Matters of the heart 76 – June 2018

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. “Psalm 103:13
Today is Father’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate Dad’s. My father and I did not have one of those mushy-gushy relationships, although my friends did like being around us because we were funny or at least my father was his humor was dry. If you did not know him you would not think he was funny, but he was hilarious. I can’t tell you the things he said, because it was laced with profanities. My father was quite the opposite of my mother, so glad for the balance. When I begin to think about my father a barrage of thoughts come to mind of all the ways he showed his concern and compassion, for a few years I attended an all-girls school that was a few towns away from where I lived. So, a bus would pick me up, and he would always walk back and forth from the house to the corner to make sure I got on the bus. Of course, there were times I miss the bus, and he would put me in his car so that I could catch the bus at the next stop. I remember one time I told him go left but going left ended us up in the bushes, I meant to say the other left. One time I overate, and I was sick, and my father came into the room to ask how I was feeling and when I sat on his lap, I threw up all over him. He was not angry at all he said it was ok, but I did feel a lot better. These stories make me laugh. When I was visiting college campuses it was my father who drove me to the open house. Action best demonstrates love and compassion. There were times when he showed such a tender heart and concern for all my endeavors and crazy antics. I am so glad that some of my memories with my Father bring a smile to my face. I also feel blessed to have been surrounded by grandfather’s, uncles and brothers, and of course, that’s how I was able to discern all the excellent characteristics that my husband possesses. Today I reminisce about all the funnies and the way my father showed his love and compassion for me. We had our struggles, but it is still nice to have good memories as well. God bless you remain encouraged.

Matters of the heart 75 – June 2018

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Proverbs 25:28 ESV) When I was growing up, my mother told me if I turned around in church I would turn into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife. When I came home from church on Sunday, and I wanted to go outside and play with friends, she told me on the seventh day Jesus rest go and get a book. One of my friends, who is now a Pediatrician said to this day her friends still laugh at her because her mother played Christian music at her birthday parties and she does not know how to play card games because of her religious household. I have friends and associates who can share with you this type of over the top, strict religious homes they came from. One of my classmates in seminary father would not allow them to watch television and would know if the tv was on by touching it when he came home from work because the tv would be warm and they would get beat. Some of us made it out ok, just a little PTSD, some went deep on the other side, the city broken into and left without walls, drug addiction, prostitution, alcoholism, a few landed up in prison. Quite possibly maybe they said to themselves I would rather go to hell and wear “timbs” and hoodies then go to heaven with the goodie goodies, the prophet Biggie Smalls wrote those lyrics. I have been able to talk to a few and let my friends and associates know “yes, it was over the top, but our parents loved us so much and they only wanted the best for us and that’s what they knew. We can do better but let us not turn completely from what helped us become self-sufficient people with morals, values and ethics.
The Bible tells us in Hebrew for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. I am so glad that even though I grew up with discipline that seemed painful, rather than pleasant it has blessed my life. I am not bragging but making the point, I am independent and a productive member of society. I am the lender not the borrower I am the head and not the tail and I have divine favor over and around my life. My faith in God is extremely important to my moral compass. I do not want to be the one without some level of self-control. Do I always get it right? As I often write, NO!!!! I am human, I am a sinner saved by grace and always asking for mercy, but I am apart of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven and Jesus is my king and I pursue righteousness daily, because it is real, the truth and it is worth it. I am on this journey with you trying to figure out how not to fight a new war with old battle plans. Many young people are talking about being spiritual and not attaching themselves to a faith or it is not necessary to fellowship and be a member of a church. what does that mean? And where is it getting you? And how is it helping and blessing your life? I hope that as you navigate your spirituality it includes Christ. I do believe that the church needs to evolve, we the people need to evolve because we are the church. I am willing to evolve, I am willing to learn, I cannot change my denominations protocol, and some of those ways of “being” had its place and it was an excellent foundation that helped shape many of us into who we are today. We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. They will have to get there or risk becoming irrelevant. My generation dropped the ball, I am a generation Xer. It is never too late to rebuild the walls for our families and communities, it might look different then when we were brought up, but it will include the good news of the gospel, the armor of God. Holiness is still right, but there is grace in the process. Proverbs reminds us whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. I can only do what I know, but I promise I will not get stuck in yesterday, be unwilling to evolve and listen, as long as Christ is not left out of the transition. Jesus is the core of the gospel and the message is love. Remain encourage, God Bless.

Matters of the heart 74 – June 2018

The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned. (Matthew 4:16 NASB)

As a Registered Professional Nurse, I have worked in facilities and on floors related to mental health. I have had co-workers whose loved ones have told them to go get a “real” nursing job. Mental health is a reality, and sometimes it only is highlighted when high profile people have mental illness or have committed suicide, and because of their status, it is all over the news.  One of my professors in nursing school had a mental illness, and she thought she could stop taking her medication, and she ended up back in the hospital. As Christians, we believe in miracles and divine healing power, and unexplainable occurrences that even the medical community cannot explain, however, the Bible also speaks of wisdom and knowledge; The word of God is not void of Good sense.  If you have a known Diagnosis take your medication as the Doctor prescribes. When an individual has diabetes, medicine is essential, and without it, there are consequences., the same goes for mental illness.

There are so many ways of coping that is productive and used by people who find themselves occasionally in a dark place and might have a diagnosis of depression.  Some people workout some people seek out someone to talk too on a weekly basis to assist in navigating what ills them. There are suicide hotlines and support groups. I will always be grateful for my faith because the lord has been the light in my dark places.  When so-called friends are busy, and they are not available, I can talk with the lord, read an encouraging word, listen to Gospel music to lift my spirits and be reminded, there is still hope and everything will be alright. This past week after hearing about the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain the hymn that immediately came to my mind “What a friend we have in Jesus all my sins and grieves to bear what a privilege to carry everything to God in Prayer.  I am so grateful for the friendship and knowing that the name of the lord is a strong tower and the righteous run in and they are saved.  I do not have all the answers for you, but I can share with you what works for me because I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  Christ is not a trend or a fad, people claim to be spiritual, but they are void of the light. Yes, sometimes our Grandparents and parents are a little outdated, but in time, I know many will embrace their faith, live a little, soon the light will dawn on you, I hope you will eventually walk into the light instead of remaining in darkness. God Bless you.