When the Apology Never Comes

sorryIf you know the story of Jacob and Esau, you know of the deception that tore these brothers apart for many years. In fact, Esau swore to kill Jacob because of what he had done. Afraid, their mother, Rebekah, told Jacob what his brother planned and sent him away.

When the time came for them to meet again, Jacob feared for his life and family (understandably so). In his distress, Jacob divided those with him into groups, hoping that if Esau attacked one, the others could escape. His worry proved unnecessary.

Interestingly, when the brothers finally reunited, no harsh words passed between them. They didn’t throw punches or yell. The Bible says that Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; Esau threw his arms around Jacob’s neck and kissed him. They wept.

This story shows a perfect example of a relationship destroyed by betrayal that is not discussed or resolved for months or even years. Those involved no longer speak or they do but skirt around the damaging issue. Wounds fester because no one says, “I’m sorry,” words one longs to hear but that may or may not ever come.

I wonder what went through Esau’s mind (besides murder) all of that time after Jacob received their father’s blessing. Did he ever ask questions like…

  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • Why did my brother have to do this?
  • Will my brother ever visit? (In this day, we would say call, email, or text 😉 )
  • I know what he did was wrong. Shouldn’t he know it by now? And APOLOGIZE?!?!?

Have you ever asked such questions? Recently, I did.

It didn’t involve a sibling, but something happened between me and another person. Because so much time had passed, I thought I was fine. That is, until I saw this person and thought, “Where’s my apology and my conversation?!”

Yep, that year-overdue apology from someone who claimed to be my friend or rather wanted to be. This person shut me out and I felt like everything was my fault. Yet, they ended the relationship by calling me a name.

So after all this time, I expected an apology. I deserved it. Even though, in my mind I thought I got along just fine, I still waited, still felt irritated.

I asked the questions Esau might have asked:

  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • Why did they have to do this to me?
  • Will they ever call to admit they were wrong?
  • I know what they did was wrong. Shouldn’t they know it by now? And APOLOGIZE?!?!?

On and on I went. After all this time, guess what?

This little lady has yet to receive the apology she feels she deserves. Apparently, the other person disagrees with my opinion. 🙂 Sometimes, we recognize when we have done others wrong and fully admit it, but other times we may not know it or just don’t want to admit it.

But I am no longer waiting on an apology, and it’s ok if I never receive it.

I have forgiven them. I have forgiven myself too. I beat myself up for a long time for allowing this person to be in life (yep, I so took it there!) and condemned myself to no end on how I should have recognized the fakery.

It’s odd because in my situation, I never expected the kind of reconciliation that Jacob and Esau had, but I honestly wanted an acknowledgment because I felt I had been wronged. We all crave that. When we feel wronged, it’s OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! But…

When I look back over my life, I can think times when I wronged others and didn’t apologize. In some instances, I may never know I did wrong.

Could there be someone out there now, waiting for an apology from Trina?

Beloved, could there be someone possibly expecting an apology from you?

This event reminded me that some situations won’t end with a kiss and embrace, but we always have a choice.

We can either live for the apology, or we can live on the freedom that forgiveness, truly gives.

So beloved, when the apology never comes … WHATCHA GONNA DO?

Confronting in Order to Heal

heart healPsalm 34:17-20 (NIV)

 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Psalm 31:5 (NIV)

Into your hands I commit my spirit, redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

 

Last week, it finally dawned on me that I was in pain.

My left ankle/foot got my attention and it got it solely. For weeks, I had walked around on what turned out to be a very bad sprain that will now require a new boot. The pain reached such a level that tears ran and I reluctantly decided that the time had arrived to see a certified physician.

Since the initial incident which led to the sprain, I had managed to bandage up my ankle, soak it in Epsom salt, and walk around … with a limp of course. All this time, I NEVER ONCE seriously considered going to have it examined because I genuinely thought, “It will get better.”

#selah

Now, a few of my friends reading this may not find this at all surprising, considering the fact that a few years ago, while playing paint ball, I actually sprained this exact same ankle, not realizing that I had done so. Again, I knew I was in pain, but didn’t go to the doctor then either. The next day, I saw my ankle swell and decided to be Nurse Katrina. I nursed own my foot back to health. It took a while, but it eventually did get better.

But, in this case – it didn’t get better. In fact, I have made my healing process take longer than it should have and have risked doing serious damage to my left ankle/foot by continuing to hobble on it.

Now that I am writing this blog, I have publicly shared a couple of things with you.

  1. My strength to endure pain.
  2. My insanity to endure pain (and unnecessarily might I add).

I never imagined God would give me a blog from a boot, but because He is who He is — He has. God used this situation to show me that I have a tendency to either make light of my own pain (play it down, it’s not a big deal, say “I’m fine”, etc.) or just downright ignore it until I have no choice but to confront it. I can be so sympathetic towards others, but for me — there is no sympathy.

Honestly, I have just started to figure out some reasons as to why this is so.

Can any of you relate to this?

If I look over my life, and this situation says a lot by itself, I can think of other situations where I’ve had the same mentality of “Oh, it’s fine” — when it ain’t!

Maybe it’s because in order to heal from something, you have to confront it.

And some stuff, I just didn’t want to confront!

Do you ever have days where it’s just like, “I don’t want to deal with that today. So, I won’t.” Then, you move throughout your day, walk on a sprained ankle, push down your emotions, and simply decide to keep on moving.

Never confronting it.

Never admitting anything.

Never admitting the truth.

Never healing.

#selah

I love how the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves us who are crushed in spirit. I can think of some situations right now that have crushed my spirit over the last few years, and months for that matter, yet I have walked around “self-medicating” with my spiritual Epsom salt, not confronting the issues, until this week.

I had to have that honest conversation with God about how I felt, what went wrong or right in each situation, where was He, why I didn’t want to do this or that, and even why I was afraid to do some things. Those things were hard to say to God, but I said them.

I am working on my healing.

What about you?

The next few days, just take a moment and reflect on some afflictions (hurts, issues, disappointments, betrayals, etc.) that you haven’t confronted. Confronting doesn’t always mean talking to someone else face to face, although that has its place and the way in which it is handled also has it place.

What I am referring to in this case is simply having the courage to admit everything is not ok when it comes to ____________ (fill in the blank), and having an honest dialogue with God.

Beloved, have the courage and strength to admit that all is not well with a certain situation or a matter of your heart.

Have the courage to take the issue to God. He’s the doctor you need.

He can heal the sick.

He can heal the brokenhearted.

Beloved, let Him heal you.

Don’t Raise My Hopes, My Lord

hope2Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever felt let down and hopeless? I can recall several times where fear and distrust gripped my heart so tight that I thought I would die. I lost hope of being able to try again or trust again. I didn’t want to put myself in a position that could lead to more hardships, so I ran away to protect myself. As much as I wanted something, I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow myself to “go there.” It hurt too much.

I felt like the lady in 2 Kings 4:8-37. It’s the story of the Shunammite woman’s son being restored to life and it is definitely one of my favorites in the Bible. Elisha, the prophet, went to Shumen where a well-to-do woman lived. Whenever Elisha passed the area, he stopped by her place to eat. He eventually wanted to know what could be done for her because she had been so kind. When asked, “What can be done for you?” she replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

In other words, “I don’t want anything nor I do I feel I need anything.” So, Elisha asked about the situation again, almost as if ignoring her. Elisha knew that something deeper lay beneath the surface. He detected a desire within her. Despite her words, he saw straight through her and said:

“About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.”

What did she reply when Elisha said this? “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

Mislead your servant? Why wasn’t she excited to hear that news? The woman may have been frightened or shocked but why does she feel mislead? Or lied to? What happened?”

Maybe she thought she was too old to have children. Maybe she felt like God had let her down in the past. Maybe she had tried before to have children and when it didn’t work she had given up. Maybe someone had prophesied to her years before about her having children and it didn’t happen. She lost her hope. Then when Elisha mentioned the son she responded in shock and fear because she didn’t want to be mislead again.

Beloved — does that sound familiar to you? Is there something in your heart that hurts and you don’t want it mentioned? What is that area where you don’t want to be mislead?

When someone brings up your deepest need or desire, do you shrug it off with a flat, “I have a home with my own people. I’m fine.” Are you the Shunammite woman? What has happened to your hope? The thought of the “thing” or someone mentioning “the thing” makes you cringe because you just don’t want to hear about it anymore!

Sometimes, we can keep doing things over and over because it appears we never get tired of trying. However, there comes a day when the trying just becomes just that… trying. We feel mislead and let down. We don’t have hope anymore. We don’t see the end result like we used to see it.

The rest of this story is quite interesting. The Shunammite woman ends up having the son that was prophesied only to find that later he would become ill and die.

Wait a minute?

Didn’t she first not want the son supposedly, and then she has him only for him to die? Has that ever happened to you? You admit your desire, surrender, and then it fails? You fought the desire because of disappointment and then after you manage to get back up again and be happy, it comes, and then bam … it dies. That “thing” dies in your arms.

I wonder if that’s what was going through the Shunammite woman’s mind at this time? Perhaps it was also everything that led up to the moment where Elisha first told her she was going to have a son. Now, she is enduring this pain.

Trust and the ability to not give up are powerful. Even though she saw her son was dead, the Shunammite woman still went to see the man of God (Elisha), and the situation completely turned around. Her son was brought back to life! The situation that was once dead, now lived.

I love this story because it is an honest one of past pain, current denial of that pain, and loss of hope for the future. Sometimes hurts can go so deep that it appears to take the very breath out of us if we allow it. It damages us and if it keeps happening enough times or hits hard enough, it can kill your hope. It will kill your faith. It will kill your trust.

Beloved, let this story remind you to not give up hope and not allow what you have seen or felt to discourage you from seeing a beautiful end result in your life.

Yes, Our Lord — RAISE OUR HOPES.

God Won’t Mind a Little Compromise

compromise2Involved in a relationship I knew God didn’t approve of, I realized that as I grew closer to Christ that relationship would come to an end. One of the reasons (and it should have been the main one) was in the drastically different views he and I held of sex. My boyfriend at the time said it was ok for us have sex because we intended to eventually marry. I gave in to his arguments partly out of fear of losing him and partly because I didn’t know how to vocalize my reasons for wanting so say, “no.”

So, one day, I tried. I wanted to discuss spiritual reasons for waiting until marriage to have sex. We could address it from Christ’s perspective since my boyfriend and I were both devout Christians, right? We would pull out our Bibles and have this awesome experience with God that would deeply convict us to purity. However, to my sorrow, by the end of our conversation my boyfriend hadn’t changed his mind. While I believed more than ever that we shouldn’t have sex at all in any way, shape, or form until marriage, this supposedly Christian man (well, he knew scriptures and sang in a Christian group, etc.) told me it was ok. If he was the man I was meant to marry and God spoke to him, then it had to be ok? Right?

WRONG.

As I continued to grow in my relationship with God, my boyfriend’s behavior annoyed me more. Although he told me how wonderful his church was, he didn’t attend regularly. Our behavior didn’t seem to bother him even a bit though I confidently knew that his church didn’t teach that sex outside of marriage was okay. So, how could this be?

When I questioned him further, my boyfriend insisted that if I became all righteous about sex being a sin and wanted to stop sleeping with him, then I also needed to be as adamant about not lying, cheating, etc. According to him, I needed to put all my sins on the same page and not make having sex outside of marriage the biggest issue. That comment confused me because I knew I was not perfect, but it sounded more like a manipulative way to get me to continue having sex with him. It made me feel condemned because I knew I wasn’t as righteous as I wanted to be and felt like he was right. If I would never be able to stop doing all that I want to stop doing, then I might as well keep doing what I am doing.

In other words,“If I can’t stop from sinning in other areas, no need in condemning him of his mistakes or his beliefs about sex. It’s not like I conquered all of my devils. So, maybe we can still do it?”

WRONG.

Bottom line beloved:

God ALWAYS minds a little (or any) compromise. In this case, it’s either sex within marriage or sex outside of marriage. There is no justifying “sex almost married.”

Which of these choices do you believe God approves of?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you are a healer of the mind, body and soul. You can heal my hurts of my past. I thank you Lord. Show me where I have been fearful and passive. God, help me to not overlook you when you are warning me. Help me to not pick others counsel over yours. Lord, tell me when and how I should  take a stand for righteousness and purity. Show me my worth and give me the strength to be who you want me to be. God, show me your will for sex. You do not condemn, but forgive. Thank you for your forgiveness.

The Ordinary Way vs. The Result of a Promise

PromiseA counterfeit imitates something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.

It doesn’t get much plainer than that.

Have you welcomed the counterfeit? Let in the fake because of frustration, impatience, or discouragement?

Sarai, in the Bible, knows a lot about this subject. She could tell you about lacking, wanting, takihttp://takielabynum.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpng matters into her own hands, and trying to be God. She could tell you how imitations can cause big trouble. She is the perfect example of what not to do while waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Abram and Sarai had no children. One day, she got a bright idea. She told Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her” (Gen. 16:2).

What? Hurt and wounded, Sarai grew impatient. She desperately wanted to give Abram a son. Can you believe she told Abram to sleep with Hagar? Well, guess what? He did, and Hagar eventually conceived. Abram named his son Ishmael.

Later, when the Lord visited Abram, he renamed the couple Abraham and Sarah.

The Lord also said, “I will bless her (Sarah) and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of people’s will come from her”  (Gen 17:16).

However, this seemed unbelievable to Sarah — a woman of 90 years of age.

Then God said, “Yes, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac” (Gen. 17:19). Sarah laughed at the thought, but the Bible says, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14).

The story goes on to show God’s graciousness toward her, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. She became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age. Abraham called him Isaac. Through Isaac, God established an everlasting covenant.

Isaac was the promised one; not Ishmael. Ishmael was the counterfeit.

Beloved, what has your counterfeit been? A business opportunity? A relationship?

Maybe it looked like the right opportunity at the time, but like Sarai you fell into the temptation of “helping” God along. How did you feel when you discovered your mistake?

Let us all learn from Sarah.

Don’t manipulate situations and try to take control. Don’t allow your hurt to drive you to decisions God would not be pleased with. Don’t allow the loss of hope to lead you to do crazy things when all you only need to wait on the promise. Don’t allow your pain to take you to the pit. It won’t produce anything valuable. 

Galatians 4 says this:

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave was born in the ordinary way, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise …”

Which one would you prefer? Reader, I know it’s hard to wait. However, let me encourage you as I encourage myself…

Do not do things the ordinary way by taking matters into your own hands. Instead, wait for the one born by the power of the Spirit!

I heard a pastor say one time that those who have to wait the longest have the greatest faith. It hurts when you’ve had to wait, be last, and watch others give birth while your “spiritual child” is not conceived, or worse, dies. However, God redeems. He gives life. You have had the faith to stand while others gave up. You smiled when others have cried and rejoiced in the midst of your own tears, and GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOUR COMMITMENT TO HIM.

I pray that every one of us can wait for the Promised One and not fall victim to the counterfeit. Let us have grace and patience to wait for the real thing(s). The God we serve is not the author of confusion! He is the great I AM. He gave Sarah a child in her old age.

Indeed, there is nothing too hard for Him!

What “child” would you like to birth this year?

Finish the Race, Complete the Task

run the race          Scripture Reference: Acts 20: 13-36
Paul, also known as Saul, lived a colorful life up until his conversion. Many remember him as the man who persecuted Christians before devoting himself to serving the Messiah wholeheartedly. In spite of all, Paul had a destiny to fulfill.

During his third missionary trip, he stayed a few days in Miletus. While there, he sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus. Paul had closely labored with these men, and anticipating that he would not see them again, he wanted to speak to them one last time. He had to make his farewell speech as he prepared to go to the next stage in his life.
In Acts 20: 22-24, Paul says:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, … the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Consider Paul’s words about finishing the race and your own destiny.

  • How would you know you were any closer to your destiny?
  • Like Paul, have you finished the race and completed the task?

First, let’s define a race.

  • A race is a contest of speed; any contest or competition; urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is short or a solution is imperative. Onward movement.

Therefore, when it comes to your future, you’re not just talking about pursuing something in order to obtain it; you’re talking about going after it — and quickly. When a deadline, goal, or event approaches, it takes on a different feel and look. You see it through different eyes. So, let’s consider the situations below and see if you find yourself in any or all of them.

7 CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRANSITION INTO DESTINY

  1. The Longer it Takes to Transition, the More Impossible it Seems. Remember Hannah? She wanted a baby desperately. I wonder if she ever had a moment of wanting to lose hope or give up. What about you? This is the stage of “Why is it taking so long?”
  2. While Waiting on the Next Assignment, You Serve with Great Humility and Tears. You believe something new heads your way and you anticipate the new start with eager excitement. However, you have yet to be released from your current position. You feel caught between rebellion and obedience, and this emotional struggle can lead to a sense of going through the motions. You keep serving through the tears, knowing the next assignment lies around the corner. Despite knowing the purpose of being where you are, you also can’t wait for that purpose to end so you can move on.
  3. Transitions for the Future Require “Now Actions” and Faith for the Unknown. Things can reach a place where even though you are still in a “now” situation, you have to start preparing for the “later.” That may involve setting time and money aside, having new experiences, taking risks, taking new assignments, developing new relationships, etc.
  4. Transitions Require that You be Weaned. (Emotionally, Spiritually, etc.) Here, you may start to sense withdrawal from a situation. YOU ARE NO LONGER THE SAME PERSON. When the time to move on arrives, changes within begin to happen. You must be prepared to let it go. We may need someone else to fill our shoes in a position or take over a responsibility so we can focus on other things, but we won’t let them because we are afraid of what we might lose.
  5.  Your Desires Will Have to be Laid Down for a Greater Purpose. Reminder. It’s not all about you — it’s about God. Whether in a now or later situation, your destiny will supply your needs and those of others. Sometimes we can’t move on when we want to because we have to complete the task at hand. It can be frustrating, but know that you serve a greater purpose. Remember, YOUR LIFE SHOULD TESTIFY OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE.
  6. Transitions Require that You Finish the Task at Hand Before Moving On. Are things in place for me to leave? Is the house in order? How is my attitude regarding this task? Am I complaining? Have you finished those projects? Have you trained people to fill the position you vacate?
  7.  Transitions Require a “Farewell” to Your Old Assignment and a “Hello” to Your New One. A farewell implies a goodbye and maybe a ceremony to show the transition of one phase to another. You will know when the time to say “goodbye” to your now and “hello” to your later arrives.

Paul says in 2 Timothy, that he indeed finished the race.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing

Paul finished — but he is not alone in attaining the reward, so will others.

He completed the task — finished the race.

There was much in store for him as a result of it.

What lies in store for you once you finish your race and complete the task?

 

God’s Hands, Heart, Eyes, Voice and Feet

“It’s so amazing to be loved. I’ll follow you to the moon and the stars above.”

3The words to this song came to mind as a man I interviewed yesterday walked in today for a second one with the client/company he would work for. He exuded confidence, spoke well, and although he had faced numerous obstacles to reach his interview the day before, he called to keep me informed of his status. He was determined to make it, so I kept changing my calendar to accommodate his late arrival.

Why would the words of Luther Vandross’ song “So Amazing” come to mind, you ask? Well, I believe it has all to do with the closet prayer this morning. I asked for God’s heart, eyes and words.

He let me see past the man’s repeat wardrobe and where he lived. God nudged me to ask this man’s story. After interview, I listened as he shared about his dreams for his family and future. I hired him, and so did the company. Outer appearance didn’t hold this man back because God said, “YES.”

God madly loves and pursues of each of us. We have the responsibility to respond as stated in Revelation 3:20. “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”

Heavenly Father, thank you for all you give me and allow me to give to others. But more importantly, thank you for living in me and letting me be your arms, voice, eyes and heart. Amen.

Starlet

The Reason in Any Season

the reasonKatrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)

Psalm 138:8 ESV – The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Several years ago if someone had told me that I would dedicate my life to Christ, have a blog site of my own, and serve in various ministries in different capacities, I would not have believed them.  Why? Because several years ago, I was a different person.  I was not into God or what He desired for my life, and definitely was not using my gifts and talents for His glory. Honestly, my focus at the time was simply going to work and enjoying relationships that would prove to be more destructive than words could ever describe.

Countless times I found myself seeking the attention of any man who gave it, thrusting myself into a “relationship” built on lust and low-self esteem, while compromising myself and whatever beliefs/values I was still clinging to. During those times, I was searching for love and acceptance…and purpose. I thought if I gave more of myself, my time, my money, and any other resource I had available, I would be deemed valuable to the men in my life.

If they liked it, I loved it. If they thought it was good, I thought it was great! Wherever they wanted to go, I was ready. Whatever they wanted to do, I did it. However, I very slowly realized that the more I gave, the more they took and didn’t offer much in return. In fact, the more they saw that I would give anything and do anything to please them, the more I saw myself slipping away.

Who was Katrina and why does something seem wrong with this picture?

After I rededicated my life to Christ, I realized some things about my “former” self and why I was so lost.

First, I had no purpose in Christ. By definition, purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. When you have purpose in Christ, you understand why you were created and know that you exist to leave some mark on this earth for His glory. The only mark I was leaving behind in my former life was confusion. Once I discovered my purpose in Christ, I knew that my mark on this earth was being left by my writing and creativity. I get to use them both in a variety of ways and I am so thankful to God for entrusting me with them.

Secondly, I had no idea what to do with what God gave me.  I’ve always been a creative person (arts, crafts, graphics, etc.) and one who loves to write, but had no idea that I needed to put those things to use or how to. I limited myself to the men I was interested in.  I spent a lot of my time chasing behind men (even after college) and was determined to make up for what I considered lost time (where I wasn’t being chased by men). I used my spare time to be “fast”, as some would say, and forced myself into ungodly situations. From time to time, I would entertain creative projects, but I couldn’t stay focused on them long enough to complete the tasks. I would always end up wanting to put projects down to be with the next man I was “hunting.”

Thirdly, I didn’t believe I could leave a lasting impression upon anyone. I truly believed I wasn’t special. If I couldn’t make the men I wanted love me, why would I want to try anything else? Who would think I was good enough? Who would want to stay with me or pick me? I had a lot of rejection issues to sort through? Also, I felt I was only as good as the relationship I was in at the time (which wasn’t a good relationship). Yep…issues!

Lastly, I was deeply insecure. I wanted to be with whoever I was with at the time so bad, that I gave up everything or stopped everything when they called and/or wanted to hang out. I wasn’t secure in the fact that if I said “no” that they would still be interested. I thought, “I must always be available.” It took me a while that to learn that you need security and confidence in yourself (and in Christ) to be in a relationship. You also need them to not be in one. It takes security and confidence to not be tempted to sacrifice yourself in order to get into a relationship.

So my beloved, my encouragement to you as I close this blog to is to remember that your purpose is not limited to a person or to a time frame.

In every season – you have a purpose. You have a reason for any season of your life and it’s meant to impact lives for the glory of God. Your value isn’t determined by where you are right now. There is so much more to your life than your  right now… As the psalmist said, HE WILL FULFILL HIS PURPOSE FOR YOU.

My prayer is that long after I depart this world, someone may remember something I wrote or something I created that brought a smile to their face or the peace of God to their heart. I pray that something I said or wrote would remind them of the precious love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Beloved – what’s your reason in your season?

“Do it scared” Part II

funeralLast week’s post ended with my visit to the bedside of a friend’s sick brother.

Shortly after the encounter, my friend called crying. Her brother had passed. She said her family wanted me to perform the funeral service. What? Huh? I told her I would definitely ‘be’ at the funeral. She said, “My mom wants you to officiate.” Wow. I said “OK” but got off the phone in shock.

Officiate? What does that look like and how do pastors prepare? Don’t you have to know the person in order to give a eulogy? I couldn’t share any funny stories or anything about him. I called my brother who is a pastor. He let me talk about fears and excuses, and he gave me guidance, assurance and scriptures for the ashes to ashes, dust to dust part of a funeral. He listened, I calmed down and he said I would be just fine. I prayed, sweated and knew Jesus had to be lifted up.

The day of the funeral dawned cold. I packed toys and books for my son and off to the mortuary we went. Yes, my stomach churned as we arrived. Walking in the door, I heard “There she is; we can start.” Secretly, I had hoped that in arriving a few minutes late I would find someone else officiating, like the funeral home people. Man, I love God! He will have you follow through with your assignment. I settled Brandon in a pew with his things to occupy himself. I had note cards to help me. Showtime.

Everyone came in and took their seats. The family sat behind a curtain to my right. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I set aside my note cards, looked straight into the people’s eyes and spoke from my heart. Even now, I am transported back to that room. I shared about my time with their loved one and my confidence that he stood in Heaven, reminding them that they too could join him one day if they choose to follow the Savior, and they didn’t need to wait till they their deathbeds to decide.

At the end, a few people came up and said good job. Thank God that part of the assignment was finished. We all rode to the cemetery, I said a short prayer at the graveside and dismissed the people. The family of my friend’s brother was pleased with the service. Wow, the things I have lived through. God is so good.

What is God calling you to do? Go out and do it, even if it scares you.

Starlet

Attention: I Need MySpace… PART 2

my space 2    Katrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)

Picking up with where I left off last week…

The only thing my boyfriend had to say about the whole matter was that it was stupid and that he  would talk to his ex every now and then since he and I had been together, but he did not let her know he had a girlfriend. Surprise, surprise on that one!

This would be a great time to mention that this boyfriend of mine at this time was the same boyfriend I wrote about in a previous blog in which I shared how I went through his phone? Beloved, enough said.

The girl I met on MySpace eventually emails me a really nasty email saying I knew who she was the whole time and I did that on purpose because I didn’t trust my boyfriend, and it was my fault I couldn’t trust my man.  She was right about the trust thing, but I definitely did not seek her out intentionally. The whole thing was a disaster! I knew enough at that time to know that this didn’t JUST happen. This happened for a MAJOR reason. I sent her back an email saying I really didn’t know, but she was not buying it. At that point, Trina needed her Space from MySpace – permanently.

The MySpace incident happened well before I went through his phone, along with other numerous things, which leads me to this point: The place where the relationship was at that time should have been enough to get my attention to step away completely – but I didn’t. I shouldn’t have made it further into a relationship where I didn’t trust the guy, giving myself the opportunity to snoop – but I did.

Whether it’s time for something to end or begin, we don’t often have to look far for answers. Typically, it gets harder when we are trying to force something to work a certain way (our way) and it won’t. Wisdom was calling me and I wasn’t answering. Wisdom had been calling for a long time in this relationship and I knew deep down she was, yet I ignored her. In my insecurity, I stayed in relationship (no matter how bad it was) to feel secure. That’s never a good reason to stay anywhere!

Beloved, here are the points I desperately need you to take from this.

  • Know your value with Christ. He determines your worth.
  • If you know who Christ is and know His love first, you won’t have to settle for what comes your way. When you don’t know what true love really is, you won’t have a way to recognize the counterfeit; because all of it will look good.
  • Pay attention to warning signs (in any situation) and seek Godly counsel if needed.
  • Remember Proverbs 4:7 and seek it no matter the cost – Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
  • Give yourself space to seek God and listen to Him.

May you be blessed and secure in Christ!

Attention: I Need MySpace… PART 1

 Katrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)my space

Proverbs 1:20-33

20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; …. 24 But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, 25 since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke,29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, 30 since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes…  33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

The psalmist must have known that one day I would read this scripture and become utterly speechless when I did. It describes so many situations in my life where I needed to have used the wisdom that God gave me (even when I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was God) and yet failed to see Him attempting to gain access into my life. I chose to purposely ignore Him and reject whatever He had to offer to me. There were times where I believe God wanted my attention so badly that He allowed any and everything to bring me to my knees in tears. However, I ignored what He was showing me in order to satisfy my flesh and/or feed my chronic insecurity.  I constantly submitted to the affliction and not to Him. One situation in particular comes to mind.

At one point in my life, I lived in another city (Birmingham) and I didn’t know many people.  I was getting pretty bored and was pretty lonely. I was never a regular Facebook or MySpace user at the time (yep, telling my age!), however I did have accounts with them.  To my own surprise, I decided to “activate” my MYSPACE account. I thought, “Well, I should try to meet people in Birmingham and see if I can make some new friends.” I finally set up my account with a photo and contacted/messaged a few people who were in the “Birmingham network”.  Honestly, I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea of “talking to people on MySpace,” but I went through  with it because I thought I needed to get out of my shell. Big mistake!

One of the people that I befriended on MySpace was a young lady. She was married, knew some people from my hometown, and genuinely seemed nice. I had never met her before nor had I seen her picture anywhere before. Why would I have when we had never met, right? Well, we emailed and messaged back and forth. Eventually, I ended up sharing with her that I had a boyfriend and disclosed some other pertinent facts about him. She later sends me a message back saying that she thought she knew him. At that point, when I read her message, I remember getting this sick feeling. My first thought was “I’m not sure if I want to respond to this message or even fool with MySpace anymore.” I never responded to that particular message she sent, but I did tell my boyfriend about her. In that conversation, he never said anything about knowing the girl. At that point, I begin to notice that since I had put completed my profile up, my profile had been viewed numerous times. I remember thinking, “Boy, I’m popular.”

That same day I got that weird, sick feeling. My boyfriend calls to tell me that the girl I had been chatting with was the friend of his ex-girlfriend. To make matters even worse, it was the ex-girlfriend he had dated right before me. Yes, the girl I had made “MySpace friends” with was the friend of his ex-girlfriend. That explained the number of hits my profile got in such a short period of time.

Out of all the people on MySpace, in the world, in Alabama, in Birmingham, this is who I “meet?” Lord-is this really happening?

Yep. It was happening. The Lord was trying to get my attention and He had it!

Come back next week to find out how the rest of the story ends….

 

I Wanna SNOOP!

Katrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner) I wanna snoop

Psalm 118:8-(NIV) It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Right now, I am mad but extremely grateful.

I caught a vision of my former self as I was reading a book on insecurity. I was mad because at various points of my life, I had been immensely insecure, which led to destructive behavior. I was thankful to God because not only had He delivered me from a toxic relationship,but he delivered me from myself.

I was reading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore and in one chapter, she began to talk about how insecurities can make us cross lines. She addressed the fact that there is a difference in knowing information and knowing too much information. Sometimes, in our insecurities, we can get into a trap of thinking we need to know everything because we think that somehow, if we knew all the details of a situation, it would make us more secure…right? Wrong!

The situation Beth described was of a young woman who had experienced a broken engagement. She confessed to Beth that when her and her fiance were dating, she had become convinced that something about him was not quite right. As nice as he was, something was off. She would constantly catch him eyeballing other women. She thought she was imagining it, but of course when confronted – he denied it. Though she never caught him doing anything else, the suspicion went overboard, eventually destroying the relationship. The young lady believed, even in her pain and brokenness of heart, that the right decision to not marry him had been made and that this was God’s will.

But somehow, trusting God and trusting her own relationship with God wasn’t enough.

She became obsessed with “knowing” the entire situation and eventually was able to hack into his email account. Though she didn’t discover pornography, she did uncover emails where he crossed the line with numerous girls.

She realized that he wasn’t the type of man she would want to marry but God had already told her that – yet she wasn’t satisfied enough with that revelation. Beth then goes on to tell how the girl, once she had access to the emails, would go into his account constantly, reading and rehearsing the messages she saw. Although she now had proof of his “wrongs”, oddly enough – the young lady didn’t feel any better. If anything, she felt worse.

Not only did she know – she knew way too much.

And now, she wasn’t capable of handling the information. It was consuming her.

I remember this girl. I was this girl.

A few years ago, I was dating a young man and I too, already knew something wasn’t right. I had received countless signs from God (though I wasn’t  living for God at the time, I do believe he was trying desperately to get my attention). I knew this young man wasn’t the one or anything close to it, I just kept thinking and hoping it change, or that what I was seeing and feeling was all my imagination.

I’ll never forget the day I tried to be a detective. I never thought that I would be one of those girls who would go through a guy’s phone, or anyone’s phone for that matter, but that day, I turned into THAT girl. I remember having these overwhelming feelings of deep distrust. The Holy Spirit didn’t tell me to snoop through his phone—that was all me; I was just being warned in my spirit that besides all the other drama, something was not right.

One night, when I was at his house, while he was sleep, I got up and made my way into the den where he had left his cell phone. I went through it, saw some text messages that disturbed me, hurt me, and confirmed what I thought all at the same time.

From what I could make out of the text, there was some girl who was going to come see him or had already come to see him. I think he was at his mother’s house at the time. She apparently had texted him about meeting her to get the key to his house. I put the phone back and tried to go back to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping. The next morning, I woke up with that on my brain. I was hurt and confused. He was making coffee for us and I remember the feeling of literally wanting to throw something at him. I wanted to wipe that smug, lying, look of innocence off of his face and yell, “Gotcha!”

At some point that morning, my then boyfriend got into the shower. It gave me the opportunity to look at his phone again, only to find out not only was there a chance that someone had been to his house, but he was also having an inappropriate, out of bounds, overly flirtatious and tacky conversation with another female via text message. I thought I had turned the phone back off, but I didn’t. When he got out of the shower, we were talking and to my surprise and his, the phone rang!

Beloved, what’s to be learned from both of these stories?

  • SECURE PEOPLE DON’T SNOOP. Enough said.
  • SECURE PEOPLE DON’T LIVE IN DENIAL, but THEY DEFINITELY don’t go looking for more trouble when they already know something isn’t right. Beloved, what more proof do you need and is it going to help the situation at all if you did learn more? Had I believed, like the Psalmist said and made the Lord my refuge, then I would have known the person I was with couldn’t be trusted. God had shown me that prior to my detective work. All humans are/were not be distrusted, just this one in this case 🙂
  • SECURE PEOPLE HEED THE WARNINGS and there is grace that assists with what has been revealed to us, but it can also be spiritually and mentally draining when we purposely insist upon seeking after that which is “too hot to handle.” Often, when we do – we get burned.

So, beloved, let this be a reminder about snooping and trust. If there is no trust – there is no relationship.

‘Cause when you snoop, you lose.

Do It Scared Pt 1

doitscared1

Starlet Ware on Encouragement and Prayer

And regarding the question friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer.  First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word.  Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.  I Thessalonians 4:13-14 (MSG)

Wonderful verse to cling to when love ones step over into the presence of God and see Jesus face to face.  It has been stated my response is sometimes quite different than others in the faith.  The focus of funerals seems to have changed from sadness to home going celebrations.  It is now; “Let’s celebrate my loved one is at home!”  Yes, we will miss them but we will be there soon enough so we will keep living until we die (as opposed to being alive but walking around as though we’re dead)!

Do you find yourself in the “I can’t go on because my loved one isn’t here” or “I will live till I’m called home?”  Let me hear from you.  My brother says I am his emotional sister so there is a heart in my chest cavity.  Both categories have held my attention.  Tears have rolled for near strangers when their relationship with Jesus wasn’t clear.  I know only God knows their heart and knows if they repented just before that last breath.

Years ago, a friend’s brother was on his death bed.  She kept me informed of his progress.  One night, she called really late.  She was crying and could hardly speak because her brother had taken a turn for the worse.  I asked if I could come see him because she wasn’t sure if he knew Christ.  She said yes but warned me he wasn’t able to speak.  Praying occurred letting God know I was going even though afraid since evangelizing skills were lacking.  This young soldier prepared a list of verses from the Roman road, verses that tell of God’s love, repenting and then accepting Jesus prayer.

Armed but quaking inside, I walked in the house.  It was quiet.  She introduced her family and then led me to her brother’s room.  His room was dark and quiet.  Memory fails if she left the room or not because prayer was on the mind.  I introduced myself to him, asked if he wanted to see Jesus when he breathed his last breathe and instructed him to roll his eyes back and forth for ‘yes’ and no movement for ‘no.’  Not sure he could hear me, I kept talking, asking questions, reading scripture and praying.  I was so nervous.

Thank you God, his eyes shifted when I asked if he accepted Jesus in his heart.  Hallelujah!  I squeezed his hand, prayed out loud and I left.  In the car, emotions came flooding through, excited, unsure and thankful I had obeyed God to go in the first place.  He will be in Heaven.

Tune in next week for the rest of the story.  Father God, thank you for allowing me to be in your plans.  What a blessing you are.  You are awesome, worthy, confident and sure.  Bless each reader and let them do what you ask of them whether they are confident in it or afraid.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

I Do Not Say No Because I Like Saying Yes

Katrina Hunter Set Free (say-no-to-say-yesHannah’s Corner)

 Romans 7: 15, 18, 19  New International Version (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

You know what it is and so does God.

It gives you that climax. It’s the thing that gets you excited.

God knows that He used to be that high. He used to be that thing for you that got you through. He used to be what helped you cope. But not anymore. You have other things and someone else to do that for you now.

It may not be the “typical sin” – but you know you have “this thing.”

“The thing”, as Paul the Apostle said – you do but don’t want to do. It’s the thing you would love saying no to – but don’t. Deep down, you like it and the feeling you get when you do it. Whether or not you should be doing it and whether or not you know it’s wrong isn’t the issue because you know you shouldn’t and you know it’s wrong.

Is it that friendship or some type of relationship that you know you should cut ties with, but yet you really don’t want to? You get something from that relationship you believe you need, yet it isn’t bearing the Godly fruit that it should. Or is it some other type of addiction that feeds your spirit and physical needs and you like the high it gives you, but now you really don’t want to do it anymore. You and God both know it’s doing more harm than good.
Could you be so bold and brave to admit to God and honestly say –

“I don’t say no to _______ because I like saying yes.”

But after admitting that you do it, what do you do?

Well, you can start by honestly admitting to God what you get from it. Therefore, you are likely to uncover the reason you still do it or entertain it. I’ve learned from dealing with addictions of all kinds that I focused so much on the problem that I didn’t deal with the root. I didn’t understand it at times, and then other times I tried too hard to understand it.

I did know this much – this door didn’t open by itself.
It was either opened by me or opened for me– and I walked through it.

I also tried to ignore the fact that my enjoying whatever I was doing was the reason I kept on doing it and always gave in. I felt trapped by my flesh or what I felt my flesh needed. I never stopped and attempted to close the doors.

I didn’t want to admit that I liked the attention, avoiding things, or getting my identity from something or someone. I didn’t want to admit that somewhere, my “it’ had become my high – my drug of choice. It became my craving when I used to crave God. My thing became what helped me make it through the days or weeks…and Lord – even years. When I dropped one, I picked up another. I didn’t say no because I liked what I got from my thing when I said yes…when I gave into it.

Here’s something else you can do. You can take a long look in the mirror and let reality hit you. Let it sink in. What do you see?  Do you see an addict or do you see a conqueror?  How long can you keep going like this? How long can you keep doing what you do?

Do you want to see someone different and wake up someone different or be the same person you were yesterday?

Ask God for the grace to carry out the good, as Paul says. Pray that God will give you a new heart that desires that He be your high and what gets you excited. Everything that those things gave you – ask God that He give them to you.

Then next time you are faced with your thing, I pray you will be able to say:
“I said no to ______________ because I don’t like saying yes.”

Accountability/Life Coach

Starlet Ware

Encouragement and Prayer

 

Helping Hands

These last few years, I’ve thought: “If only I had an accountability partner, I would be so much further along in my business journey.”  I’ll talk about two such opportunities when I had that person in place.  As soon as they were there, I would talk myself out of committing to the work it takes to better my circumstances.

Last year, after I left my job, God allowed a man who is a Life Coach, to come into my life.  He helped me set up an action plan.  He and I talked about my dreams, goals and desires and what I needed to do to get to my goals.  He’d call and check in with me and he told me I could call him whenever I needed to.  I’d report how I was doing and how good it felt to have a schedule/plan.  A month or so after our appointments ended, I got off my set schedule.  No accountability, no work put in.  Soon, I didn’t even pull out my book to remind myself of all the good information I had written.  ‘D’ was an asset to me.  He was very encouraging because he would tell me: “Starlet, you are a joy to work with and you get it!”

This year, again I was saying to God “I need help.”  Ask and you shall receive.  Yes, God had a lady from church call me because she ‘needed’ to do 20 Life Coaching sessions to get her Life Coaching certificate.  She asked if I was willing to participate in a free session?  I just about screamed ‘YES!’  We Iaughed and set the appointment.  We had our free session and during the conversation, she informed me, she had chosen me to coach for 30 days free if I would accept?  I hesitated in answering because I remembered my last failed accountability a year ago.  Was I ready to commit?  Yes, I accepted.  ‘C’ told me how ‘awesome’ I am and that I am a joy to work with.  Thank you, God!

As I write this, I am aware that I believed him then and her now.  I get that I am accountable to my commitment so accountability, although WORK, it is worth it even when I fail to do my assignments or don’t do them well.  Don’t walk (or lay) around sulking about all the failures.  I did for a little while.  Instead, I decided to remember all the things I have learned from my failures and celebrate the things I have accomplished.

Life Coaches Rock

Starlet