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

Keep To The Script

“Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps.  The Lord is ever present with us.  Don’t be anxious about things; instead, PRAY. Pray about everything.  He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.  Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9 (VOICE)

Isn’t if funny how much we struggle to be still when everything inside of us is going in a million directions.  It makes us flustered, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed and revved up! But His Word reminds us don’t be anxious about things… instead PRAY! We have to stick to the script—God’s script! God’s Word! God’s plan! God’s ways and His doings.  Because every time we try to go left, rest assured He will find some way to make us go RIGHT!

I had left early yesterday to arrive as a guest on the show TBN Salsa that is going across 140 countries! Wow… OK–Be anxious for NOTHING! Try that in the midst of dead stop traffic…red lights all around!!!! I cannot even express to you how much everyone in my car was on overdrive! LOL

I had to get there early!

Obviously I was late –extremely late.  So much so that they had to change the order of speakers.  I was supposed to go first and be ready to deliver.  What circumstances that were set before me.  It always seems to happen that in someway or another I end up last.  Only God.

So here is the kicker—As we were extremely backed up in this traffic line (had to be there at 6:15 and it was already 6:47) I told my husband –I am going to walk the rest! There is no way we are going to pass thru this and it is less than a mile.  He say to me, “fine, go with Sam and I will meet you there.”

I jump out with Sam and I am going full speed ahead in flip flops on the slippery ground because of the constant rain.  I am on 44th and I have to get to 15th in the city.  By the time I get to 40th my husband calls me and says, “I am already on 39th! Get back in the car, I pulled over and I am waiting for you. This is still moving faster than you it is going to clear up.”

I get back in the car only to hear the Holy Spirit tell me, “You always want to do something else. Always want to move when all you have to do is be still. The first way is the BEST WAY!”  You see, it is not that there are no other ways to get there but we have to go with the way that He takes us.  That is the way that will always get us there faster and at the pace He called us to go with.  Because we get so anxious we want to DO something in the interim.  We want to turn around. We want to quit. We want to try another route. We want to do something else.  We want to try another this or that based on our schedule of life. We always stay fighting against the strong currents that come our way not realizing that those are the things that teach us HOW to be still. It is IN that midst. It is IN that mess. It is IN that route.  It is IN that path. It is IN that waiting where He is working! All the obstacles are the ways that God typically uses to show us the better opportunities.

So no matter what you want to do while you wait, we are just better off getting back in the car and following His lead and His drive.  It will get us there safer. It will get us there timely. It will get us there exactly when we need to be there because I was not supposed to go first on God’s agenda. For Him, He continues to show me time and time again that He will always save the best for last.

God did that.

I have to know that I must keep to the script. His script is better than any one that I could ever try to write up for myself. And I am just extremely thankful.

My message to you this morning is JUST WAIT! Hold on. Keep to the script. Keep to HIS timing for your life. The things that God has for you, the promises, and overwhelming victory is just around the bend. You are going to get there too.

With Love,

Christina