Women

Treasure hidden in my darkness…

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photo credited to christopher martin

My last personally written post on this blog was June 25, 2013. My life was in a state of upheaval. I was grieving on a level I had no idea even existed. My family was safe. We were intact. But we were not OK. And I had a choice. Let go of everything and trust God, or keep trying to hold it all together and ultimately end up losing everything. Multitasking was not working. Neither was pretending everything was fine. I felt helpless…broken hearted…and I could not write one thing. Writing for me had always been like praying. It was my way of pouring my heart out to the Lord on paper, and of seeing for myself what was in there. And during this period of my life I had no words….and for the first time in my life, I did not want any. I could not connect with others, read the latest blog, or even read my own. Reading my own words sounded hollow to me, and made my heart ache even more. I did not want to visit or receive visitors. I went places begrudgingly and did not stay long. We were struggling with something that had taken place right up under our nose…in our home…we had no idea…and we were devastated!!! So, I could not even write a post saying goodbye for a time. I had no warning that I would awake and the lifetime of words that I had taken for granted would be gone. They just left. Exiting stage right. And what remained, standing center stage, spotlight on and nowhere to hide was my heartbeat. And for about seven months it was the only steady reminder that I was alive.

When I sat down today and opened my computer I had no idea if this day would be like any other…like so many others where the words had failed to come…failed to be given…or given and I failed to receive. I brought my hands up to type out something…anything…and this time…the words began to flow. My silence was broken! And not only my mind was screaming this but my heart seemed to be aware also!! I have sat here often over the past nine months. Looking at this computer with no words coursing through my fingertips. I have looked back over blog posts and comments. I have examined myself…my heart for many things, this blog included. I have reevaluated my love and committment to Christ and what He has created me to do. I have witnessed myself taking the easy way out on here and posting recipes and how-to posts instead of the State of Emergency Posts that scream from within. (Nothing is wrong with those posts. I love reading and learning from them. They are just not what he has given me to do.) I have come to realize that it took a state of emergency within my own family to open my eyes to how gracious God really is…and how fleeting time really is. I know I may not be making much sense, but I am simply typing as it comes and praying someone is blessed by this. 

I discovered something as my life began to balance out; My crisis was not about me. It was not about my family or my children. It was about Him. It was about you. You see, I was born with words as my gift. The ability to communicate using them…to convey feeling and stir emotions…to paint beautiful works of art that communicate the heart of, while simultaneously speaking to, the spirit and soul of women everywhere…that is my gift. I was hardwired with words within my heart that flowed from my soul. I have been writing since I was nine years old, and I have alway, and I mean alway, taken this gift for granted. I discovered that I have kept it buried much like the unwise steward did in Luke 19:20-26;

“But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!”  “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

I rediscovered volumes and volumes, boxes and boxes of things I had written over the years. From poems to stories to study guides…it’s all there…BURIED! Is this making sense to you? It was because I was in a deep dark place in my life that the words dried up, and it was because the words dried up that I had to search for what I had already written, and it was because I searched for what was written and buried through the years that my soul and my spirit were revived upon finding them, and it was because my soul and my spirit were revived that I sat down today and the words that I had taken for granted,buried

photo credit to goodvibeblog.com
photo credit to goodvibeblog.com

and reused to share with the world…returned. But it began with a crisis!!! If God had not allowed it…if he had not allowed me to become stranded in a dark place…if he had not left me there at center stage with the heat of the spotlight on and no relief in sight and only the sound of my own heart beating to let me know that I was alive…If he had never allowed the words that have always been there for comfort in my mind and in my heart to dry up then I would have never searched for them…I would have never searched for Him! And I would not have found Him.

Can I ask you a question? What crisis do you find yourself in today? What pit of despair, what valley, what deep darkness are you experiencing right now? What have you hidden there, in that place??? What treasure has God given to you…what glory has he woven into your DNA…what is the fruit that he intended for your life to bear that you have buried deep within your soul where the only way that you could ever retrieve it is if the Lord allowed you to become stuck there with no way out other than it be revealed to Him???? Whatever your crisis, it is not to kill you. It is to make you more like Him. It is to show you the value the Lord placed on your life before you were even born. This crisis is designed to bring out the best of Him through you.

During the past nine months life has gone on. It seemed to come to a stop longer for me than it did for anyone else in our home. I know that our nightmare is one that has been faced by many throughout the years. We are not the only ones. But in those moments last Summer, I felt like we were. Like I was. Like they were. I want you to know that I am being deliberately vague with the details here. Even if I were to share them, I fear that the sharing of the details could cause some to miss the point that I want to convey. At the same time, deliberate vagueness has been known to lead others to speculate, gossip and/or spread lies. I hope that it leads not one of you to do any of the above. My prayer is that we would all learn to look at our crisis differently…that we would begin to see them for what they really are: The way to becoming more like him.

So no more hiding. No more taking the easy way out. In one of my darkest places I discovered a lifetime of buried gifts…buried words, and I plan to clean them off and put them to good use…lest the words be taken and given to someone else….

I pray someone found encouragement through these words. I will see you soon.

Selena

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10 Things I am Thankful for Upon Turning 40

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Today is my 40th Birthday! (Tomorrow by the time you read this) It was not the day I dreamed of. It was not the day I expected or would have planned for myself. It was soooooo much better!!! Let me tell you 10 reasons why 😀

1. I am alive and healthy!!!!!

God is so faithful that he allowed me to see today. It is a BLESSING to have been walking this Earth for 40 years. So many were not even born, or have died before reaching this milestone. But I am still here!!! I am ALIVE!

2. My Husband is alive and healthy!!!!

My father died when I was 25 years old 😦 and I missed him all day! I saw my mother widowed just prior to her 30th wedding anniversary. They were YOUNG!!! It has been 15 years, and everyday I am soooo thankful that my Sweetie is still here with me, but never so much as I am today! As he approaches the age that my father was when he passed (he was only 46 and my Sweetie is 42), I am blessed and highly favored that he is still with me and that his health is good!!!

3. My children are alive and healthy!!!

I have four babies and they are all alive and healthy! I was able to spend the entire day with them, not doing schoolwork and lessons, but celebrating life…my life! God is good…AND he is FAITHFUL!!!

4. I LOVE THE LORD AND AM LOVED BY HIM!!!

In a day and time when so many are lost, where they do not know why they exist or how they came to be, I am sooooo THANKFUL that I was show the way to the Cross and the empty tomb as a young woman!!!! The Joy that I have found in knowing Christ…in being FORGIVEN by the Son of God…in being made a part of the family of God!!!!! …it given me a confidence in Christ that is unshakeable…unbreakable…matchless!!! The love of God fills my senses and my heart and the love for him overflows from within me!!!

5. Our needs are met!!!

The enemy of our souls actually attempted to fill my thoughts with complaints today…with ingratitude!!!! I was awakened with breakfast in bed…made from scratch by my Sweetie and the kids!!! Followed by a family tradition of everyone piling into our bed and presenting made from the heart greeting cards!!!

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Card from Kayla (oldest)
Card from Isaiah
Card from Isaiah
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Card from Jordan…He drew a copy of a picture we had taken a couple of months ago 😀
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Card from Leah! Complete with 40 balloons 😀

Each card was filled with a handwritten letter or message. By the time I was done reading them all I was, of course, in tears! Ukali then presented me with his card AND sang me a song <3! My mother in law took me out to lunch, and I returned home for some down time (and a rest from the 85 degree temps outside), before shopping! Shopping was followed by a home cooked meal with my family working together in the kitchen and me sitting and relaxing on the sofa! What was there to be discontented over??? What was there to lament or to be sad over??? I’ll come back to that!

6. That I am free!!!

It was 20 years ago that the Lord hijacked my life and turned it around!!! Maybe hijacked is a strong visual, but that’s how it felt! I prayed years before and I told the Lord that I was giving my life over to him! But I did not think He would take that literally!!! But He did….and I. AM. THANKFUL!!!! You see, he rescued me from me!! And today I.AM.FREE!!!!! Free from the prison of feminist ideology!!! Free to serve God and man from a heart filled with compassion and the love of Christ!!! Free to love my husband and to submit to his authority without fear!! Free to commit these years of my life to the rearing of my children and FREE to work hard diligently to draw their hearts to Christ!! Free to live and love without fear of what others think!! I.AM.FREE.

7. I am finally a grown up!!!

I can’t explain it, but I FEEL like an adult!! I feel mature and grown up in my thinking and my emotions and attitude. People asked all day if I felt different when I woke up this morning…and my response was ‘NO’. But I do feel different, it’s just did not happen this morning! It has been gradually happening over the last few months and I am just able to put it into words :-P. Today, I looked into the mirror, and thought to myself that I do not FEEL 40 (whatever that feels like), but I feel grown-up! I feel confident…and secure…and focused…ALL AT ONCE!

8. I FEEL loved!!!

My husband has loved me and complimented me and told me that I am beautiful for years..20 to be exact! I even remember one day, before we were married, that my dad was watching the Jerry Springer show and Ukali was visiting me. He overheard a portion of the show, which was about husbands threatening to leave their wives because they had gained weight after having one or more kids, and had not lost the weight! Ukali was horrified and came into the kitchen of my parents home to pledge his love and support of me no matter how my appearance changed over the years!!! He has stood by his promise… through 3 pregnancies, bedrest, bad hair, horrible rash outbreaks due to an unknown allergic reaction, bad breath, extended periods w/o physical intimacy during pregnancies, fake hair, colored hair, cut hair….THROUGH ALL OF IT I.HAVE.BEEN.LOVED!!! and I am just recently able to genuinely believe and receive it FULLY!!!!! And to rest in it…and I am sooo thankful!

9. I can do ALL things through Chris who gives me strength!!!

Really…I can! I can love. I can write. I can encourage. I can walk with young women and disciple them. I can submit to my husband in love and humility. I can educate my children. I can love God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind!!!! I.CAN!!!

10. I.CAN.FINISH.SOMETHING.I.START!!!!!

Maintaining this blog for a year and a half has worked to dispel the lie of the enemy that has told me that I am a quitter…a failure…a captive to fear! Looking back has worked to help me to look forward!!! Not only am I following through with this blog, I am wrapping up several writing projects and they will be published this year!! Praise God!!! Gone are the fears of a 9-year-old little girl who received rejection letters from publishing companies that served to crush her spirit and paralyze her. 31 years have gone by since then…those companies have probably been shit down or bought out by now! 😀

Well, that’s it for now!! Of course there is more, but I am going to enjoy the last few minutes of my birthday with my Sweetie! Soon, I will tell you how my 40th birthday was almost ruined by …well, I will tell you that later! Let me just say that I thank God for perspective!!! TTYL

Simple and Delicious Homemade Butter!

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A I delve deeper and deeper into the joys of serving at home, I continue to discover more and more things that “I have always wanted to do,” but just didn’t know it!!!! One of those things just happened to be making butter!!! Can you believe it??? As I prepare to turn 40 exactly one month from today, I am simply amazed at the transformation of heart The Lord has done in me, and for some reason, making butter for the first time today, as simple as it was, brought a few tears to my eyes…and a sense of satisfaction and contentment to my heart.

The first time that I can recall having a thought or a desire to make butter was 2 years ago when my youngest daughter was reading Little House on The Prairie. When she got to the end of the book, she discovered a recipe for homemade butter and in her excitement, she ran and shared it with me. And the desire was born! But like so many other things that “I have always wanted to do,” I never made the time to do it! Until now, that is. Today was the day! And I have to say, it was worth the wait!

The simple recipe that I actually followed:
1 pint of heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
Blend in food processor for 10 minutes or until butter separates from liquid
Spoon into dish or bowl with slotted spoon and refrigerate

The recipe below is the recipe that my daughter Leah found in her book. I wanted to share the exact one since she was soooo excited to share it with me and I was soooooo excited to make it!!! The pictures are from today and the simple recipe above, and I hope you enjoy them and decide to try this yourself, if you have not already!

The Little House on the Prairie Butter Recipe

You will need: 1 pint of heavy cream, slotted spoon, quart-size jar with tight lid, tea towel

1. Pour the cream into the jar. Screw on the lid.

2. Shake the jar until the cream thickens and starts to form a ball of butter. This may take a while, so keep shaking!

3. Scoop the butter out of the jar with the slotted spoon, and drain it on a tea towel.

4. Squeeze the butter inside the towel to get e remaining liquid out.

5. Form the butter ball into a pretty shape, put it on a plate, and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready yo use it.

6. Enjoy!!

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made?????? Me?????

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  • Teenagers spend an average of $80-$120 on themselves each week. Young women (ages 12-24) out-buy all other age groups when it comes to haircare, skincare, cosmetics, and fragrances (Source: “Junior League”by Kelley Donahue. American Salon, January 2000).
  • When polled, a majority (63%) of medium-to-large-size salons owners and managers indicated that the number of men using their salons have increased. Men are requesting hair, skin, nail, and body treatments, and 41 percent of them purchase retail products at a salon. (Source: “Hair-raising Truths” by Regina Molaro. Global Cosmetic Industry, April 2001).

What does all of this mean??? It means that our culture is caught in a vortex of poor self-images, that we believe can only be fixed by applying things to, or permanently changing things on, the outside! I read somewhere (all over the web) of retailers, Ambercrombie and Fitch being one of them, who were planning to, or were actively involved in selling padded bras to 8 year old little girls.  What was soooo sad about this is that 8 year old little girls do NOT buy their own clothing…their moms do!! So while this appeared to target the little girls, it really targeted the mothers of the little girls who were so consumed with appearing perfect on the outside, while all of the their grossly superficial insecurities were being passed on to their daughters.  Did you watch the video above?  While many of us may see a problem with the trends shown in the video, we may also feel powerless to do anything about it.  But we are not powerless!!! We have influence in the lives of young girls everywhere.  What will we do with it? Will we shake our heads as they walk by, or while they discuss their ‘plans’, or will we intervene and begin to teach and model the confidence we have found in Christ? I have a question for you!! This is serious and the answer is yes or no only!!! 

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Like many women, I spent many years struggling with my ‘self-image’. I waisted sooooo much time worrying about what people would think if I wore this, or what they would say if I did that.  One of the freedoms I am soooooo thankful to have found in Christ, is the all-consuming desire to live my life to please only Him, and I am thankful that this is what I choose to pass on to my daughters.   It is very liberating to get up in the morning and get dressed with what pleases him in mind.  When I do this, I know that not only am I pleasing the Lord, but that my husband will be pleased, and I will not be a stumbling block to other brothers and sisters in Christ. You talk about FREEDOM!!! Living a life rooted in a desire to please God more than anything is definitely the way to live!

As I continue to talk to young and old women who struggle with self-esteem issues, and confidence issues, just as I did, I am repeatedly struck by one common thread.  These issues stem from a fear of what other people think, or of how they’re perceived.  In all of the depressed comments, and borderline paranoia, and obsession with appearance, I haven’t heard many, if any, mention being concerned about what God thinks about them.  When I ask questions like;

  • What do you think God thinks about your attitude?
  • What do you think God thinks about your choice in clothing?
  • What do you think God thinks about your conversation?

the answers are very melancholy or non-descriptive.  But when asked what do others think, the answers are very descriptive and shared with great emphasis.  One obviously has a greater impact than the other.  Which one has the greatest impact on you?  Are you more concerned about what people think about you, or about gaining the approval of others, or what the Lord thinks and gaining His approval.  What motivates you most when you get dressed, or when you choose friends? What about in how you relate to your husband, or how you parent your children?  What about how you spend money or what clothes you buy or where you shop?  Is it pleasing God or pleasing man?

 

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There are many, I’m afraid, who sit in our churches, or our social groups every week who have no idea what God thinks, or what He would or would not approve of.  You might be thinking that this is because they just don’t know what His thoughts are, but I think it’s because they don’t read His Word (which would be why they don’t know what His thoughts are).  But then I ask, why don’t they?  Most of these women have or had parents who served in church, or who are pastors/leaders, they have grown up in Sunday School where they were taught Gods Word since the were old enough to be dropped off there.  Why wouldn’t they know what God’s Word says about them?  And if they know, why wouldn’t they believe it? And if they believe it, why wouldn’t they obey it?  Then I realize, it’s not that we don’t know, it’s that the voice of cultural influence all around us drowns it out.  We have been unable to hear it…to believe it…to obey it… because we are listening more closely to the culture than we are to the Christ!  The loud, boisterous, vulgar, bewitching voices of the culture drown out the Still Small Voice of the Lord, except to those whose primary desire is to hear His voice.  So, I ask, what do you desire most? Seek Him until your answers mirrors the words of the Psalmist… “I desire you more than anything”. 

Beyonce and Spiritual Warfare

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Believe it or not, many women who consider themselves ‘Christians’ also would describe themselves as fans of Beyoncé’. (I know because I have spoken to many) Hard to believe right? Well even more difficult to believe is the fact that many churches do not teach about the Holy Spirit or Spiritual Warfare. Why would I mention Beyoncé and Spiritual Warfare in the same comment?? Because the existence of the former continues to remind me of the NEED and existence of the latter. If you are listening to, watching, or are permitting your sons and daughters to listen to and watch this self-professed demon possessed woman, wake up and remove this and any other satanically influenced idols (as if there were any other kind of idol) from your homes and your circle of influence!!!!

What Has Happened to the Heart of a Mother?

What has taken place in the heart of a woman that we not only fail to protect our children in the womb, but we are failing or refusing to protect them after they are born???  Oh, we don’t want them to fall and scrape their knee, but a scraped knee very rarely if ever led a child into occultic activities or depression and suicide!! We no longer guard them from the music. We no longer guard them from the images or from the language. Witches and sorcery have become harmless entertainment!!! Our babies are murdered by us daily to the tune of over 3,000 every day!! What has happened in our hearts that we no longer fight for our children lives…for their souls?? What has happened that we no longer fight for our own!!!!!! How has it become the norm for a mother or a father to watch their children become statistics…empty vessels sitting in pews (or chairs) while chasing the idols of this world in their hearts? We dress our daughters in the likeness of the immodest, ungodly women of the secular culture, and our sons don’t appear much better, following the example of those wearing sagging pants and sloppy shirts with tattoos and body piercings all over their bodies.  We have become OK with coed church youth group swimming parties with our daughters in bikinis wrestling in water, and on land, with boys in underwear!!!!! We allow them to ‘lead their own lives’!! They have ipods full of ungodly music, and Facebook pages that we know nothing about the content of because we want them to know that we trust them!! ARE WE SERIOUS????? I trust my kids, but it is this EVIL, SATANICALLY INFLUENCED CULTURE THAT I DO NOT TRUST!!! And I am their MOTHER!!! And it is the responsibility of my husband and I to protect them, even if it’s against themselves.

My, How The Church Has Changed!

There was a time when the ‘town sinner’ would come to church and understand and demonstrate respect for the House of the Lord. If the men had a hat on, they took it off. If the skirts of the ladies were too short, they would feel shame, and the older women would gracefully put a hankee or a sheet over their laps. Any profane communication was on hold until they exited the doors. It was understood that God was gracious, merciful, jealous and just! But today, the level of disrespect displayed by those who wear the Lord’s name while in His House has caused those who would have once been convicted of sin, and repented with broken spirits, to now believe that they are ‘fine’ just the way they are. No change is needed. My miniskirt, low-cut blouse, tight leggings while leading praise and worship, marijuana smell, profane language, lustful thoughts and actions are all OK with God. My blatant disrespect of my husband and refusal to discipline (provide boundaries for) my children no longer disqualifies me from serving tirelessly in the church. The miniscule detail that I am on marriage number three no longer disqualifies me from the pulpit. After all, I liked it so I put a ring on that one…and that one…oh, and that one too! God accepts me just the way I am, and there is nothing I need to do or that I can do to earn salvation, and there is nothing I need to do or can do to keep it.  Bottom line; Our faulty theology and misrepresentation of grace has bred a generation that occupies God’s house but does not know God at all…and that’s just the adults, while the children take notes…

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And a great road will go through that once deserted land.

    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.

Isaiah 35:8

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BUT WHAT DOES THIS ALL HAVE TO DO WITH BEYONCE????

Beyoncé and her large Christian fan base represents a trend in the modern church to be in the world and of it! This trend has amassed an egregiously ungodly influence not just in the world, BUT IN THE LIVES OF THOSE SITTING IN OUR CHURCHES AND SERVING IN OUR MINISTRIES…. As a wife, it grieves me mightily that so many husbands are engaged in lustful thinking whenever her name comes up, and the images of her videos or her Superbowl performance flash across their mind…but not just her. It grieves me that so many are engaged in lust AT ALL!!!

As a mother, one of my responsiblities is to protect my children from things that would turn their hearts from the Lord and from following his ways!! Beyoncé is not alone in this example of evil influence, but she is one of the most recognized and widely worshipped singers of today. And one of the most dangerous! You see, Beyonce goes to church on Sunday!!! The lie that she walks in fellowship with God is told by her actions, while the truth of her demonic possession is told from her own mouth. As such, she influences countless young girls that her lifestyle is acceptable to the Lord…and they will influence their daughters and granddaughters with this Beyoncé’ (pagan) worship.

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And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father,and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

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Our children need to understand that idolatry has consequences. But now that I say that I am remembering that it is not the kids alone who need to realize this fact! Its moms and dads too.  I remember a few years ago when I was teaching a group of a few hundred girls monthly. The lessons were original ones that the Lord blessed me to write called “Purity Points’, and as you can guess by the title, the topic was PURITY…separation from the love of the world.  The young girls would come back each month and tell me that they tried to implement the boundary setting exercises we talked about in the previous months lessons, only to have their mom tell them they didn’t need to follow that! These girls tried hard to honor the Lord in their daily living, but were discouraged from doing so, many of them, by their Christian parents.  They were crushed at the advice of their mothers, and while many attempted to stay the course, most of them sadly did not! Did you notice that I said mothers, and not moms and dads? You see, most fathers want their daughters to remain pure and undefiled sexually.  It’s usually the moms that don’t see a problem with a little ‘sex appeal’! It’s usually the moms that intervene when dad is concerned that daughters pants are too tight, or clothes are too revealing, and tells him that she’s young, and that there is nothing wrong with showing a little skin!!

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. US????? IF. WE. DON’T. GET. IN. THIS. FIGHT. AND. IN. HIS. WORD. AND. ON. THE. FRONT. LINE. AND. ON. THE. RIGHT. SIDE. OF . THIS. BLOOD. RED. BATTLE. LINE. IN. THE. SAND. OUR. CHILDREN. WILL. DIE. IN . THIS. WILDERNESS.!!!!!! …………………………………………………. And it will be our fault….:-(

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“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:18

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A Hospital For Sinners

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When the church became a ‘hospital for sinners’ it ceased to be a place of refuge, discipleship (meaning training in righteous living and in how to defend THE faith) and fellowship for the Saints. There was a time when sinners would not, could not sit in the church and be comfortable in their sin, but now we cater to the unrepentant sinner and provide false security in return for a prayer uttered from an unrepentant heart, while labeling those who genuinely love God, have repented (meaning TURNED FROM A LIFESTYLE OF SIN) and are pursuing righteous living with all of their heart, with the Holy Spirit empowering them, as legalists… But that is not what God’s Word says about us!!!

“How much more do I need to say? … They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Hebrews 11:32-40

But we don’t fight to hang on to this identity anymore!!! We quietly slip away into silence while the enemy rages against the Kingdom of the Living God!!! But we are more than this…and so are our children!! And if we do not fight for them who will!!!???  Ladies, we are at war, and the future of our children is what’s on the line. Will we fight for them? In prayer, will we fight? On our knees, will we fight? With tears streaming down our faces, will we withstand the pull to give in and let them be in the world and of the world.  How much do they really mean to us? Are we willing to suffer through their  anger and sullen faces if need be? ARE WE WILLING TO FIGHT FOR THE SOULS OF OUR CHILDREN???? Or does the spirit of Beyoncé win?

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

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Not only is Beyoncé evil, but all sin is evil. She is a representation of the sin that Christ came and died to free us from. If we love Him, and we love our children, we need to guard them from the influence of this woman and any other influence that denies the light of Christ!

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1 Peter 5:8 issues this very appropriate warning; “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.

He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

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They Called Me Pastor…

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When pronouncing Judgment against Judah for gross idolatry, their pronouncement of judgment included that “Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:12)  This was not a thing to be celebrated, but greatly mourned as a sure sign of the Lord’s anger with his people.  Never more have I personally seen the fulfillment of this than in the church. 
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I have thought long and hard about writing this post, and actually have several drafts saved awaiting my big finish on this topic.  What took me so long? Well, as I recently shared with my friend April over at Peaceful Wife, I have no idea why it is so difficult for me to answer questions in fewer than 10,000 words… but that is what I decided to do this time…I hope! 😛  April asked me a couple of questions about experiences I had and observations I made while functioning as a pastor alongside my husband, and her questions made it easier to formulate answers (after 3 weeks of working on a response :-P). My response had grown out of control and was beginning to resemble a small book!!! I decided to take a more direct route to answering her questions and I want to share this information with you.  Let me say that these are my experiences and observations. You are free to agree or disagree with the conclusions I have drawn from my own personal experiences.  I welcome feedback, and would appreciate it if negative feedback or opinions are supported by Scripture when shared 😀
A little background first 😀
My Story

I was groomed to expect, pursue, and occupy a senior leadership role in the church since I was 16 years old. I ‘preached’ my first message from the Lord (one of anguish, disappointment and impending judgement) the morning after wholly committing my heart, mind and soul to the Lord.  My pastor, and elderly man, saw nothing wrong with the Lord speaking through a 16 year-old young girl.  He communicated with me that the Lord will always use willing, available vessels to do His work. So I spent years making myself willing and available. I soon began to believe that Deborah, one of Israels Judges, was not the exception but the rule.  As I got older most of the women I knew in the church served faithfully there, but spent little time serving at home.  I never saw or attended a class or workshop on Biblical submission, though I heard it talked about or referred to from the pulpit occasionally. In truth, I rarely saw it lived out, and as I grew up, I had no working model to look to.  It seemed that women believed they were honoring God and obeying His word by serving in the church, and going through the motions of service at home.  Men were not truly respected, and I have learned that we can ‘submit and serve’ on the surface, but still communicate the lack of submission in our hearts. The women I had been raised to look to as examples were strong, like me…good orators, like me…not afraid to speak in front of people, like me…bold for Christ, like me…and they all had a title; minister, evangelist, and as I got older, pastor…unlike me. So the eventual progression for me was an obvious one, right?

When I got married, though I loved my husband, I was not submitted to him at heart. The vows had been genuine, but not entered into with a clear Biblically based understanding.  I was a definite product of the feminist culture of the generation that preceded me. I was a woman. I was not only capable, but more capable than most men. I would easily accept the help of men, as long as it was understood that I did not need it. I was headstrong, manipulative, angry at times, petulant, could be over bearing, and fully admired and accepted in church circles as ‘anointed’…without a heart of submission.  I was advised by a couple of older women (literally 2) whom I respected, that I needed to go home and submit to my husband (this was said when I attended church without him because he did not agree with me on the church we should attend). Funny, I submitted to their instructions but not his.

Years later, when Ukali began to pastor a small, local church. I served alongside him as I had tried to do for years in life, business and ministry. I wrestled for a while with the ‘normal progression’ of my life. Surely when God took over and  began to dismantle my dreams he did not intend to take all of them? So where I was no longer pursuing a career in the judicial system, I was pursuing leadership in the church.

I was ordained as a pastor in 2005…and as confident as I was that this was a part of my destiny (prior to the actual ordination), after it was official I was even more confident that something was wrong….Where I had been instructed for the duration of my life to use my gifts and talents to lead in the church and in the community and in the government and secular market place, I had never been instructed or trained in how to use those same gifts and talents to serve in my home…. I plan to share more later, but for now I will let these questions and answers complete this post.

The following questions were posed by my friend, and I will share them and the answers with you as part of this post :-D.

Question #1
Can you share some of the problems you experienced with women being in authority over men for men in the congregation?
Answer #1
In my experience, the men definitely seemed to struggle with my being a pastor, but interestingly enough, the women seemed to struggle more. Men in general, but specifically in the black community, historically and culturally have been emasculated on an entirely different level. This can definitely be seen in the home, but is also visible in the church.
Question #2
Outside of the obvious issues, why is this a problem?
Answer #2
This is a problem of epic proportions because the church is one of the few places where we still see men in respected and holding positions of authority.
Question #3
Why do you think this was more of an issue for women than it was for men?
I believe wholeheartedly that this was more of a problem for women than it was for the men in the congregation for a couple of reasons. 
1.) The heart of a woman, ultimately, genuinely wants to see Adam in authority!!! In our heart of hearts we are still the daughters of Eve, and we carry the full awareness within us of the impact our non-submitted leadership had on the world.  Though we resist, we actually take great joy in seeing our man lead the way that God ordained him to!
 
2.)Displaced Jealousy would be the second reason.  We have been taught not only to refuse to submit to male authority, but to despise the authority of other women.  Our lack of submission is a double-edged sword! We give the appearance of celebrating another woman’s ‘progress’, but before long, we want her gone. Hidden deep in our hearts, right next to our desire to truly see men elevated to their rightful position of authority, is another unrecognized longing to see women occupy their God-given domain BESIDE their men, serving as the co-laborer in the leading of the family, which includes the training of the children and the management of the first Fortune 500 Company; The Home. 
Don’t misunderstand me, the men struggled as well. The black church was one of the few domains they had left. Their authority in the home had already been usurped by the impact of the feminist movement, and the positive spin being put on this horror by the modern church. In the church, the few men there, wanted to feel as if they still maintained a level of respect. So my being installed as a pastor alongside my husband, while celebrated on the surface, caused many a ripple beneath that same surface.  The men, who had largely been raised by single mothers, were accustomed to a woman in authority, but it did not mean they liked it. I believe some also feared it would be a bad example for their wives, who many were struggling with at home. On the other hand, some men were genuinely happy, I believe simply because they did not know any better, and had been conditioned by the secular society that this is how things are supposed to be.  😦
Question #4
And how did you being a pastor affect your faith and marriage?
Answer #4
Out of all of the people most impacted by my ordination, none were as greatly impacted by it as I was. My life had travelled towards this expectation since I was 16 years old, but now that it was realized at the age of 32 it felt hollow. My husband celebrated because he had been conditioned to by the church culture we were a part of, but it just didn’t feel right.  My marriage, I don’t believe, suffered because we had always worked in ministry together as a team. Nothing changed where that was concerned. But something in me changed. Upon achieving this accomplishment, I realized I did not want it. During this time, my kids suffered.  They will say that they did not, but I know in my heart they did. We were BOTH so busy with the church. We were BOTH so busy fixing the lives of other families and making sure they were ok. We were BOTH so focused on building a strong healthy church. Although we grieved mightily when the church that we pastored closed, we knew it was a blessing undisguised.  We were following a faulty church model that pursued success and numbers and acclaim over the genuine conversion of souls. There was a spirit of competition like I had not seen in the world.  There was a pride in the circles of church leadership…a lack of humility and transparency.  Where the angels rejoiced over 1 if all you had was that one genuine one, you were looked down on. It was a true numbers game and I witnessed the same trends in the church as in the world..the slow but sure emasculation of men and the rise of women.
Question #5
What pitfalls do you see?
Answer #5
The pitfalls personally witnessed and observed by me were numerous, but the primary one was within the home
The slow death of the family is the most obvious one. The more authority in the church women were given the less stable the homes were and the more unruly the kids became. The advancement of women within the church very closely resembled, in scope and loss of influence, the migration of women into the workplace during the industrial revolution.  This was not just observed in the cases of women in leadership, but women who spent LARGE amounts of time ‘serving’ inside of the church building while refusing, neglecting, or failing to serve at home. The position of pastor was a coveted position because it had been denied women for so long, but today many women were and are encouraged to ‘seek’ that ‘office’. Now we are in classes and can’t cook for our husbands and children. Not only were many working outside the home, but now had taken on a full-time position within the church that was on a volunteer  basis.
I believe that the question being asked in relation to women being ordained as a pastor in the silent hearts of most men is , “Is there nothing sacred?” Is there no domain where men are provided the space to rule??? To be and to become the men that God created them to be??? Restoring and maintaining authority in Gods house as well as in his own house is a Kingdom mandate that women have wrestled men for since the beginning. We were created equally influential in our specified areas of influence, but in our (the woman) efforts to occupy the sphere of influence delegated by God to our men, we have whittled them down to miniscule twigs, instead of using that same influence to build them up into the mighty Oaks they were created to be…This is not only in the world, but it permeates the church.
Although I have owned and operated a traditional business and currently own and operate a home based business with my sweetie, with the exception of my volunteer service in the church serving as a staff pastor, I have been a SAHM.  With my varied experience with business and church let me say clearly that I have NO IDEA how women SUCCESSFULLY balance occupying leadership positions at home (marriage and children), work, and church! I have concluded that it is IMPOSSIBLE!!! Something WILL suffer…and most times it is our family. We look at church and work as things we HAVE to do..obligations we cannot break, while our family ‘knows that we love them’, and ‘understands’ that we have things to do. I have learned that they DO NOT understand the way we think they do, or would like them to! They understand that other things are more important than they are and we reap the fruit of communicating that for a long time.
This is a subject…a part of my past that it has been very easy to avoid now that we have removed ourselves from those circles… I cringe inside whenever we cross paths with those who called me Pastor Selena… My responsibilities included preaching on occasion to the entire congregation, as well as instructing the New Beginnings Class for all who were newly committed to Christ, male and female. I oversaw Children’s Ministry (which I no longer agree with the existence of), as well as Women’s Ministry (where I taught ‘Submission’ but from a skewed lens looking from the present day interpretation as opposed to the Biblical model)…
My prayer is that this gives you some insight from this side into this issue. This is difficult to talk about…that time in my life I believe I did more harm than good…and in my celebrated pride wounded many 😦 The church has no idea…we are soo influenced by the cultural trends of the world and don’t even realize that following that influence leads to death… 😦 We look at ourselves as ‘progressive’, but in all actuality, we are losing major ground every day…
A final word to any woman who believes in her heart that God has gifted her to shepherd…YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!! HE HAS…IN YOUR OWN HOME FIRST, THEN IN THE LIVES OF THE MANY YOUNG WOMEN HE WILL BRING YOUR WAY WHO ARE IN NEED OF BIBLICAL EXAMPLES IN A WORLD THAT HAS WORKED TO DESTROY US FROM THE BEGINNING. LIVE THE LIFE GOD CREATED YOU TO LIVE , AND LIVE IT FULLY WITH ALL OF THE INFLUENCE THAT COMES WITH BEING THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING. NEVER FORGET THAT THERE IS AN ADAM WHO NEEDS YOUR HELP ❤