The Loudmouth Protestant

June 10, 2008

The Thing About Fathers

Filed under: dreams,God,love,relationships,singleness — nickisym @ 10:47 am
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My father and I have an interesting relationship. I liken it to a ride on a roller-coaster. Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down but it is always guaranteed to be an interesting ride. He is always trying to tell me something that I feel I already know. Always trying to teach me something in what I consider to be my old age. Always trying to preach to me when I feel I am already full of the word. Always trying to warm up to me when I feel I’ve reached my maximum temperature of comfortability. I doth protest with him much. And I feel, in some ways, that my relationships with my earthly father, mirrors the one that I have with my spiritual Father. Abba Father. I don’t listen as I should. Don’t speak to him as much as I should. Don’t love on him or tell him I love him as much as I should. But nevertheless he never leaves me nor forsakes and always sends his message to me by any means necessary and at the most unlikely times. He did this last night.

As I tossed and turned in the night in the midst of the New York heat wave, I had a dream about God where God sent me a message. My dream involved a man who has been starring in my dreams for the last few years. An old friend who I have written about on this blog many times. In this dream it seemed as if we reunited. I don’t know how it happened, but before I knew it, he was at my parent’s old house in New York. We were meeting to have dinner–I was cooking of course. This would be the first time in years since I had seen him, so I was a excited and hopeful that this meant we could pick up where we left off.

When he walked into the house and stood at the entrance of our hallway, I walked quickly toward him to embrace him, but he gave me the weakest hug I have ever received. I was a bit dissapointed in his inability to tighten his grip on an old friend but nevertheless I pressed on and had him sit down for dinner. I prepared Kima Mutter, an Indian dish comprised of ground beef–or ground turkey–well seasoned with mixed vegetables and served over a bed of rice. But for a dish I have made several times for myself, I messed this batch up. In the midst of serving dinner, my father sat down at the table with my long lost friend. He didn’t bother to leave us alone. I rolled my eyes and told my mom to take him away, but she ignored me and walked into the other room. I don’t remember if I nudged my dad or asked him to leave but in a moment he said no because he didn’t like my long lost friend. And just like that my friend vanished from the table and my father proceeded to tell me that he is not good for me. I tried to refute the point but my mouth was closed shut and the case was closed. After my father’s last words, the dream was over and I woke up wondering if God had just spoken to me about this man. I didn’t think too hard about it and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, something in my heart had changed. I had this feeling that God really did speak to me in the dream. He was speaking through my father, who many times has judged a man and been on target with his analysis. I couldn’t believe it, but I could all at the same time. God rendered his judgment quick and fast and in the moment he spoke, there wasn’t anything I could say.

For what felt like the first time in my life, I heard His voice clearly. And for what may be the first time in my life–well maybe not, but concerning this issue-I am hearing Him and heeding His word. There are far too many times in our lives when we think we know what is best for us and we refuse to listen to God. And even as single men and women, we spend lots of time wondering if the last good thing we had was supposed to be “the one.” But it is the last thing God says that sets the path for our lives and it is important that we hear Him out. I know I heard him last night and I am ready to let it go. I know what He has for me is so much better than what I had. Father always knows best.

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June 6, 2008

Promotion from Above

Filed under: God,life,Uncategorized,waiting on God,work — nickisym @ 1:06 am

Today I went through my annual performance review. I felt pretty confident going in because I knew that I was working hard and becoming an invaluable asset. My boss told me that I was doing an excellent job but as if he was doling out the good news to fill me up on sweets only to drill into my tooth later, he then dropped the bomb that I wouldn’t be getting a title change. I was shocked and slightly appalled because I knew I was working hard and previous conversations seemed to allude to it going in that direction. I asked about this title change with tears in my eyes and a frog in my throat because I believed I deserved it. As he was telling me that it wasn’t going to happen for several reasons, including the fact that others had been there for many years preceding their promotion, I died inside. I didn’t know what to do with this information.

How was I supposed to receive the fact that I wasn’t going to get title change despite the fact that more work–not just busy work but work important to the development of the company–was being added to my plate? How was I suppose to receive the fact that my reviews pen me as a wonderful employee but I have nothing to show for it? All of the pleasure in my accomplishments thus far went down the drain and a cloud hung over my head for the next hour. I went straight to my desk and put on my iPod and for no particular reasons I played Rev. Ernest Davis’ “He’s Preparing Me.” As I listened to the song, tears streamed down my face. I felt kind of lost and felt like I had gone everywhere and nowhere at all in my position. I couldn’t even explain why I was crying and didn’t really want to stop because I knew it had to happen.

I chatted with a friend over IM shortly after my meeting ended and she did a lot to calm me down and then I remembered something I learned in Bible Study. Our teacher told us that we must stay in trust that God will reward us for the work we do. He said not to look for approval from people at work, in ministry, our family or our friends, but look up. And with that the cloud above my head started to dissipate. So as I write this I am reminded not only of the message my Bible Study teacher left me with but of a scripture from Psalm 75:6-7:

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

June 4, 2008

It’s Your Time, Part 2

Filed under: 2008 Election,Barack Obama,God,gospel music — nickisym @ 10:45 am

To Barack Obama:

It’s Your Time…

The Wait is Over

When I woke up this morning, I found a message from Obama’s camp with the subject line of “It’s Our Time.” I immediately thought about Donald Lawrence’s song “Seasons” in which he admonishes listeners to walk into their season. The season comes after you’ve sown, after the valley, after the trials and the tribulations which seemed determined to set you back and after the storms of your life.

Sixteen months ago, Barack Obama began the process of sowing seeds in hopes that he would secure the Democratic presidential nomination. As of last night, the wait was over and we were greeted by one Barack Obama, our Democratic presidential nominee. After many a trial and tribulation by way of people judging him by the color of his skin and not the content of his character; seeking to use his former pastor against him; digging up any bit of information they can find that would discourage would-be supporters and accusing him of using hope like a drug to rope people into voting for him rather than focusing on the issues he has overcome. All of those things only made him stronger and gave him more fuel for the fire to press on toward the mark of the higher calling that God has for his life.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t always a believer. I kept my distance from becoming an Obamaniac because I needed to stay level-headed about his campaign and Hillary’s. I needed to make sure that the candidate I would support would be the one who truly had my interest in mind. And because of that, I couldn’t wear buttons, pump my fist and attend rallies because I had no idea who I thought would be the best candidate. Plus I couldn’t vote in my state’s primary so I only had to sit back and watch and do my homework on the candidates. But after last night, it all became a reality and I saw that God is the one who made it all possible. It wasn’t about Obama, his campaign team, the voters, the delegates or the superdelegates. It was because it is his time as ordained by God.

Last night on CNN, their political pundits were sharing their thoughts about this great moment in history and one of them said that the Republicans always choose the person whose turn it is and it is John McCain’s turn to go up to bat for the White House. She then said, the Democrats don’t always work that way although it would seem obvious that it was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s turn considering her legacy. But what is a turn compared to God’s time. God’s time is a powerful thing because once you are in His time you are in order and the harvest will come. And in His time, which Obama is operating in right now, lives of people are being changed. Young black boys and black girls are learning that anything is possible if you would only just believe. This is the time when our youth need someone bigger than a rapper or basketball player to look up to and they have it.

So what happens next? We continue to pray for the strength of Barack Obama, because though he may have secured the nomination, Hillary Clinton’s unwillingness to concede means that the next few months leading up to the general election will still be a struggle. It will not be more than he can bear, but rest assured he will have to continue to stand and stand some more on the promises of God and hold on to God’s unchanging hand. This is just the beginning but a amazing beginning it is. Thank you God.

June 2, 2008

The Importance of Intercession

Filed under: christianity,christians,God — nickisym @ 11:25 pm
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There are times in my walk when prayer and all things spiritual dry up. Prayer becomes a nuisance, reading the Bible becomes a bore, church becomes another thing to check off the list. These are extremely sad times in my spiritual life but the most amazing part of experiencing such a drought is that though my spiritual practices run dry, I have no desire to return to the things of the world. And even if I do return to those things, I find myself reflecting on how far God has brought me and remember why I can’t turn around and digress. Also during the times of drought is when God shows himself strong to me and leads me to what I must do next to get back to the basics with him. It’s through that drought which could otherwise be considered my weakness that God’s strength is made perfect in me. I can see the need for getting back to basics and back to a right relationship with God being of the utmost importance instead of just another thing to do in this great walk of faith.

I am coming out on the other side of such a drought. My emergence occurred this past weekend when I spent some time with a friend whom I never had the pleasure of spending time with one on one. It was in that time that we were able to speak about the matters of my friend’s heart and my own and I felt honored that my friend felt comfortable enough to be transparent with me. In the midst of my friend speaking to me, I realize that this was a moment when I needed to be on duty as a prayer warrior. Even though I hadn’t prayed consistently for about a week, in my short time speaking with my friend, I knew I had to get back on my knees and start interceding. I needed to be a part of the number praying for the quick recovery of my dear friend because I knew that our conversation alone was not going to set things right. It was going to be the power of prayer that got the wheels of change in motion. 

Intercession can be very powerful in the life of our friends and family. It is when we humble ourselves and put the needs of others before our own that God will even bless us. And it is not that we intercede because we are looking for God to bless us. We intercede because we care so much about the well-being of the person we are interceding for that we are blind to our own needs and we jump deep into the pool of prayer, diving to find God and hear God for our friends that may be incapable of hearing Him. We intercede because we don’t just listen to the words coming out of their mouths, we listen for their souls crying out and the rapid beat of their heart that says “I am scared and not sure if I am going to make it all by myself.” 

So the next time you see anyone in need, keep them in your heart and mind and go into your prayer closet and intercede on their behalf. You never know what your prayers can do in the life of one in need. Prayer is power.

Megabus is Not Ready

Filed under: randomness — nickisym @ 2:06 pm
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Last week, as I was riding the train to work, I looked up and my gaze was met by an illustrated chubby bus porter who is the mascot for Megabus.com, the latest in the cheap fleet bus movement. I visited the site and found that I could get to Montreal for less than $100 round trip and instantly I was sold–though I don’t have time to go to Montreal. But another weekend trip opportunity presented itself when a friend invited me to DC for an alumni BBQ. Free food, good company and a cheap weekend getaway, I was sold.

So this morning I decided to go about making my travel plans but I was stopped at the sight of this:

You see, this morning CNN had a segment about Megabus.com on their website hailing the cheap fares and I guess it took nothing but a word–or at least the mention of a $1 trip to DC from NY–that sent millions of people on the Northeast corridor flocking to the site to buy tickets. And because of this the site has been down for about four hours. While I am overjoyed that everyone will get to lock in cheap rates, I am a bit disappointed that there isn’t enough room for us all in any given hour. It’s strange that a site that intend to make money from millions of people this summer would invest in a better system that can handle thousands of users at once.

Sounds like MegaBus needs a MegaServer.

That’s all.

June 1, 2008

The Charlotte York Principle

Filed under: christians,God,life,love,movies,relationships — nickisym @ 9:49 pm
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Most people have a perfect idea of the qualities they want in a mate. For me, he must be tall and the perfect complexion of buttercream, butter pecan, milk chocolate or dark chocolate. He must have all of his teeth and they must be blindingly white and perfectly straight. He must have the body of a Greek god and be able to hang a suit well. I’d love if he could write poetry and prose. He should read–books not a sports page, not a magazine, but a book. He should appreciate fine dining but also be able to respect that sometimes all I want is chicken wings and french fries from the Ghetto Chinese Spot. He should at least have his bachelor’s degree , be gainfully employed and have real hopes and dreams for his future that he is actually motivated to achieve. He should love to travel, love his parents, love life and most importantly love God. My list of my future husband’s prerequisites could go on and on but what happens when the list that we have made for ourselves has nothing to do with the one God has sent for us. Do we close our eyes to what could be the greatest love of our life because we are searching for our version of perfection or open our arms to the true love that God created specifically for us although he might not be exactly what we planned.

I was confronted with this dilemma this weekend when not one but two of my friends admitted that men who didn’t look like their intended are not the ones who they intend to be with. Based on the cut of these men’s jibs they decided that those men couldn’t possibly be the man that was to be the love of their life. And their statements gave me pause. Why, particularly as Christians but I won’t even limit it to just Christians, do we insist on clutching our own list tight instead of just letting love rule?

Case in point, our dear Charlotte York from “Sex and the City.” For years, the WASPy Charlotte was bound up tight by the list of perfect characteristics her man had to have and in being enslaved to that list she ended up with Trey McDougal, an insensitive “mama’s boy” who was an inadequate lover and not necessarily anything she had planned for when she was writing her prereqs. And then came Harry Goldenblatt who totally turned everything Charlotte had on her mental prereq list on its arse. He didn’t come in the package that she expected, he was Jewish and a bit unpolished, but he was everything that she needed.

And it doesn’t stop at Charlotte York, there are many real people who threw their lists away and awaited true love unrestrained. I myself am learning to let go and welcome what God has in store for me because I know it will be way better than anything my little mind can contrive. 

My mother once told me, when we were shopping for a dress for one of the many homecoming dances I attended, “Everything that looks good to you is not good for you.” When she told me this I rolled my eyes because at that moment it meant that I was getting a Jessica McClintock dress that I didn’t want, but in the end it was a beautiful dress and I looked way better in it than anything I could have picked out myself.  So if my earthly creator knew what was best for me, how much more would our heavenly creator know what is best for us.

So it’s my challenge to everyone-myself included–reading this is to let go of your preconceived notions and let love come to you the way it is supposed to. Stop making the list and checking it twice everytime you meet someone and go on a date. Rather, let God do His thing in making it happen for you.

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