pray

Imperfect Love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I have reflected on this verse often over the course of the past six months. I hear its refrain as I ponder on those whom I love and those who love me. I know imperfect love. It looms. I know it’s imperfect. It is fear-inducing and creates unnecessary risk. Fear-inducing love is not loving at all. Imperfect love is an oxymoron as it does not exist; love can only exist in complete perfection.

I got a glimpse of perfect love today. I saw it over breakfast and a coffee two hours afternoon. It was not a fear-inducing love, but one that feels freeing. One that assists in letting go. I pray for more of that love.

I pray I find it in the Lord.

I pray I find it in friends.

I pray it is found in me.

Day 6: Current Events

Sept 6th: A “currently…” post. Tell us what you’re loving, hating, reading, eating, etc.  (more…)

Here in this Place

If you read through a couple of my blog posts (like the previous one) or have a heart-to-heart conversation with me, you will know I have had my lot of daddy issues. From hating the man to ignoring his existence to being here in this place with him, I have struggled greatly with the way that I relate to him, but all of that has taken an interesting turn recently.

September 17th, my and my dad had a conversation, where I let it all out. Many times, I have unsuccessfully attempted to do so. All ending in failure and frustration, but at the end of the conversation I said something to him that gripped both him and I. He often makes references to being the spiritual head of our family and how I should respect that. He talks about how he is without honor in his own home. Knowing God, intimately and personally, I take offense to both statements. One, because I honor him. My lifestyle brings honor to him. I am an African-American women, who has graduated from college with honors and without loans. I moved to Texas to work with people I have never met in my life and did extremely well. I was accepted into one of the top seminaries in the nation. My whole life revolves around how I can please the Lord. The one time I was drunk (and before some of y’all get ya panties in a bunch I realize bad choice), I kept screaming, “I’m so sorry, Jesus! Jesus is so ashamed of me.” So, the no honor thing just pissed me off. More than that I hated it, because that scripture (Mark 6:4) was used in a way to belittle me. And they did. I felt so little, but worse than feeling little I felt insignificant. I felt like everything God created me to be was pointless. And folks, that is a hellish place to be. But back to the conversation. I ended it with this phrase,

“If you want to have a relationship with me, you need to pursue me! Because that is exactly what God did for us. He didn’t ask me to meet him halfway or to pursue him. Because, HE is my Father and HE wanted a relationship with HIS child.”

After letting the tension settle, my dad agreed. He FREAKING agreed with me. I went into my room that night and bawled. I turned on a song called When I am Afraid by Laura Hackett and just cried. I don’t know why I was crying. The conversation ended as good as it could, but it was just one of those where I was overwhelmingly (and frighteningly) emotional. I haven’t thought much about it until today. Because, I realized something: I am worth pursuing.

I jokingly boast with friends that I am awesome, but oft-times I think of myself in relation to my deficits. I look at my left hand holding on to all the things that I assume make me lesser than some fictional other person. The biggest of them all being my body. Not simply just weight, but health issues that are out of my control. I would focus on them and just imagine, “How in the world am I going to present this to anyone? I’m so ashamed. Why would anyone even waste their time?” But in this time off I have had the time to concentrate on the abundance in my right hand. Oh my GOD (literally to God), the perspective. I don’t want to list them off, but the ways the LORD has blessed me far outweigh the pitfalls of being me. And it didn’t see that. I never noticed that and for that reason I am worth pursuing. Let me tell you why this is important.

I am the WORST at liking guys. I pick out guys based on my deficits. I say I don’t have a type, but I do. My (previous) type are nice guys with terrible decision-making skills. Typically, he is a well liked guy in a group of people, but he makes really really stupid decisions. More than that, I have always pursued these “nice-ish guys”. But I am not a tyrannosaurus looking for a partner so I don’t miss Noah’s Ark. I am a woman and I am awesome. I ain’t no Halle Berry, but let me tell you something Halle Berry ain’t no Tosin Akande. GOD has brought me to a place in our relationship where I am understanding myself a whole lot better, because I am understanding HIM a whole lot better. I am worth being pursued. I am worth being pursued because if God pursued me, then a man (the right man) can too.

I can’t believe that took 23 years to figure out.

So, if you are wondering about me and my dad. He is actually pursuing a relationship with me, but pray for me y’all. My heart very easily falls back into the bull it did before. I have forgiven my father. Forgiveness is a purposeful decision, but reconciliation is a whole new battlefield. Can I ask the readers of this blog to leave a prayer for me in the comment section or a message on Facebook that my heart would just soften towards my dad and I would just give him a chance. The way God is constantly giving me chances knowing I am a screwball.

Lord Jesus, here I am in this place. It is such a funny process walking with You. I always ask You to take me deeper than I could ever wander and You do. By the way, I meant physical location wise. However, this is much better than I had in mind. I never seem to know my destinations, but I get there and then everything just makes sense. I don’t ever think I said this before, but thank You for pursuing me. Thank You for thinking me worth the journey from perfection and holiness to sin and folly. Thank You for always loving me even when I never noticed and even when I didn’t love You back. You are so good to me. Thank You for this amazing journey. The past six years walking with You have been epic. Thank you for this month of reflection and recharge. Whether You send me to Mozambique or Sevilla or to Iran or Venezuela or to remain in Houston or return to Atlanta, thank You. My trust is in You alone, and as long as You are in my heart then I am home. I love you and Amen

Celebrating Good Men

Sometimes, the one ends up representing the many. That’s what happened to me. For a long time one man has represented all men for me. I made an idol of loathing men. I hate their power. I hate that God asks me to submit to them. They are so untrustworthy. They manipulate people. Men, they want me to stifle my voice. They want me to feel like I am nothing; so they can feel like something. They did that to me. However, it was not men, it was man, a man, my dad.

However, this post is not about him. It is not about the multitude (like five tops) of guys that have made me feel so small. This is an apology and a celebration of the men who have put up with my craziness over the past several years.

Tonight, I dedicate this post to the men who have prayed for me. Who have actively just lifted me up to Jesus. For the men who don’t simply see me as a woman, but as a sister, their sister in Christ. Thank you men so much. I don’t know what in the world the Lord has as your reward, but I hope and pray it is something grand. There is something so endearing about knowing that someone is praying for you. I think it is because men and women cannot be anything, but genuine and vulnerable before the Lord. Thanks for mentioning me when you were at your most vulnerable. Thanks for mentioning to God. He heard, and He answered.

Thank you to the men who put up with my hurtful words and didn’t return them back to me. I have said some terrible things to you men. I probably still will (God’s working on that with me). I am never angry with you. Sincerely, I am never mad. I am my father’s daughter. I like to believe if I can take away your value I can ascribe it to myself. Please know that the venom I spew makes me so sick as well. You men are never ever the words I say. Please continue accepting my apologies and be patient with me. At sometime, I will get it.

Thank you to the guys that have been AMAZING LEADERS. Literally, a ton of my appreciation goes to this group of men. I remember conversing with God and stating, “God, how am I supposed to submit to a man? I don’t trust them and they all lead poorly” Literally, days later God sent a male leader that I respected so much. Without even knowing, he taught me how godly men lead. While, I never developed feelings for this man, I will be looking for the same leadership qualities in my husband. So, many times as an adolescent male leaders placed me in roles where women previously were, not at all thinking of my actual skill set or spiritual gifts. Seeing a guy assess that and then act on it was amazing.

Thank you to the sensitive guys, who have shared private moments with me. Who have opened themselves up to me. I know most people don’t accept it, but I do. It is beautiful and amazing. I live for those moments.

Thank you to the guys who smile at me or tell me I’m pretty. I like to believe I am, but it is nice to have someone else think that sometimes.

Thank you finally to my man. I do not think I have met you, yet. Please, know I am already thankful for you. I have prayed for you, and hold you in the closest place in my heart. I neither think of you as a perfect god or a fault-filled devil. You are human. You know life is harsh. You have made mistakes, but we all have. Christ forgave you. So how can I hold anything against you? So much of who I am right now is in preparation to one day be married. I am not learning a lot of housework skills (that will be split fairly). However, I want to be emotionally ready for you. I am dealing with my dad bags. While, I would love to meander around the dating world, I know it is not the best thing for me to do. Thank you for putting up with the first 10 years of crazy and tons of years more. Thank you for being an amazing leader to our big beautiful diverse family. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for telling me I’m pretty, when appropriate (let’s be real here, some days I look awful). Thank you for having intimate moments with me, filled with secrets and jokes and whispers and tears and laughter. Thank you for loving me like Christ loves the church. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Thanks men, keep up the good work. Because there are tons of women just like me and worse who need some men to be GOOD MEN!

Finding Him in a Sermon….

God stirs my heart in the most unexpected of ways. When, I believe it is in my prayers; He makes His presence known in a song. When, I repeat the song over and over; He makes Himself known among His creation. There have been times when I would simply be walking and the wind would blow, and I would just know that God was real and He was mindful of me. Many of times I will be studying the Bible, and God would just reveal the beautiful mystery of His truth. RARELY and I do mean RARELY is it in a sermon.

When, I sit on the end of an aisle on a Sunday morning I wear my Bible scholar hat. I want to learn. I want to know scripture more. I want to be enlightened on the application of my faith. In completely humility and sincerity, I want God to know I am doing everything to know Him. I want to know Him like He knows me. I want to know Him like He is the only thing to know. The Holy Spirit made himself known. Pastor Gregg talked about fasting and prayer. Prayer is probably one of the most forgotten foundations and underutilized weapons in the Christian faith. I am so guilty of it.

Last night as I laid down to sleep, I just cried before God. There are times where I do or say something harsh to my kids and the weight of guilty and shame is so immediate. I ask for forgiveness from God and the child. God reminds me that He created them. That thought rips me apart. God created my kids, and I am doing a poor job being mindful of His exuberant creation. As I continued last evening’s lament, my prayer turned into an avalanche of personal problems, complaints, and requests. God was completely lost in all my whining.

When, I heard Pastor Gregg’s message this morning. I knew God was talking directly to me. I knew it was time, I put away my childish prayers, and pray. That is my intention. God called me to do something; I don’t know how long. Honestly, I don’t care how long. I am excited to be denying my flesh something it needs, in my pursuit of prayer. I’ll be praying for my kids, my future, my friends, and freedom. God is going to use this time to bring clarity. I am sure of it.

Here is a link to Pastor Gregg’s sermon titled No Food, Know Prayer.

Be blessed and more importantly be prayerful.