|Posted on March 17, 2016 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
"I tell you, if they remain silent, the rocks will cry out" Luke 19:40
Even the stones praise God
There's a fire burning in me that won't go out. I'm not talking about acid indigestion, I'm talking about a Holy Spirit fire. It's a passion to live like Jesus did... as I see it.
I see a man who sought the will of God in a very personal way. He didn't ask others what he should do, he just did it. Even as a boy, Jesus was found in the temple courtyard with the teachers. He didn't understand why his family was looking for him.
John the Baptist didn't understand why Jesus wanted to be baptized. He didn't explain he simply said "baptize me."
There are many other examples of Jesus going against popular opinion. He ate with people they thought he shouldn't, talked with women who thought he shouldn't, he went places they thought he shouldn't. Yet Jesus did according to what he thought was right because he was doing the will of God.
Jesus didn't give an account of his walk with God, he was a living example. I look to him and seek to follow his lead.
Still, I feel like an outcast everywhere I go. In church I feel isolated because I have interests outside the church. In the world I feel like an outcast because I have a deep desire for Jesus and speak as such. In both situations I get a silent reply when I speak and no one to share my heart's delight. To that I say "though none go with me, still I will follow."
Oh I hear the outrage from here! I can hear each one of you pleading your case of how you support everything I do. That is not my point. I know I am loved. I know I am welcomed. I know I am encouraged and by some I am admired for my faith. There is a much bigger concept here. It is a world vs. church concept and I am not the only one talking about it.
The world has exploded with assaults against the church. There is so much outrage against organized religion that it makes people throw up a hand and stop you from uttering a word if you are "one of those." The world is eager to show you the err in your ways and in your thinking and quick to tell you that they don't need your God.
The church is is equally as judgmental and sharp in their opinions about what is acceptable in order to get into Heaven. "The scriptures say..." and that is all they need to win the battle. Quoting scripture at every mention of a contrary way living other than according to what they believe. I see this daily...at work, online, with people in conversations. And when I bring an issue to the foreground and hold one of these people accountable the answer always falls in the gray area... left to interpretation.
Why am I talking about all of this?
Because I am sick of the disrespect and lack of love for people.
JESUS DIED FOR US WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS!!
He reached out to the sinners of the world. He went to them. He loved them. He pointed them to God. He lived what LOVE IS.
I am trying to do the same. I see both sides of the issue. I see so much more than I care to speak of. I don't want to sit here and point fingers, there's enough of that going on. What has my heart twisted and in pain is the hurting people of the world. The weak and suffering need God. They need a savior, though they say they don't. So many have been hurt by the church or the people who claim to be Christians. So many have been broken by life. So many children need guidance and love, yet not many can even stand toe to toe with the youth of today.
I am involved with those soldiers of Christ who are on a mission to reach the lost. I am actively involved in the mission field in hopes to do God's will, for he says the end hasn't happened because more will be saved. More will also die but I'm clinging to the fact that more will be saved. So while there is still time.... I am a vessel of love and light to the lost. If I am following your lead that's because I see your light is brighter than mine and I am encouraged by you.
The world will laugh at the church. The church will not step foot in the world for fear of not making it into Heaven. I say "what would Jesus do?' I believe he would get his feet dirty by walking out into the world to reach out his hand to save a lost soul.
When your heart is set on God and you're walking with Jesus, there are no questions to whether you are doing it wrong or right. I have no questions. I am on a mission. I know who I believe in and I know he is able to work his will through me. Here I am Lord, use me.
|Posted on March 7, 2016 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
What a stretch that was!
I am finally back in my own car; yes, a new-used one. Just a five year newer model of the same car I had. The rental has been returned and I have pampered my new wheels with a car wash, new floor mats, steering wheel cover and of course a pretty smelling tree shaped air freshener (not hung on the mirror.)
I did in fact get the full-time position at my new job. It's been two weeks and I am adjusting to being on my feet 40 hrs a week plus the cleaning jobs. The thing is, no sooner did I get the position, did my supervisor ask me to change my availability and alter my life as I know it. I am in the process of doing that now as I think it will work out to my benefit as well as theirs. Nothing is set yet though, so I am not quite on that steady grind that I am hoping for. Balance is what I desire and I am still praying for that.
As always I am writing on a long awaited day off. Even though I cleaned a house this morning, it feels like a day off. I am roasting a chicken in the oven, along with a colorful veggies. I've done my son's taxes, scrubbed the bathroom and have caught up on a few things on the computer. I am sitting here in contentment. Next I hope to work on my book. That is what I was so happy about the day before the accident. Now I am ready to return to that place.
OH! There is something I'd like to share. I have been reading the book of Revelation with the kids in my Sunday school class, ages 8-13. We just finished chapter 13 and they are very interested in all of it. There is something special about not having an agenda when diving into God's word with children. When their minds open up and they ask questions from where they are in life, it begins an unscripted conversation that always leads to the glory of God. The dialog between me and them sounds like a round of Jeopardy as I ask questions that I know they know the answer to which in turns ends up that they are telling me about Jesus. They feel empowered by their beliefs and they never falter...not yet.
You know, the children accept God for who He says He is. They don't like that people have had to die or that more will die; some for their faith, some for their lack of faith. But they see God as a righteous and powerful God. It is a beautiful time together in God's word each week. I am blessed by it.
Back on the home-front, my own children received a financial blessing not long after I posted the previous blog. I could not hold back the floodgates as I knew it was an answer to prayer. They needed it so much and God provided. Thank you for your prayers.
I am currently taking a break from writing poetry. Not a total break as a couple of times the words just came out and I had to post them. But I have removed myself from the daily pressure of writing. I am now seeking a tune up with God. As the pressures of life are ceasing I am taking the time to re-evaluate my purpose. To look ahead without plans. With only a focus on the destination, I hope to walk accordingly. There are so many variables still lingering. The Lord will come through. I know He will. He always does.
This is it for now dear readers. I am anxious to return to editing my book - Kaleidastorm.
May God bless you all.
|Posted on February 20, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
You know what happens when a force of nature rips through your life? You quickly realize what was anchored down and what was not. Think multi-dimensional on that: physically, emotionally and spiritually. That's what I've been doing lately. Thinking about everything that is transitioning in my life. The storm rolled through back in September and since then life has never been the same. Things are getting better... from my perspective they are.
Today I have the entire day off. A day left to myself with no one expecting anything from me (that I know of.) What a sweet relief. I find it interesting that I have a mild headache just sitting here in my pj's with a cup or two of coffee and writing. Nothing is ever perfectly perfect is it? But we make the best out of what we are given each day and give God thanks in everything.
Three weeks ago, on my way to work, I was hit by a car that ran a red light. I was taken from the scene via ambulance. My head injury was mild and required no tests. I only suffered bruising. I am fine. But I have no more car. Thanks to a dear friend lending me money, I was able to obtain a rental and was back to work the next day. I should be in my new-to-me-car next week as things are coming to a close with the accident.
There's something else quite significant happening. I wanted to wait and write this post until after Monday so that I would know the answer but I have faith the answer will be yes so I write on Saturday anyway. I interviewed at my job for a full time position. Should I get the job it will once again change my life. It will be yet another answer to prayer... a big one. Since I have been on my own these last few months living with my son as equal paying tenants in our apartment, it has crushed my heart. My son carrying the burdens of a grown man is not anything I ever saw coming as I raised my children. To tell the truth, it is a pain that if I think about it becomes unbearable.
Most of you know that I have been a stay at home mom for over ten years and have been provided for by the means of my spouse. The sudden severing of that support was a blow that I have been trying to recuperate from. My children as well have been learning how to survive in a grown up world on their own. Please keep them in your prayers. I cannot speak my heart's cry for it would take the very life breath from me, but I humbly ask you to pray for all that is lacking in their lives.
This week ahead looks to be a huge life changing week for me. I have all of my hopes and trust in God alone for what can man do to alter the sun rising in the morning and setting at night? He alone is my provider. Praise His holy name.
Weight Watchers is still working for me. I have lost 12 pounds so far and I feel great. Standing on my feet for 27 hours a week plus cleaning houses in the morning has not killed me yet. I am getting stronger and as I continue to lose weight I believe I will simply thrive in my new full time position. Oh... do I dare mention that in just two and a half months on the new job I was named Cashier of the Month of January. I work for the Lord and trust that He has a plan for everything I go through. Something so seemingly good has stirred waves of discontentment with the associates I work with, so I say God must have a purpose.
From my perspective, the storms of life are showing me once again how strong I am in the Lord's grace. I hope to be in my own car next week, with my new job, with a thankful attitude and a positive perspective. I hope to mend the relationships at work, work on my relationship with my son, find balance in my relationships with my friends, and work on my heart's desire to get busy writing on all of my projects. A stable life is what I desire. Balance is what I pray for.
Thanks for reading and praying for me. May God bless you all.
|Posted on January 19, 2016 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
I have changed; there is no denying, no hiding, no disguising it. I am not the same wounded soul I was months ago. Much healing has occurred since I have been on my own. Working a lot has kept me too busy to contemplate much of it. I've sat down a few times to write a blog post for you all... or you few... however many there may be, I am not sure. However, my writing style has changed. The last one I have written in my notebook for this blog was four pages written in rhyme. I simply could not post it. My thoughts have changed. My ideas have changed. What's important to me has changed. Please don't misread this!
Jesus is still the same. He is still my Lord. He knows my thoughts, sees what I am doing, and knows the desires of my heart way better than I can articulate them here. I still pray to Him and trust God for all things. I am still connected to my Christian world via social media. Lecrae is releasing a new book called Unashamed (Romans 1:16) and I pre-ordered it... got a free t-shirt too. I am very connected to the Mission Vision movement that Dee-1 is promoting. I love following Christian music artists because I believe they are doing what I hope to do: reach the lost via ART. My writing is definitely an art and I am learning to appreciate it more and more every day. Words are powerful. You know the famous quotes. I want to harness that power for a purpose.
I will tell you this: I am writing every day. I write poetry. I have a growing audience in the hundreds. I have recently been published in an online magazine in Africa. My piece was about where my strength comes from - from the One who holds the universe together. I have also been accepted in another ongoing publication out of India. I didn't make the first round but am told I will be in other collaborations of published poets. Here's the thing: it's all happening under a pen name. My name is not attached to these poems. Though the publishers have my real info, I have asked to be anonymous. Here is why: I am just getting my feet wet with poetry. I haven't established my style yet. I haven't even considered my audience yet. At the moment I am immersed in a generic pool of poets and writers; some Christian, some not. I am observing and analyzing the feedback I get from all types of poets. I must say the deeply spiritual poems get the most attention across the board. That encourages me.
In a recent conversation with a brilliant poet it was brought to my attention that no one reads blogs. You obviously do and I am aware of the past attention I have received with my writings here. However, there is a great big world out there and I want to extend my reach. As I figure it out, I will always keep in mind this audience. the ones who've been with me from the beginning. I am not leaving you high and dry. I will keep my website active and continue to keep you updated on my progress. I have big plans. I have goals. I have ideas. I just don't have a lot of time anymore. So, at this juncture of my life, I have decided to live intentionally. I am not waiting for something to happen - I am making things happen.
One thing personal I can share is that I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago. I have lost according to plan and I am extremely motivated. Eating healthy has never been so good. I feel great. Honestly, I am happier than.... than I think I ever have been. This morning as I walked back to my bedroom with a cup of coffee, I noticed the peace that surrounds me. It washed over me with such beauty I felt it deep. It's those moments I still cherish. I still look for beauty in all things. I still see God's plan unfolding in my life. I am brought to tears when I consider that He chooses me to do His will. I am awed by Him.
One final thought I don't need to share but I want to put a period at the end of it. Since I have been in this better place in life I am now able to see the past year and a half from a different perspective. I see the obsession. I see how ridiculous I was over certain individuals. I am embarrassed at this point but I am not carrying that burden. I am changed. I no longer occupy my thoughts with the same things. Pastor Wills was right- it was a phase. It had a purpose- it brought me to this point in my life. I still appreciate the music but no longer pay much attention to the performers. Don't count this over and done however. I love going to concerts! I will continue. I simply said the obsession was over.
Believe me when I say this- I want to share poetry with you. I am just not ready yet. Still so much work to do, lots to develop. And the Kaleidastorm book is still on the forefront of my mind. Every day I want to work on that and every day I get distracted. It will be self-published as a hard copy book in the hopefully near future. I appreciate your patience. After all, it's only been three months that I've been on my own. Busy busy busy I am.
May God bless you all as He so richly blesses me. This picture is how I often find myself when I am not working.
|Posted on October 7, 2015 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
This afternoon I set out on a mission: I was looking for work. I had just finished a five hour cleaning job, gone to the bank to settle some business and buy quarters for the coin operated laundry facility in my building, and had taken a shower. Greeted by the landlord when I opened my door to leave the apartment, I seized the moment to ask about that job he offered me. He said it was down the road and that I was not even a thought right now. OK then, noted.
So I headed out on foot. I am determined to find a job within walking distance to eliminate the worries of having a car in need of repair. I am willing and able to walk in any weather. First stop- Walgreens to return a DVD and ask about employment. Next stop -the public library- redirected to Town Hall. Walked back home first to get my purse ( was trying to "be safe" walking in the city without a purse.) Town Hall clerk said the same thing as Walgreens clerk: apply online. OK, noted.
Since it was a beautiful day, I kept walking. I was actually on an adventure at this point because my eyes caught sight of lots of beautiful things: architecture, trees, water, ducks, an amphitheater, beautiful buildings, sunshine, smiling faces, and then I saw the sign for a flower shop. There is where the magic happened. Walking into the shop pictured above I was greeted by a friendly man named Michael. I was extremely happy to be in such a lovely place in the heart of my new city that my joy spilled over and he caught it. He gave me a tour of the shop, got to peek inside his cooler where he keeps his fresh flowers protected, and then the courtyard out back.
Realize that even as I type this, the page has scrolled up and I cannot see the picture but I am pausing every few words to close my eyes and inhale the memory of being in that courtyard. My hand presses over my heart to feel it beating. Yes I took in ALL of the beauty of this place. As I shared my joy, Michael continued to explain the history of the building and the work he did to his shop. He took me to an alley on the side of the building where he had strung lights and pendants made out of artificial flowers. He suggested I come back in the evening to witness the beauty of the lights.
We shared florist stories of weddings and funerals. We talked about our passions for art and the importance of freedom. He told me about the artists in the community, about the up and coming things of the city. When I was about to leave I told Michael that I was completely full inside- as in fully blessed, simply because he was right here in the place of my new home. My joy runneth over the lids of my eyes as I consider how great and considerate God is. I have not only moved into the Historic District of this city but two streets away from the Art District. There is a river, and there are artists painting a mural on a wall surrounding the amphitheater. I am in love with this place. Michael gave me hug when he said goodbye to me. He had no idea I was a hugger too. I walked away from that flower shop, Small Pleasures, with tears streaming down my face, the sun shining on me, and the wind drying my tears. I walked back home feeling completely blessed.
Do you see it? Do you see how this works? I did not accomplish anything I set out to do. I did not apply for a job. I did not find a job. But I did find beauty- an abundance of it. I am on my third load of laundry and one load took two payments of quarters to dry. I am going to go find those online applications after I post this and I will keep looking for work. But the reason I wanted to share this is because it is a real life example of seeing Light in the dark times. What are my dark times you might ask? Well, I am suddenly living on 8% of my usual weekly income and I have to learn how to survive. I have no idea how this is going to work out. But I know Who does know.
God holds all things together. He holds the future in his hands. He has a plan for me and for my life and it is for good not evil. This is where true faith is put to the test. I wake up every day unsure of many things but I set out to live an abundant life anyway. There is no "woe is me" on this journey. Those days are over. I have so many things to be thankful for and so much kingdom work to do- I have no time for worrying.
I just remembered something else I can share!!! Speaking of kingdom work...late last night I walked to that Walgreens to get a DVD from the Redbox. It was peaceful and I felt safe- no worries. Well, you know that rapper I like, Dee-1, well he starred in his first ever movie. I had stopped at two stores to get the movie earlier in the day and it wasn't at either. When I looked it up on my phone I discovered it was at the location nearest me. Anyway, when I was walking back with the DVD in my hand I decided to video message Dee-1 that I got the movie. I made a quick 15 second video and I was funny in it. I posted it and in a few minutes he responded back on social media "I love you so much." I think that is hilarious. I have no idea why he says that to me but I take it as he is appreciative of the fan support. After I watched the movie, I Tweeted a picture collage of myself with his DVD and the city at night along with a caption that said I laughed so hard watching the movie.
Not long after I Tweeted it, Dee-1 posted on all three social media sites a picture collage of my post and another fan's post. He wrote about the difference between being an observer and a supporter. He said supporters were the ones who buy his music, watch his videos and go to his shows. He said he was acknowledging his true supporters, one of which was me. I was shocked and blessed and then returned a comment fully remembering what I wrote about in my last blog post. I wrote back an explanation of why I support him. I wrote that he was a modern day apostle of Jesus Christ going into all the world spreading the Good News and spreading the love of God. He is a Christian and he does not hide that in his music. He speaks the truth and lives by God's laws intentionally. His message is God's message and it is for all people. He is a brother in Christ and that is why I support him.
I am feeling blessed above and beyond measure and I wanted to share. I trust that God will indeed take care of my needs. He will provide work for me. He will guide me in the path of righteousness and truth. There is no one else I would rather follow!! These small pleasures- I call them Blessings!!
|Posted on October 5, 2015 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
I never doubt that the sun will come up each day. Therefore I always look for it. Yet everywhere I go I hear people say they don’t see the sun and they don’t feel the rain. There are even songs written about it. I can only guess that what they mean is that their pain is so great they are numb to feeling or seeing the sun. That simply amazes me. With that thought in mind I try to understand when people tell me that my attitude or perspective amazes them.I hear it almost every day.
“It’s amazing that you can see goodness through all that you’ve been through.”
“I’m surprised you’re sane after all of that.”
“Hard to believe you’re so religious and still you suffer so much. Good thing you have a good attitude.”
Those are just the ones I remember from today. When people say these things to me I wonder how on earth they get through their own trials. From what I’ve seen, some don’t. Two days ago I met a woman who told me she is sick of suffering but can’t get past her negative thoughts, depression and anxiety. She said she can’t see the sun most days. I was able to tell her she’s not alone as many people have told me similar things.
Even on the darkest of days I still see the Light (beauty), whether it’s a beautiful flower, a smiling face, a rusty gate, barbed wire, water droplets, a beautiful song or a clean fragrance. I see those things as light because they make me smile.
I look for them. I'm determined to find these types of things in every moment of my life. Even when I am crying and completely sad I still notice beautiful things. I take them into my mind and collect them. It brings balance to the pain I am experiencing. Once I have something to alter the scale of pain and pleasure I then chose which to focus on. You guessed it! I always chose the things that bring me a smile, even if I can only smile from within. I honestly consider it survival tactics.
It’s almost like I have a switch that turns off thoughts of troubling things. It must be connected to my heart because once I feel the pain I instantly search for something beautiful to make it go away. Now that I’ve said it like that, I can see how people get addicted to things, whether it be drugs, shopping or gambling or anything in between.
I will admit that I used to use food, shopping, and caffeine for comfort when I experienced pain, until each one of those things made me sick. I’d like to thank God for those horrible pains (physical pain and financial ruin) because it taught me how to get through the daily pains of life without those things. Now I simply seek out beauty when I am in pain. What a lovely exchange program it has turned into.
It requires mental discipline to do this. I haven’t always been able to do it so well. This last year was like boot camp for me as I learned a lot about how to deal with hardships in life. I have to say the first thing I learned was that it’s okay to cry hard at first and without guilt. I say it that way because many people think it is a sign of weakness to cry. I have always been a crier but I have always felt bad about it. Not anymore! I cry on purpose and with intention. I cry to let all of the pain out.
A young man admitted to me recently that he has always controlled his emotions by not allowing himself to cry. Until recently he was able to have such control. But one day while driving he couldn’t hold back the tears. He just let them out. What he confessed to me was that it felt good to let it out. He said it was a relief and then the pain was gone.
Once you’ve had a good cry, you have to find things that make you happy. One woman asked me “How do you know what makes you happy?” She continued by saying nothing makes her happy anymore. Like the others she has lost sight of the sun. I told her “pay attention to the things that make you smile”. After spending some time with her I observed what brought out genuine smiles and even laughter in her. Only when I pointed these things out did she acknowledge it was true. She really was unable to recognize these things on her own.
Make a mental list of things that make you happy and then search for these things on a regular basis. Eventually you will know where to look when you are in need. I want to point out that it is best to find things that are not human. What I’ve discovered is that people are a wonderful source of encouragement and support but the fact is everyone is facing struggles of some nature that you know nothing about. Not everyone likes to talk about their problems and many like to wear a fake smile so that others will not ask. Remember, people are imperfect and full of emotions so miscommunications will happen. You may find yourself disappointed you if you put the sole responsibility of your happiness on the shoulders of another human being.
In this modern world of social media there is one more aspect of human reaction I must talk about. Some of the things that make me happy are what others share on social media sites whether it is pictures, poems or songs. The thing I’ve learned is to accept the happiness in what is offered not in the person offering it. For example: if a celebrity posts a video from a show and it makes me happy to hear it or see it, I have to stop right there and realize it is the music or the memory of being at that show that is bringing me joy. If I take it any further and transfer those feeling of happiness to the celebrity and say “she makes me so happy” then I’ve missed it all together. Artists, writers, singers, actors etc. all share their emotions through their art. Their art is all they are offering you not themselves.
Additionally, commenting on these types of posts shared on social media has caused people to stir their emotions in all sorts of twisted ways. Keep in mind that when you post a comment to someone, specifically a celebrity, it is your offering back to them: a word of praise, thanks, or a memory. You should make sure when you post the comment that you are giving it away and not expecting something in return. If you are expecting a response and do not get one, you will be disappointed. It’s all about perspective.
I’ve learned from falling and hitting the ground so hard that perspective makes a huge difference to my happiness. I used to get such a thrill out of getting a response from famous people. Actually, I still do get excited about it. The difference is, I used to base my happiness on whether they responded or not. This is how I put them in a position to control my happiness. This was a crash and burn learning experience for me. I now have my perspective in the proper place; when I make a comment on a post I make sure it is a blessing to that person and leave it at that. I respond only if it makes me happy doing so.
Believe me; I am still learning some of these things, just in other areas of life. I believe God gave us feelings and intuition to use as a guide- it shouldn’t hurt. When I do something for someone and it is not well received and/or my feelings get hurt, I now know to check my intentions or consider my perspective. I learn from these experiences.
I want to wrap this up by saying the above instructions or advice is second to having complete trust and faith in God for joy. Similar to giving directions on how to plan and prepare a meal for a party, I have just given a practical (not spiritual) step by step plan on how to train yourself to see light in darkness. I do pray daily and ask God to show me these things. I do thank Him when he reveals his beauty to me. When I smile, I am smiling at Him. When I cry, I cry to Him. When I breathe, it’s by His grace that I am able. In like fashion, all of these instructions are done by His grace. I believe it is His will that I see things as I do so that I can shine the light of Jesus to those in the darkness. It is His name above mine and His will that goes before me.
If you have the light of Christ within you, let it shine. The world needs more Light in these dark days. If you cannot see the Light, my prayer is that you would call out from the darkness and seek Him. I believe with all of my heart that if you call out to Him, he will hear you and answer. He stands at the door and knocks, you must open your heart to let Him in.
|Posted on August 15, 2015 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
I experienced something this week that really showed me how powerful the Holy Spirit is. There is no secret that I love social media. I have written about it as the perfect place to live. (I am laughing at my own statement.) Recently I found a writing community on one site and it has captured my writer’s mind. People take the time to write and post their writings as pictures where other writers can share comments and appreciate their written art. I love being exposed to this community of thinkers and writers.
I have other interests and I have organized them all under the title Kaleidastorm and work most of my posts to fit under the concept of seeing beauty in the storms of life. It has encouraged me to view life through this kaleidoscope if you will and interpret what I see through words. When it is faith based I share here on Lori’s Walk of Faith blog. When it is not, I share elsewhere. Either way, I have fully enjoyed my journey through writing.
I have made friends and enemies however. This week, through a connection on social media, I went to a Christian concert at a local church. It was the loudest, craziest, high-energy event I have ever been to, and I’ve been to a few concert. This one was insane! Hundreds of teens jumping and screaming in unison about Jesus. The musicians were also people I follow online. In this one event – social media became REAL- real artists and real people. I met the kid who invited me. It is so weird meeting people in real life that you only know from social media.
During the concert the singers reminded us that as Christians we are to go out and reach the lost, to be unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16)… no matter what people might think of you. It was interesting for me to hear that again because I have been working on that – finding ways to express my faith in all areas of my online presence. It takes courage to step out in faith… outside the comfort of the family of God. To reach beyond the radius of your home church and into the real world requires a solid belief in the God you serve.
Since Kaleidastorm is not openly a Christian concept I try to use creative ways to express God’s truths. After the concert however with the Unashamed movement fresh on my mind, I decided to drop the name of Jesus square on my page. It took me a while to build up the courage to post it but I did it. And some of the people in my writing community even liked the post. I was so pleased and content. Kaleidastorm was gaining ground in the Truth.
Before I went to work the next day, I made another decision to block a few people from being able to see my page. They had been giving me trouble for a long time and in the joy of my step of faith I didn’t want anything to spoil the momentum. They say “ignore the hate” right? Well, blocking someone is one way of doing that. Within a few hours of doing that, blocking some suspicious accounts who were following me, the absolute worst thing happened to Kaleidastorm- IT GOT DISABLED- SHUT DOWN-TERMINATED.
A little message popped up and said “you have repeatedly violated the laws of this site” and the rest of the message explained that unless I get a lawyer, there is nothing I can do to get it back. What I discovered was that whoever I blocked from viewing my account was not happy about it to the point that (she) fraudulently reported my account multiple times for copyright infringement which resulted in the termination. She used a fake account to report me which also left me without a way to resolve the issue.
Everything I had created is gone. All of my connections are gone. All of my work is gone. This is not the actual Kaleidastorm short story series on Channillo, but the account I created to develop the concept of Kaleidastorm from its inception. This page was created before I wrote the first story. It was my original work and now it no longer exists.
What do you think I did when I realized this had happened? Think about what you would have done.
(Don’t go to the place that says “I would have backed everything up and rebuilt it.” You see, that can’t happen. When they took down the page, it eliminated the ability to use the name Kaleidastorm. Besides that, it was a concept, a way of thinking, a journey… my journey as I grew to understand how to see beauty in the darkness of life. It was more than just a collection of posts.)
What I did:
I sang a song to Jesus. I don’t remember which one but I know it was a hymn. I simply knew this was an attack of the devil. (I had also received a message that my “blocking trick” didn’t work.) I knew it was meant to shatter me and stop me from doing the good work of God. You see Satan is jealous of God. He hears you say that you love Jesus and you become his target. He uses people to attack you since he is just a spirit. When you press on in the face of adversity and continue to declare your allegiance to God, the devil gets more creative and more determined to crush your spirit hoping to make you renounce your faith.
I sang songs to God and thought about the faithful servants who have gone before me, those in the bible. I thought about how God always brought victory to those who trusted Him. It is belief in Jesus that saves you. I never cried about losing my account. I didn’t know what was to come nor did I know what to do about all that I had lost. I only knew that in that moment I had no choice but to praise the Lord and trust in Him fully. “God’s got this.” I told myself repeatedly.
Later in the day I received a wonderful note of encouragement from a famous person on social media and it blessed my heart. I also heard good news about someone I care deeply about and it blessed my heart. I also received something in the mail from another person on social media making the blessings bountiful. I continued to receive blessings and honestly a few more negative attacks (even if only in my mind) throughout the day. By the end however, I had decided to start over.
This situation is also part of my journey. I definitely found beauty in this storm and I have recovered beautifully. I have reconnected with many in my social media world through various ways. Obviously I would not say here as I know my stalker also follows me here. (She) has made herself known on every public website I spend time on. Where I go, (she) goes. The devil follows me. (Pun intended)
A friend once told me “The devil doesn’t go after fake Christians, he’s already got them.”
I want to share the most important point of this story and that is this: No matter what you are doing in this life, make sure you have Jesus on the throne of your heart- Master and King, Lord of your life. He is ALL POWERFUL, over all powers and rulers of darkness; He is the great I AM.
|Posted on July 30, 2015 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
Woman In Gold
Art of any form is an expression of the soul. One does not try to make art one becomes art. The artist doesn’t recognize the interpretation of his soul as others would see it because for him it is like looking in a mirror. Singers bleed out the lyrics to express their art, writers bleed out words, and dancers use every ounce of strength and conviction to show you the passion in their soul. Artists of all kinds are gifted with the desire and ability to exhaust themselves of themselves in hopes of touching another soul.
The appreciation for art is another side of the experience. One gives the other receives. What you receive is the expression of emotion, the depth of joy or pain, the lighting of a fire within that comes from a place outside your own self. You feel what the artist conveyed.
The moment the gift is received begins a journey for the recipient because in that moment his life is changed and he is never the same. The art now takes on a significant role in his life. It becomes special. It becomes part of life for that one and now goes along on the journey. Memories will always include that art as it marks a time and place on the journey.
As I type these thoughts all inspired by watching the movie Woman In Gold, I see its application in my own life. I have discovered a new love of certain types of art, expressions of someone else’s soul that touched mine and have become part of my life. At this point in time, I could never imagine life without this art. It holds significant value to me.
In this movie, art of great personal value was stolen from the owner. Though on the surface it seems this movie is about art restitution, it is really deeper than that. The movie made it plain to see how art plays a role in the everyday lives of people. One piece of art held the hearts of not only the artist and the family of the lady in the painting but also a country and its people. It further went on to touch lives of people fifty years later in such a profound way; a way that brought unity and brotherhood to the people of its homeland.
This has me thinking about my own art. I will never know the impact it will have on people. I don’t even need to consider that. I only need to pour myself out onto paper as I love to do and express my soul. I have witnessed how it has already touched lives. Why the need to affirm this then? Well, quite honestly, I don’t need to, I want to. This movie showed me the depth of the affects art has on people. I watched a man’s life transform on screen all because of art. It wasn’t just about a painting, it was more. There was so much he took for granted in life and missed out on experiencing the passion of living. As I type this I see more and more into the depth of that movie. The screenwriters and producers did an amazing job at delivering the deep and powerful message of the importance and relevance of art in our lives. I see it more clearly now. I see my role on both sides of the experience. I am so grateful to have watched this movie as I am now forever changed.
With that said, I have my Walk of Faith post written as a poem. Last time I shortened something down to a few words I got a phone call from someone who thought I was having an afair because I said I had found a new love. PLEASE... poetry is to be received however it touches your spirit. I am not the subject in this writing. No one in particular is. I have heard the heart cries of many people and this is what I wrote about it. If it doesn't affect you then it wasn't meant to. Please know that I love my art and I love all of the many things I have been discovering about myself. I do have those stories that I typically share here. They are wonderful stories of how God works in the tiniest details of my life. I simply don't feel inspired to write those things. God is Good all the time!!
Are you listening?
There's a heart breaking in isolation
There's a mind lost in confusion
There's a voice crying in the wilderness
All have needs
All have longings
The deep cries out
It cries out for a drop of rain
It cries out for a fix
Even if only for a moment
For that which it
Knows not of
Warring one with another
Raging inside each of us
Searching in vain
Their arms will never reach
Their hands will never soothe
Their deepest needs
Is the only way
To reach the deep
Only the Creator
Can fathom the abyss
Do you hear your soul cry?
Does your flesh cry out for healing?
Does your mind cry out for order?
Does your heart beg for love?
|Posted on July 19, 2015 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
For ten years or so I’ve been going to the same small church in my town. I have always noticed the women singing and not too often do I hear the men. When I do hear them sing I make a big deal out of it because honestly, when a man sings I think it’s beautiful.
Occasionally I sit in front of Russell at church. When we stand to sing I usually tip my head back towards him and say “nice and loud now Russell” jokingly knowing he is not going to be singing because he never sings. I gladly accept his smile and I smile knowing I made him smile. That has always been good enough for me.
Last week Russell had surgery in his throat area. I heard that he was having some trouble swallowing so I figured eating and talking would be difficult too. I also heard that he would be out of work for several weeks recovering. I never expected to see him so soon however, Russell came to church today. That would have been enough of a blessing for me. It always feels good to see someone recover enough to come to church, especially when they have every excuse not to.
I had so many emotions swirling in me when I saw him- most of them guilty feelings. I never went to the hospital to see him like I planned. I never called him to tell him I was praying for him. I never sent a card. Yet with these thoughts in my mind, there was Russell sitting two pews in front of me. Thank You God for healing him this much so fast.
In my usual manner, when the music started I said loud enough for him to hear “I’ll sing for you Russell” thinking he couldn’t use his throat. “OKAY” he replied with a deep voice. Again I was stunned that he talked. Blessed again, I was. God is so good!
The church began singing the hymn and I heard a man’s voice. Is that Russell? I wondered. So I leaned forward to look at his face to see if his mouth was moving. I think he’s singing. I found my place in the hymnal and joined back in. I heard it again. Then the man’s voice grew louder. I saw his nephew look at him and laugh. I saw his aunt look at him and laugh. I looked at my friend and said “is Russell singing? Do you hear him?” She nodded and said yes. So I stretched my neck once again to look at his face and he raised his voice again and very clearly I heard Russell singing!
My heart trembled and my own voice failed me. Tears flooded my eyes and ran down my face; Russell is singing in church today, Hallelujah. I watched him in complete awe. He sang with a great big manly voice and I could not stop crying. I gave up trying to sing as I couldn’t see the words in the book. I just let the moment overtake me and I praised God in my spirit.
When the church finished singing and we all sat down, Russell looked back at me and asked “How’d I do?” to which I could only reply “you nearly killed me.” With a big smile he answered back “please don’t die.” We both laughed and I tried to gain my composure. I couldn’t. I excused myself during testimony time and remained downstairs through the announcements. I had another good cry and praised God without anyone looking at my ridiculous behavior.
I made it back upstairs just in time for the last song played during the offering. People do not always sing during this time, but some do. I usually know the song and sing it quietly. Russell sang this song too, very loudly. All I could think was that maybe he had an encounter with God at the hospital. Maybe he wanted to show God what was inside him all along but never could get out. Maybe he never had it inside him before. I wondered what made Russell sing but more than that I could not stop the tears from falling even after we stopped singing.
What a tremendous blessing it was to witness. How could I not write about it? I’ve written about lesser things because they were important or because they touched my spirit. This was huge to me; all these years joking around with Russell, always hoping to hear him sing, always wondering what he would sound like.
I may never know why Russell decided to sing. I do not need to know why. I am more than overwhelmed and I am still reliving it as I type this post. I have told people about it and will continue. Why? I don’t know. It blessed me. It is one of the many ways God blesses me and it was free. It was real. It was beautiful. I am glad I was not sitting in front of him today, for surely I would be in the hospital - most likely from having suffered a heart attack.
Russell, I know that Karen is probably going to forward this to your email because you do not get my blog posts. So I wrote this knowing full well you would see it. To answer your question “How’d I do?” I say “Do it again next week and I will let you know!” I should be recovered by then. Then I will sit in front of you so I can hear you and I sing along together and offer our praises up to God.
It’s the unexpected little things in life that collect throughout the day that give us Joy to get through the difficulties. Russell singing in church was one of many blessing I received today.
Here is the other: before even getting to church this morning, I walked out my door and as always I look down to beware of snakes. I saw this heart in the brick. I have never seen it there before. Looking back, God knew my heart was going to be busy today, He told me before I even got in the car.
Praise the Lord oh my soul!
|Posted on May 23, 2015 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
God is REAL.
The only thing I have to offer this world through my voice that matters is my own personal testimony. I cannot tell you how to live or how you should think or what you should believe but I can tell you how God works in my life. That is what this blog is all about.
In my last post I told you how lovely my social media world is and how I would love to live there on Main Street, Internet, USA. Well, shortly after that post my world crashed both in real life and online. It was brutal. Attacks of all kinds that attempted to destroy my JOY. It didn't work. God is greater than any attack of the enemy.
"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17
I have come through the storm and now I can talk about it. When I say it didn't work at destroying my joy it doesn't mean my spirit wasn't crushed because it indeed was. I was affected by the attacks but through it all the light of God was with me. Through it all I kept hope in my heart. Through the sadness, pain, and devastation I could still see God's beauty. I still was able to smile and laugh and carry on with a smaller level of joy from the Lord but with it I was covered with darkness. It was a hard thing to comprehend.
We know that darkness is the absence of light, but like I said the Light remained with me. God even gave me His Word on this.
"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me." Micah 7:7-8
See that right there, while covered in darkness- tremendously discouraged and heartbroken, I turned to the Lord. I first turned to a devotional for that particular day and read it. Micah 7:7 was printed on the page. I looked it up in the bible and that right there is what it said. THAT WAS ME! I was down, in a dark and low place and had suffered the attacks of others in addition to other news that broke my heart. It was a full out assault from the enemy Satan. Read those verses again. Do you see how very plainly God spoke to me?
God knew where I was. He knew what I was going through. Had I not turned to His Word I would not have heard from Him. the fact that His Word was exactly applicable to me and was very clearly written, I knew without a doubt that God was still in charge.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2
God was telling me to hold on! He did not forsake me nor did He leave me in the dark alone. I saw the Light and it was Him.
That is how God is real.
There is more. Something else happened and again I turned to the Lord in His Word. This time I just opened the bible and looked at whatever page it was. I do not do this often. It is not a game I play with God. It just so happened that the moment I picked up the bible I made that decision to just read whatever was there. I looked to the right and the title of one particular section in this children's bible said 'The Lord Comforts Those Who Aren't Proud.' I began reading there and when my eyes landed on these two verse once again I knew without a doubt that God was in fact speaking to me through His Word.
"I will not find fault with my people forever. I will not always be angry with them. If I were, I would cause their spirits to grow weak. The very breath of life would go out of the people I created" Isiah 57:16
"I have seen what they have done. But I will heal them. I will guide them. And I will comfort them just as I did before." Isaiah 57:18
There is much more depth to the entire section of scripture I read but those two verses are enough to illustrate my point. What God was talking to me about wasn't necessarily about me but more about how I should handle a situation. He was telling me to do as He did. Not to be angry for long and to forgive and let healing, guidance and comfort be my mission.
I needed that advice. I was honestly dealing with something that I had no clue how to handle. I only knew how I wanted to react or more specifically- how I was entitled to act in that situation. I had the right to be very angry but God was leading me in a different way. His plans, His thoughts, His ways are not our ways. God is love.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." 1 John 4:16
So I listened to Him and I changed my thoughts to align with His. I changed my plan of action to His plan of love. And it WORKED! God's plans worked and restored the devastation and turned it into a blessing. I am writing to you right now from a place of PEACE. I am surrounded by LOVE, LIGHT, JOY & PEACE even though my physical world is falling apart. Believe me when I tell you- things are really bad and anyone looking in cannot see a way out or a way to make it better. But I stand here before you and tell you this: As God is my witness and the testimony on my tongue- God has everything under control. I trust Him, the invisible God who speaks to me more than I trust anything or anyone my eyes see.
There! I am on top of the world now that I've shared that with you. Give God a chance to reveal himself to you. Put Him first in your life and see what He will do. Remember though, He sees your heart. He sees and knows the intentions there. If you say with your mouth and don't believe in your heart, He will not hear you. You must believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord.
Have a blessed day and thank you for reading about my walk of faith in Christ Jesus.
|Posted on May 2, 2015 at 11:35 PM||comments (0)|
I found the place I want to live!
It is culturally diverse and extraordinarily beautiful. The people are rich in character and are passionate about their interests. This hub of diversity is perfect for me. I can stroll from one interest of mine to the next without needing to neither explain myself nor prove that I am worthy to be there. Within the sub-cultures there is great acceptance and appreciation for individuals, artists, and believers.
Let me tell you more about the people there.
The most inspiring lately is a man named Devin Allen. He is a 26 year old man whose love for photography comes second only to his love for his daughter. He lives in Baltimore. Yes, he is the “unknown” photographer that landed on the cover of Time magazine this week and all over the news media. You see, I met him through a mutual acquaintance, Alex Medina. Mr. Medina works for Reach Records and has a prominent voice for civil rights among other things.
Devin Allen’s photographs of the Baltimore protests, riots, uprisings, and restoration –of property and people, have pierced my heart to the core. I found myself crying out to God for these people more passionately than I do for my own personal needs. His ability to capture the raw truth on the streets along with his own personal heartfelt words in the photo captions, those coming from a young black man who has been profiled as a “thug” in the past, had a profound impact on me. His profile name on social media went from “Nobody Knows” to “Known Nobody.” He is a humble man with a deep passion for his city and more importantly the people of his city.
I have shared my sentiments with him and he graciously accepted them and shared them with his friends. We have been communicating since before he gained celebrity status. I have a deep respect and love for his art. He inspires me to always do what you love and DO IT FOR LOVE and let God handle its width and depth.
I am thankful to God for bringing Mr. Alex Medina and Devin Allen into my life.
A few doors down I have formed a close bond with another group of likeminded individuals. Our passion for the Lord is the same and therefore we share a bond in Christ that holds us together at the core. These folks do not even look at the outward appearances of each other, there is never any judging and when one is weak, all of the rest are strong. Prayers are constantly being offered up to God on each other’s behalf and for the needs of the world. The “fervent prayers of the righteous” is a powerful experience to be a part of. I love these people… and I know they love me.
Also in this hub, there is an entire community of musicians. I have found these folks to be similar to me in the respect that they are constantly searching for meaning and truth in their lives. Songwriters especially are fascinating to talk to. I have had the deepest conversations with some of these individuals. Much respect is shared there.
Speaking of writers, there is a boulevard full of writers in this hub. You can just imagine how thoroughly satisfied I am when immersed in this society. I have opened my eyes and ears to listen and read beyond what I am used to. I have added more colors to my palette if you will. What I’m trying to illustrate with words is that this place I want to live enriches my life beyond anything I could imagine in my small suburban town where I currently dwell.
I’m sure by now you’ve figured out where this hub is located, right?
Well, as far as I know, there is no physical place on earth like this, though I’ve heard some artsy cities across the US are quite similar. Of course, I am talking about the internet, social media to be precise. But why do I feel “at home” there when I have such close friends here? I have a feeling some of you reading this may be taking this the wrong way, but hear me out.
Until I found this diverse community of people who “get me” on social media, I struggled to make people understand me in my real world. It seems the more I talk and share my life with “real people” the more upset I get. I can hear one or two of you saying right now “that’s because you don’t want to hear the truth Lori” or that I shouldn’t tell so many details of my personal life. On that last point, I would say “but that is the only thing we have in common…. our personal lives.” Many of my closest friends do not share my interests, but it doesn’t stop me from living life abundantly.
Well, the thing about me not wanting to hear the truth is that the truth is very present in my life. Meaning, I know what is happening, I see it all, I feel it all and there is not much I can do about it. I have made decisions to adjust my exposure to these things but the facts remain: the truths I live with (family related)… really hurt. Those who know me always want to talk about these things. The people on social media are generally only interested in the common interest shared between us. And of course I have not shared my personal life on social media so that makes the comparison unequally balanced.
Ultimately what I am trying to say is since I have been spending so much time in “the hub” of my interests, I have discovered a different side of myself. Honestly, it is a side that I really like. It is reshaping my view of myself and creating in me a desire to believe that the promises of God are reachable. Not that anything I do makes a difference, but in a way it does. If I didn’t believe that God COULD use me, then I would not prepare myself to be used. So, by believing He can and He will, I am in fact preparing myself to GO. This has been growing in me for some time now. I have been watching the development of this in me. I have noticed what encourages me, what or who inspires me and all that lifts my spirit. I see patterns and trends and they all lead in the direction of my vision, my dream, and my goals. I feel like a baby bird getting ready to leave the nest and it thrills my soul. I have no idea where God will send me and quite frankly I have even considered that He could send me home. Gasp! I say that to make sure you understand that what I’m sharing with you is my deep thoughts and my inner walk with God. I have no plans, just these incredible feelings.
I don’t want to leave my dear friends hanging here, so let me say this: Christ is my anchor but you all are the material He uses to keep me secure. You make up the physical-tangible-solid connection between me and my reality. You are my reality. I love each one of you reading this who knows me personally. I know that you will always support me no matter where my journey takes me. You have encouraged and supported me from day one… of our friendships. I hope I have done the same for you.
If you are ever wondering what I am up to when I am not writing blog posts, just look me up on Twitter (@Loriminutoli1) or on Instagram (Kaleidastorm.) You will always find me visiting one of those places mentioned above. I envision it like walking down Main Street USA of the old days. Everyone is friendly (because if they’re not I simply delete them or unfollow them) and the conversations are poignant. No small talk! I love it!
Sorry for the lack of scripture in this post. Since it is my “Walk of Faith” blog that is what you got. Hope you saw it as beautifully as I do.
Until next time… peace to you all.
|Posted on April 23, 2015 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
I am smiling as I type this because I absolutely LOVE that someone spoke up about my blog post: Warning: Don't Take Your Eyes Off Of Jesus specifically this part:
Dee -1, a Christian hip-hop artist, says in one of his songs "the journey's more important than the destination." Stop and think about that and you will realize that some of us focus so much on reaching Heaven that we miss out on living and loving in this life.
You see, even though he spoke up, he knew what I meant and where I was coming from. He said "I read the unwritten words." THAT IS AMAZING!!!! I am honored that he could do that; it means he really knows me. His concern is for those who read my blog and may not know me as well as he does. So for clarity I am going to explain my thinking.
I love Jesus! I live my life to serve and honor Him more than anything. At least I try. When I fail, and I do at times, I confess, repeant and keep walking- with Jesus. I have said this before: where I go He goes. This is why:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Twenty years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus. I had spent the first twenty five years of my life living for myself. I understand both ways. I choose this path. I choose this JOURNEY! The journey through life in Christ.
The bible says "whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus" 1 John 2:6
The journey means NOTHING if you are not walking with the Lord.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that if there was no resurrection, if Jesus had not come out of the tomb after being crucified, then there would be no reason to live for tomorrow because tomorrow we die.
And if there is no resurrection, "Let's feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!" 1 Corinthians 15:32b
BUT WE BELIEVE! We believe Jesus DID RISE from the grave and ascended into Heaven fourty days later. It is the foundation of our faith. We praise Him when we sing:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives. (hymn lyrics)
You see, Tomorrow We Live!!!! Therefore, the journey is important.
The bible has plenty to say about the journey, about walking:
For even when I cannot see, I will walk by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7
God's Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Psalm 119:105
We are to "walk while we have the light" John 12:35
Isaiah 40:31 says "They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" Psalm 23:4
This was my original response to "the journey's more important than the destination."
I believe we are suppose to learn the things of God by living transparently and allow the Spirit of God to work in and through us. We are supposed to be a light in this dark world. A light only shines in the darkness so we have to know how to journey through the dark. Until we get to heaven we have to show and share the LOVE of God here on earth. It is what God wants for us: to love and be loved, to love Him and be loved by Him. It's really quite a beautiful concept when you've seen the dark and you see the Light, there is no better place to be than in the Light of God's LOVE.
Now you can clearly see that walking a life of FAITH on the journey of life is about being Christ-like, obeying God's Word, following Jesus' example and trusting God to help you out along the way. I struggled in this life before I met Jesus. I was miserable, I failed and there was no redemption for my failure until I accepted the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins. My life is so much more bearable in Christ than it was without Him. I know my life is not easy. I know there is no one reading this who would rather walk in my shoes. But GOD goes with me!!!!
What I was trying to tell you in that blog post mentioned above is that I have learned a lot about the journey. I have learned through difficult situations, trying times, and gut wrenching self discovery, that each person along my journey has a purpose in my life. The pupose is by God's design and for His good will, not my personal gain or pleasure. The fact that I delight in God and see His hand in everything in my life makes it so that I DO actaully find pleasure in his plans for my life.
That my friends is why I wrote the blog. To tell you that I discovered how important the journey is!!! It does not mean that the journey is more important than God. It means that the journey is important because of God!!!
I hope you understand it more clearly. I did my homework and prayed not to be lazy in my writing for God. This is the answer to that prayer.
Now, if you are reading this on Friday April 24th.... pray for me! I am taking the train to Boston for the day by myself. I am enjoying the adventurous side of this journey. Going to another Christian Hip-Hop concert. Lecrae this time. Pray for my safe travels and protection in the big city. Thank You. God Bless!
|Posted on April 16, 2015 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Do you know who you are?
That is the question I have been asking myself for several months. I have been updating my own personal operating system so-to-speak and have discovered many corrupted files. The ONLY authority I have allowed to decipher what is corrupt and what isn't is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit living in me. It has taken months of isolation and heartbreaking soul searching to find the Truth within but I can now tell you that I believe it was all worth it. I have a firmer belief of who I am and all of my confidence is in Christ. Without Him, I am nothing.
Dee -1, a Christian hip-hop artist, says in one of his songs "the journey's more important than the destination." Stop and think about that and you will realize that some of us focus so much on reaching Heaven that we miss out on living and loving in this life. Jesus didn't have to come to earth, but he did because "God so loved the world." Jesus is our example of LOVE.
For years I have been called hurtful names and have fought the urge to believe the accusations. I have clung to Jesus and proclaimed the victory in Him year after year. If that is true, then how did my operating system become corrupted by the very same lies I thought I didn't believe?
Here is what I've discovered. I allowed the thoughts to enter my mind and debated with myself whether they were true. Once I decided they were not true and I chose to accept the victory given to me in Christ. I proclaimed and accepted that victory but never removed the corrupt files. They laid dormant while I continuously ran my victory program. Having done that for years upon years, there were many files lying dormant in my mind. When I found myself in a very dark place apart from God because of sin, where I wasn't running the victory program, these corrupt files became active! My darkness became even darker and I did not like what I was seeing in myself. It took a lot of help from a friend to remove the corrupt files. She was so patient with me, even when she didn't understand why I was allowing myself to run these programs which only hurt me. She couldn't even think of a way to get me out of the darkness, so she prayed for me. I suffered terribly in my mind. I hated myself. I couldn't see the light of Jesus in me though I knew he was there and I knew He would never leave me. The corrupt files just dominated my mind. I now know the reason was because I had my eyes focused on the lies and not on Jesus.
Then she said something that I wasn't considering prior to the day it finally hit me. She said to not to even look at it. "It" being the accusations, the evil, the dark, the hate... the corrupt files.
"Not look at it? But it has my name all over it. It's all throughout my mind."
I really didn't understand how I was supposed to "not look at it."
She said "delete it and don't read it."
I should be able to do that, right? Most of you know me and you know how much I LOVE TO DELETE & throw away things. This should have been an automatic for me. Yet I let the lies circle my mind, I let them create a storm of activity and I embraced the darkness until one day the sadness was too great. I finally decided to try to remove the bad information.
Do you know how difficult it is to remove something from your mind? It means you mentally dismiss its existence and never recall it again. If it comes to your mind in the slightest bit, you have to dismiss it, change your thoughts to something else and NEVER LET IT ENTER YOUR SPIRIT again. By the GRACE OF GOD only was this even possible. I did it for a while and with each thing I dismissed I replaced it with a TRUTH from God's Word!
Eventually the corrupt files were removed and the victory program worked perfectly. Now when I get attacked I automatically dismiss it, delete it, don't let it enter my spirit, don't give it a place in my speech or my mind and I hold fast once again to Jesus and who He says I am. That is the victory program- VICTORY IN JESUS.
There's a reason, I believe, that the journey's more important than the destination. I believe we are suppose to learn the things of God by living transparently and allow the Spirit of God to work in and through us. We are supposed to be a light in this dark world. A light only shines in the darkness so we have to know how to journey through the dark. Until we get to heaven we have to show and share the LOVE of God here on earth. It is what God wants for us: to love and be loved, to love Him and be loved by Him. It's really quite a beautiful concept when you've seen the dark and you see the Light, there is no better place to be than in the Light of God's LOVE.
Now that my operating system is working properly guess what else is working like never before? Discernment! I am quite pleased with my new filtering program. I used to look to others for examples of righteousness in Christ. I held such a high standard for Christian character and yet I failed myself and fell into the pit of sin and despair. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. Wow! What a revelation that was to not only see but experience. Lesson learned: Jesus Christ is the only example of RIGHTEOUSNESS. When I look to Him for guidance I cannot be led astray.
I know who I am now. I know what I believe and I know where I am going. I know who is leading me and I know who is after me.
MY EYES ARE ON JESUS!
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Can you recall what it feels like to be in a resting period after an illness? You know the feeling of wondering if you are really better or if you are just moments away from being sick again. It's akin to the earth in the spring season; will there will be another winter storm or will warm weather suddenly send forth the buds and blooms of spring? The in-between times are like plateaus, no highs, no lows, just waiting in anticipation as life goes on working below the surface.
I feel like that right now. Like I am in-between major trials and major victories. I am unsure if the next moment will be another trial as has been for several months or if finally things will start to turn towards the good. When you're in these plateaus you prepare yourself for either. With that in mind, I cautiously let my hope turn to excitement but only briefly. You see, hope is always in me. I have it for the little things and for my life overall. So inside me is a well-spring of excitement waiting to burst out in a glorious appearing. The outside of me: my expressions, my moods, my attitudes... all appear bland. I feel kind of blaze'. It's weird to acknowledge this. I'm not sad though things sadden me. I'm not happy, though I am happy about things. I'm not angry though there are certainly things that get me fired up and it's very ugly when I get that way.
I have many good and wonderful things happening right now. I am most excited about my short story series. I love watching the stories unfold before my eyes. So much in my stories seem to parallel my own life that I wonder if I am subconsciously writing about myself. I tell myself I am not but as I see the words come together on the computer screen, I sure wonder. I am not one to have an imagination, so to create a fictional story with fictional scenes is fun and interesting for me. When I read what I have written, it seems I can relate to much of it. It is a strange and wonderful experience for me.
I don't have any biblical wisdom to share today. I read a lot of it daily and I always find comfort in God's word but I am not moved to share anything. This plateau is quite awkward. I'll keep writing and enjoying life's little moments of joy and seeking God, and hopefully soon my spirit will burst open like the earth with beautiful flowers and we shall share in the Joy of renewed life!
|Posted on March 17, 2015 at 1:55 PM||comments (0)|
I am very happy to let my readers know that I finally have a computer!
My mom had a stroke a couple of years ago just after she bought this laptop. She never really got the hang of using a computer and then was unable to use it due to her limitations after the stroke. I never asked her for it. This week as I was visiting her at her home and painting her finger nails, she asked me if I wanted to use her laptop. I looked up, smiled at her and said "That woud help me out tremendously."
She got up from the couch and retrieved it from her bedroom. I thought it was broken but she informed me her friend took it to Best Buy and had it fixed.
While painting her nails I asked "Just curious Mom, why didn't you offer it to me 6 months ago?"
"I just thought of it" she said.
And that was the end of that subject. Since her stroke she doesn't stay with one subject very long.
I don't have a bible study to tie into this, just praises to God for His timing and provisions.
In the last 6 months I have been clay in the Potter's hands: punched down, kneaded, pressed down flat. Even so, I have been held firmly in the work of His hands. He is not done with me. He is always shaping me and smoothing out the rough spots. My faith is in His vision for my future.
Today is day one of the rest of my life (as Matthew West sings) and for today I am working on this computer. I have updated it and have been setting it up for my writing endeavors. Thankfully, the library is close by and has comfortable work stations and WiFi.
Praise God for answered prayer!
Let the writing take wind Lord, my sail is up!
|Posted on February 15, 2015 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
How can it be that I have a full and empty heart?
It has taken me some time or should I say experience to fully understand how it can be, so let me share with you. There was a time in my life several years ago when everything mattered to me. I held almost-sacred all that I had achieved and possessed. I worked hard for the things in my life, I was careful in selecting most of it and each and every thing was precious to me. I cared for them, protected them, and kept them in the best condition I could. I'd say that I was a good steward of my life.
Over the years, little by little, these things have all been taken away from me. I can say taken because it was by no doing of my own that they are no longer mine. With each loss, I grieved and grew angry. Yet, no matter the depths of my grief, still I could not change the fact that I had suffered the loss. I knew I wasn't alone, everyone suffers loss, but I had so little to start off with, I had so little to lose. Loss comes to us all.
In my sadness I persevered to find good things and beauty. I would often look to nature to find simple beauty, or plant flowers to watch life grow and paint my world with colors. I could always make the sun shine by altering my perspective. This was essential in dealing with the loss in my life. Still more loss comes.
In recent months the amount of loss I have endured is incredible. I am now numb to the shock of it. Honestly I expect it to keep coming, hoping otherwise but accepting the possibility. Being numb controls the sadness. It makes me feel cold and heartless but it keeps the sadness under control. It's like living in a void. That is exactly where I feel I am, in a void. Of course the dead of winter helps me feel this way. Buried under several feet of snow with more on the way tonight, living in a one room space without the luxuries of home, and being completely alone most of the hours of the day... it can make you feel like you're living in a void. This is some of what makes my heart empty. My heart is empty but it is also full.
There is another perspective I can share to illustrate this for you. It begins with peace and freedom. Those are gloriously beautiful words. Imagine an artist's canvas. Paint with me if you will, vivid blues and greens. Cover the canvas so there are no voids, no white areas. When I realize the tranquil serenity that surrounds me where I now live, I am enveloped in the warm embrace of God's provision. Add to the canvas glimmering yellow, speckle it about so it touches all over the canvas.
When I consider the personal growth I am experiencing in my safe environment I realize the goodness of God and all that He wants me to see in myself. Dip that brush into magenta and paint an area that represents me. Add a little white to soften the pink in one area to illustrate the feminine woman I am on the inside, under the thick skinned scars I wear as a cloak. Knowing that the Creator of my being made me perfect in His way, I can see colors I am normally blind to. Add orange and teal, yes I know they clash... but they are God's colors and He is BEAUTIFUL.
On this journey of living in the void I have found many ways to see life through a different lens. Without the suffering being the focus, without living in the insanity, I have begun to heal and grow. I am seeing myself as a beautiful masterpiece God designed me to be. The painting is not finished, but it is becoming more and more interesting each day. Take a few smaller brushes, dip them each in a color not used yet and add lots of flecks of each all over the canvas. Those represent all of the blessings I receive daily in various forms. Whether it be through connections on social media, interactions with strangers, kindness and generosity shown to me through friends, or the loving words of family. These are the nutrients to my soul and keep me above the void every single day!
One shining aspect of all of this is the prayers of the faithful. Many are praying for me. I do not know their prayers but I feel the sparkle of God's shining light in my life. I know without a doubt that He is answering their prayers. They are like diamonds on the canvas. With a tiny brush, dip the tip in white and mark various places on the edges of some of the colors as if shining from the True Light.
I couldn't leave off without mentioning music. I have felt my heart beat in a new way over the last several months. It is no secret I have a new love of a variety of music. I have learned many lessons here but for this purpose I will show you the best of it. God is not only visually stunning, He is audibly amazing as well. I hear music in colors now. Since I am a visual person, I can only explain it by describing what I feel when I hear the intricate sounds of music as a burst of brilliance. Music makes my heart beat. It makes my soul come to life. It makes me feel alive. Whether it is a piano melody, a guitar solo, or the guttural sounds of a singer bleeding the lyrics in his song, I feel the colors! Add red to your brush and outline some of the other colors on one side with strokes of red. This I feel is the Love of God vibrating through life in sounds.
I am overwhelmed as I write this, of course listening to music on headphones helps, but I am filled with sheer amazement when I see all that God is doing in my life. If you look through the wrong lens you will only see the darkness in the void. Hopefully, you can now see as I do, through the Master's hand on the canvas. This is how my heart is full.
May you always look through the kaleidoscope of life and see beauty in the storms and make your own canvas full of beautiful colors.
|Posted on February 4, 2015 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
I am stuck with only a few minutes to write something quick off the top of my head as I am sitting here at a computer for the first time in what seems like an eternity. Please keep me in prayer that I would somehow miraculously obtain a laptop. My writing is so hindered by the lack of computer access. I am patiently waiting on God to provide. Please know this: I have tons of things to write about. I have been learning so much about myself and about God and I absolutely want to share my journey with you.... but LIFE keeps getting in the way.
Let me tell you that the last few months I have been on one heck of a rollercoaster ride! I have reached wonderful heights of spiritual growth and have indeed plunged into the pits of despair and darkness... momentarily that is. Each twist and turn has led me directly to God and He is so gracious to meet with me and minister to my every need. I love Him so much! God never gives up on us even when we seem to be looking the other way. I learned that you can be walking towards Him and be looking elsewhere. That my friends is how you step off the narrow road!
I am happy to say that as of this week I have gotten OFF the rollercoaster! I think I will stay on the ground for a while, walk with both feet and my eyes steadfastly on Jesus Christ.
"There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1
|Posted on January 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
"Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward...
...I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:Job 5:7,8
So as it is, life has unleashed a fury of sparks in my life.. far too many to list or even acknowledge here. I am almost consumed by the intensity of this raging attack against my peace and humble joy. With arms stretched upward, desperately reaching for Abba Father to lift me out of the trouble, I cried out to Him in prayer and in praise for his sovereign place in my life. I have a Heavenly Father who sees all things, I have a King who rules over all things, I have a Savior who gave His life to give me VICTORY over darkness and death.
LORD HEAR MY HEART,
HEAR MY PLEA,
HEAR MY SOUL CRY OUT TO THEE.
"Therefore I will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;" Psalm 46:2
I have no idea how to handle the issues, what the right thing to do is, where to go, I am completely at a loss of every logical sensible thing to think. The amount of "sparks" flying in my life right now has me in a place where I need to choose despair or faith. You all know I choose FAITH without question! There is no doubt WHO IS ABLE to take care of my EVERY NEED.
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom (what) shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom (what) shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1 (I inserted what)
I still see the beautiful things in each day. I still find the joy in living. I still have hope in what I cannot see. I still believe that good will prevail. I hold tightly to the Giver of life. I am smiling as everything is getting ripped away from my life... not because I want to see it go... but because I know Who is over all things on earth and in heaven above.
I went to the scriptures today and Ecclesiastes chapters 1-3 spoke volumes to me. Such comfort in God's word knowing there is nothing new under the sun and that the pursuit of anything in life other than Him is like chasing the wind....all vanity. I found such comfort knowing Solomon sought some of the answers in life that Ihave been seeking. I found the same answers as he did and I feel hugged. Imagine that. HA!
GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME and my family and all of those whom I love.
I realize this post is vague but it is not pointless. It is a call for prayer. Please, no matter what your faith, no matter what you do when you feel heavy hearted for someone, take that burden and release it to GOD! I am writing this to work out my thoughts and to send out a request for prayer to any and all who pray to God.
I BELIEVE IN PRAYER
I BELIEVE GOD HEARS
I am still true to who I am and I refuse to walk in darkness. When I walk away from this computer, I WILL BE PRAISING GOD! I will walk with my head up in VICTORY and not in defeat. Yes, I have cried, I have poured out my heart to the Lord. But it is time to BELIEVE the answers will come BY FAITH! Now, I want you to finish reading this with a SMILE! I love you all and appreciate your prayers for me. TRUST GOD!
|Posted on December 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
I witnessed a miracle!
Friday night while writing Christmas cards, my mom appeared to have a stroke. We called 911 and she went immediately to the ER. The doctors in the emergency room reported she had all the signs of suffering a massive stroke and proceeded with the protocol to treat it. In those dark moments we were asked some pretty tough questions about whether to resuscitate her should her heart stop. This question alone seems like an easy one to answer, the answer should be YES. We knew however, that Mom didn't want to be kept alive artificially and in the harsh reality of this moment, those decisions are excruciating to make. We said yes.
As the doctors proceeded with her treatment, I sent out an urgent prayer request on Twitter. I didn't tag anyone or use a hash-tag, I just hurried up to post a prayer request in case anyone should see it and pray for her. Sitting in the waiting room thinking about all the possibilities that could happen and all of the decisions we would have to make, the moment grew much darker. The pain became unbearable just thinking that we might have to make a decision to NOT support my mom's life via machines.
With my smart phone in hand, I went to Twitter to see if anyone had seen my prayer request and to my surprise not only had someone seen it, a couple of people had picked up the request and re-Tweeted it to their followers. From there it began circulating the globe. I was getting notifications from people all over the world, strangers who were willing to pray for my mom and for our family. As I read the comments from these people, my heart became full of awe and wonder. Strangers sending words of encouragement to me and offering up prayers to God for His hand in this situation, my mom's life.
"Where two or more gather in My name, there I am with them" Matthew 18:20
In my darkest hours God was with me. He poured out His love through strangers around the world and it gave me Hope. More than anything, it gave me assurance that whatever happened I knew without a doubt that it was God's will.
Twelve hours later my mom had an MRI that showed NO SIGNS OF A STROKE and within a few hours after that she began to wake up. Within twenty four hours she was breathing on her own and talking and even said "don't ever count me out." She was back! She was herself!
Praise the LORD!
I returned to Twitter to tweet an update and so began the rejoicing around the world. God heard and answered our prayers! So many people were encouraged by this quick change of circumstances. It was a miracle and we witnessed it.
What would I have done without Twitter? What if I did not have a smart phone? Yes, I would have called people and they would have prayed. Actually, I did call people and my Pastor did come to the hospital and pray over my mom. His dear wife, my friend, came also and comforted me. I received tremendous support from a friend whom I met on Twitter and through phone calls she was able to hold my hand and walk me through the difficulties. I know that I have other friends and family who would have been there in a minute had I needed them. However, in this modern age of social media and WiFi, I was able to post a prayer request online and within minutes it circulated the globe. That is astounding to me! During the dark hours, waiting for answers, it was very encouraging to get those notifications on Twitter.
Today is Tuesday and my mom is doing much better. She is still in the ICU as they are monitoring other issues they have discovered. She is walking, talking, eating and quite the chatterbox. She remembers writing cards and remembers all kinds of random facts from the news over the last years. In my opinion she is completely herself. I thank God for helping her and for encouraging me during those difficult times.
I hope that if you find yourself in a situation where you feel alone, remember that God hears your prayers and if you have access to a phone, call someone. If you have social media, reach out for prayer. I did and look what happened. God heard and answered and brought us all back to the light.
The doctor told my mom she would be able to go home on Christmas morning. Imagine that. A real Christmas miracle!
|Posted on December 6, 2014 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
Love seems to offend people, especially when labels are attached to individuals who are deemed unworthy of love because of their actions. I am so thankful God's thoughts are not like ours.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
It has taken me a lifetime to understand this love of God's and to learn how to love like Him.
"For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Jesus died for ALL SINNERS!
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10
I am not the judge of man's sins. I have not been called to a jury to decide if the law was upheld. I am however a child of God and I am called to love God and love others. THIS IS MY STAND. In all areas of my life: home, work, public, church, world, I have made the choice to love people even when all indications say certain ones don't deserve it. I hear this banter EVERY DAY! You know why? Because people are imperfect and carry a load of burdens not meant for them to carry. They cannot see the joy in living for God and therefore point out the injustices in the world to balance their own position on that scale. By pointing to the sins of others they do not see their own lack of love or simply choose to love themselves more than anyone else. Not obeying God is a sin. God says to love others as yourself. Mark 12:31
God didn't say "First decide who is worthy then love them." He said to love others as yourself. It doesn't mean love everything about them, but in a Godly way, to love them, as in weep when they weep, rejoice when they rejoice (Romans 12:15) and pray for them, for God to bring justice and forgiveness.
Yesterday I decided to voice my love for people who are suffering a deeper pain than I will ever understand. I chose to say #BlackLivesMatter and instantly I was accused of not standing for the rule of law and the process of criminal justice. Apparently all of my words were not clear.
I believe that if the law doesn't bring justice, God will. I am not on anyone side but God's. A man broke the law and another man used his authority to enforce the law and a life ended. Some say the officer broke the law, some say the criminal abused the officer. I am not taking sides with this. I do not know the intent of their hearts when they were in the situation. Honestly, NO ONE DOES but GOD. God is their judge.
My heart weeps with the black community in all of their suffering. My heart weeps for the police officers who suffer for trying to uphold and enforce the law. My heart weeps for the soldiers who suffer for defending our freedom. For people who suffer abuse and neglect on every level, I weep. You see, because God loved me when I was a wretched sinner, and He continues to love me, forgiven yet still a sinner, and He sent people to love me as I am, I choose to love the same way. This kind of love, from God through me, towards others is what brings me JOY through ALL TRIALS. It is the only reason I can endure in the face of adversity.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1John 4:7,8
...since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1John 4:11