Category Archives: Faith

A Most Powerful Prayer

There was a season in my life when I felt like a lioness spiritually.  I could check several things of of my how to be righteous checklist. My prayer game was strong. Check. I had completed reading the entire bible. Check. I paid my tithes on time. Check. My life was so full. I had church, singing, school, family, and friends.  No idle time for the devil to make a playground of.

I was truly asking, believing, and receiving. Feeling self-assured, I decided to ask a bold prayer:

  1. God reveal to me those who are not for me.

It was a prayer that I felt I already knew the answer to. At the time, I naively, believed that I had no enemies. To me knowledge, I had not mistreated anyone. So, I expected nothing to happen.  And then something happened. People started to fall away from my life. I am talking about folk who I thought were my day ones, my ride-or-dies. I look back on it and wonder – wow. It was swift and exact like a two-edged sword.

God will answer your prayers so be careful what you ask. Your frame of mind matters. Ask from a pure heart and not spiritual arrogance, as was my case.

I am older now. I have gone through a process of forgiving, even when the the person has not acknowledged or asked for forgiveness. I realize that Christ has forgiven, and keeps forgiving me without adding each offense to my account. Isn’t that a beautiful thing – grace? All of it stems from God’s love for me. It is infinite and complete. One of my goals in life is to love completely.

Image result for dorothy wizard of oz road

Twenty years older and wiser, I have decided to edit that prayer. I now pray:

  1. God reveal to me those who truly love me.

The good people God allows in our life are a gift. I don’t want to overlook anyone in my life who may be feeling unappreciated. Like Dorothy in Oz, we can spend our lives on an a wistless journey to find favor of impotent wizardly friends. People who we feel that if we can garner their favor they can provide access to some secret loyalty or treasure that has been kept from us. Family and friends – these are the true treasures of life. If you have people who truly love you, you are rich.

 

Moving Mountains

This has been a trying week. In the middle of preparing to move to a new state, I was scheduled to work a week in Idaho. Specifically, I was working in the Idaho panhandle. After my 5 hour flight (including layover), it was an additional 6 hour drive (with the road construction) from the Spokane International Airport to Clarkston, WA where my hotel was located.

I didn’t want to eat at the airport because I have been trying to make healthier food choices. I get my rental car and start driving only to realize I am in the middle of the mountains and there are not a lot of pit stops. I see a sign for a Subway and take the next exit.

Back on the road again, I run into road construction. The two-lane highway became a one-lane highway. I was stuck for 30 minutes while the opposing lane passed. This happened twice.

 In the last 30 minute leg of the drive, I had to cross a mountain. The kicker, I didn’t realize I was on a mountain until I happened to look over and see NOTHING. No trees, no guardrails – just a thousand feet drop if I veered to close to the edge. I was driving on the outer lane. I nearly panicked. I felt dizzy. I felt pressure in my ears. I had to quickly refocus and concentrate on the car in front of me.

MOVING MOUNTAINS

Continue reading Moving Mountains

Girl On Fire

The spoken word is a powerful phenomenon. You can think it in your mind, ponder it in your heart but the moment you speak the word, the universe shifts.  

The Bible puts it this way,

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." James 3:5.

Words spark change in the environment.  Fire destroys what cannot hold up to its heat. Fire also rejuvenates. It provides conditions for new terrain and growth. 

I have been having a moment – an extended moment. This typically occurs when I am in the midst change. I wanted to move to a new city. The moment I let the words escape my lips, I was met with such fiery opposition – friends, postponements, rejections. So much so,  I was beginning to doubt my decision.

Fire is hot yo! It changes your surroundings into the unfamiliar. My first instinct is to crawl back into an acceptable space and remain calm. I long for stability again – homeostasis. I am learning that you cannot take back your words just as you cannot undo a spark once the fire has begun. 

Fire

In order for a hope to be real, it must be spoken. Once the words escape your lips, watch out! A fire can smolder gently or it can blaze. In the wilderness of transition it is uncomfortable, lonely and confusing at times. But, what else is there to do? I will allow the flames to incinerate doubt, fear, and worry. I will be open to the chances waiting beyond the ash –  a new beginning and a new world of possibilities. 

 

A Little Story About Boats and Rainbows

There is a story about a man drowning and he asks God to save him. A guy in a raft comes by and tries to help.

The drowning man says, “No. I am waiting for God to save me.”

Another guy in a fishing boat comes buy. The drowning man again refuses help stating that he is waiting on God to help him. This goes on until, tired from swimming, the man drowns.

He gets to heaven as asks God, “God, why didn’t you save me?”

God says, “Why didn’t you get in the raft and the fishing boat I sent you, dummy?”

There is a moral here . . . wait for it . . .

Stop using ‘waiting on God’ as an excuse to not do anything about your own situation. Everyone needs assistance. Sometimes God shows up as someone ordained to aid you on your way to your goal.

Get in the boat.

A few weeks ago, a visiting pastor preached a message entitled, “Finding My Rebekah.” In the biblical story of Jacob (Genesis 27), Rebekah assists him in obtaining the blessing from his father Isaac. She goes as far as to put herself on the line to ensure that he gets the blessing. The point of the sermon is to make us aware of the people in or lives who assist us in reaching or divine destiny.

You can also be someone else’s Rebekah.  

In 2005, I had the privilege of hearing Maya Angelou speak at Tavis Smiley’s SuccesSoul . She spoke of an elder who helped her learn to read. She discussed many instances of people whose assistance edged her along toward success. She called such people, “rainbows in our clouds”.

I love the imagery of a rainbow that extends out of the clouds of life. How do you repay someone whose small but essential contribution to your life helped you on your road to the successful person you are today?

Be a rainbow.  

Growing up, I would tutor children from church, write resumes for my neighbors, produce plays for church. As an adult, I look for ways to use my talents and passions in service to others. If there is someone hurting, I strive to be the person to ease their pain. I write so openly on this blog in the hopes that someone may be inspired by my experiences to love themselves more, be confident to wear their hair natural, to make that big move to a different city, to finish graduate school, to write that novel. These are all small contributions. Not quite sure if I have reached rainbow status. I do see the clouds parting.

5 Life Lessons I Have Learned

My birthday is right around the corner. Birthdays, like the New Year, are cause for reflection. I have decided to share a few life lessons I have learned over the years.

1. There are no short cuts to success.

Be it in the gym, classroom, or life –  success comes from the good habits you perform daily. Everyone wants the promised land. No one wants the desert experience. Trust and believe there will be a desert experience. If success were that easy, EVERYONE would have it. I heard a message preached that success comes from doing what you know is right/needed regardless of how you feel no matter how long it takes.

#word

2. To quote Shakespeare, 'All the world's a stage.'

Someone once told me that you have to be friends with someone before you decide to date them because that is the only way to know the real person. Once you put a label on something, people start frontin'. By frontin' I mean playing the role, being insincere.

The balancing act comes from being aware of this truth without becoming jaded. I try, emphasis on try, to meet people where they are in life with as little judgement as possible. I believe that way they feel more comfortable being who they truly are. I have also come to accept that people are who they are and will be who they choose to be.

Players gonna play. Ballers gonna ball.

To quote MC Breed, "Ain't No Future in Your Frontin' ".

3. OTN: When someone shows you who they really are, BELIEVE THEM!

OMG this is a lesson on which I seem to keep failing the test. I just want/need to believe the best about people. I do not want to be someone who navigates relationships with lowered expectations, always suspicious of ulterior motives. I am taking copious notes in preparation for the next test.

4. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." Psalms  146:3.

I understand this verse to denote  recognizing the humanity, fallibility of man. Accepting others mistakes makes it easier to acknowledge, accept and forgive our own.

5. Love is an exercise in vulnerability.

You cannot get to it being fenced in by insecurities, anger, resentment, or relationship baggage. March around Gideon getting your praise on and let those walls fall. (You would have had to present during a bible study or two to catch the reference.)

If you think about it, God is love. You are really opening up the God part of you to the God part of someone else. If God is in it, there is no limit. *Cue Israel Houghton*

What are some life lessons that you have garnered over the years?

 

 

 

 

Never Fear. God Is Here

I am learning that you really do not have to fight your own battles. God is really better at getting at the heart of the matter. He is more surgeon with scalpel and I am more Viking with ax. lol In all of my self-righteousness, I have confronted people only to make things worse. I am also guilty of misinterpreting intent. All we have to go on are actions. Only God can judge the intent of the heart. It never fails that God will cause the person to eat their words or teach me a lesson. Either way, peace is preserved.

I am learning to eradicate fear in every area of my life. God is love and love is the opposite of fear. The Bible states, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7.Whenever I hesitate to say something or do something out of fear, I am learning to go against that feeling and do it anyway.

Last weekend, I passed out flyers explaining the Gospel of Jesus. This would have terrified me in the past – the idea of not having the right words or rejection. It was not that scary at all in retrospect. It also helped that I had a partner. Like the Bible, we went out two-by-two.

I am excited to be the age that I am. As a young girl, I was terrified of getting older. All of the pictures of older women, were wrinkled faces, gray hair and curved spines. Older women would show their photos of their younger selves and be unrecognizable to me. I thought aging would cause me to lose myself as I morphed into an old woman. I would start carrying hard candies in my 'pocketbook' and keep my coin purse in my bosom. Yep, bosom. Only older women had bosoms. lol

I can honestly say that I am the best Felicia I have ever been. I actually think I am aging in reverse. Bejamina Button. lol With the exercising and diet, I am getting better. Charting new territory, I am. All without fear.

 

Preachers of LA? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

I must preface the following by stating that I have NEVER watched a single episode of Preachers of LA and I never will, Lord willing. What I hear of it, it is an abomination. Yes, I just used abomination in a current context. Why do I feel so? I believe in keeping what is sacred, holy, or set apart. When you make the gospel 'entertainment', especially a reality show, you are on Real Housewives of Ain't None of Ya'll Really Married territory. In defense of the show, gospel star Fred Hammond stated that God may be using this venue to save the lost. Mmmkayy. You can read a compilation of his 22-tweet response HERE.

Color me jaded 'cause I ain't buying it.

Who would you choose – Superman or Clark Kent? I know some one of you
would say neither but picture superman as that fine Tom Welling and not
old school Christopher Reeve. lol Who would you choose? The choice really is perfection or
humanity. Or better yet – humanity versus divinity? I mean, are not these men claiming to be men of God? I know sometimes we as human beings focus so much on the God-part we forget that men are really just men. I get that. I just do not want to see your humanity on display in a tailored-suit and driving around in a Bentley.

On to the next one.

My book is a romantic drama set in the church world. In it, I tell the story of a girl whose life is unraveling. She is trying to hold onto her faith as an old flame walks back into her life. I delve very bluntly into the humanity of the 'saved'. Do not expect a whitewashed PG version of a romance novel. I keeps it real. lol

Which kind of brings me to my point. Are we overly judgemental of those claiming to be saved, saints, men/women of God? Can we see their humanity and their calling?

As I began thinking about publishing/marketing my book, I thought about what other believers would think about the subject matter. I was researching publishers of Christian romance and one well-known publisher outlined what was acceptable material. It was something like – so sex, no drugs, blah, blah, blah.  How can you tell a story about falling and getting back up without portraying the fall because it is too 'dirty' to discuss. Everyone knows that Christians never have sex. . .except they do. Even unmarried ones.

*gasp*

I am not saying that it is right. I am saying that it happens. So, it is in the book. If my book includes the forbidden, is it a 'Christian' romance? Yes. The overarching theme in the book is redemption, faith and second chances. Sin is not rewarded. I try to portray sin as a reality that people encounter when they look to their own means to bring about contentment instead of looking to God. I just do not hit people over the head with the Bible.

I understand there is a line of demarcation. Does the reality show cross it? I do not know. I have not seen it. There is something a little more removed about a novel. After all, I made this stuff up *wink* lol

By January, you may all read it for yourself and let me now exactly what you think.

The God of the Mountain Is the Same God of the Valley

My pastor uses that quote frequently in his sermons. I read a blog post about God granting a husband and wife a new house. I sat thinking about my life where I am at this moment – with so many dreams yet to be fulfilled – and this phrase came to mind.

I started this blog over six years ago when I first moved to Texas. I believed – and still do – that this was a journey that would take me to some unfamiliar and exciting territory. *insert Abraham reference Genesis 12* Like Abraham, moving took a lot of faith. I only knew a couple of people in town and I was essentially starting over in a new 'land'.

Like the story of Abraham and many stories in the Bible, God makes a promise and then there is a waiting period until its fulfillment. Let us call the waiting period 'the Valley'. Abraham, Sarah, David, Joseph – the list goes on and on – all waited on God's promises to be fulfulled in their lives. I particularly like the story of Joseph because, like me, he was a dreamer. They all had faith in God, they all obeyed and yet, they all waited. In some cases, decades passed.

 Why do we believers love God? Is it because we think if we love Him enough He will give us our hearts desires? Is it out of fear or obligation? When we don't get what we want, do we love Him less? Why is it so hard to wait?

The truth is waiting, hoping, wanting all hurts just a little. In doing so, you are acknowledging that something desired is lacking. Let us look at the story of Hannah who wanted a child so much that she wept bitterly and did not eat. (I Samuel 1-20). The wanting of the child that she was lacking caused her great pain.

It is the pain that is difficult to acknowledge and, therefore, face. Like, the previous post, "Has Marriage Become Dirty Word?", the original article seemed to deride the women who professed openly a desire to be married. Why? I knew someone with a long-term live in boyfriend who also discounted her desire to be married only to profess later her desire for it but her mate's derision for it. She had lied to me or herself because facing the fact that what she wanted did not align to what he wanted actually hurt. 

Proverbs 13:12 states, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."

Ain't that the truth. 

Isn't that what we all want? Life, abundantly. It is okay to hope, to dream, to desire. When the pain becomes greater than the fear that has kept you stagnant, you wll make moves toward your goal. 

Hannah's pain caused her to pray silently while moving her lips in the house of God. The act caught the attention of Eli the prophet who accused her of being drunken. She answered how she was praying out of angush and grief, i.e., pain. The man of God told her to go in peace and may God grant her what she had requested of Him. Nine months or so later, Hannah gave birth to her son. 

May it be so with those of us who believe and hope in God. 

 

He Has His Hand On You

A well-written gospel song does the spirit good. Some things you go through, you go alone. There does not seem anyone who can understand what you are feeling but you have to get it out.

Sing a song.

My vocal coach would always spend the first few minutes of our lesson chatting it up. She would ask how I was feeling and how my day went. Her reasoning being, singing comes from within you. It is a part of you that you are releasing into the world. If you are having a bad day or stressed out, it will affect the song.

I have often wondered why all of the good love songs are sad ones. Toni Braxton's Secrets got me through my first heartbreak. Talk about your sad love songs. The song is a vehicle. It carries our emotions from that place deep inside that no one else touches/sees and releases it out into the world. Gospel songs does one better, for we release the song to God.

I am listening to Marvin Sapp sing the words to, "He Has His Hand On You" and I allow the words to carry the emotions to God. A song can be a cry, a prayer, or a whatever-you-need-it-to-be. As the song ends, I feel better reassured that no matter what I am currently experiencing, I am in the palm of His hands. I know that when I feel unloved, I just remember that I am in God's hands and God is love. Love literally holds me.

I know this is a sappy (no pun intended) post but sometimes you gotta get the sap out lol.

 

Learning to Be Selfish

I have been dreaming lately about publishing my book. They have been becoming more intense. I know you are probably thinking how can you have an intense dream about book publishing? I will tell you! I dreamed the voice of God was telling me to just do it.

Yes God speaks in Nike slogans.

I am so good at encouraging others but allow myself to be placed in the back burner. God almighty had to visit me in my dreams to say, 'Just do it!'

I am half-way through an abs challenge that I and a group of friends are embarking on. I am already stronger and look better. If exercise can have physical visible results what about an exercise of the spirit. I am notorious for putting the needs of others ahead of myself. I end up getting my feelings hurt when the favor is not returned. I have been trying something new – putting my needs first.

Which brings me back to my book. I have to cut all extra curricular activities, volunteering, and generally making other people's dreams come true. My central focus is my book. I even have a release date – January 17th. This is ironically, the month of my fitness goal.

A new year, a new book and a new body. Sounds like a plan.