Dear Family

Dear Family,

A big week has arrived for us and we have been experiencing big issues at the same time. The best thing that we have that is bigger than all of that is a big God that we all serve.

This is the moment where we get to all live that out and put it into practice.

Over the course of weeks and months this has been such a trying time for us all. We lost life. We lost family. We lost love and some of us even lost hope.

However, we also can say that others have gained life, gained family, gained love and some gaining more hope.

In the midst of transitional heights such as this –we experience a lot of raw emotions. This is okay. This is normal but we can’t stay in this place at all. All this is passing. Even this time may cause us to say and do things we never thought that we would do before. What do we do now? How do we embrace such great transitions? Just thinking about that as we are still healing and helping is some kind of anguish. It is never that easy for any one of us.

A pillar of our family was tragically stripped from us. Another pillar was tragically struck with illness. Others have transitioned away into their next season as this is a normal thing we embrace. Others are moving out or moving away. Some are wretched tears and others are with great celebrating. We cried, yelled, screamed, laughed, hugged…. Nevertheless, we have also said things that we probably should not have or done things we should not have. Much of what we regret but we cannot take back.

I am sorry for the things I said and done.

We can all attest to that. What can I say?  This is not going to be an easy season especially approaching the holidays.  In these next four days, perhaps we can do all that we can in the midst of our past, our pain, our purpose or any other priorities and make two people a HUGE priority this week and that is Cassandra and Matthew.

Let us love on them. Embrace them. Celebrate them. Encourage them. And help them as much as we could—but what I think they want to see more than anything else. Is that we do that together—in LOVE as a family.  A real family. Pushing aside all of our personal feelings, opinions, convictions and beliefs and work to do ONE THING ONLY THIS WEEK.

As my dear friend would always shout from the pulpit –“It’s not about you!”

It is really not.

It is about the LOVE of God and the love that He wants us to demonstrate more so even now. With all these moving parts.

I love you.

I really do.

Moreover, I hate that the enemy is using this for fuel to try and separate.  WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER!

LAY ASIDE YOUR SELF!!!! AND focus on the two that God is telling us to focus on in this moment.  We cannot give the enemy a foothold –because he is making it a stronghold and we know those are hard to tear down. Here is a recipe that I will say has been given to us.

Start with love. Start with hope. Let us follow the golden rule of Romans 12:12 and overcome this thing. It is our nature to act up –yes even as Christians! However, it is the Holy Spirits nature in us to make us press right through the natural into the supernatural and put on some SUPER LOVE.

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Colossians 3:14 NKJV

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, WEAR LOVE. It’s your basic, all- purpose garment. NEVER BE WITHOUT IT.
Colossians 3:14 MSG

As I think about this precious moment of my only daughter walking down that aisle I am in such an unexplainable state. I leave those thoughts with God. But one thing we will remember is that garment she is wearing. The beautiful white gown on this bride. Symbolic of a pure love. That is the garment God wants us to put on. Just like that and that we never take this specific gown off, not for a moment.

We conquer. We rise above. We find a way.

With love,

Christina

The Struggle Is Where You Learn

Dear Christina,
I met you at the conference in Charlottesville; I started reading your book the same day that you tossed it on my lap as you were speaking at the conference on Elizabeth in the Bible. I read it in two days. I wept, I stood up, I curled up with it in my bed, I lifted my voice to the Lord, I personally understand every word and gut wrenching sentiment of your book.  I have survived the unthinkable as well, even death at my door.  I found myself in every page.  Your words Christina, ring our mercy and strength.  I thank you for your book.  Love and prayers…

It is testimonies like this where I can feel that peaceful affirmation that when I sowed it–it was right! I love sowing my books–sowing the words that God gives me. Because every storm we face tells a story.  It paves the way for others. I am sure many of us would wish that we wouldn’t have to struggle. We want everything easy, quick and given to us with no real effort. That is the ideal.  But it doesn’t really happen that way.  In fact some people struggle even more than the average struggle.

I was speaking with my new beautiful boss and she tells me this….

“The struggle is where you learn!”

I said, “Wow! I am writing that down. That was a deep statement!”

Yet it is true! We all struggle and in those places of our struggle, He leads us through it so that we can grow through it. That is what I know and that is what I have learned on my own as well.  It is nothing that I could have learned had things been so easy for me. They never were!

At six –I had no dad at home.

At seven –we were already conformed to a life of poverty, struggle, government dependence and roaches.

At ten –I was already made fun of by every person in the school so I never could feel comfortable with who I was.

At fourteen –I was already introduced to the “hit & quit” over someone I just randomly met a night before.

At sixteen –I already ran away from home to return with a sexually transmitted disease.

At eighteen –I was already pregnant right after High School graduation.

In my twenties –I was still partying and getting high. I was still depressed and still hurting.

In my thirties –after somewhere meeting Jesus at the tail end of twenties, I would learn that Church was really not the “thing” that would keep my saved!

In my forties –I would learn that after much death, darkness and drama that I needed a serious encounter with the God of the Impossible in my life.  So I was Elizabeth too! I was the 88 year old that basically had no movement of life in me. Always left last and by the wayside and on the bottom end of life.

I kept going moment to moment, day to day, week to week and year to year only to discover that when you do that aimlessly you will always experience even MORE loss.

And all through that–what I do know now…… I got to say it…. WHAT I DO KNOW NOW! Is that God is my God! He is my King and He is my everything. He is my friend. He is the One who sustains me. He is the One that has kept me and He truly is the One that has been my Defender in every way possible –all through the impossible dark days and sleepless nights of my life.

There He would find me and there is where I would learn that only in the struggle would I have the deepest roots that I have ever had in Him. So I must say –just like the woman shared such a powerful testimony.  I now know that the words He has given me perhaps will make some want to stray more from me, but for the majority I know they are going to touch the world! ❤ I am at peace with that. The struggle is where I learned how to tell others about the greatest One of ALL!!!!

Amen

Jesus knew they had questions to ask of Him, so He approached them.
Jesus: Are you trying to figure out what I mean when I say you will see Me in a little while? I tell you the truth, a time is approaching when you will weep and mourn while the world is celebrating. You will grieve, but that grief will give birth to great joy. In the same way that a woman labors in great pain during childbirth only to forget the intensity of the pain when she holds her child, when I return, your labored grief will also change into a joy that cannot be stolen.
John 16:19-22

I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.
John 16:33

Veterans

It’s November 12, 2018.

Veterans Day.

Monday.

We start the week with AM prayer on Facebook Live in our MUI Prayer Room.  I woke up so tired.  I thought, “Hmm, should I just put a post up to cancel since it is a holiday! There ain’t going to be a lot of people on! We can resume Tuesday!”

It’s 5:50 am, as I am looking at the screen of my apple watch.  I continue thinking, “I could snooze. I could ask someone else perhaps. I could just skip the day. I wish my husband was here. LOL Gosh –He is so committed!”

I realize how much my husband is so committed at each passing day.  If he were here and had the opportunity, he would do it regardless if it is a holiday or not.  He is finishing up his missions trip in Chile, so he can’t do the hour remotely as easily as he can in the states.

The thing is, I do have to work.  I am not off for the holiday “Veteran’s Day!” So why should I be off for prayer! I can’t keep searching for excuses, even when my body doesn’t find the strength. I have to do it. I have to raise the standards myself and condition my body for the consistency of an ardent prayer life.

Imagine me going to work without having done prayer.  I would have made it to work but not made it to spend time with God first.  I would have spoke to everyone at the office and not have found the time to even talk with God.  I would have been eight hours at work and would not find one hour to give to God. Wow! How selfish and lazy of me. No! No! No! This is a job that we commit ourselves in the same way that those that have committed themselves for the cause of the entire country.

For Veteran’s day, we celebrate the men and women that made a decision to stand for our country.  We salute those that signed up to labor and serve for our protection.  There is a cause here.  They signed willingly for a contract that would be unwavering, uncompromising.  They sacrificed and surrendered all.

Why can’t we do this daily in our walk with God. This is what we do when we sign up for the kingdom. There is purpose, service, commitment and sacrifice…. all of this not to have religion but to have an intimate and powerful relationship with God. When we sow those acts into any relationship they become richer. Like friendships, sisterhood, brotherhood, marriages, etc., this is the same concept that we should follow to our God before the rest.

When we are not there–it matters! He is waiting to spend time with us. We have to commit. Just as I ministered in a sermon yesterday.  We have to give our all.  When the church doesn’t realize the impact of our absence, the world never will. It is time for us to go beyond the extra mile and give our very best in all that we do.

My husband is a prime example to me of that… I can tell him today–HAPPY VETERANS DAY! Because you are always serving for the life of others and that is worthy of honor.  I love you.

May God continue to raise up a generation (including me) that will be consistent, conditioned, and committed to climb higher as we set the bar for what it is to really be a veteran for the Kingdom.

Scripture Reference:
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Matthew 5:1-10 [The Message]

 

 

I’ve Decided

Now more than ever I am finding myself understanding the importance of being comfortable in my own skin.  I mean I am who I am.  I am who God created me to be. Me holding back –got a lot of people to dislike me –imagine AS A PRETENDER! A watered down version of me.  Now I am just gonna be me! That’s it. God made it. God created it. And that’s what I want.  I want the real me to surface and be who God created me to be.

I’m sitting across from an empty seat in Barnes and Nobles just thinking, “Does anyone even really know Me???”

The boring me. The peaceful me. The me that cant even function right if I am not reading!!! Like this IS ME! I loveeeeeeeeeeeeee books! I love to read. I love to write. I love the solitude and the quietness. I love the sound that it brings. I love the stillness. I don’t like to be that busybody person moving from place to place. From moment to moment.  That just really throws me off!

Did you know that about me? Like, if I’m not reading –I’m not right!!!

I’m just not.  I need a book in my hand.  I need a journal in my hand.  I need a pen… just like the psalmist declared:

My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Psalm 45:1

THIS.  IS.  ME.  I cant explain it any clearer than that and if you understand that we are going to be in the best place ever.  I need that in my life. I miss my reading buddy. Oh my God.  What a quiet soul she was.  I read she read. I wrote she wrote. I prayed she prayed.

Then she was gone. And I found myself sitting alone again.

Selah.

I miss that.  But I know that God is gonna lead me to the best next! I trust that so much over my life. I may not be across a stadium, in a field or on some grand pulpit! But here I am–right behind this screen, sharing some raw thoughts of mine that God had demanded from me in 2015.  I will never forget the day or the hour.  But it was on the ride to a retreat of a lifetime. He was asking me to be me.  He was asking for me to pull on my identity.  He was asking me to write it down…because silently He made me this one, that loves the quiet so much.  Now I know why.

I collect my thoughts.  I share them here and I know that it will pave the way for someone to be who and what God created them to be –relentlessly, freely and unapologetically.  It’s so much better this way.  I want nothing less than this.

I decided this is what I want…because this is who I am. Anything less than that is just going to always throw me off. I can’t fight it anymore. I can’t fight me. I have to embrace me.

I decided.
We read.
We write.
We focus.
We live beautifully.

Be free. Be you.

With Love,

Christina