Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Random musings: What planet am I on?

Sometimes after watching a few hours of TV, especially reality TV, reading random posts on my facebook news feed or certain blogs that I viist and wonder "What planet am I on?"  I often end up feel like an alien in this culture and time because so much of what is put forth front and center as what is valued makes me cringe inside, and that's just for starters.  Is it me?  Am I the one who is off/wrong for seeing things the way I do?  I hold biblical values dear to my heart, and dear to the core of me and who I am, but that is not valued in our society and its denegrated and despised so often.  Ugh -- ** sigh **

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random musing: oversharing

We live in a world where there is way too much sharing aka over-sharing!  As a result, nothing is sacred anymore and if one doesn't want to take part in the over sharing, then one is looked at has something wrong with them.  Another consequence of this is if one dares to question it, then it gets labeled as "judging"! What are we doing and why are we doing this to ourselves?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11 -- 10 years later

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I just returned home from my job at an IT call center in Houston, TX, and learned the World Trade Center Towers had been attacked. I left my living room and came back just in time to see Tower 2, the place where I worked before leaving New York City to move back to Houston in May 2001, get hit live on TV.  Obviously the nation as a whole has changed since then in so many ways.  Every year since then, on this date, I am reminded of the enormity of what happened. The rest of the day is mostly a blur.  However, I do remembering staying glued to the TV and taking phone calls from family and friends who heard/saw it as well and knew that I worked in the WTC before leaving New York.  My father, who suffered 3 heart attacks from late 2000 to March 2001, said to me that he would have had another heart attack if I was still in New York working that day. The gravity of his words are with me even to this day, but to fully understand it, I must give a brief background of my 9-11 story. 

I moved to New York in May 1998 to start a new life while I was in my mid-twenties.  Three years later, I was living on my own, had made new friends, was active in a local church and truthfully wanted no part of returning to Houston, but God had other plans.  After my Dad's third heart attack, I received a warning from two separate pastors that I should leave New York and return home.  I was really conflicted about what to do, because one of the last things I wanted to do was give up my job and my apartment to go back to Texas to live in Houston again.  I also felt like I should have heard from God for myself about such an important decision.  However, the only thing I would hear from Him when in prayer about it was two words: “Trust me”.  One of the ministers also said something in a conversation I had with her about grappling with the warning she gave me that really grabbed my attention: “What if something happens and you can’t leave New York and will be full of regret.” Truthfully, that got to me, and I didn’t want to take the chance on not heeding their warnings. My last week of work, I look pictures of the view from the floor that I worked on, which was the 97th floor, and a picture of the towers from the ground floor, not knowing that would be the last time I saw them in person.


So, I quit my job, gave up the apartment, packed up all my things in my apartment, and hired a moving company to drive them to Houston. With the help of one of my cousins, I also drove my car from New Jersey back to Houston, Texas the first week of May 2001, almost three years to the day of when I left Houston to go to New York.
I wish I could say that I was elated about being back home, but I was far from it.  Fortunately I found a job in a month, but it was working the graveyard shift at night 4 days a week.  I struggled with depression, questioning why I had to come back to Houston, even while reuniting with my family and long-time friends. Fast-forward to 9/11/2001 and I was still struggling with being back home and depressed.  I called a friend while driving home, and just before I reached home, said to him “ I feel restless”.  A few minutes later, the USA as we all knew it, was forever changed.

Less than a year later, I met with an acquaintance at a youth conference in 2002, and when I shared my 9-11 testimony with her, she said something that I haven't thought of very often, but it stayed with me nonetheless.  She wondered out loud what caused God to get me out of New York 4 months ahead of time?  I realize that I had made the decision to stay and not return home, stayed on my job at the WTC that God may have still spared my life.  But what if I hadn’t? I would have missed out on so many things.  Some of them that stand out to me:

-- Getting to see my parents become grandparents for the first time, and then welcome a second, third fourth and a little over a month ago, a fifth grandchild

-- Seeing my brother Maurice get married four years later and celebrating his new life with him and his wife

-- I would have missed meeting my brother Perry

-- Going to Jamaica for the 2nd and 3rd time and witness my youngest brother seeing it for the first time since leaving we left as a family back in 1980

-- Getting to spend time with my young nephews and watching them grow up

--Witnessing a man of color elected as President of the United States of America and watch as the world rejoiced on Election Day in 2008

-- Getting to be a part of immediate and extended family celebrations

I mentioned wondering why God sent me that warning way ahead of time on Facebook two years ago, but hadn’t really stopped to ponder that question until this weekend . . . my friend's words echoed in my ears yesterday.  The truth is, I really don’t know.  I know people who worked on the same floor (the 97th floor) that I worked on that perished that day.  I’m earnestly asking that question of the Lord this year.   I believe that as I continue learning to trust Him beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it will be revealed in the fullness of His timing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breaking the silence . . .

I have a playlist on my 4 year-old creative zen vision:m mp3 player called “songs of the moment”, obviously named. From 2006 to early 2007, one of those songs was Kirk Franklin’s “Let It Go”. I played it over and over, reflecting on what was going on in my life at the time. I even used a line that spoke to me for my email signature: “ . . .the pain was preparation for my destiny . . .“ A little later in 2007, it was replaced by Tonex’s “Make Me Over”. It too got played over and over, while I was dealing with more pain, especially on my lone rides to and from work. Two years later the song that got repeated over and over was “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton. Its still there because I need that reminder sometimes: “Not going back/moving ahead/her to declare to you, the past is over in you/Things are made new/surrendering my life to Christ/I’m moving, moving forward”. I listened to it over and also because I believe it will get down in my spirit, and because frankly some days it doesn’t feel like I’m moving forward because I can’t see it.

I haven’t written a blog entry in over two years….mainly because I hit a huge brick wall that almost shut me down. Most of my previous entries here were like essays about things that I came across, some with obvious “religious/spiritual“ overtones, but others not so much, but still a part of being a “Kingdom citizen“. Some of them were commentaries on aspects of life or things that happen that affect the experience of being an eternal spirit living a temporary human experience. But now, the themes are going to take a personal tone, and perhaps that’s part of the reason why I’ve delayed so long in starting up again. Over the past few months, I’ve had a few brainstorming moments of new topics to write on, but still wouldn’t sit down to do it, because I felt stuck.

So here I am about to get personal, on the internet . . . about to become one of those people who I’ve shaken my head at while reading their personal private thoughts about goings-on in their life: weight-loss challenges, in-law problems, job woes, marital pressures, sexual habits/confessions, etc, posted online for anyone in the world who comes across them to read. Taking the risk that one day, after a job interview I’ll get a call from a hiring executive saying, “We’re sorry Miss May, but we found out that you have a blog online, and we think your views are religiously intolerant and don’t think you will be a good fit for us”.

So the main reason why I haven’t been writing is that I got hit with not one but two emotional freight trains in the fall of 2008: I was laid off at the end of September, and two weeks later heard a marital confession that resulted in my decision to file for divorce a few months later. I tried to keep up with my entries, and even wrote about my observations of the 2008 presidential election, in the midst of all that, but that was my last post. I’ve had a few comments on that post, some from anonymous cowards, but I was too busy coping with my life to bother to respond.

If someone had told me 10 years ago that in my late 30s (getting closer to 40) I would go through a 16 month layoff, a divorce, delayed motherhood, move back in with my (very loving) parents to re-build my life, I wouldn’t have believed them completely, but would have stored it away in the back of my mind. I would have dreaded it, and tried to pray it away, keep it from happening, wondering what I could do to make sure none of it came to pass. I guess its another reminder that none of us goes through life’s journey totally unscathed. No one. Some things happen because of choices we make, some things God allows to build us up and draw closer to Him, and some things are the work of what some Christians call “the enemy”, targeted attempts to derail us from our God-given purpose for being on this planet. If the past 2 ½ years are any indication, there must be something really great God has for me to because they sure have been horrendous to say the least.

But, as only the Lord can do it, in the past two years, I’ve also saw Him answer some prayers, and grant heart desires even while I’ve struggled with continuing to trust and believe Him, while I grappled with pain that sometimes seemed to hover like a cloud in those antidepressant commercials. Even while I’ve struggled inside with not giving up on my heart’s desires to come true. Even while I’m rejoicing over yet another promise about my family happening before my very eyes, and God gets all the glory.

So, what got me to break my silence? For one, a conversation with one of my brothers about two weeks ago had me confessing out loud to him why I have avoided fully re-connecting with some people that I love dearly -- I dreaded having those talks because I knew sooner or later, the topic of getting divorced, and what led up to it would come up and along with it feelings of inadequacy, comparing myself and my life to theirs and risking being subjected to well-meaning advice (what I sardonically call “forced encouragement”) that might touch a nerve. I also realized later while reflecting how that made me feel and the painful emotions it brought up, that avoiding some my friends and family was ultimately adding more to my hurt, and in turn keeping me stuck at this stage of healing. I can admit now out loud that I am still healing, and that’s OK. While I’m healing, I continue to remind myself that although I am in my late 30s, now divorced, with no kids, with dreams not yet fulfilled, I am re-building my life. The other thing that spurred this is I learned, via the wonderful world of social networking late last week, that “the ex” has done the ultimate “moving on“. Admittedly it came as a surprise, but as I always say, “life goes on“, the world didn’t stop when I found it, and isn’t going to stop.

In the meantime, I must continue to move forward, with God’s help. That has to take place if I want God’s purpose to come forth in my life. I must allow Him back in the places where I have shut Him off, albeit un-intentionally. While I'm re-building and renewing my relationship with God, I will rejoice in the success and victories of others, knowing that when mine manifest, they will celebrate with me as well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random musings post-election 2008

Last nite the world watched as history played out right before our eyes -- it was indeed history in epic proportions. While I do not agree with SEVERAL of now President-elect Obama's stated policies, he started gaining my hard-to-admit admiration early on in this race. One of the things I admired was the way he was able to draw people from all walks of life to his campaign and got so many people, especially young people who had a reputation for not being interested in the political process, excited and involved enough so much so that many of them to voted for the first time in this election.

Over the course of the last 11 months, and especially the last 2 months since the conventions, several things has stood out to me, some I have expressed to family and close friends, others I have kept mostly to myself or expressed only to my husband until today:

Why was there such a contrast in the crowd that obama drew vs mccain? The crowd @ grant park in chicago was a mix -- reflecting the mixture of populations in american -- the great american melting pot as the old ABC after school special used to point out, but the majority of faces seen at a mccain concession speech were white? Ditto question for the election rallies held by McCain and Palin during the weeks leading up to the election. To me the crowds were overwhlemingly as one CNN anchor put it "homogenous".

Regardless of their religious/spiritual affliation, wasn't the diverse compositon of the crowd that celebrated Obama;'s election at grant park a true reflection of what heaven will be like -- people from all colors, races, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and walks of life?

Will my brothers and sisters in the Kingdom who are white ever really understand what it meant to their black sisters and brothers to see a black family on the national stage and feel the genuine love between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle? Can they understand that not since the Cosby show have we seen a positive image of a black family unitl prominently displayed to the national stage for all the world to see?

Why was it OK for Pastor Jamal Bryant to mention something that was a rumor at best about Sarah Palin in this video, when he had to endure scandal in his own personal life, not once, but twice this year? Why was it necessary to bring up details of her personal life, such as that she was 3 months pregnant (supposedly, does he know if this is really true?, when he himself had a publicized scandal that involved a child conceived out of wedlock over 8 years ago? He had a valid message but the mention of a supposed affair dampened it --@ least for me it did...no scratch that, it incensed me so much that I woke up one morning thinking about why it bothered me so much and then I remembered the scandal and rumor surrounding him earlier in the year. He could have made his point without mentioning it and it would have been just as effective. Jesus said "he who is without sin cast the first stone" -- why didn't he keep that in mind?

Why did he think as a black pastor in this country, especially after the unwelcome attention Jeremiah Wright received when some his sermons were made public, that it was OK for him to preach politics knowing that it was being recorded? Doesn't he know that his words can come back to haunt him?

Why did so many prominent prophetic voices jump on the bandwagon and presume that because of Sarah Palin's background in the Assembly of God pentecostal denomination that God wanted her in office as president? Didnt they realize by doing so they were in turn putting a death wish on John McCain as fellow Kingdom blogger, Carl of Revival Blog, pointed out?

Was it so hard for many of those same prominent voices to consider that God wanted Barack Obama to win the presidency even though in their eyes and according to their criteria, he wasn't the one? Did they forgot that in the Bible God placed certain people in power according to his Sovereign will? Did they forget that in the Word that the Lord called people who in our time the vast majority of us would consider "awful" leaders (to say the least)? Examples include Nebuchadnezzar who the Lord called his servant, and Saul who the Lord gave to the children of Isreal because they wanted a king.

Does anyone else realize that there was a difference in candidate of choice between the prominient black christians and prominent white christians, especially those in the Apostolic/Prophetic/Pentecostal sects of Christianity highlighs the apparently huge chasm that is the racial divide that exists in the Kingdom, especially among American Christians? One needs only to to look to the blog of some everday folks, and lesser known pastors to see the glaring truth. See here for list of links of such examples, but please pray before reading them. :-)

Why aren't there more bloggers with a balanced response such as this post here and this one .

Was it hard for those same people to consider that when prophet Kim Clement went on record earlier this year back in March and hinted that Obama is who God wanted in office for the next four years? Didn't they remember that he is also one of several prophetic voices who went on record over 8 years ago and said that God revealed he wanted then Governor George W. Bush to be the next president of the USA for the coming election in 2000 (a choice that many of them agreed with)?

How could so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, mostly white, but a few blacks, say anyone who voted for Obama and said they are a Christian was indeed "not godly"? (Note this is from a blog that I frequently visit and ususally like reading the author's posts).

Was it OK for another fellow Kingdom blogger, who I generally also tend to agree with to call Obama "the personification of evil in this hour"? Why didn't the author instead exhort her readers to pray and fast for God to turn his heart regarding his beliefs on abortion? (see Proverbs 21:1)

Why did I consistently get emails from my friends in the kingdom who are white that supported McCain or reported some negative thing about Obama or his policies? Was it that hard to consider that God wants Obama in office and thats who He had already selected for such a time as this before the foundation of the world? Did those same friends ever stop to consider they too should pray for Barack Obama in addition to praying for John McCain?

Why did I consistently get emails of support from my friends in the Kingdom who are black who presumed that I was also an Obama supporter because I too am black? Why did praying for the election from the mouth of my fellow black saints really mean "I'm praying for Obama to win" instead of praying for God's will to be done in the election?

Why have so many Black saints, including Spirit-filled saints, cursed and disparaged outgoing President Bush for the past 8 years? Did they forget that the Word of God reminds us to pray for our leaders, especilly including those in power?

Why aren't there more black leaders, such as Bishop Harry Jackson, who speak out against abortion and join with other leaders in the 5-fold ministry who are doing the same?

What will it take for Christians in this country who are black not to view politics, culture, and life general through the lense of race before their identity in Christ?

Do most blacks know that historically speaking, its only since the election of 1960 that blacks started voting Democrat? Has the younger generation really given thought to why they vote Democrat instead of going along to get along because everyone else who they know votes Democrat?

Why have Christians as a whole allowed themselves to be polarized politically by one or two issues: abortion, and homosexuality for the "Evangelicals", ie, white Christians, and for black Christians, social issues, such as the plight of the poor and needy?

In so doing, aren't we pitting the babies against the poor? The unborn against the down-trodden? How then do we combine the two: justice and righteousness as Bishop Harry Jackson so eloquently stated what I had already wondered about in my own heart during a message he delivered at the Women's Aglow International Conference in September of this year.

What will it take for the church at large to speak out and do something about about other, far-reaching social issues, such as the international sex slave trade, the genocide in Darfur, the atrocities committed against the women of the Congo who are victims of rape as a weapon of war? Why have we allowed government to take over the role that the church should be playing -- as Jesus commanded in the New Testament when he was here in human form?

When will we realize that we cannot legislate certain aspects of morality, and instead that change we so desperately want and need in America must instead come on our knees?

Why did I get emails from many of my black Christian saints attacking Sarah Palin? Was it so hard to see her first as a sister in Christ, who although people may have felt she was unqualified as VP, that it was NOT OK to insult her or agree with the insults?

Do the talking heads @ Fox News really expect black people to buy the line that they are fair and balanced in light of the overal image protrayal of Barack Obama?

Why is it so hard to be black, but have generally conservative political views? Why are blacks in the media who do generally maligned by their black "brothers and sisters" and frequently referred to as "sell-outs" for it?

Why is it that conservative talk shows frequently hold and espouse beliefs that can be intepreted as undercover racism?

Why are the most outspoken celebrities that use their fame and voice usually liberal and Democrat? Why do they think we, the normal everday folks of America, feel the same way they do? Why are celebrities whose views are considered conservative treated like the proverbial stepchildren in the mainstream entertainment industries?

Do people realize the changes that either candidate wants to make won't come automatically and has to be implemented via laws that Congress -- the House of Representatives and the Senate --have to approve them first? Why does the average person put all the blame for our economic crisis on the president alone?

Do the other cable news networks, CNN and especially MSNBC, expect people to believe that they were objective in their coverage of election 2008? Wasn't it quite obvious from early on in this process who they wanted to win the election come November 4, 2008?

Are the McCain supporters, including the "evangelical" community still seeing this as a sad day? Why has the response been one of "sackcloth and ashes"? Did they forget that God is still in control?

How could a man of influence in the Apostolic/Prophetic arena such as Dutch Sheets publically state that the election results were not the will of God? (Note if the text is not there try this link .)
Why wasn't his response one of support and prayer like the other leaders who issued statements here on Charisma magazine's website or this one from Charisma's Editor-In-Chief J. Lee Grady who many people accused of being racist because he didn't support Obama as a candidate pre-election.

Again, isn't God sovereign? Didn't Dutch Sheets remember that no matter how things play out, whether in our private lives, or on the world's stage, the will of God will ultimately be done? Did he forget that nothing surprises God and while many in Apostolic/Prophetic/Pentecostal movement are lamenting before God, God hasn't given up His throne and He knew the outcome of this election long before anyone of us on the planet did? Did he forget that while there is the perfect will of God, there is also the permissible will of God -- but both are utimately, the will of God?

Is the 400 plus negative points on the Dow the day after the election a harbinger of things to come?

Isnt it amazing that black people, people of African descent, all over the planet feel Obama is one of thier own and his win feels like their (our) win?
Can anyone deny no matter their opinion on Barack Obama's politics, that his election as president of the United States of America last nite was a defining moment in American history and to an extent the world?

Can anyone not understand how much this means as so eloquently stated in this article on the NY Times website "Whether or not you agree with Barack Obama’s politics, there is no denying that his election represents a seminal moment in the African-American narrative and a giant leap forward on the road to America’s racial reconciliation.". May I add to that it was a giant leap forward in tearing down racial barriers as well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pray For California Part 2

I woke up @ one point in the middle of the nite to hear the daily devotion on GoD TV ( I fell asleep with the TV on) and heard the intercessors crying out for California. This lead me to decide to share here what I have already shared with a few friends already via email.

On Friday, 08-08-08, God TV broadcasted a solemn assembly of fasting and prayer that aired live. I strongly believe these warnings are too urgent to ignore. Again I say "Pray for California"!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fathers and Daughters: Father-Daughter Purity Ball

I think the fact that Time wrote about this, and handled it in a fair manner, which is more than I expected is great. Yeah, some people think its cheesy, but so what? I get the message, and I think its great to see fathers taking an active role in their daughters emotional, mental and most importantly spiritual development. Side note: I do think 4 years old is a bit young to fully understand the meaning behind it, but I guess its sweet gesture -- well, sort of. I also did a search on google and the Purity Ball has been covered by the New York Times and also has its own website

While reading this, a few things came to mind:
1. Why don't I see/hear more about these things happening with black teen girls or other minority populations in this country for that matter?

2. The bonding that occurs between the fathers and daughters here speaks VOLUMES!! Its sad that in our culture today, seeing a father and daughter bond brings to minds words like "creepy" and "perverted" instead of "protection" and "affirmation". I've said several times to people in my "real life" that the absence of the father in a home is one of the most diabolical attacks of the enemy that has had far-reaching consequences -- more than anyone realizes. (this reminds me that I must write an article exploring this a little more)

3. I don't mind the focus on girls, BUT there is a double standard in society for the expression and "exploration" of one's sexuality. Can someone please start a purity ball for boys? Yeah, I know, it sounds cheesy -- but I think if one were to gather a group of teenagers, male and female, what's really at the heart of preserving sexual purity and the far-reaching consequences of throwing it away, the message would get across -- it would be a start in undoing the messed-up, self-centered, sex-crazed messages that kids get ingrained in their souls from the time they are small children. More than anything else though, the desire to remain pure before God shouldn't be an "outward" act to say I'm a Christian, but rather should come as a result of heart that is sold-out and a desire to please God.
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