Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hurry Up and Wait


     I wanted to title this blog post: "I Feel Stupid."

     But I felt like that was too much in your face, you know?

     Instead, I want to ease you into the ache, and not give it to you right up front.

     There's this scene in one of my all time favorite movies, "Field of Dreams" - where a little girl has a bit of a dangerous fall.

     It needs to be noted, that this little girl was the beacon of faith in the movie. She saw what most couldn't. And she simply and calmly "believed" certain good things were going to come to pass -- amidst all the other panicked voices that spoke the contrary.

     So she has this brief fall of sorts, and after she is picked up and asked, "How you feeling, honey?" The little girl perfectly says: "Stupid."

     Every time I watch the movie and hear that line, I laugh and cry.

     Because isn't that they way we feel after we trip and fall, especially if people happened to be nearby to witness the whole crime scene.

     You could be walking on what seems to be a pretty straightforward yellow brick road, and then all of sudden you lose your footing and everything that you were carrying gets flung into the air. And then the slow-motion begins as you make a painful descent to the hard earth below, so perfectly positioned to fall ever so hard on your rear end, with your heels betraying your legs and ending up somehow in mid-air.

     So last blog post, I shared about how I was stood up. How I almost had a date, then didn't...

     Painful, indeed.

     The outpouring of love via private Facebook messages, text messages, and emails surprised me and overwhelmed me in the best way. The wisdom that many of you carry is astounding. So thank you for taking the time to love me and to share with me your heartache, your victories, and your overcoming spirit.

     Now guess what.

     Apparently I wasn't stood up. But he had a mild accident of sorts and I wasn't able to find out until afterwards.

     Naturally this would happen to me...

     And yes, he's okay.

     So, of course--After I pour out my heart to you and the internets; the next day, is when I  hear a perfectly sane story of good intentions gone awry.

     We are meant to reschedule, but I haven't heard back from him in over a week...

     And now I'm wondering if I should bust out my Kenny Rogers album. #KnowWhentoFoldEm

     With that said, I'm reading and re-reading your words of encouragement; especially as it seems I'm in another one of our favorite waiting seasons...

     I mean, why can't we be in fulfillment already?

     I had a dream last night that I was held, hugged, and adored by a man. When I awoke this morning, I started weeping, because I honestly thought my dream was real life. Has that ever happened to you? Where everything feels so real, that you don't realize it's a dream until you physically wake up?

     So yeah, that's how my day started. And for those that are curious, the man in my dream was not the man I was suppose to go on a date with a couple weeks ago--this guy was an old friend of mine. But rather than thinking of my old friend, I'm also looking at what his presence might represent to me outside of the dream.

     Oh, I know what it was. This guy friend made me feel safe. I always felt safe around him. And we hugged only once, which I know sounds strange to say, but those are the facts.  I just remember being in that embrace with him thinking, "Wow. I feel so safe here."

     But that was a couple of years ago.

     And what I had last night was a dream.

     And I've been tripping and falling all over my yellow brick road, landing on my butt these last couple of weeks.

     And I feel bruised and tired.

     And I also feel a little bit stupid.

     I texted our guy last night, only to hear the lovely sounds of crickets up until tonight.

     There's probably some sane and easy explanation.

     Or the answer is staring me in my face...

     But we are dealing with a girl who is partly tired, partly sexually frustrated (For a detailed explanation, click here) and a girl who is partly scared to believe in someone again with her whole heart after a decade of disappointment, let downs, almosts, and loads of "hurry up he's around the corner"-- Oh wait. No he ain't...

     But all this hurry up and wait is getting a little bit too much for me.

     My heart hurts. And my arms are empty.

     But nevertheless, it's in the waiting that we get our strength--

     I know that particular truth seems so cruel and almost stupid. And I honestly can't breakdown in bite size detail, how this exchange of waiting actually brings forth life in us, I just know that it does.

     Waiting sifts us and prepares us.

     I mean, there are stages to being pregnant, and each waiting stage is purposeful. Albeit, that last trimester, I know many women are like, "Yo, I'M DONE BEING PREGNANT."

     And that's kind of how I feel.

     But we're not left on our own in such processes. I'm so grateful for the Holy Spirit in all of this. The One sent to bring us comfort in times such as these.

     You and I are being forced to learn on the ground level, what it really means to be infused with strength through the waiting.

     I've come too far to throw it all away now. And so have you.

     I may feel stupid. I may feel pain. But I'm going to do my best, with my mustard seed of faith to let waiting have its perfect way in me.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

These Things Require a Fight

     Don't we just love the Psalms.

     David, who is credited for writing a majority of the Psalms in the Old Testament, almost appears to be going through a mental breakdown of sorts when you go through the journey of this particular book in Scripture.

     One moment he's singing the praises of God and how loved he feels (Psalm 34) and the next moment he's yelling in frustration about how He feels God has abandoned him (Psalm 13).

     But my favorite takeaway from David and the Psalms is this: Learning to encourage, speak to, and build up your own soul (Psalm 43:5)...

     So I get out of the car tonight, after having a serious talk with myself. And I'm feeling crunk (do people still use that word anymore??). Anyway, I'm feeling like I could swiftly knockout any shady character that dared to step in my super hero sphere.

     But let's rewind a bit.

     Let's just go back 30 minutes before I get out of the car.


     I was stood up this week, ya'll.

     Yep. I almost had a date. And then I didn't...

     I was preparing my heart for magic, as one should do -- but as you know, this is a dangerous playing field of sorts.

     It requires hopeful living...

     And here I was, just a week or so fresh off of a blog post titled, "New Hope" that my hope get's challenged in the most incredible way.

     If you think I'm not susceptible to a challenge and a fight in the arena of Hope, all I have to say to that is. NOPE, you're dead wrong.

     Oh, and to top it off, another one of my past summer 2014 crushes is now engaged to be married. That news hit over the weekend, and my response at the time was, "Yep. Of course. #sideeyes"

     As you know, my sweet reader, I haven't been on a date in about 7 years or so. I'm not even quite sure if I even know how to do it.

     But alas, this week, I was ready to put myself out there, because of who he was and how my heart was already smitten. Yes, the battlefield is always somewhat inviting, albeit treacherous.

     And I had nerves and lovely butterflies all week.

     Until tonight.

     A horrible punch to the gut.

     Which led to me to think this horrible, stupid train of thought that I would somehow make a bad girlfriend or wife, therefore I should just resign to my nun-like status. Since it's what I know and it's what I'm comfortable with, as painful as it is.

      It's so crazy, how we don't need other people to sabotage our dreams and promises--we often and readily do it ourselves!

     So you see Hope does not equal easy. Even for me.

     And while we're at it--Neither does Love.

     Having Hope and Love anchored in our lives doesn't mean we'll coast through trials and heartache, but rather, it means we now know what we are fighting for in the midst, and can become strengthened through the resistance of the trial and battlefield. Much like your physical muscles gain strength through the resistance of the weight you train with.

     So I was in the car.

     And I was waiting for someone to magically call me and just encourage me and my heart.

     No one called.

     I almost called my mom. But I knew I really wouldn't have a conversation with her, it would just be me crying over the phone. But I needed to cry.

     So I did.

     In my car.

     And then I talked to God.

     I asked Him what He thought of all this and my predicament.

     I didn't hear anything.

     But something shifted in my spirit.

     And I said out loud: "Patrice, you know you are made for love.  Future babies, I don't know who your dad is gonna be, but I promise, you'll have a dad....Soon. Now let's get out of this car."

     And I did.

     And I felt like Rocky.

     I was staying in the ring. With my bruised ribs, my swollen eye, and my broken nose.

     I'm realizing more and more, that our "Field of Dreams" must first be plowed before being built and established...

     And to me, love is always worth fighting for. 

     I now believe so strongly, that love in all its extravagance, splendor, and power still exists for you and I, and that this love will begin to unfold in some very real, surprising, and glorious ways for us this year, especially in the realm of relationships.

     I may be bruised.

     But I am still showing up for 2015.

     Because I know, these things require a fight, and God has already spoken the truth--that "Love Never Fails."

Wisdom's Knocking:

“Fight the good fight of faith..."

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Hope

     The finishing of 2014 was HARD.

     I don't know how it was for some of you, but I "labored" my way through until December 31st.

     My emotions were all out of wack, I seemed to have a bit of brain fog, and I had no idea how I was going to make the finish line regarding promises yet to unfold.

     But somehow I knew...

     Somehow I knew, if we could make it to 2015, there would be a victory, a turnaround, a rest, and the beginning of a fulfillment of things we've waited for.

     I can't fully explain how I knew this, but it's just one of those downloads I got during my many tear-filled prayer times with God in December.

     As we take intentional and unknown steps into 2015, I wanted to encourage your heart.

     Your choices matters. Your thoughts matters. And as you know, your thoughts form your actions, your actions habits, and your habits become your character.

     I realized the pressing, the pushing, and the tension I had been feeling the latter half of 2014 had a lot to do with getting me out of my comfort zone and ready for the next big phase of my life, and not so much a marker of punishment for doing something wrong or off kilter.

     Right living has its very real and true rewards.

     Often times, one feels like a sucka for waiting and choosing the "narrow" way.

     And many times, the narrow way can feel suffocating and almost, downright painful.

     But let me repeat, right living has its very real and true rewards. Just you wait and see.

     And if you just read that last sentence feeling a little nervous and guilty-- DON'T.

     There's no need for you to feel guilty Beloved, right now, this very moment has become your tender mercies, your fresh start. So let it be.

    Just humble yourself. Make that declaration before God and then prepare to listen to what He wants to tell you next. And seek out people that are faithfully grounded. Those you trust, admire, and actually want to be around.

     Okay. I'm not quite sure why I went down that little rabbit trail, but I'm sure that was for someone.

     But back to my "labor".

     God has been birthing a new level of faith in me. 

     To believe beyond the dream of dreams for you and I. Even in the midst of waiting for other dreams to manifest.

     There is rest coming to our hearts this year. It is a part of the promise that God is fulfilling in our hearts.

     I still believe that God is good, that He is kind, and that He is faithful.

     So much so, that I chose, as an act of my will to celebrate the coming of 2015 with a bang. Because I felt this year in particular was going to be indicative of celebration.

     Normally, my idea of a New Year's Eve celebration would involve pajamas, brownies, tears, and Carson Daly in Times Square.

     But this year, I celebrated in an intentional way with two specific friends. Friends of mine that have prayed and believed with me for their own promises as well as my own.

     It was a declaration of sorts.

     And now, here we are.

     It is 2015.

     My heart is full of expectation and new hope.

     What does it look like to "Hope against hope"?

     It looks like 2015.

     The facts would say, "Patrice, you're getting older and your chances of meeting a quality "king" of sorts is near impossible. Your original hope of meeting someone in your 20s is now over...and the ministry plans and career plans you have will simply have to continue solo..."

     But the miracle of "Hope against hope" would say, "Patrice, you will meet your boo-king at just the right time. He will know. And you will know. And it will be as though no time was ever lost. And the two of you will continue God's love legacy in a powerful way, speaking redemption and hope over those still in the battle and in the wait.

     Because God is so good, kind, and faithful, even in the midst of impossibilities."

Wisdom's Knocking:

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace 
and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law 
but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” 
He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—
the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed 
and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 
“So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, 
he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—
since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, 
but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 

This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 
The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, 
to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

-Romans 4:16-25