All Except One

I have a story to tell
But I don't believe anyone wants to hear,
I can tell by the scrutiny on their faces
How unfamiliar the things that come out when I share
They tell me, "That's impossible"
They tell me, "That's not people-friendly"
But what they are really saying 
It's not necessary to be unashamedly me , 
All except one

I admit, I agree with them
Maybe I should take it down a bit
Have 'normal' interests, so others can comprehend
Not to think so deep
Not to be so 'sensitive'
I have wished to be somebody everyone wants to keep
So, I tried copying their tastes
To find my place
I could have pulled it off too, 
They believed it to be true 
All except one 

I didn't recognize me anymore
My real smile was absent,
My thoughts forgotten, 
And my feelings, well, dead.
My 'me-mess', hidden in a box,
Yet, I was 'normal' 
The voice with the story still managed to speak, 
In the hollow parts of my cheek
I tried, hard, to keep the mask. 
Yet the cracks kept appearing
No they didn't ask, they never ask
When I was alone, 
I tried hard to convince myself, this was enough for
All except one

It took rejection for me to see, 
Even if I was someone else 
They still wouldn’t have chosen me. 
Person after person, friend after friend,
They denied the one thing I sought. 
I remember the nights when with my soul I fought 
To be rejected because of who you are, 
Are the heights of pain,
Something I cannot explain. 
Maybe that’s why I haven’t told my story.
Maybe that’s why it’s hidden 
Because they wouldn’t understand 
And myself I couldn’t have forgiven 
Of course, all this is unknown to
All except one

To embrace me took a lot from that one, 
I couldn’t find the strength
I didn’t have the courage to be myself
I just wanted to pretend 
But I had run out of options to put on the shelf
Slowly, he gave me a shovel
I began digging for my mind, for my life
To my surprise, I found it but didn’t love it
How could he choose this for his wife?
It was worse than before, bitter, hurt, ashamed and condemning
It became my enemy like 
All except one 

Wounded, I open my heart to the one who gave his all
Little by little, I made him get closer, 
Until he was in the middle of my mess
And instead of running or requesting I get a 'helper'
He took up a broom and started cleaning
I stood clueless. 
Surely, there must be something I should do 
He read my mind and replied, ‘No, that’s why I died.’ 
Yet they didn’t see, they never see,
All except one 

There is still mess
But he hasn’t left
Teaching me his truth is the only thing I need to profess
I started loving me because he does 
Embracing my uniqueness because he saw them as good
He tells me, I am worthy of celebration as any creation would
I couldn’t tell this story because nobody would believe me, 
All except one

Identity Update

That’s how I started the year. This was the only way I could truly express my state of heart. My lifeline was the approval of men and if I didn’t get it, I would squirm in a corner, destitute, starving, burdened. But, to be pursued of God even like that is the best experience in the world! Guess what? He’s pursuing you too. Isn’t that amazing?

I listened this week “The Pursuit of God” by A. W. Tozer and fam, I was constantly draped. (I recently realized books were on Youtube! I know, I am late to that discovery but it doesn’t matter, I know now!) The ninth chapter was the most significant to me, it drove a wedge right into my heart.

Jesus spoke directly to the issue of burden and rest. The burden He was referring to was not of political oppression or poverty or hard work. What is the source of our burdens? Our own pride (self-love), pretense, jealousy, envy, and artificiality. As a result, we are never relaxed. Our culture is continually playing on these desires to appear what we are not.

Jesus calls us to rest, and meekness is His method. In His meekness is our rest. The meek man doesn’t care who is greater than himself, for he has decided that the esteem of the world is not his desire. The meek man has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows that he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but he also knows the great value and the esteemed place God has provided for him. The meek man’s motto is, “In myself, nothing; in God, everything.” The meek man rests, perfectly content to allow God to place His own values on him.

The Pursuit of God, Chapter Outline

“All I Need Is God”

A hundred pounds lifted from my back instantly. All I needed to do was to rest in God? I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone? You mean I can relax in public because I didn’t need to over filter anything? Whew. I’ve heard it before but when the dross clears from your heart, its secret places get discovered. You should spend some time meditating on that passage, paying special attention to ‘self-love‘. I trust you can see my error in the poem and perhaps in you.

To think when I wrote it tears smeared my screen and now, I have this ridiculous smile, feels beautifully strange. Even last time I was at a low, feeling estranged from God, turns out my idols stood between us. Idols of self and people pleasing. It’s amazing the power of the word, chastenings, fellowship, fasting and prayer. It’s amazing how the roads have led me here, seven months into the year. To be able to say, “All I need is God,” is no ‘hurry come up’ declaration or emotional stance. I realize that even when I don’t feel it and it helps me obey his commandments.

I don’t want you to be bound like me in pretense I nurtured. It becomes an unwanted vine, suffocating everything in its path. It blinded my eyes to all the love and acceptance around me. You don’t need seven months, you need a thirst. A thirst for rest and a weariness of the burdens you carry. Believe Him when He says,

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11 (KJV)

How do You Live in that Rest?

Take up his yoke, deny yourself, take up the cross, do His will. Then learn of Him, get into his word, pray, fellowship with other believers. Then, anticipate the temptations to return to vines outside of God. Ensure you have a counter thought, promise or truth, look for the way of escape that’s provided. Precious, may we become meek, may we be ourselves, may we be bold enough to share our mess and imperfections, to seek only God’s approval and accept it, to be real with God and man.

Lastly, honour God in all things. Chapter 10 had these main point:

Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth.

It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Paul specifically mentions “eating and drinking”; if these everyday acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.


That means, every moment I spend should be used glorifying God, whether on whatsapp, Facebook, netflix, quiet time, group outings, posts, everything. I don’t want you to think I have perfected this. Trust me, it’s a daily battle, but now, I am not fighting against me or God, we are fighting the sinful nature together.

What’s Next?

Other than more non-fiction posts, the long awaited Engraved Series continues next Friday! I have been musing on it and we are in for a treat. I can’t wait to see who picks up on the clues ! Yassss! I’m excited! Read Engraved: Doubts to refresh yourself on what happened last. Thanks to those who reached out to me, it has given me exxxtra motivation.

P.S. You are really a good listener, I hope to return the favour, reach out, If you liked this post and would like to receive more, sign up below! Remember, you are precious.

Defining Masculinity

The Sociology of Masculinity

Audio : Dean Beezer

Hess, Markson and Stein (1990) defines sociology as: 1. The systematic study of human behaviour, 2. The groups to which one belongs, 3. The societies that human beings create, and within which their lives unfold. Sociology is an attempt to understand how membership in one’s social group affects individual behavior. Following from our brief review of the Biology and Theology of Masculinity, we would have learnt that 1. A man’s masculine identity is a fact of his biological reality, and 2. Masculinity is an “institution” ordained by God primarily for the purposes of headship, provision and protection. The social parameters of masculinity are essential to the development of a balanced and healthy masculine traits. Therefore, how can we observe the sociological manifestation of masculinity?

From as early as childhood, a growing boy begins to make observations of his world. Under the guidance of his parents, he is carefully instructed and directed in ways that are deemed acceptable within the social and cultural reality of primarily his parents. The child observes the behaviour of those around him and his primary influencers; such as his parents, and hence learns what will ultimately be what he accepts as socially appropriate. This essentially defines a process called socialization. This process was alluded to in the book of Proverbs ch. 22:6, which says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The “way that he should go,” in this context, speaks to the correct path which is supported by the Biological and Theological reality of such a child.

The process of socialization essentially prepares the boy to understand the fact of his masculinity to be linked to his biological and theological reality. The declaration in scripture which says “Male and female created he them,” sends a resounding message of a critical distinction which must be preserved. Our boys need to be socialized regarding the proper use and expression of their masculinity. No boy is born a perfect gentleman. He has to be nurtured into becoming such a man. It is often said that the “child is the father of the man” because we can gaze into the soul of a society, by observing how it socializes its children, particularly the males. The boy, as he grows, learns (ideally from his father) how to lead effectively, learns to exercise both power and restraint, learns the virtue of courage and the principle of labouring unto provision. In every culture, the expression of these important traits will be represented differently. We will explore “Masculinity in the Jamaican Society” in subsequent devotionals. If a boy learns the correct expression of manhood from his father, what do we expect to happen in the absence of his father or a consistent father figure to impart this critical lesson?

The sociological dimension to Masculinity essentially is the training of a child through socialization, to attain and exemplify consistently the following traits; Leading effectively, Exercise with Wisdom both Power and Restraint, the Virtue of Courage, respect for Women, the principles of fatherhood and the principle of Labouring unto Provision. These traits will all be explored individually in subsequent devotionals.

We will next explore “The Psychology of Masculinity.”

The Reasons You Don’t Talk- Day 3

Audio: Dañielle Wilson

“The reason we hide our faults is because of PRIDE. We want others to think we have everything UNDER CONTROL. We want to look well polished before others. The TRUTH is, whatever you can’t talk about, already has you under control.”

-Rick Warren, Defeating Temptation

My desire for these past days is to communicate that; 1) Your struggle isn’t unique 2) God understands the struggle and wants to help you through it. But there is a third component to overcoming anxiety that I have only hinted at but never addressed directly and it is the importance of others in our healing journey.

How do the best of friends or couples get to the place where they can almost always accurately guess what the other is thinking in a particular situation? I assume their encounters were more than emojis and stickers but more instances of sustained, deep and honest conversations.

I am troubled that our cries for help find their ways only on our statuses and never into a friend’s dm, or do we even have those? I suspect it’s easier to rant on Whatsapp or Instagram, we have very little accountability on those forums. After all, it has very few impacts on the day to day business of life. But authentic conversation has other hurdles too.

The real reasons we don’t talk usually falls in three categories. First, to express ourselves in absolute vulnerability would mean we’d have to return to the moment when we stopped being true to ourselves. Believe it or not, anxiety started somewhere and more than likely it wasn’t just the past few months that caused it. It may be that our people pleasing tendency is now being interrupted because we are burnt out from trying to do it all these years.

Second, talking about our worries reveals that we are in fact HUMANS, weak, fragile and in need of help. I’ve grown sad for the persons that call themselves strong just because they rose above the haters unbothered. Nah love, you need to confront the issues you had with those people and as much as physically and or emotionally possible, seek reconciliation. The hurt hasn’t gone anywhere if you haven’t healed. It has just been pushed into the subconscious that guides your decision-making process. That reeks of control. The haters still win if you don’t heal.

Thirdly, we will be held accountable for what we say. I dislike telling my friends I start to like a guy because one, they have a good memory and two, they will tease the daylight out of me but ultimately ask me the hard questions. The questions that involve A LOT thinking and praying. Most times we don’t genuinely want help, we want pity and baseless encouragement. Seeking persons who only offer comfort and no challenge to grow. We may refuse to talk because deep down we don’t want to change.

That which is hidden, imprisons and that which is uncovered, recovers. In the authority of a black belt introvert, my advice to you today is simple, talk. Talking makes sense. Talking helps you make sense of the ordeals you are facing. Talking puts the issue into perspective. Talking releases burdens. Talking invites conversation for action plans. Talking fosters intimacy with our loved ones. Talking frees us from pretense. Talking makes sense. Confess your faults one to another so that you might be healed. (James 5:16)

Be very careful who you reach out to however. Friend, a love interest is usually not the answer. Let’s stop expecting romantic love to do all our heavy lifting. Prayerfully seek out meaningful help. Can’t find anyone you trust? While I find that hard to believe there are options, for example talking to a counsellor. I fully recommend Family Life Ministries and Trauma Coach Mrs. Laylor-Bogle. Anxiety is rooted in worry, plausible sometimes but usually irrational. Talking sorts out all the chaos, talking brings healing.

Practical Tip:

Start talking, like today. Don’t delay it any longer. Be random, be unscripted. Or start making a list of the people you trust and are able to help. Schedule to speak with one at the earliest time possible.

My Utmost for His Highest – Day 3

Audio: Abigail Barrett

The godly woman gives. She gives her heart and soul to the Lord, and her life in consecration to the things of God, she gives of her time, talents and treasures to the service of others and she gives in prayer to combat the spiritual warfare that is going on. Whilst she gives, she is trading her mortality to immortality, and her corruption into incorruption, ultimately she gives her all and  receives the glory of His image.He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30. The truth is, for us to reflect His likeness, we have to be stripped completely of our carnal nature, this we achieve through constantly and recklessly giving to the cause of Christ.

Calvary remains the most memorable place in history and the crucifixion represents the most sacrificial act of love. To purchase man salvation it caused the man Christ Jesus His life and as we journey to become like Christ, we too will have to sacrifice our lives. The paradox of this christian journey is that we lose to gain, we give to receive, we die to live; our utmost for His highest.

Since godliness is not inherent and becoming like Christ is a process, the godly woman needs to follow the principles of the scriptures so that she can attain the image of Christ. Here is the hierarchy:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2nd Peter 1:5-8 KJV

As we partner with God, and indulge in this spiritual exchange we climb up the hierarchy. We are constantly growing and moving towards the goal. If there is a time in our life where there is no growth, it means we are dead, all living things grow! If we realize we are regressing we need to check our diet, what we eat or the lack thereof is of vital importance. No matter how small it is, each day we should be one step closer to becoming more and more like Christ.


When your life is based on “I don’t feel like..”, “I was born this way”, “Everyone in my family stays this way and it will be the same for me” it indicates that you have not fully surrendered or accepted the power of God’s grace.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Amplified Bible.

Spiritual awakening brings new life! When we have come to the understanding of who Jesus is, our way of life, our thinking and behavioural patterns are changed to align with the will of God for us. When we have experienced Christ in an intimate personal old fashioned way, Christ is revealed to us and the knowledge of who He is radically transforms who we are. Like Zacheuss you will climb any tree to see Him. Like Mary you will find Him worthy of your most precious gift and you will search for Him and when you find Him, you will pour it all out on Him. Like Paul, your only desire will be to know Him. Like James, you will be able to count it as joy when you are in the midst of adversity. Like John, you will have dreams and visions of things in the spiritual realm. Like Daniel, you will purpose in your heart not to defile yourself with the things of this world. Like Esther, if you perish, you’ll perish but your desire is to see the Lord high and lifted up. Like the 3 Hebrew boys, you will not bow! Like Moses, you will choose to suffer with the people of God than to endure the pleasures of sin for a season. Like Ruth, you will be willing to leave a life of idolatry to experience the power of God, for Israel’s God, will be your God! Oh! Time will fail to talk about all those who have recklessly abandoned their desires to pursue the will of God, those who have surrendered because they have tasted and see that the Lord is good!

Have you counted the cost for serving Jesus? Have you calculated the total of all you will have to give to gain heaven? My sisters, have you surrendered? Does Jesus have possession of all your dreams and aspirations? Is He Lord

of all the kingdoms of your heart? If He is not Lord of everything, then He is not Lord at all. Your utmost, for His highest!

Today’s Challenge: Have I counted the cost of discipleship?

Today’s Verse for Meditation:  So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not [carefully consider the cost and then for My sake] give up all his own possessions. Luke 14:33 Amplified Bible See the entire chapter 

Today’s Affirmation: I have carefully considered the cost, and I choose to be a disciple.

Womanhood Defined- Day 2

Audio : Abigail Barrett

As we seek to embrace our purpose as women, it is important for us to know that we too were created to display the image of God. As women, we reflect the image of God in ways that are distinct from men, for example Isaiah 66:13 states “As a mother comforts her child ,so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” He created us with equal importance yet differing function.

The “help meet” 

As women, we have a subordinate function to the man. God designed the men to be the leaders, and we provide them with the tools and insights to lead effectively. They are the providers, but we are their cheerleaders encouraging and motivating them each step of the way. They are the protectors, but we are their safe place. We are the opposite that complements; we add value to their existence, all for God’s glory.

To define womanhood is really to explain the purpose of the woman, her functions, and her roles and responsibilities. What better woman can reflect this than Lemuel’s mother, the Proverbs 31 woman? I remember in courtship being encouraged to emulate the characteristics of this woman described in Proverbs 31 and thinking she must have been a superhero! How can I ever attain such diligence and excellence? While we cannot relate to every single activity there are some principles that we can take away for her lifestyle.

Let us review some attributes of a godly woman outlined in Proverbs 31: 10-31:

  1. She is rare, demanded for her Christlike character vs 10
  2. Confidential and responsible vs 11
  3. Industrious vs 13
  4. Resourceful vs 14
  5. A good housewife vs 15
  6. Investor vs 16
  7. She works hard, not slothful vs 17
  8. Consistent vs 19
  9. Giver vs 20
  10. Prepared for changes in times and seasons vs 21
  11. Uses her gifts to gain income vs 24
  12. Her work shall be rewarded vs 25
  13. Faithful and Diligent vs 27
  14. Fears the Lord vs 30

Dr. Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst in their book entitled, Kingdom Woman, explained that the Proverbs 31 woman exemplified noble qualities because she really was strong, capable, giving, resourceful, efficient and spiritually minded.

Unfortunately, if women today are striving to be all of those things at all times, they will feel like failure. In a more practical way, it may be possible to fulfill the calling of Proverbs 31, but those qualities don’t all have to be fulfilled simultaneously. Much of what is noted about this woman is what we are growing into as we become more like Christ.

Let us take this journey one step at a time, identifying our strengths and weaknesses. Let our prayer be that God will keep us humble and consistent where strong, and where we are weak, let us seek knowledge, strength and help from others who are stronger in that area. No matter where on the journey we are, we should all be grateful that we are heading in the right direction. As a godly woman, we should never feel the need to compete with a man, or any other woman. A godly woman only needs to stand and honour God with every step she takes.

My sister, don’t allow your past, inadequacies, and failures to dictate who you are. Instead, open your Bibles and let the truth of God’s words govern your thoughts and instruct your ways. You are running and one day your story will read “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” Proverbs 31:29. You excel them all not by being their competitor but by walking in alignment with God’s will for you.

Today’s Challenge: Does your existence define God’s purpose for creating women? Which attribute of the Proverbs 31 woman can you work on this coming week?

Today’s Verse for Meditation: She looketh well to the ways of her (household) Saviour, and eateth not the bread of idleness.(Proverbs 31:27, KJV, rewording mine)  

Today’s Affirmation: I choose to live in my calling, I choose to walk purposely and faithfully in God’s ordinance as a godly woman.

Day 2: The Human God

Audio: Dañielle Wilson

Can we follow the Savior far, who have no wound or scar?”

-Amy Carmichael, God’s Missionary

My views of who God is have been constantly challenged over the years. He has changed from the one with superhuman powers, too strict, incomprehensible, too genocidal, unfair, proud, judgmental, and then almost whiplash inducing, wham! I stand face to face with Christ. The image of the invisible God. I had a hard time reconciling the Pillar of Fire Old Testament God, to the Human God of the New.

Most of what I knew of God was secondhand information. I repeated church lingo. Like Ruth, I knew Him as their God before He became my God. That’s why the question Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 16:15 was so important. When all the curtains are closed, when we are alone, who do we say Christ is? Is He Lord? God? Or mere flesh and bones, disintegrated and forgotten? Perhaps a figment of our imagination? A crutch humanity falls upon because we are hopelessly in need of hope? Who do you believe Christ is?

I could praise Christ’s attributes from now until eternity, but the part of Him that connects with me the most is how he walked around in flesh. Gosh! God really just came down and showed us how to be human. He is the God that bled, worked, got thirsty, felt pain, cried, needed food, was betrayed, had to ensure his breath was fresh and asked for another way out when gruesome death was near. He even got angry, turned over tables that one time. So much for the gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

When emotions threaten to consume you, and anxiety seeks to control you, look to the God who knows exactly what that feels like. Remember the Garden of Gethsemane. It would be insufficient to just have a God who understands but is no help. Christ is much more, He is enduringly triumphant. He told Thomas, “Put your finger in my scars.”

Are you bleeding from wounds? Jesus’ response is, “See my scars, touch the jagged skin, I have healed from them.” He boasts, and rightly so, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” Expressed differently He is saying,  “Hope in me, I have the power to let you overcome too.”

Practical Tip: Write the attributes of God you have experienced for yourself. Answer, Who is Christ to you?

Defining Masculinity

The Theology of Masculinity.

Audio : Dean Beezer

“…in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” Genesis 1:27. A fact of the incarnation of God in Christ (II Cor 5:19) is the undisputed truth that God walked the earth, robed in masculine flesh. This is significant, being that God is intentional and deliberate in his every action. Would it have mattered if God came in the likeness of a woman? The significance of the question raises the issue of God’s purpose in Christ and how manhood becomes the unique channel through which such purpose was actualized.

Speaking about the Lord Jesus, Hebrews 1:3 stated explicitly; “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” II Corinthians 4:4 states; “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” There is a functional correlation between masculine mankind and God himself. The maleness of Jesus was an act of intentionality on God’s part. Nothing is impossible for God. The LORD could have caused a male to conceive, but he was INTENTIONAL about the preservation of the divine order established in creation. He caused a WOMAN to conceive and bring forth a MALE child. God has always been identified as the FATHER; which is an exclusively masculine role, and when he took on the FORM of humanity i.e., the flesh, he operated as a SON.

I must point out here that I am not relegating the theology of the “Image of God” merely to physical appearance. God opted to operate as the father of creation. Masculinity was the channel through which humanity became existent; recall that Eve was created from a rib removed from Adam (Genesis 2:21-23). In the same way that God is the progenitor to creation, so too is the MAN (in principle) the progenitor to the human race. Eve essentially came “out of” Adam. This decision by God to be manifested to humanity as a man is consistent with the purposes of God in completing the unfinished task of Adam. What was the task of Adam?

In Genesis 2:15, Adam is instructed to “dress and Keep” the garden of Eden. In the original language of the Old Testament (Hebrew), the word “dress” came from the Hebrew word “abad” which means generally “to work or serve.” Additionally, “keep” (Hebrew shamar) generally means “to exercise great care over” but in the context of Genesis 2, it speaks to “taking care of,” “guarding,” or “watching over.” Essentially, the role of Adam may be summarized as follows: Leader, Provider, Servant, Protector, Submissive to Authority.

Finally, the man was commissioned to worship in the form of obedience. In Genesis 2:17 we read; “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The Lord God expected complete submission from Adam (omniscience does not mean that God does not have expectations of us). Adam’s failure to glorify God in the earth through OBEDIENCE and SUBMISSION, was redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:42). The Lord Jesus became an eternal template for Leadership, Provision, Protection, Service and Submission to Authority.

The Theology of Masculinity establishes the fact of a Man’s God-ordained call to exist as a competent; Leader of his family, Provider for his family, Servant to his family and Protector over the Family, while displaying Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Masculine intuition, if nurtured according to scripture, will see a MAN (whether married or single) displaying the following fundamental traits; Willingness to Commit, Courageous, Exercise of Initiative, Instinctively Protective and Respectful, Submissive to Authority and Graciously Providing.

We will next explore “The Sociology of Masculinity.”

Confessions of an Overanalyzer- Day 1

Audio: Dañielle Wilson
  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
    Isaiah 43:2

I woke one night on the verge of a panic attack. It wasn’t a bad dream. My thoughts shook me awake. Endless questions, self-pity, comparison invaded my mind. I pushed them away during the days successfully. My life is busy. To rest or rather sleep, I usually listen to a sermon or music not to let my spirit feed during my shut eye hours but so my spinning mind had something to focus on. That night, I went to bed without one on. I suspect my mind couldn’t carry the worry any more. So, at 1:19 am, I thought I would lose my mind. My heart rate was faster than ever and the moderately spacious room felt so hard to breath in. No matter the affirmations I repeated, “You are not a failure” “Your calling is different” “You are doing your best.” “Pursue progress over perfection.”

I didn’t believe a word of it, so to cope with those thoughts, I did the usual. I got up and scrolled through Instagram until I tapped out at 3:20 am. I think about that morning often, even though I couldn’t feel God, He was with me. I knew too, He could calm my restless heart, I was tired. Thus began my journey to healing.

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure according to the American Psychological Association.

Maybe you have a bad record at work, or slipped up publicly at church, or failed your courses, or got rejected by the opposite sex again, maybe your attempt to be liked by peers blew up or you battle an ongoing sickness or even concealing a secret you fear will ruin your life. All of which leads to worry and frustration.

I used to expect things to never affect my mood, that being a Christian means having a permanent VIP pass to the front seats of Unspeakable Joy. The Holy Ghost security would stop anxiety and despair (without my effort) so they can’t crash my happy concert. I appreciate now an even grander reality, one that stares down the length of days on the greatest human suffering imaginable and through the lenses of the gospel, find hope. That is what we will be fighting for these 30 Days, HOPE.

Practical tip: Express your worry, I mean the real reason why you feel uneasy. All of it. Tell it to a trusted friend/s, seek professional help, write it down, say it to God. Expect Him to hear. Expect Him to draw near. He already is.

Why Woman?

Audio: Abigail Barrett

We are all a part of God’s grand scheme! No matter the underlying reason for your birth, whether accidentally or purposefully, God thought long and hard and He intentionally chose YOU to be a part of His divine plan.

Why woman?

The simplest way to answer this question is; “because the Lord wanted it to be so” but let us examine the scripture to understand more. 

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18.

The Wonderful in wisdom looked and saw Adam and saw that he needed something else. For a man to be functional and effective, God knew he was lacking something, and so the Creator of all creatives made women. 

Can you imagine a world without any woman? Imagine how dull it would have been. Our fathers would not have the warm tender hugs, no one to jump in the laps or to ride on their backs. Our brothers? Oh, how they will miss our annoyance, our inquisitive nature, always wanting to be a part of the ‘boy’ stuff. Our friends and colleagues, what would they do without our waves of laughter, our opinions on dressing, our advice even when they don’t ask for it, and for always keeping them in the loop? They simply could not survive with us. What about our husbands? It would deprive them of our tender touch and nurturing care.

I know as women they have socialized us to think that we were all created for the same reason; ‘marriage’ we live our lives as hopeless romantics waiting for our prince charming. There is so much to womanhood than that, we may never be wedded, but God’s plan for us to help the men in our lives remains. Our brothers, fathers, and friends still need to be impacted by the gifts in us. 

 God intentionally and purposely created you woman to carry out his plans in this generation, will you accept?

Today’s Challenge: Focus on the men God has placed in your life. Are you impacting them the way you should? Have you deliberately honored God by fulfilling your roles and responsibilities as a godly woman?

Today’s Verse for Meditation Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations woman for this generation(Jeremiah 1:5, KJV. Emphasis and wording mine).

Today’s Affirmation: I accept my role and responsibilities as a woman, and in this season of my life I commit my time, talents, and treasures to purposely assist and impact the males in my life.

Author: Lizzette Crooks

Defining Masculinity

Audio: Dean Beezer

“Manhood is the defeat of Childhood narcissism.” At birth, our biological identity is firmly established and preserved in our genetic code. Within our genes, our gender, predisposition to certain illnesses, inclinations etc., are repressed, waiting to be stimulated by the variables in our society. It is not difficult for anyone to reasonably conclude therefore, that the idea of Masculinity is fundamentally defined by our biological composition but secondarily refined within our psycho-sociological spaces. Like our identity, the concept of masculinity remains a complex blend of biology, theology, sociology and psychology.

The Biology of Masculinity.

The United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBT, in a research publication in February 2016 entitled “How Early Hormones Shape Gender Development” stated the following; “Increasing evidence confirms that prenatal androgens have facilitative effects on male-typed activity interests and engagement (including child toy preferences and adult careers), and spatial abilities, but relatively minimal effects on gender identity.” This may seem rather complex and somewhat abstract but we will be breaking this information down so it can be understood.

“Prenatal androgens” are chemicals in the body called hormones, which are involved with determining whether a developing baby becomes a male or female. The study done by the NCBT was aimed at observing possible connections between the sex-linked hormones and certain behaviours, typically observed predominantly in men or women. Behavioural tendencies such as type of toys preferred, being exceptionally good with Math and Science etc, are seemingly linked to one’s gender. The NCBT study went on to state; “Confidence has increased that early androgens affect gender development, in light of recent studies that confirm, extend, and clarify previous findings. Most promising, research has moved from asking whether hormones influence human behavior to asking how they do so.” Scientific investigations are no longer questioning “whether hormones influence human behavior” but are now concerned with the means through which they do so.

The point I wish to establish, based on the scientific data presented is simply that the distinction between male and female is inherently a fact of our biological existence. We are programmed biologically to exist and function differently in connection to reality. The Biology of Masculinity essentially defines how a male’s body is organized to identify and establish his sexuality, defines his biological function and positions his purpose.

In our next study we will continue our definition of Masculinity by looking at “The Theology of Masculinity.”

The Gospel that Kills

Audio: Shamarie Headley

We can sum the law up to two commands Jesus said. It is to love God with everything and your neighbor as yourself. The shooting on Sunday killed our neighbor. The act alone has shown us our love for our neighbor has gone quite cold. I am ashamed to say that right after I watched a video that shook the cores of my soul; the next fascinated me, telling me how much money Ronaldinho’s wife gets from him monthly. Some burden I had.  

Crime after crime, death after death, our numbness to evil deepens. We shout, we protest, we condemn, we post but it’s all just for the moment. Days after I had been intentional about trying to forget the incident all together. But why? Why does acknowledging it consistently cause such a strain? Something in me knows things are not supposed to end this way, something in me knows I am responsible. But no, individually, we could never be the problem, right?

We have made calls on the church (which we are a part of) to be more relevant. We’ve read statistics, condemned religious leaders who bring shame on the institution, judged our own leaders for lack of mobility, and yet we received the Great Commission individually too. If your home, workplace, school, or community remains Christless, you are a part of the problem. 

Never have I seen multitudes of people going to a street service for evangelism in scriptures. It was always one and two about their business, rather, the king’s business, burdened with the gospel that saves. They didn’t need an organizational effort, but their own compassion led them to share the most precious thing we can experience on earth, God. I am not against hosting street services, but it should never be a replacement of our daily neglect of souls. Evangelism is not a service, or event, it’s a lifestyle.

There is something more deadly than the bullets that killed our neighbor on Sunday. It is the gospel that is there to always fulfill my needs, first. I don’t have time; I must build a bigger barn. I don’t have the energy; I must reserve for studying. I can’t stay up to pray, I must be ready for an exam tomorrow. I don’t have the resources; I have a new event coming up. I can’t pursue that right now; it will make me uncomfortable. I can’t carry the weight of dedication; I have other interests to be the best at. The gospel that kills is a gospel that refuses to love our neighbor as ourselves, the gospel that is selfish. Paul says, “Don’t be selfish, don’t just look out for your own interest but look on another man’s interest.” (Phil. 2:3-4) How differently would our life look if we followed this? 

I was in the car with my family and a lady from my community. They were talking about the incident (the one I was trying to forget) and the lady said, “A coworker said when we were talking about the shooting, where was God?” I answered internally, in His church, restrained by His body. A body that refuses to move. What if that gunman had been ministered to and gotten saved, what if that lady had heard about baptism in Jesus’ Name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost before he killed her? The country is looking for immediate solutions, I know no other than when a man who has seen God. What if we stopped not caring about others, stop being indifferent to our heavenly calling? 

If you have been feeling the call, perhaps you don’t know what to do about it yet. You don’t need a method; it doesn’t need to make sense; you don’t need a platform, God needs a vessel. Listen when He calls. That’s it. 

Philippians 2:17 NLT. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.

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