Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Becoming.

(This is Part 8 of our devotional series “Press – The Musical”.)

Good morning, peeps!

“Til I become what He wants me to be ~ I press” – from “Press” by Fred Hammond

I think I get on my Father’s nerves.

This is the thought that came to mind yesterday as I responded to a comment on my blog. I think I really do. Not, “I think I get on God’s nerves”, but “I think I get on my Father’s nerves”. I was referring to the parental side of God. I thought about one time when my son was 4 and he asked if he could sit by me on the couch. Now that he’s a teen, I kid him by answering “Naw!”, which he ignores and plops every bit of his 100-something pound body not next to me, but on one of my thighs. Those little bony hips of his hurt! But when he was a little boy, there was no kidding. It actually hurt me that he felt he had to ask. Why would you ask me that? Of course, you can sit by me. I’m your mother.

“In the hands of the Master ~ it seems like you gotta fight and scratch just to remain”

I ended yesterday’s blog with “Good grief. Why can’t I just be?” I almost added “I’ll fast about it”, but I felt God’s eyeballs on the back of my neck so I didn’t. This is why I think I get on my Father’s nerves. He’s telling me to sit – as a matter of fact, He’s got a spot right next to Him that says “RESERVED FOR DEONE” and I still feel like I gotta do something first before I can sit there. God is probably like, “Oh my gosh!! Will you sit down already??!” He wants me to sit next to Him. He’s so tired of me and my Martha spirit of doing and not being that He’s actually making me sit.

I left something out in my story about Christopher. You remember I said that in order to get him to sit in the chair, I had to place my arm at the back of his knees. That didn’t cause his knees to bend – that only gave his legs something to bend on. What I did was pull him close to me. The combo of placing my arm under his knees and pressing him close was what caused his knees to bend. Pressing him close… I know y’all caught that. My peeps are quick!

Through this whole press, God has been trying to get my knees to bend. Knees that are stiff from distrust, doubt, lack of faith usage (this and doubt are two different things), fear, and pollution are hard to bend. They are not only hard to bend, but it hurts to bend them. I know what you’re thinking. “Um, why wouldn’t you want to “walk” without stiffness? Doesn’t make sense to me.” Well, it makes sense to me, but it doesn’t make sense. Freedom looks and sounds great, but it’s scary for someone who’s only known bondage. I know how to navigate bondage. Oh, there’s my favorite pit and my favorite stumbling block. We meet again. That “free to be” stuff? That is scary. You mean I can walk around here just being in God’s presence? What kind of hooky-pooky are you sellin’, sir?? Nah. I’ll just stay in misery because I know that and besides, having a difficult life just seems to be reflective of what Jesus had to go through and aren’t we supposed to be Christ-like? Let me stick with what I know.

God’s not having it.

“Your love never fails ~ You never give up ~ You never run out on me” – from ‘One Thing Remains’ by Jesus Culture

I’ve never felt far away from God. Not one time in my life have I ever felt like He and I weren’t close. I’ve always felt God’s presence. There have been many times that I’ve even sat down next to Him. I have had times when I’ve taken off my apron and sat at His feet. So what’s the deal, D? What’s this been all about? Have you ever felt unwelcome in a place you were welcomed into? I know you invited me, but the vibe I’m getting is that you really don’t want me here. You only invited me because you didn’t want it to look bad if all of our friends were there and I wasn’t. That’s where me and God were. He’s been inviting me to be around Him and I’ve responded, but I’ve always thought He just did it because Scripture says “For God so loved the world”. I’m one of the world people so He had to include me. Ever tried to hug someone who isn’t a hugger? Their body stiffens as you embrace them, doesn’t it? That’s where me and God were. He’d embrace me and I’d stiffen up thinking, “Okay. What is this?”

“Oh how I love this place of worship” – from “Place Of Worship” by William McDowell

I remember one of my friends praying over me this spring, “God, help Deone to be able to receive the love she freely gives to others.” I just thought of that. I am a giver. I am not comfortable with receiving love. It has always come with a string attached. And that string is usually dirty and tied to a cement block. I told you in one of these installments that I had just been set free from some stuff. That was the result of a long conversation I had with God on my way to see my sister two weekends ago. I was thinking about what someone told me was placed on her heart to share with me. She said that even married women need to fall deeply in love with Jesus to be complete. I struggled with this a little bit. I don’t know how much more in love I can get with you, Jesus. As I was driving, I began to pay attention to the songs I had in my “favorites” playlist. Every single song had a recurring message: Jesus loves me. Hmm. Sounds nice. Almost as soon as I realized that, I heard in my spirit, “It’s not a question of you loving Me, Deone. I know you do. Your life shows it. You just don’t believe I love you. That’s why it’s hard for you to just trust Me. That is why it’s hard for you to just be.”

I joined church when I was 4 and have been jacked up ever since.

Before I joined church, Jesus and I had a sweet relationship. He’d never let me down. He always told me I was special and I believed it. There was no doubt, fear or any of that stuff. I knew Jesus loved me and so it was easy to love Him back. But when I joined church… Let me clear something up. This has not been a blog against going to church. You should assemble together. You find strength among your brethren. This has been about how my view of God was changed after I joined. I no longer loved Him freely because of what man did. I no longer trusted Him because of what man did. I have dealt with a man-made health crisis my entire life and God said that enough is enough. This press not been about God pulling me closer to Him. Nope. I’m already there. It’s been all about that arm underneath the back of my knees: the arm of His love. That’s what I’ve been resisting. My knees haven’t trusted the strength of that arm. You mean you want me to be actually “leaning on the everlasting arms”? I thought that was just a nice hymn. You meant that? For reals? Yes. God has been waiting for that little girl to feel free again.

“There’s a voice that cries out in the silence ~ searching for a heart that will love Him ~ longing for a child that will give Him their all ~ give it all ~ He wants it all” – from ‘He Wants It All’ by Forever Jones

This is where I am. This is what this press has been about. About me giving it all to Him. About that little girl finally letting it all go. She’s been trying, but this adult has held onto some stuff because it’s familiar and what I’ve concluded is familiar ain’t always the best. Oh, there’s my favorite pit and my favorite stumbling block. We meet again. I shouldn’t always go with what I know. What I know is not all that great. During this press, I have discovered something else that is, honestly, scary as all get out: I have to relearn who I am. My identity or rather, my self-awareness, was lost when my innocence was taken away from me. Ages 4 and 5 are when this identity develops for a child. I didn’t get a chance to develop nuthin’. I was told who I would be. And God is now saying that this press, this bending, this surrendering, will be the start of discovering who I am.

“Til I become what He wants me to be ~ I press”

It starts with just being. No lie, I am going to have some relapses along the way, but I am determined to walk this thing out. It has to be intentional. I’m talking about breaking free from over 40 years of habitual living. I’m excited and scared. Keep me in your prayers. Love ya.

–d.

Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

A Human Response

Good morning, peeps!


My spirit feels like it has been beaten over the head with a sock full of pennies. As I told you last week, this leg of my fight has been a doozy. I’m a bit battle-scarred (battle-wounded…these wounds are still fresh), raggedy, and my clothes don’t fit. Yes, I just blamed the spreading of my hips on the enemy. This is not a space I’m comfortable in ’cause I’m IJAC, right? The encouragement of mankind, right?? I’m really not. I’m human. Well, your girl is in need of a bit of encouragement herself so God is taking me back through some of my earlier posts as a reminder of just who I was when I wrote those: human, wounded, and raggedy. Sometimes I forget that in my most human state, God used me to do some marvelous things. Human ol’ Deone. And I was victorious! Yessss! This walk down memory lane is definitely giving me the boost I need to press on and I hope that it helps you, too. I’ll return next week with a new devotional series titled “The Press”. Have a great one.


Picture it: You’ve been happily married to your sweetie for over 30 years and are living “the life”. You have a houseful of beautiful children who’ve never given you a day of trouble in their lives. Speaking of “house”, you have a sprawling estate sitting on hundreds of acres of fertile farmland, with thousands of livestock to boot. You and your family are well-respected in your community and known as God-loving people. Life is good, right? Can you say “I’m blessed and highly favored”?? Then one day, you lose it all: your house, land, livestock, AND your children. Gone. All that’s left is you and your spouse. And if that’s not bad enough – I mean, seriously, can it get any worse? – the love of your life is stricken with a debilitating disease causing painful sores and horrific disfigurement. Your once-beautiful life is gone. How would you react?

In your Bible, read Job 1 & 2. If ever there was someone in the Bible who has been given a hard time for their reaction in a crisis, it’s Job’s wife. This is her story. Now, you probably can’t relate to this story because I bet she and I are the only people who’ve ever let their emotions get the best of them and ended up saying something that they really don’t mean. We’re the only ones. Just us. Too many times we judge people by how we think we would handle a situation. Notice my emphasis on “think”. Oh, it’s easy to say what you would do when you’re just a spectator, but when it’s your life that’s topsy-turvy…yeah. I’ll be honest, I don’t even have to go as far as topsy-turvy: step on my pinky toe just right and I may have to repent for what I think…or let slip out. I’m a work in progress. What I love about Job’s wife is that in her only recorded statement in the Bible, she was painfully transparent. We’re talking raw emotion here, folks. Think about it: so maybe losing the family’s livelihood and possessions wasn’t the best thing in the world that could’ve happened to her, but her children?? I’m a mother and I get upset whenever one of my babies breaks a bone! God only knows how I would react if even one of them died. (By the way, Lord, I don’t want to find out.) Back to Job’s wife: she loses all of her possessions and her children, right? Then on top of that, she has to see her sweetheart – probably known him since high school – go from being the strong man she’s always loved to a sore covered, grossly disfigured, and emaciated beggar who has been banished to the outskirts of town. After who knows how many days, she says in her frustration, “Curse God and die”.

And there they were: words that would be associated with her forever.

We quickly forget how human we are when we witness others’ frailties. What Job’s wife had was a perfectly human response. She spoke out of her pain, her frustration, and her desperation. Thankfully, Job didn’t follow her advice…and neither did she. Ah! Did you miss that? I’m not excusing what she said, but with that being her only recorded statement, we don’t know if she asked God for forgiveness. I hope she did. If she did, she would have found out that the very God she was upset with was the same God able to forgive and surround her in His abounding love. Some people have said and done worse things in less stressful situations. And guess what? There’s even hope for them. I know this because I’ve had to ask God for forgiveness several times for my own reactions and responses. I still deal with hurtful situations, but now I’ve learned to talk to God about them and with His help, I will have more of the right responses. I’m a work in progress, folks.

May we always remember that we all need His grace.

Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Getting Even

Good morning, peeps!

(This a repost.  It was on my heart to put this out there again.  Maybe I needed it.)

A month ago, I heard Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. teach on “How To Get Even God’s Way”. When he said the title, I think all I heard was “how to get even”.  I HURRIED UP and found pen and paper!  I gave my sister a wink and said “Yeah baby!”  I’m all for getting even, honey.  Do me wrong if you want to and you will regret it.  Well, maybe not.  I get folks back all the time…in my head.  At the time, I was having a hard time letting go of what someone had done to me, so this really piqued my interest.  Here’s this minister about to give me some juicy tips on how to do it and you know he had scripture to back it up.  I’d definitely come to the right church service.  Yessuh!  Can you say “He’s an on-time God”??  I leaned forward in the pew, eager as all get out.

Ugh.  Everything he said had the underlining theme of forgiveness.  What in the world?!  Well, he did say “God’s way”.  I guess.  Referencing Genesis 50:15-21, he gave three points:

  1. Accept that you are not God.
  2. Look at the situation through the eyes of providence.
  3. Treat them like they’ve already been forgiven.

I’ve had time to live out these points. I didn’t want to, but holding onto what had happened to me was really killing my spirit and I wanted to be free of it.  So I revisited my notes and tried to apply them to my life.  Here’s how that played out…

Point 1: Accept that you are not God. I can admit that I’ve wanted to get folks back for what they’ve done to me.  I’ve also waited for God to get folks…the way I wanted Him to.  The thing is, He never does.  I keep inviting Him to join me in my pettiness, but He’s like “I’ll pass”.  What’s up with that??  (He’s not exactly a team player. I need to talk to Him about that.) In this passage of scripture, Issac has died and Joseph’s brothers are fearful that he will now get them back for the evil they had done to him.  Joseph’s response: “Am I God?”  Me: “Brace yourselves, boys.  The pain is about to rain!”  YES, JOSEPH!  YES!  YES!  YES!  GET ‘EM!!  Surely, Joseph had earned this.  C’mon, now!  Can’t Joseph at least get in a couple of jabs, God??  Makes sense to me.  Then again, I’m not God – which was Pastor Charles’ point.

The only way I could get out of this messed-up thinking when it came to my own life was to jump down off of God’s throne – I was keeping it warm for Him – and let Him take His rightful place in my heart. Letting God reign and rule is something I struggle with. Being under God’s rule means that I am subject to His ways and…well…we don’t see eye-to-eye all of the time.  I want to get folks and He says “love them”.  If God says “forgive”, then I have to forgive.  If God says “let it go”…ooooh.   I know this is in the Bible somewhere: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.  S-C-R-I-P-T-U-R-E.  So, what about that, God?  Those were the good ol’ days.  No lie: a lot of folks would be walking around here with seeing-eye dogs and bare gums if I had my way.  God broke it down to me real smooth-like: what if I allowed those you’ve hurt to be ‘God’?  Ouch.  I’d be an eye-patch-wearin’, snaggle-toothed fool.  Gumming down applesauce.  I’d still be cute, though.  I’m just sayin’.  I don’t like this “put the shoe on the other foot” stuff.  Fine.  I’m not God: You are and there’s nothing I can do about it.  I have to step back and let Him be God. (I am really trying to be happy about that.)

Point #2: Look at the situation through the eyes of providence.  Let me give you the definition of providence, first. (You should’ve seen me scrambling to secretly google it on my phone just in case Pastor Charles asked for the definition. I ended up calling someone by accident.) Providence means “the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power” and “timely preparation for future eventualities”. This wasn’t really hard for me to do.   I just didn’t want to do it.  Not right then.  Give me a few more months of anger and then…

Now, you know there are times when you knew that God’s hand was all up and through a situation, but you didn’t want to admit it because you were hurt or angry.  When you knew it was a blessing that something didn’t turn out the way you’d wanted.  When you’ve dodged a bullet..but then again, how painful would it really have been?  There have been situations where I KNEW the way it worked out was for my good.  Even when it hurt.  Yeah, sometimes the things that help you can hurt.  And hurt bad.  See, my Father knows me.  He knows what’s good for me and He knows how to get my attention when I’m “off”.  I’m a tough cookie that sometimes needs to be broken in order to get back on track.  When I am broken, I usually gather up the crumbs I can salvage and tearfully glare back at God, asking, “Why did You let it happen this way? You could’ve just told me what You were trying to teach me! (Or just placed me where You needed me to be!)  Why everything gotta be a lesson??”  Sometimes, I think God is so extra.  Let’s take a snapshot of Joseph’s life: in order for him to be in a position to help his family during a famine, he is thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, and spends years in a prison for a crime he didn’t commit.  Really??  Why did he have to go through all of that, God?  You couldn’t just give him a job transfer to Egypt?  Look over your life.   Wouldn’t it be great if your journey from point A to point B didn’t look like:

Point-A-to-Point-B(And if ONE MORE person – I just need one – quotes Romans 8:28’s “all things work together for good” when I’m going through something…)

I get it, I truly do.  I’m perfectly fine with admitting that there are a lot of times where even when I know that God is in control, I still think the process is too much.  Everything that I’ve gone through has really been for my good.  I know.  Got it.  It’s the process, though.  I’m a learner, meaning I don’t really focus on where I end up, but rather what I’ve learned.  When I can recognize the growth, I’m usually all good.  It may take a second for me to do that because I’m usually fussing about the process.  I’ve accepted that through it all, God has me in His care.  One day I’ll appreciate the process as I’m in it.

Point #3: Treat them like they’ve already been forgiven. Scan this paragraph. How many sentences are there?  About twelve.  As you can see, I don’t have much to say on this point.  I didn’t even want to write it down when Pastor Charles said it.  My sister made me.  Meanie.  I can smile in your face and pretend that all is forgiven, but I don’t think the minister meant “be fake”.  Oh well.  I tried.  NEXT!  I need another point because this one is not going to work for the kid.  I brought this up to God. “Lord, I’m not a ‘fake it til you make it’ girl.  You need to give me another solution.”  Ever the team player, He said, “Sure.  Then just go ahead and forgive.  That way, you won’t have to be fake.”

So…I’ve done the first two points. Hopefully, I will have successfully executed the last point at least once by the time I talk to you all again. It’s a process…

(Update: I was able to do Point #3.  It was hard and it took a couple of “woosahs” and I utilized my backspace key a lot, but I did it.  You can, too.  Plus, who wants to live a life full of unforgiveness?  Not me.)

…dc

Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Mindless Behavior.

(This is Part 4 of our devotional series “A Fortified City”.)

Good morning, peeps!

I want you to look at the picture and then look at the title of today’s blog. Go back and forth as many times as you need to. Yes, that IS me – when my hair was bomb and I didn’t have to hold my stomach in for pictures. Look at how lost in thought I was as I was unknowingly being captured on film. Oh my goodness! I can’t even go to the park in peace. The paparazzi! First of all, I was offended that this picture came to mind when I thought of the title this morning. Excuse me! Secondly, I wasn’t lost in deep thought. I just wanted to appear that way for the picture. In fact, I was extremely focused. All of my thoughts were zeroed-in on what was happening right at that moment:

It is hot out here~how do you look like you’re lost in thought~what~look off into the distance~fine~but the sun is in my face~why does the distance include the hot-as-heck sun in my face~I wonder if too much of my chest is out~I want to use this for ministry one day~I hope that is sweat going down my back and not a bug~I will rip these clothes off and run out of this park naked, I ain’t playin’~it is hot~I can’t wait to cut my hair~wait~ what is buzzing by my head~is that a bee~oh Lord, it is a bee~it better not land in my hair~wait, it stopped buzzing~is it in my hair~my head itches now~hurry up and take the stinkin’ picture, dangit~oooh, I cannot wait to cut my hair off~I heard something moving in the grass~what is it~oh~I almost beat the snot out of that bird~I’m cutting my hair off tomorrow~hurry up~

(Random: Did you know that the human mind processes 11,000,000 thoughts per moment? Only 40 of those thoughts are conscious – the remaining 10,999,960 are unconscious. I want you to look at my picture again and the dialog I was having as I tried to appear to be in a state of mindlessness and ask yourself: What do I want my 40 thoughts to be?)


Let me be completely, 100% honest with you: I didn’t know where this series was going. And that’s the God’s-honest truth. Is that using His name in vain? I hope not. I really didn’t. As I told you on Monday, I was set to do something completely different, but was stiff-armed like a mugg:

stiffarmed

My neck ego is still smarting from that block. I think God tried to soothe my pain by giving the following scriptures, but it hasn’t worked:

Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Mark 12:30 – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

This morning I told God, “You need to tell me where You’re going with this because I am not sure I know what I’m doing. This has thrown me for a loop. I know I said that you begin with the end in mind, but I don’t know how to tie all of this together with Mark 1—… never mind.” In Part 1, I listed the above scriptures and said that even though Jesus’ statement in Mark 12:30 came first, the order is actually reversed: Philippians 2:5 has to happen first before you get to Romans 12:2 and only then can you execute Mark 12:30. And I wondered aloud why Jesus didn’t lead off with the other stuff.

He started with the end in mind.

Let me remind you of what I said last week: a country is only as strong as its infrastructure. So that would mean in a war, the country that will come out victorious is the one with the strongest infrastructure. We are in a war, peeps, and we are only going to be as strong as our infrastructure which is the mind. So…our goal is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, right? Well, the first thing we have to do is let the mind that Christ Jesus had be in us (Philippians 2:5). In order for that to happen, ours has to vacate the premises. Not pack up its stuff and leave, but be carried out in a body bag. It has to die. It is only through this death that we can be transformed (Romans 12:2). Remember the caterpillar. I really feel like I need to apologize to somebody’s child for that. We have to die in order to be and none of this, not a single bit, is something that we can just phone in. It has to be intentional. We have to be focused and use all of our 40 conscious thoughts because things like this don’t just happen. And that is the message God has been trying to get across to me. The time of walking in a state of mindlessness is over. It’s time for me to really get focused. That’s the only way I am going to win this war.

And I am going to win this war.

This entire series I have let you in on my journey of resistance. This is hard for me because this is the first time in ministry that I have questioned my ability to do this. I had a brief space when I first started where I wondered if I was supposed to preach or teach, but I’ve never questioned whether I was actually called to be a minister. This is the war I told you I was fighting at the beginning of the last series – my declaration after hearing TobyMac’s song “Til The Day I Die” put me squarely in the line of fire and it has been hard. The war against my mind has been kicking my butt. Both my jeans and my Chucks are dirty, and I do not let my Chucks get dirty. It’s gotten so hard that this week, I asked God if He was sure He still wanted me to be one who carries His message because I don’t know if I can. I don’t want to die. I kid you not. I do not. I want to minister, yes, but man! Die?? *sigh*

I asked God this morning why He has me doing this series. And not only that, why do I have to chronicle this part of my journey with people looking on? Because I want them to see you now with the end in mind. When I started this blog, I began with the end in mind: to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. And that would mean you’d be privy to all of it: the good, the bad, and the sho’nuff ugly. This is me, Deone, in my jeans and Chucks. My Chucks won’t always be clean. And I may fall down sometimes and get my jeans dirty. I am not perfect and am completely under-qualified to do this. I don’t have a degree in ministry-anything and I don’t spend hours upon hours poring over the scriptures. But He uses me. By the equipping of the Holy Spirit, He uses me. In my seemingly few and far between moments of submission, He uses me. Because I let Him. Because I show up to the battlefield every single day. He takes what He can get because, well, that’s all I have to give. And He works it. This morning, I was reassured of that. HE works it and is still working on me as He uses me.

So, here I am. I am one God is using. And I am amazed every single day. I almost want to look up at my ceiling right now and say, “You like me. You really like me. I don’t know why, but You do.” This journey doesn’t always make sense, but here we are. Here I am…in my jeans and Chucks. And sometimes, my Chucks are covered in mud. Have a great day.

–d.

Blog, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

The Road To Trust Pt.1

(Note: I wrote this last month.  I am sharing the growth process with you.)

I don’t know if I like New Breed’s “Expectation (Miracles, Signs, & Wonders)” song anymore.  When I first discovered this song, it was on repeat.  This song is everything!  It had me at ‘hello’.  Like, I’m not kidding.  Here’s the first line:

We expect You.

Wha…???  Yeah.  These are probably my new favorite “three little words”.  That is a truly powerful statement.  We expect You.  Man.  That made me do a happy dance!  So one morning, I was singing those words…wait.  Hold up.  Have you ever felt like God set you up for a lesson?  You’ll just be moseying along and then God goes “Bam!  Bet you didn’t know there was a message in all of this!  Ha ha!  Gotcha!”  So on that morning, I was singing those words when this gut punch came out of nowhere:

“Are you really expecting Me, Deone?”

Really?  That was low, God.  You just gonna bust up my morning worship like that??  Fo’ yo’ info…

I didn’t have a leg to stand on.  He knows me so well.  I mean, I do expect Him for others with all of the miracles, signs, and wonders-stuff.   He’s God.  Duh.  Oh, but not for me though.  Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I don’t believe He can.  No.  I just don’t believe He wants to.  For me.

I was led to Matthew 7 where Jesus is speaking, beginning with verse 7: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 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?”

I’m the girl who will call her secret crush to ask him to the dance, but hang up as soon as he answers because I don’t want to risk rejection.  That’s me when it comes to God.  Ask??  For what?  So He can say “Girl, boo.  I know you didn’t just fix your mouth to…go on somewhere with that.  You must’ve forgotten what happened on September 23, 1993.  Guess what?  I haven’t.”? Seeking and knocking?  Maannn.  If I can’t even bring myself to ask, I shol ain’t looking for anything or bruising my knuckles.  C’mon now!

This has been the journey of a lifetime, and not the “let’s hit all of the fun tourist spots and take cute pictures for Instagram” kind, either.  This has been a painful, off-road, bugs-in-my-teeth type of journey.  Just me and Him.  And He is bypassing all of the rest stops.  God has a way of making you face your issues.  There comes a time when you realize that the brick wall in your life is not going anywhere unless you KNOCK IT DOWN.  And on that day, God was like “enough is enough” and I was forced to ask myself the hard questions.  First on this list: why didn’t I expect Him?   It was an easy answer…one that hurt me to admit as a minister.

I didn’t trust Him.

To be continued…