A Look Inside My Search

In a search for answers to the woes in my life, I found God. The truth that lies in knowing God for myself, placed me on a quest for peace. While on this journey, I have discovered that there are others seeking this truth also and that I can help. I have a Doctor of Ministry degree from Catholic Theological Union, not to rise above anyone, but to better serve everyone. I am on a journey towards peace, speaking truth that opens people up to God.

13 April 2017

Day 21 of Writing It Out

Today I found myself of service in a way that was surprising. I didn't get the news I expected, but I had joy. Why? Because I found that I was able to smile and sing, bringing joy. When I noticed the joy I brought, regardless of the outcome, I was pleased. I thank you God for always showing a better way, a kinder way, a more fulfilling way.

As the day progressed, I was happy things didn't go as I thought they would. What resulted was a grounding that would have not been possible otherwise. LOOK at GOD!!! Showing out.

As we move out of Lent into Easter, be bold and leave the mess in the tomb.

09 April 2017

Day 20 of Writing It Out

Today, Palm Sunday, found me at Faith Community MB Church preaching. Using the scripture Mathew 21:1-11, my sermon title was  

Who You Shoutin' About? 

When I started preparing this sermon, I couldn’t get pass, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” This is probably because it is so like the song we sing in Catholic Masses, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” I got stuck here, because I often wondered why we sing this in the Mass. And all was revealed when I focused on the word, hosanna.

Hosanna comes from two Hebrew words Hebrew words yasha and anna
yasha which means save, rescue, deliver
anna which means beg, beseech
combining the two words we get ‘Please save’

Going back to the Catholic Mass, this song is sung right before the priest begins the prayers that change ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus the Christ. And so the song, called the Sanctus, is a song of praise and a song for deliverance.

As a song of praise, the people were acknowledging that Jesus is THE king in the line of David. As a king, they were asking for help from the oppressions they were experiencing. They were shouting, “we are depending on you to save us, protect us. To make it clear what they were asking, people started waving palms and laying their coats on the road —laying out the “red” carpet for Jesus. If we give you praise and honor, you will do right by us. We are desperate—so desperate that I lay my coat on the ground for you to trod upon. I am willing to give up what is important to me.

Who You Shoutin’ About?
Who are you laying out the red carpet for? As a culture, we lay out the red carpet for celebrities, people we hold in high esteem because of some talent/gift that they have. We lift them up, placing them on pedestals and then we want them to do stuff for us, to take away our problems. We think that they should take notice of us because we elevated them to that status. And because of this, companies/individuals trying to sell their products, like door-to-door salesmen, use celebrities to do it —Celebrity Endorsements. By laying down the red carpet for celebrities we throw up our hands. We give over our own power. 
  • We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to be on the committee.
  • We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to make a commitment.
  • We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to be a witness.
  • We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone.
  • We shout Hallelujah, but we don’t want to get involved.

When we shout Hallelujah for anyone other than God, we get into trouble. But there is good news. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” This phrase comes out of Psalm 118, a psalm of thanksgiving. [Go to the psalm.]
By using this verse of the psalmist, Matthew is calling us to
  • thanksgiving in the midst of sorrow;
  • thanksgiving in the midst of pain;
  • thanksgiving in the midst of oppression.
To remember what God had done so long ago. 

To me, Palm Sunday reminds us to wave palms around and give testimony to what Jesus has done already in our lives and to ask Jesus to continue to save us, rescue us, deliver us. Hosanna in the highest. Save us O Lord we pray in the highest way.

05 April 2017

Day 19 of Writing It Out

A good friend (Julie W.) and I facilitated a Women's Retreat: Rest, Reflect, Restore this past weekend. Many of the women left that retreat FILLED with the Holy Spirit. Me? I too was FILLED with God. I really needed this retreat. It helped me slow down and fully receive and embrace God. We asked ourselves several questions which I share here with you.

Proverbs 4:23 - How is your heart?

Who are you spending your time with?

What is your narrative? Who are you sharing it with?

What truths do you need to address?

How have you been transfigured?

At least once a year, make a retreat. Allow yourself to let go of the norm and enter Kairos.

04 April 2017

Day 18 of Writing It Out

Last week I had a busy week. I preached my first Parish Mission at St. Benedict's/St. Andrews. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to share my love of God with new family. What a GREAT! group. When we follow God, we discover joy, unspeakable joy.

I ended the week co-facilitating a women's retreat with Julie Welborn at the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center in Donaldson IN. What a wonderful group of women. These women opened their hearts and minds to Julie and I and we were all transformed.

Now I need to get ready for Sunday when I return to monthly preaching at Faith Community MB Church.

Thank You LORD for getting me back to writing. I am feeling so much better. My heart is opening more and more to the mysterious ways of God. Who knew that you could open yourself MORE to God. AMAZING!!

What amazing thing is happening for you this Lent? How is Jesus satisfying your thirst?

29 March 2017

Day 17 of Writing It Out

The comfort I am seeking, I must give.
The support I am seeking, I must give.
The understanding I am seeking, I must give.
That which was a burden, I now see as an opportunity to give.
When that realization rested on me, gift from the Holy Spirit, I was set free.
I saw things differently, more clearly, more joyfully.

Indeed, what I seek, I have. I need only set it free in giving, in sharing with others.

23 March 2017

Day 16 of Writing It Out

Well, ...now that I have admitted to my fear, it's time to put a strategy in place to overcome it. Oops, I put a strategy in place before I admitted a fear. The Holy Spirit has me "writing it out" for Lent. Look at God!!! Handling things before we recognize. That's why we're asked to praise God in all things. We don't know when God answers.

So, what am I saying? I'm saying that God is taking care of us even as we sink into our despair and think the "midnight hours" will not pass. God is PRESENT, leading and guiding.

I'm seeking peace. I notice it is coming through writing.

What have you noticed God doing in your life?

22 March 2017

Day 15 of Writing It Out

Pastor Phil Ressler's 40 Things NOT to Give up for Lent:19.New Experiences https://www.greaterthings.today/40-things-not-to-give-up-for-lent19new-experiences/ asks the following reflection question: "What new experience have you been putting off out of fear?"

What came immediately to mind is researching and writing on a topic of interest for work and personal fulfillment. I have been avoiding all the baby steps necessary to get a proposal done. This "Writing It Out" exercise for Lent is an effort to break free and allow God to fully flow through my writing. As you can see, I've missed some days since Ash Wednesday and I'm okay with that. At first I stressed about it, but then I realized that the process is not about the goal. It's about the stretching and growing in God.

Well,...I named the fear. Now on to overcoming it.


18 March 2017

Day 14 of Writing It Out

My Cups Runs Over with BLESSINGS from God. 
No matter what is happening in my life, I know that with God I am still in good shape. No matter how I view the day, situation, or circumstance, God keeps filling my cup. So much so, that I must sing God's praise. Even in the midnight hour, when I am pressed down, God keeps filling my cup. 

When I don't know that my cup is running over with God's goodness, that's the signal to stop doing what I'm doing and get somewhere and "sat" down, so I can connect with God.

Lent is offering me the opportunity to "sat" down; to step away from the routine that has blinded me to God's goodness.

How is Lent helping you?

The Lord is my light and my salvation;whom shall I fear?The Lord is the stronghold of my life;of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

17 March 2017

Day 13 of Writing It Out

I return to my father's church this Sunday to preach for the first time in about 5 months. In addition to listening to the Holy Spirit while I preach, I will be looking to hear from my dad. What will that be like? Hearing from angel dad and the Holy Spirit?

How could I forget that my spirit lives in preaching?

It happens so easily. We drown in our busyness, pushing onward, determined to "minister" for the greater good. By doing so, we forgo the things that give us life. We sacrifice ourselves, but not in the right way.

By returning to writing and preaching, I'm returning to that which feeds my spirit. By feeding my spirit, I become more open to the Holy Spirit. By being more open to the Holy Spirit, I am better able to serve, the greater good.

Christ's Peace

16 March 2017

Day 12 of Writing It Out

Pastor Phil Ressler of https://www.greaterthings.today/40-things-not-to-give-up-for-lent/ 
wrote today about FOCUS.

Do I need to focus? Am I all over the place, completing bites and pieces of things? YES!!

I appreciated the challenge to do ONE thing for 45 minutes. As I let that flow over me, I realized how freeing it is to focus on one thing at a time. It helps when faced with making decisions about what to say yes to and what to say no to. Too often in ministry we say yes to too many things and end up stressed out. Or we say yes too often and the result of our work is far from something that others can benefit from.

Focus. I'm saying yes to writing. I'm saying yes to focusing on what God wants me to share. I'm setting myself free in the words.

What are you setting yourself free in this Lenten Season?
Can focus help you?

Thank you Pastor Phil for the boost.

15 March 2017

Day 11 of Writing It Out

I'm missing days of blogging during Lent. I noticed it when I received an email from someone who stated that they look forward to my posts and I hadn't posted for a few days. Ooops. My Bad. Sorry to leave you hanging.

What do you know about grief?

I think Lent is a great season to process grief. It invites you to look deep into yourself and come face to face with that which gets in the way of your relationship with God, self and others. By doing this, those of us who are grieving various things get the opportunity to analyze the grief--get to the source of it, then work on how to continue living in Christ. I don't think there are easy answers to grief. I do believe that it helps to know that one is grieving.

What do you know about grief?

I have discovered that grief can hide in your body. Your sleep, appetite, moods, ability to think are all affected by grief. Knowing this, I am working to set up things that will help me identify when I am "actively" grieving so I can be a better caretaker of myself. Lately, I've been coloring in a book that also has a weekly Scripture reflection. This has been so helpful.

What do you know about grief? I know that it offers me ANOTHER opportunity to draw nigh unto God and rest.

12 March 2017

Day 10 of Writing It Out

I'm coloring to relax my mind and process the various things that I'm responsible for. The above image is last week's meditation. What do you see?

How does what you see make you feel?
I was able to find peace. I calmed down and was better able to hear God speaking to me.

My Lenten Journey is reminding me that what I give up and/or take on these 40 days is not about success. It's about obedience to God. It's about surrender to our God. Surrendering is not about success or failure, it's about doing what God asks.

Does what you see in the above picture ask you to do anything for the common good?

May God be glorified.

10 March 2017

09 March 2017

Day 8 of Writing It Out

I went to see "I Am Not Your Negro" today and thought how prophetic James Baldwin was. And then I thought about the narratives I had been told as I was growing up. The narratives that left out all the important details of the struggles of Black people in my own family.  My maternal grandparents were from Birmingham AL. They were there until the early 1940s. When I learned of Birmingham's history, I asked my grandmother about life then. She wouldn't talk. When I asked my mom about growing up in Birmingham, she said, "You've seen the pictures."

Without the narratives we don't get the entire story. Things don't make sense like we hope. We look for answers. We look for the story.

Writing It Out is helping me tell a story. Someone needs to hear what I have to say. And you know what, I need to say it. I don't know the value my narrative, but I have discovered that I don't need to. What I need to do is be obedient to God.

9 days into our Lenten Journey --I'm preparing myself for another change.

May you allow your Lenten Journey help you share your narrative. We need to talk with one another.

08 March 2017

Day 7 of Writing It Out

We set out to do great things. We have the best of intentions. We tell ourselves that we will be open. Then someone attacks us. They dive in with a kill strike. And defense has us forgetting our intentions.

The crazy thing is, the attack is full of alternative facts. There is no truth in the attack. So why go on the defense? We don't like to hurt. Defense is like a shield surrounding us so we can't be pierced.
Yet, Lent asks that we allow ourselves to be pierced. To be pierced with the needs of the rejected, the homeless, the naked, the hungry, the immigrant (not the ones from slave ships), the outcast, the marginalized. Who are these people? They differ for each of us. Each of us defines marginalized in a different way. The work of Lent is that we reach beyond people's attacks and offer --peace.

06 March 2017

Day 6 of Writing It Out

I am resting today. Finally you would say. After the rough night last night, midnight hour, God brought JOY in the morning. Isn't that what God does? Help us see grace through the pain.

What do you bring to your Lenten Journey? Are you bringing your whole self? Are you open to the movement of the Holy Spirit? Will you allow God to move you through?

I am embracing what the Holy Spirit has asked of me, write it out. Put it in writing timone, and then you will see.

05 March 2017

Day 5 of Writing It Out

What am I feeling? I'm feeling that it is too much. Yet, my faith in God tells me that God has not brought me to anything that cannot be handled with God.  But it feels horrible.

today was to be a day of relaxation. I didn't happen. There were tears. Harsh words were spoken to me that hurt a great deal. Yet, God didn't bring me to this without giving me a way through it.

Day 5 -- writing. I hope to move this writing on the blog to writing an academic proposal. Cause God is having me writing it out. It's in the writing that I am finding my way through.

04 March 2017

Day 4 of Writing It Out

The day is waning and I am in the house not feeling well. I am weighed down by the things of my life. The strain has caused me to fall ill, with interesting symptoms. I didn't butt press enough yet. I worked instead of resting.  By midday, I couldn't think clearly and was forced to rest. In the midst of this rest I realized that I had not yet written anything today.

What is the point of this honesty? Why bear myself to the public? Freedom. Freedom to love God in my weakness. To be made strong by God's grace and mercy. This is the purpose of honesty. To let you know that God is with us even in our despair. God stays with us in our lowest moments.

Here I am LORD, giving my woes to You for I know that you will bring me joy so that all will know Your LOVE for us.

03 March 2017

Day 3 of Writing It Out

For the last couple of days I have been watching PBS' American Masters Inspiring Women production featuring Maya Angelou.

"You must have someplace that no one can take you beyond." Maya Angelou

Do you know that about yourself? Do you know that there must be a stopping place in your life? No matter what is offered, you must know when to say no.

The above statement by Dr. Angelou has me thinking, what do I need to stop?  What do I need to say no to?

I hear my Dad saying from heaven, "You need to do some butt pressing." For those of you that don't know what butt pressing is, it is sitting still, resting, relaxing, taking sabbath, NOT doing. I often struggle with this part. Today, I can't do anything else at this point. I have been really really busy this week and have not taken time to rejuvenate.

So, I am beginning my butt pressing time.  I pray that I am open to the Holy Spirit who lovingly leads me.

02 March 2017

Day 2 of Writing It Out

Have you ever started something and wondered, "What happens at the end?"
That was my initial question this morning as I sat to write. As soon as that thought was out, I wanted to retrieve it. Thinking about the outcome of this daily writing takes away from the journey; takes away from all that I have in now.

I have said it on many occasions that my creativity is with words and yet, I denied myself the many opportunities to write the words I have been given. Like the question I already posed, I trapped myself in the outcome before even starting. I devalued the words before I even allowed them to flow.

Are you doing that in your life as well? Stopping before beginning? Judging the work before it is even done?

Perhaps like me, you will allow this Lenten Season to be the time you allow your creativity out the box. Perhaps you will open yourself to the Holy Spirit in a way that has you saying yes to now, not worrying about the end.


01 March 2017

Day 1 of Writing It Out

As I was journaling this morning, I wondered what the Holy Spirit meant when She said write everyday during Lent. Did she mean blog everyday? Did She mean write in my journal everyday? Did She mean write academically everyday? That hasn't been made clear just yet. So here I am blogging 2 days in a row.

Ash Wednesday. How am I going to get my ashes? I wanted to get them early enough in the day so I could let the world know that I am a sinner. That's why we get the ashes right? To speak boldly about our sinfulness to all that see us? When I pulled into the parking lot of the cathedral I thought, I have just enough time to get ashes. So I began with a Liturgy of the Word service that asked me to look deep into myself and admit my faults and then be strong for the journey ahead.

Strength for the journey. I CANNOT face what is before me without God. I just can't. I am facing many things that I have wanted to just go away, but God has not done that for me. So, here I am seeking strength for the journey. The mark of ashes from burnt palms on my forehead says I am committing to do my part on this journey. The ashes say that I am aware of the hard road ahead, but with Jesus, ALL things are possible.

As I commit to writing everyday, I realize that I am committing to blogging everyday. I may journal as well, but the Holy Spirit is calling me to public writing that may serve someone else. Perhaps we may enter into dialogue. Perhaps you will be moved to comment. As you read what I am writing, may you allow yourself the freedom to be in God and do what God asks. That is really what Lent is all about, disciplining ourselves in such a way that we attune ourselves to God.


28 February 2017

Writing It Out

There are so many things going on in my life now that I am more frequently "down."

I am still using the word "marvelous" to describe how I'm doing with the intended hope that I will actually be marvelous. Lately, my self-created uplift is not working.

What is going on?!!

More accurately, What is not going on!?

I haven't been writing. Not here on the blog nor in my journal.

Now I have known for quite some time that I need to write it out. Anyone looking for my internal thoughts need only find them in these posts or in my journal. Once written there are no secrets. Once written, clarity appears. Once written, I am able to move forward. So, I've been "down" and couldn't understand why I was stuck until today.

Writing it OUT, will be my Lenten Journey. As I read the various reflections that I've signed up for or attend the online retreats to help me this Lent, I have decided to write everyday for Lent. To do so will require me to give up something (what I don't know since each day is yet to unfold). I will allow that sacrifice to reveal herself as I commit to writing it out each day.

Side Note: As I focused on blogging today, I didn't know what I was going to write about. This is what the Holy Spirit gave as my fingers moved across the keyboard.

Let us pray for one another as we journey inward and may we act on behalf of one another's well-being as a result of our journey.

10 January 2017

There is Death and There is Dying

The selfish part of me mourns death--the ending of something. The Christ in me celebrates death for it is the passage to resurrection. My father died on 21 December 2016 and I can't find it in me to be sad. In dying, my father taught me accompaniment. Oh I thought I know already what it meant to accompany someone, but as my dad lay in hospice care, saying nothing, I learned how to be present on the deepest level I know --in God.

I read scripture, not to learn anything, but to open my heart to God's WORD. What an AMAZING experience. I played some of my sermons for my dad to hear and I was opened to God like never before.

This part of the journey has allowed me yet ANOTHER glimpse of God's Grace, Mercy and Love. Thank you daddy for the lesson in dying. I am indeed grateful.