Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Prayer for Today

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
now and for ever

Friday, May 15, 2009

How Does it Feel?

pictured here are Carlton and simply beautiful (about 2002)

I dedicate tonight's Graduation to my big brother, my mentor, my friend, my number one encourager-- Carlton. I love you!! R.I.P.

How does it feel to finally get something that you've been working towards for quite a while? That's the question I'm asking myself. How does I feel? I've been working towards a Bachelor's degree for a while now. And in approximately 3 1/2 hours from now I will officially receive a Bachelors Degree in Arts and Sciences in Sociology from Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX.
I know, I know--people graduate all the time. Someone graduates felt they never would have made it. I'm sure there are more heartfelt stories than mine. But I still had to take the time to reminisce over the last two years especially. I'll go back to June 2007. During the spring, I'd applied as a transfer student but wasn't sure if I'd be admitted. I did fair at my previous school, but my first college experience was a failure. But, I'd heard from God that this would work out so I had to keep the faith. I got the call one Wednesday afternoon in early June that I'd been admitted. I shared the news with my brother who was ill at the time. He was so happy for me because he knew of my dream to return to school and finish my degree. The next Sunday, he went into the hospital. Early Saturday morning, he was dead. My whole world went into a tailspin. Never did it occur to me, not once did I consider not continuing my education because of my loss. The thought didn't cross my mind, because Carlton would have wanted me to go on.
So tonight's victory is not just for me--but for my big brother. Tonight I walk across that stage to show death that it has not won. Death comes to steal, kill and destroy. Death tried to steal my joy, kill my purpose, and destroy my dream. But God said "NO!!" And so in this situation, death still has no victory, it has no sting. (paraphrase John 10:10 and 1 Cor 15:55)
Tonight I proudly walk across that stage and accept my degree and remember that I made many, many sacrifices, none of which I regret. I passed up on going out with friends and family and as a result lost some friends--they didn't understand that I was in pursuit. I placed my love life on hold--I've delayed travels and vacations-- I sacrificed mid-week and Sunday evening church services and activities. I've even sacrificed eating and sleeping. But all of the hardship, working a full time job, being a full time mother and student, starting my day at 5am, late nights writing papers, reading homework assignments and finally ending my day at 1 or 2am, just to begin again at 5am.--times when I did not know where the bill/tuition/book/grocery money was coming from, not knowing if I had the physical or mental strength or the knowledge to even start or complete a project or a paper...all of the sacrifice has been worth it for this one night. Tonight when I will proudly walk across the stage, I will know it's because I persevered, I belong, and I deserve it.

simply beautiful

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hate on me Haters!!!

Hi Gentle Readers:
Ever felt like the whole world was against you? Umph--I have. As a matter of fact, I feel like that this very minute! I have so many people hatin' on me right's unreal. The strange thing is, I don't know why they hatin'... I ain't did nobody none--really, I haven't (in my best whinnin' voice)
First of all, in this situation, I know that I have to encourage myself. This I know: Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world(1John 4:4) AND as my pastor says, 'let 'em hate. That means God will bless and move on my behalf all the more and give my haters even more reason to hate!!' (I like that!!)
The thing about my haters is that they are persons who shouldn't be hatin'. (Aren't they always, though?) They are persons closest to me-- so they should be loving, caring, and'd think?...but nooo...oooh dare I say it? haters are church and family members. Yep..they are. I've noticed in the last few weeks, that certain people are talking about me, not behind my back, mind you--like they are supposed to, but to my face. And giving me strange looks or just plain ol' igging me in conversations. What I usually do is just brushed it off as my imagination. But it keeps coming back time and time again, so I know there has to be something to it.
Can we just talk--you and me? Do you mind if I get real with you a moment and share this experience? See, I was at church---getting my praise and worship in, cuz you know, God is good!, and I hear my name whispered. OK--who's whispering my name while I'm in the middle of worship?!! So I think to myself, 'this must be pretty important, right? Maybe I should come out of worship to see if my skirt is caught up in my pantyhose or something....that can be too embarassing, you I come out of worship for a moment--only to find this young lady is pointing at me and whispering something about me to her neighbor. So I say to myself, "Oops...that's not my conversation"--and I go back to worship. Now this is my thought--let me know if my thinking is wrong here: The praise and worship leader has taken us in. God's in the building. Blessing. Healing. Making miracles happen. And this person has NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN TO TALK ABOUT ME?!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!
The most important thing when the spirit is high is that we focus on God--give God His due. Give Him the honor, praise and worship He deserves. But no--this person decides not to give their attention to the Almighty God, but to meer (wo)man instead. WHAT?!! He is the God who woke us up this morning! Clothed in our right minds! Put food on the table! Gives life, breath, health and strength! I got news for you Ms. Whisperer Hater---I AIN'T DONE NONE OF THAT!!! and couldn't even if I wanted to!!!

Second hater issue...I'm on one of those social networks--you know the kind--where you have to be a member and all we do is talk (type) back and forth--forth and back. Well, I've got a cousin on therethat grew up with me. But after the debacle of 2001,we don't talk much--but anyway, it seems that from the time I announced I'm graduating from college--this cousin ignores me on the social network. Seems like when she realizes I'm on..she gets off. My son tells me, 'oh she just signed off and missed your comment.' No she didn't. She's dissin' me. But that's ok. Go 'head. Dis me. Cuz the more you dis me, the more I'll bless you. The more I bless you, the more I'm blessed. I'm not braggin or boastin on me. I'm braggin and boastin on the God in me. And if you choose to hate on me...hate on. Cuz it's not me you're hatin'.

As I sit and think about it, I'm reminded that I am not unique. They also hated on Jesus. Hated on Him so much that they sent soldiers to pick up an innocent Man in the middle of the night. They tried Him all night long, taking Him from courtroom to courtroom--all on trumped up charges. Hated Him so much that the crowd said let the guilty go free while an innocent Man was pronounced guilty. Hated Him so much that they beat him and spat on him and then they made Him carry a cross up Golgotha hill. Hated him so they put Him up on that cross between two thieves, put a crown of thorns on His head and mocked Him. And to think, He endured the haters, He gave His life, so that you and I can have eternal life. There's no need to ask 'what would Jesus do?' What He did is recorded in Luke for all to read. But in case you missed it, this is what He did--He blessed His haters. Remember? "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do"? Luke 23:34

So a short letter to my Haters: I love you. I decree that God bless and keep you! May God bless you financially--bless your family--bless your children, and your children's children-- bless you on your job--keep you healthy--provide food on your table, clothes on your back and shoes on your feet--May He give you the desires of your heart--bless your going out, bless your coming in--bless you in the city and in the field!! May He enlarge your territory. May the Lord God bless you in every way, every day in ways that are abundantly and exceedingly more than you can dream or imagine!! AMEN!!

I've got one last thing to say and I'll let you go...In the words of my favorite poetress the Honorable Jill Scott:

You can try as you may, Break me down but I say
That it ain’t up to you, Gone and do what you do
Hate on me, hater, Now or later
‘Cuz I’m gonna do me, You’ll be mad, baby
Go ‘head and hate on me, hater
I’m not afraid of -- What I got I paid for!!
You can hate on me!!!

Thanks, Jill! I could not have said it better!
and Thanks God, there is no better example of a more excellent way!!
simply beautiful