Faith: How I Keep Mine

My Story: As I’m sure you can tell, this is going to be a different kind of post – no natural hair today. Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of visiting Hope Christian Center in Brooklyn, NY with April, a good friend I met at a Natural Hair Meetup (of course) this past summer. Ever since I met April she has been very clear and upfront about her involvement in her church and love for the Lord. Something I have secretly admired about her because I am VERY reserved when it comes to my relationship with God…for several reasons…so this post is VERY personal and dear to me.

I grew up in the Catholic Church and never questioned it or the teachings. And, honestly I still don’t. But, what I do question is why so many religions I have studied throughout my adult life (including my own) “indirectly” judge certain people for their lifestyle(s) or “choices”. While I won’t go into my personal beliefs about hot topics, I will say that I am a firm believer in loving God, yourself and your brother. In that order. The choices I make for my life and the standards I have set for myself have no bearing on what I think of others or how I treat them because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. NO ONE is perfect.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to shy away from organized religion in pursuit of my own spiritual relationship with God, a decision that has literally changed my life. On December 31, 2009 I decided to bring the New Year in different. I went into my bedroom, closed the door and prayed. I won’t share what I prayed for – to this day the outcome and God’s power STILL astonishes me – but I WILL say that on October 8, 2010 I received my answer. When He tried to tell me in April of that year but I didn’t listen. But, when I say He TOLD ME on October 8, 2012 – HE. TOLD. ME. – I heard Him loud and clear.

No one knows this story in its entirety because I keep it tucked away. But, that night God spoke to me. On that night in October He delivered the most devastating news I have received to date. Period. News I was not prepared for but news I needed. And, I firmly believe to this day that He delivered the message to me because I asked Him for it. I specifically said, “God, please show me whatever it is I need to see. What am I missing about ____? What do I need to know? I am so lost.” Those words were the key. I asked God a specific question. Pastor Tyrone Stevenson talked about that yesterday. It was one of his 3 prerequisites on How to Make a Request from God and they were all spot on!

The Word: Yesterday’s lesson was titled “Receiving Guidance From God: Learning to Hear God’s Voice” and it was broken down into two parts. First: How to Request Guidance and Second: How to Receive Guidance From God. In my quest to strengthen our relationship these words couldn’t have come at a better time.

As I sat before Pastor Stevenson and filled in my worksheet, it all made sense to me. (I’ll outline it below and bracket the words we “filled in”.) He literally put together the pieces of the puzzle I have always had in my head but couldn’t quite figure out.

I. How To Request Guidance

1. Believe God [cares about the details of your life].

2. Ask God [a specific question].

3. Expect God [to answer].

Lately I have forgotten about 2. I ask God for things and to show me things but I think I’ve lost sight of being specific. Hearing and being reminded of this was really helpful for me.

II. How to Receive Guidance From God – 5 Things Habakkuk Did To Tune Into God

1. [Withdraw]: Get alone in a quiet place.

2. [Wait]: Calm your thoughts and emotions.

3. [Watch]: Let God give you a mental picture.

4. [Write]: Record the ideas you receive.

5. [Worship]: Thank God for speaking to you.

I have also forgotten that I have to “wait”. I am always in such a rush for everything that I forget everything will fall into place in due time. I am someone (as I think we most are in this day age) who is so focused on instant gratification that I forget things take time.

My Take Away: My time at Hope yesterday moved me (to tears at some points!), but “wait” struck a chord with me because I’m usually very quick to react. The day after Thanksgiving someone I care deeply for text messaged something to me that hurt me so bad for so many reasons. I was tempted to “retaliate” or “call the person out” but I did not, have not and I will not.

One thing I’ve learned is that words can hurt and they can’t be taken back. So, they should ALWAYS be chosen wisely or not used at all if you don’t have the right ones. I’m glad I “waited” and didn’t respond because my response would have came from an ugly hurt place. In my desire to be a better person I strive to treat people how I want to be treated even when it’s not being reciprocated. In addition, I try to do things from my heart and not “count favors” or hold things over people’s heads. If I do something I make sure it’s because I want to do it and not for something in return.

So while I won’t respond with hurt, I will respond after waiting with the right words, if the opportunity presents itself. I will also continue to pray on that situation as I have been for the past year. I’m sure God will give me the answers that I’m either ignoring or not asking specifically enough for, something Pastor Stevenson reminded me is very important.

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16 responses to “Faith: How I Keep Mine

  1. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    I’m not sure if this post came at the right time, just pure coincidence or a cruel joke from the universe … but I am ready to quit. Quit praying, quit believing there is God altogether. You already know my story & struggles and this woman is exhausted!

    I feel like I have been on this spiritual journey my entire life and to no avail, I am still stuck in a rut. I don’t subscribe to any religion nor do I go to church (every church I’ve gone to has ALL been the same [except 1…but they relocated] … gossip here, judge there, if you don’t give enough money-scorn there .. I just can’t .. I didn’t go to church for all that drama) … However, I’m an avid Holy Bible reading, God-seeking, truth-accepting woman.

    But I am at the point where I feel like God is a cruel device created for mind-control … yea I know, I’m at my wits end.

    I will try what you’ve offered here before I throw in the towel. One more time, even though I know I’ve done all these things before … You wrote this post for a reason(s) … maybe I was one of them 🙂

    • I hope I spoke to you, Toya. And, I think I have. You know I have been on this journey myself for a while. And, I have some of the SAME personal struggles as you. LOL. I guess I believe so strongly in Him because He spoke to me and kept me when I needed it most. And, that’s real. Everyone’s experience is different so maybe I am where I am because He has (and does) talk to me. One thing that works for me is being 100% open and ready to receive His message, especially when it’s something I don’t want to hear.

      I’ve met plenty of judgmental people and I simply put them in a box labeled “misery”. Lol. Please don’t equate “judgment” with every Church and especially not with God. That is just “man” being “man”. I ignore it and focus on Him alone.

      Let me know if you want to talk some more. We might be due for another “religion roundtable”. 😉

  2. I need to read this again & take notes on the sermon you referenced in the post! Just awesome!!! Thanks for sharing your heart & giving us a blessing from it!!

    • Thank you for reading. As you can imagine I was hesitant but God tod me to share this. Please let me know if you want me to list the scriptures the Pastor referenced. They were on point as well!

  3. I also enjoyed reading this blog post. I do believe in God and knows that he is in the blessing business. I am a BLM girl and so glad I click on your blog post. I feel I was supposed to. I have so many questions I have for GOD, we not SO many – but some REAL specific request. This post really did move me.

  4. I thank you for being so open and real. These are great steps and reminders that we can all take heed to. I am going to also share your post with some folks that I KNOW could benefit from it’s richness.
    Be blessed, sister!

    -Karen
    http://www.yourstyilistkaren.com

  5. This is such an awesome post, I really enjoyed reading it and learning more about you. In addition it is a very powerful message that I think everyone reading could learn something from. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Good morning, as much as I’ve bugged you about hair… THIS is what I needed to read today. I am a believer in God. I believe and read his word. Like most I grew up in church. Haaa, I’m a preacher’s kid! I’ve learned to separate the people, the actions, judgments, etc because we are all striving. For me it is PERSONAL. For a min now I’ve struggled with feeling like my life was a cruel joke. Praying, praying, praying! Mostly for others. I know that’s what I’m here to do, it is love for others that compels me to do so and because I’ve seen God work. But not lately 😦 I’ve been overlooked (so I thought) in the handing out blessings, answers and solutions department. This post reminded me that I haven’t done my part. I’ve blogged about getting back to it but nope too busy. I surrender. Grabs prayer journal, goes to quiet place,calms mind and emotions & starts listening. Amen.

    • I think the common misconception is that we must love one another and in turn pray for one another. But, what about us? People (ESPECIALLY women) spend so much time caring for and worrying about others that we neglect ourselves. It’s okay to ask God for things. He wants us to. I think it’s nice to pray for others. But, what about you? Trusting God enough to pray (ask) for something (in my opinion) strengthens our relationship with Him because we’re surrendering power to Him and telling Him we trust Him. Best to you in your journey.

  7. What a great post.My favorite part is making sure you ask for something specific. I think that’s key in life period.

  8. I am in love with this post! It is definitely a post to take notes from. Thank you for sharing what you learned and your thoughts along the way. It was so honest and sincere and everything that I needed to read. I have been praying that I would hear God’s voice loud and clear, and He certainly used you to speak to me. I am definitely going to work on asking God a specific question and many of the other things you’ve mentioned. Thank you so muh for writing this post!

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