Category Archives: Faith

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.

 

 

The Cycles and Circles of Life – Hakuna Matata

Are we really made of stardust?

I may have been formed from one of the planets or maybe the moon. I do the love the moon. My new place, my balcony only gets a sliver of sky. I have to time it just right to moon watch.

Bummer. . . but my plumbing works. You win some and . . .

I must have descended from an orbiting body spinning in space. I tend to go through the same cycles in life.Work, relationships, school – it does not matter. Every place I am, it seems I have been there before. Maybe it is the circle of life – hakuna matata.

If every new revolution, leaves you in a higher/better place then great but if you are spinning wheels – what then? What does it take to knock a planet out of orbit? A cataclysmic impact of another out of control body – an asteroid?  Um, hope not. I am a breathing, thinking being capable of making choices without outside pressures forcing me one way or the other.

As I type this, I am listening to Dionne Warwick's, " Say A Little Prayer". Prior to moving to Dallas, I went through a serious Dionne and Burt Bacharach stage. Ironic, I would find this song again as my heart contemplates change.

Time.  Do I need to give myself more time to find the right rhythm? The universe found its perfect orbit after many millennia according to man. People of faith, we believe God spoke this into existence. Faith, time or catastrophic impact? What a choice, no?

What to do, what do? . . .I guess, I'll say a little prayer.

A Lesson In Faithfulness

Sermons in which God reveals an area in which you are lacking are hard to to swallow. I mean, I faithfully tithe, pray, read the Word (most days). I mean, it is okay if I miss a bible study or prayer service, right. I mean, I know I committed to the Praise and Worship team but. . . I mean it's not like everyone else is faithful either.

You see where I am going with this, right?

Excuses, excuses and sub-par. My pastor, Pastor Joe, says this often, "partial disobedience is still disobedience." True but still hard to swallow. It is funny because I am singing in the choir a song, "Show Me Your Face," crying out to God to see more of Him and the following sermon is about repentance.

*insert light bulb*

God wants it all. He wants to be the center of your life. You remember the whole Ten Commandments scene with Charlton Heston as Moses and the voice of God booms commandment numero uno, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Yep, that still applies.

During a meeting with the pastor, he spoke on our faithfulness being the key to moving to the next level in worship – a worship in which the Holy Spirit takes over. I am looking forward to that day. I Pray for the grace to put God first – before my tiredness, angst, frustration and fear – and just be faithful.

 

I Have but One Rule of Friendship.

You MUST be Team Felicia.

I am going through life just like you facing challenges that are personal, familial, and professional. I do so with grace, faith and a little blog. Friends and my readers make the journey a bit more bearable.

I have had several incidents with people who claim to be friends who continually speak negative things over my life. Get thee behind me!

I was talking to a 'friend' and explained how I believe God for the husband of my dreams. I want to have that level of faith. This person got highly-offended that I would dare to ask God for what I want and not just accept any old man because, 'Maybe that is God's will for you.'

Again, get thee behind me!

The Word of God says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. " Psalm 37:3-5

No caveats. So, why are you mad? Are you upset because I do not agree with you or are you upset that you fell for the enemy's deception and excepted good enough when God has promised His children 'Good Things'?

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:11

Please do not start me to preaching on here.

Having this level of faith is not easy. It has been birthed through trials and tribulations. Through reading, accepting and believing God's Word. I will not – cannot – let anyone shake my faith.

My faith has gotten me to Dallas. It is by faith that I am writing this post. That I have written my book. That I still have dreams of acting on stage.

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:5

My friends, who I have known the longest, would have offered words of encouragement. They would have even quoted scriptures I may have forgotten. I am told by them that I am smart and beautiful and deserve the best. So, why are you mad?

My friendships are not one-sided. The reciprocity being I am pro-my friends. I would never try to embarrass you when a 3rd or 4th party is in our presence. If anything, I will talk you up not talk you down.

God has been dealing with me in the area of boundaries. It is time that I start enforcing them. If you are not Team Felicia, please keep it moving.