Another wreckless moment in history calls for the sharing of words as I struggle to find them –because, well – 2017.
That KKK and NeoNAZI marches shown in black & white photos in history books could now be found as of Summer 2017 on YouTube, FB, Snapchat, the news, our IG accounts etc. is disgusting. That my little brother is growing up in a world where REAL people do these things when I -- a 90s KID, learned about the crazies from the 60s like they'd never return is heart-jolting. That it only took 6 months or so post January 20th, 2017 for David Duke to get out there and “fulfill the promises of President Donald Trump," (his words), only to then be passionLESSsly rebuked from a golf course in NJ or Capitol Hill...
I can’t keep up honestly.
I could barely pull my own thoughts together on Saturday as I anxiously waited for a leader to speak out. The silence was deafening for a moment. I knew who I’d hear from, but I wanted to hear from others. And it happened. Rolling in like a current, some of my white sisters and brothers took to their platforms to unapologetically denounce racism – insist that black lives mattered, and called the hatred out onto the carpet for what it was. I was encouraged & my heart resumed its beat. Because true Christianity is NOT just caring about the oppressed and justice if you ARE the oppressed. Jesus took special interest in the well-being of those who are marginalized, and so should we. Wasn't it the sacrifice and unified strategy of multiple races during the Civil Rights era that brought this nation to higher ground, albeit - still deeply flawed. Wouldn't that call for UNITY - now? We need one another.
Though we all live in this world - and every day is one that the Lord has made - reason to rejoice and be glad, it may seem on social media that every day is a great day - unless you or someone you know is a public lamenter or complaint-validation seeker -- yikes!
BOO to that...
... but every day is not.
Jesus assured us that we will have trouble in this world. That we would experience earthly dilemmas while trying our best to serve heaven. That things will not always come easy, but there's a Comforter for those days and strength as a supplement - these showing up, when we place our true Joy in the Lord
I find it interesting that some are able to keep up healthy social interaction when they might be in a tough spot, personally. Most tend to stay from brute honesty until we come out strong. Until it's safe to testify. And I think, sometimes, that's wise. But what do you do, in your private time, when you don't feel like thinking, or moving, or talking, or facing the realness of life?
You'll have to do the exact opposite.
You have to think, talk, move, and face real life - so here are my necessaries -
7 Tips for Your Darkest Days.
1. Resist the Temptation to SHUT Everything Out:
Take a walk. Feel the breeze on your skin. Feel the sunlight on your face. Go to the park. Bring your journal. I know for me, the open space of the outdoors is a great reminder of just how big God is. It reminds me that He knows all, holds all, and has no bounds in function. His creation screams "I'm in every detail and aware of every detail. Your darkness is but light to me." Staying home and away from people who love you may not be the best bet.
2. Resist the temptation to tell everyone. Tell someone. That's enough.
The worst thing you can do is allow for the wrong someone to be privy to very sensitive information in your life. The "bigger" worst thing would be to have grown a dependence on a person, rather than on the Lord. I have benefited greatly from having people in my life - for accountability and prayer, and just a listening ear. But the benefit ends where these relationships are misunderstood or mishandled. Ultimately, the trials of life should draw us into greater dependence on the Lord - His provision, opinion, and direction. There is nothing wrong with having a friend - but more than anything, talk to Him - He is the one who can reveal Himself as the very relief you'd need.
3. Play Worship Music - Not the Wrong Music:
The last thing you need in a difficult moment is a song that expresses precisely what you're feeling. It's not! With no help from the song, you're already there - in a sort of despair. Even in moments when I'd rather silence uninterrupted I'd find with one swipe to the right that I needed to hear the song of the Lord sung over my life. I needed to hear a song that shifted what was being declared internally. I'd find that I needed to sing over myself and charge my environment with truth and joy. A simple song of worship, as intrusive as it might be to your otherwise long day or "peaceful" car ride, takes you right to the place you need to be - even while you may have to admit that on your way you didn't even want to go. But His presence is home. Take every opportunity while your heart is in remission, to tell God the truth. You may even end up playing a song on repeat. You have no idea what may change when the right song breaks through.
Dr. Carrie Lane of the University of Texas - in her study of grief, found that 88.8% of those who weep experience an improved mood. Only 8.4% of subjects reported feeling worse after crying. To that I say that I too, have had to learn not to pack in the grief like it's a treasured keepsake. I've had to release it. And I admit I am a bag of tears, but for some reason, it's always been easier for me to cry tears because of happy moments. But there's honor in releasing the grief. No shame. Let it out. And let God collect your tears. He knows what to do with them.
5. Write Out Your Prayer. Not only is writing therapeutic, but a journal suggests there's an exclusive conversation taking place between you and your God. Face your heart on paper. Trace it against His heart. Look at what you've been petitioning for.. wait in expectation for His faithfulness, in His way. Fix your eyes on Him, and don't do so in pessimism. Remind yourself that He is for you. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6). Write it out.
6. Don't jump to conclusions about your circumstances.
Or at least don't jump to the wrong conclusions. God is a big God. He can give you wisdom. He can heal your heart if you give Him time.
7. Jump to conclusions about your God.
Let His praises be found in your mouth. Even when it hurts. Even when it's hard. Tough times draw out your beliefs. Is He good? In your heart of hearts? These are the days that determine what you believe. Say that He is good.
1 Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children--
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
God knows I love adventure. I love learning. I love seeing new things. When it comes to new turfs and the "never before" – I can be like age thirteen me in a cotton candy store – also, 30 year old me, and so on :)
I’m also a bit of a USA geek so I get a kick out of traveling through states. Just a couple of months ago, I stepped foot in 5 states in 24 hours. Would ya believe it?! I felt like I was playing map hopscotch and a bouncing arrow was following me everywhere. What did it look like from heaven? What did God see from His exclusive aerial view? Though I’d been in 4 out of the 5 states before, I couldn’t escape how this world was its own wonder – every state had its own flavor. Its own reality. Its own kind of population, scheduled festivities or lack thereof.. I went from Kentucky Derby to having a slice of New York pizza before finally laying my head to rest in sweet and silent, southern Virginia after traveling by foot, plane, and the backseat of a car.
And on planes, I'm like many of the rest of us. Amused and glued to the window seat. Just before I sleep, my eyes get wide and my imagination leaps to life again. Whole towns disappear and moving cars morph into cloud and sky. I look out – and I am overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by the pleasure of knowing that wherever I am, He is. I succumb to the idea that I could not escape His knowing - neither in concrete jungle or countryside. It brings me joy and rest. That in all of what’s new and unknown to me – nothing is new or unknown to Him. He is familiar with each place – each person – each preoccupation, each day. New to me, never to Him.
Nothing is mystery. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is unknown.
Yet He keeps watch of us daily, as if all is new to Him. How committed is He?
I’m wanderlusting to the max here, can’t you see the swirls? :) - but part of being a wanderlust is always wanting more, always seeking more, getting out, getting free, finding something new to go goo-goo GAH over and then moving on to the next. It then never fails, though. While in the swirl of seeking more, I’m led to the same deeper place – where there’s something more precious, a weighty constant more worth my time – only Jesus.
One of my favorite books in the bible is Ecclesiastes. The writer, Solomon, explores the world with its joys and sorrows – folly and fulfillment, the circles of life, its comings and goings, and he lands on one conclusion. None of it matters – and if it did – BARELY.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!" (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (AMP) “All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
A tribute to President Barack and First Lady Michelle, Obama.
Putting On My Warrior Boots: The Day I decided Fear Couldn't Make My Decision & The Lisa Whittle Retreat!!!
Problem? Precipitation. The bad kind. Almost didn't make it!
Snow in NJ. State of emergency in NC. I LOVE flying, but I didn't sleep too well the night before heading out. The news exploited photos of car pile-ups in the typically "sunny south" as I heard deep down inside, "If you go, I'll keep you.."
Lord, thank you for bringing me through 2016.
Thank you for preserving me, providing for me, enlightening me, calling me higher, and lifting my head. Thank you for your presence. Your unyielding presence. Your warring presence. Your protective presence. Your guiding presence. Your comforting presence. Your inviting presence.
Thank you for Your companionship. Your parenting. Your concern. Your commitment. Your capability.
All unmatched - eternally unmatched.
You are more committed to me than I am to myself, more committed to me than those I have trusted -even those I trust -- those you gifted to my life. I thank you, Lord, for takingYour relationship with me seriously... for pursuing me and drawing me close with Your goodness and mercy, promises and faithfulness, the purest motives and purest desire for intimacy and friendship. Thank you that who You are today, will not change tomorrow .
I'm grateful. I'm grateful that there's so much more to You than what this world could offer me. So much more to this existence, even beyond the grave. Thank You, for taking thought of me, and considering me worth your creation - worth inhabiting this world, worth Your use, worth Your attention & conversation. Thank you for concluding that I was worth your lifetime, death, and resurrection.
"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."
(1 Corinthians 15:19)
Today, I pray for the year to come.
I pray for your wisdom, to lead my life, and that Your Holy Spirit would guide it. Search and make clean my heart. Steady my heart. Steer my heart --- my passions & preoccupations. And just as you have stepped in & steered others' lives right into their destines - sometimes, unbeknownst to them, steer mine, Lord.
I welcome healing, revelation, new hope and understanding.
I welcome an increase of faith, Lord - Help my unbelief.
Your word says that YOU order the steps of a good man.
Create in me a clean heart and a right spirit.
Create in me a courageous heart and a bold spirit.
Cause me to live in your ordination and orchestration.
Teach me to walk in real-time obedience - knowing that what You want and what You'd like to do is so much bigger than what I think about it and what I can conclude.
It is an honor to be a part of Your agenda.
It's an honor that You have good plans for me.
It's an honor to belong to YOU.
Father, place a burden for your will so heavy on my heart that I do not neglect or reject the privilege of hearing & obeying you.
Because You make all things new, this will be a new kind of year --- not just because of strike of the clock, but because of the stripping of my heart. You've been working this thing in me all through 2016. I surrender all. I give up "my reputation." I take on a new one.
I'm all ears. All YOURS, Jesus.
HOPE: "A person or thing in which expectations are centered."
"The feeling that what is desired can be had."
It's the most wonderful time of the year... it is :)
But in the midst of good tidings and Christmas cheer, it's no secret that the holidays often highlight we've lost and now lack, or perhaps what we want and do not yet have. And while we know the reason for the season, feelings of disappointment and loneliness still manage to seep their way in. The year wraps up and we're eager to cross over. We rejoice, but we can also be tempted to mull over missed opportunities, unfulfilled longings, and incomplete endeavors.
You may be hopeful. You may be hopeless.
And it could actually depend on the day (YIKES! and #nojudgment)..
But, if your hope needs to be steadied and is under attack - and if you've given up parts of your life to whatever may come, I'm writing to fight with you.
Have a seat. Quiet your heart. Take a moment. Settle down. Before you lament, and while you wonder.. before you decide you're not sure, anymore.
Remember. Consider. Conclude.
Remember God's many words to your heart & recount the moments He's met you with love.
Remember His faithfulness.
Consider His confirmation of your pursuit - the peace, added strength, and every one of those God-winks?