It’s all Perspective. Enter 2017…

The new year’s transition into 2017 turned out to be an unusual one for me, as well as for others. Ordinarily you end one year with sad regrets of unfulfilled resolutions and enter the new year with ballooned cascades of hope-filled dreams and promises of a better year at all costs.

The end of 2016 seemed to meld into the beginning of 2017 as if in a peculiar spiritual embrace, with trace reminders of how short and precious life is and how the relationships around us can be suddenly severed through the sometimes brutal sureties of life. It left feelings of emptiness that could only be recaptured by reminders of those that have stood closer than a brother when times were most difficult and enlightenment as to our present existence being so small countered only by the greatness of our faith expressed in something, or, for some of us, someone much greater. It is only through these expressed bonds that we are able to hold on dangling to a life we once held secure and now must learn to accommodate for the purpose of satiating unfamiliar feelings and probing strange new terrain on our life’s journey.

From a spiritual vantage the transfusion from 2016 to 2017 did not feel like an ending or a beginning. Instead, it was a continuation of a process that was fulfilling its course. It was a painful pruning of one’s spiritual tree of humanity that would, unbeknownst, produce a manifestation of a capricious harvest despite being unsolicited.

The human condition, like a garden, can often be an amazing thing when on the cusp of transformation. It can require, however, an individual to come to the very brink of sheer and utter darkness in order to exterminate all the superficial layers and pestilence that have been covering the original seed carrying the light of life. Many of my close family, friends and loved ones have experienced trauma, sickness and the loss of those beloved to them coming out of one year and going into the next. They have had to overcome huge obstacles connected with jobs, relationships and life-changing decisions.

I, myself, had to come face to face with my mother’s terminal lung cancer diagnosis, in addition to her already debilitating bouts of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Anger, disappointment and sadness, amongst other emotions, consumed the foundation of my emotional core. Despite my inability to breathe or control what was going on, God surrounded me with loved ones, both family and friends, who prayed, talked, encouraged and supported my every step with unconditional love in the form of finance, friendship and faith. All of these things encompassed by the peace of God exposed revelation and understanding about position. It allowed me to become the very person that my mother needed me to be in order to soften the blow that life had just dealt her. We never know how strong we are until we are faced with unbearable pain that we are positive has surpassed our highest level of tolerance. Facing the giants of life, turmoil and death will cause us to reexamine our lives and our positions in it.

I have discovered that as God has constantly reiterated in His word, timing is everything and He will never give you more than you can handle. Overall, through our personal decisions and chosen course, no matter how bleak the situation may seem, God’s main target is to grab hold of our hearts. Like a surgeon immediately after a transplant, God pumps them back to life and then pumps them some more just long enough to dislodge the stones and debris that have gotten trapped over the years. At the same time He squeezes out the contaminated blood, transfusing His own, introducing new purpose and new life. A new life discovered through the opening in the narrow path, allowing the manifestation of who God intended us to be, to come to pass.

So, was the ritualistic ending of 2016 into a new 2017 really missed? Not at all. The time continuum was shaken and repurposed to bring focus to the coming materialization of true destiny for our lives here on earth, through the Lord’s will and the kingdom that is coming. The spotlight being the witness of the salvation of the Lord and the promises planted in our heart’s desires, long ago, by the King of kings.

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, But it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Foresight, Hindsight, Eyesight: Dimensional or Demonsional?

Matthew 6:22, 23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. We all know this to be true if we have ever lovingly gazed into the eyes of another individual in close relationship or have dared to confront the eyes of those opposite us while in conflict. Even the act of looking directly into the eyes of others in conversation is a sign of respect or disrespect, depending on what side of the world you are from. In law enforcement officers are trained to watch body language when questioning suspects or witnesses, one of the focuses being the eyes, which have a hard time concealing their meaning. When we are stressed, over-stimulated or in a state of contemplation it is either natural or recommended for us to shut our eyes in order to bring a state of rest over our mental status and physical body. And the body, when exhausted, will naturally and almost immediately send direct messages to our brain which in turn tells our eyes to close themselves almost automatically. Ultimately, the eyes can be a direct gateway into our psyche, dreams and visions. So then why are we not more conscious of what we expose them to on a daily basis? I, myself am guilty of this very dangerous behavior.

Despite having a testimony, before Christ, of witchcraft, occultism and knowledge of the enemies methods of attack and bondage, when in sluggard-mode I can become complacent in the guarding of my eyes and the “things” that I allow into them. I fell victim to exactly this on a night after receiving some devastating news about the progressing illness of a close family member and allowing myself gratification while attending my own pity party. The attack manifested itself after this self-indulgence of the flesh, which in my case, heavily influenced by the eighties, resulted from a horror movie. Before salvation I purposefully exposed myself to many horror novels and books satiating my flesh to the sadistic sacrifices and blatant bashing of God and Christ that is oftentimes displayed in such films. (I am in no way judging or condemning anyone who watches horror films, but instead am exposing my weakness that led me to the choices that would eventually lead me into complete and utter darkness.)

As I skimmed through my cable channels looking for some sort of diversion from the overwhelming thoughts in my mind, I came across a movie that I had never seen nor had ever desired to see. The movie was the 2009 horror film Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. Now some might say, why mention the name of the film, surely the experience is enough? And in some instances this may be true, but for this particular experience I believe that what happened to me was a direct result of my morbid curiosity combined with the desire to fulfill the need of my flesh to be served. I was angry and felt  slighted by the circumstances of life that had overtaken someone I truly loved. And so I decided to indulge, open my eyes and watch.

In the movie it became quickly obvious to me that this was a dramatization about vampires vs. werewolves, aka Lycans. As the movie progressed it revealed that there was a war between the two “bloodlines” and that the vampires had enslaved the Lycans, hence the title of the film. During a particular scene there were some Lycans fully transformed into their horrific, monstrously wolf-like forms, chained up to the walls in some dark, gloomy dungeon awaiting their victims. Ironically, as I sat alone on my couch, pupils fixated, watching in my dismal, somber living room, besot by the image of the Lycans chained to the wall, I verbalized a spiritual prognostication,

“So that’s what they look like,” (referring to the demons that are chained away in Hell awaiting judgement, 2 Peter 2:4). 

Shortly after the revelation, I could no longer watch the movie. I switched over to something less grisly, but then swiftly, suddenly and hypnotically fell into a deep sleep. I had not even realized that I was asleep when I started to dream. In the dream I saw my ill relative and my two grandchildren. My relative began to violently vomit on the floor. One of my grandchildren did not see it and stepped in it. When I grabbed them to rush to the bathtub to clean them off in water I was surprisingly transported back to the couch, only all the cushions had been removed and I was lying instead on the black material that laid at the bare bottom. Everyone kept walking by me as if I was not there. I was paralyzed and could not move or call out to them, even my vocal cords were in a state of suspension. No matter how hard I tried to move or speak nothing would happen, I was helpless. I had been here in this condition before but my numbness clouted my head. My body temperature rose and I began to panic as my senses recollected the familiar mode of fight or flight. 

Without warning the fold where the backside of the couch meets the bottom opened up and I could feel my body tilt as if on a slant. The smell of ash filled my nostrils and I heard unsettling sounds of fires burning and crackling. Intently listening, the sound of disturbed, guttural snarling opened a hollow in the pit of my stomach. I felt a large, heavily clawed grip holding tightly to the back of my shirt, ripping the material on the couch as it began to drag me down into the bowels of a place I knew I did not want to go. Terrified, I remembered my paralytic state, and knew I would be swallowed into a realm that nightmares could not conjure. My blood ran cold and my heart quickened and the gust of heat that arose abruptly dried the saliva from my lips. Until. I remembered. The name. The name that is above every name. The name every knee shall bow to…those in heaven…those on the earth… and mostly, those under the earth. The name that every tongue shall confess is Lord. My mind screamed out as I barely uttered the name of Jesus.

Instantly, the demon released his hold and sunk back into the unknown depths from where he originally emerged. As my eyes illuminated I could make out my surroundings and feel movement, fueled by the rush of warm blood, returning to my stiffened muscles. I must admit I was shocked to find myself still lying on the couch heavily breathing; the still lingering sensation of the fiendish grip on the back of my shirt beginning to fade along with the dreadful sounds of the underworld.

My pupils adjusted to the light of the television screen as did the understanding of my transgression. I confessed the open gateway of my pride to the Lord, asking for forgiveness and a hedge of protection for myself, those in the house with me, my family and our home. I thanked Him for His mercy and undeserved grace. I knew that once again my Savior had delivered me from my own stubbornness and vice. He did not forsake me. Never would. Then, came the revelation of what the Father had just realigned and restored. My vision. It had been shrouded by my three-dimensional sin, manifesting my fear, unlocking a doorway that God had purposefully shut, for the enemy of my soul to reenter through. Only by faith in the blood of Jesus and the power of His Spirit was I able to counteract the opening, closing it by way of the unveiling of the Father’s eternal, supernatural, multi-dimensional glory.

Psalm 139:8 “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

Wars and Rumors of Them 

It saddens me how much the culture has changed. This present generation, for the most part, is the “Me-Generation” or the Milleniels. That spirit of self-gratification, entitlement, disrespect, laziness and fear has permeated the land to an alarming degree. In the light of so much technology, “reality” mentality and social media we have bought into the “history” and fairytales that have been fed to us on so many different levels for so many hundreds of years. And we have allowed them to separate us without question or opposition.

There are no more basic values of respect and morality for God, authority or your fellow man. People say and do what they want, no matter the extreme, without any reservation, consideration, hesitation or at the very least for the preservation of their own soul. People blaspheme God, slander their neighbor and continue to add to the already innumerable amount of hate that we have stirred up in this country and world. Perversion, miseducation and indoctrination have led to killing, stealing and destroying. We have turned on one another as rabid, starving animals fixated on a final opportunity at prey “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother” (Matthew 10:35).

PLEASE, don’t stand on your soapbox and preach to me about injustice and personal defeat at the “hands” of others. I am a Puerto Rican-Black-woman, molested by a white man and raped by a Hispanic/Black man and yet I still find the courage and conviction to live my life in such a way as to treat every man, woman, child with respect, dignity and as an individual. I have come from one of the biggest cities in the Midwest and now live in the deep South and have experienced both the ignorance of prejudice and the beauty of mutual understanding and love from all races and walks of life. People are people are people. Stop dismissing others because you don’t have the conviction nor the gumption to escape your boundaries and self-installed “great walls” to venture out and discover something about your fellow man. Stop imposing your closed-minded interpretations of who you think everyone is without even exploring past the shackles of your own mind. 

Stop feeding in to the mind-blowing levels of contradiction, confusion and basic fear that these people (i.e., media, Hollywood, Beyoncé and dem, etc.) who could care less about you, instill in you on a daily. The popular opinion is just a myth exaggerated to control the masses and sway them to a level of self-destruction that seems uncomfortabably close. So your candidate won or didn’t win, God is still in control. As a matter of fact, He places kings and takes down kings (Psalms 75:7, Daniel 2:21, Romans 13:1), so if you have a beef, maybe you should take it up with Him. 

Wake up. There’s a great big beautiful, unexplored world out there. When we stop looking at people like races and get back to looking at people’s faces and as individuals, maybe, just maybe we can take back the only race that truly matters. The human one.

Tomorrow (flowetry Luke 12:9)

Hold you no value for life lost?

Unthinkable act, do you count cost?

Inexcusable,

Hollywoods not real,

robbing lives in a blink,

Shot with cold steel.

There’s a whole world outside

Time to wake up.

Before nails in ‘ur coffin

Get caked up.

Shrug, “Don’t judge me”,

As time ticks ‘ur soul clock

But who’s laughing?

Kermit, a green hand sock.

It’s distraction,

Plan from enemy lines,

No excuse,

The whole earth is a remind,

The Creator left hints

In the sunset.

Knees will bow,

even those that won’t repent.

Just a warning,

The Kings on His way back,

Leading heavenly armies

On the, attack.

Judgements coming,

life’s record in real time,

Guaranteed,

Like the glare from the Son’ shine.

The American Dream

“The American Dream… you would have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin  

There are so many distractions in this world disguised as dreams. While we aspire to get the “dollar, dollar bills ya’ll” the world around us continues to crumble and fall. People excessively labor at their workplace metropolis dedicating exorbitant amounts of time, away from their families and loved ones, only to be paid a net amount in order to pad the pockets of politicians that could care less about “we the people” retirement  funds when theirs are garunteed for life with an added health care bonus of 100%. Entertainment continues to further push unhealthy levels of shock, awe and agenda stimulating the public’s senses to extremes of obsession, lust, greed, hatred, rage, rape and murder through a local provider at a conveniently manageable rate… “and the emmy goes to…”. Young girls have no qualms about discounting their value or showing their “goodies” to get a super-sized happy meal, and young boys describe their mothers, sisters and women in their life as dirty disgusting filth to get 5 minutes of fame on a superimposed social media outlet that really only cares about the bottom line of selfish personal gain at any cost. Pedifiles and deviants are allowed freedom to express themselves in vomitous repetition while our next generations continue to mentally strain and struggle with exploitative messages and lack of parental guidance due in part to the guise of freedom through overdosing self-worshiping, medicated behavior upon the predication that “its my time”, “its my life”. Social media is abused and formatted into some type of personal diary of everyday whining, complaining, murmuring and all out inappropriateness about the injustices recieved at the very hands that chose it. Political slander and accusations run rampid as those that were once close begin to turn on one another like rabid dogs when the outcome has already been set by those that sit back and set the tone for all the perpetuated, impending chaos while laughing at the sheer ignorance of the masses. Veterans, seniors, widows and orphans are constantly looked at as throwaways, dregs or burdens on society while untalented, vain, abusive, robots are idolized and glorified as mentors and leaders. Pretentious, snobby, self-righteous wanna-be freedom fighters consistently lash out at anyone who does not go along with exactly what they “stand for” while constantly professing and shoving down the throats of others the need, desire and lack of the very freedoms they want to take away from everyone else. The distractions are endless, careless and lifeless. The real dreams are either dead or dying.

When we realize that the American Dream has turned to no more than a facade of winning at the expense of others and the cost of our souls creating a living hell that can not even begin to compare to the real one… maybe then we will wake up.

“For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36

Don’t Be a Gracie

“I  once knew a girl named Kay, she grew up and still wanted to play, so she made up her facie, like a clown, then came Gracie, who sent Kay running out the doorway…”.

A friend of mine once told me a story. She said that she had always wanted to be a clown. She enjoyed making people happy. She wanted to bring joy to children where she had been deprived of it in her own childhood. She shared stories. Wonderful stories of laughing, smiling children standing in long lines filled with noisy, ruddy little faces of all shapes and sizes. Each little face had a shiny expression of uncontained excitement, patiently and not so patiently, awaiting their turn to see the clown. Small chubby fists tightly clenching dollar bills in anxious anticipation of being next in line to yell out their favorite color that would be magically and swiftly transformed into an animal, with a twist of the clown’s hands, from an ordinary latex balloon.

Kay the clown was amazing and colorful with a neverending smile, big floppy feet and bright red hair. A colorful satiny outfit with vivid dots of colors in red, blue, yellow, orange and green made all the children squeal with delight because it alerted them to Kay’s presence. She began to enjoy it so immensely that she not only wanted to attend public events but expand it into a personal experience by bringing it into peoples homes. One of the most popular venues for her growing business was children’s birthday parties.

Children’s birthday parties were always so much fun. Excited little faces would anxiously greet her at the door with wonder and delight. Parents would smile with sighs of relief knowing that Kay the clown was about to bring varied entertainment and distraction to their children giving them a well desired break. There were always some kids that would cry initially but when they would see all the other children participating and all the amazing things Kay could do they would be drawn into a blind state of awe mixed with curiosity. By the time the show was over and Kay was done she would be exhausted, but it was all well worth it knowing that parents and children were equally satisfied with her performance. Word of mouth would prove invaluable marketing for her clown parties. Her desire to be a clown had been fulfilled. She had built up her clown empire and had accomplished her goal of making people happy by doing so. Kay had successfully discovered her talent and had used it to bring joy to others. Life was good until one day appeared a girl named Gracie.

Gracie was an unhappy child which was made apparent by the sneer on her face and the snicker in her voice everytime she made some adultish comment. More than likely she was just a product of her home but the reality was that as a child she was  difficult, to say the least. Nothing made Gracie happy and Kay the clown, not through lack of effort, would change that.

When Gracie met Kay something invisible transpired and they were somehow connected in some universal bond that rivaled that of the Montagues and Capulets, unbeknowest to Kay. From their very first encounter Kay knew Gracie did not like her and the kid made it a point to antagonize her every chance she got. 

“You ain’t no real clown, clown!” Gracie would yell at Kay the moment she would arrive, often seperated from the other kids waiting outside at the mailbox leading up the given home’s entryway. 

“Those aren’t real clown shoes, clown!”, she would scream as she stomped heavily on Kay’s real toes with her patent leather Maryjane shoes and lace fringed socks. 

Kay would only smile and grumble under her breathe at what a rotten kid Gracie was. She could not believe that someone so small could be so mean and hateful. After about a year of Gracie run-ins it became apparent that she was not going away. It was because of so many encounters with Gracie, combined with other issue, that resulted in Kay the clown deciding that her clowning career had finally come to an end. And so she decided with a heavy heart to hang up her clown suit and pursue other talents.

We are all born with God given talent. Life throws in unexpected situations that  affect us in all sorts of emotional and spiritual ways, both negative and positive. How we deal with those obstacles become crucial to our development and will determine whether our talent is strengthened or weakened, transforming us into who we are to become. Discovering our talent, though transformative, can also be daunting. It happens when we come up against a “Gracie” shaped in the form of opposition to the goals that we are trying to acheive. Opposition can overshadow our circumstance and blind us to everything that is involved. Sometimes there is a bigger picture. We fail to realize that there is a lesson to be learned. A lesson that always begins with us.

Grace is a gift given by God even though we don’t deserve it. God gave us Jesus the Christ who died on the cross serving as an atonement for our sins. Whether we receive that grace or not does not change the fact that we can not earn our way to it, God or heaven. Life obstacles are for our benefit so that we learn to face challenges head on and work through the storm to continue developing our talents to be used for the benefit of others and God’s kingdom. When we fail to recognize that opposition is a humbling experience that ultimately strengthens us and builds up those around us in the process, we can miss out on some of life’s greatest rewards. Others are constantly watching us to see how we react to situations and our response to difficulty unintentionally affects their lives and habits. Extending grace to others can be challenging, but extremely effective. When we can see past our own self, look beyond the pain of another usually disguised as depression, anger, disrespect, or even blatant hatred, we have tapped into the very grace that God extends to us daily. Then when that obstacle shows itself through another we can look up into the beautiful blue sky and realize that through our choices we can be the difference, and that without the grace there is only Gracie.

Burnt Sausages

I woke from a dead sleep, choking. Dry, thick smoke had seeped into the back of my throat causing me to sputter and hack, gasping for the same air I usually took for granted. At first, it was a bit disorientating trying to figure out exactly where the smoke was coming from. My mind was racing with thoughts. 

For the past couple of years due to busted pipes in the master bedroom and an intense, yet non-productive struggle with an insurance claim, my husband and I had had the extreme pleasure of sleeping in the living room. Though grateful to have a roof over our heads during what can be coined as the “reconstruction period”, sleeping in the living room/dining room/kitchen, which on a ordinary basis has an awesome open plan, had now become more of a sleepless torture chamber. Clanging dishes, banging doors, (yes, adult children including grandchildren), made a good nights rest somewhat of a distant, hard to reach goal dangling just beyond the limits of our reach. Abruptly awakening to some type of crisis had become common place opposition to our sleep efforts. 

Adding to this already tedious schedule were 12-hour shifts I worked as a police dispatcher, which despite being an enlightening, eventful career, was regularly garnished with unexpected situations and consistently high alert dramas that only exacerbated my inefectual pattern. The bittersweet came when the 2-days on, 2-days off, every other weekend work calendar combined with rotating days and nights became a conglomeration of unrecognizable days and dates of the week and year. I would often times wake in a heightened state of panic thinking I had missed an alarm, only to discover that I had only just fallen asleep. There was always some interruption to my normal sleep pattern. Today would be no different.

Smoke inhalation is a tricky thing. People smoke, cigarettes for instance, all the time inhaling by choice, but when its involuntary the obvious effects can come shockingly immediate and harsh. Before smoke reaches the trachea and enters into the upper airways of the lungs it is only a matter of seconds before the mind registers the lack of oxygen. As the membrane in the trachea attempts to filter the waste from the smoke mixed in with air, the excess mucus produced is pushed away from the lungs by the cilia, the tiny hair lining, causing the sensation to cough for expulsion. When I woke up sputtering and hacking I had no idea my body was in this process trying to save my life. The foggy dreamlike state of my subconscious was still trying to assess whether the experience was real or dreamt up. As I looked around I could see a smallish trail of thick gray smoke coming from the area above the stove in the kitchen. The smell and taste of the ashen cloud  was chalky and stuck to the back of my throat like a thick coating of Teflon.

I could hear panicked muffles under the clanging of pans. Then a sudden sizzle of the water stream from the kitchen faucet causing an even thicker, darker, char-filled cloud of smoke to rise up toward the ceiling filling the room with a mushroom shape that cascaded over everything, leaving a not so subtle hint of burnt. The  stench in the room became automatically unbearable.

Through the smell in my now burning nostrils I managed to choke out a few choice phrases. 

“Wha what… happened? Is… that you… Izzy?”

I could hear concern and fear in her soft child-like voice, “I’m sorry… I only walked away for a few minutes to my room. I didn’t think that they would cook that fast…the burner was on low”. But they did cook fast. The low burner did not care that my daughter walked away for only a few minutes. The sausages, now dried out, burnt, and charcoal black could never be eaten. Fortunately, there was no fire. No one was critically hurt. We only lost a pan or some of its use, but it was savaged for the most part. Windows had to be opened and room deodorizer had to be generously sprayed, but we recovered. 

As the fresh air poured into the room and the smoke finally began to dissipate I realized something. My daughter being a teenager with limited experience had decided to cook some sausages. She left them on the stove on low never anticipating that in a “few minutes” they had the potential to burn. It was not intentional nor malicious, but yet it could have been fatal.

How many times during the course of our lives do we negate the tugging of the Holy Spirit on our souls? We equate that “low” pull on our conscience that keeps trying to insist that something in our spiritual life is not right to some small, self-pleasuring desire of the flesh that begs to be filled. We attempt to satisfy those desires with food, career, money, self-gratification or worldly pleasures that are temporary at best. We are “cooked on low” until we become impassioned, unemotional, unexcited and burnt out and have to search for some other temporary fix. 

Life is but a moment. Though we are meant to enjoy it, Christ did not intend for it to be selfishy handled and thoughtlessly viewed leaving our life “unattended” as if it happens unprovoked. Waiting for the proverbial “smoke to clear” can leave our spiritual life in danger. Only through our love and honor of the Father and by loving our neighbors as ourselves will we be able to put our life in perspective and fulfill our purpose.

Purpose can only be drawn from the God-given talents that we have been blessed with, whether that be creativity, hospitality, administration, leadership or counsel, which is given by God and developed through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must conciously submit and allow the “consuming fire” of the Spirit to transform us to our destiny. To do anything less would be like putting a sausage on a slow burn.