I’ve Seen Him Do It

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I’ve been “writing” this post for going on 6 months now.  I don’t say much about it, but on November 30, 2013 life changed in a way I would have NEVER expected.  My Uncle, Minister Clyde Richard “Ricky” Williams, lost his life doing what he loved, fishing.  The reports said that his boat capsized and tossed him into freezing cold water….  It felt as if my heart was ripped from my chest.  It was, and still is, unbelievable.  I sit here blinded by tears as I think about that day and the days that have led to the ability to FINALLY share my testimony with you.

In the weeks prior to losing him several people in my immediate circles experienced loss.  Two collegiate friends lost their 3-year old son in a drowning, a childhood friend was killed in a single-car accident while driving home from work, a sister in the ministry lost her mother……  it was just a tough time in the earth for SEVERAL people connected to me during the 2013 Lenten season.  In the midst of praying for and mourning with my friends, our family met our own struggle.  Walking around like zombies, in pure disbelief…. waking up each day PRAYING it was a bad dream.  I remember begging God to let them find him alive…. let him find his way home through the woods by the lake… or either be there, shivering from the cold, but be alive… be there….., but he wasn’t.  He wasn’t.  He wasn’t.  One of the most important and influential people in my life had been raptured before we could talk about my next career and life moves…. before he could grill my boyfriend/fiance…. before he could dance with me at my wedding; before he could grow old and wise.  He was gone and I was angry.

Yes, I’m admitting that I was angry with God.  The one thing I wanted from this situation…. the one thing I PRAYED HARD for him to “work out” didn’t “play out” the way I wanted it to.  I was angry.  Hurt and angry.  Outlining a program and making funeral arrangements…. hurt and angry.  Greeting visitors and planning service selections…. hurt and angry.  Praying and worshiping my way through, because it was ALL I knew to do…. hurt and angry.  Consoling and counseling…. hurt and angry.  In the midst of all of this I receive a text from my Minister of Music to “listen to and learn a song:  Kurt Carr’s, “I’ve Seen Him Do It”.  I put it off for a day or two, but when I finally listened to it and heard the words I was like, “really, God?  Really?”….. One time through, that’s all I could take.

“I’ve Seen Him Do It”

 

[Spoken Intro]

For someone facing incredible obstacles in your life:
I want you to lean on God and trust his flawless record.
He never fails; He can do the impossible.
How do I know? I’ve seen him do it!
[Verse 1:]
I have no doubt my God can do the impossible.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
He can turn the mess you’re in to an awesome miracle.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
Whatever problem you’ve got,
If you just give it to God, He’ll work it out.
How do I know?
[Chorus:]
I’ve seen him do it. I’ve seen him do it. [x4]
One time through is all I could take…..
My Angel was laid to rest on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.  I returned to Nashville after the funeral and tried to get back into the swing of things, starting with rehearsal on the following Tuesday.  Well, what do we rehearse….. the song.  Did I want to hear it…. NO.  Luckily we didn’t sing it the following Sunday because I hadn’t been interested in learning the words (that would have been EMBARASSING!!!!), but rehearsing it FORCED me to listen to it.  Every day, ALL day for a week straight I listened to that song.  At the gym, at work, in the car…. I listened to the choir and soloist go on and on about how they’d “seen God do it”, but all I could think about was what He didn’t do for me just weeks before.
The following Tuesday, after sitting through another rehearsal where we’d reviewed the song, I decided it was time for me to chat with God.  I made my way down Briley Parkway crying and verbally sharing with God EVERYTHING I’ve shared with you.  I told Him I was angry.  I told Him I didn’t understand, and I told him He’d “better have something HUGE up his sleeve with this one” because it hurt sooooooo bad.  Twenty minutes of being purely open and honest with my creator, completely vulnerable.  Well, I was mid-rant when this car came out of nowhere and just cut me off!  Yes, I stopped ranting IMMEDIATELY and went to blow my horn, but when I looked at the license plate I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…..
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Yep, you see it just as clear as me…. the thing said “Miracle”!  The car literally came out of NOWHERE.  I was two stop-lights away from my house and it cut me off.  I couldn’t believe it!  I was upset, fussing at God about what I was feeling inside… how much I didn’t like it… and the Man sent a “Miracle” out of NOWHERE!  I said, “Lord, PLEASE let us get caught by this light cause I need to get a picture of this!  Are you SERIOUS!?”  Sure enough, not even 50 feet down the road we got stopped at the next light and I snapped a pic!!! (Also, I haven’t seen this car since that night….  I look for it EVERY night on my way home.)
I went through ALL that to say that even in hurtful situations; when we experience the loss of a loved one, job, relationship, etc., He has a plan.  We don’t see it at first…. often times we can’t see it AT ALL, but we have to remember that God IS and he’s NEVER failed.  It’s a hard thing to grasp when you’re hurting and torn.  Even men and women of faith HURT.  We are all HUMAN…. perfectly imperfect.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So, we have to heal and pray for restoration…we have to have faith in His plan…  Yes, it’s difficult, but CLEARLY He shut me down and shut me up on purpose.  Yes, I still cry…  the pain has not gone away, but I believe that WHATEVER He is working out through this situation shall be revealed in due season.  Romans 8:18 says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Our God is capable of the impossible.  There is purpose in the pain. He can create a miracle from our mess, do supernatural things in the midst of sorrow, comfort us in our confusion, and provide peace in painful situations.  He can make something from nothing, heal broken hearts, calm raging seas, and bid us to “step out of the boat” in the midst of the storm.
There were sooooo many people experiencing loss around the same time frame.  So many of us were praying for one another and mourning with one another.  Even now there are several friends who have recently experienced loss or are in the midst of painful transition.  Just because God didn’t do what we wanted him to do in this situation DOES NOT mean that He HAS NOT and WILL NOT keep his promises to us.  We are limited in our humanity… only so much makes sense, but in cases where life turns in unexpected ways we have to stay prayerful and faithful.  People came from FAR and WIDE for my Uncle’s service.  He was TRULY a great man!  He worked for UPS FOR-EVER and had just become an ordained and licensed Minister.  He touched the lives of MANY and truly let the light of God shine through him.  His physical absence has truly left a void.  A great example of unconditional love.  He gave his life to helping his family and others.  He was always kind and had the best advice.  So, from the loss of his life God HAS to get the glory!  I am unsure how far his waves/ripples reached, but I do know he was a man of great faith.  This is and has undoubtedly been a HARD experience for my family, but we have to remember…. God never fails.
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So, whatever you’re going though, whatever loss you’ve experience, whatever transition you’re working through…. don’t give up on God.  He’s still faithful.  He’s still sovereign….even in the midst of your pain.  I encourage you to listen to the song, pick up your broken pieces, go to God to help put you and things back together again.  I’m not saying every day will be easy, but He’ll keep you like only He can.
Rest on, Uncle Ricky.  Rest on….. love you, always.
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4 Ways to Summon Your Purpose In Life

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Some lucky people seem to have been born with a greater purpose in life while the rest of us are left to search for ours.  Umair Haque, director of Havas Media Labs, thinks the problem may be that we’re looking so hard. Instead, he suggests four ways we can approach the world.

Ditch the cool facade and feel the love. Instead of feeling and expressing real love, we use weaker substitutes such as “passion,” “dreams” or “bucket lists.” These days, we’re more likely to feel the opposite of love—hate, anger, fear and envy—but purpose is a form of love, real love.

Feel the pain of heartbreak. Part of our modern-day cool facade involves insulating ourselves against everything that could cause an emotional ache or pain. To open yourself back up to feeling, you need to immerse yourself in some things that make you ache and maybe break your heart.

Drive through life NASCAR style. Most people approach life like a Formula One race, trying to drive the cleanest laps to achieve the fastest time. People who find true purpose and fulfillment, though, take a NASCAR approach, where hits and scrapes are part of the experience. You have to be willing to take hits, fail, start over and keep going.

Seek forests, not fireworks. Fireworks are exciting, but they just spark, flare and fizzle in a matter of seconds. Purpose and the love it takes to achieve it come from a calmer, slower process akin to the growth of a great forest. As you go through that life, you will be bruised, scarred and hurt, but if you’re lucky, purpose will find you and redeem you from the void of an empty and unfulfilling life.

— Adapted from “How to Let Your Purpose Find You,” Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review.

Isaiah’s Invitation to the Lord’s Salvation

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Isaiah 55 NLT

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free!

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

See how I used him to display my power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations. You also will command nations you do not know, and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey, because I, the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.” Seek the Lord while you can find him.

Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the L ord . “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord ’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Season 2, Ep 9

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“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”  ― Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral’s Kiss

“I knew you wouldn’t give up.” – Brennon/Booth

Matt 21:1-11 – He knew where they were, and he knew their purpose.

A few weeks ago I decided to watch the TV series ‘Bones’ from the beginning. I think I’m on season 4 now #Netflix, lol! Anyway, a few night’s ago there was an episode where Hodgens and Bones were buried alive. They woke up in a vehicle beaten up and not aware of where they were. Two of the smartest people in the lab were stuck. The Gravedigger struck again leaving everyone to use what they had to survive….knowledge and one another.  Forty-nine minutes of frantically searching. One lead, minimal access to additional information…. they’re stuck. Bones performs a surgery, they find a flare kit in the trunk, and a shattered cell phone. They were smart enough to use the remaining battery power to send one text message… ONE! One that they can’t even guarantee was delivered because that one attempt fried the board!!!!! I was on the edge of my seat the entire episode. I was drawn in by the things they knew and the clues they gave to help the investigators find them. They weren’t sure if they’d ever be found, and their team wasn’t sure they interpreted all the clues correctly. Everyone was doing the best they could, as fast as they could, but the inevitable could become reality if they couldn’t discern the signs.

Being depressed is a little like being buried alive. You want to live. You use ALL the tools you have; combine facts and intelligence in the fight to “rescue” your existence. You’re running out of air and options. Fear of actually succumbing to the small, dark place almost has you paralyzed. I’ve been there. The crazy thing is, sometimes you’re there and don’t even know it. Things are normal…life seems to be going well. You’re smiling, but aren’t sure if it’s a response to happiness. You laugh only because it seems to be the socially acceptable response. Your dreams become a blur, social situations are still a place of solitude and a clear rational thought is on the endangered species list. You’re in deep…. so deep you wake up and aren’t even quite sure of who you are or what’s taken place.

More time has elapsed than you realize. You wake up realizing how far left you’ve gone…you finally “come to” in the middle of nowhere. You’re lost. You wonder if anyone will come looking for you… if anyone will recognize you’re gone. Is your absence felt? Did anyone value you…Did you mean enough to anyone for them to exhaust all resources to find you? All the while you are fighting and fighting… Using EVERYTHING you’ve got to find your way back….

As Hodgens and Brennon began to run out of air they came up with one final push…..create a bomb. With this last push to survive there are two possible outcomes… 1. Blow themselves out, or 2. Blow themselves up; A 50-50 chance of survival.  I’ve made it to season 4 and of course they wouldn’t let the main characters die so early, so the same still applies for our individual life stories.  That’s what we have… a 50-50 chance.  He won’t let the main character die until our purpose has been fulfilled.  It doesn’t matter how you see yourself or what you’ve done, there’s always a second chance and ALWAYS someone who will never give up on you.

If you feel like you’re being buried by life’s circumstances or that your life serves no purpose remember that “He knew where they were and knew their purpose”.  The unsuspecting donkeys were right where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.  It didn’t matter what happened before that moment, but only their purpose once released.  Go ahead! By any means necessary begin to dig yourself out!! There is purpose in you.  It’s okay if you’ve strayed away, it’s okay if you’ve lost sight of the original plan, and it’s okay if the plan has changed…. just don’t give up.  You might feel alone, lost, or like the walls of life are caving in… don’t give up!  Not only are your friends and family there waiting, but your purpose is there too.  The thoughts and plans that He has for you are yet to be fulfilled. #DontGiveUp

Do NOT Vote!!!

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YES, you read it correctly….and you probably made the same face I did when I heard the crazy story about African-American Pastors directing their congregations NOT to vote. Soooo, I had to do a little research to see what the “HOO HOO” was going on!  Knowing the struggles of the Civil Rights movement, and even the Women’s Suffrage Movement, I nearly lost it for about 3.9 seconds!  So, since reading is fundamental…I decided to do just that…

Here are the links for the articles I read on the issue….

African-American Christians Waver Over Vote: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/african-american-christians-waver-vote-article-1.1161290

Anti-Obama African-American Pastors Have Deep Conservative Ties: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/12/coalition-of-african-american-pastors_n_1766777.html

Same Sex Marriage Divides Black Ministers: http://www.blackvoicenews.com/news/news-wire/48248-same-sex-marriage-divides-black-ministers.html

Black Pastors Aren’t Saying ‘Don’t Vote’: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/21/opinion/martin-ap-black-vote/index.html

Martin’s ending (CNN) statement, and I quote, “Our job in the media is to inform and enlighten, not confuse. Running such a confusing, unsupported story lacking basic context and perspective does not serve the public at all.” is absolute truth.  The allegations did just what they were supposed to do… stir up members of Christian faith communities.  I pray that the energy created will have positive results.  I am a woman who believes in Gen 50:20 and Romans 8:28, so I’m not going to stress either way the pendulum of this election swings… I just want everyone to use wisdom at the polls.

One of, if not the biggest issue the black church has with the Obama administration at this point, is his support of gay marriage.  But, what is most unfortunate is the percentage of GLOBAL persons who are active in our faith communities… men and women who serve in leadership at these same churches, under the same pastors who are expressing their disgust with Obama’s decision.  As a woman of faith, my friends know that I don’t condone, but I can’t condemn them for the choices they make.  I KNOW that I’m not perfect, so I am not casting any stones.  The word asks that we not judge (Matt 7:1-5), and that those who are spiritual we call it out, correct one another in love while RESTORING…lest WE fall (Gal 6:1)…. #FoodForThought…  In Leviticus, the Bible does say that same-sex situations are an abomination, but we thank God for Jesus and should leave it in his hands!!!!

Yes, its CRAZY out here!  I will say that I do not agree with gay marriage…nope, not at all…, but my opinion did not keep me from voting. I am quite sure that there has NEVER been a president that everyone agreed with EVERYTHING they stood for (except for President Bill Clinton).  With that in mind I suggest that as a collective democratic body we move forward with the future in mind ;-).

…BTW…NOT voting is voting….

…Back to your regularly scheduled program….

What’s the Cost of the Oil….?

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In the previous post I mentioned my experience with the mechanic/cashier at Jiffy Lube, and shared how I felt led to repent after reflecting upon our conversation.  He and I literally went back and forth for about 10-15 minutes about the price of my services!  I was definitely in RARE form.  I shared that he decided to honor my GROUPON, and only charged me for 1 quart of the oil I wanted.  Following his adjustment I was STILL adamant about paying what I owed for the increased quality of the oil I had put in my car, but he wouldn’t let me.  On the drive home I seized the opportunity to reflect upon the conversation and my actions, God really spoke to me through this entire ordeal…

After acknowledging the age of my vehicle (vessel) and knowing the distance it has to travel daily (and even weekly), I already knew that I needed the high mileage oil.  I was waiting on the guy to ask me, and was prepared to pay the difference for the quality…. I just wasn’t aware that I’d have to pay for a complete “upgrade” to my services.

For starters, I figured that I would only be responsible for the marginal cost of the upgraded product… wrong!  There are different levels of sacrifice for the varying levels of anointing,… I mean oil.  I wanted the best oil for my vehicle and  I was willing and prepared to pay the marginal cost, but the cost of the next level came with an unforeseen expense.  I couldn’t help but parallel this situation with my Christian walk.  Yes, I’m only 2-?, but I have been on the journey since the age of 2.  For lack of better terms, I have a lot of miles under my belt!!!  I have MUCH further to go, but over the past 2-3 years I’ve realized that I want to fully experience the power of God!  I want to see and do everything I can during my natural life… hear stories of how the very same God has changed/shaped the lives of others.  I want my faith to be tested.  I have been told to “be careful what I pray for”, but I guess I’m a glutten…

As a ministry leader it is truly my desire to worship, teach, and speak from my experiences with Him.  There are some things I can express without the one-on-one session, but going to the next level in worship and ministry will require a different level of personal sacrifice.  No, I don’t have a clue of what it will cost, but I’m sure it will be more than worth it.

Back to the oil change… as we were wrapping up our conversation, and I am insisting on paying for my oil, the cashier says, “It won’t work the way you want to do it, it still won’t be enough.”  He said soooooo much right there!!!  After we’d had a somewhat mild discussion about me wanting to pay for what I asked…and I even agreed to pay for the upgrade, he reminded me that it still wouldn’t be enough.  I IMMEDIATELY thought about my relationship with Christ…  No matter how hard I try… how much I argue, fuss and fight… I will NEVER be able to FULLY pay Him the debt I owe for my gifts.  He’s ALREADY PAID THE COST…. paid it in full with his life!!  So yes, in order to move to the next level of ministry and to experience what God has for me, I will have to make unforeseen sacrifices…  It may end up being more than I ever thought it would be, but in the long run the benefits are immeasurable!

I walked away feeling HORRIBLE, but received a few wonderful blessings….  1. You answer the call before you fully know the cost…  2. If you want the upgrade, you have to be willing to make the sacrifice… and, 3. When you try to do things your way you will always come up short.  #SimpleTruth

I Just Want to Pay for the Oil!

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Soooooo, after work I decided to maximize my morning by FINALLY getting my oil changed.  Although I added two quarts 3-4 weeks ago, the truck has been running hard/loud… I’ve been getting less gas mileage, AND driving it began to feel like a chore!  I was even more excited to use a coupon I managed to find on GROUPON … $35 for a Signature Oil Change (half-off)!!!

With all that excitement I grabbed breakfast and headed to the nearest Jiffy Lube to cash in on my great deal!!  Coupons are a great cushion to ANY budget!  The oil change comes with a tire rotation, rain-x treatment, fluid check, and vacuumed  floor boards #ThankyaJesus!!!  So, I pull in and explain to the mechanic that I have a GROUPON… He does his thing, and the process begins.  They let me know I have a few runner break lights out, so I’m like cool…  Asked if they could replace them for like $8.99, I was like, “nah, I’ll take care of it”.  They proceed to ask about all these fluids and cleanings and such, and I proceed to decline respectfully, lol.  Finally, the gentleman asked me if I would like the same oil I always use.  I said, “sure”!  I drive a HIGH mileage vehicle and the synthetic oil that comes with the GROUPON won’t cut it, so I was willing to pay the difference in the price of the oil for the better product.

They begin working to Rain-X the windshield, and I removed everything from the floor so vacuuming would be a breeze (I figured I could at least do my part…  The car is wretched o_O!).  They topped off my fluids and even pulled out a filter for something (I don’t quite recall), and suggested I get it cleaned.  I said cool.  I’ll handle that later.  We were off and popping!  Taking a seat inside I nibble at my breakfast, finishing just in time to hear “Ma’am, we’re done with your car!”.  I’m like, “SCORE!!  Absolutely perfect timing!”  So, I bounce over to the counter EXCITED about cashing in my GROUPON and paying the difference for the oil upgrade when the fun begins….

The gentleman behind the counter said “Ma’am your total is $3?.??.”  I had the same look you probably have right now…. o_O (ummm, scue me?!).  In the calmest voice possible I asked him to explain why my balance was $30+ when the GROUPON covered the cost of the procedure and I had to pay the difference of the cost of the oil upgrade.  After going back and forth for a few minutes about the differential, the gentleman said, “Ma’am, an upgrade to the high-mileage oil package adds $2?.??, plus an additional $6 for the 6th quart of oil.”  Wellllllllllll, when did he plan to tell me that?!  I knew I’d have to pay for an additional quart (because I drive an Expedition), but where did this “upgrade charge” come from?!  I am normally not the argumentative type, but I proceeded to inquire WHY I had to pay an additional $20+ when the ONLY THING THAT CHANGED was the quality of the oil.  It’s the same Rain-X, same vacuum, I skipped the tire rotation, and they used the same exact fluids that would have been used to top everything off… I was utterly confused at WHY I would still end up paying almost $70 for an oil change, and I had a GROUPON!!!!  By the end of our conversation I figured we had met at a common ground, and I was ready to just pay my bill and move on.  But, somewhere in the discussion the gentleman decided to charge me for the GROUPON deal and the additional quart of oil.  The price ended up being drastically different from what it would have been if he would have just let me pay the differential, so of course I tried to pay what I owed!!  After several efforts of trying to convey to him that I want to pay the price I owed for the oil differential… (dude, I want to pay!!!), he respectfully declined and continued to review the details of  the GROUPON purchase to avoid this happening in the future.  During his service recovery process, a few of the things he said caused me to reflect….., and eventually repent for my attitude and behavior towards him….

To Be Continued….

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