A Scripture Verse

Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted", Matthew 5:5, King James Version (Cambridge Edition)

About Our Ministry

Naomi’s Ministry is Christian blog designed to provide encouragement, strength and prayer to individuals who are experiencing loss, grief and recovering from traumatic experiences.

This blog site is to encourage, pray and support persons experiencing a wide range of losses that anyone of us may experience in our lifetime. The parting of a special loved one by death; divorce; the loss of job and financial security; the loss of limb(s) or debilitating illness or disease; the loss of a home or opportunity, are all "losses" and at varying degrees, may catapult you into a grieving cycle or traumatic event. However, we may not be on the road to recovery, if the right resources are not available to give us perspective on our feelings and the changes that happens in one’s life when a loss of any kind occurs. We need courage to grieve and to wait before God for the healing that comes, sometimes, one day at a time.

This is "first" a ministry of encouragement:

Know that what you are going through is normal for anyone who has experienced what you have experienced. Knowing how to go through the process, recognizing when you are grieving and seeking the help you may need will aid in the recovery process.

Know that it is okay that you are hurting. No explanations are needed. Admitting that is a first step toward your recovery. Recovery does not mean that you will forget the one or object of your loss. This also does not mean you will not forget the trauma of your victimization. Emotional healing will allow you to live authentically, freely, victoriously in spite of the event. God wants you to have His Victory through His Son, Jesus Christ who won it on the Cross of Calvary for you and I.

Know that you are not alone. Jesus Christ promised never to leave us or forsake us (The book of Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 5). This promise found in the Holy Scriptures is a promise from the Lord Himself that He is always with us, even during our darkest nights. Jesus also said, “I will not leave you comfortless” (The book of the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 18).

Know that “The Comforter will come” (The book of the Gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 7). The Comforter that Jesus Christ is referencing is God the Holy Spirit, (part of the triune Godhead). As you call out to God in faith during this time of tremendous emotional and sometimes physical pain, the Lord will send His Spirit to minister to your mind, body, soul and spirit. He alone can heal the hurts of loss, grief and trauma. The Holy Spirit will wipe away "your tears". Jesus "is willing" to heal you if you but ask and trust Him in the process of recovery.

Know one day you will be able to smile again. The sun will shine in your heart again. You will laugh again. You will have more good days to come. The Lord knows the thoughts and plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11), even if you cannot see it in the midst of this defining moment. If you will trust the Lord’s plans for you, you will come through this season, whole and able to continue on in your life’s journey.

Search out a safe and Word-filled church home or fellowship, counselor/support group. God’s Word is the answer. Read Psalms 34, 41, 42, 91, 103, 107, 112, 119, 121, 123, 140, 145. Depending on our needs, we may also need some assistance beyond what a blog, book or cards offer. Professional help is available. Pray and ask the Lord to direct you to a place of healing and confidentiality. Check out the resources at your church or another Christ-centered congregation. Please do not grieve alone.

The time for recovery is NOW. Just like you would go to the hospital’s emergency room if you were physically in need of medical treatment, so during high levels of emotional crisis, you should not wait to seek help or assistance. DON’T WAIT TO GET HELP. This is the time to admit that you are hurting and it is okay.

Keep talking to God the Father, the Father of ALL Comfort. He knows your grief and the journey ahead. Also believe that He loves you even when you are sad. This ministry is reaching out to you with Jesus' love. We are praying for your total healing and recovery.

If you are interested in receiving prayer, please write me at: jesusislord14@outlook.com. Please do not request money - request prayer.

God loves you. We are praying you will feel His love and comfort every time you reach out to read the messages.

Jesus THE SON OF GOD is Lord!


Sister Birdsong

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blessed are you who mourn - a dedication to those who are experiencing loss, especially the families of Newtown, CT

Jesus said, "Blessed are you that mourn for you shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Our God, Jesus' Father will comfort those of you who are in mourning - experiencing some loss, deep loss if it is a loved one or special person in your life. The more I live, the more I know and experience levels of loss and the accompanying grief that comes with it - it is part of the human experience.

And yet, God, who is supernatural and Creator and The Almighty, has come down to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, to "comfort all that mourn in Zion" and to bring "beauty for ashes" in spite of the hurt and pain, He comes down through His Spirit to lighten the heavy loads of grief we must bear on this earthly journey. So it is, after moving back to Connecticut, my home state six months  ago, I once again was taken back through the journey of major losses and heart-wrenching grief. In 3 weeks time, I had grieved the loss that comes by death of 9 people I knew either by family, friendship or acquaintance. I had relocated and started a new job and experienced the grief of losing the life the Lord built for me in Baltimore. Six months later, the most horrific event that I can remember in my native state, the loss of 28 people, 20 of them children in Newtown, CT just this past Friday. "Lord, this is so much to bear."

And yet, God who is my loving heavenly Father, and Jesus, my precious Savior and Lord and The Holy Spirit, my comforter and guide is with me at the toughest times of loss; when words cannot express loss and understanding of the magnitude of the events that I and so many others are experiencing should not be penned to words yet...we are just to be....that's how grief is...you can never understand the realms of grief: the unexpected crying, the trauma of loss, the sleepless nights, the nervousness and jumpiness of not being able to control the world around you. Turning it over to God is half the battle of surviving and thriving while crying yourself to sleep at night. Talking to God through prayer is the best medicine that will help you go to sleep at night. Resting in His Light and allowing the Holy Spirit to quiet your mind, brings recovery.

Today, in the midst of my own grief and the untold grief of families connected to the 28 who died, including the perpetrator and his mother.

We need more than ever to pray for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to prepare a people ready for His coming. The world is dark and getting darker still, but Jesus' light shines brighter, brighter and the brightest for a new tomorrow.

A dedication to the families of Newtown, CT:

May the God of peace keep your hearts and mind through Jesus Christ and the comfort of The Holy Spirit both now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Presidents can't save us - The 2012 Presidential Debate

I thought today it appropriate to remind Christians and non-Christians about the importance of knowing Jesus Christ who is God's Son and to admonish you strongly to look to HIM who is the ANSWER for our problems and challenges in this nation. With a presidential debate tonight and election in November, you better have an anchor that is stronger than your flimsy beliefs in a candidate - a mere man, mortal who has no power to make his words come to pass - only God has that power! When God speaks - He created the world, man, woman and everything in the created world and world to come. Find out who Jesus Christ is today...God's Son...(John 3:16-18, The Holy Bible).

Everyone is waiting for this evening’s presidential debate that begins at 9:00 p.m. (EST) and will be televised live “by C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others” (http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-debate-schedule/2012-presidential-debate-schedule/). I have heard all kinds of news and opinion reports leading up to tonight’s standoff between President Barak Obama and the Republican’s candidate, Governor Mitt Romney. Everyone who has picked a “side” to stand with is waiting for confirmation; others are waiting to hear who is bringing the message they want to hear about the economy, jobs, and pro “this” or con “that. There are others who have no side at all – somewhat like me – standing in the middle: I want to discern what the truth is – or who is telling the truth. However, as I also wait to hear what is going to be said, I have made one decision: the debate alone will not be the deciding factor that guides my voting decision.

Thankfully, a scripture from God’s Word, The Holy Bible is coming before me to remind me (so I remind you and all Christians) of our daily duty before the Lord and especially as we prepare for a presidential election. It’s found in the New Testament, Book of 1st Timothy, chapter 2, verses 1 and 2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Interestingly, in spite of all the rhetoric from party members and even Christian organizations like Samaritan Purse’s email I received last week, I do not hear a loud, resounding call for Christians, and especially Christian leaders who have some influence in the political arena to ask believers in Jesus Christ to pray about who we should be voting for – at least, not as much as why we shouldn’t vote for one or the other candidate.

I am disturbed anyway, when any Christian organization takes a platform to wholeheartedly “choose” a candidate to support. I have a deep concern with persons in spiritual authority abusing their authority by allowing political candidates time in our worship services to share their party’s propaganda – that goes for the Mayor, The Governor and even the President. The church of Jesus Christ is not a political asylum, voting poll or place where politicos can get people to vote them into office. You never see them in attendance in the worship services again unless they want something (a vote, a donation, etc.). God’s house is a house of prayer, Jesus said, (see Matthew 21:13), not a platform for political candidates. Therefore, back to the original point – if God’s House, the “church” is a place of prayer, why aren’t we praying? Why aren’t groups of Christians or churches meeting in the weeks to come to just pray to God for America and for each of the candidates? The bottom line is no matter who wins the election, the mandate to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy is constant – it is something we must do as we see the days getting more evil, treacherous and the spirit of antichrist rising against the Lord Jesus who is the Christ – God’s Anointed One and God’s Son and His church.

Those of us who are Christians – true believers in Jesus Christ have a dual citizenship – here on earth and in Heaven, God’s Kingdom through Jesus Christ. We have a duty to our human citizenship to here the opinions, plans and support or oppose policies that go against God’s law, the poor and disenfranchised and what is the better good for this nation. There are varying opinions in the Christian church even about that – but the only way for Christians to resolve the conflict in choices is to pray – to connect to our heavenly citizenship through Jesus Christ, praying to God for an answer in these trying times. Tonight’s debate is not going to be the answer to our nation’s ills or our nation’s stance to not include God in its social and moral policies. The election is not the answer – only Jesus Christ is the answer. His Kingdom is coming…and we as Christians should pray daily “that His Kingdom would come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (see Matthew 6:10; a part of prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray when He lived on earth also known as the “Lord’s prayer”).

It stands repeating, “His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Are you praying that prayer Christian? Are you asking God for discernment in the midst of a multitude of words, promises and campaign slogans? Are you caught up in the “issues of the day”, the “cares of this life” or the “promises of God”? Are you Christian on your post – on your knees, or sitting at your breakfast table or sitting in your car or lying in your bed or sitting on a bench inside your church praying for God’s will in this election. Did you ask The Lord today to help and cover our leaders with blood of Jesus? Oh…we have work to do brothers and sisters…the work of prayer, faith and waiting on God.

May we come out of the world and the world system of politics! "Lord, grant us time to pray for our leaders and this nation and to help us to come to our holy senses to discern truth in these dark times.” Don’t be deceived by the platforms and rhetoric and the maze of challenges we face or will face or the fact that one is for homosexuality or against homosexuality. As Christians you should know what God’s Word says about homosexuality, already! God also cares about the poor; those who are homeless; without jobs; the prisoner, the abused, the disenfranchised…just as He hates same-sex relationships when He created man and woman from (and for the) man.

We need a word from the Lord in our individual hearts about what God is saying to this nation. No party has offered the right answers for the complexity of issues and social problems we face. No political party has a perfect heart toward God, toward Jesus Christ…just issues, challenges, problems, promises and platforms. God help us today and help us to choose a president for our country – not just on the wings of words from a presidential debate, but from the Word and Spirit of God.

God can’t bless this country if we don’t invite Him and His Kingdom to rule the way we live, grow and serve Him and each other in this country.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why losses can hurt deeply - talking about post-traumatic stress

Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) can occur due to a shocking, or fearful, tragic event or loss. The current losses or events that trigger anxiety, stress, bad memories, nightmares, sweats , weeping or any number of events that occur, may bring on an onset of post trauma stress - a reminder that we are still in need of God's grace and the healing touch of Jesus to go deep into our souls to cleanse, heal and restore us.

This week I went through a car situation - my car overheated on the highway on the way to work. I wondered while driving, "where is all this smoke coming from?" At closer inspection, it was my car that was letting out smoke like a hot kettle full of hot water. I pulled over to the breakdown lane on the highway, got out of the car and ran as far as I could from the car - I wasn't sure if the car was going to blow up or something...Whew! What a scary event.

As I collected myself, I called 911, a state trooper came to see if I was okay and The Lord sent one citizen, a woman to stop when she saw me standing in morning traffic on the side of the road to give me a lift somewhere if I needed it. Now that the emergency is over, it is good to know, there are still some people who care about people - even strangers - and will do the right thing to help a person in need. Thank God.

I got to the auto repair shop and was shocked at the cost of the repair - I wrestled with whether or not the manager of the shop was telling me to truth. I screamed inside, thinking about the savings I was trying to build, just to be hit with a whooping bill that I could not escape to pay to get the car back on the road.

With God's help, I got through it...yet...I could not stop weeping. In my mind, I knew, I was glad I had the money to pay the car repair bill. Thankful, the Lord saw fit for it not to take me over into debt; thankful that I got to work and did not lose much pay; thankful that I was safe and did not have a catastrophe on my hand - I was thankful. But the overwhelming loss shook me to my core, deeper than the actual incident, I realized on the second day, the ache I was feeling was connected to all the other losses, fearful losses, I experienced in the last four years. This incessant weeping was not about my car breaking down - it was about the cumulative loss all balled up into one car repair.

Yes...I had grieved those losses already...but every fresh loss was bringing back levels of grief that I had not completed. Like the loss of my car - the car that was my "dream car". I didn't love the car, but the car was for me, a blessing from God - a sign of His favor and that He loved me. So sick I was...that I thought that God's love and favor rested on one car. God allowed that car to be taken, but He provided for me during my "car -less" years and helped me to see His love for me had nothing to do with a Toyota Camry.

That loss had brought on some terrible consequences - buried deep in my subconscious. and that was just one of the losses that was the catalyst for the despair I felt about the car repair. As I sat in my car in front of a local library and cried with my head hanging out of the window...I realized by God's Spirit that maybe I was going through a post-trauma stress reaction. That fearful event more six years ago with the loss of one car had created a fear and stress whenever I had to repair my car unexpectedly. It was the same as when I walked out of my house and saw my car no longer in the parking space I left it - all unexpectedly.

I am so thankful to God that He showed me that - it allowed me to pray again for healing beyond my own means to self-heal. I need Jesus Christ, my Savior and Healer to heal my mind, my soul and my spirit.

Post-trauma stress syndrome can be treated. Beyond treatment, we need the healing touch of Christ to come into those deep places of heart and route out the mess, the vanity, the sin of placing things above our love for Jesus Christ.

Lord, heal me....heal us. In Jesus' precious name. Amen

Check here to read about PTSD: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001923/


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trust in a perfecting God

Over a decade ago, a Christian minister and friend told me that the Lord had given her a verse of scripture for my life. Psalms 138:8 says in The King James Version (Cambridge): "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." That was well over a decade ago and God, Our God, who is a perfecting (or maturing) God will accomplish His plans, purposes and will for our lives.

This word of encouragement was raised in my consciousness as I listened to a song by gospel singer, Vashawn Mitchell (vashawnmitchell.emigospel.com) new single, "Turning around for me". As he ministers this song (you can hear it live on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzbKwcC-Xmo). The song expresses the feelings of persons who have struggled long and hard in the dark night of disappointment, grief, loss, pain, sickness, trouble...you name it. When you have prayed and waited on the Lord, even for years, sometimes The Lord will touch someone to write a song that will lift you out of despair and give you hope. The phrase in the song that embeds this great scripture says, "It won't always be like this...The Lord will perfect that concerneth me...and sooner or later, turn in my favor... is the word you need...to keep waiting on God, hoping in "His mercy that endureth forever".

The chorus continues in the same vein with a repeat of "around for me...around for me...around for me...it's turning around for me." God truly is not a man that He should lie...He will accomplish...fulfill, "do everything" (various versions of the Psalm 138:8) His plans for you and for me.

I am so thankful that after a long wait before God, a long, long night of not seeing results or seeing our desires in the Lord fulfilled, God will in His time and according to His purposes heal, restore, deliver and make good the wait. Nothing is wasted in God's time. Lessons are being learned in the perfecting process (perfecting is another word for maturing). God is making us like His Son, Jesus who "learned obedience through the things He suffered".

God is going to perfect that, that is everything that concerns my life and yours. We must put our trust in the only hope for this world, The God who can be trusted and deserves not only our trust, but our faithfulness and love. Whatever it is you are waiting on The Lord of Glory, God Almighty to do...wait on it. He will make His word come to pass.

Loving God with all of my heart through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jesus is Our Companion

I want to lift up a central thought as you walk out your day today, maybe a day of mourning, loneliness or despondency: Jesus is your companion. Growing up, we are soon taught right away from our friends in our community or at school that it is good to belong to a special group, a gang or some other circle of people in order to identify, have self-worth...feel accomplished. As I have grown, my "circles" of friends and even "memberships" of friends and associates have changed, many times by the Lord's doing, and definitely for the better. I am not saying it is wrong not to have friendships and associations; I am saying that all friendships and associations have to be God-led and God-orchestrated. Outside of these associations, the greatest is having Jesus Christ in your life - He is the ultimate companion (friend, Savior, deliverer and comforter). I know of no one better who truly cares for me (you) and who can walk with us in every situation, ordeal or challenge. Jesus is truly a friend indeed.

I remember two years ago, about this same time, I met a woman at a conference who so lovingly connected with me by the power of The Holy Spirit. She was "Jesus" to me. We talked a little and she ministered to me in a special way. Later, she sent me something in the mail (she had promised to send me something, but I could not imagine what it could be, I did not know her at all). In the envelope that arrived at my home was a blue folder that had a cute little poem, a devotional word of encouragement and a card that simply read on the inside cover, "Divinity is Your Companion". Even now, as I write this I am touched by the remembrance of the thoughtfulness of a woman I never spoke to or saw again these past two years. Yet, her words and really, the words of Holy Spirit minister to me today. Jesus the Christ is with me - Immanuel.

I am so thankful as I try to prepare for the rest of my day, find moments of respite and listen to the Lord's voice in all that my eyes see and my ears hear, that I know that Divinity is close by...watching my every move, listening to my heart and comforting my spirit. He is encouraging me too...to not pay so much attention to what people may say, but what He is saying to me in each encounter I have today and everyday. I am so encouraged that Jesus is my companion. Will you allow Him to be your companion?

Pray about it,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A friend dies of suicide

Yes, this has been a season of death - of seveal reports of persons dying in the last week...Monday, Friday and today -  a sister in Christ dies of suicide. I have been keenly aware in the last 7 weeks, of seasons of mourning. Ecclesiastes says, "there is a time for mourning..." This is a time for many of us; many of you who are mourning not only mourning, but healing. I have received call after call, and today I walked into church to find out that a dear sister in the faith, had given up the fight - tricked by the enemy to leave this world. I am praying for the family right now in Jesus' name.

What a serious death - a serious thing to happen to such a woman who I believed loved God, but did not know how to reach for help in a time of need. Don't judge her, she was ill, she was not herself and what happened, only God knows and understands. Upon reading this, lift her family up who are walking in the aftermath of such a terrible event. Death brings enough mourning - suicide is another level of mourning, so many unanswered questions and feelings. So many signs missed of a soul that was hurting and in the deepest of despair. Father, help us all to heal from our wounds. Heal our souls, our minds and our spirits. Do not let our church programs and services get so regimented that we feel like we can get a "touch" from you and walk out of the doors - we need Your help and Your comfort.

Lord...help us in our mourning today. So many...the 10 families from the last 7 weeks in the circle of friends and church members I knew and so many more all over the world - help us in our grieving and heal not only our hearts and minds, but our land. We need you today Lord. We need you to keep us in the dark times. We need You Jesus to fix us where we are broken and messed up by people who hurt us and the enemy who brought bondage in our lives.

Father, in Jesus name, break the curses off of our lives. Now in Jesus name...set every captive free. Let no one leave this world under these circumstances. Father, keep people when they are desparate. Keep me and keep my family. Lord, You know all of us, how much we can bear and take....Be there for us when we need You the most..Be there Lord.

Suicide is an awful thing. To hurt oneself is to hate oneself. That is not God - that is the enemy who hates us all. But Jesus loves us. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you....

Don't forget...no matter how dark the night....Jesus, The Light of the World will brighten our darkest days....Without Him we can do nothing....

Praying ever the more for those who mourn today....love you in Jesus.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Unexpected. That's how I can describe what I am going through today. It was totally unexpected. And unexpected events cause grief...too. Maybe I place too much expectation in people. I actually believe people or want to believe in people. However, some people do not reveal their true colors until...they reveal their true colors. Then all of the expectations of the relationship is poured out...What you thought was good, you now say, "I don't know...is this a good thing?" Persons who seem to have some modicum of civility and sense, show you that, underneath that veneer of civility, they are an animal on the prowl to attack your character, intentions and even your motives.

Some persons who know you just want to believe that you are not good enough...they believe they are inherently "better than you" when in actuality they are not better - they look better, but their value systems, morals, social networks and actions tell you that they do not have a "higher" plane of thinking...they are really low in how they view life, situations, events and even, sometimes you.

I have decided that I am going to trust in The Lord more. I cannot rely on the fickleness of persons who do not live in my "God view" of life's events. I need to listen to the Lord Jesus about the proper perspective, actions and viewpoints of how I relate to persons and how I handle situations. I am not perfect, never said I was, but one thing I do know: I do not intentionally seek to harm or hurt persons; I also do not think I'm better (I think I slip up on this sometimes, but God straightens me out and I know that with God, He is the only One who is BETTER than anyone else). I want to live for Christ, I want to do what is right, I want to have the right intentions and serve Jesus, people...be a blessing.

I know I am "confessing"...but really...I am always disturbed by unexpected realities...and then I have to go back to the God who never changes. The One I can count on to be constant. Thank you Lord for being the same, "yesterday, today and forever".

The unexpected. A dashed dream, a failed relationship, a sudden change of course..loss.....Thank God, He comforts me in the unexpected events of life. I better trust Him more...He is trustworthy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Loss after loss

I mourn.

I relocated a month ago; the first weekend I attended a funeral of a family friend. The following week, another family friend's loss had me at another homegoing service. This week, three deaths, including that of my dear cousin Sylvia in Georgia. In one day, I heard of two of the losses, including Sylvia's death. I was told, "she was tired of living". None of that lessons the feelings of loss. All died in the Lord Jesus; I am glad they are with Him in eternity; today I was shakened by the deep abiding heaviness that occurs when the mind is trying to salvage some meaning to the finality of death. I am so glad that I know Jesus and that The Holy Spirit is comforting me. Never in such a time have I experienced, observed so much loss and grief at the same time.

I am overwhelmed.

I just wrote about the good grief, the kind of loss that you experience when you have made decisions to move to a new town, take a new job and all that. However, as my grief deepens, I have doubted my decisions. I have lost some of my bearings. It is difficult ...so many adjustments at the same time has left me yearning...wondering about my choices...and waiting on God to make a way for me that no one else can do. Only the Lord can make a way out...(thank you Jesus).

And now, I weep while others are weeping just like the Bible tells us to do in Romans 12:15. I also rejoice knowing that they died in Jesus. I mourn knowing that though their body perished, their souls are with The Lord...for all eternity. No more suffering...many suffered in this life and were tired from the suffering. One died of old age. One battled death while fighting by faith cancer and was a great testimony until ....not that she lost the fight or battle, but the Lord in His wisdom, allowed her life and time on this earth to end. One was young...not even 35 years of age. Many wore purple at her funeral to celebrate the fun person she was...we were shouting and praising God. Another, a man who could sing for God was celebrated with song...we praised then too. Thank you Lord for showing me that we can die with victory because of you Jesus. You have conquered death for us. You Jesus, took the final sting out of death.

No more stings. Tears, yes...but the sting of death is defeated...vanquished. I want to die praising the Lord in my life just like these died. But not yet...more work to do with the Lord (not for the Lord, notice the difference).

I am glad. The Holy Spirit has cheered me with Jesus who is Our Victory if we know and have accepted Him as our Savior. He loves me and He loves you. Hallelujah to The Lamb.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good Grief Again

Today I cried...I knew that God was at work in my life when I attended a church where a healing service was being conducted along with Holy Communion. The church, a quiet place of bountiful worship, scripture reading was most beautiful in its simplicity. No cameras...lights or "live stream videotaping". It was a time for a refreshing. After service, the pastor took 20 minutes or more of her time to talk to me...about my good grief. I knew by the Holy Spirit that I was grieving and stressed, but I didn't really get it until I spoke to the Pastor about the recent changes of a relocation, new job - what she called, "high stress" events. I was once again reminded of how good God is in watching over His little children and letting me (us) know, that He cares - He sends His people to minister to minister to others in their time of need.

Thankfully, I am facing my good grief. The terrible pain of grief again in spite of making a good decision that led to other good decisions for change, did not stop me from experiencing a sense of loss. This explained my anxiety and sadness...loss is really loss....no matter the loss. Leaving even good things, a change in geographic locations, a new job, a new place to live, a new routine and leaving behind what was...causes grief. After our talk, my heart was both glad and sad - I know now how to pray about the grief and glad that "I am normal".

I have also attended two funerals in the last two weeks of moving. I am overwhlemed and needed to recognize that I was in a grieving place. I have however, after acknowledging that I am in the grieving process, to not attend anymore funerals for awhile - I have to take care of my own grief work. I will send cards though...but I can't take another funeral at this time. Thank God who always causes us (me) to triumph in Christ Jesus in the midst of any type of grief.

Thanking God for His help in navigating through this new grieving process.

"Thanks be to God".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

God is Our Comforter

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1: 3-4 (The Holy Bible)
Good morning,
I needed to raise this scripture for our edification again....and again. We need to remember that the Lord is our comforter through every trial, disappointment, loss and the various changes we go through daily. In spite of what you think, The Lord wants to comfort us in every circumstance, not just some. Instead of running to the cookie jar, ice cream parlor or a friend, we should first run to God for comfort. He is there, and He is waiting for us to bring to Him our concerns. Only He, through the blessed Holy Spirit, can truly tell us what is wrong with us (sometimes we don't know!), what we are feeling (sometimes we can't grasp the multitude of emotions running through us) and how to overcome.
I happened on this again through a series of major life changes I embarked upon. I was happy about the changes, struggling through the various tasks I had to accomplish to make the changes - God was with me through it all...yet at the end of it all...I was anxious. My mind was garbled with a bunch of junk and the enemy of our souls, the devil was trying to oppress me with a bunch of mess in my mind. I was rebuking and casting down, but asked the Lord what is going on. I feel alright...everything seems to have settled...what is it Lord? What is bothering me?
Grief. Good Grief.
I am grieving.
The changes I made were necessary, for my good and all that....but the upheavals caused displacement from regular routines. Friends are now being missed. Associates are now not in my company. My living quarters have changed and I am carpooling and feeling dislocated "personally". Loss has occurred and I didn't even recognize that I was grieving the necessary losses (for necessary gains). God is blessing me with new opportunities, associates and old friendships are re-kindled. And yet, the losses of what was is upon me. I needed to take my grief to the Lord. I needed to admit my grief and ask the Lord to heal me in my mind from the fear of the uncertainty of my future.
Yeah...it's a brave new world...a "new normal"...but it doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt when you have to move through these new stages....the trauma, even in good grief, grief caused by positive change can be daunting, painful....
I am grieving. Thank you Lord for telling me that and please help me to give You my grief. Help me to navigate through "new normals": daily routines, new opportunities, the loss of old opportunities and new friendships. I know You are with me wherever I go. Your love is always with me and You so wonderfully care for me. Be my comforter...in my spirit, soul and mind. Rebuke the enemy and bless me with a greater sense of Your presence and comfort. I love you and I know YOU love me.
God of all comfort...here I am. Love you Jesus.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Letting go of the fear

Without a doubt, we have all faced some kind of fear in our lives after great loss. It is natural "by-product" of grief - but an unexpected one just the same. For me, I can say that I have always struggled with the fear of the future, having been a child with a proclivity toward worry. Years later, in my adult life, after subsequent losses of different types, fear has become something to fight against every day, in Jesus Name.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:8 that "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind". I claim that promise today. Yet, today, I also had bouts of fear throughout the day, an onset of stressful situations and distressing news. I was forced to declare openly, "God I need your help to overcome my fears".

I know...you may be thinking...but you know that fear doesn't come from God? Yes, I know. The spirit of fear is a demonic spirit that attacks the mind and the emotions and you must speak against it. At the same time, we must also depend on the Holy Spirit to strengthen us when we are weak; when we feel "out of sorts" or tired - when it's harder to say, "I will not fear".

Fear is irrational...truly the spirit of fear is a big liar! The devil (always lowercase folks....) always tries to attack you when you are going through a tough time with lies of defeat. I am committed to get more in the Word of God. To not read, watch or think on fearful things. To activate faith...to counter the fear. I command that spirit of fear to go right now in Jesus Name. I will overcome. I will not fail. The future is in my loving heavenly Father's hand. Jesus is with me. The Holy Spirit is always in me, teaching me and reminding me..."do not be afraid".

When you have experienced lots of loss, there is a frailty you experience about the unknown as you go through the grief process...it's almost like being in shock or trauma. Unexpected losses are harder to bear, like an unexpected job loss or sudden death. Multiple losses leave you not finishing the grief of the last loss...so you are constantly, in one of the stages of grief. Jesus is healing me, one grief at a time. It is so important to not let the grief go under - as I told one friend, you must do the grief work - examine the grief, look at it, experience it, and release it and yourself to God.

I know God doesn't make me afraid. I claim the victory that was won in Jesus Christ to defeat this spirit out of my mind. I just know I need God's help, to be healed from the root of the fear: the grief, the anxiety, the guilt and the stress that makes it difficult on those days when I don't feel strong. "When I am weak, then am I strong".

Thankfully, Jesus is strong...stronger than all of my fears and grief. He has carried them.

"Today, Lord, carry me".

Monday, February 27, 2012

Resilient in spite of the tears

I have to say I have met a lot of people who thought crying was only for babies. I have always felt a sense of relief when I've cried out to the Lord about something that hurt me; a lost romantic interest, a betrayal, an ill word spoken about me or just a day when one problem after another overwhelmed me. I like to cry. I am concerned though when I hear people make fun of others who cry. I had a female pastor years ago who used to chide me for crying too much. So for a couple of years, I hid my tears in the name of "being strong". Nonsense! There is no strength in telling lies about yourself, and telling lies to yourself about deep pain.

The truth of the matter is we should cry..loud....strong...and long in order to be healed. Stuffing pain does not heal you. The release of tears cleanses the toxic emotions that hide in pride, ego, vanity and acting like something doesn't hurt when it actually does. The "not crying folks" have other erratic behaviors that arise out of a lack of honesty about deep emotional pain. Life happens...to everyone. I'm glad that Jesus wept to show the world that crying is "normal" when you are hurt. It doesn't mean that you are not strong or resilient. However, it does mean for a time, you are in a season of weeping to wash away the dirt of pain from whatever its sources: death, disappointment, sin, failure or whatever.

Resiliency in the tears is owning the full range of the human experience and inviting God the Holy Spirit to heal you, restore and deliver you. We hurt. We cry. We heal. Keep buying your Kleenex...and let the Lord bring healing from your weeping season so you can survive...life with resiliency.

Be blessed...weeping endures only for a night..get through your night with Jesus. He loves you and so do I.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Pastor died - the awfulness of the unexpected

My childhood through my young adult years Pastor, Rev. Earl W. Lawson of Hartford, CT died on yesterday, January 18, 2012. I got the news late evening, and the Lord being so good, had prepared me for “unexpected news” earlier yesterday’s morning through a local radio broadcast.

As I drove my car into work, the radio announcer of a Christian show was taking calls from persons who had experienced unexpected bad news. The show was an encouragement as each person, with different types of “bad news”, talked about their journey and the wonder of God to bring them through the awfulness of the unexpected. Yeah, that’s what I want to call the “awfulness of the unexpected”. As I listened, I encouraged myself to not “expect” bad news – but rather to look back on all the times, when bad news came, the Lord was with me, healing me, comforting me and making streams in the deserts through the situations.

Believing also from the Spirit of God, that the radio show was not only about unexpected bad news, but all of the unexpected blessings the Lord sent my way, helped me to balance the whole “is something bad going to happen blues”. However, 14-hours later, I heard that Pastor Lawson died at home. Wow…is all I could say…Wow…the Lord always knows what we need to hear before something happens to cushion life’s blows.

Besides my father, Rev. Lawson is one of the few men that I actually admired in my 48-years of living. A man after God’s own heart, he was a man from Boston, trained in theology school, trained by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who also went to school in Boston, trained by street and mission’s ministry and a humble servant.

He was a worker – do you know what I mean by that? So many pastors, Bishops and leaders in the church want to be served – not him. He was real fussy about being given a lot of attention, entourages and security guards. None of that junk! He was touchable, reachable – he came off that pulpit and talked with the people. He was involved with missions in the church and out of the church – yes, he put on denim overalls and went to the streets and handed out gospel tracts to those he met on the street. He went to the prison, the hospital, the sick ward, the convalescent home, the member’s home. He went to prayer service and bible study – so it was easy to hear him complain about persons who said they loved Jesus Christ but didn’t want to pray and learn more about Jesus in bible study. I miss having that type of relationship with a pastor.

He taught the Bible with power and conviction. He taught us “long meters” – that’s a style of music in the African-American congregation, where people sing without hymn books by chanting the verses of the hymn and then the congregation sings the verse after the chant – real…slow. For years, the church did not have a minister of music – nor did they have a piano player! I have to chuckle at that because for a long while I thought it was because he was not a great singer. He loved the hymns and loved the sincerity of the words of faith that leapt off the pages of music that confirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of faith in a believer’s life. That’s what he taught me through his life. “We’re marching to Zion” was one of his favorite hymns. I believe it was the song we sang during his pastoral installation.

He was very strict about the money of the church, giving reports, keep a firm accounting of everything that we did. He appointed deacons to members of the church and expected them to visit the sick, call members and be involved in ministering to the body of Christ at that local church. In fact, he got into some trouble at one church because he made the deacons and the trustees leave the “counting rooms” to come out to hear the sermon every Sunday. Hahahaha…oh, I can’t tell you how well that went (not very well at all!) When we founded the new church, he was careful that the membership and leadership did not spend frivolously. He did not take a lot of money from the church – a modest pastor’s salary and benefits package – he did not leave the church broke or the membership wondering if there was a thief in the pulpit when he retired as Pastor Emeritus. He was a man of integrity. He believed in people more than programs. He believed in Jesus Christ by the way he preached, lived and shared with others.

I am older and wiser and it has caused me to really appreciate what the Lord gave me in the example of a godly man in the person of Rev. Earl Lawson. I recognize that it is only what we do for Christ that lasts – the impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ on a life – my life – demonstrated by someone who was saved, loved God and loved people. I never felt abandoned – I don’t remember that – I don’t remember not feeling loved – I do remember we had differences of opinion (who doesn’t?) – But I remember most his smile, his zeal for God’s house and His Word, for prayer, for service to others and the people of God. He reminded me of Jesus.

I talked with someone today who made me laugh and remember the lessons he taught and the things he used to say to each of us. I just have to put out some famous sayings of his:

“Stop eating in the church...you can’t even be in church without eating a peppermint and hearing the paper while you eat during the service.”

“If you are late, you can’t come in – we are not going to wait for you – sit out in the vestibule. Always late, [people], you need to come to church on time.”

“We don’t need no music, open your mouths and sing for the Lord!”

“Come to prayer and bible study…”

“If the person hasn’t paid their dues, take them off the membership roll…”

“God chooses who He wills…”

There were some others…I can’t wait to talk to others about some of the things he used to say. People used to call it “grumbling”, but he was not grumbling, he was just fed up with the lazy attitude of people concerning the things of God and working in the community. He was a servant and he wanted others to be a servant too.

You know, he ordained my dad, the late Deacon John Birdsong, Jr. to the Deacon’s ministry? My dad, a humble man with little education became Chairman of the Deacon Board of that foundling church. Yes, my father, who never had a corporate job, led other men and women in the church of Jesus Christ. Yes, “God chooses who He wills…”

And, I just remembered something else about him: he was not afraid of controversy. When he heard from God, he did what God said and he didn’t take a vote from the people on this or that. He knew what God was telling him to do and he did it and he was not about being popular, on television, or famous. He didn’t care about any of that kind of stuff.

Prayer during my grief: Thank you Lord for Rev. Lawson. I am grieving but I know he is in glory with you Jesus. No one else spoke into my life like he did… Help me Lord to remember what he taught and to run my race with you, keeping my faith in you Jesus who will see me through all the way to heaven. I love you Lord and I thank you again for the life and ministry of Rev. Earl W. Lawson. Help me as I recover knowing that He is with You in Glory. Hallelujah Lord, hallelujah Lord…blessed be the name of the Lord.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (NIV)

“The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die.” (NLT)

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.” (GWT)

Written the day after the news of Rev. Earl W. Lawson going home to be with Jesus, January 19, 2012 by Verinda M. Birdsong, Copyright 2012.