Reflections

As I take the time that many do this time of year to reflect back over the previous year and make bold proclamations for the year to come. I cannot help but pause and lift my eyes to the hills from which cometh my help! 2017 was truly a roller coaster ride on all fronts. Let’s take a look…

Politics in 2017

A newly elected leader was chosen that no one, not even the elected official himself saw coming. Who knew that Donald Trump would somehow make his way behind the desk of the Oval Office as the 45th…enough said.

Let’s not mention all of the scandals that have unfolded before, during and since the elections…is this our United States Democracy or yet another poorly written season of The Apprentice?

Sexual Assault Survivors Speak Out

I have to say that I was proud of everyone who finally spoke out against their assailants. Even though many of them came as a surprise and some of them very disheartening. It is about time that survivors finally find their voice. No matter who you are, you have no right demeaning another human just because you feel that you wield some sort of power. Did I mention 45 had a few accusations (well nevermind).

Death by Cop

All I will say here is enough is enough…we need to get over the fears and the prejudices that are prompting the outrageous deaths and violence that we have been seeing and learn to embrace better solutions. I understand that not everyone who died at the hands of an officer was innocent and not every officer is bad…we have to come to a common ground otherwise there will be no lives left:  black, blue or otherwise to matter.

Side note…taking a knee at football games had nothing to do with disrespecting the flag and the soldiers that fought for this country that we all hold near and dear 45…it has everything to do with operating within the rights and freedoms that the flag represents.  So while you continue to make a mockery over the true meaning of democracy, you once again dim the light on the true purpose. Colin Kaepernick and others took a knee or chose to sit on the bench to protest police brutality.

Celebrities Gone too Soon

Lord you shot me in the pinky toe when we lost Della Reese (Touched by an Angel). Not to mention Earle Hyman (Cosby Show), Fats Domino (artist), Robert Guillaume (Benson), Tom Petty (artist), Monty Hall (Let’s Make a Deal), Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Jerry Lewis (comedian), Dick Gregory (Civil Rights advocate), Prodigy (rapper), Roger Moore (James Bond), Erin Moran (Happy Days), Cuba Gooding, Sr. (Cuba Gooding, Jr’s pop – he was an artist in his own right), Charlie Murphy (comedian/actor), Chuck Berry (artist), Mary Tyler Moore and many more, may they all rest in peace! I’m still mourning Prince from 2016…I can’t take no more!!! Purple rain…purple rain!!!

Let me make it a more personal reflection….

Revive Church

Wow…we have seen phenomenal changes and growth. Our beloved Pastor John taught us some POWERFUL and TIMELY messages that would be later needed!  When he took a well deserved rest and sabbatical, we were entrusted in the more than capable hands of Pastor Roslyn Das who stepped up and soared! God is using her gifts and talents and taking her to new heights in Him! He has also unleashed an anointing over the congregation and we have been blessed to see the gifts of others come to the forefront. Members and leaders are stepping up behind the pulpit; congregants are taking leadership roles in connect groups; the gift of prophecy and Word of knowledge is being revealed; and those that considered themselves the least of them are truly becoming  great! God is showing himself strong and it is only just beginning!

Baby fever is in the air so watch out because we have some up and coming leaders being birthed as we speak…LOL

My Family

My family has seen its share of victories and challenges in 2017.  Michael and I have seen victory in weight loss and overall health. We celebrated our one year anniversary. Our families are welcoming us and each other into their hearts. Of course every marriage has its share of growing pains but that’s a part of the two becoming one.  We have had our share of laughs with Wanya as he learns to drive…pray our strength in the Lord! (LOL) But we have also seen our share of struggles as Tiana had her own personal struggles and health scares. However, even in this, we rejoice because we know that we are more than conquerors! No matter what we endure, we endure it together as a family and that alone gives us victory!!! This was her year of trials, but it says to me that it was her year of drawing closer to the Lord, and in that my heart finds joy. I believe that 2018 will truly be her year of discovery and transformation…old things will pass away and behold all things will become new!!!

So all in all, 2017 gave us it’s share of ups and downs but such is life. God never promised us that everyday would have sunshine. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us:

1   There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Goodnight 2017…I bid you ado…as I embark into what is to be in 2018. I hear God telling me that 2018 needs to be lived Out Loud, Intentionally and On Purpose. With that being said, I will be purposeful about all that I do, all that I say and all that I become! You ain’t seen nothing yet!!! Healthier, wealthier and wiser in 2018!!!

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The Fight to Belong

Have you ever experienced a moment where you had empathy for an individual and the struggle that they were going through? I mean, you had no direct relational experience with their issue, but your heart went out to them, particularly because you could see the pain that it was causing them. You may have prayed for them or offered them a word of encouragement, but soon you became so self-consumed and self-absorbed with your life and your schedule that their issue was just that…their issue. As sad as it was for them, it had no direct impact on you…until it did.

Let me ask you this:  the last time you filled out an application for employment or answered the questions on a medical history form prior to seeing a new doctor or even completed an application for a new car, did you ever have to stop to ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?
Where was I born?
What is my identity?
Who are my parents?
Do I have siblings?
Is there some major health concern in my bloodline that I should know?

For most of us, these questions are easily answered. But there is a population of people who have never and possibly will never know this information. Not because they were too lazy to search for the answers, but because the law says they are not entitled. Yes, you read that correctly.  There are laws in place in New York and in several other states that make it illegal for this segment of our population to access their identity or obtain their health records. Tens of millions of Americans are blocked from ever accessing their original birth certificates.

A very good friend of mine shared with me his frustrations with not knowing the answers to these questions. I knew that being adopted affected him greatly but, until now, I never really understood the true depth of his struggle. There has only been one other group of people in US History who could relate to what he was going through, only one other group has ever been legally denied access to their birth records…Slaves.  He, being a black man, has been denied the right to know his identity not once but twice. 

This does not affect every person who was adopted, but if an adoptee was born in a state that still has sealed records laws on the books covering the year that child was born, that person is not entitled to know any information regarding said adoption.

This is more than just a problem for those who were adopted. This is an issue for society as a whole. The fight for civil equality was not just a black and white issue. We all have rights to fundamental freedoms in our lives. Part of those fundamental freedoms includes knowing our identity.  How dare law makers decide that any class of people be denied a right to know their identity, to know their ethnicity and to know their health history.

I read an article entitled, “When it is Illegal to Know Who You Are: Adoption & Adoptee Search,  Unsealed Initiative, New York State” by Cynthia Cherish Malaran. The article was written in response to the Assembly hearing for the Adoptee Bill of Rights A909. The author was invited to a public hearing on legislation to allow Adoptees access to their original birth certificates. In the article, she mentioned an  adult adoptee who was there to give her testimony. At this hearing, Ellen Mohr spoke of the void that she has carried in her heart all of her life as a result of being blocked from obtaining her original birth records. At the age of 87, her parting words were presented in the form of a question, “Who am I?”

 

Who am I? Can you imagine? Seriously, can you imagine living 87 years of life never knowing your true identity? Never having the right to find out information relating to your family, never fully understanding what your potential could be because you were never given the right to know your past? Let’s put this into perspective.  Imagine your child being deathly ill, you take them to the doctor in hopes of finding the reason for the illness and most importantly the cure.  The doctor begins asking you all sorts of questions relating to your family’s medical history in hopes of gaining an understanding of what is presently going on with them…You open your mouth to answer the questions only to realize that no words are coming out because you don’t know the answers. Your child could die because you don’t have the knowledge you need to save them.  It doesn’t affect you until it affects you, right?

Granted, I am not an adoptee. I was blessed to know my birth family and I understand many of the giftings and personality traits that I possess, because I have had the privilege to observe similar traits in my family members. I know where my big nose comes from.  I am fully aware of the source of the curves and the shape of my body.  I know the origin of my quirky sense of humor and my artistic creativity.  But I started this blog by saying this struggle did not directly impact me until it did. I have been impacted because I am human. I have been impacted because I believe that everyone should have the right to know who they are. I have been impacted because we all should know where we belong. How can we declare independence as a country and not allow freedom to the individuals within that country?

I hope this blog has opened your eyes and brought awareness to yet another venomous attack on our civil rights. The Unsealed Initiative movement needs our support.  It needs our attention.  If you or anyone you know has gone through the struggle of not being allowed access to their humanity, please encourage them to speak out. The only way we can make a difference is to make a difference. There is currently a bill that has been written to allow adoptees the right to finally obtain their Original Birth Certificates, but it has to be passed before adoptees can act upon it.  I encourage you all to lift every voice and sing.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Declaration of Independence

 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m Back!!!

Hi Fellow Bloggers,

It has been a long time since my last post.  All I can say is “Life Happens”!  Anyway, I am back and ready to share with you once more.

I am so very excited to announce that I now have a website for my publishing company, Penned for Purpose Publishing.  There are so many great things happening and as I always say…when I am blessed, those who are connected are blessed as well.

Please take a moment to check out my new webpage.  It is www.pennedforpurpose.com.  I would love to get your feedback! 

Til We Chat Again,

Debbie

PAY IT FORWARD

Happy Thanksgiving Friends! I love this time of the year because it is a time when many people come together and reflect on all of the things for which they have to be thankful. We realize that even with all of the “bad days” that we have seen, our good days far outweigh the bad!

Let’s take this holiday season to pay our blessings forward. Our pastor reminded us in service yesterday that when we give to the poor, we are lending to God and God, being true to His word, says He will owe no man anything…so in essence, what happens is when you “lend to God” by blessing others…He in turn blesses you 100 fold because His Word cannot return to Him void. Of course, we don’t give or bless others because we want a return on our investment. Our giving should come from our hearts and our commitment to service but isn’t it amazing to know that because your heart is filled with love towards others…God’s heart is filled a million times more with love for you!

So let’s agree to pay it forward this season…it will bring so many smiles to so many faces!

FREE ON KINDLE

Hi Fellow Bloggers! I have been missing in action for a few weeks…partially because I have been busy and partially for health reasons…I wanted to take a second to check in with you and to let you know that I am running a special promotion with Kindle on my new book Shedding Silent Tears…today thru Sunday (Nov 14-18) the kindle version is absolutely free…yes you read correctly…FREE! Don’t have a Kindle? It’s okay…you can download the Kindle app on your computer or your mobile device. Check it out and let me know what you think :-). Ministry first so if you or someone you know has dealt with crisis situations and found yourself in a hopeless state not knowing which way to turn, this book is for you. It inspires, encourages and offers hope in the midst of it all.

Check out the press release: http://prlog.org/12022683

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt 5:13-16)

IMPART…The business that we create and the services that we offer should not be for the sole resolve of padding our pockets.  There must be something that we give in addition to that product or service.  In order for us to truly be successful in any areas of our lives, we must be willing to impart (deposit) ourselves into others.  We must be willing to impart our wisdom, knowledge and talents with others that they, too, may become successful.  I just went through an amazing empowerment summit that taught a very important principal.  In order for us to go where we see others have gone, we must get a mentor to help lead the way.  If you are already in a place that someone is aspiring to get to, then you should be that mentor.

IMPACT…By imparting what we have been blessed to know into the lives over others, we begin to impact the community at large.  A business person will find very little success in an area that they are not impacting.  To impact means to influence, to effect and to make an impression.  We are called to be salt and light in the earth.  Salt and light are change agents.  They cannot be introduced to an environment and said environment remains the same.  What have you done to change the community around you?  How have you impacted the people that God has placed in your circle of influence?

EMPOWER…When we begin to impart and impact those that are around us, we begin to empower them (allow them to be self sufficient to sustain the changes that were made).  We build relationships with them that will cause them to send others to us so that that too can learn and grow.  It does take money to grow a business but more importantly, it takes investments in people to sustain that business.  If we want to be successful and to make a difference…it must start with realizing what we can offer others and not just what they can offer us.  Don’t settle for being a fly by night business…here today and gone tomorrow.  Be that person that if you were gone tomorrow, the community would miss you!

ALONE IN A CROWD

Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:  for the LORD thy God, he it is that does go with you, he will not fail you, nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

QUESTION…Have you ever been a room full of people and still felt lonely?  I don’t mean a room full of strangers, I am talking about a room full of people that you know and that know you.  A room full of people that love you and converse with you on a regular basis and yet you still felt all alone?  This may just be my plight, but I oftentimes feel this way.  It is rather unusual and if I did not experience it for myself, I would probably not believe it could be possible.  But I do experience it and I know it is real.  Because I know it is real, I know that I am not the only person who has felt this way.

SET APART…It took me a long time to understand this feeling but now God has granted me wisdom in understanding why this happens.  God has sanctified each of us, those who believe on Him.  He has set us apart, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.  Even in the midst of a crowd, He sometimes makes us feel invisible because He is working diligently on our behalf.  It may be to block us from the chaos of the moment, it could be to pull us away from following the crowd or maybe it is simply because He is doing an inward thing in us that does not require an outward audience.  Sometimes we truly must experience what it feels like to be in this world but not of this world.  There is a process that He is taking us through and it feels very lonely.  There have been moments that I have wanted to cry and scream out in desperation.  It is a period of isolation and it does not feel good.  Sometimes it even feels like those around us are ignoring us even though they are looking right at us.  They don’t seem to share our passion, our vision or our urgency.  These are the moments when we need to ask God to speak for your servant heareth thee.

TRANSFORMATION…There is always an incubation period that occurs before a full transition can be visible.  Take an egg for example, before it can fulfill it’s purpose of turning into a bird, it first has to go through a period of being placed in a shell.  The egg is very well cared for by its parent and it is given all of the love and protection that it needs while in the incubation phase.  But when it is time for the egg to transform, it breaks out of the shell and it advances into the form that it was meant to take.  Or even a butterfly,  it starts off as a catepillar.  Have you taken a good look at a catepillar?  There is nothing pretty about it and many times it is stepped on, kicked away or even if it does survive, it is still in a very low place.  It crawls around consuming the dust and dirt of the earth until it is time for it to enter into its place of solitude and transformation.  The cocoon is still visible and we know it is there, but the creature inside is set apart, separated from the environment around it and processed.  When it is time, the creature transforms from a catepillar into a beautiful butterfly with breathtaking beauty and color.  Such is our process.  In order for us to be seen and appreciated for what we are destined to be, we must first endure the lowly places, the secluded places.

BEAUTY FOR ASHES…God will trade you beauty for ashes if you just remain patient through the process.  Being alone in a crowd is not an easy process but be encouraged, if you feel this way, it just means God is doing a right now work in your life.  Allow for the process, endure the loneliness and pain, for it is only for a season.  He is working out destiny in you.  He is shielding you from your environment because He is about to place you into your purpose.  When you emerge, your beauty will illuminate the sky!!!

SHEDDING SILENT TEARS — NOW ON KINDLE

Great news everyone…this isn’t my normal blog post, it is me inviting you to order my new book “Shedding Silent Tears” now on Kindle.  I am so excited about this and I hope that you will download it using the link below or share it with your friends and family.  Of course it is still available hardcopy on Amazon.com.  After you have read the book, I would greatly appreciate it if you could right a review so that I can get it pushed up on the Kindle list.  Thank you in advance and I truly do appreciate you following my blog posts each week!!!  Happy reading!!!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009K4KYIA

 

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

WAIT…This is such a small word but contains a wealth of responsibility and expectation.  Wait until your change comes, wait until things get better, wait for the storm to pass…be patient and WAIT!  One definition that I found for the word WAIT really intrigued me.  It suggests that to wait means “to remain neglected for a time”.  Who wants to remain neglected for a time?  Most people love attention.  We want our needs or problems to be addressed right then and there.  How dare you tell me that I should be content with remaining neglected for a time?

Believe it or not, the process of waiting is the process of building character within you.  Waiting allows for an appreciation for love, waiting and then receiving that which you were waiting for incites joy, waiting allows for peace to eventually be experienced, waiting worketh patience or longsuffering, waiting humbles you to gentleness, waiting promotes goodness, waiting increases faith, waiting demands meekness, waiting mellows temperance.  Waiting allows the fruit of the spirit that is within you to grow and mature until a ripe, delicious fruit that you can then share with others! (Galatians 5: 22,23)

GOD’S GOT IT…God has a way of taking the cares of our lives and turning them into opportunities for growth.  The growth is not just for you but it also affects all of those around you.  What God is cultivating in you will benefit all of those you come into contact with.  Don’t take your role in the kingdom for granted.  Don’t get frustrated by what you are dealing with.  Stop looking at your problems and start looking at your problem solver…then WAIT!!!

DON’T ABORT…Many of us get so frustrated that we decide to give up all together.  We don’t want to wait.  We would rather abort the entire mission.  Let’s take those who are suicidal for example.  Waiting seems not to be an option for them because they are in a hopeless state.  They remained neglected for a time too many times.  Things are not getting better and they decide they want to take matters into their own hands.  What they can’t see is that at the end of their waiting process their strength will be renewed, at the end of their waiting process they shall mount up on wings as eagles, at the end of their waiting process they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint.  Because they can’t see pass their situations, they become self absorbed and they begin to devalue themselves.  Unfortunately, they don’t see that their decisions not only affect their lives, but they affect the lives of everyone around them.  Aborting your mission interrupts the lives of everyone around you!  If things are getting too difficult for you to bear, take comfort in those that God has placed in your path…we all need each other…YES WE ARE OUR BROTHERS’ KEEPERS!!!

REJOICE…I choose to renew my mind by changing the way I look at things.  There is another definition for the word WAIT that I enjoy so much better.  That definition is “to look forward to eagerly”.  Doesn’t that give a more exciting spin on the word wait?  The word of God tells us to occupy until He comes.  Why can’t we wait with excitement in expectancy?  Why can’t we rejoice while we are waiting?  Why can’t we bless others in our wait?  Why can’t we praise the Lord while we wait?  Is that thing that we are waiting for not worth the effort?  Is that thing that we are waiting for not worth the anticipated build up?  It has to be something very important to you right?  Renew your mind…look forward to it eagerly…rejoice and WAIT!!!