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Category Archives: Christianity

DAY 40 SOUL FAST – TELLING

DAY 40 SOUL FAST – TELLING

I LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT

This morning as I sat quietly, God reminded me that the only reason He spared me from the perils of the world, was so that I can tell about it.  Although I was a participant, I was also a witness to suffering.Yesterday, August 21st marked the twenty – fifth anniversary of Karyn Monique White’s death. She was my road dog. We were determined to ride or die – and she did. She was shot to death when we were twenty – five years old. The last time her mother saw her alive was the day I drove her up to the family’s beautiful home nestled in the hills above what was then Cal State Hayward.  She was her parents only child. I was embarrassed to find out through conversation that her mother had worked side by side with my Dad. She was gracious to me and never spoke a word of admonition to me. The fact that she knew who my father was and what he stood for was enough to choke me up as dropped my head in shame. We visited for awhile and she unpacked all of her perfumes and other things Karyn wanted and sent her with the newly bought things she wanted her to have.

The trendy blue jean jumpsuit that Mrs. White had given Karyn was the one she chose to wear that day. That morning as the two of got into my little Fiat Spider, Karyn shared a dream she had the night before. She said that she couldn’t see my face but everything indicated that I had been shot. She said she picked me up, Karyn was 5’10” tall, and ran with me through the streets looking for a hospital, blood was everywhere. That day was unlike any I’ve experienced before or since. I had the strangest sensation. A feeling I just couldn’t shake. She asked me to take her to three different places. When she’d start to get out of the car, I’d stop her, and tell her not to go. My voice was the one, she’d always hear. I wouldn’t leave her there and for the stuff she was doing she needed me to. As it turned out at each place an ambush lay waiting for her. Night finally came., we’d been driving around all day. We ended up of all places in the parking lot of a Mortuary, waiting for someone.  The feeling that had all that day was so intense that I was spooked. We had to get out of there. I put my car in gear and sped forward. I forgot that I was parked in front of a cement parking block – all I see was the street. My car was very low and the manifold to my engine cracked as I ran over it. We made it into the traffic but my car was loud. We had to park and call for a ride. We went to a safe house. The car that was sent for us was a two seater Mercedes. I had to wait for it’s return – it never did. I never saw Karyn alive again. I had to take her belonging back to her mother, to sit with her, and answer the many questions she had. She had heard many rumors and she looked to me for the truth. I did for Karyn what I hoped someone would do for me. I discounted the truth of what I knew. Her mother was suffering enough in her grief losing her only child. I could not see how disclosing the hard facts of Karyn’s life would be beneficial – it would only cause her mother more pain. I didn’t heart to do it. If I was wrong, I’m prepared to answer for it on judgment day.

GOD USED

Until this very moment, I’ve never spoken about Karyn or what happened to her. That incident was something I stuffed deeper within me. A heavy weight on my soul that I’ve carried with me for twenty-five years. I don’t know what it’s true impact on my life has been. I don’t know why God would stir it up and have me regurgitate it now. six days before my fiftieth birthday.  What I do know is that God has used everything that I’ve gone thru for someone’s good. Somebody’s got to be a witness, to recount the story just as it was. I probably will never know who needed to hear this bit of my testimony, why they needed to hear it or how it will impact their lives. The telling helped me, my spirit feels lighter.  What comes to mind is this verse of scripture (personalized), “And I overcame him, the enemy of my soul, by the word of my testimony…” Rev. 12:11. What the enemy has tried to use throughout my life to destroy me, God has circumvented and used for the good of others and His glory. Because I stand victorious, enduring continuously until the end, somebody had been inspired, found hope, and knows that God is real!

 

 
 

DAY 39 SOUL FAST – INTERDEPENDENCE

DAY 39 SOUL FAST – INTERDEPENDENCE

Yesterday, I happened into “Get on up,” the James Brown movie by mistake. The first line of the movie was “James Brown don’t need nobody…” I thought about that as my son and I found, sat down, and watched the kids movie we actually came to see. That line kept playing through my mind, probably because I had just had words with a dear friend of mine. I was still a bit wounded. I wasn’t intending on taking my son to the movies but it was an escape.  My feelings were still hurt and I was trying not to be still angry. Although we had words, we each retreated before something was said that could not be easily retracted and would form a black cloud over our blossoming friendship. Nothing is all gravy all the time and misspoken words can never be taken back.

As I was sitting there, my mind personalized and replayed James Brown’s words, “I don’t need nobody.” I thought about him, James Brown. With all due respect to his memory, that may have been what he actually believed, but it wasn’t true. How could it be? His amazing accomplishments that spanned many decades required interdependence. Just off the top of my head, his success was based on a network of musicians, singers, studio people, writers, agents, promoters, managers, club owners, record labels, and a huge fan base. I’m sure I missed something, but the point is he wasn’t singularly responsible for his own success. It took the knowledge, expertise, talent, and support of many people on many levels to make it happen.

The same is true for me, God has called me to a purpose. It is mine. However, the completion of it is dependent on interdependence. The primary connection is with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. My family/extended family are priceless. Other vital relationships are with folks in the Body of Christ with whom I’m on a mutual faith walk with. Not to mention my growing professional network. Also, the many people I know who don’t share my faith – I don’t devalue my relationships with them. Those relationships are important to me to because they add something to my life. All of these put together form the intrinsic network of people – the infrastructure that I need to do life successfully and accomplish my divine purpose in this life. I’m grateful for everyone who is present in my life.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Christianity, Life, Uncategorized

 

DAY 37 SOUL FAST – TOLERANCE

DAY 37 SOUL FAST – TOLERANCE

Wow, everyday of this 40 Day Soul Fast I get exactly the word that I need. Tolerance is not about me condoning bad behavior, lifestyles I don’t necessarily agree with or things I think are wrong. It’s about me accepting each person’s God given right to choose what is right or wrong for themselves, believe what they want to believe and decide their own individual destiny. Everyone must choose their own path and I’ve got to be alright with that. It is not my job to fix people, only God can do that, and only if person allows Him to. My job as a human being is to love  and accept other human beings right where they are.

 

 
 

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DAY 35 SOUL FAST – MORALITY

DAY 35 SOUL FAST – MORALITY

Today’s lesson sums everything up very nicely and speaks to my heart’s desire – TO DO THE RIGHT THING, according to the word of God. When I fall short, as I often do, what brings me back into alignment is knowing that’s God’s expectation for me. That supersedes what I may want to do and society justifies. My goal is to live a decent, morally (not politically) correct life before God and my children. I’m human, fallible yet today I’m ever willing as I pray, “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Christianity, Life, Uncategorized

 

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DAY 31 SOUL FAST – HELPING

DAY 31 SOUL FAST – HELPING

WHAT I DO BEST

I begin this week with a new determination – a resolve to continue pressing forward into the home stretch of The 40 Day Soul Fast. I never imagined that it would take my whole summer to complete. Day thirty-one’s focus is on what I do best – helping others. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we always had more than somebody. Being raised on the pew and with  several generations of ministry ungirding me, I was trained to be there for others – to serve. It’s so deeply ingrained in me, that when I’m not helping other people, I just don’t feel right. The challenge for me is not helping others but finding balance; time for myself and family. I have found that being of service – of use to others is not about finding a local homeless shelter and putting in the work with the downtrodden. I have done that, as well as worked in/with soup kitchens, single mothers, dope fiends, drunks, prostitutes, community agencies, etc., etc., etc.! What I’ve discovered at least for me is that God’s work through me continues to evolve as I do. I’m excited as I expectantly look forward to this next chapter unfolding. I’ve been working on developing it for the past year. In the meantime as I work towards the longterm, I’m always willing to take an interim assignment.  The biggest factor in being used by God to make a difference in somebody’s life is WILLINGNESS. In order for God’s will to be done thru me I stand willing to be taken out of my comfort zone. I’m willing to be inconvenienced – I will get out of my bed at dark thirty, bundle my son up and ride out into the night. I will go the extra mile when required to make sure somebody’s okay before I move on. When God tells me to, I will reach into my pocket and give someone every bill and dime in it without counting it first, and trust God for my provision. I don’t have to be recognized, and no, you don’t owe me anything. God takes very good care of me. I pray that I never wake up and find myself unwilling to do what I can for somebody who truly needs it; that my humanity is never diminished to that point, where it’s all about me and no else matters.

 
 

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DAY 30 SOUL FAST – COMPASSION

DAY 30 SOUL FAST – COMPASSION

WASHED ASHORE

As I slowly regain consciousness, my face smashed in the wet sand, the waves gently nudging me to get up.  I open my eyes, spitting out the salty water of the world and breathing in God. I’ve been in this place for more than a week. My mind, body, emotions and spirit are completely depleted of their natural resources. On day thirty of the Soul Fast, I find myself completely overwhelmed – washed ashore. Dr. Trimm, said this would be a period of blessing unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – life altering. I hung onto that hope from mid Spring Semester to it’s end. What I’ve been through the last few days, have altered my personal definition of what a blessing from God is.  Generally, when I think of a blessing from God, I think of something tangible – material, i.e., stuff. According to the Ancient Hebrew Research Center, “The extended meaning of this word is to do or give something of value to another.” It doesn’t define what “value” is.  God has redefined it for me.

CRAIG’S LIST PSYCHO THRILLER

When I have time, the movies I most enjoy watching are psycho thrillers. I love the suspense, the unpredictability, the psychology of the psycho paths that some dedicated profiler is trying to outwit and bring to justice. Sometimes it’s a jail cell,  often it ends with the perpetrator occupying a slab at the morgue, and when there is a sequel –  disappears until another day. I could not have fathomed that when God blessed me – translating me from the bungalow in a quaint close nit community near the local college to the estate I now share with a devout Christian woman and her two children, that it would be the backdrop of a Craig’s List psycho thriller. I had no idea that I would be given a starring role.  As I am still recovering from this ordeal, I’m grateful that my mind has necessarily detached itself from it.

Just before I came to live at The Light House, which our estate is so named, my housemate, “Ann” responded to a post on Craig’s List. She needed a live in to take care of her mother. Her mother’s house is adjacent to ours on the property too.  She needed someone who was strong enough to help manage the mother’s care as she has a bad back and is unable to do so. “Jim,” presented himself as a Christian who had been out of fellowship for a bit and anxious to get back on course. He said that this setup would be ideal as he wanted to go back to school and would be taking online courses in the fall so he’d be home most of the time. He wasn’t a male nurse; however, he had some experience providing caregiving. She hired him, things seemed to be going well then they began to quickly transform. It became obvious that Jim wasn’t qualified for the job. Being the kind person she is, Ann, tried to bring him up to speed. Some things he absolutely refused to do that were essential to her mother’s care like prepare balanced meals. His idea of lunch was a corn dog and a bag of cookies. When Ann began to question him he became belligerent, verbally abusive, and extremely aggressive to the point that she was afraid to go to her own mother’s house.

One day, I asked her if she was okay. That’s all it took for the tears and the story to come forth. The larger picture for her was that this interaction with the caregiver guy, Jim, took her back to a place of deep wounding and unresolved hurt. It took her back to the abuse that she was subjected to by her ex-husband, “Tom,” while they were married. When Jim talked stupid to her, she actually heard, “Tom.” When Jim would rear up on her, she remembered Tom hitting her. The fear that I saw, was the fear of an abused woman, who could not walk out of that place within herself and through this alone. There’s more, that I won’t get into – this was a complete, total mind screw. Not only of Ann but the manipulation of her Mom too. That place that Jim took them to was dark and scary. He was in control or so he thought.

Because she needed someone right away to care for her Mom, she did not do all the stuff she should have: reference checks, background checks, etc. As we’d later find out, this guy had three criminal charges in Riverside County, CA.

DOING THE RIGHT THING

When I looked into the face of my housemate as this was unfolding, and saw the magnitude of her fear, my heart was moved with compassion. As the enemy came in like a flood, threatening the lives of us all it never occurred to me to take my eight year old son and go visit my Mom until the smoke cleared and the dust settled. This was real life and that wasn’t about to happen! How is it that God would give me, a virtual stranger, the responsibility for the lives of three generations of a family? I now understand how crime scenes happen. Crazy people know how to stay just out of reach of the police; and when they are ready to make their move the police are too late and everybody’s dead. Over the course of two days Jim sent over 400 threatening text messages demanding money to stop the harassment that the police called “freedom of speech.” He also stole three guns from the house.

Perhaps the redeeming factor to my repertoire of sin is that God has sent me to walk with others thru seasons of hard testing and trials. God has placed me in situations throughout my life that I just could not walk away from – not and be able to live with myself in the aftermath.  I know what it’s like to be abandoned and left for dead. I wasn’t going to stand by and let this nut hold an old woman hostage in her own house, continue to terrorize Ann or put fear in the hearts of her children! I was filled with righteous indignation – what a coward. However, what I couldn’t do is fight this battle for Ann. Even with her permission, I wasn’t going to go down to her Mom’s house and put him out.  She had to do it for herself and her kids needed to see her empowered, in control, and standing up to protect the homestead.

THE REAL BLESSING

The last few days have been quiet on the home front. Hopefully, this melodrama is truly over. The real blessing in it all was this past Sunday, the Grandmother celebrated her 86th birthday surrounded by her children, grandchildren and scores of extended family members and friends. Ann was able to push past her fear that had her bound and find the strength within herself to overcome the abuse in her life. Her four children were able to find a place a safety and the security of knowing that their mother could protect them.

The real blessing for me was learning how to take care of myself in the aftermath of ministry…that I didn’t have to drown after swimming that family to shore. That was not required.

A WORD OF CAUTION

Needless to say, our house is on lockdown day and night as we pick up the pieces of our lives and move forward. The man who wreaked such havoc in our lives: his initials are TTS; DOB 8/3/66; Drivers license has a Palm Springs address. He is a white male, approximately 5’8″ tall – 160 lbs. Clean cut, well kept and articulate. It’s worth the extra time to check out any potential live in caregiver. I thank God for seeing us thru this and pray that no one goes thru what we did.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Christianity, Life, Uncategorized

 

DAY 29 SOUL FAST – SOWING

DAY 29 SOUL FAST – SOWING

BLACK OR WHITE

My mother is very simplistic in her approach to life. The lens in which she views the world is either black or white. My mother used to always say that I would reap what I sowed. A simple phrase that reflected her displeasure and disappointment with my then life outside of the will of God. She’s not well read, so I doubt that she’s ever read this quote

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit and your reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny” Charles Reade

MY MIND WAS AN EMPTY FIELD

When I consider Charles Reade’s words, I can look back over my life and see my successes and defeats from a different perspective. Things that I didn’t understand make perfect sense now. I now have the answers that escaped me to the “whys.” At one point in my life my mind was but an empty field. At some point, no doubt before birth the cultivation of it began. Seeds were sowed into it from various sources (mom, dad, siblings, teachers, neighbors, etc) and my thought of myself and the world around me began to take form. Those thoughts were fertilized or deprived nutrients as I grew that brought about certain behaviors. As the garden of my mind was tended and sharecropped by the educational system, some weeds were pulled, others overlooked all growing up together to produce a myriad of habits. Some of these habits stymied while others flourished creating the character that’s now present- visible for all to see.The character as long as it remains unhindered in its current state by the undesirable parts of itself that grew up along with it will walk into destiny. Now, that quite a bit of food for thought.

SOMETIMES I STRUGGLE

Sometimes, I struggle because of the seeds that have been planted in my by God and the world. Sometimes they war against each other. The challenge is continuously pulling up the world’s weeds i.e.,  it’s ideology, habits, etc.;and nurturing, watering the seed of the word that is planted deep within me that has had to struggle to survive amidst the tares.

 
 

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