Even The Plunging Of Anothers’ Poop

No resolutions. No vision board. Nothing.

Just a few words to live by for the year.

And here goes…

Being loving and kind towards another when he or she is loving and kind towards you is easy and smooth. And not in anyway messy.

But I want to be mean, to blow up and just be downright honest in a mean and destructive way. But I can’t. Because I can remember clearly the times when I terribly wished that someone was kind to me when I was ugly and all I deserved was not.grace.

And then I also think about the ones that drew near when they should’ve stepped back like others did.

I think about the One that reached in, drew out and pulled near.

I can’t save another. Even when I sometimes foolishly believe that I can. But I can see another’s brokenness, and even though I’m tempted to look away and maybe take a step back, I can dig my feet deep in the dirt and stand in the gap.

All with the help of the One that can reach in, draw out and pull near.

This year, I can come out of my shell even when I just want to crawl up into a ball of self-pity and self-centeredness.

I can choose to text first, call them and check in first. Even when the why-can’t-she-text-or-check-up-on-me overwhelms my mind.

This year, I can let go of the idea of doing big things for God while believing that the mundane, day to day, ordinariness of it all matters too. Even the plunging of the bad smelling poop of – I believe, one grown man and a couple of kids – that refused to flush down the toilet on its own.

I can choose to see something beautiful in when she walks into the room late at night to discuss something, that she could’ve easily discussed with her friends, with me.

Choose to believe that the combing of hair, pulling of textured weaves, locking together of braids and faux locs matters too.

I can choose to do justice, walk humbly and love mercy. Even though I no longer believe that I truly know what that means.

I can let myself be embraced with grace. Extend grace to myself and freely give it to others. Starting with my family members.

I can let myself be deeply loved by the God who has saw it fit to give me my life. All because he knows best.

This year, I can accept the invitation to “Come, let us reason together”. More often. Freely. Without shame and without fear.

I can choose or choose not to believe that my God doles out gifts, blessings and goodness according to how big our faith is.

This year, I can choose to press on. To press on to know the Lord.

And when I fail in any or all of these things, I will choose to trust in the One that has already reached in, drew out and pulled near.

Happy New Year Folks!!!

Losing Control: Full Disclosure

There’s a certain level of control we all desire to have when it comes to what’s happening to us, in us or around us. And for some of us that have gotten so used to that level of control in life, it’s easy to come undone when we no longer have any idea of what comes next.

And maybe it has nothing to do with being in control per say but actually feeling about as disappointed with life as one can be.

And I think I’ve been at this place for some time now.

Losing control of your life can easily make you unsure of everything and anything. And for me, that has brought about a deep level of insecurity and numbness. A lack of purpose and passion for all and nothing.

What is the point of it all? I’ve occasionally found myself asking.

All that I’ve come to know or at least I thought I knew is being unraveled at my feet and I’m afraid to pick up my feet and move on. Life feels like a big ball of yarn and the more I try to pick it up by its string, the more it comes undone.

So I’d rather and actually have chosen to stay in one place, the state of being stuck.

But while being stuck, I’ve also tried to fight for control.

I’ve decided to pick up certain things as a crutch to lean on. I’ve chosen to chase after friendships and relationships I have no business chasing after. Opening the door of communication with certain people from the past. It seemed familiar when it first started, but these relationships have brought about more death than life. Found myself using people for my own comfort.

The other day, I also decided to join Tinder which made me so uncomfortable and worried that I deleted my profile the same day I joined. And then of course, I’ve also been using Snapchat which has really brought about a deep sense of insecurity and discontentment.

So far, nothing works.

Continue reading

God Uses Failures

God uses failures
“No failure is fatal. No failure is fatal. No failure is fatal.”

This has been my mantra for the past week.

I got the devotional No Failure is Fatal by Max Lucado, in my inbox last week. The devotional came right before I failed woefully in something that I thought I had already gotten a hold on. My pride, my controlling tendencies and my manipulative heart. I had no idea how much of an encouragement this devotional would turn out to be for me.

I saw it coming. The rage of anger, the irritation, and the pride. The possibility that I would fail to honor God through my response to the situation but I subconsciously chose not to fight. I got too comfortable and I felt like it was already a lost cause. I believed the lie of the enemy that there was nothing to do and I allowed ungodly fear to overwhelm my mind. I was unable to believe that I have been redeemed and I have the power within me to not go back to my old ways.

So I acted out of fear. Fear of not knowing what the future holds. Fear of the past. There was no need nor desire to fight. Not through prayer or the word.

But God knew the future and He saw my failures even before they came to be.
So God was not caught unaware when I reacted in anger. He was not shocked that I gave in to my fear and pride. He saw it coming, and in mercy He had already went before me to provide sufficient grace in my failures and weaknesses.

“Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (Psalm 139:4).

He is not amazed at my failures and even before I failed, He has chosen to use the failure. To show His surpassing power in my weakness. To reveal to me my desperate and constant need for Him. To help me understand that He uses failures.
My failure and sin towards God and another person has shown me my hypocrisy when it comes to extending grace toward others.

I desire to be forgiven, for my failures and weaknesses to be easily overlooked and for the shame to be covered. Although I’ve occasionally failed to do this for others. If I’m sinned against, my natural tendency is to want others to know of what wrong was done to me.

Sadly, I have not been one to cover up another person’s shame or weaknesses. I have not loved others well in their sins, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ. But I desire to be loved and accepted with all my sins, mess, failures and weaknesses.

The standing truth is that I am loved well. Loved and fully accepted by God. And if I choose to believe and walk in this standing truth, I believe that I would be empowered to do the same for others.

God uses failures. The only reason I would wish to have never failed would be due to having to accept the responsibility and consequences of my actions.

Failure at times can be painful and shameful but it is not fatal.

And in the discipline from God that comes out of this failure, I feel and see the Lord’s mercy. I cannot fear or resist His loving discipline. It is good and perfect.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” -1 John 4:18

Silver Or Gold You Did Not Give

The Potter and Clay
I’m tempted to call 2015 the year of careless words.

Words uttered in pain and disappointment. Amidst many careless ones, these three statements stood out: Shame on you God, Shame on you. You have failed me. What have you done for me?

Words that can never be taken back.

They were uttered with a broken and shattered heart. Maybe a bit dramatic, yes I know. But at the time, it didn’t seem like it.

I was angry at you Lord and I felt like you needed to know how I feel about you and your ways. And as I spat at and directed my wrath towards you with my words, you were patient through it all.

Looking back now, I realize that my worries and anxieties stem from me taking my gaze off you and looking at the little gods around me. They whispered and promised little nothings and I easily gave in. But at the end, I was left with unfulfilled promises and unmet longings.

And although you have won the victory and have deprived these things of the power to harm me, I gave in to the little fears of loss, rejection and disappointments. Failing to walk in the victory you’ve won for me, along the way I found myself picking up certain battles to fight on my own.

Many times, I imagined what it would be like for you to leave me alone and let me be but I now worry as to what type of life that would be.

“How have you loved me?”, I found myself asking while in reality there was so much loving being done, so much of it being done by you and it was excruciatingly painful. And that’s only because I resisted and I kept screaming at you, “Don’t love me! You can keep your love. If this is what it feels like to be loved by you. I want none of it.”

Silver or gold you did not give me, but the faith you gave you were determined to make into something more precious than gold. So you kept chipping away. A little here and a little there. Like the potter and clay in Jeremiah, I was the clay you crushed in brokenness because you had something better in mind.

The work is not yet finished and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And it is true Lord, that I am not alone. Continue reading

The Time I Resisted God’s Love Through Discipline

God's love through discipline

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” -Timothy Keller

It was a painful season that I initially resisted. A season in which I had the privilege of experiencing God’s love through discipline. Although I did not see it as a privilege at first.

It was the time I came to the realization that I am truly worse off than I could have ever thought. And I am in need of grace and more importantly in need of Christ.

The problem was that I had come to believe that I am such a good person because I was meeting the standard of being a Christian. A standard which I happened to have set for myself. A standard that had nothing to do with having faith in Christ.

I believed in my own goodness as a person, therefore God owed me His goodness in return. And without realizing it, this mindset made it difficult for me to appreciate or see my desperate need for Christ.

Unable to see how much grace is being extended towards me, I was too prideful to extend the same grace towards others. With a judgmental spirit, I became a judge of men.

Until God decided that it was time for Him to rid me of these things.

Through anger, shame and depression, God opened my eyes to who I really am outside of Christ. Full of pride, bitterness, baggage, self righteousness and anger, I am not as good as I had come to believe.

He killed my pride before it could kill me. And bringing my little idols out in the open, the enemy against my soul, He stomped on them. Destroying them before they could destroy me.

This is who you are, this is where I have brought you from and what I have brought you out of. This is what the cross, blood and death of Christ has redeemed you from. You are just as much in need of Christ and grace as anyone else. Don’t you ever forget that.

I was shocked. Continue reading

The Goodness Of God

Goodness of God

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good! All things work together for good. He is a good God. God is for my good, always for my good.

Most of us have said it at least once in our lifetime and it sounds almost empty after awhile.

Yes, the kind of statements that have turned into cliches.

We say it, recite it and we occasionally encourage others with them.

But when I think about the word good, it was not until last week I realized that my understanding of goodness is actually sort of warped.

My idea of God’s love towards me has always been wrapped around the belief that God will give me the things that will make me happy. That my desires will be met. And of course, positive and good things will happen.

I’ve never given much thought to God being good or loving towards me even in the NOs of answered prayers. Never understood the idea of God being good in the taking away of certain things or not meeting a particular desire I have.

On my bad days, I would find myself questioning how God could claim to love me and allow these things to happen. And on my really good days, I would comfort myself with the word of God. Continue reading

Scars, Wounds & All.

Empty Bed

No one said it would be easy, the Christian life I mean.

Well, maybe they did but they lied.

It is filled with highs and lows, scars and wounds.

A servant cannot be greater than his master (John 15:20). And in this case, the hands and feet of the master was pierced on the cross. But we desperately wish for ours to be whole.

NO to pain, rejection, persecution or disappointment.

If any man will be my disciple, he must pick up his cross, deny himself and follow me. -Matthew 16:25

And the truth is that we cannot pick up our cross without expecting it to leave some scars. And when it does, we’ll get to show Him our scars and He’ll show us His. He’ll comfort us and remind us that we are being conformed into His image through them.

And maybe we’ll pray for Him to come (Rev. 22:20). We’ll ask for Him to come quickly because we are desperately looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth where our tears will be wiped away for all eternity (Rev. 21:1,4).

And there will be times when we will truly and painfully wonder if the scars are worth it and we’ll consider walking away. Continue reading

In All Honesty, I Don’t Trust You Lord

Empty Chairs Conversations With God

How I strive and struggle for control over many things.

I mean God I would just like to take charge and work things the way I’m used to working them.

But we both know that those ways did not necessarily yield good nor favorable results. Rather they only brought on more frustration and unbearable pain.

You’ve reminded me to give it all to you and by your spirit my heart has continually sang the I surrender all song. I have chanted and repeated: For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. I must decrease and He must increase. I must deny myself, pick up my cross daily and follow Him.

But here we are again Lord. Back at it again.

It’s all about me and what I think I can do. I want to be in control just because I would like to know how this whole thing will work itself out. Rather than walking by faith, I’m rooted on the path of fear.

In all honesty, I don’t trust you Lord. Not in this situation.

I know that you are good but once again, I find it difficult to believe that you are truly good.

Can we both just work together? I mean can I use my worldly wisdom while you intervene in a sovereign way and at the end of the day everything will work out for my good? And you know, you can receive glory in that too.

The truth is that I really do want to trust you in this situation but I honestly just don’t know how to. Every part of me is worrying and seriously on the brink of freaking out. Continue reading

The God of Small Beginnings

Small Beginnings Plant

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

How many of us young adult Christians feel like we are doing “little” things?

We question what our 9 to 5 job, small business or college education will do for God? We want more. We honestly feel like there is more out there for us to do, this cannot be all that there is to life.

And in our quest for more, we choose to abandon our current responsibilities. In our quest for the big things, we find ourselves despising the small beginnings in life.

Maybe we have a burden to make Christ’s name known, a burden to do more work for God. So we find ourselves bored with our work, gifts, talents and education.

Failing to realize how God can use the small things, we choose to despise them.

And although unfaithful with little, we expect God to bless us with more. Continue reading

Feeling Condemned During Worship

Free bird

Will You accept my praise? Lord, will you accept my worship?

Those were the words that was heavy on my heart as the worship session started in church today.

And it was downhill from there.

I felt like I could not act or pretend like I have not displeased God in most of the things I’ve said, done or thought during the past week.

Sadly, I’ve had worse weeks than this last one; but for some reason, on this particular Sunday, I found it impossible to believe that God was going to accept my worship. I felt unworthy to stand before Him in worship and I was so ashamed that I shied away from praying to God.

Forgetting to look away from myself to remember the grace of God, I felt like the biggest hypocrite standing before Him.

So I wondered, “Will you accept my worship? Lord will you accept my praise?” Continue reading