Follow my blog with Bloglovin Get your own free Blogoversary button!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A New Picture of Church?

I have been a little pulled away and distracted but here is the post I wanted to make back around the 7th that I felt needed some foundation or at least back ground. 

I have refrained from giving it a controversial title. I wanted really to make a statement that I know is just foundation rocking.

I will just continue to share my experiences instead. If you know me you can call and ask. I really have no secrets I just do not want to start a frenzy.

Meeting with the new group is going well. Tuesday night it was just us women which was enlightening.
They are so gracious to me I feel blessed. I do crave the depth of Christian friendship and intimacy.

I am praying about, now that I finally have some space all to myself again, finding some locals to gather here. It has been so long since I lived on my own I almost forgot what it was like and all the potential there in.

Living in community is about seeing people regularly the way you see neighbors and co workers. Ideally it is so that you see each other without it having to be planned event and or extra activity. 

I heard Shelia Walsh from Women of Faith saying the core group of ladies on that tour all moved to live basically in the same neighborhood.

If that is not transformational and mind blowing I do not know what is. Not all of them are single and at least one has a child still in the home.

Maybe just maybe it is just the semantics of church gathering that people need to wrap their heads around. 

lol Maybe not...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gods Plan All Along

I was flaming mad but decided to let it go. I had never wanted to return home in the first place. Three months later my mother felt sorry for me and offered to help me get re established on my own in some sort of more permanent housing.

With an eviction on my record I felt handicapped trying to look at apartments. I wanted to get into a duplex and out from under renting from businesses and companies. My mother found an apartment she liked however and paid for me to get into a one bedroom.

It was too small and expensive. That lasted six months with her paying the rent until she stopped and I was about to be evicted again. Slightly frantic because God had been speaking to me about everything else but my housing situation I said “Lord ok I am desperate here so if you have to YELL yell but tell me something!” Then I called my friend and prayer partner. 

When she prayed the Lord used her to say “I am going to fix your relationship with your mother.” That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been complaining to Him and asking Him why He had my parents and now just my mother paying my bills when I am a grown woman.

(Because they had failed to properly transition me from childhood to adulthood. I felt trapped because I was trapped.)

I called my mother right away and said I should come to her across the country. With a renewed attitude and spirit I felt we could finally get to the root of what is wrong between us fix it and move forward. She said no.

This was upsetting too. I felt it to be in the way of my healing and growing. Again I just decided to let go and let God handle things since I had done all that I could do.

I wanted to move to New Mexico but He wouldn't let me. I ended up sleeping on the floor (on a mattress with my daughter a dog and a cat) lol Oh the memories! It is my friends house. Her and her husband have two children in a three bedroom house. The family is tall so all the beds are tall but they had a little Daschund named Daisy. She was delighted to have warm bodies all but on the floor to cuddle up next to for three winter months.

Anyway fast forward to 2009. I was enrolled at Trinity Life Bible college. I had classes every day but Wednesday. One week we had a special speaker who would be speaking each day. He was bringing a week long message broken up into chunks. I had really enjoyed Monday and Tuesday. I was even looking forward to the rest of the week but something made me come in Wednesday to hear that part of the sermon. 

He told a fascinating tale about being stuck. After establishing himself in life and ministry he said he felt like he hit a plateau.

He had a wife, was lead pastor of a church but he felt this wall between him and the congregants. He grew up in a nice family but one where the dad never said “I love you” suddenly he had a burning desire inside to hear his father say those words.

A trip was arranged to get out of town and visit his parents. He said he made up in his mind to hug his dad and say “I love you” even if his dad never responded the way he was longing to hear it. To his surprise his dad opened the door when they arrived hugged him and for the first time he could ever recall said “I love you son.”

A weekend or so they stayed together and over and over again the father blessed his son with these and other words. When the man got back to his home and church he felt a new release in his ministry.

This would have just been an interesting story except something peculiar happened. My mother living so far away I barely talked to her. I had been moving a lot since 2007 as well about a dozen times. Out of the blue she called. I was in the welfare office trying to deal with paper work and other issues. 
She wanted to make sure I was alright because she said the Holy Spirit had arrested her and insisted she call and apologize to me. She thought I was mad at her or upset about something current. No it's about my past. It is about healing and releasing me. There are things parents need to do and say.

Words are powerful and we do not have to receive them for them to create hang ups, barriers and problems in our life. It feels like having a net on. It is not in you but it is holding you back.

Repurosing The Pain Of Returning Home

Of course God was not trying to punish me or be mean. He wanted my relationships with my parents to bring healing for all of us. Only my dad got it. If only my mom could have been more like my dad. Of course my mom and brother seem to think I had my father wrapped around my little finger which makes no sense to me.

When I say I stood up to my mother I guess I just mean we argued and I did not back down. Not really the same thing.

I have to share something that happened when I was in 6th grade. I made a teacher cry. Our teacher was chastising the class for being extra rowdy when we were actually being normal. She had false expectations for various reasons. When she gave time for the class to respond to what she was complaining about I raised my hand and confronted her with her false expectations. It convicted her, she cried, apologized and changed.

No one could have been more shocked than me. How was I to know this was a gift I have been given to silence some critics and tame some out of control relationships and behaviors??? No body told me. (This and these are the other reasons I am still upset about my childhood.) Yeah I know join the club.

Ok back to the tale...

I felt trapped back at home with no end in sight. One day my mother was passing me in a walk way around our house. Something triggered her and she just UNLEASHED at me:


I had no idea what she was referring to. I thought Lord you need to help her see clearly. I have done nothing to her. I just live here and it annoys her. It had been a really shocking out burst. She hadn't yelled at me since I was a child and I had no idea why she was taking things personally that I was doing or not doing.

Looking back I guess I should have dealt with that in the moment or some time after but I was just not in the right head space. I figured if she was so off base there was nothing I could say to answer her questions. Further I felt if she really wanted to deal with something it would be brought up in a conversation not by screaming unexpectedly.

We trudged on. I tried to live my life as best as I could. Then my dad died early in 2006. It was a shock to us all. Six months later my mom took my daughter and I to Florida on vacation with her. She also gave me her old car and bought a new one.

Then she got laid off from her job in the fall. She told me I would need to start helping out financially. I took that right to God since my job with the friend had stopped paying and then stopped all together. The only kind of work I had done in my daughters life time had been child care or part time evening office work. The office work was legislatively seasonal starting in December at the earliest so that was out.

Almost as soon as I prayed a child care offer came up through the friend I had just worked with. I was excited to tell my mother our prayers were about to be answered. Her face soured and she said she did not want her house used as a day care. The job never came through. Soon she gave me a 30 day notice.

When it was over she shuffled me out of her/my home. She was nice enough to call a friend to help us. Together we moved all my things into a larger storage unit which she paid for.

I was alone and off on my own again. I called a friend in Davis. He had just lost his mother to cancer and inherited her home in El Macero a Davis suberb. The house has an indoor pool and jacuzzi with a dry and wet bar off the kitchen.... A nice place to spend a rent free winter while in crisis.

God was trying to tell me something.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moving back home can suck!

In 2004 I was being evicted and had no money. My mother invited me to live back at home and I accepted. I assumed my parents had spoken to each other and decided to take theChild and I in. Oh Lord why are you allowing this to happen to me is what I was thinking.

I knew I was in a bad place financially but the last thing I wanted to do was go home or lean on my parents. I would have asked a friend. If I had, had to ask my parents to give us shelter I would have viewed the situation differently...

It was traumatic to lose my independence. My stuff went into storage that which I could not fit back at the house. I went into a mini depression that no one (except maybe theChild) seemed to recognize.

I do not think my parents had any idea how raw I felt. Miserable, hurt embarrassed, hopeless angry.....

I had been jobless all year from January through November. Right when I moved in a child hood friend who lived in the neighborhood hired me to baby sit. She paid me and loaned me an extra car her and her husband were not using. I was to use it to pick up and drop off the children plus my own errands.

Could this have been anything but the blessing of God in the place of my assignment for the moment? I did not think so.

My daughter (negatively) reacted to my mini depression as she felt me pulling away from my life. My mother reacted by trying to take over and do things she felt I was failing to do.

Error!!! What I needed was to be supported in and through my mothering, my way! Taking over under minds authority.

My daughter rejected that. I felt caught in a vice/tug o war. My Mother, My Daughter, Myself became the poignant mantra. Even without any drama there were just the issues of a grandmother, young woman and young girl all living in the same space.

The drama came with me being messy and creative where my mother is a total neat freak. Oh we both love each other and we are both saved. I just stopped thinking she liked me while I was growing up. Returning home felt like returning to that very head space I had fled.

I prayed regularly “Lord get me out of here!”

My mother nagged me. She said on more than one occasion that I was wasting my life. I tried to ignore her, stand up to her and just avoid being a bother by staying in my room.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Church is 2 or 3 Gathered

In 2003 I came back to Christ. As 2004 started I lost my job and thus began the vagabond years. It was not until November 2010 that I would have my own lease on a decent sized living space for theChild and I.

There was no money in the bank account and my employer another single mom struggling from pay check to pay check was behind in payments to me as we parted ways and not pleasantly at all.

I was trying not to panic but it was a scary time. For the next 6 months I lived on faith and the kindness of strangers. I was asking God to send me to a good old fashioned prayer group like my mother used to have where the Holy Spirit moved and was active.

Finally as summer set in He sent one to me. It came in the form of my best friend and neighbor at the time. She and her sister along with her mother were used to meeting as a family for prayer once a week.

One day the three of them showed up in my door way saying the Holy Spirit told them to come and include me into the mix. We began to have a glorious few weeks or months. My friend and I were close so her mom and sister were not total strangers but a new closeness came between us all.

My spiritual life was growing at a steady pace. I still attended church regularly and had daily devotional time in the morning. There was also an evening hour I gave to God in praise and worship.

The weekly afternoon prayer with the women evolved as we continued to share. Other members of their family came a few times. My mother visited more than once. A semi random friend of mine even joined in one day. That day the other regulars who were all baptized in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues for some reason did not.

After the meeting my friend stayed for dinner and confided that things like tongues were unfamiliar to her as a believer. The Holy Spirit had directed the group, holding back that which would have made one too uncomfortable. No one had to discuss it. It just happened and felt right even though I knew it was unusual for our group.

Each week there was no leader and no real set agenda besides the location and start time. A few weeks into our meetings Holy Spirit led us all to feel like we needed to have was music to set and change the atmosphere when we got together. Other than that we shared relating stories or experiences from our lives and the week, we ate, drank coffee, read the word, and laid it all before God in prayer.

Prophecies came forth to encourage and direct us. The sisters were married to unsaved men. My friend had three girls but my other neighbor her sister had no children. These issues weighed heavy on their hearts respectively and God told them salvation's and birth for the barren one would come. These things have since come to pass. It was a girl.

Being part of a thriving vibrant intimate group of regularly meeting strong believers was and amazing experience that over shadowed attending church even when the pastors message seems tailored to your individual situation.

Like the old Cheers theme song there is just something about going “…where every body knows your name & they’re always glad you came…” This I believe is really New Testament Acts living. A picture of what the Body of Christ should really be like in the life of every believer.

It doesn’t take money or very much set up. It does confirm what I mentioned the pastor said in my last post. ‘Opt for small over corporate if there is only one slot available for fellowship during the given week.’ When you really meet with and have encounters with the Truth it will keep you on the straight and narrow and in fellowship in total.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Brief (Church Hopping) History

Ok Yall this series right here is about to fully explain why my blog (life lol) needs to come with a For Mature Christians Only warning label. You have been warned.

So I grew up in church. I got saved while attending Mount Calvary Baptist Church. We moved to Sacramento and attended St Paul Missionary Baptist church until my aunt came and started attending then Trinity now Epic Bible college.

Around that time I recall visiting Calvary Chapel, and CCC when it was on Howe Avenue. Finally we settled down under the brothers Trulin who at one point rented space from a 7th Day Adventist church.

I sat under great theology if you are not familiar with the pastors and churches I have just mentioned. I got saved at three and a half years old. I was also gifted and being used by God.

How I ended up out in the world single with a baby and a girlfriend is still a mystery I ask God about but redeemed am I. Amen

When God called me back into the fold in 2003 a friend had been inviting me to a new church plant in Elk Grove. Grace Community. When I got there it was about six months old and you could feel the love.

A most interesting thing began to occur. During the week I would dig into my Bible daily. Being familiar with the text I would travel from verses and scriptures pretty much at will until I felt spiritually fed. There was no path or plan laid out each day I started a fresh with no idea where I might end up or how long I would spend.

On Sunday mornings pastor would have us open our Bibles as he began his sermons and for weeks what I had looked over at least one day in the previous week would be where his text was coming from.

I knew by this and many other things that I was where God wanted me. I understood that I am part of the global body of Christ. I know that the Holy Spirit speaks corporately to us as well as individually. I respect proper leadership and authority.

Giving up Sunday mornings was not something I wanted to do but I knew the scripture said “Fore sake not the assembling of yourselves together” and when God didn’t give me some sort of exception I submitted my will and went.

I found out I dance in worship. I experienced a small group. I was instructed to write out my testimony. It felt like church had grown up with the contemporary free form as opposed to the more traditional style I was used to. I thought I would be in that church forever as it grew and matured.

Suddenly a new family moved to town and they began inviting me to the church they had found to attend. I was incensed. Don’t they know I have a church and the church frowns on church hopping?

Never the less I felt compelled to at least check it out. I loved what I found when I did even more than I had liked where I was at. The last time I found myself at Grace the school auditorium they were using was so packed it was standing room only.

I know someone would have given up a seat for me and the dd. I also knew I could have stood. Instead I felt like it was a sign that our season there was up and drove down the street to the new church with new friends that had a start time 15 minutes or so later.

Arriving at Impact I started over getting all settled in. I connected with the heart of the new pastor the same way I had at Grace. I sense the burdens God places on these leaders when I sit under their ministries. I wondered why God had moved me.

In six months I felt called to move again. This time down the road I went to 1st Baptist of EG. I found the Sunday morning sermons a bit watered down and was praying about what to do. This is a large organization of an established church. The pastor was giving his pitch for small groups and said over us “If you have such a busy life you can only do one thing concerning church during the week let it be a small group. Being in a small group is so impact fully and enriching I have confidence it will lead you back to the bigger body when and if your schedule ever clears.”

For me it felt like a release and I opted for two some what intense Sunday school Bible studies. One was on the book of Hebrews taught by a couple of guys that seemed to have some in depth knowledge of the subject.

There was also a kicking young adult ministry that med during the week for older teens and college students. There we shared meals, had communion and experienced noisy rock and roll worship. It was awesome. That encompassed my time attending there.

After that I checked out a church that erupted in a huge scandal years later. I knew the pastor was a little fast and loose with biblical stories and text from the pulpit but I could never have imagined he was building a cult.

Harvest came on my radar and I headed half way out to Galt as I liked to lament to the Lord even as I lived in El Macero a preppy area of Davis like Gold River is to Sacramento.

Harvest was great and I loved the opportunity to attend weekly Wednesday night Bible corporate study. My cousin and his wife are still there.

I attended a Messianic congregation and then God sent me to BOSS. I did not want to go because I do not feel accepted by black people. They tell me I do not act black which is whack and I just do not like to be bothered.

Never the less it was where God wanted me and began to unpack what He has to say about all of that. Yeah God! Amen

I saw some fliers at school and went to check out Mars Hill in Natomas. I felt at home there for a while. I was able to volunteer. So often as a single mom there was just nothing I could get involved in aside from Sunday worship at church.

Lastly I was at Nations 2 Harvest. Oh the joy. I was invited there by a late night prayer meeting service. I grew up in a house with a prayer warrior for a mom. Hours of tongues is normal for me to hear.

The last time I really remember attending was this summer. June 2010 God sent me to live with a woman who is recovering from having been in a Christian cult for years and years. The message was a Holy Spirit interrupt from what the pastor had thought he was going to speak on that day. Message theme: The Holy Spirit wants us ready to welcome back into the fold and family of God those who are estranged because they have been hurt by members of the church or those calling themselves members.

If that was not hot off the presses just for my situation I do not think anything ever could have been.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Acting Black

Yeah okay so that title just sort of makes me go hmm since it has been the bane of my existence. I have always been the color of milk chocolate. I was raised in a household with parents and a brother who were colored like me.

Then I went to school with kids from all different racial back grounds. My first crushes were on white boys and nothing has changed but the date.

In elementary school I ended up best friends with a Mexican girl and another Black girl both of whom lived near our school. I had to walk a mile to attend.

Moving to the preppier school closer to my house that last year in 6th grade would bring the first hint of trouble. Suddenly in a new place where people had known each other for years and as puberty erupted I felt vulnerable. No one was overly welcoming in terms of the kids I was left to make friends with.

I saw a girl who had come from my old school a year or so before me so I moved towards her and a couple of other odd ball misfits. These girls were all white which should have been a non issue.

Except of course for the Black girls that I had not sought out to interact with. Soon they were picking on me as only those who understood things like ashy skin, corn rows and kinky hair can.

Now I recognize it as a spiritual assault on a God given calling and assignment over my life. At the time I just saw it as a notice that being with people who looked like me would require group think. This said to me be aware and stay away.

“What’s wrong with you?”
“You don’t act black.”
“You must be an oreo.”

These are things I would hear in various forms over and over again.

How is a young person supposed to respond to their race when being told assimilate or be ostracized?

I opted for trying to put it out of my mind as much as possible. Finally when God sent me to a church with a Black pastor without asking me to change I began to have an epiphany.

God loves my quirks and that I do not ‘act black’. I am exactly how He wanted me to be from the very start in many ways. I am perfectly suited for the things He has called me to do.

As usual I need to use my voice and the platform it affords me to tell people where to go and what to do when they get there if they start criticizing me.

Being black cannot be reduced to a mentality or set of behaviors.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Takes 1 2 KNo 1 & I like Eminem

People that know me say I speak so quickly they swear I am not breathing. This is silly but I have heard it more than once. I started explaining it by suggesting maybe there was an auctioneer in my lineage. With the kind of people I hang out with and the way my mind works it was the first thing that came to mind.

As I contemplate where God could be taking me and how He could use my talent and speaking abilities to reach masses it had almost become a point of concern. Will people be able to understand me? Is it some sort of disorder? I talk fast when I am excited and talking with people excites me!

Let us look at another situation from my semi recent past. 

Through the local homeschooling support group I felt led to create, I realized I am a leader and have a voice. People really responded to my posts and points of view. To sort of warn people about my radical views I would say something like “I am getting on my soap box” in a post I felt exceptionally passionate about.

Seen through another filter of who I am and what God has created in me I realize I was in many ways preaching. The setting was secular but I am not. Speaking from the heart to the people out of my head for their encouragement, edification and instruction. Gifted by God to reach those who needed it.


The same thing happens in person.

Question: Who influences the world and culture with interesting words (Hint: lyrics) that are so quick the human ear hears them and the brain can barely keep up?

Answer: Rap Artists

Well what do you know I might have an “act black” trait after all.