Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

Written in support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month:

GOD’s glory is so overwhelming, we can sense Him all around us– if we just take time to perceive it. Welcome back to the 6th installment of ” Yep…I See You Jesus.” May your senses be more attuned to His presence day by day.

She looked vaguely familiar, but on further probing, we discovered we hadn’t met before. As she prepared to leave my office, her hand on the doorknob, she casually mentioned she was looking forward to going to Atlantic City for a few days with friends. Me wishing her a good time seemed like a welcomed opportunity to vent her feelings and share her story.

You see this beautiful gracious woman was one of a few siblings. Let’s call her Ms. Betty as an anonymous name. Yet she is the primary caretaker of a sister with Alzheimer’s disease – we’ll call her Ms. Lou. Alzheimer’s is a disease that mostly affects the brain and leads primarily to problems with memory, judgement and other high functioning intellectual activities. To have a loved one with this terrible disease is to witness them slowly slipping from your grasp on a steady decline right before your eyes.

With the family not recognizing the early stages of the disease, they mistakenly took her offensive and aggresive behavior as personal insults. Consequently, harboring fresh wounds from her uncontrollable tirades in times long passed, children and grandchildren had largely abandoned her. Furthermore, Ms. Lou had a boyfriend who endeavored to stand by her side, but in the end the devastation of her condition proved to be too much for him. Ms. Lou even has a twin sister– surely the genetic and spiritual bond that twins share would draw her almost identical counterpart to never forsake her. But riddled with fear that Ms. Lou’s fate would be her own, Ms. Lou’s condition pains her twin to see her.

Which leaves my patient Ms. Betty– who does everything for her sister short of living with her. Whether it’s cooking, overseeing her medical care, simply being present or a listening ear, Ms. Betty is her sister’s light in a very dark and devastating world, despite having her own marriage, children and grandchildren. In her times of mental clarity Ms. Lou questions her sister about her family. An innocent victim of Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t comprehend how she has hurt them. But on good days she laughs, jokes, wonders about her past and seems like her old self.

Despite it all, she knows her sister is her rock. Her constant grateful utterance “I don’t know what I would do without you” tells us that Ms. Betty’s love for her sister has transcended the walls of this disease. Sometimes it’s not enough to just act like Jesus. For some we must literally become like Jesus in someone’s life– bringing His presence, love, joy and hope.

Well done Ms. Betty– yep I see you Jesus.

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The mark of God is imprinted all around us, if we would just take time to notice. Here is installment #5 of “I see you Jesus.”

As I stepped out of my car, nearly tumbling into a helpless heap on a slick layer of ice and snow in my apartment complex, I couldn’t help but think how much I hated cold weather and wonder for the hundredth time why I was still in New York City. Oh snow! How I’ve had such a tumultuous perspective on this force of nature! It amazes me how much I love it from the comfort of my own bed when not forced to travel in it; or how beautiful it is when it falls in its natural glistening white color; or how fun it can be when frolicking in it for play. But my how quickly my mind shifts when having to navigate snow in my travels to work or anywhere else! Or even worse, when the gleaming white color is replaced by a blanket of urban dirt and filth. Yet as I walked gingerly down the path to my apartment, I am almost sure God put these thoughts in my head as a reminder that once again His mind is so much beyond what we can comprehend. Snow is just another way to water the earth in the cold season. Imagine! No water from snow, no fertile soil. No fertile soil, no foundation for plants and trees to grow. No plants or trees, no oxygen to breath. No oxygen, no possibility of life for most living beings….most noticeably human beings. Furthermore, what helps to fill our world’s rivers and streams throughout many continents? Look at the variety of wildlife, vital to the ecosystem that are designed to live and thrive in snow? All of these important functions and this was just my surface understanding.

So even in something as mundane and challenging as snow, God’s wisdom, grandeur and complexity are on display. And who but God could intentionally design something so vital and still install the added benefit of providing a means for fun?! Skiing or snow-tubing anyone? Yep….I see you Jesus

The glory of God is all around us if we would just take time to perceive it. I hope to share with you when time allows how I see God’s beauty, love and glory shining in my life and the life of others even in the most seemingly ordinary ways. Here we go…

A time of silence, solitude and sitting before God was in order. So I booked a quick solo island getaway to do just that. Excited for the warmth and serene environment, I headed straight to the beach shortly after checking in. Passing the tour desk I quickly glimpsed a couple talking to the tour agent. I honestly thought to myself: “that’s an odd couple” and continued on.

She was at least a foot taller than him…. and mind you that was in flats. She was black, while with him being olive skinned it was hard to tell his origins. With her height and solid build she seemed to overpower him. Seeing them a few times over my stay I wondered what things they shared in common, what other non apparent differences lie between them and what was the story behind their love?

On my final night at dinner they happen to be seated next to my table. In my curiosity I peaked over a few times.  The connection, chemistry and camaderie between them was undeniable.
In the end after seeing their apparent happiness throughout the weekend, their differences didn’t matter. His obvious reservedness was a compliment to her more outgoing nature and for now they just seem to “fit.” The other couple I saw on my last day before leaving paradise— the 4 foot little person with his 5 foot 8 partner– served to reiterate the point.

God has made us in our own unique beauty, but in His love for all of us we should all fit together in love for one another. Whether that love is romantic, familial, neighborly or just as fellow human beings, let us all live connected together despite our differences…. in the adhesive of LOVE… yep I see you Jesus.

I SEE YOU JESUS #1

Posted: January 16, 2017 in Christianity, faith, God, Jesus Christ, spirituality
Tags: ,
  1. A few times I have heard the wise advise that we should intentionally try to meet God daily. In other words become attuned to where He is active, present, very much at work in our lives and the world around us despite the negativity that threatens to overshadow His glory and bring discouragement on our respective journeys.  So in my attempt to adhere to that wisdom and keep my eye on Jesus, I would love to share with you (whenever time allows, I’m not too lazy to write and for as long as I feel I should do it lol) an example of where I see God daily. Although God does such amazing things in our lives that it is so easy and don’t get me wrong appropriate to share our own testimonies, I hope to share more so about what I see God doing in and through the lives of others, even strangers. Or especially in the ways God meets me through random people. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES AS WELL AS I AM SURE IT WILL ENCOURAGE US ALL!
     
    So for my first entry of “I see you Jesus…” I want to share what happened this morning on my subway ride to the city. With the cold bleak weather, squeezed in with the throngs of people bustling to work on the dreaded F line, I was less than pleased to have to head out today. Yet sitting right in front of me, my irritation peaked at having to stand for the 40 minute ride, was the most beautiful display of father and daughter love to behold. Right in front of my eyes I could see a young Hispanic man, probably no older than 23 years old, shower his little 2 yr old princess with love. He gazed at her lovingly as she slept, nuzzled her while she giggled with delight, held her protectively from the crowd and the jostling of the train and handled her like she was the most beautiful treasure. In a Western world where increasingly men are absent from the family and especially men of certain minority ethnic groups get such a bad label, it was so nice to see this young man prove the stereotypes wrong and just love and treasure his little girl. I’m sure life is not perfect for this family as we all have our challenges, but several of us smiled as we watched their exchange the whole ride.
    Low and behold, I went to work with a better attitude and a smile on my face. Clearly, I saw God on that train this morning.
    If you don’t get it yet, GOD IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE LOVE. His beauty is everywhere if we just take the time to perceive it. Yep, I see you Jesus…

The way I sleep with my eyes half open, sometimes snoring if I’m really tired– He loves that. The way I suck my tongue ( ask Caribbean people what this means) and squeeze my pillow– He adores it. That fiery side– yep He loves that spice. My funny looking second long toe– He thinks its adorable. My singing off key in the shower– melts His heart. The way I come to Him after avoiding Him–  arms are always still open. Nappy or natural, dressed up or dressed down, overweight or slim, toned or flabby, smelling stinky or sweet, on my A game or a hot mess, walking righteous or straying off course, getting it right or when I’m way off the mark– God loves me, Jesus adores me, the Holy Ghost embraces me. And they love you too. Just as you are, right where you are. It’s a love beyond comprehension that we often forget, never truly embrace and fail to understand. It is that love that when I contemplate the reality of it, let go and  receive it and allow myself to be washed in it, that love  comforts, motivates and lifts me. And I sincerely pray that you, that I, that we will all be free, refreshed, healed, complete  and empowered in His love.

 

Love lifted me…and yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always

 

Stillirise323

Just last week as part of my regular workday routine, I squeezed into a crowded morning F train as one of millions of people heading to work in the city. Although I was being pressed by bodies on every side, I tried desperately to hold onto my heavy work bag, determined to not let it settle on the filthy floor of the train. Sometimes I let it hang low on my wrists close to my knees, sometimes I hoist it on my shoulders and I often had to shift the bag from one arm to the next in order to avoid overburdening one arm and equally balance the weight. The situation even required that I shift the entire position of my body just to stay grounded as I jolted with the movements of the train and the ebb and flow of the crowd entering and exiting the steel machine at each successive stop.

As I approached my stop, it came to mind that just like I gripped that bag on this seemingly regular weekday morning, I must have a strong hold on Jesus and my faith in God.  I may have to maneuver, shift and reorient at times as I’d done on my excursion to work, but the important thing is to not let go. Hold on and adjust in this life with a tight grip on the Lord of all. JUST HOLD ON! Many times on that short train ride, my arms got achingly tired, my back felt strained and I was resigned to drop that bag right where I stood, on the filth of the subway floor. Yet I’m proud to announce that my tenacity won out and I didn’t let go of that bag. I exited the train, bag firmly  in hand and went on my way. I had decided to hold on. I encourage you in the difficulties of life, highs and lows, pressures and pitfalls to hold on!

Nonetheless the less, if I’d dropped that bag I would have picked it up again. It wasn’t the end.  That’s the amazing thing about our Lord.  When we fall in our mess and the sins of this oppressed and  chaotic world, Jesus picks us up out of the filth, the shame and brokenness, bringing healing and freedom as he loves us ever so tenderly. Even if justice doesn’t always seem to come in this life, in the light of eternity all will be made right. Jesus always seeks to hold on to us, so my friend hold on to him!
# life’s metaphors are metaphors for life….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

As I opened the Bible app on my phone to do my morning Bible reading, I hadn’t been particularly thinking or searching for this verse a day or two ago. Actually, to be quite honest, I haven’t been so disciplined in reading my Bible as I should.  Yet Isaiah 41:10 popped up unannounced and unasked as the Bible verse of the day.  Undoubtedly this is perhaps one of my top 10 “go to” verses in the Bible–you know the ones that you can recite in your sleep and that serve as a bedrock to any situation. How many times have I read this verse? How many times has it calmed me in times of uncertainty, fear or despair?  Yet this time, as is often the case when reading God’s word… this time it spoke to me a little differently.  In moments prior, the last three lines always anchored me—God’s strengthens me, helps me and upholds me.  But on this particular day as I read, my heart, my eyes, my entire being centered on the first two lines.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”  Over and over I read: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Then closing my eyes and meditating on it:  “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Then the revelation, peace and joy that comes with the piercing power of God’s word:  “God is with me! He is God! God is with me! He’s my God!” It was almost like I said to myself: “Girl don’t you know God is God and He’s with you? What’s wrong with you? What you worried about?”

Of course if you are a Christian you’ve heard that preached in countless sermons, taught in many bible study studies or you’ve just read it for yourself.  And of course we know in theory God is with us.  But how often  do we forget?  How common for us to know it in theory but not live as if we believe it or know it?  So frequently we don’t  live it in or day to day experience. It is so easy to give that encouraging word to someone else, but we can’t embrace it for ourselves.   And if you don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior, you may not know the beauty of God’s blessed assurance to be faithful to His people at all.

So as the last fleeting hours of 2015 pass us by and we embark on the adventure of the unknown in 2016, like me you  may be having moments of reflection, pursuing goals for the coming year, seeking strategies for the next steps and holding some apprehension about who, what, where and how to do it all.   It’s natural for these feelings to come. But the message is simple:   “Fear not, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”

Notice God didn’t say, “Fear not, I’m going to give power or make you wealthy or give you this or that.”  He simply said, “I am with you.  I am your God.”  And when we have Him, really and truly in every dimension of our lives, He is all we need.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine…..and yet still I rise!

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323