasoning, I went to the study abroad office and within minutes I had gotten accepted into a program with scholarship and an offer for them to pay for me to visit another country of my choice, free of charge. I couldn’t get out of the study abroad office fast enough to share my joy with family and close friends. I cannot remember the last time I had been that excited but before I knew it I found myself sad, wondering if I had made a mistake by accepting the offer. When I got back to my suite my first questions to God were, “How can I leave those I have grown to love? Who will I have to fellowship with wayyy over there?” Then God responded, “I have My people everywhere.” Once again, I know nothing but God knows everything.

After that conversation with God I became much more confident regarding the trip. I knew it would be intimate time spent with Him and that He is generous enough to allow me to gain college credits along the way. But starting around December 2011, I reluctantly began to count down the days until I left the country trying to pretend that I wasn’t mad at God. I think this was the first time I have been really mad at God and at the same time I became frustrated with myself for being mad at God. How could I be upset with God for giving me what He knows is best and secondly, what I had asked for in the first place? Aside from the excitement of seeing new areas of the world I was extremely saddened by the idea that I would be leaving those who I had grown to love so dearly. In the past I felt like everyone I loved left me, like nothing good would remain in my life. But with this experience I was even more upset because I felt like this time, for the first time in my life, I was leaving them. I knew that people would leave on their own terms and timing but I felt like since this time it was me, it was my fault for the separation. I was angry because I felt like I was the reason for my own pain but once God took over and became the event planner, I wanted to point the finger at Him.

God allowed me to have bit of a pity party for a while but then He made it clear that I could serve Him or not. He is such an understanding God. He knew the hurt I was feeling and gave me time to get it out of my system while still keeping me in check and letting me know when enough was enough. I began to take things a little far as I began to try to find ways to get out of leaving. But when God stated that I could miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime because of immaturity and fear, I was desperate for Him to take me out of my state of confusion. Or to take the state of confusion out of me. The closer I was getting to leaving Atlanta to go to Philly, the more frequently I found myself crying, kicking, and screaming for God to not make me go. I know this sounds more like going to jail than time spent in the Lord but this is exactly how I felt. I was feeling pressure about Europe and even going to Philly to face all types of hurt, pain, and spiritual anguish, all in the same condition I left them, if not worse. I will be honest, I still find myself crying at least once a day as I count down the days until I leave. The thought of my father trying to squeeze as many activities in one day brings tears to my eyes. Hearing my mother asking me to please remain in contact with her makes it hard for me to even respond a simple, “Okay.” My little brother asking me daily which day I come back makes me want to take him with me. Even as I communicate with my father/mother/siblings-in-Christ, I hate to have to say goodbye, or even see you later. I spent a lot of time with this family within the past year and I have been running from the fact that I will miss a sweet 16 birthday party, piano lessons, late nights of playing games on the iPad, and occasional games of H.O.R.S.E. on the basketball court with my siblings–just to name a few. I had gotten so comfortable with being able to run upstairs to my mother-in-Christ’s room to talk/confide/cry/laugh/ask about whatever was on my mind or heart. I didn’t want to accept that for the next 5 months I won’t be able to wait for my father-in-Christ to come home and share any words of wisdom and/or encouragement the Lord had put on his heart that day. God wouldn’t call me to leave all of this love would He? I mean once I truly found love and joy would I really have to leave it all behind, even for the moment?

If I want to serve the one true living God then yes, yes I would.

This song captures my sentiments. Please take a listen.

I have chosen to say yes. I am ready for this wilderness experience. Everything including my wants, desires, fears etc. needs to come into subjection under His feet. Once God began to eliminate most of my tears, mixed emotions, and selfish thinking I was able to see His true mission. I had to let go of the fear of something happening to my father, mother, brother, and even grandparents while I was gone. I began to question who would help them? Who would they call to pray with them? Then God quickly responded, “You are worrying about all of the wrong things. Although they are your relatives, they are My children first. I will deal with them on My own terms the same way I deal with you. You are not anyone’s Superwoman and you aren’t God. Remain focused on what I have you doing and be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).” God is a mighty God and sometimes He has to remind us of our role in His kingdom. My family has to know God for themselves, not through me. I never want my relationship with anyone to become an idol nor do I wish to ever be a distraction. So I let those worries go but then a new gang of concerns began to creep up as they followed the lead of their old buddy, spirit of rejection. I started to worry about my family-in-Christ forgetting about me or replacing me with someone else. What if I came back to America and they completely lost interest in wanting to spend time with me? What if I reached out to them while in Europe but they became uninterested in conversing with me? Would I miss out on priceless moments at my home college? Would my suitemates like their new suitemate better than they liked me? That stuff sounds silly and very childish but a spirit of rejection can present such lies and worries to a person bound by it. As restated by my mother-in-Christ, God first told me that He is the source of the joy in my life. If everything in America changes I need to find comfort in the fact that He won’t. I need to stand on the Word that states when mothers and fathers forsake their children that God will adopt them (Psalm 27:10). It is dangerous territory to put the mission of God on hold to savor moments with man. We serve a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and we need to be willing to stand alone with Him if He leads us to.

About a month ago, one night as I sat on the bed talking to God, He gave me more understanding. I whispered to God in the dark room with only an ounce of light from my iPod, “Wait… So God you want me to grow up?”  Absolutely!  God wants me to grow! He wants you to grow! He wants His people to grow! God wants me to experience more deliverance! God wants me to share the Gospel! That is what I need to focus on and when I find myself sad, crying, feeling indifferent, I say, “But Father Your will be done.” When my parents-in-Christ drove me to the airport to come to Philly I made it a focus to never again say, “But God no….” and instead “Your will. Your plan. Your purpose. Your mission. Your kingdom.” God knows my heart and He knows how badly my flesh wants to stay but He and I both also know that His plan is best for me. I am sure He has more planned for me than my tiny brain can even imagine right now. I know at the very least that He means for me to know, love, and seek refuge in Him more. As my mother-in-Christ would probably say, “My training wheels need to fall off.” I would hate for any help God has given me to become an idol to me. I would hate to remain comfortable in my current spiritual state. And most importantly, I would hate to not fulfill the plans God has for my life. This is an exciting time in my life and one that I should be very grateful for. God cares for me so much that He is willing to take me away from everyone and everything I am familiar with so that my dependency on Him may increase. With about a 6 hour time difference and lack of phone usage I will be encouraged to come before the Lord rather than to call/text/email a family member or friend. I am sure God will continue to give me help but I will only contact others as He permits. If I thought I was happy and overflowing with love before I can only imagine what God has planned for our personal time. If all of the love, joy, compassion, understanding etc. expressed to me through His people is enough to make me sing songs of praise, how much more fulfilling will it be to experience such intimacy with the Source?

Late last year God began to show me that I was treating Him more like a business partner than like a Groom. God doesn’t want me to know about religion, He wants me to know Him. God doesn’t want me to hear about deliverance, He wants me to experience it. God doesn’t want me to daydream about love, He wants me to be drenched in it. God doesn’t want me to be bound by rejection, He wants me to be set free from it. God doesn’t want me to engage in acts of sexual immorality, He wants me to yield my instruments unto Him. God doesn’t want me to witness my family/friends/strangers live lives of oppression caused by demons, He wants to use me to cast them out. God doesn’t want me to live a life by the unrighteous standards of the world, He wants me to live by the confidence and power found in Him.

So with all of this I am willing to follow the Lord blindfolded, nervous, anxious, uncertain, eager, heart-broken, and prayerful…as long as He leads.

Even when the path is narrow and tight I will be encouraged because I know His path is narrow (Matthew 7:14).

Even if the road seems uncertain and rugged, I will rest assured that He knows the path of life (Psalm 16:11).

I am unsure of the paths ahead of me, but I am willing to take the hand of God and follow Him. My sentiments are best captured by Matthew 26:42 (NIV): “He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” If Jesus humbled Himself and chose the Father’s will over His own, then I too should do the same. I know nothing but the Lord knows everything. If the Lord has a special mission in Europe how dear I go against the plans of God? I could be prolonging the deliverance from the exact sin which has bound me and my ancestors for thousands of years by focusing on self. Side Note: The last sentence makes me question if it is even me who doesn’t want to go. Or rather if there is something in me that doesn’t want to see the light that radiates from the face of God. Demons tremble at the name of Jesus (James 2:19) and with that they will surely have to go!  I once stated that I give all of my wants and desires to God so that He may do as He sees fit. God has a sense of humor as He is currently putting that very statement to the test. With my eyes closed as tightly as a toddler at their second birthday party blowing out the candles on their cake, I am reaching out my little hand to meet the hand of my Groom as He takes me to safety and adopts me into His royalty.

How great is the God we serve? There is obviously an importance in spending time in the wilderness with God as He led His people, the Israelites, through such an experience. Everyone’s wilderness experience is different but we each need to seek to have one. I know people who have had a wilderness experience in their home or even in a new city or state. I even had a smaller wilderness experience my last semester at school. I still attended my home college but God called me to drown to the world as He led me to delete my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr accounts, deactivate an email account, and even change my phone number. Although this wasn’t as big as leaving the country for almost half of a year, He was preparing me for the moment that I would. Be willing to say yes to God. He wants the best for me, you, and the rest of His children. I leave January 21st, 2012 to begin a new chapter in my walk with Him. I am nervous, sad, and even a little anxious but I will not walk by sight but by faith and not by my power or authority but by His. So with all of this I shared I say thank you God. Thank you for doing for me what I don’t have the wisdom or strength to do for myself. As I embark on this current wilderness experience I seek to be after the heart of God, to be open to being cleansed and purged from all unclean spirits, and to find comfort in the fact that although I am nobody or nothing, He is everything. He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I don’t know what any month, week, or even second will entail while I am in Europe but He says that He knows the plans He has for us. So excuse me as I prepare to take my very first step into the wilderness. My Groom has been waiting for me. And for anyone who is reading this, don’t feel like you can’t relate to having a wilderness experience as He may be waiting for you too. Open up your heart and tell the Lord yes.


Give Me Visine!

I had a conversation with my mother-in-Christ about pet peeves a few weeks ago. She mentioned how pet peeves are things that we may have but that we shouldn’t if we are dead to the flesh. I never looked at it that way because I was so conditioned to think that EVERYONE has pet peeves. Not only did I think that everyone had pet peeves but I also thought that as unique individuals we had a right to have them. When God opened my eyes it began to make sense that we should not have pet peeves if we are led by the Spirit. Annoyances are things that stir the flesh, which means annoyances need to be eliminated by the crucifixion of our old man.

Earlier this week God led me to examine my pet peeves. I have tons of pet peeves that I have personally gathered through the years and some inspired by family but none worth mentioning. I believe God wanted me to revisit my recent conversation about pet peeves because He wanted me to realize how many of my pet peeves that I commit. I thought it was interesting because as I thought about the things that annoy and easily bring me to anger, God led the finger around others and back to me. Who would have thought that as much as I find things annoying, rude, wrong, etc. that I would be the queen of mastering a majority of them?

Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV): 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” 

In addition to what I shared above, I was led to write this article because of what God is willing to do in our lives. There has been times when I have caught someone lying and shook my head in disappointment. It was then that God reminded me when I had lied earlier that day. There has been times when I witnessed someone watering down the Gospel to comfort sinners and days later God was convicting me for that same transgression. It is times like that which God uses to lead me to take the plank out of my own eye. Past ourselves, God will sometimes lead us to share His truth with others regarding sin (1 Corinthians 9:23). However, the catch is that we cannot be hypocritical and insensitive as if we don’t have our own spiritual planks. We need to humbly address sin as God leads with the same passion we address our own sins! It is so easy to point the finger at others with fury and disgust but when God turns that finger back around… reality sets in. If we use the same enthusiasm that we use to expose the sins of others to correct our own sins, there will be more personal deliverance. If we pray to God as hard about our sins as we do about the sins of our family and friends then we will find those personal sins disappearing. And if we evangelize the Gospel eagerly to ourselves as we do to sinners, maybe we can grow to have a PERSONAL, TRUE, and INTIMATE relationship with God. Who said Christians don’t have cleaning up to do even as servants of Christ? I know I do.

In the world someone can examine your home and tell you about every issue and thing that needs to be remodeled before your home is destroyed. Then sadly, that same person can leave without concern or feeling of obligation to help. As I sit here writing this article I am so relieved to know that I serve a God who is willing to remove every plank in my walk with Him. After He shows us our spiritual misconduct isn’t it refreshing to know that He is revealing so that He can start removing?  When I see wrong in others I first do a check with the Holy Spirit to see if that is a personal transgression of mine. If you feel like you don’t hear from the Holy Spirit ask Him which sins you commit. He may tell you more than you want to hear but all of it will be righteous and true. When interacting with others, if what I am witnessing is something the Holy Spirit tells me I need to be delivered from, I pray that I am and I thank the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit tells me that I do not struggle with a sin I see operating in an individual I thank the Holy Spirit and I ask for protection against it. Just because we don’t currently suffer from a sin doesn’t mean that the fiery arrows of the devil aren’t ready to be shot our way. It is easy to be swept into sin as I can attest to once stating that I was not a drinker and then one day shortly after, I was on a path to becoming an alcoholic. It is just that easy. There has even been times when the Holy Spirit has assured me that I have been delivered from what I saw manifesting in someone right in front of me. That is always a joyous occasion that should lead us to praise! While I check with the Holy Spirit about my own spiritual standing I try to be in a position to also be selfless so that I can pray and intercede for others. Sometimes the Lord will lead us to speak truth to others and sometimes He won’t. Either way, we need to be doing a check on ourselves. This idea is similar to the article How Am I Lookin’?With every interaction that we have, we should compare its fruit with the fruit and standards of God. Along the journey of God abolishing the planks out of our eyes we may be led to help saw away pieces of wood in the eye of someone else. For the rest of our lives on earth we will have some type of plank in or around us regardless of the size or location. With that being said, we will never be in a position to call out error regarding others without calling our error on our own behalf.

God is a faithful God and we need to let our faith in Him reign (1 Corinthians 1:9)! Whenever God shows me an area that I need to develop in or change, I am encouraged that He even cares enough to inspect. As we desire to help others it is important that we first work to help ourselves. I don’t mean this in a selfish way but it is hypocrisy at its finest for one to say that they despise thieves but are contemplating when they should wear their newest pair of stolen shoes. Even while I write articles for this blog God has to remind me that we will sometimes have to preach about what we struggle with. There is a fine line between working with God to be free and denying personal transgression. If God tells you to disprove the lies about smoking marijuana being biblically supported in the midst of you fasting and praying to be delivered, don’t feel incapable. You better say what God tells you to say and keep in mind that He wants that same truth you are sharing to live through your life. When the world is living by and condoning the pot calling the kettle black philosophy, God is saying come out from them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). In summary, we need to make sure that we have an agreement with God to start digging out planks infecting our lives before we try to wiggle the plank from someone else. With joy, compassion, understanding and most importantly love, we can be set free as God uses us to free others! God please give us spiritual Visine so that we may see as brightly and clearly as you intend. Thank You Jesus for the power and cleansing that flows from Your precious blood!


Time To Grow Up

I think growing up is so much easier said than done. I am approaching the second semester of my junior year in undergrad and I am beginning to feel some pressure regarding the real world. As college students we may become bombarded with the many questions we are asked by family and friends regarding our future. It is sometimes then that we realize it is time to grow up. Time to be responsible. Time to begin to prepare ourselves to live independently and pay bills. Even if some of us already have the responsibility of paying bills, there may be some intimidation about the fact that whether we are ready for not, the world is waiting for us bright eyed and bushy tailed.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV): “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

In addition to gaining responsibility and growing up naturally, it is also vital that we grow up spiritually. In the spiritual realm we may not be instructed to have a solid and persuasive resume or to make sure we keep a strong networking community but we definitely receive instruction. We become responsible for our actions and even the roles we play in the actions of others. Just as we are responsible for the sin we commit, we are also responsible for any assistance we play in the sins of others. Rolling a blunt for yourself is just as bad as rolling a blunt for someone else. I think the most difficult part about the idea of growing up is letting go of all comfort and security we have found in others. We cannot achieve eternal salvation through our mother, father, brother, sister, or anyone else. Growing up causes us to let go of excuses and crutches. I always think about when we make reservations for dinner or events as being what we can’t do spiritually. When someone makes a reservation, someone else who knows the correct information can confirm the reservation. If we go to a restaurant and say, “Hey, my sister made a reservation for….” the receptionist will confirm and direct you to a table. Things don’t work like the scenario shared above in the Kingdom of God. You won’t be able to get eternal salvation through someone else’s relationship with God.  Joel 2:28 (KJV): “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” We each need to have an active, healthy, and personal relationship with the one true living God.

Psalms 71:17-18 (NIV): “17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” I believed I shared before some of the mixed emotions I had right after I had gotten saved. I was happy that God had saved me but I was indifferent about the fact that I would have to grow up spiritually. I was uneasy because that wasn’t on my to-do list at the time of just turning 19. The only growing up I was focused on was getting accepting into internship programs and going through the drama of registering for GRE classes on my own. I was distraught over the idea that I would be responsible for my spiritual standing and that I would have to change according to the wisdom God had shared with me.

Don’t be discouraged with the thought that you will have to be on this long, scary, and tiring journey with God. It is definitely a beautiful and virtuous journey but certainly isn’t an easy one. The way of God is narrow, which means you have to be spiritually fit to make it down His path. Find comfort in the fact that God does give help . But the key to receiving and enjoying that help is that our dependency needs to be fully on the Lord. If not, our help will be our idol, our god. We have to thank God for setting the order of things so that our priorities do not become distorted. God always knows what He is doing. Isaiah 46:3-4 (NIV): 3Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. 4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  God won’t grow us up without His help. God won’t say grow up and leave us stranded and confused. God is ready to grow us up at our own pace, time, and specific circumstances.

I want to take time to recognize that there is beauty and glory in old age. Proverbs 20:29 (NIV): ” The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair is the splendor of the old.” The world views aging as an individual becoming unattractive, struggling to pay bills, and pushed to the side by children and grand-children. Thank you Jesus that in spiritual maturity things are the complete opposite. As we grow and mature in the Lord we become even more beautiful as the beauty of Christ grows within us. We become wise and thus become prosperous in Christ. And we become more in tune with the presence of God so regardless of any company we have in the flesh, we never feel lonely as we never leave the feet of the Lord. That is something worth looking forward to! I spoke with my grandmother a few weeks ago and she said to me, “I don’t want to seek God when I am old and sickly. I want to seek God in my youth.” Mind you this is my grandmother so I chuckled at the thought of her talking about growing old but she has the idea correct. Ecclesiastes 12:1-3 (NIV): 1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim.” All too often do we as humans try to wait to become physically old to begin to become a babe in Christ. Some individuals die without being able to truly experience and exercise the power of God! If being just a babe in Christ is a rejuvenating and praiseworthy experience just imagine what it may be like to mature and grow elderly in Him.

As I am working to grow in Christ I encourage others to do the same. Growing up in God is much different from growing up in the world. When the world is inconsistent with explaining what the future will bring the Word of God gives specific and truthful breakdowns. God will mercifully remove all crutches so that we may reach our full potential as the Body of Christ. Rest assured that growing up spiritually in Christ is one of the most rewarding experiences in Christ if not the most rewarding. Maturing in Christ brings so much joy, power, and authority. In spiritual development other aspects of our lives are affected and will ultimately be a reflection of our ever-increasing relationship with our Father. Leave your childish ways behind and press on toward the goal to win the prize of which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Thank You Jesus.