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.
Today is the anniversary of my baptism.
2 years now, I believe.
I should be smiling
I was, smiling…
Until I thought about my behavior
Considered my sin
Why must I
Have to go through this again?
I told someone the other day
That the scariest thing we can ever
Is face ourselves
The ghosts will chase you
The demons will haunt you
They will not relent
Until you repent
But above all else
You must first face yourself
You’ve got to stop running
Where are you going?
Where can you go?
These beasts are internal
And they will chase you down that
I think it’s time I took my own advice
My heart pounds harder
Than a desperate man working overtime
—just to pay the bills
I remember when God told me
To look to the hills
From whence cometh my help
I keep hoping…
Hoping that if I send up enough flares,
If I wave enough red flags
Someone will see something’s wrong
They’ll challenge me
They’ll hold me accountable
This ground is littered
With crimson and scarlet,
Frayed thread and blackened casings,
Yet the only person standing here
I feel so alone
That I’m practically drowning in it
That’s when the Lord reminds me
Just because I don’t see anyone
Physically with me,
Doesn’t mean no one is interceding
He shows me an image
Of people raising me up with their
“You are being lifted up through prayer.”
You think you’ve fallen,
Never to get up again,
But it is the prayer of loved ones
That is holding you up
“Need I remind you
That My grace IS sufficient enough
And sufficient is the day thereof.”
(II Corinthians 12:9)
We all want somebody to hold us
For the things we should be doing
We want someone else to do it
But looking for accountability from
Without ever finding it in yourself,
Is like asking people to walk with you
But you never take a step
Let’s be real: you don’t want a walking
You want a mover
Someone made like a tank
To push you and your 1 ton
Of spiritual weight
No, I wasn’t looking to be walked with
I was hoping to be dragged
Because I love God
But I love my sin too much
And I thought,
Maybe if someone can push me into
I can finally move forward
However that kind of thing
Isn’t forward motion
It’s slow cruising
And it is taxing on the one
Walking this thing out for themselves
They do leave you
Yet they pray you’ll find the willingness
To do the thing
Which only you can do
I recall not that long ago
Reading the story
Of someone in ministry
Openly latching to their sin
While thanking God for being in an
Where the entire congregation
And the rest of the leaders
All turn their heads
I had so many questions
[How can you do that?]
[I know you know the Word,
—because you just quoted it.]
[So how then…?]
[How can you be for God,
—and against Him,
—all at the same time?]
[How can you say you’re in ministry
And be living a double life?]
Only to be called out by Jesus for doing
[But they are—!]
“And you aren’t?”
I fell silent
Recognizing my own hypocrisy
And Christ spoke to me,
“Until you can answer those same
You cannot ask that of someone else.”
And accountability is just the same
It all is
Because it first starts
With you, the individual
It starts with you
I’m entertaining the question:
“Who are you?”
Who are you, really?
If God showed you what He saw
What He sees
Could you handle it?
Would you even want to know?
Lord already knows I certainly do not
I have no time
To be chased by demons and ghosts
I have no time for it
My hand trembles
My legs shake
Dear God, my God I am deathly afraid
But I trust You
And I need You to show me the things
That I must change
Whether I want to see myself
As I am
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?
Thump, thump, thump
I can hear them
Thump, thump, thumping
Banging against the walls
Of my ribs
Let us out
Let us in
Shall we write today?
It’s been weeks since the last poem
So many things
So many feelings
After all this time
I’m still afraid
Of how people
Will see me
I wanted to write a poem
About a man’s eyes once
Not necessarily in a romantic way
I just found them so intriguing
And the beauty in them
The art of life is at times
But we as artists
Try anyway because
That’s what we do
So many poems
Ready to spring forth
And pour out
As you sit there hiding
Waiting for this perfect
Most opportune moment
It never will
And that poems decays faster
Than an adolescent’s imagination
You are putting your dreams in acid
And hoping they’ll come out whole
Once you get the timing right,
But of course you know
That method never works
You do know that, don’t you?
Certainly you do
Do what you were created to do
Don’t let misinterpretations,
And future judgmental comments
Stifle and smother out a flame
Before you even light it
If you enjoy reading my works, please be sure to buy a copy of my latest book To Whom It May Concern