A Doorkeeper’s Lament

Most days, there is no place that I’d rather be than in the House of God, in the fellowship of the sons and daughters of the King!  There is no greater joy than to get to church and be surrounded with the love and support of men and women that want no more than to show the world God’s love in their service to the community, in a variety of ways.

Many people look at church with disdain.  Some people groan and grimace at the thought that they ‘have’ to go to church. I’m excited that I ‘get’ to go to church.  I look forward to it! I love the work that I do for the Kingdom of God in His house.  It equips me and prepares me to be God’s hands, feet and voice in the other incarnations of my life.

Let’s talk about the work that gets done in the house of God.  There are many avenues of service in any church, that are necessary for the Pastor to be effective in administering the Word of God to the congregation.  From the people who direct you in the parking lot, to the ones who direct you to your seat, to the people who prepare the bulletins, and prepare and sing the music, the people who keep the church clean and the ones who teach the children so that the adults can give the word of God their undivided attention.  It is a village at work, to make sure that the community receives what God has prepared for them through the Pastor.

When it’s done right…in unity of purpose, with a clearly communicated vision and clearly defined roles filled by joyful and willing participants…the presence of God is made welcomed and He visits in ways that defy imagination, with gifts worth more than human riches could recompense!  Prayers get answered. Bodies, hearts, minds and spirits get mended! Peace is dispersed like a mist from Heaven. Joy unspeakable flows. Forgiveness is given and received.  The Grace of God is evident. All because we come together, work together and make room for God, in His house.

Make no mistake: that kind of work is truly a sacrifice. There is time, effort, study and preparation that must take place, in order for things to flow that seamlessly. People give of their time, and talents.  Others step out of their comfort zones to be obedient to do whatever it is they know they’ve been called to do. Practice, drills, thought and coordination are required.  And, sometimes, it means letting go of our desire to do things our way and in our timing.

Recently, there were some people that were heavy on my heart. People I haven’t seen in a very long time. some I wanted to hug, some I had been praying for and just wanted to look into their eyes and make sure that all was well.  

This weekend, as we were in service at church, God was doing an extraordinary work.  The flow of all in service, from the ushers and greeters, to the choir and dancers, was IDEAL.  God’s presence was so rich and thick, it was very difficult to keep our human forms from buckling under the weight of His anointing in the air. It was, in a word, DELICIOUS!

We who were in position, got to see a move of God, unparalleled.  And, I…I got to see some personal presents.  These people that had been heavy on my heart were actually PRESENT.  But, I was in service to the presence of God. While, for a moment or two, here and there, I struggled with the urge to leap from my position of service to satisfy my desire to see these people, I did not want to break the flow of the service. Nor did I wish to quash what God was doing, by the Holy Ghost.  He was making His presence felt and many, many people were not only demonstrating their great hunger for God, they were having that hunger satisfied.  God’s presence became more important that having my desires met.  The fact that I actually got to see these people present, would have to be enough.  

Having resigned myself to surrender my present from God for His presence, I threw myself into the service that I was performing for my God and my King.  In that moment, I was given the gift of a vision that I will be sharing with my Pastor as soon as I finish talking to YOU. I was also privileged to entertain God’s presence in a way that was so profound, those of us who were in attendance, were genuinely LOATHED to walk away. We literally sat in silence, with children, spouses, responsibilities all waiting, because God’s presence, in that moment, was so beautiful, NONE OF US really wanted to leave! From where I stood, I saw ushers, security people and prayer ministers stepping out to check on things and coming back into the sanctuary to continue to serve and be witness to what was happening. Even as I am writing this, I am overwhelmed by how precious that moment was, and so grateful to have been a part of it.

So, yeah…

There are a lot of times, people have to wait on us because of the services we provide in our congregations.  We show up late for ‘important’ events (if at all), and people get offended.  Sometimes, people’s feelings get hurt, because they think our priorities are out of order.  And sometimes, even in having our own prayers answered, we only get to celebrate on our way to doing more service.  But in all those things, I would still rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.  To get a front row seat to the miracles, signs and wonders of eternity being dispersed; to feel the presence of the all powerful, ‘unseen’ Creator of the Universe and to know, for certain, that He enjoyed Himself in hanging out with ME?

Please…I’ll take His presence over His presents any day. If you’re looking for me, you know where to find me…In service to His presence.

Please…I’ll take His presence over His presents any day


Roll With It, Baby!

Some days I am amazed at myself! No hubris intended. I look at my life and wonder to myself, “Exactly…how did I get here? Really?”

Here I am, in the last couple of months that I will share residing with my now, totally grown, independent children, with whom I communicate very little, if at all. The whole of my existence is encapsulated in the smallest room of a house 30 minutes or more away from everything I do most often (work and church, and the friends from either). I spend so much on gas and car maintenance, quick and somewhat healthy foods, that I don’t have much of anything for luxuries like…thrift store shopping. I spend so much time going between the two places I frequent most, that my energy to be sociable is worn to a frazzle. And my house is really not my home.

And, then…there’s him.

I am in a relationship with a man I am certain will be my last husband. We both have ADHD that manifests in two different and distinctive ways. Our tastes in art and music are as similar as they are different. Our backgrounds are dangerously similar, and what God took 35 years to work out in me, I have had the privilege (and terror) to watch God work out in him in the span of the year we’ve known each other. It seems to be a really combustible combination. The wonder of it all is, we ignite without exploding and we have SO MUCH FUN together, even when we disagree. Part of the reason my grown children and I communicate so little…they don’t exactly approve of my choice. But, I had to remind them, I was grown when they got here. As such, I answer to God about these things, since He made me and they didn’t.

Nothing in my life is the way I’d hoped it’d be. It is not easy and certainly not glamourous. It has been a series of forward failings…I keep getting knocked down and kicked over, but as long as I pay attention to the direction in which I fall, I keep getting up heading in the right direction. As a desert baby, I have simply learned to roll with it.

It had to be almost 30 years ago, when I heard T.D. Jakes preach about desert babies. He was referring to the Israelites as they proceeded to make that 40 year journey. Their situation was such that they had to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. It required the ability to travel light, take only whatever sustenance was available for the day and, even in making plans, be prepared to drop everything to move when God said move.

As I have come to learn in the years since, the bottom line is, if we call ourselves followers of the Cloud (the Spirit of Christ that dwells within us), we cannot afford to take the departures of others from our lives personally. Unlike the days of that infamous mountain trail, we all have to follow the cloud, individually, even more than as a collective. Not everyone who shares our path at any given time is meant to take the whole journey with us. God leads us all on our own personal path. Not everyone can go where we are headed.

It is not wise to expect others to understand the path we are on. After all, the God who speaks to one, speaks to all. And, while His word is very specific about the general details of our collective destination, we each have a path to travel that is ours alone. We have to give an account for how successfully we’ve followed the Cloud for ourselves.

There is no kinship so vital as the ones who have been called to share your journey with you. Often, blood has nothing to do with, “the tie that binds,” when it comes to the path upon which we have been called walk. If it were the natural DNA that bound us to a common cause, Jesus would never have needed to say, “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” It’s usually the ones that are naturally closest to us that cannot see us from God’s perspective.

The only DNA that binds us to one another is evident in that we are obedient to the Word of God. Again, Jesus was quick to emphasize this when he was being summoned by His earthly mother and brothers. In Luke Chapter 8 is a small snippet situated between Jesus sharing deep thoughts and performing miracles. Jesus took only enough time to explain that, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it,” before He moved between the two.

Please understand: in no way should we disrespect or dishonor those to whom we have familial ties. It is the genetic pool from which God has drawn to equip us with basic traits so that we can understand and bind the generational curses, as well as activate and employ the generational blessings for our journey’s sake. Beyond that, we need to know that the only family that matters are the family that follows the cloud.

So, here I sit. In awe of how far God has brought me these 47 years on the planet. Resigned to the comings and goings of those who share temporary space with me, grateful to God for the time I’ve had to love and grow with all the desert babies passing in and out of my life. Excited to see how the changes in season will bring about greater victories in Christ, and greater opportunities to share my adventures with our Heavenly Father, with more and more people.

Thanks for rolling with me, Kaleidoscope Family.

That’s Not How This Works…

Happy Holy Week, KP Family!! Spring is upon us. And with that, the upwardly mobile, the downwardly trodden and the stationarily stuck are all in stores, purchasing the latest available fashions to make their annual trek to church, two Sundays in a row.

Yeah, I know. That sounds a bit sarcastic of me. Call it the last and dying cry of a heart in search of it’s better self. Let that kinda explain where I’ve been the last three and a half months. (Well, I DID say, ‘kinda.’)

I find it ironic that I would spend, even an ounce of sarcasm on the same level of behavior that I have been struggling to be free from since we last spoke. But, it is that struggle that brings me right back to Palm Sunday.

This complicated, poetically tragic, monumentally victorious week begins with a bit of a misnomer. A fleet of people crying out, “Hosanna,” to a man who rode triumphantly into his own, personal, “Hell Week.”

Think about it all. Thirty years of preparation, three years of ministry and one week of destiny all kicked off with a crowd of people hailing His entrance with a series of rousing screams of, “Hosanna!”

People look at the “Palm Sunday” crowd as if they were celebrating the Messiah. But they weren’t. It was not a celebration. It was the ambivalent cry of people who might have believed.

The thing about people who only have a peripheral understanding of the word, hosanna, is, what they think they know is strictly trend based. But, that’s not how this works. Many people believe that to cry hosanna is to praise the Lord, when it is, in fact, a cry for help!

The definition of the word, Hosanna, is, “help; save, I pray.”

These were a people that heard the rumor that Jesus might be the Messiah. They wanted to believe, but the expectation did not exactly match the experience. They saw the miracles, here and there, but there was not enough for the majority of them to believe that Jesus was big enough to save the world and overthrow the Roman empire.

So many come and call Jesus out, in times of adoration to say, “Hosanna!”
But, if they only understood what it is they are actually praying, they might say, “Hosanna,” more often.

Hosanna, is a cry of desperation, not of acclamation. Whether of our own making or having been the victim of someone else’s bad decision, “Hosanna,” is a cry of repentance; an acknowledgment of the mess we have found ourselves in. It is the concession that our present situation is so far beyond our ability to deliver or save ourselves. Some would say it is the first step to recovery.

Cried once, “Hosanna,” is the shameless request for a miracle. If we are not careful, we will only cry this word out in times of crisis and confusion. And, in our departure, having received, we will forget, “It is HE that has made us, and not we ourselves.” We will walk away, so satisfied that the crisis is over, we will forget that the same self-consumed, instantly gratified, over-indulgent flesh that put us in the place to need that miracle, will put us right back in the place to cry, “Hosanna,” again.

BUT, when, “Hosanna,” is whispered, consistently, constantly, as the exhale of every inhale, it becomes a prayer of understanding that we are but dust; that only the inspiration of Creator to creation can make us more and more the masterpiece, and less and less the mess. It is our humble, quiet, earnest, heart-sought, “Hosanna,” that God desires to hear more than anything.

Hosanna, oh, God, from our selfish ways.
Hosanna, Lord in our day to day.
Hosanna, dear Father, from our childish nature.
Hosanna, from seeking fame, fortune or stature.

Hosanna, from the weaknesses of our flesh.
Hosanna, from other people’s mess!
Hosanna, from thoughts and words that snare.
Hosanna, from every un-cast care.

Hosanna, to walk in newness of life.
Hosanna, to stand in Your glorious light!
Hosanna, to show someone else Your way.
Hosanna, Lord, in our day to day.

There are so many other words to use for praise, to adore God. They are all available, every day.

But, to speak, “Hosanna,” from the heart, is the answer to God’s very own heart cry to us all: “Seek Me, while I may be found.”

This Holy Week…the week of our Savior’s Holy Hell…remember why He came to die. Don’t be afraid to cry out to the one who suffered, died and rose to honor that simple request.

Let your cry of, Hosanna, be felt by the heart of God this week…this day…and every day, from here on out.

Be blessed, Kaleidoscope Family! As we move forward together, you’ll be hearing from me more often.

In Everything, Give Thanks

Hey, y’all! I missed talking to you!  It feels like it’s been forever, since I’ve been able to put fingers to keyboard to communicate with you!

Just ONCE, after an extended absence, I’d like to NOT say, “I’ve been in the fight of my life…again.” But, yeah…there it is.  I’ve been in an especially challenging scrape…again.

The last time my boys and I were homeless, we were hoping to be covered and guided by the head of our household.  That didn’t really go so well. We’ve been living in the fallout from the series of decisions that put us in that mess, ever since. Living our lives under the radar. Making choices with the end result being mere survival…nothing more. Nothing about that situation and the ones that followed set us up to be established, contributing members of society.

Between us, there was not one survivable income. At one point, we “lived” on my unemployment check of $89.00 a week; first, living in the renovated garage of a wannabe slumlord, then renting and eventually squatting in a foreclosed home until we were discovered and legally asked to remove ourselves. Just trying to maintain on food pantries and grunt work and whatever hustles we could get on at any given time.  Then, with the help of a friend, we rented a house on more (but not quite) official terms. It was still under the radar. And, while it was more formal, it was not entirely the most legitimate situation.

Today, the ‘boys’ are now very grown men. And we have found ourselves in a similar predicament. That ‘almost official’ rental was sold and we told them we would leave in 30 days.  At the end of those 30 days, our situation, while much improved, had not completely manifested in the time we hoped it would. With the cleaning crew of the new property owners at the door, we quickly put our already packed belongings in a truck and waited on God.

And, in my waiting, I went to sing my first solo, in over a year, in our church’s new building, “It is well.”

I was, again, reminded whose I really am.

Almost 4 years ago, when I started this blog, I raved, ad nauseum, about my church and those who were, at the time, my former (and are once again) employers. Once again, Lighthouse Church of All Nations and PASS network for life, lead the charge in the preservation of my household.  They provided my sons and I with places to lay our heads and store our stuff.

That is the present state of my circumstances.

So, when I quote Psalm 37:25 (in my own paraphrased version), “I was young and now I am…MORE; yet I have NEVER seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread,” know that I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!

PLEASE KNOW THIS…even though we were homeless, we were not without a roof over our heads.  I don’t know how it feels to live under a bridge or on a corner, or even in a shelter. For that I am grateful. But, I do have a very distinct compassion for those who have had that experience.

Welcome to the weird weekend of the paradigm shift!!

After a month or more of disappointment after disappointment, by this past Saturday afternoon, I was so very nearly about to break. So much so, that I did not trust the thoughts in my head to repeat them aloud.

It’s not that things were so awful.  My boys and I are all gainfully employed for the first time in the history of our family.  We are now legitimately and legally capable of taking care of ourselves financially.  Finally, we are established enough to incur credit and be real contributors to society and the economy.  We just didn’t have a home…yet. But after so many years of doing without, it was really starting to get me down.

When, out of the clear blue, I began to sing, “Up above my head, I hear joybells ringing. Up above my head, I hear angels singing. There must be a God somewhere.”

And things began to break.

By Saturday night, a promise was being kept

Then, Sunday, particularly at the 11am service, the words to the song we sang came alive in a most significant way.

“You called me out of darkness into light. The power of satan is broken. I’m free, I have new life. You’re a great and marvelous God.”

My mind began to rehearse some key moments in my life and God began to speak.

“Do you see? There’s nothing left of who you were. There’s nothing left to go back to. And, this last attempt of the enemy to keep you in the old patterns has now failed…completely. You’re free to be who I called you. Trust that…walk in it…it’s yours now.”

And I wept.

I wept for every person the enemy used to keep me at a substandard existence, and I prayed for God to bless them and show them mercy.

I wept for the strange, wonderful and BEAUTIFUL creature I’ve become (and I make no apologies for admitting my own beauty…you don’t know how long it took for me to see it for myself!).

I wept for the gift of communication that I am now about to use to it’s fullest for God’s glory and for the gifts and talents of my mighty men of valor that are being established to turn the world upside down.

I wept for all the wonderful, beautiful people, too many to mention, whom God has placed on our path to aid and guide and support us on this strange (and considerably dramatic) journey.

I wept for the home we are moving into next week.  We will use this opportunity to make the transition to GOD GIVEN SELF SUFFICIENCY.  Understand…our total dependence GOD is the ONLY REASON we are now able to take care of ourselves and not be subject to those who would keep us under their dominion.

And I thanked God for ALL OF IT.

In the conclusion of a most poignant Thanksgiving season, I have much to be thankful for…including YOU.  Thank you KP family, for lending me your ears.  I promise not to abuse the privilege

We’ll talk again soon…

When Nobody Is Watching…Pt. 3

I brag on my children all the time. I gave birth to only two, but the number of children I ‘claim’ could easily amount to dozens!! And, to me, each one of them is PERFECT. They are the recipients of the same love I have tried to show to everyone: the unconditional love of one who sees who you are and loves you, faults and all.

I have three sons that actually live under my roof, none of whom do everything exactly as I would wish.  And yet, I insist that they are perfect.  They are (for the most part) transparent and completely disclosed to me.  In their own timing, the tell me just about everything that is going on in their lives.

NOTE: did you see all the ‘out clauses’ I provide them? That is simply because my name is NOT Holy Ghost, Jr.  I don’t NEED to know everything about them.  I need only know how to pray and how to be available to receive them in whatever disclosure they and the Holy Ghost provide me.

The two sons that I bore are relatively guileless.  We three sleep with our doors unlocked and walk in on one another whenever the need arises.  We laugh out loud and talk ‘smack’ with one another in ways that some people looking in from the outside may deem inappropriate. All of this has taken some adjusting to for the son I claim.We have accepted how foreign a concept that kind of disclosure is for him. But, they all know there is never a question that they cannot ask without expectation of the whole truth.  They know if I say, “Because I said so,” it’s because the answer is beyond words and (most times) they trust my gut.  Even when they defy my order of, “Because I said so,” they know that they can come to me and receive correction without condemnation and some prayerful deliberation about how to handle the fallout.

When the sons I bore were small and our lives took on many different versions of ‘a living hell,’ they watched their father and me very closely. The degree of how closely they watched us did not reveal itself until they were both considered, ‘adult.’ I think the most fascinating thing about that is how accurately they assessed those situations, even as children.  Part of that, I imagine is because, while they knew they could always come to me. They also knew they could not come to their father and expect that same amount of candor and disclosure.

They watched how we walked out our ‘faith’ and how we demonstrated our relationships with God.  And, while things have not always gone obviously in my favor, they have seen God sustain me and provide for us in ways that have defied imagination. They have understood my childhood abuse, my divorce, our homeless and unemployed seasons, and viewed them through the lens of the Grace of God. They have taken the lessons they learned and used them to extend that grace to others so that I would never question that they have their own personal relationships with God.

This is not a result of my telling my children what to do, mind you.  It is, more to the point, a result of me telling them WHY I made certain choices when I made them. They saw that I was not living my life as a victim, although many people may have perceived it as such. They saw that I was living my life as a VESSEL for God to work through. I can only say that because they have said as much in some fashion or another.

Some of what has been revealed to me as they have gotten older were the details about things neither I nor their father realized that they had observed as children.  Things they observed only in part as children, that they have inquired after in their maturity, have produced the fruit they supposed it would. These things have confirmed for all of us that, when you walk in integrity, it is alright to be exactly who you are, exactly in the moment that you find yourself, without apology or defense before the God who made you.  Things that have confirmed that the consistency of your integrity will ALWAYS win out, especially in the times that you believe nobody is watching. They have discovered that doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons will bring reward in SOME WAY, as much as doing the wrong thing the wrong way for the wrong reasons will bring destruction.

Your best move will always be to forgive quickly, love people anyway and do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason, whether or not you believe nobody is watching. God is ALWAYS watching. And He ALWAYS repays.vlcsnap-2014-10-01-00h50m01s21116c0ee6e9afa31cc4255743146ef4b9a47cb076e05d6246be438505ec2b5945c

When Nobody Is Watching…Pt. 2

Learning to love as God loves, requires that you see yourself as God sees you, flaws and all.  It also affords you the perspective of seeing  others through God’s eyes, to some degree. It gives you an appreciation for the faulty construct of those around you and see them with love, compassion and acceptance.  Very much like the God who made us all, there is an ease in how we can take people as they are and love them unconditionally just that way.  But, in the quest for a deeper relationship with them, just like the God who made us all, we love them too much to let them stay that way.

Knowing full well that we are not the source of change, it is our desire to, at the very least, be that catalyst for the desire to change.

The ‘appearance-minded’ person doesn’t always take this well.  It is upsetting to them that they have been, ‘found out.’  At times, it will cause them to retreat from their relationship with an ‘unconditional lover’. It can cause them to reject the ‘unconditional lover’ for the safety of other ‘appearance minded’ people that won’t challenge them on the deeper things.

This puts the ‘unconditional lover’ in the untenable position of experiencing something, they have most certainly prayed for without completely understanding its depth and danger.

I have prayed, like many unconditional lovers, for God to, “Break my heart with the things that break Your heart.”  When it first comes out of your heart and mouth to pray that kind of prayer, it almost sounds romantic. It is full of passion to feel God’s heart for the lost and the dying and the displaced.  Your heart is to help anyone that God would send into your path, with a meal or a word of encouragement. You expect to build a house, work in a soup kitchen or serve in a shelter somewhere.

But what happens when you realize the things that really break God’s heart are closer to you than any of those things?

Three times I have loved and lost.  Not because I made mistakes, nor that I even lived so “perfectly.”  But because I saw my loves and loved them, flaws and all, unconditionally.  Because I saw their flaws and forgave them, even though often, they could not forgive me of my flaws or themselves of their own. Because my seeing them for their flaws without judging or condemning them defied their expectation of love. For me to not only acknowledge their mistakes and how much it hurt me but to still choose to be in relationship with them, was completely contrary to what they themselves would have done, had the tables been turned. In a couple of instances, the tables WERE turned and I was summarily condemned, over and over.

The choice to accept the forgiveness and make attempts to be restored gets rejected. Instead of taking their ‘unforgivable’ acts to the Lord together, in a willingness to make more beneficial choices that would glorify the God that made us all, they resorted to maintaining the appearance of rightness. Which meant that they resolved to surround themselves with people who would not ask the hard questions and shine a light on the darkened places.  They chose a life in the virtual shadows. They rejected that unconditional love.

Each time, in the devastation of my broken heart, I cried out to God to ask why I, who by most accounts am a pretty good woman, would be forced to endure such rejection. And, each time, in the softest, kindest, most gentle, loving voice, I heard my Father say, “Because you asked me to.”

It truly shakes one’s foundation when we realize that one of the things that breaks the heart of God like nothing else, is when His forgiveness of our sins and His offer to make us “Again Another” is rejected only for us to be satisfied in our mess and surrounded by people who are willing to keep our secret sins secret, in exchange for not being ‘found out’ themselves.

Oh, how it breaks the heart of God, that we believe it’s better to live the life we think we can get away with, because we think nobody is watching!


When Nobody Is Watching…Pt. 1

No one is ever as good as their best day, nor are they as bad as their worst. We mostly live somewhere in the middle, on a quest to tip the scale in the positive.

There are moments in every day that add to either account and they are moments that everyone has, but nobody (that counts) really sees.

I have loved (and lost) a total of three times in my life.  While I readily admit that I was not a perfect mate, I did my best to be integral.  In the end, that’s what cost me. Each relationship ended with a few prefacing conversations. Revisions on the phrase, “It’s not you…it’s me.” When, in fact, it would have been closer to the truth to say that it was me…every single time.

I learned to love from Love Himself.  God, being Love, also being gracious (as Grace is an attribute of Love), took considerable time to teach me how He loves us.  This is a very painful and challenging thing to experience, even more master.  It compels one to be transparent; without hidden agenda, without excuse, without retreat. It demands that you take an unflinching look at yourself in order to see others clearly.

The real challenge is in seeing yourself as God sees you.  Everyone I have ever had a ‘surface’ conversation about this concept almost always assumes that means that he sees you as you will be in your glorified body; perfect, loving, kind…bearing the fruit of the spirit.  When in fact, it means that He sees you as DIRT: a filthy, plain, unholy mess with all the issues and isms that have been bred into you through the however many generations of curses that have been heaped upon you. BUT, he also sees all of the purpose and potential that all the generations of blessings have lain dormant within you. He sees all of the attempts to overcome along with all the slips and slides of your journey. AND YET, He loves ALL of you…COMPLETELY and WITHOUT CONDITION.  He loves you without reservation, just as you are, in the middle of whatever struggle you may be encountering right now.

Usually, that poses a challenge because most folk work really hard not to see their own mess. It’s really difficult to deal with the broken places and still appear to be the best dressed version of themselves.  Far too often, in my experience, it’s the people that work really hard to put their ‘best face forward,’ are the ones that are likely to judge others for their faults to deflect from the faults they believe everyone sees in them.  This is an unfortunately common occurrence in the world today.

It’s rather difficult to be friends with somebody in that particular predicament when you have spent the better part of your life digging through your own pile to sort and dispose of your own mess.  It becomes a part of your nature to identify issues and behaviors that would prove a hindrance to the future of your relationship with that friend. But, the truth is, it’s not in the nature of ‘appearance-minded’ people to appreciate when you as an ‘unconditional lover’ make note of any challenge that goes deeper than, say, spinach in their teeth, or a fly-away collar.  They might take offense.

This is where things get complicated.

If you have spent a considerable amount of time in the presence of an all knowing, all loving, all forgiving God, Who is capable of taking even the worst, most tattered fabric and making it beautiful and whole, as if it were brand new, you see yourself and everyone around you from the perspective of being the perfect candidate to be made over.  You are eager to know and understand everything about the people you wish to befriend.  You wouldn’t care about how messy or murky their deepest, darkest secrets are. As a matter of fact, after spending that quality time in God’s presence, you are able to identify certain flaws and snags in other people with some degree of ease.  Not to place blame or condemn, mind you. You recognize the shortcomings only as opportunities to see the hand of God at work in their lives.

But, remember…they are only concerned about the ‘appearance’ of perfection, not in being made perfect. It is disconcerting, to this kind of person, that you even ‘see’ the flaws they have been working so hard to mask. It is even considered tacky that you would bother to bring it up!! And, God forbid you actually offer to go through the recovery process with them and be their support system as God does for them what He’s doing for you! They will, quite often, hear nothing of it.

Which brings me back to those lost loves…
vlcsnap-2014-10-01-00h50m01s211Perfect people quote

Turn Around to Say Goodbye…

Have you ever loved someone who’s stuck in a rut?

From the outside looking in, you can see what’s going on.  You may have even told them as much.  You have prayed and cried and encouraged and listened…yet there they go, just like the Israelites. Only steps away from the promised land, but NO…one more trip around the same, dumb mountain.

Or maybe it’s YOU?  You can’t seem to figure out why you are repeating the same patterns.  You remove people from your life to avoid making the same mistakes.  But, you end up surrounded with different people tripping over the same old log.

I’ve been the friend of that one.  But, I’ve been that one, too…at least, until I began to recognize the origin of the problem.

It all goes back to an original set of choices.  Perhaps, stemming from a misplaced hope. Sometimes, the root is an internal promise that has been long suppressed. Anyway you slice it, it comes down to taking a look into your past and correcting your course to the future.

Now, this comes at a premium cost…It’s the cost of looking back.

I have heard too many (including myself) declare defiantly, “Why do you always have to go and bring up the past? I don’t even think about things from back then!”

The more ‘religious’ turn of phrase would be, “It’s under the Blood of Jesus.  I don’t see why we need to discuss it anymore.”

Yes, it’s a dead issue and yes, it’s under the blood…but just as if you’ve entered the Zombie Apocalypse, unless you take it’s head clean off, it will just keep getting up on it’s own, attempting to devour you whole.

No, your past mistakes don’t have to dictate your future…but they will do just that, if you do not take the desperately important step to turn around, face them, see them for what they are and CHANGE THE BEHAVIOR that brought you to that point. ONLY THEN will you be able to face your future and walk away from what was, into what should be.

It is vitally important to see your past to leave it. Not just see it…take a little time to pick it apart.  Find that root of unforgiveness.  Search out that original fracture in your heart that you constantly try to protect, by keeping your guard up, instead of exposing it to the healing light of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve spoken many times about my upbringing.  I’ve talked about how I continued to bring drama into my life time and time again, no matter where in the world I was.  It’s not about external geography.  This is about navigating the geography of your heartbreaks…Bridging the divides of your soul. That’s what helps you to get beyond your past into your promised land.

I had to go all the way back into the choices that were made for me that created a sense of abandonment in me.  They kept me from letting people leave my life on a good note.  And they kept me clinging to people that I knew would not leave me, even though the only reason they stayed was because I was a willing host to their parasitic behavior. They were destroying my soul and keeping me from real love, lasting peace and healthy relationships.

Once I confronted the heartbreak, I was able to make a stand against my own foul behavior.  I was able to repent to God for the messes I kept making again and again.  I apologized, when I was able, to those whom I could find.  And, I forgave myself for the time it took to get to this place of peace. (We are usually hardest on ourselves once we begin to see clearly.)

It was only then that I was able to lay all of it at the foot of the Cross of Christ, to be covered by the Blood of Jesus once and for all. And only then was I able to remove the predators and parasites from my life for good, to make room for people who could truly celebrate and encourage me and allow me to return the favor.

Now, I have to be completely honest.  This liberty is a mixed bag. I rejoice in my own freedom. But, when I see people I love that find themselves in the same predicament, it’s frustrating and painful.  It makes me really sad, because I know the cost they are about to pay.  And I can’t pay it for them.  I have to pray and stay out of the way.  When they’re ready, I can help.  Sometimes, I have to wait on the Lord to send someone who is not so close, to provide a different sense of perspective for them.  But once they’ve taken the time to say those last goodbyes, I’ll still be there when they’re finally ready to face their future and move forward.  That’s all a real friend can do.


That’s The Thing About A Slingshot…

Tested. Tried. Picked, poked and prodded. Run through the ringer. Rode hard and put up wet.

Yep…that’d be me, right about now.

I have been struggling and striving for good things to come my way, my whole life.  I have never actually had my life so much as appear to have ‘fallen into place’ until recently.  It has felt like my life was FINALLY going in the right direction. Until the beginning of this year.

I have been marveling, in great gratitude, at the strides that have been made in my life the last two years.  While it has not been a particularly smooth dance, each step appeared to have purpose  Even the backward steps helped me to regroup and move forward.  Sometimes it feels like a slide or line dance, that kept me moving in circles until the music stops. Sometimes it’s more like a tango with a lot of back and forth, with broad, sweeping motions, full of twists and turns, with sharp dips, sudden changes and  a heart-pounding conclusion. Either way, I’m feeling pretty exhausted and wrung out.

This year has confirmed my faith and relationship with God in the worst way.  I have never felt more sure of God’s love for me and His plan working out for my best interest.  I have never been more secured in my devotion to my church family. I have never been more affirmed in my decisions to love unconditionally, forgive quickly, celebrate goodness and rejoice in ALL THINGS.

This confirmation has not come without great pain and great surrender. I have had to acknowledge how very NOT in control I am.  I can only make MY choices. I am not responsible for the choices of others.  And to be in this world, making connections for the sake of furthering the Kingdom of God, I have to accept that free will is EVERYONE’s gift from God, not just mine. To work together means we have a common goal, but we each have to do our part as we are individually lead of the Lord.

I say it all the time, “My name is NOT Holy Ghost, Junior.  Fixing you is not my job.” My ability to ‘shape’ a situation in my favor does not exist.  The heart of the king is still in the hands of the Lord. He will turn it however He pleases that He may be glorified. And, if I am going to truly be a vessel for His glory, I have to be okay with that.

And so, my job in all of this is to maintain consistency in who I know I am and what I say I believe. That consistency has to reflect in, not just my decisions, but in how I respond to the decisions of others.  How, even in my dissidence, I must maintain the grace, class and dignity befitting my royal bloodline.

Having said all of that, this year has felt like a major regression.  My feet have not slipped.  I have not deviated from the plan. I have certainly not changed my mind and my heart is still in it. But, I appear to be in a state of excessive tension, backward and sometimes circular motion that is beyond my control.

That’s the thing about a slingshot…

You remember slingshots, don’t you?  Whatever variation you have seen, held, or heard about, there are some common points of reference.

There are the kind that are made with rubber bands.  You take something and cradle it in the elastic, hold it tightly, pull it back as far as the band will stretch, to release it in a particular direction.

There are the kind made out of fabric.  You take something and cradle it securely in the fabric, swing the fabric around rapidly to be released in a particular direction.

I’m sure there are other ways to create a slingshot.  But the experience is pretty much the same.  There is force and tension applied, keeping an item in motion and in a particular state of distress and stasis, so that when it is finally directed and released the constant velocity of the item will project it a great distance to a specific goal.

In a nutshell? While it feels like stagnation; while the regression and running in circles is frustrating, aggravating and even depressing; while I may feel dizzy and nauseous and achy and strange; the accelerated progress I am about to experience at the point of my ‘release’ will be worth it all.  I will see the promises of God come to pass…SPEEDILY…if I don’t give up, turn coward and quit.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

I hear the sage advice of my darling buddy, Dave Brooks: Staywiddit.

The Just Thing To Do…

It’s been the best of times. It’s been the worst of times. This last year (and then some) has been a DOOZY.

There have been a great many contributing factors: great love, great forward motion, great heartache, great frustration, great resistance. I have never been so close to the promises of what God has for me and still feel quite so far away.


To say that I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread is beyond an understatement! God’s faithfulness in this last season has been phenomenal!

One of the greatest challenges in this season has been trying to explain the “logic,” of what I am doing and debates on whether or not my decisions are based in “reality.” When the truth of the matter is, the logic of what I’m doing is not founded in reality.  My decisions, my responses, my intrinsic intuition has been trained to function by FAITH.

When I show kindness to someone who, by any account, has treated me unfairly, that is neither a natural, logical or emotional response.  My emotional response would be to pout or be angry. My logical response would be to reject them and no longer associate with them. My natural response may be to retaliate. But, by FAITH I know to bless those that curse me, ACTIVELY love those that hate me and pray for those who despitefully use me.

When I have almost nothing, when I’m down to my last few bucks and all my bills have come due,  I still find it necessary to put $10.00 in somebody else’s pocket.  Now, where’s the logic in that?  Emotionally, I may feel pity for their situation, but my fear for what lies ahead for my own dilemma may keep my hands in my own pockets. I might naturally conclude that $10.00 isn’t really going to help them very much and it surely isn’t going to help me to give it away.  But, by FAITH, I realize that, by being helpful to someone else in the struggle, I am lending to a God who consistently repays.  And, while that may not be a lot of money, it might just be the ray of hope they needed to hold on a little longer, until things got better.

There are a lot of things about my life that would have given someone else an excuse to give up. So many things that would imply that the whole deck was stacked against me and that I should just get out of the game.  I can’t even deny that there were times when it felt like the easiest thing would have been to take my own life. Even with my extremely high threshold for pain, I have hurt so bad that all I could think about was a way to escape and never feel that pain again.

So, what am I doing HERE? A long time ago, I read the book of Hebrews for the first time.  I found it FASCINATING and challenging.  It talked about how we received the gift of salvation the same way we will receive every good and perfect gift from God: BY FAITH. Then, it went on to remind me that everyone I’ve ever read about in the Bible has been to the same point of exhaustion I was experiencing. Despair and exhaustion are part and parcel to the real faith walkers.  But the promises of God give us hope.  His track record of faithfulness gives us peace. The victories of those who have walked this walk before us, give us courage. The joy of being able to count ourselves among those faithful gives us strength. But it’s God’s love within us that compels us to get up every time we stumble and keep walking BY FAITH.

Habakkuk 2:4 and Hebrews 10:38 both say that, “The just shall live by faith.”  According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the origin of the word JUST is based on a word that means right or law.

It is right that, whatever you did to get a thing is what you should continue to do to keep it. So, if it was by faith that you accepted the opportunity to be in relationship with God, doesn’t it make it RIGHT that your relationship be based on that same faith? And, doesn’t it make sense that all the the promises that God made to you and for you as a benefit of that relationship, would be based upon that faith? That also means that deviating from that faith would cause you to forfeit some,if not all, of those benefits.

For all of the negative things that have happened to me and all of the hardships I’ve faced, I thank God that I have kept the FAITH.  And because of that, I’ve continued to see those promises come to pass.
It doesn’t matter what it looks like.  It doesn’t matter if your faith walk doesn’t appear to make sense to people. It doesn’t matter if the crowd is moving at a breakneck pace in one direction and you are either going in the same direction at a different pace, going in the opposite direction or standing still. If you are trusting the instruction manual for your life, being lead by the Holy Spirit and walking by FAITH, you are going to see the promise of God come to pass in your life.

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