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

ROOTS

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You.
Isaiah 26:3 (VOICE)

I hate the things that keep me up at night.

Mind things. Mind battles. Unsettling situations.

Words. Life. Changes. Processes. Thoughts.

I have been meditating and reading since 3 am this morning and have this blog to share—roots.

They are my thoughts. Personal thoughts. Private thoughts. They are unseen. Hidden and underground. Just as I was reading in a book by Joel Olsteen called “Next Level Thinking”.

I went to chapter 9 titled, “Get The Contaminants Out” which are thoughts. Unhealthy thoughts, bitterness, resentment, anger, frustration…. all the things that didn’t go right. It’s the little things that get you the most sometimes!

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!”
Song of Songs 2:15 NLT

He kept speaking about the unseen by describing the roots that feed a tree. It’s not so much what happened, it is the thoughts that follow what happened! We think and think and rethink and replay words in our mind! That is a difficult process to sift through especially when words are contrary to your belief system.

But that belief system must be transformative.

It cannot conform. It cannot remain the same.

Emill Bridges this weekend at “Total Victory” conference in Charlottesville VA said, “You cant have grace and stay the same!”

There’s no way!

“If we keep going in and out of where we must REMAIN IN GOD, then we will always go up and down!”

That fluctuating emotional realm can be so draining. That’s why we can’t allow it to govern us. We can’t stay here. We can’t stay the same. We have to go there… where God prepared our wellness and wholeness. We have to THINK THE RIGHT THINGS and cast aside the remuneration that human form has been so conditioned to practice.

We must get RID of the roots that can poison the tree.

The roots are thoughts.

Just as you can’t see roots, you can’t see thoughts.

The roots feed the tree.

The thoughts feed the mind.

They must be healthy. And whatever is negative, frustrating, aggravating, unforgivable or unforgettable—WE MUST LET GO!

We have to move on because God gives us grace for each season. To me things may not always work in my favor, but I have to trust that God is bringing me to live in His favor.

My roots have to be so DEEP IN GOD! That it feeds my mind, my life, my soul, my actions, my steps, my ways, my everything! That my convictions are not based on feeling good, great or grief—but that it is based on the Word! That my convictions are based on His ways.

Those are the roots I need.

To be rooted IN Christ.

To have my thoughts IN Christ, so that I am kept in perfect peace.

Does that make sense?

Christina…… “You have risen above adversity but now you have to RISE HIGHER!”

Right roots (thoughts) will help you achieve that.

Verses:

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:7 NLT

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

This Is Pretty Cool

I have seen the kinds of tasks God has given each of us to do to keep one busy, and I know God has made everything beautiful for its time. God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of God. I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God. I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. What has been and what is to be—already is. And God holds accountable all the pursuits of humanity.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-15 (VOICE)

God did make everything beautiful in its time.  It is so hard to say that in the rough times.  But now I know and now I see why.  I could only appreciate even more what He is doing in my now season and I am extremely grateful.  I am joyful.  I am thankful.

As we are approaching the close of this year with two more months left to go…I am gazing at all my surroundings and saying, “God did that!” To say the least right–this year has been a pure madness for me.  I had left in January in a season of mystery.  The only thing I knew was that I had to wait for the “what’s next” moment.  I knew it was coming because I pushed myself to tempt God with a move.  I acted on faith and I left the familiar to a place of a real unknown.

It’s been rough.

I started some real momentum in June, only to become completely depleted of life again. It was the last 18 years on steroids.  It was all packed into 3 rough months.  I mean really rough.  It became a season of doubt for me. Then my doubt became my trust. I had to trust the unknown. I had to trust the storm. I had to trust the loss. I had to trust the absence. I had to trust the void. I had to trust that God was leading me through all of that to prepare me for my REAL season of REST!

Well who would have know! But God.  And not only that but He went above all that. In fact during my prayer walk at lunchtime I told him ”You really surprised me! You went over the top!” LOL

Like this is beautiful! It’s nice. It’s lovely. It is exquisite to me.

“One persons opinion of you doesn’t define you. Bleed it out.
Even Jesus doubted Himself –He prayed.
Season of doubt! 
Trees are full of leaves.
In the autumn leaves begin to fall off.
In the winter, there are no more leaves, it is bare.
Even in winter with no leaves, it is still a tree. 
Once spring comes, leaves come again.
They come again to strengthen us.
For this season will pass Christina.” 
Pastor Olusegun Akinkugbe
City of God Glasgow
Scotland

When we experience such a deep drought, it does cause us to doubt. But it took a season like THIS for me to be able to REST for real. It allowed me to experience the Hand of God in great measure. It allowed me to experience NO LACK! It brought me deeper into the things of God. It got me to hear His word in EVERY season of my life. He kept speaking in various ways. It propelled me into a place of pure trust and pure hope that would inevitable lead me to the place of such an overwhelming victory! It’s nice. It’s really amazing.

Wow! All I can say is in this place as I am gazing at my surroundings, “God, It is pretty cool here! Real cool! Thanks for this. You knew what was best and I needed it.”

It is a season to take territory of this.