Linking up with the Five-Minute Friday community of bloggers, the prompt this week is BREAK. Learn more about it here.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” ~ Galatians 5:1
My husband and I were fans of the TV series, Prison Break. I loved the ensemble cast and he loved the concept. But when the BREAK was finally realized, the show ended. That is the way we need to look at life and the ‘prisons’ we find ourselves incarcerated by. Many of them are not physical, but mental and emotional. Once someone is released from prison, if they have also been released in their mind (thinking) and emotions (human makeup) they vow to NEVER return, they BREAK free forever.
There are recurrent ministry events and themes that continue to speak to the same place of imprisonment in our lives. When will we finally ever make THE BREAK? When will we finally ‘be not entangled again’?
I have written about it before, https://simplyphenomenal.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/demolish-the-chains-god-has-declared-new-beginnings/.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately ALL the doors were opened, and EVERYONE’s bands were loosed.” ~ Acts 16:25-26
Linking up with the Five-Minute Friday community of bloggers, the prompt this week is REAL. Learn more about it here.
My sister-friend, Paulette Foster, preached a theologian’s (scholarly) sermon about the woman with the issue of blood. It was eons ago now, she called the woman Veronica. [Traditionally, Veronica came to believe in Christ when He healed her of an ailment that had afflicted her for twelve years: And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and. touched the hem of his garment: (orthodoxwiki.org/Veronica)] It was the first time I had heard the woman called by name as it is not given in the scriptures.
What I want to extract from the woman’s story though is her brokenness. Inspired by our Pastor’s message yesterday, “The Blessedness of Brokenness” (Psalm 51:8), what I know to be REAL about brokenness is it brings you to your knees, recumbent and debilitated before our Savior, Healer, God.
Many of us find ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, like the woman with the issue of blood, broken by society, stereotypes, people and their judgments, systemic resistance, broken to a state of nothingness. Pastor also referred to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9), how that we are sometimes broken by someone who was suppose to care for us, not of intention, but by an unfortunate casualty. Whatever the circumstances, there are times of brokenness in our lives.
Like the woman with the issue of blood, it was in a state of brokenness that she became most desperate for God. It was in a state of brokenness that in her despair she ignored all the crushing constructs that were very REAL in her life.
She found her way to Jesus, crawling and clambering through the thronging crowd in the dirt and dung to touch The REAL Healer. Weakened in her body, but determined in her spirit, she pressed through her pride, her fear, rejection and prejudices. She pressed through every ‘no’ she had ever been told to reach her Creator. She touched Jesus with all of her brokenness and He touched her with His healing virtue.
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” ~ Psalm 51:8
You may also like, https://simplyphenomenal.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/broken-to-be-made-whole/
Linking up with the Five-Minute Friday community of bloggers, the prompt this week is PLAN. Learn more about it here.
Initially, I was just fed up. I was depressed to go shopping. I was moving into a larger size in every item of clothing, I was uncomfortable in the bath tub. I didn’t like the way I looked or felt. I was fed up.
I did it, I auditioned for The Wiz!
Performing in a stage play is on my bucket list. A dramatic work would be my preference, but I thought this is an opportunity I should take.
I only learned about the auditions a couple days before they were scheduled. I read all the information provided in the FB event post and began my preparations. I asked questions of my family who performed in previous shows at Karamu. I created a theater resume, such as it was. Printed my headshot. I learned an audition song, “Almost There” from The Princess and The Frog, and with my husband’s encouragement, I set out on this little venture.
The last time I was in a play was at church before my children were born, forever ago. I played Queen Dee (Glenda) in my husband’s musical, “The Wonderful World of Calvary” (Christian adaptation of The Wizard of Oz). And more forever ago than that I was in Drama Club at JFK under one of my favorite teachers, Leon Fisher. I played the role of Baby June in “Gypsy” and one of the children in “Cheaper By The Dozen”.
After checking the cast list for The Wiz, I thought, I can play Auntie Em or Addaperle (the witch of the North).
I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived at Karamu, the audition process was easy enough, it was the waiting. Waiting to go in ( I had visions of American Idol in my head), it actually was quite similar. I sang my song without accompaniment and I felt good about it. The Director asked me to wait to read for Auntie Em. Shortly later one of his assistants came out to give me a script to practice with a young lady auditioning for Dorothy. We were called in, we read together, and again I felt good about it. We were both invited to come back and I was asked to learn Auntie Em’s song. I went back the next evening. I was asked to read with another young lady and to sing the song. Right away I didn’t feel good about it. Call backs would be in a few days by invitation only. I was not invited back, it was the end of the road.
So it is another, “I did it” experience. Better to have tried and not succeeded than to not have tried at all, right?
The best and most important thing is I did it. I took the first step without seeing the entire staircase. I did something out of my comfort zone. I did something a little scary for me. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
I won’t forget it too soon, but I have to internalize it in a positive way.
Break a leg.
Next to my God and Faith, Family is most important in my life.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,“ ~ Acts 2:46
Of this Proverbs 31 verse (:28), I have always thought of children verbally honoring their mother when they grow up. That they would speak of her influence in their lives and perhaps the lives of others.
Yesterday, I had a moment that immediately engendered this verse in my mind and heart. I realized I have these ‘call her blessed’ moments quite often. They are not always verbal, nor necessarily intentional. They happen when I see values we have instilled in our children play out in their lives. Our children make us proud every day and if you could see the magnitude of my pride as it really is in my chest it would appear as a deformity because my chest is inflated with Godly pride of not just what they do but who they are. They are not perfect (no one is) but they are my perfect heritage, my anchors, my God-gifts whom I cherish and yes, I celebrate them.
Our firstborn Son has a work ethic that is unrivaled in my opinion. His grandfather modeled it and his father modeled it.
Our second Son has an ecclesiastical mantle on his life. His passion for and faith in God awes me and frames his entire life. Also generational.
Our only Daughter, has such intellect and resourcefulness. I love that she is so grounded, embodies strength of character and sensibility. Yes, generational.
These are just a few of their qualities that I admire. They are our rewards.
In addition to who they are as individuals, they have blessed our lives with additional daughters and a son and grandchildren of whom our lives are enriched with immeasurable JOY.
I promise, when you invest into the lives of your children, not just things, but values, they rise up and call you blessed. The spiritual, educational and social experiences that you mandate for their lives as well as every single sacrifice will be worth it. The blessing is when you see what you have instilled in them demonstrated, even when it is not spoken or directly exclaimed, the fruit is the sweetest reward. Now as parents of their own children, I see them modeling values, expectations and lessons that we set for them. At first glance it can be comical but then it is a ‘Yes!’ moment. We did good.
So for parents whether you’re with a covenant partner or it is you and God, the sacrifices, commitments and investments you make in and for your children will yield a rich return. You really do reap what you sow. First and foremost, be the example they ‘see’ and ‘hear’. We are all the sum of our influences, make your influences on your child(ren) Godly, positive, of integrity, of excellence, of learning, of love, of character. They will rise up and call you blessed, they will rise up and be your examples, they will rise up and bless your life.
Since I’m coming to tears, I will stop here.
CELEBRATING Terry Dale Lipford II, Brandon Keith Lipford and Camille Joy Lipford … our heritage from the Lord.
“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.”
I’m linking up with the Five-Minute Friday community. Simply use the prompt and write freely for the five minutes. You can learn more here. This week’s word prompt for Five-Minute Friday is OPEN.
This week I experienced an impactful film, The Book of Negroes. It is a miniseries based on a novel written by Canadian author, Lawrence Hill. The film turned out to be so much more than I anticipated. I was interested because it is Black History Month and it was something new. The story is about the life journey of a woman who was taken from her African homeland as a young girl and the five decades of her life after being brought over the ‘big river’ to America. It is about how she endured and triumphed over the unimaginable despair of slavery and the ultimate love story of she and her husband.
These stories and films are difficult to view for many because of the grief of the historical reality depicted in them. Sometimes our world view and quick assumptions cause us to tune out or turn away from some things prematurely and we miss the beauty. I know because I’m guilty of measuring reality television that way, although I have found that I am usually correct in my perception at least as it relates to my personal value system.
Truth is it does matter what people think. We all want to be well thought of, approved of others. It matters what the employer or supervisor thinks, what the professor thinks, what that person we admire or crush on thinks, what our spouse and children think, what the person who shows indifference, disrespect, insensitivity towards us thinks. If it didn’t matter, we would not need to respond to it, have it dictate our behavior or introspection.
It is toward people who we claim do not matter (but they do), that we throw out such disclaimer. Persons who exclude us, don’t consider us, disregard or ignore us. The ‘haters’, persons who do not support or celebrate us, do not condone our behavior, or laud our every endeavor. It is of those people that we say, it doesn’t matter, I don’t care. But the attention and response to the opinion of those persons is a clear indicator that we do indeed care.