The Blunt & The Beautiful by Bombi

I’m married to a realist. The man is passionate and has deep feelings no doubt, yet so much of his thinking is based on facing facts. Sometimes his words can come off blunt, which at first I was not used to so much. Growing up, my mom was the sugar and my dad, like my husband was the realist. I often liked hearing answers to questions or anything from my mom over my father. Until later in life. Even more so lately. I’ve come to appreciate this type of honesty on so many levels. Which brings me to a passage I read recently in Psalms. I don’t know if you think of David as a blunt writer, I would more-so think of him as the “feelings” person of Biblical history.  Yes he was a king that took action no doubt, but the man had so many thoughts, feelings, and lyrics he expressed. Recently, I found a scripture that seemed very blunt. 

“When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.” Psalm 27:10  (NKJV)

You catch that? He didn’t say “If my parents forsake me” or “when it feels or seems like my parents are forsaking me”. No, the man said “When”. Like he knew that inevitably it was bound to happen, even expecting it. Ouch. 

I have found that in moments where life has socked the wind out of me, God has been my immediate soft and safe place. It’s been Him that has taken care of me. It hasn’t been a matter of “if” because those moments have come inevitably. I wish I could tell you that I have the same friends I started out in life with, but I don’t. I wish I could tell you that I’m super tight with every member of my family of origin, but right now, I’m not. Maybe one day that will change. I am a believer in reconciliation. In the mean time, I’m hanging tight to God’s precious hand. For anyone reading this, I want to encourage you for those harsh moments when you will find that your parents, your child, your ministry, or boss, or spouse, or friend, or anyone for that matter, decides to ditch you, the Lord Himself will surely take care of you. The beautiful thing is that you will not be alone. You will not be deserted. You will be taken care of by the very God that made you. Just like He did with David, just like He does with me, He will and is doing for you. There is the blunt in life, but God is always there to bring the beauty, always.

Star Wars

Our modern-day culture is saturated with celebrities in every form. From the entertainment industry to politics and yes, even the church. We’ve sacrificed authentic relationships for superficial associations with people of notoriety and called them our “besties” because they struck a pose with us for the sake of the gram.

 I’m not saying it’s bad to admire, honor or even celebrate people who have achieved greatness. What I AM saying is that we should not idolize and chase after fame. 

We’ve trailed behind the footsteps of those seemingly important for the possibility of the attention they may give or endorsement they could provide like a dog seeking water to cool its tongue in summer’s hottest temperatures. 

As if that weren’t bad enough, innocent people have been stepped over and stepped on so to create a ladder to move closer to higher position and people of rank.

In other words, we’ve become “star struck”. We’ve created idols of people we THINK are important and by any means necessary done whatever it takes to look like, become or at best be “friends” with them.  And so now we have this war of chasing the stars. 

Remember the saying “Keeping Up with the Jones”? First of all, who is this “Jones Family” and who’s to say that while it may seem on the outside they have it all together, their lives could be falling down quicker than pantyhose at the end of a long day and yet we are trying to keep up with something that isn’t even real or furthermore FOR US! And if they really DO have it going on, good for them…we don’t know the sacrifices they’ve made to achieve this!

Somewhere a lie was believed that if looked a certain way, achieved a specific level in life and filled our social calendar with the “who’s who’” list, we have arrived. But arrived where? Chasing stars or stardom is exhausting and never-ending. What satisfaction does it bring at the end of the day knowing you have to start all over again the next morning?

 In so many attempts to be seen, recognized or validated, countless opportunities are being missed to become your authentic self, build meaningful relationships and create a culture that truly is Christ-centered. 

What does the Word say about this and what principles can we apply to our lives to protect ourselves from seeking validation from others or chasing stardom? 

Kingdom principles work opposite of the world’s system.

The world says to take and make sure you have what you need. The WORD says give. In fact, the Word says if you give to the poor you will not know lack! (Proverbs 29:27)

When the world does give they will boast about the good that has been done. The WORD says that the right hand should not let the left hand know what it is doing. When you brag on what you do, you’ve just reduced your reward to the notice taken from those you shared it with. (Matthew 6:3)

The world chooses honor those of fame. The Word teaches us to honor those who are nameless and helpless. (Luke 14:13)

If you want to achieve true greatness, learn to be a servant and clothe yourself in humility.

Luke 14:11 

11 For whoever exalts himself will be [a]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Stop people-pleasing and star-chasing. Serve to please God and seek Him only. Why chase the stars when you have the attention of the SON?

Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligentlyseek Him.

New Season of Motherhood by Sonya

As I think of Spring being here and the new season it brings, it reminds me of the new season of motherhood I have entered in. My oldest daughter is turning 14 and I know people told me to not blink and enjoy each moment because it goes so fast. I didn’t realize how fast it went until this new season of having a teenager and seeing how this last year has just flown by with her. I am feeling emotional and having a hard time letting go. Some days I may see her for a total of an hour a day because she is in school and sports activities. In these times, it makes me really appreciate and not take for granted the times I have with her. As a mom, you want your child to grow and mature but when they don’t need you as much it is hard to make that adjustment. It is natural for a mother to want to feel needed and wanted but as they get older their needs change and their time is divided as they want to hang out with their friends and are involved in activities. It can be hard entering in this new season raising teenagers and family time is precious when you get it.

Consistent and open communication is also key.  Allowing your child to be able to share anything is important to connecting with them in each new season. Something as simple as giving them an email or text to say you love them or hi can help stay connected while they are at school and can help your child feel loved that you were thinking of them. ​

This new season of motherhood has allowed me to focus on being their #1 cheerleader since they are not home as much but watching what they love to do and being present in their activities. Just supporting them in activities and knowing you are in their corner speaks volumes to your child. As a mom in this new season I am learning a lot and that I need God more and more.  Being a mom we want to nurture and comfort but I am learning I have to do that from afar in these teenage years as their needs are different. I am learning to be okay with that and pray more for God to guide me. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer in your new season of motherhood. God will carry you and give you what you need and the wisdom at that time. “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah: 66:13. Knowing this comfort in God helps guide me through this new season of motherhood. When you enter into a new season in motherhood, just know you’re not alone and God is with you every step of the way. ​

If They Only Knew by Trish

Recently I turned the big 4-0. My husband, Marc, and I had an amazing time in Miami for my birthday weekend where we were able to rest, take in the sights, and spend quality time together in such a beautiful city. It was everything I could have wanted. 

One night while driving around the city, we were listening to some worship music and I could not stop the tears from falling. I began crying and turned my head to the window so as to hide the nonstop flow of tears. As best as I could I tried keeping the sobs in, but I was overcome with gratitude and whatever song was playing was only cultivating the appreciation in my heart for God and all He has done for me.  God has been so good to me and I could never say thank you enough. While life is far from perfect, it is not short of God’s blessings and His faithfulness to me!

Marc said something to me and I managed to answer him without turning my head. He thought something was wrong and when I turned my head he was obviously curious as to why I was crying. All I could say was, “I’m just grateful.” I went on to say that people have no idea my story and all that God has done for me.

Earlier that day we had visited a friend in South Florida who my family actually lived with at one time in our life. We faced a devastating season in our lives and were forced out of our home not because of finances, but because of racial persecution in our small town. We packed up a U-Haul without knowing where we would sleep that night. My Mom said, “I can either take you kids to stay with family until I get on my feet or we can stay together in a family shelter.”  I remember knowing in my heart that I didn’t care where we slept as long as we weren’t separated.  As we put the final things into our moving truck to take to storage, our sweet friend drove by. When she learned of our situation, she opened her home without negotiation and we lived with her and her dear husband for a short period of time until we found our permanent home in the lovely town of Mt Pleasant. The name spoke for itself, our new season was one of pleasant restoration.

Sometimes you have to look back at where you’ve come from to offer God another “Thank you” for saving you and providing for you! At the age of 40 I’m mindful of my single mother who was on welfare, raising two biracial children in a community during a time that wasn’t as accepting as it is today. Statistics would assume I would be a product of the “system” but God’s love trumps any and all systems and statistics.

My tears were not of sadness, sorrow or pity, they were tears of joy and gratitude. My story is not more important than yours because we all have one, and all of our stories matter. It has led us to who and where we are today. 

If you only knew my story, you’d know why I love Jesus like I do. If you only knew, you’d know why quitting in life is not an option. If you only knew, you’d know why I am grateful for the past 40 years and look forward to the many years of His faithfulness to be revealed all the more in my life.