As I lay in bed trying my best NOT to wake up early this morning it was as if God started tugging at the covers. The tighter I pulled them around my shoulders, creating a cozy little comfort zone, the harder he tugged. He often does this when I have been absent from our special morning time together for longer than I should or if I’m dragging my feet on something He has asked me to do. God’s not big on earthly comfort zones and, though I usually fuss about it at the time, I really am thankful that he doesn’t let me kick back too long.
This morning it was about digging deeper into some things I just keep putting off. Truth be told, I often put things off, sometimes for a very long time, years in fact. Fear of failure and rejection, says I. Disobedience and distrust, says He.
As I lay there silently arguing with him and preoccupying myself with a game on my phone, His still, small voice grew louder to the point that I could no longer ignore Him and, just as I gave in and put my phone away, I heard him whisper the name Jonah.
Jonah? Like the guy that got swallowed by the whale? That Jonah?
Jonah, I heard again, as I reached over to pick up my Bible. Flipping through the Old Testament, I finally landed on the book of Jonah and began to read. And the more I read, the more I began to understand. Never in my life had I seen myself in this particularly story, but here in this moment, on the pages of my own bible, Jonah, it seemed, was synonymous with B-R-E-N-D-A.
Like Jonah, I have been running from certain aspects of God’s calling on my life and, as I read his reflections as he was entombed inside the belly of that great fish, I felt compelled to read the words aloud.
Jonah, Chapter 2
1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ ” 10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Honestly, I think I have been in the belly of a whale for a while now. And thank God. Thank God that he hasn’t given up on me; that he still finds me worthy of my purpose.
One way or another, He will get me there. Who am I to complain about the mode of transportation?
I’m coming, Nineveh. I’m coming.
Amen and Ehmen.
Facts are facts. I’m a white woman and, according to the known branches on my family tree as well as a recent ancestry DNA test, I pretty much have been even further than the eye can see.
My DNA also says I’m about as British as they come, 73.4 percent according to my genetic molecules. That’s far more British than the average British person today. Of course, that brings me to the most obvious question of all. With stats like that, how in the world was I NOT invited to the royal wedding? And, why hasn’t someone offered me some tea and crumpets? Worse, yet, why don’t I know what a crumpet is?
Anyhow, that’s enough about DNA. It’s just something I have been meaning to share.
Now, back to the point. I’m white. I can’t hide it and, although sometimes I wish I could, I can’t change it. It’s the way God made me. And, although I haven’t always understood this truth, my skin color has afforded myself and my ancestors advantages that my brothers and sisters of color did not, and in many cases, still do not have. I can’t hide nor change that historical fact either.
What I can change is my awareness of and response to the differences and divide society has created between people of different colors, shapes, sizes and ages. Racism is still very much alive and real and I truly want to be a part of the solution not the problem. God made us all and He loves us all the same. We should all be able to wear our skin color like the badge of honor that it is; just another creative twist given to us by the Master Creator Himself.
Concurrently, I ask for grace, in the event that I say something in life or in this blog, in a wrong way. Please know that my heart is in the right place. I like to consider myself “woke” as folks say, but the fact is I grew up in a society that has been asleep for quite some time. Fortunate for me, God placed in me an open heart and mind as well as people who have come alongside me and helped to broaden my horizon; to better understand our differences, but, most especially, our sameness.
Thank you to my old Centreplex family for putting up with me and all my goofy questions over the years, helping to enlighten me along the way. I love you guys with all my heart and I miss you every day. You will always be a highlight in my career and, most importantly, my life.
Lord, please help me and all of my brothers and sisters be a part of the solution in creating a world that is a true reflection of Galatians 3:28–a world where we are all equal and one in You!
Amen and Ehmen.
Hey, y’all! I just had to add commentary to this bible verse post.
1:11 always has a way of presenting itself to me over and over at different times in my life. And, though, you can’t see it and it was definitely not planned, at least not on my part, this was posted on WP at exactly 1:11.
For years I have felt seeing 111 over and over again had to be significant. I FINALLY know what that significance is…it’s a reminder of Ephesians 1:11…a reminder to keep walking the walk and writing the words…He’s got the rest!
Thank You, God, for giving me this verse today in my devotional and for opening my eyes at a time when I most needed it. Thank You for reminding me over and over and over and granting me so much grace I don’t deserve it, but I am so happy that You give it anyway! Amen and Ehmen!
Update#2. I had just closed this post and was looking at it again when I noticed something else! Look at the date! 1/11! I just love God!
January 6, 2019
Out of obedience and Your own beckoning, I am here. I really didn’t want to put this on paper as I feel that I am beginning to sound like a broken record. Actually, more often than not, I KNOW I sound like a broken record in my prayers and pleas. I’m just glad that You can see past it, into my heart, and know my deep love for You. Though my trust obviously wavers, my love does not. I’m a work in progress and, as Your word declares, always will be until the day that I meet You in Heaven. Help me to be more moldable, teachable and trusting, dear Lord. Help me to trade in my fear and fret for unwavering trust and contented dependence.
Each time I come to a crossroads, such as when a project falls through, You always come to my rescue. It may not be in my preferred time, but it is always in Your perfect time. I KNOW this from experience. You have a stellar track record and yet, if I’m totally honest, this living on the edge, not knowing from where my next paycheck will come, wrecks me every time.
Lord, today, I just need to hear from You. I need to KNOW and to hear once again that I am on the path that you desire for me. And, if so, help me to squash my disbelief and rest in the knowledge that You will take care of me just as You have promised and proven time and time again. Help me to hang on to You and not bail or let the enemy steal this time with which You have blessed me; this time to move my purpose forward.
I NEED You, my Father. Every moment of every day. I am nothing and I am useless without You. Come close and allow me to hear Your heart. Amen and Ehmen.
My desire is not that you are perfect as we both know is impossible by virtue of your humanness.
Instead I cherish the moments that you are real and honest with Me; for it is when you pour out your burdens and fears to Me that I am able to refill you with more truth and love; more fuel to keep on the path I have set before you.
While I wish you would fully trust Me, I also understand when you waver. The most important thing is that you keep coming to Me and laying your burdens at My feet; for when your burdens are at My feet, the enemy cannot use them against you. He knows that I will crush him with a single strike of My heel should he try to snatch them.
You can come to me anytime. I will not grow weary, My child. I know that you have fears; fear is a common human condition and has been since the days of Adam and Eve. Why do you think “Fear Not and Do Not Be Afraid” appear so many times throughout My Word? You are not the first to need reassurance and you will not be the last. I’m okay with that, as long as you continue to come to Me.
I love you, child. Unconditionally and Completely. Eternally. Even when you don’t understand My ways, trust in My love for you and know that you can always approach Me anytime you desire. Everything else will fall into place. Thank you for spending time with Me this morning. Now, just breathe and watch me refill you with My goodness and faithfulness.
While I am pretty good at daydreaming, I’m not much of a dreamer when my eyes are closed. And, if I do dream, I typically don’t remember. About four years ago, however, I had a dream that I shall never forget; a life-changing dream that I soon knew was an answered prayer straight from Heaven; the unmistakable confirmation of a prophecy spoken over my life a few weeks prior.
And, although what unfolded in that dream has never been far from mind, I definitely haven’t allowed it to light a fire under me as I know was intended. Instead, I placed it on the back-burner as I so often do when something overwhelms me. Thank goodness, I have a relentless, never-give-up-on-me Lord and Savior who began the process of coaching me out of hibernation this past summer and moving that dream back to the forefront of my daily consciousness.
As I began thinking about the dream more, I began praying for another dream to boost my spiritual confidence, or, better yet, a replay of THAT dream. I also became obsessed with RVs as that had been the dream’s setting. I even found and entered a contest to win one as I figured this would be a quite fitting–and inspiring—place to finally finish the book the Lord had begun unfolding almost a decade ago. And, because God is always faithful, I just knew I was going to win.
Spoiler alert. I did NOT win the contest in October. However, God did show up in a most impressive way and on the very day of the contest drawing, nonetheless. I know because I kept notes in my phone.
From My Dear God Journals. October 31, 2018. My first-ever job on the road.
As I stood alone on the Mann Family’s tour bus, I knew in my spirit that there was more to the moment than just being obedient to God, stepping out in faith and doing something new. I knew there was something else God wanted to reveal to me on this trip and this empty tour bus—parked with shades drawn—appeared a clue.
My eyes were drawn to an iridescent light in the bus’s ceiling which illuminated the driver’s cabin in a kaleidoscope of glimmering light and color. As if a spotlight cast from Heaven itself, I felt compelled to take a seat and closed my eyes in hopes of hearing from the Lord.
Within moments, my mind began spinning in reverse, like a tape rewinding in the now antiquated and dust-laden VCR I refuse to remove from my entertainment center. Backwards I went, images of places I had been and moments I had lived, all zipping by in sync with a garbled soundtrack which sounded a lot like Alvin the Chipmunk singing in foreign tongue.
Backwards I went, past all the job difficulties that have plagued the last few years—the multiple management changes and difficulties that those brought, the age discrimination, the toxic work environment and the painfully obvious ploys used to seal my fate as the last of the “old crew” to finally be swept out.
Past the death of my brother and the frightening illness of my mother and my other brother; past my own health scares and an extended illness that literally took my breath away; past what I now know was bouts of depression and crippling fear which I allowed to sideline my passionate pursuit of the very purpose God has laid before me. I even whizzed past the good days, the grace and blessings that God continued to bestow upon me despite my hit-and-miss acknowledgement.
Backwards I went at dizzying speeds, coming to a stop at a place of great familiarity. I inhaled deeply as a wave of déjà vu and intense curiosity beckoned me to reopen my eyes. I was still sitting in the driver’s seat, but I was definitely not on the Mann’s tour bus anymore. In fact, I wasn’t even in 2018.
Instead I had awakened in the midst of the very dream that God had gifted me some four years prior; a dream for which I had prayed for fervently; a pivotal dream in my journey of purpose; a dream of great enlightenment that had both thrilled and overwhelmed me, and, because of my own fear, eventually derailed me.
This was obviously more than a run-of-the-mill déjà vu moment; it was a moment undoubtedly meant to put me back on track; a moment that shouted Isaiah 14:27: “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When His hand is raised, who can stop Him?”
This answer is nothing and no one; not even a stubborn, hardheaded, “bless her heart” southern girl.
Thank You, Jesus, for bringing me back to the last docking station along this purposeful journey; thank You for allowing me to relive the dream in which Your will and purpose for my life became evident and intersected and intertwined with my own.
Thank You for replaying the dream that awoke my reality.
May I honor and be obedient to it and You, putting pen to paper and sharing it with the world just as You have asked.
Today’s take-away: We are to live in expectation when it comes to prayers, but never forget that just because He may not have answered the way we expected, does not mean He didn’t answer. Stay alert and enjoy the ride! I promise you’ll never be bored. As for me, my first New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to permanently capture my dream using pen strokes and paper. Almost as unbelievable as it is true, it—and the prophecy that preceded it—changed my life and will, if I stay true to my calling, eventually lead to a completed book that will change the lives of countless others as well. Pray for my obedience and stay tuned.
–Amen and Ehmen.
“It’s all good.” We’ve all heard people say it. Sometimes they mean it, but often times, it’s just another way of saying, “it is what it is and I’ve just accepted it.” What I’ve discovered is that, no matter what the situation is, with God at the helm, it really is always good. It may not be in the way we expect or when we want, but He always and in all ways makes good out of all things bad for those who love Him. Now that’s good. Amen and EHmen!
This morning, as I realized I had once again got sucked into checking social media and playing on my phone in general, I opened the Bible app in an attempt to resuscitate my quiet time with You. I found today’s verse, pictured here, most captivating and have decided to use my time this morning putting it to the test. I can’t wait to see what You reveal. So, without further ado, the blank page is yours…Amen and Ehmen
Dear, Sweet, Stubborn and Loveable Child of Mine,
I love you. That should go without saying, but I like to say it anyway for a couple of reasons. One, and most especially when things get hard, My children often forget this.
And, two, love is the key that unlocks everything on heaven and on earth. It’s the foundation for all that is good, right and holy. It’s the driving force behind all creation; the very blood that pumps through My veins and powers my heart for all creation, most especially you and all of humankind, past and present. Without love, there would be no heaven or earth. There would be no you.
Spend some time today meditating on what My Word says Love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Start by looking closely at the word “always,” Child. The dictionary defines this word as meaning at all times and on all occasions, forever, which is true. But look at the word closer. Not only is my love for you timeless and eternal, but I also thrive in expressing it in all ways as well.
Indeed, love is in everything that I do. Everything.
In the things that make you smile and the things that make you cry. The things that bring you joy and the things that bring you pain. Everything that I do; everything that I allow in your life is wrapped in love.
Make a note though, Child. While all things are wrapped in love, all things that bring you heartache and pain do NOT come from love. They ARE transformed by love and given back to you as a gift.
What you do with that gift is up to you. You can let it collect dust on a shelf, never unwrapping it to reveal the gift inside, or you can do as I have always intended—unwrap it and use it! Share it with the world; use it to help bring others into My Kingdom.
To do anything less has tragic consequences which mourn My soul.
I love you, Child, and I trust you will do the right thing. I made you. I know you. And I believe in you. My gifts will never be wasted on you.
Go forth and be fruitful. Go forth in love.
The Christmas Story as told out of the mouths of babes and acted out by the adults who love them. Definitely worth 3 minutes of your day. More, if you are like me and watch it over and over. Haha. Merry Christmas, Y’all!!!