GML readers! Thank you for walking with me all these years. Since the inception of the blog in 2014, my writing, readership, and relationship with the Lord has matured in ways I never thought possible. I’d like to take a moment and express my sincerest apologies for my early years. That writing was ROUGH! But here we are all these years later. I am thankful to have started the blog and am thankful now to be transitioning from it. I’ll still be writing, but it will take shape in a new way. The face of my website will change as will the frequency of public expression. I'd like to spend more time in conversation, listening, and thinking.
And so, I say thank you. If you’ve read one blog, followed the blog for a period, or been with me since the beginning, I thank you all the same. For the people who have reached out, the ones I’ve met, and those who have become friends, I am privileged to know you. For the people I know, and the people I don’t know, my prayer is that you would continue your pursuit of oneness with Christ and that you would surrender to the truth completely. Read and study God’s Word passionately and with intention. His Word does not return void. Analyze the response of your life to His teaching and ask yourself, “What has it revealed about me?” Know that there is nothing that can separate you from His love. And that if you have been given ears to hear, you have also been given the responsibility of response. Plant seeds, love one another, and obey God’s Word. You’ll never regret it.
See you later 😊
P.S. If you haven't read my last post Sowing and Reaping, you'll want to give it a look. It may have been my best one yet. Well, one of them.
Not too long ago, I wasn’t very nice to this young woman. We’ll call her Daisy. I was envious of her. She had things I thought I should have. She was receiving things I thought I should receive. I was frustrated with the Lord for confusing her and me because surely, He could see how good I was, how obedient I was, how faithful I was. Why wasn’t my goodness, obedience, and faithfulness being rewarded like Daisy’s? My envy produced bitterness. That bitterness caused me to say and do things that weren’t kind. For a little while, I made excuses for my behavior. I thought things like, I did this because she did that. Or I tried to do the right thing.
Recently, I started a study in the book of Esther. This book is special in many ways. One of them being that the name of God is never mentioned, but it is quite obvious that He was at work all through its pages. Esther is a story of a beautiful Jewish woman raised by a family member named Mordecai. She eventually became queen in order to save her people from an evil man named Haman who wanted to kill them. Oftentimes, the events of life can feel random, haphazard even. It can leave a person asking why. Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to me now? Why is this happening at all? While at times it may seem that life is spinning out of control the believer can rest assured that it is not. One’s looks, gifts, abilities, desires, and path, in general, are not happenstance. God is always at work behind the scenes whether it seems like He is or not. Can you think of a time in your life where things seemed to be happening to you in no particular order? I can.
Boldly proclaiming the gospel is not for the faint at heart. There are many people who will declare God’s Word unapologetically so long as it is convenient for them. But the moment they face opposition, it infringes on their progress, or becomes uncomfortable, they retreat. Sometimes that was me.
John Chapter three begins with a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus the Son of God in human form and Nicodemus a Pharisees and a ruler of the Jews. The conversation opens as follows:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”
I have had some interesting “meeting” experiences. I say meeting because dating never occurred. Over the last six years, these meeting experiences have ranged from bizarre to enchanting but none have panned out. All of these men professed faith in Christ, and I should have known better.
The first guy was a coworker. Our job functions rarely met, so I didn’t interact with him frequently. After a few failed attempts to hang out with me, we finally ended up eating and talking. It was a no for me. I have rules about dating where I work, and I wasn’t interested. It was mostly because I wasn’t interested. We all know when you are interested in a guy the rules suddenly become flexible. He continued his pursuit and one day tells me that some time ago he had a vision from God. In that vision, he saw a brown skin woman with a small afro, and he knew that woman was his. I replied, “I do not have a small afro.” At this point, you must be thinking, “seriously?” I can’t make this up. I’d like to tell you that I recognized this tomfoolery for what it was immediately. I’d really like to tell you that, but it isn’t what happened. When he said this to me, it got me thinking. Up to that point, I had never had a man tell me he thought I was his wife by way of vision from God. And, if he had a vision from God, then it must be true. If it is true, then why don’t I feel that way about him? A few weeks later I told him that I would like to remain friends. So ensued months of folly. He started to treat me badly at work. He constantly disrespected my boundaries and was generally impossible. And with all this, I still tried to understand how God had given him this vision because who lies on God? Who I ask you? Who? I was so confused. I prayed and I prayed. “God, is this my husband?” He was a silent as the grave; He said nothing. One day my coworker said to me, “What can God tell you that you cannot see? If I were you, I would run away from that man with my shoes in my hands.” Sometimes you need someone to tell you what you already know. Like Celie, I ran.
There is nothing more uplifting than a conversation with an older woman. One who is sage, believing, enduring, and nurturing. One who has been through it and come out clean on the other side. I am so grateful to all the older mentoring women in my life. They bring perspective that my youth does not yet know. They say things like, “hold on,” “wait on the Lord,” and “be patient.” God’s word is filled with encouraging words, wise instruction, and tools for how to navigate life itself. As I read my bible, I see God come through again and again and again. He does not fail.
Forgiveness is a biblical concept. We all know we are supposed to do it. Forgive our brother and move forward. But what does that look like practically? In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement so sharp that they parted ways. They did reconcile later, but were things ever the same? In Matthew 18, Peter asked Jesus how many times we are to forgive, He answered seventy times seven.
Now, I hear that. I do my best to live it. But it is hard. When someone does or says something hurtful, depending on the severity of the offense, it takes time to heal. How am I supposed to live alongside someone who has hurt me? What does interacting, worshiping, and communicating with this person look like while I am still working through my pain?
There was a time when I was not clear on where my responsibilities ended, and the Lord’s began. I would hear things like “work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.” Thing is, this saying does not take God’s will into consideration. If it isn’t God’s will for you, it doesn’t matter how hard you pray, it won’t happen. I used to attend one of those churches that treated God like a genie. Let them tell it, they were claiming His promises! But there is a difference between claiming His promises and inserting one’s selfish desires into the text. How can you tell the difference? How do you know when someone is speaking Christianese? For those unfamiliar with the term Christianese. This is the language of the gospel. There are people who speak the language but do not belong to the body. They “amen,” “mhmm”, and shout in all the right places. They attend church, serve, and some of them lead, but do not be fooled, they are unbelievers. Recall the parable of the Tares and the Wheat in Matthew chapter 13.
About five years ago I dedicated my life to James 3’s Taming the Tongue. I was sitting in church one day when my pastor, at the time, said he had challenged himself not to say anything negative about someone who was not present. He would brag about someone all day, but he would not speak badly. I liked the sound of it and applied it to my life directly. Immediately, it became apparent to me how much work I had to do in this area. I didn’t realize how much time I spent talking about other people. I had entire relationships that were predicated on exchanging information about other people’s lives.