Category: Devotionals


Dark Night of The Soul Series: 1

So here’s the story of me being left at the altar…..

Its a perfect setting, me, my friends, family are all gathering joyously celebrating my impending nuptials . We have the dress, wedding  site,  the bridal party, myself – the bride, my fiance – the groom, the priest.  Life was ready to be had or so I thought.

It was the morning of the wedding, a Saturday in fact, I walked through the church, walked to my place on the altar, all dressed up in white. And he wasn’t there. He wasn’t coming.

I HATE, HATE, HATE COMMITMENT!

Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, so lets me honest….. I FEAR IT.

It scares me, scares me because I’ll give my all and in return, Heather gets jipped. Left out. Forgotten. Heather commits to others – and she gets left at the altar.  or so it seems.

As of recently, I’ve come to realize I’ve been keeping a part of my heart away from God. The same part of heart I’ve kept from him all my life, the same part of my heart I’ve kept from the relationships,  the part I keep from my family, friends alike. I keep it only for me all because of fear.

Fear of giving my all – and its still not enough. That I’m not enough.

So thats been my struggle in my christianity. I’ve been afraid to totally commit certain aspects of my heart to God- and its put a real damper on my mood this last year. See I’ve made it a practice to, whenever I am struggling in particular area of my walk with God, ask for a dream, ‘cos I’m too pig headed to hear it directly. So the Lord usually appeases me and gives me dream/vision of sorts for me to chew on and then I get it. So thats the above story of me getting left at the altar.

OH! You thought that was real, no way, you kidding me? I wouldn’t dare get that far to the altar, lol.  I’m afraid of commitment remember? Told my ex he’d better be prepared to fight for me cos I’ll be the first to run.

Anyways, back to the point at hand.

I have come to realize that the biggest problem in my relationship with God, is my lack of trust in Him. See we can all be honest right? I’ve had my feelings hurt by God – haven’t we all? I’ve had to deal with the hurt of Him tearing down the kingdoms I’ve built in my life. I’ve dealt with the hurt of my prayers not being answered the way I wanted and expected them to be answered, but haven’t we all….

So I realized, I had a problem with God. As they would say in my mafia-esque familia: ‘we gots a beef wit chu!’ heavily accented in meatballs.

I had problems commiting to God, because I couldn’t see the commitment he made to me. And me being me would rather self-destruct, than take a chance, love God, let Him have all of me, and go for the ride.

I’ve come to realize that the scenes that invade my eye closed hours – normally exalt my worst fears.

And that is it

My worst fear is to be forgotten by God – and forever be the worker bee.

My worst fear is to someday realize that God is that cruel giant in heaven, with a magnifying glass, burning up his minion humans.

My worst fear is everything I’ve lived to disprove – will be found out as truth.

My worst fear is being pushed by tragedy so far away from God I’ll never come back.

So over the years, over this year, recent months, days even – self destructive tendancies (sin) has tried to enter and convince me to run, and tear apart what could last forever, ‘cos you may be let down, and why not have a second plan.

See I don’t know who this all is for…. I know maybe 1. But the point is, don’t run out on God because your afraid he may run out on you.

The point is also, not to run out on human love, human existance, because your afraid. No one ever got anywhere being afraid, being overly cautious.

For God sakes: JUMP!

even when circumstance feels like you’ve been left at the altar by God Himself!

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Months ago, I was in a Rihop service in which is was asked of many – “How many felt they were being drawed into a time of wilderness with God.” I raised both hands, not knowing what it meant, and decided to run willingly into the wilderness with God. The conversation came up with Sherrie that I felt like God was calling me in the season for some years, 3 to be exact. She interpreted that as being 3 years of intense, intimate times with God. I wish I really would have caught that….. I wish I would have caught an understanding of the idea of being in the wilderness. Of being in a season of the Dark Night of the Soul.

Dark night of the soul is a metaphor used to describe a phase in a person’s spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation.

This is my place of honesty, the place where my scars and victories alike will be confirmed(word of my testimony) and hopefully a place where you will experience you own ‘healing’ or ‘revelation’.

This year has been a consistent struggle in my walk with God. I’ve gone through periods of utter Apathy, Anger, Depression, Fear of Commiting to God, Guilt, Shame, Torement, and yet in the midst of these unknown valley’s I’ve experienced some of the most awesome times of healing, times of worship, times of restoration. So the next few posts will be about these experiences.

In case your a theologian or one in training like me 😉 – and you want some understanding of the “Dark Night of The Soul” experiences here’s an piece of writing I found on it:

In the Christian tradition, one who has developed a strong prayer life and consistent devotion to God suddenly finds traditional prayer extremely difficult and unrewarding for an extended period of time during this “dark night.” The individual may feel as though God has suddenly abandoned them or that his or her prayer life has collapsed. In the most pronounced cases, belief is lost in the very existence of God and/or validity of religion, rendering the individual an atheist, even if they continue with the outward expressions of faith.

Rather than resulting in devastation, however, the dark night is perceived by mystics and others to be a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual is stripped (in the dark night of the senses) of the spiritual ecstasy associated with acts of virtue. Although the individual may for a time seem to outwardly decline in their practices of virtue, they in reality become more virtuous, as they are being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards (ecstasies in the cases of the first night) obtained and more out of a true love for God. It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God.

Dear Friend,

If you are in this place, don’t worry, I am too!

I’ve found out one thing in this little bit of time:

It will all be alright, more than alright actually.

God Bless,

Keep being Driven, Keep Moving Forward

H

Saturday afternoon, while driving from spending time with my pastors, I received a tweet from a pastor in Seattle.

The tweet in its essence was asking for prayer, as he was dealing with 2 tragedys less than 48 hours apart. I scrolled down to see the replies, and one stuck out to me so deeply. The tweet simply said:

I am praying for your mental and emotional stability

I kept driving down Hull St, met up with a friend and her daughter for some coffee. We began to chat about ministry, and its slipped out of my mouth, how if your not careful ministry can be a depressing place. I say that with ease, as I was volunteer staff at a church in which we dealt with many deaths, drug /alcohol addicted men and women, broken families. We saw stuff, and heard stuff, felt stuff. See most people think its hard to be a cop, which is it, because of the dangers you face, the things you see. In the same frame of mind , many think its hard to be a Dr/Nurse because of the lives you save and the ones you lose.

Truth be told, its hard to be human.

Life is full of anomalies in which we experience things that shatter our heart if we have no one to turn to. With that said, with all the love and kindness in the world, can I ask you one question?

and who supports the pastor?

The pastor dedicates babies, baptizes people, on a weekly basis they watch as God snatches another soul from hell, they marry, they bury, the do their best to love theirs, their flock, the body. The pastor serves as counsel, but who counsels the pastor?

Who is there for the pastor?

I’ve never operated in the official capacity of “pastoral staff” , and if I have the choice I will not, so I cannot say, from experience as a pastor I know hurt. But was I was leader. I was a leader who saw the rebellion and saw obedience. One who saw the joys, and who experienced loss.

So again, who is there for the pastor?

When I was a kid, my parent unknowingly taught me never to complain or ask for help. Through comments like, “We’ll talk to God about that.”, when they didn’t have the time or whatever the case may be. And truthfully, working in a college and career ministry I did the same. Being a member of a church whom people respected my opinion – I did the same. The truth is when people reach out to us, we should at the least:

1.Listen – few seconds, minutes, hours, a life.

2. Embrace them – be it emotionally, offer a hug, a king word.

3. Pray with them that God shows up!

The comfort of God is an amazing thing, nothing, NOTHING could ever be as effective as His love covering us. But, BUT, there are times in life wherein you’d like someone with skin on – to relate to. Times in life, in which God uses someone with skin on to minister to you.

Unfortunately we are building a generation of people – pastors- who feel if they can’t handle it- it is a sign of weakness as opposed to humanity. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Nothing.

This springs out of my heart being broken over a pastor committing suicide, an amazing pastor who had an amazing ministry, wife, children, success- or so it seemed.

So who supports the pastor?

This blog isn’t to place blame, but to hopefully evoke a response in the body that says,

” YES, Pastor, I Support You!”

“Pastor, How Can I Help You!”

“Pastor, I Am Praying For You”

Who supports the pastor?

How can you support your pastor….

God bless.

In humanity, I inhumanly fight

I fight me

I fight to breathe

When I’m the one suffocating me

Snuffing out my own life

Trying to realize what is wrong and what is right

What is God’s and what is mine

But I’m not of my own making.

I’m an undertaking

Fashioned by the father

Birthed by a mother.

I came naked

Essentially me

and thats how I will leave….

-unknown

20090912-adam-eve-fresco

I will admit this one’s alittle different guys. But then again, I’m alittle different truth be told. No, to be truthful, I am alot different. I’m on a ‘Get Real’ kick, in my life right now. My desire is to be who God made me, unashamedly, ready to roll with His [God’s] purpose. This still goes with the theme of the blog for now, but its short. I hope it effects the purposes of God in your life, and causes you to take the perversion out and allow God’s truth to enlighten you – to you!

We’ve always been who we always were. Yet, when Adam discovered who he was [naked] he existed in shame. Sin perverts who God already made us. It makes us ashamed of what we’ve always been. We begin to categorize what is God’s & what isn’t. When the truth is, its all God’s. If you take out the perversion [ if you take satan out of the picture] , it returns us to our first existence, Freedom, wholeness, truth. The very you God created you to be. Stop falling for the enemies game, be OK with who God made you to be, no more shame, no more chains. Ladies and Gentleman, its time to be free.

There is nothing wrong with who you are, what you want, where you want to go. So stop fighting yourself. You are His, God’s child. So everyday, pick up your cross and kick satan out of the equation.

Fyi, the painting is not mine. Its a fresco of Adam and Eve.

I’m a procrastinator by nature. I tend to borderline having a rebellious behavior, prone to fit throwing, so basically I’m peter.

Well another flaw I forgot to mention is….. I don’t like waiting.

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I once heard someone say that life is a series of waiting rooms, which suck for me because I don’t like waiting remember?

Oh by the way, I don’t like hospitals, doctors offices’, waiting in someone office waiting areas, and umm guidance counselor offices…. having to wait without knowing the outcome.

Bingo!

Thats it, I don’t like having to wait not knowing the outcome.

So life is a series of waiting rooms huh…. I’m not sure its a bunch of waiting rooms, but I can agree there are certain times where its apart of the process for us to be in a waiting room.  Waiting fun stuff… not really, but its completely necessary. COMPLETELY!

Because if we don’t wait, well what we want and need will not be complete. God is a God of completion, so wait.

I’m not talking out of my head or bible here, although I am, but I’m talking out of a right now season.

I’m waiting

I’m waiting on God to move on somethings. I’m waiting for the doors to open up for my business. I’m waiting for the say so to pack up and move. I’m waiting for the full time ministry position. I’m waiting to finally go to Ghana. I’m waiting for my house. I’m waiting for my family. I’m waiting…. waiting… waiting on my life to start.

We are all waiting, but we are promised that those who wait on the Lord, shall renew they’re strength. Here’s the scripture:

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

I don’t like to wait, nor do I know anyone who does it for leisure, but waiting is good. Its not fun, but its for our good.

Lets establish another thing…. I like food. I like food a lot, as you can probably can tell. But in the words of a dear friend named Jared,” I’ll wait for my fully baked cake!”

I’m waiting

“I’m kinda worried about your salvation….and stuff…” Nacho Libre

nacho_libre

Phillipians 2:12-16

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[a] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

I never quite understood the whole ‘work out your salvation’ thing. See I was under the assumption that it was all worked out, I mean God sent Christ, Christ did the thing on the cross, and all was left – was for me to say yes to his call to come be made whole. With that I thought it ended…..    boy was I wrong.

I grew up with a lot of doctrinal confusion and talks of grace and forgiveness, repentance and recompense, alot. So for this post, I’m going to title it

JUST STOP!

WARNING: Holy Spirit Supervision Needed! Offense may occur, so you may need to take a moment with the comforter to work out what to take from this.

I’ve been in church all my life, volunteered in one for seven years, and I’ve seen alot. I’ve seen people get saved, set free, set on fire, and lived for God wholeheartedly. I’ve view a major of people grow up in church, get tired of church, go out and try some stuff, come back, get on fire. But the folks that truely break my heart, the folks that identify with are the folks who know the truth, for the most part live the truth, and get hung up with those ‘oh so familar’ sins, habits, people, and expect grace to cover it all.

I say that freely and without judgement because I’m one of those people. I know the truth, I speak the truth, I somewhat live the truth, but there are some areas that I become a habitual offender in my sin. Be it not tithing, be it viewing pornography, immoral relationships, drug and alchohol abuse, cursing, we all have our thing, even down to pushing God off the throne and assuming His position. But this post is about those of us who know better…

My quest is to grow up…

To become a mature christian, to be one God can count on, one He can trust, one He can use because I’ve chosen to allow Him to work on me and rid me of me.

So when do I ( so I don’t offend  you, of course its only me) stop abusing grace, grow up, work out my salvation with fear and trembling enough that I stay away from those silly sins?

Work out my salvation fear and tembling……

Let me rephrase that, approach your salvation with reverential honor.

Not to be one to pressure you with fear, but how would your walk be if God was glued to yourside 24/7…. How would you look at the guy or girl knowing God knows not just the seen, but He see’s and judges with His word the thoughts and intents of the heart… what would you do then?

Phillipians 2:12-14

What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Not to cheapen the Christian experience, but lets think of it as a job. I’m a hard worker, some would even go as far to say a workaholic. I keep my phone on 24/7, answering business calls even on the weekend, working on average till midnight each night on my separate little projects… I work. The truth of the matter is most times I’m playing ‘catch-up’ because ‘THE BOSS’ wasn’t looking over my shoulder I wasn’t running 100% so I leaked my work into after hours. After hour work is shotty at best. I’m tired, I’m pushing myself to a limit, and I’m costing the company more money, more resources.

So why do I do that?

Its easy, I’m a procrastinator by nature. I tend to borderline having a rebellious behavior, prone to fit throwing, so basically I’m peter.

God has been taking me through a process  of being broken before Him enough to let it go, let who I am go, and my stuff go and submit.

Submission isn’t easy, I naturally fight because of fear of being controlled, don’t we all.

But God isn’t here to control us…I’m learning that.

There are things we play with that are poison. Poison to our destiny, poison to our families, poison. Sometimes its a quick killin, other times its a slow one. Pushing us to edges we should know about.

When we’re told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling essentially its saying know God, reverence Him, put away those things that aren’t of Him. We we don’t, we get caught up in things… things that aren’t so good.

So again, I’m kinda worried about your salvation….and stuff…

I’m not saying your gonna lose it, God knows there’s enough theological debates on that one, I’m saying you will lose the fruit of it, and if we lose that what will we bring to the king……

I’ve come to understand a few things within the past few weeks….

Its time to just get real!

Our society, our churches, schools, homes, and relationships are built on a facade of perfection, a facade of insecurity, or a facade of pride.

How can we go anywhere, do anything, have healthy lives, loves, and futures if we are unwilling to be real.

So here’s the realness you will now encounter in this blog:

I am a flawed human

A human who is a lover, a lover of God.

My humanity is not a sign of weakness or even perfection, but a sign that ‘I’m just not there yet.”

Everyday I strive

In my striving, I have to consistently remind myself that this effort I’m driving towards is not for myself.

Its not for my wealth, not my success, nor my own happiness, but my wholeness.

The key to being whole, is being in Him.

And in Him there is great joy and happiness.

By Him, I mean the Great God Jehovah

The beginning and end

So here I stand, again, a flawed human being

Whose striving to become a mature christian.

As I am growing tired of being God’s embarrassing child throwing a tantrum in the supermarket of life with my Christianity.

What’s up for purchase?

Souls, kingdom advancement, wholeness, His Will.

I’m feeling like its the right time for me to pick my book back up.

Experiencing the Depths of Christ by Jeanne Guyon, not sure why, but six months ago I was only 3 chapter in, chewing on the steak I had just gotten. The funny thing is the writer says to Stop Reading and meditate, I guess i did. On to chapter four.

Photo 169

I haven’t written in awhile, although I’m not sure anyone actually reads this thing.

So here’s whats up… life is good.
In a week I board a plane for Charlotte, I’m mucho excited!
I’m sure I will not want to come back, but  its all in time.
All I can write is…. I’m blessed.
Beyond measure. Sometimes in life we have a bucket out labeled blessed, and in that bucket only the things we ask for can go in it. The bucket sometimes holds that perfect man or woman, the bucket holds that new car, or promotion at work, it can be labeled as many things. But see I’ve been learning to be content in everything and nothing at all.
So my bucket, that I have sitting out on the porch of my heart, labled, “blessings” is set aside for the daily protection I didn’t ask for, its set aside for the grace God had over me to jackhammer somethings and people out of my life, its set aside for the family God’s given me that I didn’t ask for, the love he’s placed in my heart I didn’t ask for.
See I’m starting to think that the biggest blessings ever given to us from the Father, are the ones we didn’t even ask for.
With that said I can only imagine how much more He wants to do when we ask!
Thanks for the protection daddy, the love, hope, and honor, especially since I didn’t ask for it.

A few weeks ago I was invited to come and hear my friend Efa speak. That week I was so frustrated with my job, and school and etcs. I was flying off the handle left and right….

My last post talked about how we need to learn to go climb up our daddy king’s lap and let him remind us of we are, and where we are going. That night was a divine appointment for me. I got before the Lord and ask him to search my heart, that the plans I’ve layed out aren’t for my benefit, but his kingdom. My friend came up behind me and prayed a few words over me, and I broke.

I broke because my bucket of blessings we set aside for the tangible, instead of what he was doing in my heart. I profusely repented before God. Asking forgiveness for doubting him, and for doubting his heart toward me. Afterall he wasn’t somebody ont he street, but according to jeremiah he’s got great plans for me.

So what is your bucket of blessings set aside for?

I encourage you to look through yours, as I am looking through mine.

Love yall

nothing beats the love of a father.

nothing can every trump being able to shrink in age and size, and curl up in the arms of everlasting and allow Him to return you to childhood, safety, and comfort.

The other day I was in an amazing service in Newport News. There was a powerful altar service and during that I kinda jumped out of my own body and viewed myself from God’s eyeview. So Im worshiping and praising God, and suddenly I see my own physical movements, and mannerisms. I notice that I am not worshiping like a church goer, nor am I like a teenager, I’m not jumping up and down or raising my hands so that the tips of my finger don’t exceed my shoulder blade, nope, none of that.

I notice I’m pacing and walking back and forth, fidgety and yet content. Not in a rush, just there, before the king. Before the king I’m ok, before the king there are no questions of who I am and what I should do, and even if they’re were the king would tell me. See before the king I am who I’ve always been,

Today, and the past few weeks I’ve been battling with picking things up and “trying” to make them happen for me. Bigger than that for years I’m been stuffing myself into a mold that I thought people expected me to be, instead of just trusting my heart. So today I sat overwhelmed with me! Overwhelmed with my stuff, my schooling, my career, my future, my looks, my wants, my needs, and what I think all those things should look like.

Its only when your out of character that you feel uncomfortable. Only when your out of character that you give up on dreams. But see none of that matters before the king. Because even when you forget, He reminds you.

Just like a daddy does, that its ok,you belong to him, your beautiful, whole, confident, strong, and well able to do anything you want too.

So today I had to go back to the four year old me, with shuffling feet, and fidgety hands, and get before my king daddy and let him remind me.

you always give me something to write!