Surgeon General’s Warning

As I pulled into a parking lot in my apartment complex, I saw a girl my age smoking a cigarette.

A few thoughts crossed my mind, but in the end, I’m sure she is already aware of the health risks. Perhaps she thinks they don’t really apply to her, or maybe she is only focused on the here-and-now, or maybe she would vehemently argue that it’s none of my business. Either way, she made a decision, because she was very happily smoking her cigarette.

But then I had to stop myself, because while I was pondering the physical health of this stranger, I realized that I was doing exactly what she was doing.

I have this really sweet, loving, beyond-words Savior who knows me quite intimately and cares about all of the intricate details of my life. He has warned me of what will happen when I choose not to obey him; of what happens when I only think about the hear-and-now or my selfish needs or, honestly, anything outside of His glorious gifts (and, sometimes struggles).

Yet we all have a choice to make. And I, like that girl, ignore the “you should”s or “you’re supposed to”s or “it’s not good”, and I follow my own rules. My own path. After all, it’s my life, right? I shouldn’t have to answer to anyone!

Foolish, foolish of me.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  – James 1:17

honestmiracle

I want to see the miraculous.

>>hmph. or what I believe to be miraculous.

In all honesty, Abba, I want you to send blessings from Heaven

in the form of a man or a woman

who, for some reason, feels compelled to pay for

all of my  current student loans. All of my future schooling.

And then I want that peace of mind that would likely follow that miracle.

…..

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Joy Comes in the Morning…

I’m writing to you right now because I can, and that’s a blessing in and of itself.

I’m writing to you because Abba is a healer and the restorer of all things.

This morning I woke with pain, confusion, anger, sadness,

feelings of lack, feelings of incompetence, feelings of hopelessness.

I sat up, (breathe), contemplated the day ahead:

“You have to go to class. You have to go to class.”

“No, you don’t. Lie down here. Rest.”

Five times the battle, then I did as I was told. I “rested…”

Except this was no rest; this was talking, dissuading, feeling all things wrong…

There was no joy this morning.

(Freeze). I froze. 

and then I knew I needed help.

But Abba already knew…

To sleep He put me. Then rest I did, and dream I did, and I woke with a motivation to move –

one I did not prompt of my own accord.

>> That voice threatened to claim my accord. It would’ve had me  lie there forever, curtains closed, stomach growling, mind dreaming of things it claimed I’d never be able to have. The voice would’ve liked me to waste away, aiming to spite those who’d hurt me. This, then, was the battle for my accord.

But Abba has all might.

He intervened, and today He brought me friends. He taught me to dial their numbers, to reach out for help, to give up my pride, and to let Him guide me.

So thank you to Alexis, who flew by my side and sat with me once Abba had told me to rise. Thank you to Martha, whose sweet words were as near to my heart as our friendship has become. Thank you to Anna, who spoke truth and life into me with consistency, power, and tenderness. Thank you to my friends for obeying my Father’s voice.

Now through my veins courses the Spirit of redemption; the Spirit of the Helper, who snatches me from the pits without my consent…who grabs my hand like a parent does a child’s, and leads me from the strangers who promise fulfillment and a smile.

It is as if He is the cure, and His immediate exposure – though I never specifically asked – caused a joy and peace (neither being my own) to become part of my existence and part of today’s events. I walked, I smiled, I ate, I felt the things good; and I have no explanation other than the presence and all-pervading power of Jesus Christ.

I’ll take my moments one day at a time. As of right now I am happy, because He has never left me nor forsaken me. He is with me here, still, hearing me and creating me. He has a plan and a purpose, and regardless of my occasional discomfort with His timing, I know beyond all doubt that “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). And I seek to follow Him; therefore, I assume that my posture is one that mirrors His.

So I cling to my verse – the one that is the anthem through my darkness – and recite it over and over again (in my head and spirit, where the battle is fought) when I cannot think of words of my own to speak to Him:

I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you…

-Psalm 139:11-12

Complacency, the Beast

Complacency is not my friend.

She’s quite unassuming. She appears with a nonthreatening demeanor; her face is blank and her eyes piercing. Curious thing. She wants no harm: no good, no evil. She just wants to impact your life, like any person would. She wants a grip on your soul. I’ve learned that Complacency is not my friend.

But here she is, once again, knocking meekly on my door like a stranger standing out on the cold. “Let me in,” she says. “Keep me warm. I won’t harm you.” Bah. I really shouldn’t. But it’s so easy… So easy to embrace defeat and begin the slow sinking into the murkiness of compassion-less living. Forgiveless living. Actionless living. No leaning to the right; no edging to the left. Carelessness.

Man, how did it get to this?

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A Temporary Reminder of a Constant Truth

Just a quick one for you 🙂

My mind tends to speak louder than the Truth sometimes. To combat this, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing, with a pen, a single word on the inside of my wrist each day as a temporary reminder of the constant Truth.  In this, I try to keep my thoughts set on what is pure, praiseworthy, of good report….

Some days it says “Love.” Last Tuesday, it was “Pure.” Today, in cursive, I wrote:

Sovereign.

It’s a reminder that when life is tempestuous and Abba seems distant, He is still, among other things, Sovereign. And He has already written a beautiful life story for me. One full of beauty. 

So that’s my word of the day. What truth do you need to remember today? What’s your one word?

The Diagnosis/ The Cure

Guns. Money. Self-Ambition. Love.

______________

Selfish ambition only forces us to steal from others

And our communities are being raped by money loves.

So we decide to gang bang because we need protection.

Because we want money so we head the same direction.

So if somebody gets in the way, a fights out.

We pull our nines out. Cock-n-bang! It’s lights out!

But if we see.. that all of us seek the same thing

Then we can work together. Only then we’ll see some change.

If our basic necessities are being met;

We got a roof over our heads and we’re being fed;

And we got clothes on our backs –  so what if he’s got ice?

Are his possessions really more valuable than his life?

But first we gotta lay aside the root of many evils.

We gotta stop loving money and start loving people.

We gotta redirect our focus to what’s really important.

Love guides us through the night and leads us to tomorrow morning.

Joel Ubiera, 25

God, a Flood, and Grace

I. Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that by living up to our self-conceived standards, we deserve to be unscathed by the undesirable characteristics of life on a cursed earth. When tragedies happen, we often immediately question the God of the Christians and the Jews; the One who claims to love us all. “How could He allow something this bad to happen? How could He let someone die?”

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What to Do When Life Seems Meaningless

Today was an Ecclesiastes day, friends.

I’d never actually read the book in its entirety until a few minutes ago, but I’ll get to that in a second. Going to classes, completing assignments, and rushing to miscellaneous extracurricular meetings was a hassle today. It was rough. I could see no reason, no need, no impending good that could come out of the mundane tasks that were performed in hopes of receiving a number (close to 100) stamped on an official report. I felt like giving up all day. Just sitting in my room, going nowhere. And actually, I did. I skipped out on one of my last activities in favor of indulging in personal satisfaction: buying fried, sweet plantains from my favorite Caribbean place.

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A Clear Look at a Clear Jesus

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires…. Get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

-Colossians 3:5,7,11

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From the heart of your future “Heart”

As sons and daughters of the Most High King, we are already betrothed to the most honorable and worthy Spouse of all eternity. We are protected, pulled closer, and comforted.  We are loved to the depths of our soul; there is no fear, no intimidation. He proposes an eternity before we’ve even begun our mortality. And with a love like that, we can’t imagine living for any other reason but to be in intimate relationship with Him. He wants to be with us, and we find ourselves filled and whole in His purpose and His ways. Somehow, the devotion between the King and His bride is permitted and promised.

And because we are already filled, we find the desire to pour our instantly-replenished love into another soul on this earth. Onto many souls, actually. But sometimes we find one in particular that we find exceptionally worthy of an all-inclusive devotion. We lay down our lives, our plans, and our selfishness for the sake of pursuing Christ with them.

The women fit snugly into the chest cavity from which they were extracted, and the men receive them into themselves, promising to care for and protect them with an intensity that mirrors the Bridegroom’s example. My words are only a crudely-sketched picture of the holy marriage designed for us – two sinners, prone to mistaking the world for our treasure – to enjoy. And for those who desire to taste this gift, why wouldn’t you seek to protect the part of the equation that you have to bring?

I am single now, but I am not without responsibilities. I am to focus my heart on loving God, growing in Him, becoming more like Him. We all sin and bear scars, but I don’t want to further deepen the gash that sin has already left on my earthly soul. He guards my purity – not for the benefit of another man, but for the joy of receiving His love and sovereignty. In the struggling, in the questioning, in the loneliness, I gain self-control. I learn wisdom. The Spirit works in me, and His Fruit is produced in my life.

And one day, my ability to present myself pure to my husband will be a beautiful thing: a celebration involving two souls with the same First Love. I want to be pure emotionally, giving this wonderful man the confidence to know that no one else has known my heart the way he will. Physically, he will know that we will experience many, many firsts together. Spiritually, he will be my rock. No, I’m not replacing God. I am saying that my husband will be my leader, and God will be his head (I Corinthians 11:3). He will be an extension of myself. Our bodies will be one, our spirits will be intertwined (Mark 10:7). He will know me so intimately that he will, in a sense, be “my heart.” This is not a pet name or an ear-tickler, but a reflection of a truth that will reside within me and radiate between us.

So to My Heart, I say this: I pray that, when we are one flesh, my gift to you will be the confidence in knowing that I am fully, truly yours in every way that a woman can be to a man. And I hope that you will be fully, truly mine. In the meantime, I’ll be saving myself for the King… and one day I hope to be able to present myself to you, too.