The ONE and ONLY

psalm62.5-6Outside of Jesus, the life -story of David (in the Bible) is my favorite. David is known for his victory as a teenager in his one on one battle to the death with the giant Philistine Goliath. Logically the odds were mounted against David, which tells us that faith and logic have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.

Goliath was a bully and used fear tactics to intimidate the people of God (the people of Israel). He basically dared someone to kill him, then he sweetened the pot by adding the surrender of the Philistine army upon his demise. (Side Note: Goliath gave us an example of the saying: Be careful what you say.) No one, not even King Saul would go against Goliath. Well, no one except, (you guessed it) David, the teen who had enough faith to believe God for the unbelievable. One rock (out of five) and one sling shot later, Goliath was on the ground…lifeless.

David had many trials and triumphs in his life. He was imperfect, but he loved God with all his heart, so much that the Lord refers to him as a man after His own heart.

Although not all the Psalms were written by David, most of them were written by him at various stages in his life, various stages in his faith.

Psalm 62 is also known as the “Only” Psalm because here David mentions on several occasions that the Lord is his “only” salvation, his “only” refuge, his “only” fortress, his “only”…! Don’t misunderstand or assume that David is superficial with his writing, heaven’s no, as he writes this passage of scripture, he’s on the run for his life. He is completely reliant upon the only supernatural God he serves to protect him. David was tired of running, tired of people plotting his murder, tired of his life being in danger…tired! While tears covered his face, God covered David with His amazing grace.

It the middle of (one of many) raging storms in his life, David told the Lord that He was his One and Only. Demonstrating a power-packed faith in God that brings Him glory only – Him alone who is worthy!

How does the Lord know that He is your One and Only? Have you told Him lately, or better yet, have you shown Him?

Lord, through every gut retching heartache, all the searing pain, and the countless tears You are my One and Only. #salvation #refuge #fortress

Takiela

*a woman (desperately) after the Lord’s own heart*

Armed and Dangerous

lifeanddeaththepowerofthetongue2 Words can kill or heal. They can selfishly rob or sacrificially give, destroy without mercy or edify with grace. Our verbal expressions can be sweet and decadent or bitter and foul. As seeds are planted so comes the harvest and what is grown is determined by what is sown.

Like bullets from a gun, so are words from the tongue, once fired the damage resulting from it cannot be undone. Physical assault with a deadly weapon can have fatal consequences, but most people don’t realize that verbal assault can be just as deadly. Verbal assault with a deadly weapon (the tongue) can lead to not only emotional but spiritual assassination as well.

As parents, youth group leaders, etc. we play vital roles in the lives of teens. We are a powerful influence but unfortunately we are not the only influence. In most cases, we are outnumbered by the legions of tactics and schemes trying to pull our teens’ hearts away from God. We may be small in numbers but through God we have the power to claim our teens for the Lord and to do so victoriously!

I’d like to challenge you to be intentional in regards to speaking life and hope into the lives of your teen. For example, create a calendar and specify an allotted amount of time each day for the length of your choosing (three days, two weeks, one month, etc.) and speak words that will heal and uplift your teen (in spite of their behavior during that time). This will help you develop the habit of speaking hope into the lives of your teens and as you do so they’ll heal in the process. It may take time and you may not see results right away but don’t give up because in due season, you’ll reap what you sow.

Blessings to you,
Takiela!

In Honor of Suicide Prevention Day

1shatteredglass

Stuck in a piercing darkness, doused with excruciating pain, I’m beckoning death to answer my call. It is the only ending to my misery. I welcome death, I long for it, with outstretched arms and an icy embrace. The present condition of my life is now feasting on any hope for my future.  The light at the end of the tunnel has completely vanished because I’m in too deep. Drowning in the sea of life, taking my last breath, as I disappear into the shadows of the abyss, a realm of unknown in which I’ll remain forever.

That is a glimpse inside the mind of someone who is suicidal. You may ask me how I know this information, and I will answer, because those were my thoughts. Yes, I tried to kill myself on more than one occasion as a teen.

My childhood was far from a cakewalk. I have seen and experienced things that no adult, much less a child, should ever see or experience under any circumstances. There were moments that I feared death and moments I craved it. It was a means to an end. The only way to once and for all be free, I could be eternally rid of the pain in me, ultimately escape the misery. Although death was sometimes attractive to me, it was always a little beyond what I could reach.

I believed that I was not worth saving. I believed I was not loved. Because you see the person(s) responsible for loving, providing for, and protecting me was the very person(s) who rejected me in every inhuman and humiliating sense of the word.

My fragile heart was like glass put through a meat grinder. It was incapable of repair. Each time I tried to pick up the pieces in a desperate attempt to put my heart back together, the fragments of glass would cut deep into my flesh, causing further injury.

Finally, He saved me.

You see sweetheart, when life has caused your heart to shatter into irreparable pieces through your eyes, it’s but a fracture to the perfect eyes of God. He is able to do that which we are incapable of doing. We may think our heart is damaged beyond repair and it is damaged beyond *our* repair. The beauty of broken is that God is the mender of broken. We cannot mend our own brokenness, God doesn’t get glory out of us fixing ourselves. Sometimes we’ll cause further injury to ourselves in the name of fixing ourselves. We are limited as humans and from our perspective it really is unable to be repaired, but there is nothing on this earth that the merciful hands of our God is not able to restore.

Suicide Prevention Tip:

Retrain your Brain – the conquering of suicide is impossible apart from God. Remember, every action was first a thought/ idea. To combat lies you must be armed with truth. Find scripture that encourage you and memorize it. Post it on your mirror (use a memo app that will allow you to post it on your phone) put it in the signature line of your text messages, surround yourself with that scripture (it doesn’t have to be limited to one scripture, but it must be at least one). Each time the lies (masqueraded as your own thoughts/ideas) appear in your mind, annihilate it with the truth of God’s word. Think about the scripture, whisper the scripture, scream the scripture, write it down, whatever it takes. The reason for this is to intentionally train your brain to do what will eventually happen naturally – the word of God will become a shield to your heart, unable to be penetrated with lies. Rest assured dear hearts, God watches over His word to perform it.

A Shot of Takiela: Worthy not Worthless

Have You Heard?

In case you missed Takiela on Choose NOW Ministries Teen Talk Radio, here’s your chance to hear her NOW – just scroll to the bottom of this post.

Also, if you haven’t heard about The Scarless Pledge…

by Takiela Bynum 2013©

The Scarless Letter

Hello Beautiful.

I know you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders right now. Family issues, the kids at school, boy drama, grades, and the list goes on. Add sex (pregnancy scare or worse), drugs, or alcohol into the equation and it upgrades your life from bad to worse.

You’ve isolated yourself and are drowning in depression. Numb from any feelings of hope, craving death. You pick up a razor and start to cut, ultimately leaving scar after scar until…red-eye-liner-swatch

Does this sound familiar?

When I look at you, I see the past me. My prayer is that when you look at me, you’ll see the (possible) future you. Twenty years ago I was fifteen and dealing with the issues of life. Feeling lost and I would often embrace thoughts of eternal sleep. My mind had grown tired of the endless troubles going on in my life at that time. I wanted to escape. I wanted peace. I began to cut. My only hope was that one day I’d hit a vein that would take me out of my misery…forever.

Understand that no one told me that my life wouldn’t always be filled with hurt and pain. I didn’t know that I’d have a life bursting with more joy that I could ever imagine. I wasn’t aware that every scar I put on my body, I’d have to give an account for one day (to my children). My present hurt prevented me from seeing my future hope.

When you’re in a hopeless state of mind, you may not realize it, but you’re telling God that even He is incapable of solving your problems. It’s too complicated for Him to resolve. You’re saying things are the worst it could ever be and will always be this way, ultimately shutting out the only One who can bring you out.

Your future in Christ is much brighter than any darkness you will ever endure. (Read Roman 8:18) No one shared that truth with me which makes me obligated to share this vital information with you.

Today let’s make a pledge, from this day forward we’re going “scarless!” We can’t do anything about the old scars but we can choose not to make new scars. Let’s put down our razors and pick up scarlet red eyeliner. When or if we ever get the urge to cut, use the red eyeliner. It’ll help remind you of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for you and it’ll also wash away…never leaving a scar.

I, (insert name here), being of sound mind and body, here do pledge to God and all who love me on this month (insert month here), of this day (insert day here), in this year (insert year here) to bury all self-harming ways, never to be exhumed again! In the sight of God and all witnesses, I promise if and/or when I get the urge to self-harm, I’ll replace my instrument of destruction with an instrument that represents hope, a scarlet red eyeliner pencil, instead. I will do this in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for me, (insert name here). I am committed to the “scarless” pledge. With God nothing is impossible.

Find an accountability partner, someone who will help you commit to this pledge. Know that you have fans cheering you on and praying for you in heaven and all over the earth. Even though I’ll already be praying, if you’d like me to pray for a specific person/situation or if I can help in another way comment below publicly or email me privately (takiela@takielabynum.com).Take the “scarless” pledge today!

Sisterhood Magazine

sisterhoodmagheaderAhem. May I have your attention please? Teen ladies, this is especially for you!

I’d like to introduce to some and present to others – Sisterhood Magazine, it’s the Christian girl’s alternative to the “other” magazines. This magazine talks about fashion, music, books, and real issues that concern you. Sisterhood Magazine has various articles that deal with situations you’re faced with daily. Image, make-up tips, guys, family, friends, DIY projects, recipes, inspiring stories, encouraging words, and they even offer solutions to problems you have as teens! I think one of my personal favorites is the “Dear Susie” section. It allows teens to ask any question anonymously (without revealing the identity) and Susie will answer it. Because it is designed to protect the identity of the person asking the question, it allows you to ask any question without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. I love it!

Sisterhood Magazine is for today’s Christian (or potential Christian) teen. It’s everything you want in a magazine with a Christian flare. I guarantee it’s not the typical stuffy and boring “religious” magazine, they’ve jazzed it up, gave it swag, and written it specifically to reach teens like you.

To prove that I’m a woman of my word, I’m going to give away a FREE one year subscription to Sisterhood Magazine. Simply comment below “I want Sisterhood Magazine” and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win!

Also, this would make a great gift for the holidays, therefore, I’m offering subscriptions to Sisterhood Magazine at a discounted price. This offer is only for a limited time so you may want to add this to your Black Friday (must not miss) list. Simply enter the coupon code: TAKIELA when subscribing at www.SisterhoodMag.com, or include it on your mail-in order form (download the order form at www.sisterhoodmagazine.com/subscriptions/ and mail it along with your check or payment information to: Premier Studios Publishing 10000 Marshall Dr. Lenexa, KS 66215), or mention it to a Sisterhood customer service rep (to order by phone call 1-888-817-8743). *This coupon expires December 7, 2013 and is valid for print subscriptions only (not mobile subscriptions or the online community subscription).*

Teen Depression – The Point of No Return

She’d taken several pain killers to prevent her from feeling any pain. Besides, she needed a backup plan in case the other thing didn’t work out.

She located the vein, turned her head and quickly slid the razor across her flesh. She winced at the sharp sting. The warm ooze drizzled down her hand and left its trail on the hard wood floor. She climbed into bed and hoped for death to quietly greet her while she slept.

That was a dark day in my teen life, one I’ll probably never forget. The pain and hurt I endured left me beyond hopeless; I’d reached the point of no return.

According to the dictionary, the point of no return is defined as the point in a course of action beyond which reversal is not possible. Have you even been at a point in your life, the point of no return? Have you even been broken by life’s circumstances and craved death? Have you even made plans for your life only to watch them come undone? If so, you’re not alone.

Although I had made plans to die that day it was not God’s purpose for me and God always triumphs…always. His word says it in Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The plans we make in life are subject to change especially if it’s not what God has intended for us. Our plans is not limited to bad, it includes the good plans we have for our lives as well. We may plan to attend college majoring in a prominent field of study, with a promising career after we graduate, get married, have children and live happily ever after. However, if that’s not God’s purpose for your life, although it’s a great plan, His purpose will prevail. Jeremiah 29:11 clearly states that God knows the plans He has for us (not the plans we have for ourselves), and His plans are to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.

In those dark moments in life, there are times all we have to hold on to and hope for is the truth of God’s word. It is this truth that will enable us to hang in there one more day, and then another day, and another until His word shines so bright that it becomes the only life giving light we see in a world of darkness.

“God is in control” is totes cliché I know but be that as it may, it’s true. In the midst of chaos, depression, hurt, pain, anger, mistakes, and even suicidal attempts…God is in control. I can honestly admit to you that in spite of every plan I’ve ever made in life, God’s purpose for me has always been what’s best for me. Yes it was hard, no I didn’t always understand, and sometimes I down right hated what He was doing, but looking back I know that He always had my best interest at heart and I’m forever grateful.

Choose NOW Ministries with Nicole O’Dell

Check out my new column entitled “On Hope” at Choose NOW Ministries:

OMGosh…life…stinks. <I WANT OUT> “all lit up” – my coping crutch, oh well YOLO (you only live once)…are these some of the random thoughts that invade your mind? Do you ever wonder if God cares about your situation? Not only have I worked with teens fighting these issues over the years, I’ve struggled with some of these problems myself as a teen…but there is hope.

Some topics will include:

Overcoming abuse, recovery after rape, hope for teen depression, and failed suicide.

We’ll also learn to apply Biblical principles to these hard topics that will lead us to hope in Christ.

My first article posted in July…A Lifeline for the Drowning.