Monday, February 21, 2011

Lesson In Pride

It's a humbling experience to have God show you areas of your life that need some help. It's exciting to have people come to me for advice and a little spiritual guidance. Yet, it's prideful to think that the very advice I am giving out doesn't apply to me when I know it does.

Isaiah 57:15 has been my theme verse for the past week or so. I have referred a few people to it lately and even bogged about it. However, it wasn't until I was going through the homework for my Beth Moore "Breaking Free" study did I realize that I needed that verse more than anyone. I was dealing with pride. I thought I had my stuff together, dishing out all this advise when I was battling with God with some of my own very similar junk. He is gracious enough to humble us privately and mercifully enough to chin check us when need be.

Pride takes on so many different faces and being a ministry leader, I have to be more diligent about seeking God and not let my thrill of counseling others overshadow my obligation to seek God for wisdom and my own heart examination first. Better start checking that plank in my own eye before I start pointing out the speck in someone else's.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Help Send Me to Peru in June

Dear Supporter,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to share with you a trip that I am going to take this summer that will hopefully be a life changing experience for the people I come in contact with, as well as myself.

God has done some amazing things in my life over the past year and one of those areas has been igniting a passion in my heart for victims of the sex trafficking industry. Like many other people that I know, I was blind to the fact that each night on the streets of Atlanta and many cities across our nation, young girls are forced into the prostitution. In Atlanta, GA alone, over 300 children, many as young as 9 or 10, are forced to have sex with strangers for money. They are trapped in a form of modern day slavery right here in the United States of America, the land of freedom and opportunity. Many of these girls have run away from broken and abusive homes, only to be promised safety and love by a man who instead preys on their vulnerable emotional state. These girls are physically, verbally and emotionally abused, drugged, brainwashed and stripped of any hope of returning to a normal life.

It was hard for me to fathom that this type of injustice happened right in my own backyard, until I saw it for myself. Last June, a group of dedicated followers of Christ traveled to Fulton Industrial Blvd to minister to the women who engaged in prostitution nightly. On that night, I had the pleasure of meeting 19 year old young Sabrina, a young girl that had been forced to sell herself every night on the streets for the past 3 years. She was a run away from Ohio whose pimp picked her up from a bus stop just 2 hours after arriving in Georgia. He promised to love and care for her and before nights end, she was sleeping with strangers for money. She was not allowed to use a phone, go out alone, talk to anyone, pick out her own clothes or even think for herself ever again. The night I met her, she desperately wanted to escape the life that she was trapped in but feared for her life.

By the grace of God, Sabrina mustered up the nerve to make the desperate phone call to a group member that was out with us that night. We were able to rescue Sabrina from a life of sexual slavery and that experience forever changed my life. But that joy was short lived. Unfortunately, Sabrina went back to her pimp, the abuse and her life of sex for money. She desperately wanted a normal life but felt that her life was so worthless and beyond repair, that life on the street was the only place she belonged. Those were the words that had been engrained in her mind by her pimp everyday for 3 years and she eventually bought into the lie and settled for the life that she was trapped in.

My eyes were opened to a lifestyle that many could never imagine. My heart has been broken for Sabrina and for every Sabrina that is still stuck on the streets of Atlanta and even abroad. This is not the life that God intends for any of His children to live and He has called His believers to go out into the world and help rescue those who have lost their way. It was God's plan for me to meet Sabrina, hear her story, see her struggle and to have my heart broken when she left. This experience has forever changed my life and ignited a desire to do my part to help other victims like Sabrina. Since meeting Sabrina, I have been active in advocating for the victims who have no voice. I have written about the plight of the sex trafficking issue in Atlanta with the non profit organization Sunday to Sunday, Inc . In December, I organized a donation supply drive with Wellspring Living, Inc., a non profit organization that provides vital short and long term aftercare for victims of sex trafficking. On February 2, 2011, I participated in Lobby Day sponsored by StreetGRACE and Wellspring Living to bring the issues of sex trafficking to the steps of Georgia's capital and push for more legislature to ensure the safety of our children and harsher punishment for pimps and men who seek out these children for sex.

Recently, God placed on my heart the desire to reach further out to help those stuck in sexual slavery, even beyond our borders. There are so many places on this Earth who have never even heard the name of Jesus before and surely do not have any hope of a life better than the abuse and turmoil they currently live in. On June 2-12, 2011, I will be traveling to Lima, Peru with Victory World Church's Fusion Young Adult Ministry. For several years now, Fusion Young Adult Ministry has sent a mission team to Peru to see first hand the plight of the children of Peru who call the streets home. Fusion has partnered with Lucy Borja's Generacion organization who work tirelessly to help rescue children from the streets of Peru. Fusion also works with Veronica's House, a home that serves as an emergency shelter for young girls rescued from forced prostitution in Lima, Peru. I sincerely believe that God's plan for me on this trip is to truly see the world through His eyes and not just through my limited knowledge of what I see happening in my own city. The issue of sex trafficking is world wide and in order to make a difference in the world, I need to be able to see the world.

I would ask that you keep me and my team in your prayers so that we many have a safe and successful trip. Also, since we are responsible to raise our entire trip cost of $1,700, I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider if He would have you be a part of this wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with the children of Peru. Please consider making a financial contribution to help with the $1,700 cost of traveling to Peru. Contact me at for more information about how to make a tax deductible donation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and please consider supporting my efforts to travel to Peru this June.

Thank you,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Season of Revival....Coming Soon.

It's been a few days since I have posted and I guess I needed a little time to slow down from life to put this past week into words. God has been doing some crazy things, like always. But it's even interesting to know that even when I am swimming in my own sea of disconnection from God, He still sees fit to speak to me.

I have these times when I am not quite where I need to be with Him and feel a bit disconnected. It's never anything He has done or hasn't done. It's always me. My life gets in the way. My thoughts get in the way. My fear, my busy schedule, desire to be surrounded by my community, my own personal desires or unmet needs get in the way. He is constant, never changing and I am the flaky, often rebellious emotional me. So there I was, not motivitated to honor Him through out my day, making prayer more of a bothersome routine than intimate time with Him, not telling people about how wonderful and amazing He is. I was feeling a bit wary about Peru, hadn't sent out any support letters, really starting to believe that there was no way I was going to go on this trip. The enemy had invaded my mind and I was constantly wrestling with what I thought was my reality and not submitting to God's destiny. I knew without a doubt that God intended for me to go on this trip because it was Him who placed the burning desire in my heart to help sex trafficking victims. I was being stubborn and trying to hard to rationalize in my natural mind what I know God can accomplish supernaturally.

For 2 nights, I dreamed about Peru. Not about being there but the preparation phase for it. I saw our team brainstorming ideas, coming up with an agenda, praying, raising support together. I knew it was a God fueled dream because I could feel the positive vibes and warm feeling from the environment I was in. When I wasn't dreaming, I found myself thinking about my Princess as I saw the pictures she posted on FB. Money, drugs and alcohol. She is caught up in a dangerous lifestyle that breaks my heart. I am comforted in knowing that the seeds of hope were planted last summer. She has befriended me, Dede & Avery, Veronica and Ginger on FB and I know they all pray for her constantly. We are her makeshift family out in the suburbs, her quiet reminder that there are people that will welcome her back with open arms with one phone call.

When I wasn't thinking about Peru, I was wondering why I couldn't seem to get that spark back into my spiritual life. My lovely friend Quiana has been plagued with this same issue for months. While hanging out before Fusion last Wednesday, I over heard a fellow small group apprentice talking to his leader about the fact that he had been feeling disconnected as well. My friend Daniel IM'd me asking for some spirtual guidance because he was disconnected and had lost his passion. I got a text message from my lovely missionary friend Kemesha on Thursday who said that she had been feeling the exact same way for a week. I was alarmed by the number of people that had been having this same issue at the same time. I never try to super spiritualize anything but something was going on.

While talking with Kemesha, I feeling a loss for words about how to explain things. I told her to just keep pressing forward, keep reading the bible, keep praying and God will breakthrough. Then I remembered what I had shared with Daniel a couple of days earlier.

Isaiah 57:15 says "The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts."

I think the Holy Spirit kinda took over the conversation at that point because somehow I put together the idea that there are more people feeling disconnected in our community and the good thing is the fact that people recognize this disconnect and are still trying to press forward and persue Christ. This desire to reconnect is what is going to lead us into a season of revival where hearts will be reignited and turn back to God with full force. I began to get excited myself because it was last spring when Fusion had this AMAZING crazy season of revival that lasted about 10 weeks. It almost felt like God literally camped out in the santuary and pour out His love and glory over us. After the phone call, I pulled out my bible and was looking over that scripture again and then went to Hosea 6:1-3, another scripture that had been stuck in my head. It says

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Both scriptures talk about a call for repentance. Isaiah talks about God reviving hearts and spirits when people repent. Hosea talks about healing and reviving us if we press forward, the very words I spoke to Kemesha over the phone. He will come like the spring rain that waters the earth. I seriously think that God is going to unleash something amazing this spring to revive the disconnected hearts and minds just like He did last year. I am actually getting goosebumps thinking about it. This is something that so many people need despearately right now. I never profess to be someone who has the gift of prophesy but I sincerely think God has something in store for us soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guard your heart...

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23.

That's the only thing I could think of when I was told about an issue with a young lady that I am acquainted with. Matters of the heart are always tricky, especially for young Christian women. We are told to wait on our husbands, adhere to courtship, remain pure in body and in mind. And above all else guard your heart. That guard your heart thing tends to be the hardest thing to do for some. It was hard for this young lady and now she has yet another piece of her heart scarred by a young man who somehow missed the message on guarding the heart of a woman.

It bewilders me that I sit through the same Fusion services on Wednesday nights as many others yet, everyone doesn't seem to live by the same teachings I get from the messages. I am being reminded that everyone doesn't get the same convictions that I do. Everyone doesn't have that same desire to live a life that would make Jesus smile. Everyone doesn't have the same desire to stop doing life the way we used to that obviously hasn't worked for us in the past. Some people still want to figure out life the hard way, all the while collecting more scars and battle wounds before retreating back to Christ in defeat. Luckily, our Savior has a heart that knows no bounds but I am sure it pains Him to see so many people being hearers of His word, but not doers of His word.

I tend to not think naively about most things but I guess in this instance I was. I was naive to think that just because Fusion women hear that they should guard their own hearts against deceit and wicked ways, that they would actually do it. I was naive to think that because Fusion men are challenged to be protectors of the hearts of the women they are persuing that they actually protect those fragile hearts. It breaks my heart to know that two people that I know decided to do things their own way, leaving one with the pain of a broken and scorned heart, unanswered questions, and an even larger longing for comfort in someone other that Jesus.

It can get pretty daunting for single people to see new relationships spring to life, engagements be announced and wedding invitations be sent out on a regular basis in one community of young believers. I guess I am bold enough to admit that I am okay right where God has me, single. Does it get lonely sometimes? Absolutely, but it will never get so bad that I step outside of the plan that God has for me and other single women like me. Even with the guy that I have noticed, we are moving at a snail's pace and I have learned to be okay with that, because that's what it takes to guard my heart. That's what it takes for him to guard his heart as well as mine. There is no rush, there is no commitment, so there is no worry. And with this patience and God's own perfect timing, He is allowing little bits of insight into the heart and mind of this guy that I might not have discovered had I been hasty and disobedient. It is in this patience that I rely on my accountability to help keep me focused and prayerful about all things.

This isn't my natural course for doing things, but I think God is pleased with my efforts. I just wish more women were more diligent about safe guarding their precious hearts and not fixating on whether or not a guy likes her and going outside of God's will to capture some fleeting attention. I have been that girl too many times, have had my heart broken too many times, have been jealous, scorned, bitter and upset too many times to keep going down that same road. Maybe some people haven't been hurt enough to finally surrender and allow God to show them the way. I am thankful for my changed heart and changed ways. Hindsight is 20/20 but there is no reason to keep traveling down the path that has been traveled by so many before.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dreaming Again

Last night, you invaded my dreams again. We had a very weird adventure riding elevators in a hotel. We stopped on the different floors and explored different rooms and secret hideaways. We ended up in a parking deck and you had a look on your face like you had something serious to tell me. You gave me a hug and whispered "Did you know that I still love you? I just wanted you to know that I still love you." I was stunned. I felt the shock in my dream. I didn't reply because I had no words for what was just said. Fast forward and I am face to face with someone who represents the wife because I have never met her. I had every intention of telling the wife what had transpired but for some reason, the words would not come out. I heard myself telling her what her husband had confessed to me but the words that came out of my mouth were a re-telling of the elevator adventures. I walked away feeling weird and confused. Not sure why you confessed those feelings of love to me. My feelings haven't change. God saved me from you. Best of luck with your decision.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Diving In Head First

I just completed my first order of business as a small group apprentice. I sent out the Evite for the Super Bowl party on Sunday. For some reason, it took me like half an hour to do a simple Evite. Nerves, I guess. Don't want to mess it up since people tend to be pretty critical of even the smallest things. I take ministry work seriously and I think my desire for excellence in all things gets the best of me.

It still all seems a but surreal to me, leading a group. This is definitely gonna be all God because most days I wonder if I am even equipped to do this. Obviously God and the Nesbitts think I am or else I wouldn't be here. Sometimes we have to have the same faith in ourselves as others have in us. This is one of those times.

He's got me covered. He will lead the way.