Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I Got Over...Him

This is an old blog but very timely in today's discussion regarding love and grace. A young sister came to me today asking about a two year committed relationship recently ended, what seemed to her to be, abruptly.

This lesson doesn't just pertain to former romantic relationships but relationships in general.
It is always my prayer that my experiences and lessons learned bless the lives of someone else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I have a sister who asked me to pray for her that she would get her mind off of "him". She said she's prayed and prayed about it herself and I realized that I had went through the same thing with my own "him" a few years back and as I was speaking this to her, it ministered to me as well:

If you're gonna pray for the Lord to take your mind off of a person or thing, pray it once, call it done and move it forward. It didn't make sense for me to keep going to God sayin, "oh Lord...blah, blah, blah, take my mind off him." By continuously doing that, my mind was still on HIM!? (the very person I was "praying" I'd get over...) truly find peace, take more time to worship God. Tell God how amazing He is, how wonderful, how merciful. Thank Him for the good times and the lessons learned.
When we get involved in relationships, we tend to give ALL of our energy, time and emotions to that individual and to making it WORK with that individual. If God were truly our priority, we would take the time to worship and praise God, that way we won't even be thinking about worshipping and praising him/her.

Nothing and no one deserves all of my energy/emotions BUT God!

My favorite Scripture in life right now...Matt 6:33:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you."

Pruning and Purging

To all of you dealing w/the purging of "friends" in your life, again I remind you that you are not alone in this purging season. A plentiful harvest cannot come forth without properly purging. The harvest you’ve been expecting from your sowing is coming forth. Be prepared to receive it! If you hold on to what God is trying to remove, you won't have room to receive what He has for you! MAKE ROOM in your life for the promises of God to come to fruition!

Be mindful, when you are purging to not be too rough on the pieces you’re removing! Those pieces may not be dead totally and can be revived later with time and proper care. Just like with pruning a plant...there may be a piece that was too weak to help the whole plant grow, but on its own, it can flourish, becoming a whole new plant later in life. Relationships are the same way. Some may not be healthy for your growth NOW, but in the future, they may be a vital part of your life.

So, as you prune and purge, do not do so with a spiteful heart. Always walk in love and grace. I am glad to say that I am still friends with many who, at one point, were removed from my life! No distaste or bitterness involved!

I give thanks to God for allowing my life and my experiences to help you overcome! He is so good!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Name is More Than Just a Name: Nina = Grace (Hebrew)

I am finally glad that God made me the type of person to be a friend to people even when they're don't act like friends to me. Growing up, my being gracious made me feel weak & vulnerable. Although I am a "social butterfly", I oftentimes found myself hurt & feeling alone.

As a woman growing in God's will, I understand the importance of being that gracious person. I understand the freedom that comes from extending grace to those whom I call friend. Even more importantly, I thank God that people know that they can depend on me no matter what.

I've grown to understand that sometimes, people don't really know how to be real friends because they too have been hurt and instead of loving harder, they keep people at a distance, they hurt others, adopting the concept of "misery loves company". Even still, sometimes, people don't recognize they're even hurting you.

And so, to those who have called me friend over the years but have shown me less than the love they say they have, it's okay...*smiling at God* ...don't see me as weak. I am far from lonely. And even though the actions of others still hurts at times, I have all that I need. Most importantly, I have the grace of God & His love in my heart that allows me to pour the same grace & love onto others who have need...

With all of that being said: I♥YOU

Your friend,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Dramas of a Bald Head Queen" Chapter .5

I was the youngest of my parents’ children and my older brother was quite an independent individual and although I was as well, by being the youngest, I think that placed me in a position to watch and see what to do and what not to do, therefore, eliminating a lot of heartache. At the same time, I was going through that time in my life where I must’ve thought I was “more mature for my age” than I really was. There was some truth to this recurring comment but I was in fact, still a child. I can hear the voices of so many teachers and mentors, “Nina, if you would just apply yourself…,” which would follow with some other encouraging words worthy of “Guidance Counselor of the Year” honors.

This is one thing that I should keep in mind when dealing with young people. Even if they don’t seem to be listening, seeds are being planted. I recall so many times I just sat in tears over a paper that I could’ve gotten a higher grade on had I just not procrastinated. I may have displayed anger towards various teachers because of their loving me enough to tell me about myself and where I lack; In reality, I was more angry at myself for not being mature enough to have grown out of the inhabited place of mediocrity. Although not expressed at the time, I am most grateful for their patience and for the love they continued to show me. Knowing that I was capable of so much more, I made life harder than it had to be by procrastinating on projects, papers, getting caught up in boys, parties, weed, “Banana Red Mad Dog”… Even all of the positive things I was involved in, track and field, choir, student government (too much of a good thing can be bad…).

I made life harder by settling for just passing when I had all of the potential in the world to be an exceptional student. I’ve made life harder by…this is what this book is for, so that the reader can make a conscious effort to live life to the fullest, making it as easy as possible. This world has enough hang ups and distractions without us adding our own limitations. God is still working on me in many areas, breaking these old habits and molding me into the woman He has intended for me to be.

Those that know me personally, or that were a part of my life during the various times showcased in this book may contest the accuracy and accounts mentioned here. Keep in mind that this is my perception of occurrences. I do not intend to give any half truths about myself or the things I’ve done. I do intend to allow God to use me to the fullest through this book. There may be times that I cry through this thing. There may be times that I question what details to spare and what to give. In doing this, I want to be as transparent as possible but understand that specifics may be too much for some. I pray that I do not allow myself to take the reins on this one. That I be totally led by the Spirit and the world sees this book for what it is: the gift of life through Christ Jesus, who lives within me.

So why “Drama’s of a Bald Head Queen”?

My preferred look is a low cut. Some would consider me “bald headed”, some have even gone as far as to think they were damaging my esteem by calling me out. At one time in life calling me bald headed did left me feeling lower than low, but this was at a time when I was most uncomfortable with who I was. I did not understand at that time that I was made perfect by God. Even with all of my imperfections to include “bad” hair, I have become most comfortable with as little hair possible. Over the years I’ve had various looks trying to fit into others’ ideas of what a woman should look like and what beauty is. I think I looked alright with some of them. There are others that were not so…complimentary. From the jheri curl of the ‘80’s to a relaxer in the ‘90’s, there have been battles lost and won with my hair as, it has always been an issue.

Like so many little Black girls before me, having short hair seemed a curse placed upon me for reasons unknown. Had the sin of my ancestors been so great that God was seeing to it I never love myself? I felt doomed to be ugly in the eyes of others forever. I say in the eyes of others because for as long as I can remember, I would look into my brown eyes still trying to find the perfect fit into my big head and dared to believe that I was pretty. I had to have been about seven or eight when I first started really believing I was beautiful. Back then, I couldn’t help but be nappy, so by the time I was in middle school, I finally accepted that I’d always be “nappy” and vowed to be happy in my nappiness.

It was also sometime in middle school that I felt a greater connection to Africa, the Mother Land. In the world of hip hop, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and other soul sisters reigned and their level of impact on me led me to a longing for greater knowledge of self. Boogie Down Productions, X-Clan and A Tribe Called Quest told me I was beautiful beyond what Seventeen magazine ever expressed to me. I found more of myself in the pages of Young Sisters and Brothers (YSB) magazine and on Saturday mornings as a satellite member of “The Posse” on BET’s Teen Summit. I found love for myself and for my people and told myself that had “my people” remained in Africa and never been enslaved in the Americas, I would have been Queen of my village.

The sisters in my crew adopted the nicknames Toy-Toy, Treecey, Ray-Ray, Quesha and ‘nem and there was already a Ne-Ne so I toyed around with various aliases in hopes to find one that would suit me well and define me upon mention even in my absence. My girlfriends began calling me Mother Africa and from there, Queen Nina became the moniker. By my second year in high school, I had not only cut my hair off and gone natural but, Queen Nina was who I was. No questions about it, no explanation required. I demanded respect from all through humility and in a determination to carry myself as a queen I made a conscious effort to walk worthy of the title amongst my peers.

It was about 2003 that the name “Dramas of a Bald Head Queen” was given to me. If I recall correctly, I was sitting at Applebee’s with my friends Tiff and K’Bana who had first hand observations of my lifestyle at the time. They had watched me evolve on the open mic scene in the Tidewater area of Virginia and also as a “pimp” amongst men. I had a lot going on at the time in regards to…well, to everything. Life was moving very fast. Three years into the military, I dreaded the process of completing the final year, I had more men than should legally be allowed and was caught on the battle field of spiritual warfare; that place between good and evil, between doing what I wanted and doing what God wanted, with no armor. I had teased on numerous occasions about the goings-on in my life and how, “I couldn’t wait for the book”, so I could really take a look at who I had become. I looked forward to the day that I could look back on such times and be amazed at what God had done.

I was at a point in my life where I felt as if there would never be a revolution. That night at Applebee’s there must’ve been some fuss about my hair. Comments about my Caesar had become common place and I just laughed off the stares and chatter from corner tables, and took it as admiration…admiration for my boldness and, even the audacity, to go so low and to wear it so well. It was that night that K’Bana gave me the name for my book. He is so good for having these “deep” spiritual moments where he’ll receive revelation about any number of things at any given moment. And that night two years ago, I was divinely given the title my first book. The “Dramas of a Bald Headed Queen”.

The dictionary gives several definitions for the word drama but there is one that best defines what this drama is about. “A series of events involving conflicting forces.” How appropriate. Whether we realize it or acknowledge it or not, there is in fact a continuous conflict in the world around us.

Second Corinthians 10:3-6 states that,

“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

Besides what we see in our day to day lives, there are conflicting forces within the spiritual realm. That part of life that we may not be able to explain. As I mentioned earlier, this is that battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, etc. A part of this warfare has been depicted in scenes of cartoons for decades. We walk with a demon on one shoulder and an angel on another. In retrospect, there was, and still is, a battle in the spiritual realm for my life, my attention and my intentions. God’s will vs. my will. My personal desires vs. God’s desires for my life. So my whole life has been a drama. Life is a drama. It consists of a series of events involving conflicting forces. Those forces being God and His army on one side and the enemy that seeks to “steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) The devil should’ve kept me while he had me…Lord, I’m all yours…

This book is for me. It’s for you. It’s for the people who will never read it but that may hear about it. It’s for my father, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, any children I may ever have, for my future husband and for my beloved mother, who bragged for years before her passing of all of my accomplishments, even those that she never got to see, even those that we all have yet to see. She was so proud of her my brother and I… *wiping tears* I remember her beaming when she would tell her co-workers and friends that I was going to be a writer. In high school, household PC’s were not yet the norm but she bought me an electric typewriter so I could start writing. I never did get a whole lot of use out of that typewriter. But she bought it for me in hopes that my thoughts would flow more fluidly through keys than through a ball point. She would listen to my poetry and share hers with me. It’s times of sharing like this that more young people need to experience…

Thank you Lord for my mothers…my father…all of the people you’ve ever placed in my life that have ever had faith in me, those who had hopes and dreams for me. Most importantly, thank you for those who have kept faith in You on behalf of what You can do with me and through me. May You receive all of the glory for every word typed, spoken, written or even considered. I praise You and I love You Lord, for all that You are, all that You’ve ever done and all that You’re doing. Amen.

*listening to* “Give Me a Clean Heart”—Fred Hammond, Purpose By Design

Queen Nina (2006)

Preparing the Way -"Dramas of a Bald Head Queen"-2011

Just start writing Nina…type something…laskfja;slkfjaosdifjaosdifjw…So this is how books are started? Vision. Focus…lose focus. Vision. *listens closely* Lord, I can’t do this. Vision. Focus. *pulls hair out* “Lord, not my will but thy will be done…”

What is a preface anyway? I mean, does anyone really read them? I’ve read the prefaces in many a book and somewhere after the fourth page or so, I just fast forward to “Chapter One”. I guess “Disclaimer” would be the equivalent to a preface on forms signed prior to a procedure or, on the label of a product: “Notice to Consumer”. This is my chance to let you, the reader, know that at times, I may ramble. That although I’ve been given a vision for this book, there may be times that I seem unsure or perhaps I’ll seem to teeter over how much of me I’m ready to give. And there’s a lot to give… Also, I have a tendency to write like I speak and now, with the IM and text messaging revolution, I may write like I communicate with my “friends” on Myspace or on the boards of (Shouts to ?love and all OKPs). I will have this work edited of course, for the obvious, but I want you to get all of me so there may be a chapter or two where it sounds more like a blog than a best-selling debut. *winks* Literary/English scholars may cringe. Take a deep breath. Let me hold your hand. Now keep reading!!!! Ha! Good…my overuse of ellipses is intentional… Most of my thoughts are in fact incomplete.

It is my hope that through “Drama”, I am able to show you just what God has been doing with me these past 28 years. It’s been quite a time and there have been many people involved in the creation of this woman whose words may or may not make a difference in your life. I pray that these words do in fact make a difference. I pray that through my mishaps, ill decisions, triumphs, disobedience, pains, pleasure and joys, you are able to take from my life something to make yours a little easier. I realized at a young age that I was in a cycle that had to be broken. I realized that, somewhere in high school I believe, I was already making life harder than it had to be. I recall being a child that was always willing to take advice from upperclassmen, my parents, teachers, whomever. I wanted to get as much from others experiences as possible...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Monster Within

*“…Life can be such a nightmare…I’m trying to keep it together…I’m RUNNIN’ FROM A MONSTER…FEELS LIKE I’M RUNNIN’ FROM A MONSTER…I…I KEEP…RUNNIN’ FROM A MONSTER…FEELS LIKE I’M RUNNIN’, I’M RUNNIN’, I’M RUNNIN’…and I guess I’ve run the wrong way…how could I have been so blind. Well, I guess I’m just a fool then, to think that it would all disappear in time… “

Do you recall your first brush with fear?  Was it a nightmare interrupting your slumber, awaking you to the possibilities of monsters under the bed? Or the loud crack of thunder accompanied by a bright, shining sword extending its’ blade through the sky?  Whatever it was, in our youth, the idea of the unknown sent many of us into a frenzy either frozen under the covers with our eyes tightly shut or down the hall seeking sanctuary in the room of an older sibling or our parents.  Even in the presence of someone bigger and stronger than us, the eyes that peered through the darkness from the confines of the closet were brighter than our own eyes in the sunshine and at this point in our lives, fear of all things unfamiliar begins to tighten its’ grip on our imagination.
On the other hand, the innocence of a child is also laced with wisdom.  As children we have confidence in our abilities in the light and many children are fearless and willing to take on whatever the day brings be it an 8 ft tree to climb, a wide creek to jump or a small clan of bullies to stand up to on the playground, their strength and courage is magnified in the presence of light.
If children can display unmatched bravery in the face of adversity, how much harder should it be for us as adults to get over the fears that ridicule us day in and day out?  It is quite natural to fear the unknown but if we are children of God, having received He who is Love and have the Spirit within us through the life of Christ, there is no reason to live according to the uncertainty of darkness. 
Chapter Four of First John helps us to see the confidence that we have in the Light…in Love…in God. Verse 13 “We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit…16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”
The world has no need of seeking to conquer us with fear when our own imaginations leave us entrapped in a nightmare as life becomes the monsters in our closets.  With the love of God, who is love, all things are possible.  His perfect love drives out fear.

* “…I need your help, save me from myself; I’ve been running from me all along. I don’t know what I will make of my life, if you don’t right all my wrongs…I’ve been running for so long yet I’m not getting anywhere…can you please come rescue me from this nightmare…I feel like I’m running…I’m so tired of running…”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Controversy Created by the Church

There has been a lot of talk lately (and always, I'm sure...) about gospel artists "fraternizing" with sinners/secular artists.  From the mother of The Clark Sisters and Kim Burrell being shunned and chastised by the COGIC to fans and critics worldwide causing an uproar regarding Mary Mary's highly successful "God In Me" music video, The Church is found yet again teetering with the possibility of losing many possible disciples of Christ through their "holier than thou", judgmental attitude.

IMO, the Church needs to stop making everything regarding all things secular so controversial. It's "controversies" like these that keep sinners IN their sin. Show them the God you SAY is in you and let GOD do the rest...

Enjoy the video but more importantly, enjoy the message in the music!!!

Below are some comments that I left today on Mary Mary's "God In Me" video on YouTube
This is my first time seeing this video and I am GLAD that these ladies and their team decided to convey the message in this song the way they did. When I hear the song and watch this video, I literally think of the lyrics being directed at "The Church" sayin', "don't assume you know what I'm going through just because MY walk with God doesn't look like yours."
Yes, this song definitely speaks to the world as an invitation to the world to see what God has done for me, "the saint" but there are plenty of people in the secular world that have God in them. Are they all representing the Kingdom to the fullest? Perhaps not, but LORD KNOWS that I wasn't either when I first got saved and I may not always do my best now!? We "...don't know how much {they} pray, don't know how much {they} gave, don't know HOW MUCH {THEY'VE} CHANGED..."
Okay...this is my last comment (lol...didn't mean to turn this into a blog!?) How many of us church folk stop to think of the act of witnessing that may come from our involvement with the secular world? Who knows what God is doing with this song and video. I love EdwardCarrillo's comment about the Pharisees response to Jesus with sinners...THAT sir, is the best point made here. But I can't forget @mammacita65. We must DEFINITELY check our love walk...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Everything I Learned, I Taught Myself

I would like to introduce you to fairly new Early Reader Series created by a gentleman named Derrick Barnes.  This is a FABULOUS article and looking back, as much as I LOVED “The Baby-sitters Club” and “Nancy Drew”, I remember scouring the shelves of my neighborhood library for a wider variety of books.  As I longed for more than the traditional "classics" in school, I went straight from Nancy Drew to Mark Mathabane's "Kaffir (Nigger) Boy" to depictions of Native American life and traditions in Sue Harrison's "Mother Earth, Father Sky", eventually finding myself engrossed in the tales of adult happenings through the tales of Terry McMillan...even attempting "Jazz", "Beloved" and "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993) all before making my way through the eighth grade. 

My mother was elated that I was an avid reader but had she known the content of many of the books I was reading at that age...yeah...I don't want to imagine.

I say all of this to bring attention to the need for age appropriate literature for young people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.  While this is an article on a website which predominately focuses on literature by African-Americans, I encourage people from all backgrounds to give young people the opportunity to explore outside of the familiar. Growing up in Kansas, it took effort of my own to learn about the writers that were used to instill the knowledge that generated love for my history and the possibilities of my future as a Black woman in America.

Again, I encourage you and everyone you know with young children, ‘tweens and teenagers to look into these books. Seek them out online and in stores where they are available for purchase and request them at retailers where they are not yet available.  Be it for a young person in your home or as a gift in the future, we have to support reading and a love for literature in our young people EARLY and continue to nurture that appetite as they get older.  Also, there is a world of writers, particularly "minorities" in America, out there who need our support as well!

If you have any info to add to this topic, please feel free to respond via email:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Share My World

Even with a head cold and germs all around, I was able to participate in my first blogtalk radio show with Max Reddick.  Tonight, I was reminded that there truly is "Freedom Through Speech" as is the name of his weekly blogtalk radio show.  Mr. Reddick offered me the opportunity to share "How I Got Over" along with two other panelist, Nicole McLean, breast cancer survivor and author of the blog "My Fabulous Boobies" and Michael Stagg of "My II Sense" where he gives "his two cents" on topics such as personal development and how to live life "on purpose".

I am grateful for the world of technology and the various ways that we are able to share in the struggles and successes and lives of people who just hours ago, were total strangers.  Technology has opened us up to a world where, if we live outside of ourselves, are never alone.  Where, when we look at the lives of others, we find that our situation may not be as bad as we initially thought.  Not that we should ever wish "worse" on anyone but we get to a point where we recognize that much can be learned through the testimony of those around us.

Tonight I was able to share my world.  When I was first asked to give a part of my testimony, I didn't know how much to give.  I didn't even know where to begin.  I asked God to speak through me and to give just enough and, even though at times I felt I was rambling, I pray that my testimony spoke to the heart of someone out there.  I trust that all the living I've done was not in vain.  That the pain that I endured all while trying to find "liberation" and "freedom" were stepping stones to get me to the mountain I stand upon today!

During the panel discussion, Michael and I were asked if we ever saw the trials coming.  If there was ever a point where we stopped to consider if the way impact that our lifestyle would have on our future or did we just wake up one day like, "Oh'd I get here?!"  I shared that I knew I was living reckless the whole time.  That I justified my promiscuous behavior and dependency on alcohol by claiming to be a "liberated woman" who cared not what people thought of me or my behavior when in all actuality, I did.

When living in this world, you can't help but care what people think of you.  The way people see you is a sure sign of the way you're living.  Of course we should never live our lives solely based on the opinions of others but there is a lot to be said about how people see you.

In early 2003 I found myself caught up in a whirlwind of anger and resentment towards myself.  There was no one to blame. But I took my self-loathing out on whoever crossed my path at the wrong time.  Men who loved me, friends who were there for me, waitresses who needed extra training in customer service...if you crossed me, you CAUGHT it.  To answer the question posed to me earlier this evening, my response was, "Yes, I knew I was a whore claiming the role of a 'pimp'", taking advantage of those who wanted to give me nothing but the best...wasting away all in the name of "liberation".  I recognized that change had to come, and quick...

More to come later this week...I am sick and need to be in the bed! Good night! 11:43PM EST

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seeking Spirituality

I understand what you mean having been tired of "church as usual" and "religion" myself. There was a time in my early 20's that I found myself not only tired of church folk and religion but I had allowed the world to convince me that Jesus wasn't truly the Son of God and that there was only one God and so on and so forth.

Being an artist of sorts I found myself surrounded by wonderful, loving, "good" people who were educated with worldly knowledge of astrology, numerology, multiple languages and religions. I was impressed by their knowledge and eventually, I also found myself questioning who Christ was, who He is and questioning the relationship with God that comes from truly knowing Him.

A few years ago when I was working at Smokey Bones, there was a young man named Chris who worked as a busser and was kinda all over the place. He was about 19 years old and a total sweetheart but he was young and didn't know. We never disagreed on anything, unless he hadn't been bussin' my tables all night and asked for a tip out...boy please!? Lol

Anyway, Chris knew I was a follower of Christ and we would often have conversations based on my relationship with Christ and the difference between religion and relationship.  One day, Chris came to me proudly and let me know that he was looking into becoming a Buddhist. I was like, “Okay…why’s that?” I believe that regardless of what you’re into, you ought to be able to support your thinking and beliefs…not to argue with other people, but to make certain that YOU are into. So he responded that he liked Buddhism because of its’ principles based on peace, love and such. And I listened…and after he was done I said, “Okay, so basically, Buddhism has the same principles as Christianity but with Christianity, you have a Savior in Jesus.”  He sat there for a second and replied, “Well yeah, I guess you’re right…”

The problem with Christianity is that it was never meant to be a religion.  In the Bible, you never saw Jesus say ANYTHING to the disciples about starting a religion the way we’ve made it.  Yes we, along with the disciples, were commanded to "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” But that’s all we have been commanded to do besides loving one another as He loves us. MAN made the religion but GOD wants a relationship. 

I say all of this to just say, be careful in your quest for spiritual truth and peace with people.  People get sick of the same old stuff in church and then LEAVE the church!? But we NEED people who aren’t “religious” in the church! We need people who are truly seeking God and who truly love Him and are willing to be a light to not only the world, but to “the saints” who are also a part of the world.  We need people with a heart like yours that long to be reconciled with God and who are willing and able to share the Truth of the Gospel with them. 

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged in your growing spiritually. As for all the other “religions” and spiritual practices that are out there and seem harmless, again I say, just be careful as you gain knowledge from man.  Continue to study but make certain you are also filling yourself with the Word to stay grounded while you’re learning more about the world that you were physically born into.

If you ever need anything or have questions, please don’t hesitate to holler at me. I’m not your normal “church folk” but I LOVE me some Jesus just the same and am trying with all my might to find a balance between my human me and my spiritual me!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Regarding Tithes & Offering--Monday, November 14, 2005

Note: February 6, 2010
This blog was written years ago but my ideas are still the same regarding this hot topic.  Just about two weeks ago my friend and writer Jon Goode from Atlanta posed the question on FB asking whether we as parishioners gave concern to how money collected from tithes and offering at church is spent.  I will post more directly from that conversation in the next couple of days.

I personally don't give thought to it because I trust my pastor, his judgement and his leadership.  I have the same views that I did in 2005 when I first spoke on this issue.

It’s not up to us to determine whether Bishop Jakes and other "megapreachers" are spending the money in the church correctly or not.  People like to judge preachers' worth by how much money they're making...or not and what they do with that money.  We forget that Monday-Friday the church is Incorporated and has bills to pay.  One of those bills--paying the leader of that particular house for them and their family to live. 

Preaching even only on Sunday mornings is NO easy task.  There is a LOT that goes into preparing a message for Sunday mornings, Wednesday Bible studies and any other speaking engagements that may be scheduled.  Just in the physical/natural it takes a lot of energy to stand up and give of yourself.  Spiritually...that is a WHOLE other discussion.  Do not forget that pastors/preachers also counsel individuals at VARIOUS times throughout the week and travel ALL across the world in order to deliver the same messages given from the Lord.

Keep in mind that, specifically Bishop Jakes in this case, makes a whole SLEW of money from speaking engagements outside of his church...NUMEROUS books and also music and now film and stage plays.  I'm sayin...all of his money doesn't come from the church however...if you have a church with over 20,000 members and they tithe and give offering yes, his bills are gonna be paid...and then some. Also, the tithes and offerings given by the people who attend his church are also used to maintain the facilites where these individuals come to no, all that money is NOT going into his pockets.

It is not his responsibility to provide for his WHOLE congregation but it is his responsibility to teach what "thus sayeth the Lord" and teach people how to live better lives for themselves and for their families. What people do with that information is up to them...not him.

IF a preacher runs off with the money given by the congregation and does wrong with it then he/she WILL reap what they have sown and will be dealt with in some form or fashion by the Lord.  

With that being said: If people made it a point to TRULY grow spiritually and use wisdom coupled with discernment then when dealing with their finances and responsibility regarding the building up of the Kingdom of God, they would know when to give and how much to give to who.  We have to be  mature enough spiritually to hear from the Lord regarding ALL areas of our lives...even who to give our tithes and offering to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005--Peace in the Kingdom

I have a sister who asked me to pray for her that she would get her mind off of "him". She said she's prayed and prayed about it herself and I realized that I had went through the same thing with my own "him" a few years back and as I was speaking this to her, it ministered to me as well:

If you're gonna pray for the Lord to take your mind off of a person or thing, pray it once, call it done and move it forward. It didn't make sense for me to keep going to God sayin, "oh Lord...blah, blah, blah, take my mind off him." By continuously doing that, my mind was still on HIM!? (the very person I was "praying" I'd get over...) truly find peace, take more time to
worship God. Tell God how amazing He is, how wonderful, how merciful. Thank Him for the good times and the lessons learned.
When we get involved in relationships, we tend to give ALL of our energy, time and emotions to that individual and to making it WORK with that individual.  If God were truly our priority, we would take the time to worship and praise God, that way we won't even be thinking about worshipping and praising him/her.

Nothing and no one deserves all of my energy/emotions BUT God!

My favorite Scripture in life right now...Matt 6:33:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you."

February 6, 2010--Additional thinking:
Although this original blog was in response to someone's failed relationship, these same principles must be applied to every single area of our lives.  It is a matter of us having our priorities in order.

We have a lot to deal with in the natural world going beyond mere relationships; Finances, education, work, material things, these are all things that can take a toll on our spiritual stability and maturity if we keep our sights on them and not on our life's purpose and on God.

Seek ye first...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Desire to "Just Be...Me"

I remember being in that place—In love with the person I'd come to know and despising her all at the same time. I recall how it feels to teeter between loving myself just the way I was and longing to be like every girl I saw that wasn’t like me.

I was a lucky one…

…early in life, I had people telling me I was beautiful. Some teachers, my mother, my father…and perhaps at that point in life, it was simply a positive affirmation, repeated in an attempt to, “…speak those things that are not, as though they were…” And I thank them for that. I am grateful for them telling me how beautiful my smile and eyes were but I must admit, like most people during their ‘tweens, my head was too big for my body, my legs were lanky and my hair was, well, a HOT, NAPPY MESS to say the least…
But all the while, I’ve known myself to be beautiful and even though I endured years of torment on playgrounds and during various neighborhood antics, at times, led by my older brother, by age 12, I KNEW I was beautiful, even in my “ugly duckling” stage.

Last week I was visiting with a friend of mine who has a daughter on the edge of 15 and “OMG...” she’s “…fat…” as I watch her hold her “belly” which is nothing more than a finger-full of skin that she has pulled from her small frame in an attempt to find something, anything wrong with her long slender body.

Then again, last night, the same child spoke about being too thin and trying to gain weight, which we told her she didn’t need to do that age would handle that for her in due time…don’t rush it.

This showed me that we, women specifically, have a difficult time early in life learning to love ourselves just the way we are. That we don’t understand our developmental process and that no one is destined to look the EXACT same way through their whole life. We spend so many minutes within our days making excuses for why compliments given to us can’t be genuine or why we don’t deserve them because “…I need a relaxer/cut/color/need to lose weight…” instead of just appreciating who we are and thanking God that others might ever possibly see us the way God sees us…BEAUTIFUL.

The problem is, WE don’t see it so how can we possibly believe that someone else sees the beauty that we hold…?

“Nina…you know, you should grow your hair out really long and then straighten it…so that way you’ll look like a princess”, says the 14-year old. I smiled and replied, “But I like my hair just the way it is…and besides, why be a princess when you can be a queen…?” I went on to assure her that the look I have is what works best for me and that I stopped trying to look like everyone else years ago...and that she should stop now before she’s too far gone.

Love yourself.  You are the best you there could ever be...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bad Habits

I understand why he’s so scared

That love ran deep

It's still in his veins

Bad habits are hard to break

Although adopting them as

Part of you

Is easy to get into

Like taking a hit for the first time

…addiction is real

That you could get use to
The taste
The smell
The longing for it

That thing runs so deep
A recovering addict can’t commune with the saints
Just a sip will have him backsliding

Just the sound of her name

Triggers memories marking the beginning of the obsession

Like sin

It’s still in his heart

I understand why he’s scared

He’s afraid of what he’s worked so hard at getting over

I understand…
…I’m scared too

Today I Die


I'm so much better than yesterday 

Die to self daily

Yet, living still

Only now
In God's will 

Turn back? 

Never will 

Encouraging others 

Growing still

I wasn't living before

Only existing as space to fill

Life anew

Believe He's real. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prayer & Fasting-Focus #2 Friends & Family (Relationships)

So…people, build families and families build strong communities and the cycle carries on to create the world we live in. The Word speaks of a time when people will be:
Romans 1:30 “…backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…” If our families can’t hold it together, how do we expect any salvation for the world lest we seek Jesus…?
We see evidence of this Scripture coming to pass DAILY.  Some in our personal lives, on TV, in is everywhere.  This means that it's up to us to change the cycle in our lives. 

Lord, today I focus on You and Your relationships with people…or shall I say, our relationship with You. First and foremost, parents and their children need you. Families need you. Help young children and adult children alike understand that their parents are human too. Help them to be patient and loving towards their parents and allow parents to do the same with their children, regardless of their age. Increase their communication with one another Lord…not only communication but understanding of each other as well.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
Heal our wounds and refresh us with Your Spirit…

We are human. No one is perfect but You Lord, and although many of us have You within us, righteousness only takes us but so far when it comes to other humans…allow parents to live according to Your will and may children see You in their parents, always…even when mistakes are made. May they see Your love and your intentions for their life…with You.

May relationships in general grow stronger because of Your strength. I pray that You show Yourself strong Lord, help us to make wise decisions regarding every relationship that we are introduced to and those that we are currently involved in.

Some relationships we’re born into and some, we walk into willingly. With those that we walk into, sometimes it’s Your will and other times, it’s our own. I ask that You help those that I know and love to receive a relationship (or greater relationship) with You FIRST.

From there Lord, I ask that You show them what relationships to hold onto and which ones to release. For those that they are called to maintain, I ask that you help them to cultivate those relationships according to Your will.

For every relationship that You’ve given to Raphael and I, help us to not only “fellowship” with our friends and family, but to show them You and encourage them with Your Spirit and Your Word. Always. Help us to minister to them constantly through our lives with You.

I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus. Amen. *says “Amen” in sign language…and sings it like the end of doxology* LOL

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Praying and Fasting-Focus #1 Marriages


Lord, there are many young couples (and some veterans in the game) that need a refreshing of love, of guidance, of clarity and strength. Lord, continue to grow married couples up. Not only closer to you, but closer to the husband/wife that they committed themselves to.

Help wives not think with worldly minds regarding the word “submit” and help husbands not abuse and misuse the Word. I pray for patience, for communication and for submission to one another and ultimately, to You Father. I thank You that they will walk in love and in patience. That they recognize and remember that their marriage is their first ministry.  I pray that these couples be on one accord according to Your Word:

Ephesians 4:2-6 "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
Help husbands and wives support one another and their families and Lord, give provision while they do so.

1 Timothy 5:8 "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

I ask that You increase intimacy in the lives of these married couples both in and out of the bedroom. Help them to desire one another so that no door be left open for Satan to enter into their relationship. Cover them Lord and create in them a longing for one another that will bond them together like never before.

1 Corinthians 7: 3-5 "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

For those that are currently trying to conceive or that are expecting, Lord, cover them and the unborn life that is with them. Prepare them for parenthood and help them to receive Your peace, always. Luke 1 Zacharias and Elizabeth

For those that long to be married, Lord, prepare them as well and help them to WAIT for Your direction and to NEVER settle to simply be married. May they continue to serve You will all they are.  All things in Your time Lord. Being Single Isn't ALL Bad!!!

I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus and also pray the same for my own marriage. I thank You Lord that You are in control of all things and that no man can put asunder what You have put together. I thank You for Your love that is a living example of the love that we are to have for one another…and may we walk in that love always Lord. Amen.
Matthew 19:6 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”