The Loudmouth Protestant

July 20, 2010

My Testimony: Part 1, I’ll Trust You

Filed under: life,love,prayer,relationships,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 8:00 am

This is a 2-3 part series on my testimony for the first half of 2010. Much has gone on with me this year and that’s why my writing has been sparse. I’ve had to let time pass, a healing take place before I could be in the position to share this with anyone. I hope that you will take this journey with me in reading these post through to the end for there is light at the end of this tunnel that I hope you will find just as exciting as I do. I thank you in advance for endeavoring to read and share this moment with me.

I’ll trust you. Lord it’s not easy. Sometimes the pain in my life, makes you seem far away. But I’ll trust you. I need to know you’re here. Through the tears and the rain, through the heartache and pain, I’ll trust you. “I’ll Trust You” James P. Fortune & Fiya

When I first heard James Fortune & Fiya’s “I’ll Trust You” I was driving a rental car in Atlanta a few years ago. I was eavesdropping on the song instead of listening to a conversation between friends and as I listened to the words, this song felt important to me, but I didn’t know why. It is a song about trust, the kind of trust you put in God when you have nothing left. At that moment I had everything. I had a job, I was in my right mind, I was surrounded by good friends and family, my life, overall, seemed to be on the right track.  But I heard this song everyday of my weekend in Atlanta and each day my ears perked up. As soon as I got home to New York, I downloaded it from iTunes and added it to my rotation. Little did I know how this song would impact my life years later…

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was talking with a close friend on New Year’s Eve about resolutions and about how I didn’t have any. The only thing I had resolved was to just do whatever God wanted me to do. I wrote in my journal:

“I don’t know what I hope for in 2010. Simply put, I don’t hope for anything but a change. A change in my life, my mind, my heart. A change in faith, to live a life full of faith. All I want to achieve is God having His way in my life. I admit that I have been living under the “ye of little faith” regime and admittedly I’m tired of professing a life full of God yet so void of Him. In 2010 I know I have to take some chances for God’s sake and just step out on faith. What is before me in 2010 requires that I take a step in the right direction. “You know where our feet go. You know where we are heading. You know our destiny.”

That was me the night before the first day of 2010. I didn’t have any other resolution I thought was as powerful as simply just resolving to put more faith and trust in God. Soon enough, just as I proclaimed those words to my friend, my journal and in my prayers, I was faced with living it out.

The beginning of 2010 found me in the position of spiritually giving myself to a man who came into my life on the first day of the year. He was an acquaintance from college who I had only had a few conversations with. I knew some of the things he was going through and he knew what I was preparing to go through and considering that, I became his intercessor and encourager as he prepared for a pivotal moment in his life. I dived in head first into helping him along on this process. In kind, he also prayed me through my process. Initially it was just praying, but with praying comes a heightened sense of intimacy which created between us a heightened emotional state that might have just been accelerated by the extremely intimate act of prayer we were engaging in daily for nearly two months. Before long, the question of feelings came into play and we were no longer on one accord. Though there was much mutual exchange of sweet sentiments and full disclosure between us, including the fact that I knew he wasn’t ready for a relationship because he wanted to straighten out  some things in his life, I held on. I held on because it seemed like I should, it seemed like he wanted me to. He even told me that he knew I deserved the best so he wanted to make sure he had things in order so that he could provide that. I wasn’t delusional about where things were going, but surely I was blindsided when, all of a sudden, he started to withdraw.

Not long after the flower petals and ink had dried on the hand-written letter he sent me extolling my virtues, not long after the morning texts and daily calls halted, I went from being an “integral part of his life”, “an amazing woman”, “a God send” to not being important enough to communicate with.  I became non-integral after his pivotal moment passed and I couldn’t have felt more devastated and used for it. I was back to where I started, alone. But, being alone, I had time to think and pray. Initially I took a fleshly approach and nearly begged him to re-consider me but then I realized that I could not change what GOD was doing–and that I don’t need to beg any man to be with me. I did need him to only be so thankful for the help that I gave him like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank Jesus after He healed them, because I needed to understand that a life in ministry to someone means that you will not always get the gratitude you deserve. I needed to see that while this man had some of the qualities I want in a mate, we were on two different levels of spiritual maturity. But most importantly, I needed this man to turn me down so that I could be turned over to a greater cause.

And so, as much as I suffered a broken heart and spirit, and as much as I thought that this was a man that I could see myself with, I had to TRUST that God knew what is best for me. I had to learn to take the power out of that man’s hands to break me and put it back in God’s hands to make me stronger. I had to make a step in what I thought was the right direction which meant stepping away from something I wanted in order to get what I really needed. God used that entire experience to not only strengthen me, but to propel me into my pivotal moment, the moment that would change my life forever…

To be continued tomorrow…

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May 25, 2010

“Nothin’ On You” Girl vs. the Proverbs 31 Woman

I’m the whole package because Jesus of Nazareth.

I stay prayed up so nothing’s ever tragic.

I’m made by the creator, there is none greater.

I’m not trying to fool you, I’m just trying to school you.

If you want my number, better dial His first and go seek that water that can quench any thirst.

Yeah you’re fine and you seem really sweet, but I’m looking for a man who will practice what He preached.

My Remix of  B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You”

Yeah I know, you probably came here really excited to know that there is a remix to B.O.B’s hit song “Nothin’ on You” and then were crestfallen to see it’s nothin’ you ever heard of. Sorry for deceiving you. I was compelled to write this remix after I heard the song and was caught up singing it for a whole day. While it is true that I AM “the whole package, plus I pay my taxes”, I considered that I don’t want to sell myself on that alone and there is more that speaks deeply to who I am. It’s easy to convince someone that they should be with you because you are beautiful, have a job, are charming, funny, etc. But, beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive, so says a scripture most of us are familiar with. 

I once had a man tell me that when he heard Proverbs 31 read in a church service, it immediately made him think of me. He read Proverbs 31:30 to me, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Being that Proverbs 31 woman is what most woman desire to be, but it’s quite another thing for someone else to identify the Proverbs 31 woman in you. At the moment he told me this I was speechless because before that I was too used to people being attracted to what their eyes saw and not what their spirit discerned about me.  It was largely one of the reasons why I fell so hard for that person, because he didn’t dwell on my outward appearance, he focused himself–as much as he could–on my inner woman.

As I write this I’m reminded that I’d rather someone see my heart, God’s heart and spirit within me, than my outward appearance. Admittedly, I do my fair share of  flaunting my beauty and charm, it’s human nature. But what I really desire is the person who can look past that and see more to me. That is what creates long-lasting, enduring love. I desire to be the person who doesn’t depend on her looks to get her by, but her character, her integrity, her faith, her heart, His spirit. That is attractive to me. I want and need to be more of the woman Peter spoke of when he said, “Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing, rather let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” I think we should all hope and pray to be the Proverbs 31 and the woman whose beauty is lasting because of a gentle and quiet spirit.

So, that’s my prayer, that myself and every other woman I know and don’t know would focus not just on being the “Nothin’ On You” girl, but the Proverbs 31 and the 1 Peter 3:3-4 woman.

May 5, 2010

Blog Light: F$%& Yeah Num-Nums

Filed under: Bloglight,life,love — nickisym @ 11:00 am
Tags: , ,

I’ve had enough of the broken and fractured heart talk. Let’s get back to our regularly scheduled program.

Anyone who knows me knows I am absolutely obsessed with cupcakes. Truth be told, I probably shouldn’t be a journalist I should be a baker with her own cupcake shop. Who knows, that could be my second career? Until then, I’ll continue to eat copious amounts of cupcakes and continue appreciating artfully designed cupcakes. To that end, I wanted to share a magically delicious site that I came across earlier this week. I don’t have to wax poetic about the content of the site, I can show you better than I can tell you. So, here goes:

See more at F@#$ Yeah Num-Nums

Disclaimer: I do not endorse the name of the blog, though I sure DO think it’s funny. I DO, however, endorse the pictures of wonderful food stuffs featured therein. Enjoy my pretties. 🙂

May 4, 2010

Try Rethinking a Broken Heart

Filed under: God,life,love,relationships — nickisym @ 7:41 pm
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Last night I had a great discussion with my roommate about broken hearts. It has become a familiar topic in our household as I had one and she has one. She was sharing with me the pearls of wisdom that her mother bestowed upon her and I wanted to shared them with you. As she was pouring herself out to her mother about her broken heart, her mother had this to say (and this is a paraphrase):

“Your heart is too big to be broken, it is just fractured.”

I love how moms know exactly what to say and how to say it. I reflected upon her words for a while and came away with the fact that shifting our perspective from our hearts being broken to being fractured takes the power away from the person who we think broke out hearts. I realized that we can never be in the position to give another person that much power as to believe that they have broken the core part of our being. No one has that much power. It is in God that we live and move and have our being. I understand well that God is the mender of broken hearts, He is also the sovereign God of my life which means that no one has more power than Him. No created being can break my heart when it was in the creator’s hand to begin with. I’m just not willing to give anyone that much power. Not to mention, in terms of the healing process, fractures don’t take as long to heal as breaks do and we should want a quick recovery so that we can be open to what God really wants for us.

At the end of the day, it’s all about shifting our perspective on the issues of our hearts. We’ve become all too accustomed to talking about broken hearts. I know because my last few posts have had to do with broken hearts. But from this day forward, I’m rethinking a broken heart. I’m not entertaining a broken heart. And I’m definitely not sleeping with a broken heart. It’s time to move forward.

May 3, 2010

The “Already Here” God

Filed under: God,gospel music,life,love,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 6:00 pm
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Someone told me about this song a few months ago and a few months ago, it meant the world to me. It had a two-fold meaning because it represented the fact that God was “Already Here” and that the person who told me about it was a gift from God. It kind of felt like an “our song” kind of song for me. I would listen to it and be reminded of the person and see them in the most beautiful light, God’s light.

But, the person is gone now. He’s been gone for a little while and I’ve been picking up the pieces of my broken heart including trying not to be reminded of him through things we shared, like this song. But today, as I sat at my desk at work, I felt the spirit prompting me to listen to the song. I followed the move and I was surprised that I didn’t immediately connect the song with the person, but I connected it with God and I recognized that He WAS  “Already Here” all along. The love I wanted from him was already provided by Him.  

The song talks about how God is “the balm for my wounded soul.” And He has been that for me as I have picked up the pieces of my broken heart. As I listened, I wanted to just cry out to God, not from a place of sadness, but of much joy because He really had been a balm for my wounded soul throughout this process. He has healed me and made me glad. He has given me more joy than I had before I met the person. I sit back and I think about how incredible God is for staying true to His word and His character as a healer. He did a quick work and I can testify to that. He was always “Already Here” for me. I receive His love. Thank you God for being the “Already Here” God of my life.

April 26, 2010

A Song for the Brokenhearted

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

I felt compelled to share this verse and the song below because in my own circle there are people dealing with broken hearts and crushed spirits. I myself am on the other side of a broken heart and a crushed spirit and I can confidently say that if it had not been for the Lord who was on my side through the broken heart and crushed spirit, I might not even be able to deliver this message. But, I thank God that He didn’t let me mourn my loss for very long. Everytime I am tempted to be wistful and sad God quickens my spirit and says, “No no no babygirl, I need you to keep moving forward.” And I am moving forward. He’s been like a parent who keeps encouraging their child to get up after they’ve fallen off the bike–or even fallen when they are trying to learn how to walk. I have more to share about how I got over, but for now I will share this song that has ministered to me on countless occasions. I hope that it will minister to you too.

Check back tomorrow for my post on how to quickly mend a broken heart.

April 22, 2010

Dear Successful Black Woman

I watched you last night on Nightline talking about how you can’t find a black man and I felt sorry for you. I felt sorry for you because I feel like you are beating a dead horse on this matter of not being able to find a black man. It started out that black women couldn’t find a good black man and then you went and added that you’re successful and you think because of your success black men are intimidated and as such your success protracts your singleness. I think you err in your perspective on the state of black men for black women and let me share with you why.

Now that you are successful, you talk a lot about that success. While making partner at your law firm, getting your PhD, leading a corporation, designing your own fashion line, hosting your own television show, and running the world around you at large is a great thing, it by no means defines you and makes you more of a great catch for the black man you are looking for. Your acquisition of positions of power doesn’t automatically translate to you becoming the woman of some man’s dreams. Who will care about your success if you have a hard heart and don’t even know how to love a man because all you know is your work? It is incredible that we, as black women, can finally rise through the ranks and run businesses and get the corner office, but remember, black men are doing the same thing, so there are very few intimidated by your success. And, if they are intimidated by your success, that’s their personal problem and insecurity that they need to deal with and your red flag that you need not worry about having a relationship with a man who prefers to be intimidated by your success rather than celebrate it.  But on the other hand,  maybe they are turned off by your glorifying your success more than who you are as a person. You are not your career. Seriously. None of us are our careers, so we all need to get out of this habit of using our jobs to validate who we are because clearly jobs are here today and gone tomorrow.  I once listened to a man tell me why he loves women. He talked about how we smell, the curvature of our bodies, our softness, the way we touch, our voices, our spirits, how we move…nowhere in there did he mention anything about our jobs, he was more impressed with how God created us. It is who we are as women that makes us beautiful and attractive to a man, any man. Sure he wants us to handle business but he doesn’t want that business to be what we use to define ourselves. The Proverbs 31 woman handled her business, but it’s the way she handled it that made her a woman to be praised. She wasn’t wagging her finger and talking about what she did, she just did it and took care of her home and most importantly, loved God.

But your success, isn’t really the issue here. What gave me pause when I watched you last night is that you were so intent on complaining about not getting a black man that you said nothing about getting love. The black man is not the issue, it’s your concept of love that is the issue. What you want is love. What you don’t realize is love might not be with a black man. It might be with a white man, Asian man, Indian man, Hispanic man….And that’s what so sad about this entire discourse on the lack of black men for successful black women. We are raking our brothers through the coals while not realizing that all of us are not meant to marry a black man. Yes, many of us want to be with a black man, it is our ideal. But we don’t not live in ideality, we live in reality. The reality is that we are all looking for love and that is the heart of this matter. It’s not about a black man or a black woman, it’s about two people finding each other and finding love with each other. But to find love we have to take the limits off of it. And to take it one step further, many of us are believing God for our mate, and if we are believing Him for a mate, how do we figure restricting our Boaz to a black man is helping God do what He does best? God knows what is best for you. For some of you, best might be a black man. But maybe for others, best might be a white man. And yet for others, best might be by yourself because there is so much work–not professional work, but vocational work or self work–that God has for you to do that He’s going to need you to be single for a little while longer than you anticipated. Black women, if what we want is love and we are trusting God to bring it to us, then we are going to have to do better at surrendering ourselves to what that love may be and what it may look like. We have to stop talking about not being able to find a good black man or a black man period and talk about finding love. I know in my heart what you want is love and I know that if you stopped limiting your thoughts on how that love is packaged you might actually be in love.

We have to stop giving Nightline, Dateline, 20/20, Newsweek, Essence, etc fodder for stories that are old news. Clearly with all of the time we’ve spent talking about our singleness and the lack of good black men the statistics still haven’t risen in our favor. Because of that, I implore you to start pointing the finger at yourself and stop pointing it at black men. Yeah, they carry part of the blame, but the amount might be minute compared to how we play a role in our protracted singleness. It’s time to be real with ourselves and talk about what we really want. We want love. I know I want love and I want it however it comes to me by God’s hand. I declare, “I’m not looking for a black man, I am looking for love.” The latter has far more permanence than the former, after all, God is love and He is forever. I’m trying to find my forever, aren’t you?

April 21, 2010

A Message to the Subway Preachers

I haven’t had the pleasure of spotting this during my commute yet, but I do have to say that I cosign with the message. I know what you are thinking, “Aren’t you pro-spreading the Gospel?” To which I will answer, “Of course I am.” But, what you should also know is in my nearly eight years of riding the subways of the New York City Transit Authority I have yet to see a subway preacher yield any candidates for salvation or deliverance as a result of their screaming that everyone is going to hell with gasoline drawls on. Subway preaching is almost as effective as the people who stand with the stoic look on their faces with a Watchtower in one hand and an Awake in the other, translation not effective. While I respect the effort of the early morning/late night sermon, I’m not sure I can get with condemning people to hell before you show them what life in Christ looks like. I won’t carry on with this discourse any longer, but I will leave you with this poem that is oft quoted. I think this is a good message to give to the subway prophets.

I’d Rather See A Sermon

Edgar A. Guest

I’d rather see a sermon

than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me

than merely tell the way.

The eye’s a better pupil

and more willing than the ear,

Fine counsel is confusing,

but example’s always clear;

And the best of all preachers

are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put in action

is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it

if you’ll let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action,

but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver

may be very wise and true,

But I’d rather get my lessons

by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you

and the high advice you give,

But there’s no misunderstanding

how you act and how you live.

April 15, 2010

“Everybody Gets Theirs Except Me”

Filed under: God,life,love,work — nickisym @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , ,

I went through a rough patch in life during the first quarter of this year. I experienced the highs of a new man in my life and then the lows of his departure. The highs of coming close to a realization of my purpose in God and the lows of the uncertainties about how to walk forward. The highs of being happy and the lows of being sad. What has taken me from these highs to the lows is a central theme that has been pervading my life, “Everyone gets theirs except me.” A dear friend pointed out to me that she has seen that theme persist in my life. She told me that I’m always talking about someone getting theirs except me. She shared this on the heels of a breakdown I had last night because I felt that everyone was getting theirs except for me. The man I met earlier this year got his when he started seeing someone else not too long after deciding things wouldn’t work with me. Someone else (multiple someone elses) got theirs at work when they got promotions and not me. As it pertains to my purpose, someone got more resources to move forward than I did. This feeling got the best of me last night and reared its ugly head, sending me into a place filled with tears of sorrow and crippling me to the point where I couldn’t even pray. I just turned out the lights and went to sleep.

I’ve always felt passed over in life. It started at a very early age when I was given up for adoption. Later in life this notion of being given up would manifest itself into “never feeling good enough” and  “always being left behind” by people in life. I felt everyone was getting theirs except me. The marriage, the job, the money, the success, the acknowledgment, etc, etc. But I’ve had this feeling for far too long and now I realize, thanks to my dear friend, that I can no longer walk through life holding this against others, myself and most importantly, my God. The more I complain about others getting theirs except me, the more I discount what God is doing in my life and how He is doing it.

Someone else may get the guy while I remain single, but I have no idea whether God is preparing me for something better than what I had or if I was even ready for that man in particular. Maybe that is just not what God had for me but He needed to show me what isn’t for me so that when He sends what is for me I would know better. God protects us and He prepares us.

Someone else may get promoted before me but maybe it’s not for me to be promoted. Maybe there is more that is required of me in my current role before I am promoted. Maybe if I get a promotion I’d get too comfortable or lose the humility I had when I was in a lower position. Maybe giving me a promotion wouldn’t allow me to truly step out on faith in other areas of my life because I’d just be too comfortable in my new position. Maybe God just needs to show me that promotion doesn’t come from the east or the west but from above. He knows what’s best for us.

Someone gives me up for adoption but what I don’t realize is that being given up is the best thing that has ever happened in my life–after Jesus of course. If I wasn’t given up, I might not have the life and love I have right now for the parents who raised me in a very natural way. Being given up was not about my biological mother getting hers. Well, in a way it was. It was about her getting her life in a better place and getting her priorities in line enough to know she wasn’t ready to take care of me. She couldn’t give me her best, but she knew that if she gave me up, I could be better positioned to get the best. God knows all about giving things up to make things better. He gave His only begotten son so that we would not perish and have everlasting life. Of course He knew that my being given up would only lead to a better life. My not getting the man would leave me open to receive His best man. My not getting the promotion positions me for a greater opportunity beyond what a job can offer.

“Everyone gets theirs except for me”, will no longer be the theme of my life. Instead it will be how I remember to give thanks to God. It will be how I remember that in other people getting theirs, I must take note of the fact that God has given each of us a separate path to reach our goals in Him. It will be how I remember that in being passed over for a promotion my patience is being perfected in God for what He wants to promote me to. It will be how I will remember not to hold grudges against those who gave me up because in giving me up they have left me open to receive something better. It will be how I remember to give God all the honor, the praise and the glory for withholding things from me because only He knows when I’ll be ready for the man, for the promotion and for His purpose. Only then will I be able to say, “Everyone got theirs, but I got mine, in God’s time.”

February 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: Thomas A Kempis

I’ve been gone for a little while and I’m sorry for that. I have no lack of things to write about, I just don’t have the time to write about it. But I felt compelled to break the silence today because of something that I read last night in “On the Love of God” by Thomas A. Kempis that really moved me. I risk violating the Fair Use law, but I have to risk it to share something so utterly beautiful that the risk it takes compared to the lives it could change is well worth it. So, here goes:

‘My son,’ saith our Lord to His servant, ‘allow Me to do with you what I will, for I know what is best and most expedient for you. You work in many things according to your human reason and as your affection and your worldly policy stirs you, and so you may easily err and be deceived.’

O Lord, it is true, all that Thou sayest. Thy providence is much better for me than all that I can do or say for myself. Wherefore it may well be said and verified that he stands very uncertainly who sets not all his trust in Thee. Therefore, Lord, while my wits abide steadfast and stable, do with me in all things as it pleaseth Thee, for it may not be but well, all that Thou dost. If Thou wilt that I be in the light, bless Thee; and if Thou wilt that I be in darkness, bless Thee. If Thou wouldst comfort me, bless Thee; and if Thou wilt I live in trouble and without all comfort, bless Thee in equal measure.

‘My son, so it behoves you to be. If you will walk with Me, as ready must you be to suffer as to joy, and as gladly be needy and poor as wealthy and rich.’

Lord I will gladly suffer for Thee whatsoever Thou wilt shall fall upon me. With the same thanks will I take of Thy hand good and bad, bitter and sweet, gladness and sorrow; and for all things that shall befall me, heartily will I thank Thee. Keep me from sin, Lord, and I shall dread neither death nor hell. Put not my name out of the book of life, and it shall not grieve me, whatsoever troubles befall me.

That All Our Study and Busyness of Mind Ought to Be Put in God from “On the Love of God”, By Thomas A Kempis

I wish to be this fully surrendered to His will.

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