The Accuser or the One who Affirms?

I’ve grown up in the Christian faith. One could say almost accurately that I was born in the Church. From the time I drew my first breaths into the world not much longer after that My mom was holding me in Church. Liberty Tabernacle and it was pastored by my Godparents Pastor David and Sister Mona, and Sister Dee, My Godmother’s mother led worship on Sunday morning. From a young age I encountered the Holy Spirit’s touch as She (Greek word for the Holy Spirit is feminine) moved through the church. I was scared out of my wits one Sunday evening when my mother started dancing around the church and I had no idea what was happening, however as I grew up that was just another thing I became aware of. I remember songs being sung and the feeling of the Spirit of God drawing my to the embrace of the Father. The voice of the One who Affirms said, “Come to me beloved child.”

That feeling however I drew back from because I didn’t think I was worthy of the Love of the Father. I grew up in a house without a father present in my life physically for the first 9 years and that was glaringly obvious. I didn’t think I deserved the love of my heavenly Father because my Earthly one abandoned me and “surely there must have been something wrong with me for him to leave.” The voice of the Accuser inside of my head told me.

When I was 8 years old I remember hearing the Gospel being told to me in Sunday School but from my perspective I was terrified because for the first time I heard about Hell and how my sins would send me there and how if I just prayed a prayer I would be saved. I said a prayer but I didn’t believe fully because I just did not want to go to Hell. I didn’t understand.

As time progressed over the next few years the voice of the Accuser in my life grew louder than the voice of the Affirmer. I was abused by a man who said he was going to be my father, the voice of the Accuser “You deserved the abuse. It was all your fault.” rang loud in my mind. The voice of the Affirmer was screaming “This is not your fault. I never wanted this to happen to you!” was there but I just couldn’t hear it. The voice of the Accuser, “You can never trust a Heavenly Father, look what your earthly ones have done!” I could hear but I could not hear the voice of Abba my Affirmer “I love you and I would never harm you.” was a voice I struggled to hear.

Even after I became a Christian while I could hear the voice of my Affirmer, the voice of the Accuser would try to sneak it’s way in. “God can’t really use you because you battle depression.” “God can’t use you because you have an addiction to porn.” “God can’t use you because you’re gay.” “God can’t use you because you are broken and damaged and too afraid to get up and speak in front of people.” “God can’t use you because you’re too fat” “God can’t be calling you to lead in ministry because you are a woman.” These were lies I heard in my head. I listened to the Accuser and those who were the voice of the accuser in my life for a long time.Even at times I became my own accuser because I thought that surely God can’t use me because I was too unworthy of his love and call.

There was however the voice of the one who Affirms that shouted and said.

“I can use you because you are willing.” “I can use you because you are my beloved daughter.” “I call you worthy because I have made you worthy.” “You are whole and restored.” “I can use you because I make all things work together for your good.” “I can and I will use you.”

My question to each one of you is simple.

How often do you keep listening to the Accuser when you should be listening to the Affirmer?

How often are you the voice of the Accuser rather than the voice of the Affirmer?

Let us examine ourselves to see which voice or voices do we listen to who increase the shame in our lives and cause us to hold one another in contempt. Perhaps we should cut those voices out.

Let us seek to listen to the Voice and those who embody the Voice of one who affirms and validates our lives, our callings, and propels us to love one another and encourage us to do good for one another.

 

May the God who sees you and me pour out the richest of blessings upon us all

Amen.

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The Accuser or the One who Affirms?

A Different Perspective on Ash Wednesday

As a Christian I grew up in a very non-liturgical setting in church. Lent was something that was never discussed and Ash Wednesday was something I was not aware of until I was in High School and I met my friend Stephanie on the bus to school and she shared with me that she too was a Christian, she was just Catholic. She put up with my incessant questions of how her faith and mine were different.

I asked her some questions that were probably offensive because I did not understand Catholicism, I only knew what I had heard from various people that Catholics were not really Christians and that they worshiped Mary and the saints and they could not pray directly to God. Of course she was very gracious toward me and humored my questions as best she could on our way to and from school. We spoke of many things but the topic of Catholicism and why they did what they did came up frequently because I was naturally curious.

In my Junior year of High School I made the decision to participate in Lent in a very eclectic effort with my Sunday morning bible Study group. We all were committed to taking part in The Daniel’s Fast during Lent. The Daniel’s fast was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I failed miserably halfway through and I ate all of the things I was not supposed to eat during that time and I felt awful that I could not last and just participate in this fast.

For the next few years following that I made the conscious effort to give up something for Lent and my Sophomore year I gave up energy drinks and soda for Lent. I felt great. I was doing so well but once Lent was over I went right back to consuming everything that was horrible for me to drink.

It was during my Junior year that I joined Wingate Baptist Church and while this church is very baptist in its worship it was also very liturgical in many ways so when Ash Wednesday came around or all of the various holy week services the church participated in them and that was special. I reached a very new sense of Lent and Holy Week and what it was really about and that was surrender, and preparation to celebrate the greatest gift all of humanity was given and that was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. A Risen King. But Lent is the season of pausing and reflection, of solemness and silence for in many Churches the word “Hallelujah” is removed from the mass, or Sunday service and is not sung or spoken until Easter Sunday, the day of singing and celebration.

I want to offer a bit of a different perspective on Ash Wednesday because while it is the day that we affirm our humanity and the certainty that one day we all will die and shove off this mortal body that will decay and turn to dust and ashes, I look at this day with joy instead of solemness.

I rejoice that I am human and I have a God who cares deeply for my soul. I rejoice that while I fall short often there is grace when I stumble. I rejoice that I serve a Risen Savior and Lord who is not dead but alive.

The Lord is not calling us to give up menial things like Chocolate and Social Media for 40 days of Surrender, although giving sweets or trivial things up for a period of time is good for cleansing the soul. The Lord is calling us to life long Surrender not just for 40 days but for the rest of our lives and it’s a glorious life to step into.

I rejoice at Ash Wednesday because it is inevitable that this mortal body of mine will die, but my Soul is forever secure in the arms of my Savior. I rejoice because of the Marvelous Grace of my loving Lord. And I sing “Hallelujah! Christ has come! Christ has been crucified! Christ has died! Christ is Risen! Christ will come Again!” I am only Dust and Ashes with a soul, and my life has been forever changed by the fact that I don’t end at dust and ashes, and neither did Christ, but surely as He died so has He risen and given life that is fulfilling and meaningful in the midst of a temporary world.

I am a Soul that has a body that will return to dust and ashes and that is true. My body will die but the soul never will and that is the beauty of this day. I am powerless to change the certainty of the fact that life will end. But the beauty of that is that my soul rests in the hands of a God who protects me, cares for me, and loves me.

Ash Wednesday is not depressing or solemn for me, it’s a day of rejoicing that because of surrender I am safe in the arms of a strong and mighty God.

May the God who sees you and me give you peace and may He bless you richly

Blessings,

Angie

A Different Perspective on Ash Wednesday

Searching… You’ve Already Found Me

This poem reflects the season I’m in right now spiritually. May you find encouragement, and thank you for letting me be real.

“Searching…You’ve Already Found Me”
by: Angie Littlefair

I lift up my eyes
To the vast sky
You created every star
You know how many they are
You know when a wave crashes
When a rock smashes
When the sun rises
When it demises
God You know all
Please hear my call
You know my heart
Wonders where You are
My mind aches
To the point of bodily pain
Longing for You
When You’ve escaped my view
This storm relentless
I wait with patience
To be delivered
Like a rushing river
Breaking the walls
Of anxiety, of depression, of it all
Set me free
To where I can just be
In Your arms
Safe from harm
I know You’re here
Your word makes that clear
You will never leave
You are always with me
But sometimes I feel so alone
And my flesh aches to know
That You are here
That You are here
Set me at peace
Remind me
Of You’re unfailing love
You’re not just above
You are right here
Whisper in my ear

“I love you, you are My Child
My love and affection for you is wild
There is no denying who You are
I formed you from my very heart
You are My Beloved, My delight
I sing over You, You are a beautiful Light
And You shine it through Your whole life.
You are free, you are released, I am with you,
My promises are true. Oh how I love thee,
That you shine perfectly for Me.”

May I hear Your voice
And be filled with joy
In my searching
May You remind me
You’ve already found me
And I am never ever alone.

Thank you for reading,
May the God who sees you and me bless you richly with His unending love and Grace, In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Searching… You’ve Already Found Me

I Can No Longer Be Silent…

What I have to say may or may not come as a shock to most of you. The story that I am about to divulge is one that I write with anxiety but also anticipation, because as someone who struggles with claustrophobia being in confined spaces makes me feel like I’m going to die by being suffocated. I’ve been confining myself to a box for too long., or better yet a closet.

I’m Gay, or rather the societal term for a homosexual female is: Lesbian.

I’m choosing to come out in order to be authentic and tell the truth. My reason for coming out now is because I need to be honest and authentic. I understand that people have varied beliefs on this matter so let me be clear.

I am a Child of God above all else. I am a Christian and I love Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of my life. I am at peace about who I am. IF you disagree with me but do so lovingly then that is your place. If you disagree but are choosing to disagree and have a hateful attitude toward me or my life please do me a favor and unfriend me or unfollow my blog.

If you have been in support of me from day one or you are in support of me now I am forever grateful to you.

I also write this because I know what it’s like to feel like you have nowhere to turn to. Know that when I told my family they did not respond positively and as an adult I had to make it on my own and if it were not for the kindness of friends and strangers I would not be where I am right now. Things are getting better with my family more peacefully overtime but know that if not for kind friends and strangers I may have been without a place to live, food to eat, or a way to attend the school I now attend by the Grace of God. I write these things not in any malice toward my family so please do not fault them, or try to contact them, this is my story.

I know what it’s like to be called less than human because of a part of who I am, I know what it’s like to have my Salvation before God questioned by people who mean well. I know what it’s like to be told that I should not be in ministry pursuing the call God has on my life because of my sexual orientation. I know what it’s like to be despairing at my life because all I wanted to do was “be normal” because something I could not change would “send me to hell” or was an “abomination before God.”

I’m at a place in my life right now where I’m trying to focus on pursuing God and the joy that it brings me to serve Him to glorify His name. As to my future I know God has me in mind and He will order my every step including in matters of whether or not to have a relationship or remain single for His Kingdom. I would rather be honest with my life above all else and worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

I know when God sees me, He sees His creation, His daughter, and I am beloved of Him.

For those who lent your aid to me when I needed a place to stay, food to eat, a vehicle to drive, a job for the Summer, Financial assistance for books for my first semester, and a lot of love of support from so many people who loved and prayed for me this year THANK YOU. I am so grateful for you, for every single one of you.

May The God Who Sees You and Me pour out His blessings upon you.

Angie

I Can No Longer Be Silent…

God Has Not Forgotten You

On this Wednesday afternoon I sit here just amazed at the goodness of God and a word in my heart that I’d like to share with you all. In order to do so first let me reflect on a moment a few years ago in my life.
On my second Mission trip to Camp AN, some almost 20 miles off the coast of Emonnak, Alaska this particular trip I witnessed the Spirit of God move in a number of ways amongst kids and teens but my first week there was so powerful me and touched me greatly because God opened my eyes just as to how much he was going to use me to bless others. We did a lot of songs with the kids teaching them motions to go with them and the song that the kids seemed to love the most was “I am Not Forgotten” by: Israel & New Breed. When this song came on, The kids would light up. The declaration that God does not forget his children but He not only remembers them but He knows their name.
Fast forward to this year and my missions trip experience to Titayen, Haiti and there were key elements of the trip, but one that stands out to me was a little girl who clung to me when we went into the village to spend time with the children and play games with them, this girl clung to me and she understood a little English and I spoke a little bit of Creole. But I held her and she smiled and I immediately fell in love with her. I felt in my spirit the Holy Spirit compelling me to sing the chorus of “I am not forgotten” and the next thing I know this beautiful little girl gets all excited as I’m carrying her on my back and I was bouncing and she was singing it with me and so happy and excited and in that moment I almost cried. She got excited at the part of the song that stated “God knows my name” It was a beautiful Holy Moment shared among 2 people from different worlds but a connection to a Heavenly Father that He loves us and has not forgotten us no matter where we are.
In Genesis 16 I am sure Hagar felt cast off and forgotten by this mysterious God that Abraham and Sarah claimed to serve and then in the name of God force her to sleep with Abraham so that they could have their heir. I believe she felt like her only choice was to run because God favored the woman who was being harsh to her and the man who did nothing but listen to his wife’s suggestion, and she hurt and broken and pregnant runs believing that she’s forgotten by this God. She has no place in His heart and it would be better to run into the desert and die.
God in His grace meets Hagar where she is and gives her a promise of who her Son would be (First woman recorded in scripture to have an encounter with The Angel of the Lord). She is sustained. God meets her at a well and God lets her know that He has not forgotten her, that He has a plan for her and for her son, that He has heard her. He knows her name, He has not forgotten her and He indeed loved her.
Hagar names the place she met The Angel of the Lord, Beer-lahai-roi for “The Living God has seen me.” She asks herself “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?
God sees you and he sees me, nothing is hidden from Him. He is the God who sees and instead of such a concept frightening you, I encourage you to find comfort in that because he loves you and He wants your best because He is such a good God. Take courage that He sees you, that He knows you, and that He will bless you.
May the God who sees you and me pour out His richest blessings upon you.
God Has Not Forgotten You

The Grace of the Holy Spirit. The cleansing of the Tongue

Tonight I listened to a sermon from Hope Community Church in Winston-Salem and Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn was a guest speaker for their 25 days of worship in order to celebrate 25 years of ministry as a Church.

Her sermon was so powerful. As a person who grew up around the Pentecostal exposure to the power of the Holy Spirit I had moments where I literally wanted to dance because her Word was directly from the Holy Spirit.

She preached through Isaiah 6; James 3 and many other texts surrounding the power of the tongue and it’s role in our lives. She talked about how God wants more than just the initial commitment of our hearts but He wants our  tongues.

She talked about the power of words and how words have an eternal imprint. That they really are so important that they can make or break us. They can make or break a community, they can make or break and even burn a ministry.

The Lord wants to do something in the nation I really believe that and I believe He’s going to start with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a way that this nation has never seen before. He going to pour it out and He’s going to start with a very important part of us as believers. He’s going to start with our tongues.

As she preached she talked about The Day of Pentecost in relation to Isaiah 6 and her insight by the work of the Holy Spirit blew my mind.

I by the grace of God received the baptism of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues when I was 15 years old. As a person growing up as I did, the laying on of hands, prophetic words, and speaking in tongues is nothing I’m new to and nothing that scares me. I feel at home when I hear words spoken about the Holy Spirit. Being at a Baptist School which I love makes it hard to broach this subject at times just because that in and of itself scares people. But what she (Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn) points about about tongues is poignant. I’ve heard from my life early as a believer that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit manifests itself with the “Evidence of Speaking in tongues” I’ve heard this more times than I can count and I believe it, but it’s more than just evidence.

She pointed out from Isaiah 6 that before Isaiah could go and proclaim the Word of God by prophesying his tongue needed to be cleansed by fire. When the Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost cloven tongues of fire were above their heads and that’s not a coincidence. By a flaming coal was Isaiah’s tongue cleansed to speak the word of God. By a flaming tongue so the Apostles and we here and now after as we speak in tongues our tongues are being purified. As our tongue is purified so is our hearts purified for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our tongue can set our whole beings on fire with the very flames of Hell or with the Fire of God. God offers the Gift of the Holy Spirit through speaking in tongues but many believers are so afraid of this or write it off as something for the past that we no longer need. Her teaching of the tongue being cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit as a part of sanctification is beautiful. It’s incredible.

Do you need tongues to be saved? No.

Is it beneficial to do doing the powerful work of God. I believe so.

I ask before you write me off as a crazy Holy Roller to pray about this, ask God to cleanse your tongue, ask God to show himself to you in regard to speaking in tongues and I believe you will be amazed. Prayerfully consider this and the power of your tongue and how it can be cleansed.

May The God who sees you and me pour out His love and blessings upon you

Peace,

Angie

The Grace of the Holy Spirit. The cleansing of the Tongue