Reconstruction: Pt. 1 – Blueprint

dreamstime_l_260891731

Photo source: Google Images

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.

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Reconstruction: Ground Zero

hand-wringing

Photo Source: Google Images

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.

KAA Entrance

Entrance of Kids Across America

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.

KAA_Cross

Taken at Kids Across America

Untitled (POEM)

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?
It’s torturous.

I told someone the other day
That the scariest thing we can ever
—do
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
—road

I think it’s time I took my own advice

Even now
My heart pounds harder
Than a desperate man working overtime
—just to pay the bills
But…
I remember when God told me
To look to the hills
From whence cometh my help
(Psalm 121:1)

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
However
This ground is littered
With crimson and scarlet,
Frayed thread and blackened casings,
Yet the only person standing here
Is me

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
—hands
“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)
(Matthew 6:34)

Truth is
We all want somebody to hold us
—accountable
For the things we should be doing
—ourselves
We want someone else to do it
But looking for accountability from
—others,
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
—buddy
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…
Maybe if someone can push me into
—forward gear
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
So eventually,
They do leave you
Yet they pray you’ll find the willingness
To do the thing
Which only you can do
For yourself

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
—environment
Where the entire congregation
And the rest of the leaders
All turn their heads
I had so many questions
Burning inside
[How can you do that?]
[That’s hypocritical]
[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
—the same

[But they-—!]
“And you?”
[But they are—!]
“And you aren’t?”

Finally,
I fell silent
Recognizing my own hypocrisy
And Christ spoke to me,
“Until you can answer those same
—questions
For yourself,
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

Still
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

Or not.

Growing Apart

Sailboat

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?

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Daring To Be (Poem)

Thump, thump, thump
I can hear them
Thump, thump, thumping
Knocking
Banging against the walls
Of my ribs
Knock, knock
Open up
Let us out
Let us in

Shall we write today?
Why not
It’s been weeks since the last poem

So many things
Swirling inside
So many feelings
And thoughts
Yet somehow
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
The pain
And the beauty in them

The art of life is at times
Indescribable
But we as artists
Try anyway because

That’s what we do

So many poems
Bursting inside
Ready to spring forth
And pour out

And meanwhile
As you sit there hiding
Waiting for this perfect
Most opportune moment
To come
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
Again
Once you get the timing right,
Of course
But of course you know
That method never works

You do know that, don’t you?
Certainly you do

Certainly, yes

Do what you were created to do
Create
Write
Imagine
Dream
Inspire

Don’t let misinterpretations,
Misunderstandings
And future judgmental comments
And scrutiny
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

TWMC_Front Cover(resized)

Taboo

Woman-Hand Over Mouth

Photo source: Google Images

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.

Now then…

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’m afraid.

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!”

Woman-Stink Face

Photo source: Google Images

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:

  • High sugar, carb intake
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Clothing (skinny jeans, unbreathable underwear, wet gym clothes or bathing suit, etc.)
  • Low pH levels (possibly from stress or menopause)
  • Use of body sprays, scented soaps or fragranced/perfumed products on the genital area
  • Low immune system
  • Diabetes

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.

Woman Group On Blue

Photo source: Google Images

Tiny Thoughts (Poem)

(I wrote this poem in dedication to Child Abuse Awareness month, which is every year in April. I had originally attended on writing one piece each week until I realized that I don’t know enough on the topic. Child abuse is a serious thing, but I think once I read more on it then I’ll be able to do more pieces next year. For now, I hope that this piece will spark interest and initiative to step in and stand up for those children who are silenced.)

TINY THOUGHTS

I remember my niece
Telling me once
About a girl in her class
She had long scratches
On her back
And her hands, she said
She told me
Her classmate shared with her
That her dad was the cause
This little girl’s father
Apparently was abusive
Towards her classmate
And her classmate’s mother
She wanted her mother to leave
But her mother was afraid
And she had been warned
Not to tell an adult what was
—happening

This was in second or third grade,
I believe…

We assume
The only monsters kids worry about
Are the ones under their bed
Or in their closet
We don’t consider
That the boogeyman is their parent
A relative
Or a guardian

We assume
That every kid has a childhood
Full of smiles
When we know good and well
That this was not the case
For most of us

Daily
Children are being tormented
And even more
Are robbed of their innocence

So what do we do?
Who will fight for the fatherless
When no one will step up
To help the poor widow?
Ought of sight, out of mind
Is that it?

Ought of sight, out of mind
You didn’t witness that child
Being hit
So
It’s back to the hustle and bustle
Of every day life

But if you were that child
If that was your kid
Being assaulted
And battered
You’d want somebody to care,
Wouldn’t you?

You do care…
Don’t you?

Photo source: Google Images