After attending a wonderful prayer service at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in October and hearing great stories from my best friend, Amy, I decided to join their discipleship program entitled Queen Esther. I absolutely love everything about this class! I am in the prep class and we meet once per month now, however when I enter Queen Esther sections 1, 2, and 3, the classes will move to a weekly occurrence. I have learned so much about God and myself during this time, but the biggest blessing came on January 2nd…
Fast AND pray…
As December was coming to an end, our facilitators began telling us about the fast that the entire women’s ministry participates in yearly. Yes, the well-over 1,000 women who comprise the various ministries of the church that fall under the general women’s ministry umbrella (and outside people, like me) join together to fast for one month. I got nervous because, with my food allergies and Vegan-ism, I did not know how a fast would work for me. So I stayed in prayer and God led me to the three items that He needed me to deny myself in order to pull closer to Him. When January 2nd came (the fast was January 2nd-31st), I said goodbye to social media, sweets, and television. Simultaneous with the fast, I decided to give up gluten and certain starches because I am allergic to them anyway and I was constantly making myself sick by eating what I knew my body could not process. Through my prayers and fasting, I expected to get closer to God (in a very generic way), but I never expected what would happen- that He would completely take over my life… in a good way.
Imagine coming home from work, having no television and no social media…. that leaves a lot of time to sit with God… and that is exactly what happened. The time that I would have spent mindlessly eating, while watching television and scrolling through social media, was now being actively spent in the Word of God. After a few days, I honestly did not understand how I ever had time for television because there was so much to read in the Word or so much for me to write (which I will explain later).
The church provided a daily devotional for us to complete while participating in this month of fasting and praying. So when I came home from work, I would shower, eat a nutritious meal, and then begin my three devotional studies (one for Glenarden, my Bible in a year study, and my prayer journaling). By the time I finished those three things, it was normally time for bed and I would have to scramble to get to sleep in time. Wait, how is that even possible? When I had the same assignments (and more) in 2017, I would come home and watch television until 7pm and find a way to crawl in bed on time… but now there is no television and I am rushing? Oh, I get it; I was squeezing God in before and now I am overflowing with Him.
After work was a rush; I had only a few hours to do a lot of studying in the Word…and I loved it! I absolutely loved reading more about who God is and how He loves His children. As you can probably tell from my recent blogs, I have been in Genesis and Luke for the month of January and there is some RICH information about our God in those books. In addition to my three daily devotions, I would make time to read for my own church’s weekly Bible study lessons. With all of this Bible time, my weekday afternoons were jam-packed…not to mention my volunteering, Tuesday night Bible study, and the once monthly discipleship class. There really was no time for television; there was no time for social media. There was only time for God.
That first weekend of January I wondered what I would do for a whole day at home with no television or social media. Then God told me to write a book, so I obeyed. He had been preparing me for this book throughout all of 2017. It is a book of blogs. I know, that sounds crazy but let me explain.
A journal for healing…
As God revealed to me, He desired for me to create a workbook/tool for His children to use to heal from various issues of their lives. He hand-picked 30 blogs for me to edit, add scriptures and healing/journaling activities to, and combine into a book. As I read through each blog for editing, I realized so many things (like the amount of grammatical errors that existed because of my rush to post blogs) but I especially saw just how far the Lord had brought me. I saw just how much I had overcome; I saw just how much I had changed. I cried many times as I read through those blogs because I could literally see the hand of God moving throughout my life. Even now, I get teary eyed just thinking about my intentional God.
This book is probably the only tangible, I-can-touch-this-with-my-hands thing that came out of my month of fasting and praying. The list of intangible things is far too great to explain in this blog, but let’s just say God heard my heart’s and mind’s prayers and He answered every single prayer. After 30 days of denying myself so that I may draw closer to the Lord and learn of Him, I can honestly say that He revealed my purpose, showed me my ministry lane, and increased my talents for His service.
Ministry lane: make a RIGHT at Service Street…
As I look forward to the rest of 2018, my heart rejoices because of one new ministry that God placed on my heart: Young Butterflies. Young Butterflies (or YB) is a youth ministry designed to have those uncomfortable [yet necessary] conversations with youth and young adults, in a Godly way. God gave me this ministry late one night and less than 24 hours later, He had given me a rough draft workshop PowerPoint Presentation and an agenda to show to my pastors and another pastor/friend in my life. This ministry will talk to youth both in the church and outside of the church, and cover topics such as: rape and abuse awareness and intervention. Heavy topics; but necessary topics! It is time to bring these conversations into the church and save lives…instead of leaving them in the world which is designed to take lives. On Sunday at church we sang “The change I want to see must first begin in me; I surrender so Your world can be changed” and there is another quote that says “be who you needed when you were a child”…. this is what I needed. I needed someone to talk to me, in church, about dating, abuse, etc. and how God factors into all of it.
Under the ministry umbrella of God Happened To M.E., God has blessed me with:
- Scarves & God- a ministry that makes and donates scarves for the homeless
- Embracing Visions of Excellency (E.V.E.)- a vision board creation ministry that helps women met with God and intentionally walk into His purpose for their lives
- Young Butterflies (YB)- a youth and young adult ministry designed to have those uncomfortable conversations about life and God.
Last year when I would hear the song Yes by the Shekinah Glory Ministry, He was asking me if I was really going to say yes to Him and His will. When I heard this song last year it was my “shift” song because God was about to shift some things in my life. This year when I hear that song He is saying that He has more that He requires of me. These ministries are His “more”. These ministries are how He has chosen for me to reach His people. These ministries are how He has called me to serve. Over the course of my life, He has equipped me to perform every aspect of each ministry…even if I did not realize that He was working in that way. He is intentional and has never called me (or you) to do anything that He did not or would not prepare me for.
On this first day of February, I humbly ask that you would keep me in your prayers. As you can see, I have a lot on my ministry plate and it all requires me to pull closer to the Lord. Please continue to pray my strength and growth as I do my Father’s work. Please pray for me as I pray for you.
*The book is entitled God Happened To M.E.: My healing journal for my healing journey and it is available for purchase here.*