Words Do Matter

I was crushing my own dreams, the very vision God gave to me to fulfill, and I was crushing it word by word.

Yesterday I found myself having lustful thoughts and also thoughts of despair, “I’m never going to be free from this,” “I’m always going to struggle with this,” “I’m so weak,” “I want to be an author, but I just don’t think I’ll ever get to publish anything,” “I know I need to put in the work to get to my dreams, but I’m too lazy to get there. I’ll be lucky if I ever get anything off the ground,” “I have all these poems inside of me, but who will ever hear them?” “I feel like a nobody,”

And the worst one of them all, “God, I know I need to change, I know I need to stop doing this, but I can’t. I can’t control it, I can’t stop it—but I like it too much, and I don’t even think I want to give it up.”

Afterwards, God began to show me that He still loved me and He was there even when I pushed Him aside to indulge in my sin; He still hadn’t killed me off. I’m not sure at what moment it was when it all began to hit me, because even while I lay there in repentance I didn’t feel the least bit sorry, but suddenly I just started thanking Him.

I thanked Him for my life, for His grace and His mercy, for His love and kindness, for believing in me and encouraging me when I didn’t believe in myself, for being there for me and not allowing me to give up.

Finally God had me get up and start speaking life over myself…

Words are so powerful. I never took into account that every time I said something negative about myself, my future, that I was taking a hit. I was crushing my own dreams, the very vision God gave to me to fulfill, and I was crushing it word by word.

So I began to speak goodness and positivity,

“I am strong, I am capable, I can do it, I belong here, I declare victory over my life, I can do anything, I will not be a slave to this sin anymore because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world, I am beautiful, I am smart, I am an author, I am a poet, I am a mother, I am a sister, I am an aunt, I am a friend, I am everything God has designed me to be,”

And I started taking back everything Satan stole from me, everything I laid down and allowed him to take from me,

“I take back my joy, I take back my house, I take back my peace—Satan you do not belong here, you no longer control me, you will not defeat me because God is with me, I will get through this, I am an overcomer, I will overcome this, I will win, I take back my victory, I take back my life!”

Over and over that entire day, I spoke nothing but positivity and life into me. The thing Satan has used to get me back into that dark corner, “You’ll never change. You’re just gonna mess it up again and end up right back over here with me,” and when I mess up, “SEE?! I told you! You may as well just stay right where you at.”

But not anymore. I might make mistakes, but change starts now.

That was one thing that God kept telling me, “Stop waiting on later to show up when now is already here. Later is not coming, so stop waiting for later,” and “Change happens RIGHT NOW. Not later, tomorrow, next week–RIGHT NOW. Change is a process and it takes time to make progress, but long as you are moving forward despite the setbacks that is all that matters.”

From yesterday to today, I now understand what it means to make war, to go to war daily with your flesh because I have to pause now and then and say, “Okay, Jack–are you making progress? Are you moving forward or are you standing still today? Let’s get moving, gotta keep fighting. No more negativity, no more dead words.”

See, I write life all the time…I have even written people poems full of life, encouragement, conviction, power or whatever they needed from God…but I rarely ever spoke life over myself.

I’m here to tell you that your words make a difference. Stop being pessimistic about your situation and start speaking life over yourself, “I am victorious, I am a winner, I will not be defeated, I will rise to the challenge.” A personal one I had to declare, “I will not allow other people or other people’s attitudes to affect, shape or change my day.” You’d be surprised how often that happens.

Is it going to be instantaneous? No. Why? Because change is a process that takes time to make progress, but long as you move forward DESPITE the setbacks, that’s all that matters.

DESPITE the setbacks—that means when you mess up, when you make a mistake, you don’t sit there having a pity party and lingering around in your sin, willingly giving yourself over to it. You get up, you repent, you dust yourself off, you give glory to God for His grace, you thank God for loving you even in the midst of your sin, and for giving you the strength to get up. And then…you keep walking.

God had to remind me that there is a fighter in me, regardless of how weak I feel or how many times I want to throw in the towel, there is a fighter in me. He has made each and every one of us to be a champion. The more you say it and begin to speak it over yourself with confidence, the more it will become evident in you.

Stop allowing Satan to have reign over you with all that negativity, “I’ll never change, I’ll never get better. Yeah it sounds good, and maybe that worked for you Jackie, but that’s not going to work for me…” Little do you know I sounded JUST like that everyday of my life. Yet here I am speaking life into you (and ME, because witnessing works both ways—you end up ministering to yourself half the time more than the other person) You can be free today.

The question is, do you want to be free? Because until you get tired (and I mean TIRED, as in “tired of being tired” TIRED) of dealing with whatever it is that is holding you bondage and hindering you in your walk, you will never let go until you do. You will continue to do the same old, same old, constantly wondering why nothing is moving in your life.

What I learned is this: God has already set everything in place. We’re waiting on Him and everything to come to us, when in actuality everything is waiting on us to move so that things can begin to move in our lives.

Change is right now. Don’t wait another day for later, when now is already here.

Advertisements

To Forgive, Or Not To Forgive…There Is No Question

(It’s been awhile since I’ve written posts this long…but I pray it’s a blessing to someone else)

 

I recall a time when I was mad at two people for almost two weeks. TWO WEEKS of waking up angry, with the replaying of that particular day in my head.

At that time, God spoke to me and said, “Jacqueline, you are giving them too much power. Here you are walking around angry everyday, and they’re going on enjoying life. They probably don’t even know that you’re mad at them.”

When He put it like that, I let it go. I saw how ridiculous it was to go on that long carrying that load, and when I looked back, it really wasn’t that big a deal.

Well…this time it was…

This time I was so angry that I didn’t want to be bothered with anybody or anything the whole day. I wanted to tell everyone I encountered how this person had utterly “pissed me off” and how much I wanted to go off on them…but God spoke again, and said, “Don’t make your problem everyone else’s. Careful, don’t spew venom.”

So I bit my tongue, for the most part…until another person decided to join in…then I became highly irate.

That day I went to a friend, my mom…but I didn’t go to God. I couldn’t sleep that night because I was so upset and so furious; God told me to pray for their safety, that they have traveling grace and I found myself getting even angrier. I became disgusted at the thought of praying for their wellbeing when they didn’t care about mine. Finally I had to ask God to remove it and bring peace into my heart.

This went on for three nights.

Realizing that most of my anger could’ve been subdued had I been actively engaged in my Word, and knowing I need to get back to studying as well as doing my devotionals, I picked it up and went back to going over Ecclesiastes 11.

As I studied Eccles. 11:6, this is what God had to say…

Now the verse reads,

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Eccles. 11:6 KJV

(I broke it into two parts—the first part being “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand:” which is the one we’ll be focusing on)

“Work. Don’t delay in doing what needs to be done because the longer you wait the more likely the harvest will be few. If you’re always planting seeds of idleness then the result will always be that you will be without. But if you do due diligence in making sure to toil the ground everyone gets rewarded.”

At that moment, I thought He was talking about me procrastinating on my homework. Then He came with this,

“Can people eat off your fruit tree?” Remember that as believers we are supposed to produce spiritual fruits…of HOLINESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS…but sometimes we don’t always do that. Some of us are going around claiming Christ but have no fruits as evidence to show for it, and then on the other hand…

“Is it slim pickings or is it plentiful? Is it bitter or unsafe to eat, or is it edible and hardy? What are you feeding people because others are reading you everyday.”

As a believer and follower of Christ, we are to walk in His ways. That means I should be feeding life and love to people, not death and hatred, “Remember you are someone’s lone and only Bible and they observe how you handle your problems on a regular basis.”

Bringing back my attention to when I was walking around with a short fuse that day, God showed me that even when I don’t think people are taking notice, they are still looking to me to be the example because I say I love Him and follow Him. Therefore I shouldn’t handle things the way the world does and I should treat people the way God has called me to. Does that mean I become a doormat? NO, but I shouldn’t get ugly or short with people who make me mad. “Be ye angry, and sin not…” (Ephesians 4:26a) So those feelings of wanting to curse them out, tell them off about themselves and/or punch them in the face and make them choke on their teeth…completely out of the question (and YES…I do get THAT angry)

“You set the tone for the day, and even if the day doesn’t start out right, you can change it’s progression and how it ends. You do that by staying in your Word.” He pointed out the fact that even though I had been doing devotionals, I had stopped studying over Ecclesiastes as He had instructed me to. The Spirit then said to me, “If God has already lined everything out and told you, ‘This is what you need to do to make it to Me,’ then you don’t start picking and choosing which ones to follow and which ones to reject. If you accept Him then you follow the whole Book; not just the parts you like or the sections you agree with—THE WHOLE BOOK—including the ones that are the most difficult to do because it requires you to let go of a broken mindset.”

This broken mindset would be the fact that I like going off on people, whether I’m close to them or not, because it’s faster than having to go in prayer and seek God out about the situation…then go and repent about it later. I like doing things my way and telling them off; having to bite my tongue and do right by people even when they do me wrong is extremely difficult for me. EXTREMELY.

But again…I’m supposed to be a follower of Christ. I know that my way doesn’t work. I know that God knows best…so why continually choose a way that’s broken and causes damages when God is capable of not only fixing the brokenness but restoring everything to its proper place?

Because it’s the nature of my flesh to want to rebel, to be prideful and seek to do things my way instead of just admitting I need help and allowing Him to come in, and take over. Thinking about that day all over again, a flash of anger rose up in me once more. I was tired of keeping my mouth shut and allowing people to walk all over me, tired of being the bigger person while the other person who crossed me the wrong way went on with their day without giving so much as an apology, tired of always having to be the “good guy”. Then as I read my devotional for the day, the scripture 2 Peter 2:9 hit home,

“the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” (2 Pt. 2:9 KJVA)

As I read it, God said to hold on this one. Every time I read it, I hear Him tell me, “I am with you and I see what they do to you. Long as you hold on to Me, I won’t let you fall. I will take care of them and they will get their just due—but don’t you forget that I AM God and I will ALWAYS take care of My children.”

Back to Ecclesiastes…

“Imagine holding on to shards of glass in your hands and grinding it until they start to bleed, to the point where the glass is so embedded it has to be surgically removed. This is what happens when you refuse to let go of old habits, unforgiveness, hatred, anger—all those things weighing you down. And at the end of the day, the only one who suffers from you holding a grudge is YOU.”

I came to the conclusion recently that I can’t save people. I can’t make people love themselves or resurrect their souls from the grave, because that is a job that belongs to God alone. I can however pray for them, and for myself in the meantime, that God work on both our hearts. I decided it was time to remove myself from certain people because the relationship was so volatile that it seemed like I got into more arguments and heated spats with them than anything else. All I heard God say was, “Remember…be careful of the bridges you burn down because you may need it to go across one day.”

Immediately Satan came in, “You don’t need them! For what?! Move on and be done with it!”

Yet still, “Don’t burn down bridges you need to get across.”

The very person you write off is usually the very person you need to get to your breakthrough. Sure, it’s easy to point the finger at the people I constantly find myself at war with…but then again maybe the problem doesn’t lie with them, but rather with me. Perhaps I am partially to blame for the calamity…or maybe I’m fully to blame. Either way, I have decided that it’s time to step away and regroup.

Maybe it was time for that season to end, and maybe it wasn’t. Maybe God is setting me apart so that He can finish building me anew by pushing aside the distractions that were taking over in my life…I can’t say for sure.

What I can say it is that it hurts. I don’t like being angry at people for lengths of time. I feel God removing the shards from my heart and it hurts so bad…I’m near tears. I’m near tears every time I think of letting go…

But it was long past due for God to take over…

 

Lord God, I pray You take over in my life. Continue to remove the pain, the anger, the hate and all the loathing and disdain in my heart. Remove the shards and continue to remold and reshape me into the woman You have destined me to be. Replace my want to hurt for a desire to help, my words of malice with words of love and kindness and this broken mindset with a mindset for You; for serving You. God it hurts so much…but I know that when it’s all said and done, and everything is over, I’ll feel and be so much better than before.

In Jesus name I pray, thank God and amen.

 

I pray you all will please join me in prayer…I’m not kidding—I don’t joke about stuff like this. If you believe in the power of prayer, then please pray with me that God continues to work on me and for strength to endure during this process. Thank you all so much for your support.

Love Comfort Me

(Written for the Safe Haven newsletter, I read over the snippet I put in and felt compelled to share the entire poem)

LOVE COMFORT ME                           10/11/13

This is not the first time before
That I have had to write from a place
Of emptiness
A dullness
It is at these times
I tell myself it is better to simply
Stop
Erase
To not write anything
Just leave it all be

But I think about that one
Who’s listening to me

I think about that unknown reader
The one I’m not even aware of
Or even sure exists
That reads in anticipation
Of what God had to say next
What God wants them to know
As they’re reading this

I consider my attitude
My heart breaks
Being reminded it’s not about self
I do this for God’s sake
I do this for that one
Who’s listening to me
Even when I think they aren’t
So I have to push aside my feelings
Allowing these clouds to part

Forgive me, God

For turning every issue
Every situation
Everything You bring me to
About me
It’s always about me
How I feel
What I want
The singular pronoun
Has a plural occurence

I don’t know what you see in me
Dear reader
But I’m simply doing my best
To bare myself
And all my testimonies

I hope they are of some help

It’s not like before
Not like it used to be
Now when I choose not to write
I feel guilty
I feel ashamed
If a child was starving
And you had food in your hands
You would give it to them
Wouldn’t you?

At least, I would hope you would
I would hope

There are instances like this one
Where I consider blowing it all off
But then it is as if
God allows me to feel what He feels
For His Children
Are wanting
Hungry
Starving for Him

Hungry for His Spirit to come right on in

There is that whisper
I didn’t abandon you
How can you leave a dying man
Knowing I came and saved you?

People are dying
So how dare I stand back
And watch their bodies hit the ground
Dropping like flies
How dare I
Spit on their graves
When I say
I don’t care
It’s not my problem
Anyway

I toss back and forth
Shuffling with the masses
Everyone’s hiding behind
One another
Hoping that when the bomb hits
The person they’re standing next to
Will act as a human shield
Taking all the shards
All the fragments

But when it’s time to ID the corpses
No wants to take the credit
No one wants to step up to the plate
Not for that one
They only claim those
Who still manage to survive
As for the ones that lost their lives
Well
They were an expendable casualty

Ironic
Because that same one
Is me
Someone thought
I was an expendable casualty
And when I was laying there
Gasping for breath
They took one look
And said amongst themselves

Just let her rot
She’ll never come out of this
Anyhow
Anyway if she had just listened
And paid attention
To how we walked
And how we did things
Then she would’ve known to duck

But how can one duck landmines?

When the bombs are planted
And the only ones who know where they are
Refuse to open their mouths
To give warning
To say something
Holding tightly to the map
But won’t show the rest
Where exactly to go
And where to step
Then what is the result?

God tells me
I gave you a map
The key is hidden
Within your poetry you have
People
Walking
Shuffling
Simply trying to make it through the crowd so
How
Dare you
And who are you
To keep it all to yourself?

Do you not remember where I found you
When you were all alone?

He found me
Bleeding out in a dead zone
And now I’m upright
Breathing and living
And He knew I would even lead people
To the very light
That gave me life
I
Am
Sorry

I am sorry
For not putting more effort
Into this for You
And for you
Dear reader
I am sorry

My prayer for you
Is

That when you read these poems
You don’t see me
You don’t hear me
You hear God
And that He speaks to your mind
Your soul
And your heart

And I pray that you will know
That His love is for you is real

His love for you
Is so strong
That He can take someone like me
To bring you
His child
Home

He loves you
He never left
He was with you all along
He was with you
He’s still there with you now
God loves you
You will forever be

His love
His child

The Perfect Husband

Keep this quote in the back of your mind:

That’s how Satan works–he doesn’t force the bottle of poison down your throat; he gives it to you in small doses, disguised in things that seem harmless.

 

These days God has been showing me that I was in denial about a lot more than I thought…

One of those things is: The Perfect Husband

The Perfect Husband is a myth, of course. His existence is just as real as The Perfect Wife (no such thing as perfect when it comes to people, therefore neither one exists)

But one can have an “ideal spouse” that they would like to have…and this is where I was in denial because my ideal spouse WAS *cue the music* (DUN, DUN, DUN!)…The Perfect Husband.

I kept catching myself fantasizing about this man I created up for myself who would be so amazing, imagining all the things we would do together…this non-existent man became an idol, however, because he got my time, my heart–all the things God wasn’t getting from me.

So finally I decided to have a good ol’ heart to heart with God and talk about why my mind kept drifting there. Mind you these thoughts always started off “innocent,” but gradually it led to masturbation and lust. That’s how Satan works–he doesn’t force the bottle of poison down your throat; he gives it to you in small doses, disguised in things that seem harmless.

I know what God promised me. He already told me two years ago when I would meet my husband, what he would do and how we’d go on to build the kingdom together.

BUT…I kept hoping that he would be this perfect image I cooked up for myself.

God had me sit down and write a list of all the things I wanted him to be/have/do:

(WARNING: This list is LONG. But if you manage to make it to the end, kudos to you. If not, I don’t blame you…I got 3/4s of halfway into writing this list and wanted to stop, but I knew I had to keep going because I needed to be real with myself and see how UNREALISTIC I was being)

  • Be 2-3 years older than me
  • Be a family man
  • Be a wonderful father
  • Be romantic
  • Pamper and spoil me
  • Be a provider (doesn’t have to make a ton of money, but makes enough to take care of himself)
  • God fearing, loves the Lord, strong in the faith

Seems innocent right…? Now keep going….

  • Speaks at least 5 languages fluently
  • Knows how to lay it down like a champion
  • Athletic
  • Fit, can be my trainer
  • A chef
  • A fix it man (can fix ANYTHING and EVERYTHING)
  • Knows his way around cars
  • Well-put together (always dresses well & isn’t afraid of a suit and tie)
  • Tall (around 5’11” to 6’2″…but at least 5’8″)
  • Is Asian, or Hispanic, or Black, or Irish, or Italian, or a mixture
  • A songwriter
  • A musician who’s skilled at playing MANY instruments (he has to be able to help me put music to the songs I’ve written)
  • Can sing very well (hit that bass and them falsettos)
  • Can twirl (not mandatory, but I am a Sigma Gamma Rho and it would be cool if we could put on cane dance shows together for youth to CHH music or somethin’…just sayin’…)
  • A poet, does spoken word
  • A producer (can make beats, produce music)
  • Is so attractive he causes my friends’ mouths to drop at the sight of him
  • Is patient–VERY patient
  • A comedian (but not over the top)
  • Intelligent
  • Insightful
  • Has to be an Andy Mineo fan and want to road trip to concerts
  • Has to like listening to CHH period
  • Can dance (and is in expert in many genres) breakdance & lyrical are at the top though
  • Always knows just what to say
  • Can fight–skilled at kickboxing, boxing and martial arts
  • At least knows Spanish so he can whisper sweet nothings to me in the language…

Honestly I’m sure there were some more items, but I can’t even remember them all right now. I am pretty sure I was nearing the end…pretty sure….sort of.

Anyway, I looked over the list and I realized how DUMB and (again) UNREALISTIC it was to have that many qualities, traits from one man. Then God turned it around, as He always does, and asked, “Now what do you have to offer? How many qualities do you possess, honestly?”

God already knows where I am, so the question is really a question for me to wake up and smell the roses.

But because I was in denial, I started trying to think up some stuff to go with all the things I wanted in this “ideal” guy and immediately God stopped me, “Jacqueline…Jacqueline. Stop. Be honest.”

And I laughed…shamefully I was so desperate to reach for something, but I knew good and well there was no way I possessed such a high number of characteristics/qualities within myself. A lot of the things on the list I couldn’t do myself–last time I attempted to twirl my cane was in 2009 when I crossed SGRHO. I wanted him to be a chef but not a great cook myself, I wanted him to be a songwriter but I haven’t written a song in a long while, I wanted him to be fit but ask me when was the last time I exercised…

Immediately what I saw was that I really wanted was an everything-man.

Then God posed the question, “How would you like it if you finally met your husband and he told you, ‘No, no–that’s not what I had on my list. Observe numbers 3-5b and look at number 368 out of 1000…hold on, I got some more here…I need you to do this, and this, and this, and this,”

(I know would look at that man crazy)

God then asked, “So how do you think he’d feel?”

Yeah. I hadn’t thought about that.

Today I woke up and pondered about all of it. I knew that I couldn’t have everything on that list because it’s impossible–but I could have a few things. The problem was I didn’t want to because it was everything I wanted, and if I couldn’t get what I wanted, then I felt as though I were settling for less than average.

What God stressed to me is that the man He has for me is not the perfect guy.

The man He has for me is the man that’s just right for me and well suited for me.

 

And that’s much better than The Perfect Husband, because he’s a myth.

Something I Was Supposed To Post…a LONG Time Ago

(This poem was inspired after I seeing too many outfits for little girls that were too adult for my taste)

I REMEMBER WHEN           (9/6/13)
I miss the days
When children dressed like
Children
And kids looked like kids
The outfits that I
A woman in her twenties
Would wear
I see being designed for them

The word
Pedophile
Rests upon my lips
Who makes bathing suits
For little girls
Barely covering their hips?
Who comes up with
The brilliant idea
Of putting six year olds
In thongs?

It makes you wonder

Pedophiles
That kidnapped little girls
Made them dress up
Like they were grown
And put makeup on
Telling them to smile
While they take their photo

So why are you designing
Lacey short shorts
And see through tops
For my seven year old niece
Soon to be eight
And tight skinny jeans
For someone’s ten year old?

Yeah
Everyone turns away
Don’t even give it
A second thought
Until it’s their daughter

The worst part is
An elementary student
Couldn’t buy it on their own
So it had to be their mother
She’s the one who bought it
Because no father alive
Would buy clothes like that
For his little precious one
His sweet baby girl

I miss corduroys
And dresses with frill
And lace bows
I miss when kids dressed like kids
And not twenty something adults

I miss mismatched colors
Cheerful patterns
Clumsy buttons
One-piece swimwear
Because why does my baby
Need to be in a bikini?

I long for straggling shoelaces
That are slowly being replaced
With high heel boots
And too tall wedges

I miss, oh how I miss
When kids
Didn’t have miniature versions
Of my outfits
And their racy counterparts
Clothing I wouldn’t dare
Put on myself
Let alone walk out the house
In it

Fashion
I beg of you
Let the kids be kids
Don’t force them to be
Older than what they are
Let the children be children
Let the kids be kids
Please
Let the kids be kids
Ask yourself

If it was your child
Would you really allow her
To wear things like this?

Saltwater

SALT WATER             (9/29/13)

You call them tears
I call it saltwater
Except this from of salty seas
That comes falling from my face
Is like an oasis
When my eyes cause a rift
And waves come lapping
Down my nose and into my mouth
Bitter
But their saltiness reminds me
I’m alive
The sour tells me I’m still here
With each wave I drink in
I begin to heal
I feel Him mending me
My shattered heart

My heart is long overdue for
–repair
So many times I’ve taken the elevator
This time I’m taking the stairs
There’s nothing easy about it
Removing shards while you’re awake
It’s a painful process
But necessary in order to survive
This saltwater comes as medicine
I use it as an ointment
Call it a healing agent
I had built up barricades
Placed together well-made levies
Set up a dam
So that the water daring to trickle out
Couldn’t flow like a rapid
But life hit me like a typhoon
And one day
It all came crashing down
Causing flooding all over the place

And in the midst of it all
I could hear God say

It’s okay to cry
It’s okay

I’m tired of playing strongman
I won’t do it anymore
I’m learning to be assured
That even when I’m crying
I still have strength from the Lord
This saltwater
No matter how bitter it may be
Sour it tastes
It’s okay
Some days will be better
Others worse than the last
But I’m learning
That crying doesn’t take away the joy
Or make the day
Any less of a success

You can call it sorrow
A despairing thing to drink
I call my tears saltwater
I call it life
So despite what the world thinks
Crying didn’t kill me
It released the pain

I can breathe now
My heart doesn’t hurt so bad