Better Together

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This past week I decided I want to truly care about people. Most of us are empathetic and feel sad when someone faces challenges. But I noticed in myself that I was becoming that person who empathized and said I need to do something without taking action. It’s one thing to ask someone, “How are you?” It’s another thing to actually care about the response.

So today I devoted myself to caring about others with my actions. You know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Well as cliche as  it may seem, this statement couldn’t be more true. We spend a lot of time saying what we expect from the government, church leaders, our parents, and so on. But if lending a helping hand inconveniences us, we are not always down for the cause.

This weekend my brother had to have an unexpected operation. It hurt me that I couldn’t be there for him since we are on opposite ends of the country. The next day I learned a woman from my church was alone in the hospital. In most instances I would have called or even texted words of encouragement and prayed for her quick recovery. The hospital was not in my route and I had a meeting on the opposite side of L.A. However, I wanted to visit her because also being her sister in Christ, I should be there to provide a sense of family to someone facing the unimaginable.

I am learning that I require help. For so long I told myself that I can do it alone; that I don’t need companionship; no new friends! But I realize that was a lie I told myself to avoid a huge fear, rejection! I am a work in progress. I am still learning the power in relationship. People need me just as much as I need them. We have purpose in each other’s lives. And I can ignore my innate necessity for help if I want to, but there is a void in me if I ignore the pull to connect with God’s children. We all have a function and my weaknesses are nurtured by your strengths.

There are so many causes that I want to sow into. Lately it’s really been on my heart to find effective ways to make an impact in regions devastated by natural disasters such as Puerto Rico, Houston, Mexico, Florida, etc. I know that every bit counts and I can give on my level, but I want these places to feel my contribution so I’m seeking God on bigger, more effective ways to give.

I want to have a heart that responds. I don’t want to be a person who thinks, “Oh they don’t want me there anyway or my small contribution won’t make an impact.” Having been in trying situations, I know that the support of others does make a difference. Having someone stretch out their hand gives the strength to keep fighting on. So let’s connect. In what ways can I serve you? Let’s not be bashful in asking for help. Alone we may be a movement, but together we are a force.

 

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You Don’t Have to Hear God to Hear God

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Knowing God is a privilege. The relationship we have with Him gives us access to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit affords us insight and discernment. But what do we do in those still moments when God seems as quiet as a Yo-Yo Ma concert? It’s in those times that God doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight that we must cling to that which we already know about Him and act accordingly.

We all have people in our lives that we are close to. It may be our mother, father, best friend, a cousin, spouse. You’ve been around this person for so long you can almost calculate their every move. As we spend more time with God, this is how our relationship with Him becomes. We may not hear from Him directly in every instance of our life, but as we grow, He trusts us to make the right decision. He gives us intuition that provides us peace to make certain moves. We are familiar with His mannerisms and know that He will be pleased with our response.

I’m sure many of you are reading this and saying to yourself, “That is not the case at all. If God doesn’t give me a clear answer, I’m lost and confused and begging Him to speak to me.” I want you to think of the last time you were relying on a response from God but heard crickets. What did you do? Most times when we have to make a decision and God doesn’t smack us on the forehead with a clear sign, we trust our gut. What if I told you that your gut was God’s response? That is the Holy Spirit nudging you because you are maturing and it’s time to become familiar with His ways rather than wanting Him to make every decision for you.

We want God to baby us all of our lives but there comes a point where He, being the good good Father He is, has to remove the training wheels and let us pedal on our own, trusting that He taught us all the proper lessons to coast. When you are a child, your parents tell you what to wear, what to eat, when to go to bed, but when you become an adult they trust that they have provided you the tools to be successful in this world. A good parent is always there for advice and welcomes their child home with open arms, but their expectations of you increase as you mature.

God knows what you’re capable of. He knows the gifts He placed inside of you when He created you. He knows the skills He’s developed in you over the years. Now He is trusting you to follow the intuition He has given you, the Holy Spirit, put on your big boy or girl pants, and maneuver in this thing called life. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Follow your gut and receive His peace today.

No Justice, Just Peace

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Charlottesville, VA

13“If I have denied justice to any of my servants,
    whether male or female,
    when they had a grievance against me,
14 what will I do when God confronts me?
    What will I answer when called to account?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
    Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? —Job 31:13-15

We are living in a time when injustice, hatred, and evil have reared their ugly heads and revealed the corrupt hearts of many including our leaders. These malicious hearts have left mothers without a child, babies without a father or mother, and created a hostile (for lack of a better word) world for us to live in. A person determining that another life no longer deserves to be lived is beyond idiotic. It goes against everything God is.

In the scripture, Job has endured much tribulation. I mean he has suffered everything you can think of– loss of family, health and all that he owned. Job’s final defense to his friends, to God, and to himself, is a reminder of his heart. He knows that he has not just lived life for family and wealth. He has answered the call that each of us have to love God’s people.

He says that if I have wronged anyone, how can I stand before God knowing that the same God who created them created me? I ask this same question to every individual who finds it just to take a life or to judge a person based on skin color or where they come from. How can I confront God with hatred in my heart for the very people He created? Am I saying that He made a mistake; that He loves any one person less than He loves me? As much as I like to think that I’m God’s favorite, much like a child with their parents, I know that this is untrue. I know that a good, good father cannot love one child more than another; not when they all carry his blood in their veins. That’s not how a just father operates.

If we love ourselves as God’s craftsmanship, then we can embrace all of our brothers and sisters the same. But it starts there, receiving God’s love. If you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to love others. It’s always been hard for me to embrace those that I know don’t like me; whether it be because of being a black female or whatever other reason; if I know you don’t like me how can I receive you? But as I’m learning God’s love more and more and being overtaken by it, having ill feelings towards His children has begun to conflict with my heart. As it should be when you mature in Christ, I become less interested in giving hate for hate.

The anger and disappointment I experience in light of events like Charlottesville, or Freddie Gray, or countless other stories that remain untold, has left a disgusting taste in my mouth. But I refuse to sweeten the taste with retaliation. I am going to fight the burning in my spirit with God’s love. I am going to rally against hate and educate our children on their value and worth. I want them to know that when they are approached by evil, they have the tools to survive. They do not have to live in fear because we will protect them where they feel weak.

The motive of these “leaders” is to make us feel defenseless, like we have no power because they wear the suits of authority. Well, we have tapped into a power they could not possibly have a clue about and we are not afraid. Come against us if you want to, but you are going to fall down. What will your response be when God confronts you to take account of all of the evil that you have done? That you were doing His work? I think not. The lives you take here will result in your own if you do not get it right. God is sitting on His throne watching as you “play” Him and I promise He has plans for you.