December 27, 2012

When the Enemy Attacks Your Mind: My Story

I thought long and hard about sharing this, but I had to because people need to know that the devil is real and truly seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.  I've met my fair share of people on Earth who I consider pretty close to devilish. I've heard people talk about how they wrestled with demons or the devil himself but until Christmas Eve (yes, three days ago) I had never had an encounter with the enemy as torturous as this. Sure, he'd whispered sweet nothings in my ear a time or two but never have I been agonized as I was this past Monday.

My daughter lay asleep beside me and I had eaten the cookies for Santa, so my belly was full and so was my heart. I was just enamored with Jesus as thoughts of him flashed through my mind. I prayed and was thanking God for transforming my heart totally within a year. I'd fought him for 29 years and in a matter of 365 days and more, I'd finally conceded to not living lukewarm after 12 years of finding Christ and running from my calling of being an evangelist. With my head on the pillow, I realized that I could not fall asleep. "God," I pleaded. "Please let me sleep. I just want to sleep." I tossed and turned and then I started to pray because something was weird. I could not breathe and I fought through breaths. I looked at my daughter sleeping lifelessly next to me and I got up and keeled over to pray even more. And that's when it happened (insert evil voice here), "Yes, so you was the best of friends to ________ and you see how he repaid you. So not your friend. Yes. God told you to help him but look where it got you. Trusting in God failed you."  "You try to help everyone but you get hurt in return, stupid girl. And you just threw your doctorate degree away, to pursue ministry. You got so close only to choose God!"  "You can't preach to anybody because you are messed up yourself. Your past is stained and no matter what God says you are still filthy. You're dirty. A wretch."

"But, my daughter, she loves me," I screamed moving my hair from my face. "My family, they, they l-l-love me. My best friend she is always there."

"Really, they do?" The voice chuckled as it got louder. So I buried my face in my pillow and started quoting scriptures and demanded it to flee. For the Bible tells us:  "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).


This made me livid, "Excuse me, but my daughter, over there, laying near me -- she c-c-cares. She loves me like crazy and you know what, GOD loves me. Jesus loves me so much that he died on the cross and you, you coward, you GOT KICKED OUT OF HEAVEN so it sucks to be you. Now leave me alone. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE." I quoted more scripture in a rapsong fashion. I remember saying this: "Exodus14:14 StaycalmtheLordwillfightforyouIfGodbeforyouwhocanbeagainstyouRomans8:31. I DEMAND YOU TO FLEE." And then from nowhere I think this: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

I looked up and it was silent. I looked around the quiet room. I was shaking uncontrollably and I wanted to call someone but God whispered, "My child, you have just defeated the enemy with simply your faith in me and my word. Some cave in but you fought back. My child, I am here with you. Always."

Exhausted, I fell asleep in my Daddy's (God's) loving arms. When I awoke Christmas morning, my hair was a mess and my pajamas frumpled. I wanted to know why my mind was attacked, had I done something wrong? I shook the thoughts away, prayed to God and preceded with my Christmas plans and went downstairs to open presents with my daughter. As I opened my first gift from my sister it was this book:
Be Determined - Always
My FAVORITE book in the entire Bible - Nehemiah. A book on this prayer warrior who wept and cried out for his people with a desire to rebuild Jerusalem and restore spirituality.

Did you see the title and subtitle?  Be Determined: Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition. WOW! And God doesn't care for me? Really?

"Why did you get this book of all books?" I asked my sister.

"I overheard you yesterday talking on the phone about Nehemiah and I was reminded how much you love him so I went to get it yesterday from the Christian bookstore on West Broad," she replied.

My mouth gaped open as I realized that God was looking out for me through my "family" even though the enemy tried to tell me they did not care for me and I knew they did. I was AWESTRUCK. My sister got the book about 8 hours before my attack. God had ALREADY paved the way for me to see HIS glory and HIS plans for my life.

"What's wrong?" My sister asked.

"Nothing." I said. I wasn't sure that I wanted to reveal to her about the enemy attacking me.

I opened up the book and lo and behold this is what I read as the title of the first chapter:

 AMAZING.  Remember the enemy told me that "Nobody cares about you. So kill yourself." Now how can we say God is NOT real? This was NO COINCIDENCE at all. Had I taken my life as the enemy demanded, I would've never lived to see God's plan for me. God has been preparing me to be an evangelist and the enemy tried to take me out. I've been through a lot this year.  I lost a lot of friends and I gave my entire heart and life to Christ with NO regrets. Not one. I am another servant whom God is preparing to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the world but since I have not set foot in a pulpit (well not to preach anyway) yet, what better way to make sure that I never spread Christ than have me kill myself.

That's why the enemy visited me as an attempt to take me out before Christmas and to create havoc for all who believe in Christ on such a holiday - a time of jovialty, merriment, and mirth.  Imagine how devastating that would have been if I were weak and doubting God. That's why it is important to guard your heart and KNOW who is GOD. If you don't then, you have NO ammunition to destroy the enemy with. If the enemy would've got me to kill myself then imagine how weak that would make me look as a Christian and the people who know me would question how could I do that when I appeared to be so strong in my faith. But I made the enemy look like a fool in his quest to taunt me by reminding him that HE GOT KICKED OUT OF HEAVEN. You see, sometimes you have to REMIND the enemy of his demise. He is exiled from heaven so he doesn't want ANYONE ELSE TO GET THERE. Don't allow the enemy to cheat you of your seat in paradise. Whatever God called you to do, it will happen in HIS timing, not ours. Just know the enemy doesn't want people on God's side and he will stop at nothing to avenge his pitiful cause.  But God will comfort you. And to further show how much he loves me, God had a prophetess speak these words last night:
Thank you, Woman of God!
So how can I doubt God? I believe we get attacked when we are closest to our breakthrough and the enemy sees that and attempts to thwart God's plans. The enemy will throw in his little monkey wrenches to stop God's magnum opus (great work) but he can't win unless you relinquish control. To further prove, his love for me, this was the first page of  "Be Determined" that I opened up to. Read the underlined print:
And God doesn't love me enough to tell me that the enemy "hurls ammunition" to trap us?  Why I was attacked, I don't know, specifically. I do know the enemy would rather I be dead than preaching the Gospel to save lost souls. I want so much to do that. It is my earnest desire. When I accepted Jesus Christ, I became a NEW creation. I am NO LONGER arrested by my past. I AM FREE IN CHRIST JESUS! God qualified and called me to preach. Despite my stained banner that I wave, God chose ME! I didn't and I even ran from my calling but no matter how far I ran, God pursued me.

As I mentioned before, I have heard of people being attacked but never experienced it personally. The enemy is real. The enemy wanted to hinder me from doing what God wants me to do so he attacked my mind. And what he did not know is that I suit up for the battle daily and thankfully, I never suit down before I sleep.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11). I stay armored. Ready for battle. Do you?

I close with this scripture: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13). Just as I am today and always, I stand.
I'm Still Standing!

December 16, 2012

God, I'm Suffering, So Where Are You?

Being a Christian does not mean being far removed from the hardships, battles, and strife of life. Oh no, we suffer the most once we make the decision to follow Christ. When I was a hot mess in the world, being an unpaid entertainer for the devil, it seems I rarely endured hardship. As soon as I dedicated my life and heart to Christ, calamity came from every corner. I was determined to stay steadfast and brave the storms because I know if Jesus calmed a raging storm in Matthew 8:23-27 then he could handle anything that rose against me.  Here are some "storms" I endured in my life and how I handled them:

Physical Abuse (Childhood) - I attempted suicide at the age of 8 by running into traffic. Not one single car hit me. As I got older, I realized that God did not want me to die for he had a great work for me that would manifest when I was older.  As I got older, I had to forgive and move past the abuse to grow into the woman God created me to be. I have every reason to be upset because of what happened to me as a child but I chose to be BETTER, not BITTER. God had NOTHING to do with me being in the hands of the wrong person, but EVERYTHING to do with who I became as a result of that mistreatment.  I figured, if Christ was crucified then surely I had to endure beatings in life (rather spiritual, emotional, or physical). Being abused caused me to be passionate about other victims of abuse, orphans and missions (the oppressed) as Proverbs 31:9 states: "Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." I am an agent for the helpless and women finding their strength and not allowing life's events to corrupt who they are in Christ or who they can become.  I teach students in the public school system in the hopes of rescuing them from abusive environments. I am BOLD today and the voice that was silenced from the abuse now speaks louder than ever. We are commissioned for a great work. Look at our predecessor, Noah. He was an amateur and built an ark. Professionals built the Titanic and it sunk. God can take the ugliest picture and create a masterpiece from it. Just trust him.

Single Parent -  Sin kills. Period. No, it did not kill me nor my child., but it drowned me spiritually. Having premarital sex marred my life in more ways than anyone can imagine. I would go to church and pretend I was holy as a teenager and young adult but I was the devil's advocate for sexual impurity and when it came to the light, I was embarrassed. I got caught up and revealed - I got pregnant as an unwed mother. Now, what bothers me is society has this double standard that high fives males for sexual prowess and corners, annihilates, and humiliates women. The Bible calls that hypocrisy. Sin is sin no matter who does it and it  and its wages equals death. At some point, we have to get back to the Biblical stance on things (that's another blog in itself) and stop justifying sin as "mistakes" and "it just happened." Excuse me, but there is a lot involved in sexual activity and no one mistakenly undresses, right? Call it what it is -- SIN. After I had my daughter, I realized I would be raising her alone and as crushed as I was, I had to rise to the role and become mother and father to her. Again, God was there through it all. He held me during the days of doubt and reassured me that I was still his child. He carried me when I felt like giving up. I wasn't living the most committed life to him, but my heart was always with him and his precious mercy covered me. 

Toxic Relationships - Whew! I get teary-eyed just thinking of the men who drug me to hell and left me there as they went on to morally and physically corrupt more souls.  I placed many men before God and thus they became my idols. Jesus told us when tempted by the devil to idolize him that: "For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10). Not realizing I had falling into idolatry meant I had my fair share of heartaches from men and the soul ties that occurred from the meshing of our spirits outside the sanctity of marriage. I allowed guys to rob me of my self worth and esteem because I wanted to be liked and loved. Understand that love doesn't love anybody if it has never met love and known love itself - in this case God.  I was searching for love in all the wrong places, giving myself endlessly and relentlessly to men who I only mattered to them by what I could do and provide for them. Anyone can say, "I love you" because that is what they "feel" at the moment but love is not a feeling or an emotion. Love is what is there when all else fades; it's forever and to me God is the only one who has shown me the love that I truly deserve this lifetime. God was there to clean up the mess men left behind after they walked over all I was and left my carcass for the buzzards, figuratively speaking. But, alas, today is a new day and I am more of a woman because of what they did to me and I thank them for their attempts to slay me but like Daniel, I escaped from the enemies lair by the grace of God's covering. 

Unemployment - Imagine not being able to pay your bills and not knowing where your next meal would come from. This was me from 2009 -2010. Don't ask me how, but God provided a way for me to be comfortable without a job and I realized it was much needed as I was in spiritual overhaul. I needed a break from stress and despite my circumstances, I had much faith that God would sustain me in my darkest hour and he was there. People spent countless hours speculating how I was getting by, so if you're reading, now you know: IT WAS ALL GOD.

Depression - About two years ago, I began battling a serious depression. Now, I know it was an attack of the enemy but back then I thought it was time to commit me to the nearest asylum because I was always sad, ungrateful, bitter, resentful, etc. Years of unrepented sin had paid it's debt, as stated in Isaiah, I was separated from Christ: "Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem--your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore" (59:1-2).
As time progressed, I realized that in order to get back to God, I needed to be purged of all sins; I needed a spiritual cleansing. I was filthy on the inside and all that mess was hindering who I was to become. I didn't go to some nature healer or pay $200/hr to some shrink who has prescribed measures for my "issues." No, I got on my knees and cried out to God and I fasted. In due time, I was healed. I laid hands on myself since I was not active in any church at the time.  Note: I DON'T ALLOW THE LAYING OF HANDS ON ME BY JUST ANY PASTOR BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE TRANSFERRING OF SPIRITS.

Divorce -  Now it takes a lot for me to say this, but I am totally transparent. God has delivered me so why should I lie? Though I asked for a divorce initially, my ex-husband walked away from our marriage despite my desire to make it work until eventually I succumbed as well because he was not willing to allow God his rightful place in our marriage. My ex-husband was a wonderful man but he was not the "one" for me. I had backslidden when we married and getting married was our way of "living right." But you can't live "right" when your souls are wrong. A wedding ring is only an item, vows only words, and love mistaken as an emotion and feeling when you don't have God as the center of your marriage. The Bible says the husband "leads" and guides, well that was absent from our marriage and I was the spiritual leader and that is not the order of God, but according to the Bible, if the unbeliever wants out, Biblically supported:
1 Corinthians 7:13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband,
and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now are they holy.
1 Corinthians 7:15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.
I was not an advocate for divorce. I left because in my heart we were never married because we were divided anyway. The marriage was according to worldly standards and not Godly standards. But how was I to know what a Godly marriage was when all the women in my family co-habitated (shack up). I was too ignorant to know better so how could I do better.  I don't fault anyone but I desired to know how marriage and love works according to Biblical principles and now that I know better, I can do better.  Spiritual bankruptcy cashes no moral checks, so remember that.  A deficit is a deficit when the investment is counterfeit. Period.

Personal Illness -  Honestly, I wish this would be one of those miracles in Matthew, Mark, or Luke as the Gospels deliver in parables where Jesus heals me. I'd be that woman at the well or that sinful woman who desperately wants to touch Jesus for healing. Basically, I have an illness that is undiagnosed medically because there is no name for it. It causes me to lose weight and have gastrointestinal issues. No it's not Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis but it bares slight similarities and symptoms. I've been tested for all of that and still no diagnosis. My body dehydrates itself and I get lethargic, feeble, and exhausted. I constantly have to drink water and maintain fluids. No medicines, machines, or home remedies, etc. work for me. Prayer, however, does. The illness is very uncomfortable and I hate being sick but I am not one to complain. I still have life and I find it hilarious that in my sinful life, my gut never failed me in guiding me to do right but I dismissed it and now that I live holy and righteous the very thing I ignored is seemingly failing. Am I scared? No. God protects, guides, and leads me and I will live and worship him until life leaves me because he has my heart, body, and soul. And I meditate on these scriptures amongst many:

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14). and "O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me" (Psalm 30:2).

Those are major sufferings that impacted my life. But my struggles aren't over, I am sure. In this Christian walk, I am sure they are just beginning but note that for not one single mishap did I blame God for anything happening to me. Instead of blaming our gracious, perfect God, we, as wretched sinners should run to his loving arms for solace and the anticipation that if we submit and surrender to him, though he doesn't invade on free will, there's a lesson and blessing in all we endure until life leaves us.

The God that some create as a wrathful monster is one of love, grace, compassion, and mercy, above all else. God is a God of order as well. You will have to atone for your sin. You have to learn the importance of overcoming temptation and not giving in to fleshly desires. Instead of going through the things I went through, I hope people reading, heed my testimony and avoid those pitfalls. For what's the purpose of using a map if you're not following the directions?  It's all in vain. If you're reading this and living for God, LEARN FROM THE SINS OF OTHERS. We don't have to be victims of our past; we are victors who come boldly forth professing our undying love for a God who graces us daily.  Instead of cowering through storms, seek the ultimate umbrella - Jesus Christ. Cry out to him in your suffering. Jesus is a lifesaver and the devil is a lifetaker. Whom would you rather serve (Joshua 24:15)?

In light of the recent tragedy in Newport, CT, America is torn through tragedy. But listen, tragedy happens everyday. Why does it take massive amounts of murder or the senseless killing of innocent children and adults for us to mention God? Worse yet, to blame God for such a heinous individual act? The key word here is "individual." God is an entity above humanity, I believe, so why blame him for what a person "chose" to do. We choose to sin, remember? Murder is sin. Does not God hate sin? Yes, that is clear in the Bible. So, if God hates it, why would he make someone who murders? That answer is simple. He "gave" or "sent" Jesus to save us from our sins. But if you never acknowledge Jesus or develop relationship with him, you will pick up a gun and fire it away in anger, malice, or revenge. You will rape a woman who ignores you in a park because you lust for her. You will curse out an elderly woman who drives too slow, when you don't know Jesus. Instead of blaming God, I am led to wonder how many people in that community knew the assailant and never mentioned Jesus to him. For Jesus commissioned us to, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone" (Mark 6:15). With that aside, as a mandate not judgment, there's no need to play the blame game here, but there is a need to examine our hearts as to our role in being unashamed and sharing Christ (Romans 1:16). Are you doing that today? If not, commit to sharing Christ DAILY. True, it may not end acts of cruelty but we can have relief knowing we did what we are called to do, "[s]o don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:34). In the midst of suffering, blaming, and feeling overcome with grief, we can return to our first love - GOD, through prayer. God is here throughout it all and he STILL sits on the throne.

As we hurt and suffer today and beyond, understand that the opposite of suffering is healing. Healing is the salve that God rubs on our wounds. No matter how deep they are, he's the perfect surgeon. A scar may remain but it's a reminder that God was there through our deepest hurts to ensure we were not alone.  There's no reason to fault God. God gives us free will and on Earth we have "good" and "evil" people. A lot of the hurt inflicted on you was on the behalf of "evil" people and had nothing to do with God. A person steal, kills, and destroys just as the devil they serve does. That's the enemy's agenda and we have to admit that being outside of God's will places us in the enemy's territory. As a matter of fact, it places us at his front door. Either you will knock or turn around and run into the arms of a love that's waiting there - GOD!

Yours in Christ,

November 19, 2012

Single Christians, What to Do Until Love Finds You

American sub-culture indicates that there are more single, widowed, and divorced women in the United States (US Census, 2010). Thus, singleness is an anomaly, yet most women desire to be married. 

Now, I imagine if I were still overcome by my flesh, I'd be in some pretentious marriage and living vicariously through reality shows.  Yes, I was married once for less than a year. That marriage failed because it was based on pure emotion and God was nonexistent.  I was never one for divorce, but as I said before, I did not know God and if you don't know the author of love, how can you "love" someone? Divorce aside, I am single - as single as the last leaf to fall from a tree in the autumn and despite what I feel, I am content with that.

Now, allow me to be "REAL" for a moment - to be honest, my heart has an occupant as I am healing from a past "something." It was too unofficial to call it a relationship but I can say I fell in love with a friend. I'd known him for years - met him in church when I was 17 and reunited with him last year, devoted almost nine months to getting to know him and fell in love but sadly he did not feel the same. We parted ways by his omission - not mine. Why, I'll never truly know, but what I do know is I'll love him forever despite all that's happened because it was him who led me back to Christ before my birthday accident solidified my decision.  I just pray he finds love and lives happily ever after. That's how I am. I always want the best for someone, even if it's not me they end up with. That's life, I suppose but I just wanted readers to know that I am far from perfect; I am human even though I am saved. Saved people still get hurt and rejected, too, but by the grace of God, we bounce back. So just how do you "bounce back" and rejoice in a season of singledom?  You have to:

  • Heal from Past Hurts - Confess and repent of sins from previous relationships. This will help break soul ties that can bind and hinder future relationships. Talk with a Christian who can show empathy or journal out your feelings. Do not allow past hurts to disrupt your life, as they leave feelings of abandonment, rejection, fear, anger, shame, insecurity, neglect, and violence. Allow God to restore and heal you. He works best with the broken.
  • Pursue Purpose -  Focus on living for God. But "seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33).  God has a master plan for us all as he plans to "prosper and not harm us" (Jeremiah  29:11).  Pray, fast, keep a journal, have date nights with God - intentionally. Make God priority in your life. Become intimate with Him. Depend solely on God. Grow in God and make Him your best friend. Seek His purpose for your life and then get busy doing it.  I learned a long time ago, that the best way to deal with hurt is to work with other hurting people - mentor a troubled teenager, volunteer for a women's shelter, visit local orphanages and read to the children, work on your cooking skills (because you plan to marry eventually, right), pursue a degree, or be active in your church's ministry. Just GET BUSY working for God and I promise you'll forget your solidarity.    
  • Avoid temptation! - When it comes knocking, RUN! Pray before you even consider giving out your phone number or make the decision to court (Christians court first, then we date).  Avoid being alone with the opposite sex. Guard your heart and make sure you stay Holy and righteous. If you are vulnerable, regretful acts can occur.
  • Travel/Enjoy Life -  Get a GPS and travel the US and if possible, the world. A single friend of the same sex would be ideal for such an adventure. Experience new cultures and their food. Engage in conversation with the new people you meet.  Share Christ everywhere with everyone you meet along the way. Go skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, kayaking, skating, etc. Leave the house instead of wallowing in pity. Who knows, your future mate could be in the midst of all the fun.
  • Embrace the Single Life, Yet Prepare for Married Life -  Make sure your financial situation is stable (career, credit score, investments, credit card balances, spending habits) and indicate you are ready for what marriage entails. Though money isn't everything, a sense of stability and responsibility in this arena is pertinent. In this process, act like a woman who wants to be married. Be wise and vigilant as you work on improving the spiritual, emotional, financial, and personal aspects of your life.

With all that aside, I am aware of the loneliness this season brings, but it is simply that -- a season (though some women/men feel they are called to be single for a lifetime -- that ain't MiMi). As Ecclesiastes 3:1 notes, "For everything there is a season ..." Don't focus on your loneliness; focus on the progress you can make to enrich yourself as a single.  Peruse the Bible and find verses that you can say to yourself or reflect on when you are tempted, weak, upset, jealous, etc.  Because "[i]f you desire to be married, if in your deepest of hearts you desire a mate, then God will satisfy that desire" (Psalm 145:16). Here are some verses I use to make it through:

Psalm 84:11 - For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Did you read that ladies and gents? The Lord will withhold no "GOOD" thing from you if you are in His will. That's amazing and alone I can sustain off that scripture. It's now a matter of trusting in the Lord and His timing.

Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. What kind of fruit does your tree sprout? Whatever we soweth, so shall we reapeth. If you possess these qualities then you will attract someone of the same caliber. 

Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. If God said it, then He'll do it. He is faithful. We just have to trust His perfect plan and timing.
Pssstt.... Let me tell you a secret: A lot of people who are married are not married to the "right" person because they were impatient in their season of singleness.  They lamented the season instead of rejoicing in it. Don't end up like that.  Do not ruin God's chosen mate for you because you are too desperate or lonely. Allow God to write your love story and he will orchestrate it when it is time. Until then, fall in love with Jesus, then share him and wherever you go, take myriads of pictures, laugh too much, cry little, travel often, volunteer relentlessly, and desire to leave a prominent effect on all you encounter along the way.

October 1, 2012

Jesus's Mirror

MiMi's Note: Everyone is always telling me they love my eyes. For some reason, I never could see the beauty they saw in them until about twenty minutes ago. I was looking at a recent picture of me (see left) and it was a close up of my face and then I started thinking about how I view people. I am a very, very, kindhearted person (just don't cross me) and when I meet people I only see the best in them while making note they are not impeccable, yet capable of being loved in some form. After mumbling that last sentence to myself, I realized why my eyes were beautiful in a spiritual sense --- I see people as God sees them which enables me to love as God loves. Thus, seeing the beauty of my eyes means seeing the beauty of my heart. Seeing the beauty of my heart is like looking at Jesus as He embodied love through His mirror. Jesus's mirror, I believe is the cross - one we see ourselves on daily as we live to die for Him! And from that picture, this poem was created ten minutes ago:

Jesus's Mirror
by: MiMi Atkins
October 1, 2012

Now I see why everyone says, "MiMi, you have beautiful eyes!"
It has nothing to do with their color, size, or shape, rather the enigma of what behind them lies.
I would be perplexed because uniquness in my eyes I could not see
All I saw was a past of shame and hypocrisy
You can not see what you never saw
And you can't heal if there is no scar

Years passed as I looked in the mirror past myself
I couldn't see me because my vision was stored upon the shelf
A woman of mystique and everything within
Loneliness coupled with insolence smothered by a grin
I could look at Everyone else but I could never see me
I envisioned Everyone else through God's eyes -- immensely
Failing to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit to allow it to refocus my vision
I loved everyone else but met self with derision

I never understood why Everyone else loved my eyes
All I saw was the secret cries
It was because I didn't see me  as I looked at Everyone else perfectly
I saw them as God would see -- broken vessels, shattered dreams, torn hearts
Clinging to faith -- hope with no start
When all along each of them carried a piece of me - one who thirsted for The Lord above
Desolate, abated hunger, desperate for His love

A rugged cross, an emblem of the price
Adorned and broken, hung our dear Christ
Christ's mirror (the cross) allowed me to see what He did
And for that moment, my vision no longer hid

Bared in shame, my secret was revealed
This man named Jesus had a gift that healed
The seeping of His blood opened my eyes to finally see
I saw in Everyone what was already within me!

Within me lies no perfection
Yet a gentle soul who's pure and rid of carnal deception
To look upon the world with eyes which sees to the soul
and knowing despite being broken, Christ makes us whole.

August 1, 2012

He's Already There

Are you waiting on Prince Charming to come and rescue you? To sweep you off your feet and whisk you into happily every after? Well, this is the story of my Prince Charming and he could very much be yours, too!

Once upon on a time, somewhere on December 29, 2011, I decided I had had enough of "this" life and I was going to chase after God with all that I had within me. I was tired of waiting on men to rescue me and whisk me off to "happily ever after" and I finally realized that life was not a fairy tale and no Prince Charming was written in my book of life to carry me into the moonlit night.

After surrendering to Christ, I commanded God to do two things: to break my heart for what breaks his and to reveal and rid my life of any impurities!  Somewhere in there, I decided I was going to give up dating and wait on the man God created just for me.

On January 9, 2012, I began a 21 day fast and prayer journal assignment from my church. I prayed,  fasted, read the Bible and sought God earnestly. I prayed so much that I began to become conversational with God. Prayer came that easily and I was enjoying this newfound "relationship" with a God who was omnipresent and omniscient. Whenever I needed him, he was was always there. He was never too busy to hear my cries and concerns. I had learned early on to not go to God in fear, worries, nor complain because that was indicative of a lack of faith and trust in Him.

As months progressed, I became immersed in the Bible and eventually I began to reread the Bible and study the characters indepthly. I began to see myself in the Isrealites - complaining. I saw how I had betrayed people as Joseph's brothers betrayed him. It was as if a mirror were before my face. I saw how I used to be jealous of other's leadership positions as Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses. I saw how at times I lacked faith and laughed at God as Sarai did. I also saw how God could change my generational curse as he did for Abram. I saw the humility I possessed as Nehemiah to cry out for others who are suffering as well as the courage and strength of Nehemiah I embraced within to build that which was torn down. For the first time, I was reading and applying the Bible to my life.

As my spiritual life took on a new, pure, and honest form, my personal life went for a downhill. I lost so many "friends." As God blessed and changed me, they went awry. I got a new car and most of my "friends" acted as if I rear-ended them with it as I shared my joy. While their jealousy brewed, God whispered to me with each hostile encounter, "What I am doing is for MY kingdom for and through you, MiMi. People will not understand. You are MY child and not of this world any longer. No blessing shall I withhold from you in my grace!" God continued to bless me with free surprise vacations, unexpected checks, people praying for me, raise at my job, accolades from my boss and department chair, etc. So many good things were pouring in my world.

Though I did not deem myself worthy of God's "generosity," I knew He was preparing me for something bigger than I could see. I spent several months witnessing, volunteering, donating, and just serving in whatever capacity God needed me in. I wanted to please God and serve Him wholeheartedly. Secretly, I think I was making up for all the "unserved" time from my sinful past.

The more I grew closer to God, the more temptation came my way.  I began to feel lonely and to pull on this, old lovers from my past would resurface but I dare not entertain their lustful manners. I blocked numbers, deactivated Facebook, changed my Twitter, ignored calls and texts. I blatantly refused to give the devil my hand to get on the dance floor of sin. Men were not my only temptations.  My thoughts were on the lottery. I used to love to play the lottery and even though my finances were in line, I liked the idea of having "more money." Food also looked pleasing but it was only to the flesh and not for nourishment. Greed and gluttony were creeping into my thoughts but I prayed to God to keep me and He did. I resisted the urge to sin despite the constant flirts with temptation. Temptation does not have to have victory over us because we can control our emotions and flesh. The body only wants what we allow it to crave.

The more God moved and blessed, the more I started feeling lonely that no "human" was accompanying my blessings. Sure, my best friend was around but she was enduring her own "spiritual warfares" and I wasn't strong enough to rush to her side. It seemed everyone around me was hurting, and all I wanted was an outlet. I wanted someone to hug me, to look into my eyes and say, "MiMi, it's going to be okay!" I was looking for someone physical because God had ceased to be "enough." I started having second thoughts about waiting for God to send me a mate since this was a new philosophy for me as I was accustomed to having a boyfriend.

One night, while in bed admist crying and praying, God said, "You are set apart for a reason, MiMi. You asked me to reveal your "friends" and I did. You asked me to keep you near and I am doing that. Now is not the time for you to depend on others. You have to learn to depend solely on me. Have not your friends hurt you? Have they not lied to you? Betrayed you? What about the friends and family members that were jealous of you when I showered you with blessings? They took from you but I returned everything they robbed you of. When I called you to minister, did I not tell you that I have to prepare you for my purpose? I needed you with no interruptions. Those voids you have, no person can fill them, yet I can. Am I not I AM?"

I sat in silence as God then revealed, "Your Price Charming has arrived. Is it possible that you missed Him because he did not arrive on a horse? You are loved, just open your eyes and truly see. The one that loves you seemingly suffered alone at the hands of the enemy and so-called "friends" just as you. You suffer in life; he suffered on the cross."

Today, God revealed, "I've done all the work but you keep on working, MiMi. Did I not reveal today part of my plan for your life? Did the Youth Pastor not call and tell you that they prayed for a new Sunday School teacher for the 9th grade girls and the first name everyone thought of was MiMi? In your sadness and solace, people think of you and pray for you - you are NOT forgotten.  I hid you from the enemy for seven months for such a time as this. Some people won't allow you to grow, MiMi. Seven is completion and your journey as a voice for Christ is just the beginning with this new assignment. I've got what you need, but you keep on searching. Trust me, just trust me. Then, it hit me..............

In my quest for love and protection, I'd overlooked Jesus. You see, Jesus is the great redeemer, giver of true life and the most unconditional when it comes to that four letter word we all are searching for and truly have at our fingertips - LOVE! I can't be in a relationship until I learn to love Christ with all my heart. No Prince Charming exists in reality. The Prince some of us are waiting on is ALREADY HERE!  

No, Prince Charming does not gallop in on a white horse, shining boots, and draped in the finest linens. Our Prince is the "Prince of Peace." He is blood-stained, bodily marred, clad in a crown of thorns, sandals on his travel bound feet.  He arrives to us on a cross, one that eagerly awaits us to join Him on so he can take us to a home of happiness for eternity - HEAVEN! He's walked miles, saving souls and he wants yours if you have not surrendered to him. Sure Prince Charming is admirable but the Prince of Peace walks on water and that is infallible. Are you ready for His love? You deserve it!

You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. Leviticus 20:26