Previously in this series:
Old habits die hard.
At least, that’s how the saying goes and I believe there’s truth in it.
Those things of old are difficult to kill, but not impossible. They can die; there’s some hope in that.
They say your sophomore year is always the worst year. You come in thinking that you know everything because you’re not the new kid anymore, “I’ve been there, done that. Unlike like these fish around here… You see that lost look on their face? Man, so glad I’m done with all of that!”
You are so clueless about what’s to come.
I thought I had it simply because I already been there before, however I was in for a very rude awakening.
God, am I seriously going to be by myself?
That was the thought that came to mind my first day back to Kids Across America. I learned SO MANY things this summer while working there. The funny thing is, I almost changed my mind and decided not to go. There were so many hiccups that had popped up prior to going to kamp that I began to wonder if God truly wanted me to go back at all.
Oh, by the way, once you’ve worked at KAA you know why ‘camp’ is spelled with a ‘K’.
(Insert wink here.)
In all seriousness, I was afraid.
Walking onto the kamp grounds and seeing so many new faces, very little old ones, and all these new people in leadership gave me major anxiety.
My best friend wasn’t going to be working beside in the office. She had been offered her dream job back home in Texas.
One of the my dearest, little sisters in Christ was there, but she was going to be working in a different kamp as a counselor. So the possibility of us ever really getting to hang out was unlikely.
At my kamp, I only saw a handful of people I knew come back. Well, actually, less than a handful. All of them I only got to see or speak to in passing.
Suddenly as I made my way towards check in, the joy that had overtaken me seem to dissipate. I just wanted to go to my cabin, keep my head down and…hide.
My age also became apparent, as I wondered, “Who can I really talk to or hang out with? I’m like the oldest staff member here!” I would celebrating my 29th birthday come July.
Overtime though I would find out just how wrong I was about all of that…
Looking back, before coming to KAA, I was a spiritual mess. I think my last piece showed that as I had shared how I had drifted away from the Lord. I was in a place of “good enough.” I showed up to church, I made an appearance, I said grace over my food. Good enough for me, good enough for Jesus.
Sometimes even now, I think I waver between wanting more out of myself—out of God—and settling for good enough.
However, because I know what I know now, there is a conviction on my heart. You see the beautiful thing about Christ is that once you’ve been exposed to the Truth you can’t un-know it. You can’t use those old excuses like you did before or say how impossible it is when Jesus has shown you otherwise.
And that is essentially what happened at kamp.
As I rode in the car with my boss, driving up to the Da DEUCE (the place where I’d be lodging,) feelings of joy were almost destroyed by old memories of pain.
It was at kamp when I received the news that my friend and soror Sandra Bland had passed away. During that time it was the roughest few weeks I ever had; every day feeling like you’re being held together by a single piece of tape, jumbling around and trying very hard not to fall apart.
So, the enemy tried it, “This is where you found out your friend died.”
Yes, I thought, it is…but this is also where I found out that God has me no matter what the situation is, even when I feel completely and utterly alone.
Here, I thought, is where I truly became strong when I was willing to admit how weak I really am, that the true source of my strength is not with me but in the Lord.
Here, I thought, is where I met some of the most amazing people that to this day I’m thankful God allowed to come into my life.
Here, I thought to myself, is where I grew more and more. I learned life lessons, I matured spiritually, I discovered things about myself I didn’t know I even had in me—good and bad. Here I learned that I am more capable than I allowed myself to believe.
And it is because of all those experiences I had there at KAA that I have decided I will share as much as I can with you all in a five part series. This, I would say, is the introduction.
I am truly praying, that in this, God will reach and touch someone else. Maybe He can remind you through this that regardless of whatever it may be, He IS God and He is STILL able.
He never stopped being able to do all things; never has and never will.
I hope I’m able to renew or restore someone’s faith the way God did for me.
It’s interesting how backsliding works. One day your seeking Jesus’s face; the next day you’re out in the middle of the ocean. You don’t know how long you’ve been out there; you haven’t even noticed that Jesus isn’t within view anymore. It just happens to be that you catch yourself staring out at nothing, wondering how long you’ve been out of touch with God.
You start asking yourself how much time has passed since you were last with Jesus. Has it been a day, a week—two or three months?
I would say it’s been months, and yet somehow, I think it’s been longer than that.
At least, that’s what it feels like.
I saw all the signs, but it didn’t become real for me until I read the verse Psalm 40:8,
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8 KJV)
As the Lord had me meditate on the verse, I began to see that my passion for God had dwindled, if not died. I recall a time when I used to be excited to write poems for Him. I had a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to do the newsletters, but I gave it everything I had. I pushed myself to get the latest issue out even if that meant having to release it late because I missed the date.
I remember having a desire to read and study His Word—a need to study His Word. I can think on those mornings when I started making point to begin my day with prayer. Or when I took my ministry seriously and the assignments the Lord charged me with.
Then somewhere along the way the poems became fewer and fewer. I studied and read less and less. Other things became more important to me; other things were more interesting to me.
And eventually Christ became irrelevant altogether.
Going to church and listening to the message was the highlight of my week. Now they seemed to be dragging. Bible study was a must until it became a monotonous routine that didn’t seem to hold my attention. I struggled to take notes for both Sunday and Wednesday nights.
Even now I recognize that I’m under attack, but I haven’t grasped it because it doesn’t feel like I’m under attack, “I mean, I’m not really suffering; I feel fine…so…”
But that’s one of the devil’s best tricks, isn’t it? The power of deception and making you feel like everything is okay when it’s really not. The house isn’t burning down, so you’re good. Meanwhile the largest hurricane is on its way towards you and you aren’t aware because you’ve been lulled to sleep.
It’s time for me to wake up now. Time to wake up and get back into the fight again.
I need to rediscover my joy for God, to reset and focus back on my purpose, my calling, my ministry.
I need to get back to what’s important. Right now, that is God and my relationship with Him.
If you are in a place right now where serving Jesus seems more like a chore or seeking righteousness genuinely makes you roll your eyes, consider the scripture and what it says. Be honest with yourself—where are you really spiritually? Are you still in love with God?
Or have you found yourself pushing Him away?
This being brave thing is harder than I thought…
(Before I go any further) What I’m going to talk about might be a bit much for some people, so if you’re one of those who gets grossed out easily then you’ve been warned. Don’t worry, I’m not going to post up any photos…that’s a little too personal for me.
I’ve been inspired to start another blog focused on women’s health after my latest ordeal: an incessant yeast infection that shows up every month since around late last year.
(Some of you might be wondering, “And what does this have to do with Jesus?” Hold your horses. I’m going to get to that; just let me open up about this first.)
Studies show that 3 out of 4 women will have a yeast infection, and it’s relatively normal to have 3 or 4 a year. The first time I had a yeast infection was my sophomore year in college. It was bad, but no biggie. I took over the counter medicine for it and went about my way. Although later on in my life the infections became more persistent. One year I remember it got so bad I couldn’t sit or walk normally. I couldn’t sleep due to all the discomfort. Eventually I had to see a doctor and was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (I can’t tell you the name; I couldn’t pronounce them even if I tried.)
It seems as though I’ve found myself back there again, seeing as how terrible it’s gotten and the over-the-counter medicine isn’t working (I’m schedule to see a doctor next week.) It has pushed me to read up on yeast infections. I came across some very startling things: one being that diabetes could be a reason for why I’ve had so many between last year and this one.
I keep telling myself to think positively, but the one thing that keeps echoing in my head is, “Even if the doctor gives you a bad report, do you will still trust God to be God? Do you still believe that God is able?”
While researching I wondered why women tend to be so hush-hush on these things, “Shouldn’t we talk more about these kinds of things?” Then I read an article of a woman’s struggle with bacterial vaginosis (an aggressive form of a yeast infection.) In her case, she seemed to keep getting it from her sex partners. At that moment I thought to myself, “She’s nasty…really, really nasty!”
Then it dawned on me why a lot of women don’t open up. No one wants to be seen that way and the fact that she was honest about her order was very courageous. It wasn’t as if she had multiple partners—and let’s be clear. In NO WAY do I encourage premarital sex. PLEASE WAIT FOR MARRIAGE—but BV (bacterial vaginosis for short) isn’t an STD or STI. Women can get it from any of the following:
Allergies or an allergic reaction to something can also be a factor. What’s worse is that BV can end up becoming a chronic illness, therefore a change in diet may be necessary. So for me to react the way I did was me being judgmental of her.
I think about the woman with the issue of blood. How many people do you think looked at her as though she was something disgusting? Back in those days, the law said she couldn’t get near anyone—no one was allowed to touch her because she was considered unclean.
She didn’t let that stop her from seeking her healing from Christ though…
Truth is a lot of us are very ignorant when it comes to women’s health, myself included. We could learn to be more understanding and take the time to educate ourselves on this stuff, women especially should. Why be ashamed to share or talk about it? I’m sure there are plenty who might disagree with me and suggest I keep these things to myself.
But I think about women all over the world dealing with this stuff in silence, and I said to myself yesterday, “I’ll do it. I’ll speak up, and if they’re too scared to, I’ll be a shield for them. I’ll gladly take on the criticisms and vile comments if it means it’ll help bring more women together to discuss with one another.”
As I said before, being brave is harder than I thought.
Yet somehow, deep down inside, something tells me it’s more ungodly to shun women for sharing their health stories than it is to write about it. I think it’s more ungodly to encourage women to be quiet and deal with it alone, quarantining them into isolation, than it is to say, “Hey, you’re not alone. I’m battling this crap, too. It sucks, but we’re in this together!” Long as Christ is for us, it doesn’t matter what people say or think; there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
Going back to that woman with the issue of blood, she wasn’t worried about the whispers or the looks she would get. All she thought was, “If I can just touch the hem of His garment…” She reached out in faith knowing that God was going to heal her.
What’s so beautiful about it is that not one time was Jesus offended by the woman’s condition. He recognized her faith, He blessed her—Jesus LOVED her anyway.
Regardless of what your condition is, whatever report the doctors have given you, do you believe that God is? Know and understand He’s not going to judge you; He loves you and He’s more than capable of giving you the healing you need. Continue trusting in Jesus.
Big news folks! To Whom It May Concern is now available for purchase as a PAPERBACK book. So for those of you who’ve wanted a physical copy instead of the digital, you can buy it here:
The paperback is 600 pages and costs $25, but I’m giving a 20% discount for two weeks from APRIL 13, 2017 TO APRIL 27, 2017. After that it will go back to regular price. You can still buy the digital copy (PDF, 587 pages) for $15 directly from me. Just click the link down below: