Thanks for visiting my blog! I pray that you get something out of my being transparent and that God will continue to use me even to speak to one!! Feel free to click follow or follow by email! Be blessed... and transparent!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Transparent Waiting

Isaiah 40:31 "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 49:23 "You will know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me."

Waiting is something we all have to do. I said it before, we have to wait for birth, we have to wait for meals and we have to wait in line at grocery stores when someone is pricing comparing. The funny thing is I don’t mind waiting sometimes! When I am baking a cake, I don't mind. When I am in a long line, I don’t mind... as long as I am not in a hurry. But for the most part, we all have to wait every day of our lives. You would think we would learn how to wait patiently after a while. Yet when God calls us to a time of waiting, we begin to sound like J.G. WENTWORTH screaming, "I want it now!" How dare we, as the created, demand "our due" from the Creator! All of these "name it, claim it" prayers we do aren't giving Him glory, they are seeking glory for us and then we just put a "God stamp" on it saying He blessed us. If we take account of all that we have named and claimed until we got it.... essentially whining like spoiled toddlers, we could write a book and tell of how it so was NOT worth it!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have been there. I have had a detailed description of the car, the house, the HUSBAND, the job, etc that I want "now." I actually had the nerve to assume my God's was Burger King and I could "have it my way." Uh uh! He does not say I will give you glory. No, He says that HE will get the glory. This sometimes means at the expense of us if we are too proud to back down. His Word is clear, and because He never changes, we can rest assure that He will get the glory... at all cost. He is a jealous God (also in His Word Exodus 20:5) and He WILL have His way!

So why not wait? This is what I have learned while waiting on God. When I step out of line, His longsuffering allows for me to try it "my way" while knowing I am bound to fall at some point. He then picks me up and holds me as a mother holds a crying child. He is also just so there are consequences I may have. Much like a baby learning to crawl or walk, He will pick me up and put me back where I started until I get it. One of MY consequences is just the starting over. I hate to do things over! I would rather just pass over it than start again! Whenever my teachers would take my work and tell me to do it over, I'm sure if we were a cartoon strip I would have steam coming from my head and flames from my eyes! Yet His gentle and firm hand picks me up and places me back where I was to begin. Not to laugh while seeing the flames and steam emerge from me, although I used to think so, but to give me another chance! I have NEVER thought of it that way! He gives us multiple second chances yet we see it as more needless waiting. If we would only learn the first time and heed His instructions and warnings, which are clearly on the Label, we would only have a short wait versus "40 years of wandering."

Don’t you desire to be the fullest for God? Don’t you desire to be all that you can be for Him? No? You have too much to do you say? You can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to spend time with Him you say? Perhaps that’s why you lost your job and are now applying furiously and impatiently, while He waits patiently for you to seek His will for your life. Perhaps you had a bad break up from a relationship that was not only draining YOU but draining your relationship with God. If only we would look at our lives as His creation and here for His glory instead of Him being here for us.
There is only one thing that should be swift, one decision we should be making quickly, and that’s surrendering our lives to Jesus and asking Him to come in our hearts. Once we declare Him as Lord and Savior and believe that God sacrificed His only Son for us and then raised Him from the dead for us, the same people who live in vain every day, the wait is over! We could live our whole lifetime, whether that is seven days after surrendering or 70 years, learning to love Him as He loves us. We could then begin to see ourselves as He does, holy. The waiting.... would be worth the wait. It will be when we see Him face to face.

Father God, I thank You for Your tremendous, never ending grace and mercy You bestow on us. I thank You that You are an ever loving example of how we are to be with You as well as others. I thank You for Your patience with me God, for I certainly am in need of it every day! We are an impatient group, Your children, Lord and I just ask You to teach us how to be more like You when it comes to waiting. Bring us to the place where we can sit in Your presence and be content while waiting on You to deliver, to save, to bless, to call us. Give us Your purpose for us Lord and with that purpose give us the strength to wait on You. When we don’t want to wait Lord bring us to our second chance with a gentle reminder that You are God and You are still on Your Throne. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen!

What are you waiting for? If you have not yet surrendered your WHOLE life to Christ, now is the best time to do it! It's the only thing we should NEVER wait another day to do! Say this prayer after me, "Lord, I am a sinner, forgive me. I don’t like to wait for anything yet I make You wait for me to invite You in. No more. I repent of all my wrongdoings and acknowledge, God that You gave Your only Son as a ransom for me and then raised Him from the dead for me. Jesus I speak that YOU are the Savior (saving grace) and Lord (Head) of my life. Take over, I give you my burdens and take on Yours. Thank You for waiting on me even when I wouldn’t wait on You. In Jesus name, Amen!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Transparent Bags

"And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground." 1 Samuel 17:49

"In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel." Ezekiel 12:6

So it's 6:15 am here and I am listening to my kids get ready for school. I see as they get older, their morning routines get easier, or maybe it’s because I make them get their things ready at night, who knows! But then I look at the things my youngest has to get ready for school... the baggage she is taking to school and it hits me. We all have baggage we carry around! It looks heavy and unnecessary to most but to us, there are things that we need in there. For instance, my daughter Naria has a total of 3 different bags she takes to school daily. She has her backpack full of books, homework or papers to display on the refrigerator, pens, etc. She has a duffle bag that she takes for her volleyball practice filled with shoes, knee pads and change of clothes. And then she has a purse. She is known in Omaha for her purses! If you know Naria, you know her purses are nothing normal! They are huge and baggy themselves! All this for such a small frame of 5'1 (even though she will tell you 5'1.5).

My oldest carries a Buzz Light-year backpack around because she hates purses. But even to her, this is a necessary item. Makaila has always been a packrat and what she deems important is in her bag, no matter how much like trash it looks to mom. We have had plenty of go rounds about that thing! Yet she carries in it her camera, her magazines, gum and/ or candy and loose papers she feels she needs. Among all of that is her wallet.... It's crazy!

My son is the one who carries least. He has a sling back he carries around only when he is doing parkour or running track. But oh in his pockets! I find the most in there during laundry day! Anything from food wrappers (he is a tapeworm sufferer), candy... no not the wrappers, 3 and 4 chapsticks, folded paper with his drawings among other things. THAT is his baggage!

Recently I was a Women of Faith conference and person they had doing drama did a skit on baggage that Saturday. There could not have been a dry eye in the building when she was done! Not even her! Her skit began as a child and the baggage from divorce (the similarities were haunting to my own childhood and my children's) and went on to teen years with relationships that scar, teachers that demand, jobs that call up until she met for herself the One who could carry these bags for her.

We all carry baggage that can be things or habits or even people. We carry them into new relationships; we carry them into new homes and new jobs. We carry them into new walks of life and even into a new life in Christ as a new believer. No one is exempt from carrying these bags at one point. Some of us then take our baggage handling to a new height when we publicly display what we are carrying. We display bitterness, we display complaining spirits, eating disorders, past pain, scars, hurts and some even display children as baggage (usually those who become parents too young, mothers left to raise them alone or fathers who abandon in some form or another). My baggage is no different. I even display mine at times when my anger stems from something in the past not resolved or I don't trust someone who God places in my life. I also display my hurts by overprotecting my heart and trying to overprotect my children, but they let me know and God lets me know that He has them.

How do we get rid of these heavy burdens we call baggage? In Ezekiel, he was commanded to "lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk." David "put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead." These are two different variations of what was done with baggage but I say they are one in the same. We, too, can lift up our baggage and carry it out AND reach in it to use what's in it for our giants. Interested in knowing how?

The first thing we need to do is hand over our bags to Jesus. He said "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Picture a bell hop for a second. Their whole purpose in their job is to carry your luggage.... and then hold out their hand for a tip! But picture the "carry your luggage part". They wait either by the door, if it is a lush hotel or apartment, or by the lobby just for YOU to come in and take your heavy luggage to which you probably carried through the WHOLE airport, while waiting for a cab or car to retrieve you and then into the hotel! Isn't it refreshing to know someone is waiting just for you?! That is what JESUS does! He is waiting for you to give Him your burdens/ baggage. He is the One who can give you rest. That's what He does; it's His job and oh is He good at it! Give your baggage to Him! Aren’t you tired of carrying it?

The second thing we need to do is use what is inside to fuel us towards the goal God has made us for. What I mean is coal is one of the ugliest things on earth! I mean I used to get threatened as a child to behave or I would get coal as a Christmas gift! Ugh! But coal is very useful to us! It is used as fuel, and when crushed just right creates a diamond! Did you catch that? Woo!! Let me repeat that last part for you. When coal is given the high temperatures (fire, as in being in a furnace) and has the right amount of pressure (have you ever felt pressed in stress?) it becomes a diamond! Oh em gee!! That just made me smile figuring that out! Use your past hurts, scars, pain, trials, disappointments as fuel to strive for God's best for you! Do you know you are more worthy than rubies to God? (Proverbs 3:15) So making your trials into diamonds is NOTHING to Him!! Oh just to know there is a diamond coming out of this makes me rejoice! Also, you are able to strike the giants in your life with these same stones! Can you believe it??

So, how about now? Are you now ready to release the baggage or the baggage claim tickets to Jesus? He is waiting for you; won't you trust Him with your bags?

Oh Heavenly Father, You are so good to us! Your constant supply for our needs includes Your Son taking our baggage and giving in return His own which is "easy and light." Thank You for making available to us the experience of carrying light loads. I ask Your forgiveness in light of my own baggage that I still carry or pick up from time to time and ask You to continue to be patient with me as I learn to trust You more and more that You will not only carry mine but take care of it and me. Give us, Lord the load of peace and rest while You deal with unloading our baggage. I trust You to know just where to put each item in there. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen!

For those not knowing personally that Jesus is the only One who can carry your burdens perfectly until now, repeat this prayer, believing that He will carry you as well. Dear Jesus, I am a baggage carrier, a sinner. I am tired of carrying such a heavy load, Lord. I am asking your forgiveness as I place my bags down and turn and walk away from them. Please take them and give me yours in their place. I believe, God that You sent Jesus to die on the cross for me. I believe that You love me that much, no matter what is in those bags. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, and ask You now Jesus to come into my heart. In Jesus name, thank You for new life, Amen.

For those who said, believe and confessed this prayer, welcome to the Family!! For those still struggling with that Truth that God loves you and waits with open arms for you, do not haste in running to Him, for we are NOT promised to wake up tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Transparent Sacrifice

"He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together." Gen 22:5-8

Abraham was the Father of faith. Even in the New Testament, his faith is counted righteous. But I am human, and so much like humans do today, I read Hebrews 11 and wonder, "How is he so righteous?" He lied about his wife more than once, he laughed at God's promise for him because of his circumstances, even after God's promise, he and Sarah took matters into their own hands, virtually causing Hagar to be the first recorded single mom. How could he be so righteous? How could God forget this other stuff? But, He does. Not only does He forget, but He keeps His promise to bless Abraham with "descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore." Gen 22:17a. But still I wondered, "How could this be?" Well, today after reading this chapter again, I understand.

I am a toddler in my faith. I surrendered June 29, 2008 in my bathroom, on my way to church to sing on the praise team. Before that day, before that minute, I was lost. There were things I thought I understood in the Word of God, things I could even relate to. My Bible looked the part of a saint's Bible. It was well used, well highlighted and well marked. It looked like a sword that had been in and won many a battle. But it had not, I had not. I was a wandering sheep and up until the year before, I hadn’t even known I was lost! I had my own daycare, car, independence... everything that I needed, or so I thought. In 2007, things spiraled out of control fast when unexpected circumstances took one of my own out of my hands and I was left helpless. It was the worst feeling in the world to me. That year, I closed my daycare without blinking my eye and this started my journey, unbeknownst to me, to Damascus.

This year has been a struggle for me. I have made decisions no one in THEIR right mind would make because it would take control out of their hands. This summer, alone, God has prepared me for what He has in store for me, His promises to me. I am in the middle of training even as I write this blog! I have almost no money, almost no food, no car and nowhere to turn but to God. My bills almost landed my family homeless, we could still have utilities shut off and my children have needs I cannot supply right now. BUT GOD has made me a promise, the same promise He made to each one of you reading this now. He promises to NEVER leave us, nor forsake us. He promised to be our Strength, our Shelter, our Help in the time of need and our Portion/ Provider, among others. I cannot make a move right now without Him. I can’t afford to! You cannot afford to! Yet we do it every day.

Abraham has taught me today that trust in Him, He will supply my needs! If I have faith as small as a mustard seed, I can tell these mountains to move out of my way! But he has also taught me that I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength! Abraham heard the Lord call his name. He ANSWERED the call and without question, obeyed. Not because he had to obey, not because he didn't know what else to do, but because he had faith and God's promise to see him through this tough journey he had to make with his only son. In that, he was counted righteous! His past failures were thrown "as far as the east is from the west." They were forgotten, only to be remembered by humans who knew him "back then" or read his story.

God is doing great things in this evil time today! He is calling us to worship, to trust, to endure, to have faith. Oh if only we could do that to the extent of Abraham, who had nothing but God's promise of "descendents more numerous than the sand" to hold on to. Dear heart, hold on.

Father God, even as I am writing this blog, You see my mixed tears. Tears of pain and struggle and frustration yet tears of rejoicing for the revelation I got even from the last paragraph. God, You hold to key to my heart. You are the reason I endure, the reason I breathe daily. I ask forgiveness and repent of mistrust, mishandling and misrepresentation of You, Your Word and Your provision. Forgive me even for praying "safe" prayers instead of bold ones. Lord, for every person You direct to read this blog, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would move in them as He just moved in me. Move them to trust and have faith in You. Move them to endure the rough times knowing that You are with them and in their weakness is when You are strong. Allow them peace and joy through those times and shield them from those who would scoff and ridicule their choice to remain in You and not in the world. I speak blessings of wisdom, discernment, peace, joy, patience, love and favor over each of them. Remember them Lord as You remember Your people. Remember me Lord, as You remember Your people. Thank You that You called me. Thank You that You provided for me and thank You that You are moving me to my destiny through this hard path. I ask for endurance, patience and joy as I walk it and for You to carry me when I can't. I praise You Lord because You are Holy and worthy to be praised. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transparent Tongue

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Proverbs 18:21

We all go through life at some point unknowingly speaking life and death to people close to us. "You are gonna catch the death of you," was one I heard a lot growing up. Or something like "Why are going to go to that school? They can't do anything for you." Another one that I heard which was so harmless you would think it couldn't affect a child, "Don't sing! Keep your day job!" That one is still affecting me. I have heard I have a great voice but never believed it because of the damage done early on. No fault of the one delivering one of the many fatal blows to my esteem.

As a child, I was tall and lanky. I heard everything from "Your neck has funny rings around it," to a blatant "you are ugly." I wish I could make words ring out in echo like on the movies! That's how it sounded to me. Even my "friends" made fun of me from time to time in what we used to call "bag sessions" or "cut downs." I hope I didn't just give my age away!

In the Bible, Scripture speak about how much power the tongue has (Proverbs and Isaiah) and then James 3 speaks about taming this same tongue. James breaks the tongue down to a simple muscle that has so much power. How can so much power be in this one small seemingly helpless muscle? We use it to voice our opinions, taste our food and drinks and even to stick it out at people. But how can this small forgotten muscle be so powerful? Let me help you understand. The tongue, James likens to a rudder in a ship. As small as this rudder is, it directs where the ship will go. So goes it with the tongue. It is a "small member" with big power. Before those of us who are in Christ come to Him and surrender, we are also directed by our tongues. We said what we felt needed to be said and never "held our tongue." We lashed out at the cashier that didn't greet us or help us to our likings. We tore down strangers who might have been having a bad day and lashed out at us. And our children, we really let them have "tongue lashings" any time we were in a bad mood, when they made us mad; some of us even cussed them out. What a weapon of choice we used!

We lie with our tongue; we make deceiving statements to get things to go our way. We tear down sisters who are not as eloquent or able to dress as Christ would have them because they do not know. We make plans that are not pleasing to God all with this small muscle! I was no different! Mine was a weapon of choice indeed! In my teen years I could put a grown, retired sailor to shame. I carried this and other tricks in my tongue for years! I could tear a person down faster that a Maserati reaches 100!! If I wanted, I could make a grown man cry within minutes of me speaking to him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am by no means bragging! I have repented and am forgiven for the many things I did/ and slip up and do. I can remember a time when I wrote a rap about a young girl in my school that was less than honorable to her. I'm not sure if she ever heard it, it was pretty popular, but if she did... I apologize.

One of my many performances my tongue made was lying. I would lie about anything I thought was conceivable! If I dint think you could see my cars color was red, I would tell you it was orange to fit in. I was famous for making up stories and coloring the truth to get attention for years, but mysteriously never got caught up in the web of lies, that is until God saw fit for me to be firmly caught in it. There I sat, smack dab in the middle of this huge web waiting to be devoured by the enemy I didn’t really think existed.

I am free from this bondage of my tongue now! It no longer rules me; Holy Spirit rules it for me! I am free of it! And you can be too! Surrendering to Christ totally means you give Him reign over all of you, including your tongue. Watch what you say to others or watch it return to you! Season your speech with (good) salt and watch goodness flow back to you!

Father God, thank You for delivering from this bondage muscle! Thank You for convicting me every time it tries to take control again and delivering me when I resist the devil! Thank You for life filling words that you give to me! I pray that I will always bring about good fruit from my mouth to Your children! In Jesus name Amen!

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" Phil 4:8

Transparent Revelation

Transparent Revelation

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Corinthians 4:17

So, I haven’t been able to post all week but I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

First, I am so excited about what God is about to do! He is moving and I can feel it like one feels vibrations from an earthquake!

Let me say that I am human. I am not some super person who can leap over hurt in a single bound, or run faster than a speeding word. I am human. I get hurt, I get angry, and I get frustrated and even jealous sometimes. I get overwhelmed and discouraged sometimes too. I even get to the point where I could and sometimes do just give up. I cry my eyes out at times and scream at the top of my lungs at God.... well in my head. I doubt and ask God why me??? Why not them? Why can’t I get ahead? Let me repeat my first statement. I am human. I would love to say that in those times I reach for my Sword and get encouragement from God's Word every time the enemy lies to me and that I refute his lies with God's promises to me. But I don’t. There are even times when God will give me a Scripture to read and even though I read it and understand it, I treat it like the seed that is planted among thorns and it chokes and gets destroyed by life's hardships.

I like the lyrics of Casting Crown's song "Praise You in This Storm." It's gotten me through quite a few storms and even more once I turned my life over to God. The first verse is so clear. It says,

"I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away." (Courtesy of AZlyrics.com)

That says volumes to me!

I started this blog note on the 26th of June. Apparently God wasn't done with me learning what revelation He wanted me to get from this summer. I was working until this summer, I was comfortable until this summer, and I was complacent until this summer. Now I am unemployed again, uncomfortable and feeling like a snow globe shaken so hard the fixtures may come apart and fly around the water like me! But I am yet praising Him (Psalm 71:14) I am seeing that the revelation He needs me to get (and you for that fact) is not to believe in Him because of what He can do for us and how He can save us but because of who He is and how He has ALREADY saved us! What a liberating statement! I am free to see that He has called me!

If this is just a reminder for you, rejoice and remember! If this is the first time you are hearing or reading about this freedom, rejoice in the knowledge of God who is able! I was reminded again tonight when I had to uncomfortably sleep in my hot house because the little window a/c I have decided it was too hot to work. The remembrance revelation I got was sometimes we have to be in the fire and yet rejoice in Him. Things won’t always go as we plan; things won’t always go our way! But oh to trust in the Lord! He will make you soar on wings like eagles and renew your strength! I love that verse! Even reading it gives me strength no man could ever give! As I finish this short blog entry, know that it is still hot. I am still uncomfortable and now add tired, but I am full of joy! I have found peace and joy in the fire, a reason to "praise Him in this storm!"

Father God, I thank You for the refiner’s fire You bring our way! I thank You for the reminders You send our way and the chance to praise You in the midst of the storms of life. I thank You that these life storms are not comfortable because I am not of this world. I thank You that I have peace beyond all understanding and that I am able to freely share my short and temporary trials followed by Your goodness! Help me Lord to remember to praise You each time I want to whine, complain or even ask why me. In Jesus name Amen!

Instead of asking "why me?” ask "why not."

Transparent Fear

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

What is your fear? What are you so afraid of that you can’t move, your breathing becomes erratic or it keeps you from moving forward? Mine is spiders, leaving a child behind and speaking in public. I once saw a spider in my house and moved my family up in my room for the next two days. I refused to even go near the couch much less sit on it where the spider was. I constantly looked over my shoulder because I am the one who killed it. And it even further intimidated me by “wiping” the spray off of its head. That was it for me! I don’t believe I sat on that couch (the biggest one in my house) for over a year. I have also ALMOST left each one of my children behind on at least one occasion. The feeling of fear and feeling bad acted like a cancer each time it happened, but I have NEVER actually left them! And speaking in public… WHOA! I always said I will never do that! I get nervous, the harassing butterflies, sweats, and a case of the stubbly words, BUT I have done it three times already! So again I ask, what’s your paralyzing fear?

Fear is a scary thing! As I looked up and researched the word “fear” I am becoming fully aware of the vast difference in meanings. On the one hand, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary has several meanings: 1. (n.) A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread. 2. (n.) Apprehension of incurring, or solicitude to avoid, God's wrath; the trembling and awful reverence felt toward the Supreme Being. The Hebrew word for the word fear in the Scripture used here is yare'. The meaning is “to be afraid” according to topicalbible.org. How many times have you said that in your lifetime? Here is another piece for you to chew on. Things that are said from our heart are things we believe (Matthew 12:34b). Do you notice that when we are truly afraid that we don’t yell out or express, “I’m not afraid?” Sure, we may laugh and say it but 9 times out of 10 people can smell fear just like a pit bull that is ready to attack you.

What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from taking that one step into your destiny? Better yet, what is forcing you to stop one step short of your destiny? What makes you lie in the comfort of your own home, own couch, same job that you know is not fulfilling what God has you to do? Can I share something with you? My fear, the ultimate fear I have is me. I see the goodness God has for me. I know what His promises are for me yet I allow the enemy to come in and steal my joy, kill the dreams and destroy the good things God has for me just by agreeing with him. He tells me “you can’t do this,” “you know you are not really good at organization.” He even has the audacity to say “what are you thinking? That will never work out for you! Look at the other attempts you made.” You see, he loves for us to look at our failures as walls we cannot get over. As long as he can get us thinking that and looking at them negatively, he can run amuck elsewhere because our chains and bondage are tightly fastened. Well I am breaking free of my fear chains! I am tired of the chaffing I get from these stupid cuffs! I am tired of the limits the chains put on me, that I can run so far and then all of a sudden when I think I made it, the chain snatches me back and then I fall flat on my back! Man, falling in the same place over and over is starting to not only hurt but frustrate me! The bondage of fear is so suffocating that I sometimes think I can see the walls closing in! What about you? What chains have you become comfortable with? What fears and limits on your life do you just adjust to instead of living out God’s Word for your life. What does His Word say about it you ask? 2 Timothy 1:7 says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” POW!! Right there, if you never saw another “do not be afraid” Scripture, could free you for the rest of your life! God has not GIVEN us a spirit of fear (Greek word pachadh meaning fear, terror, dread)! No, what He gave us was the Spirit of POWER, LOVE and SELF CONTROL! Think about it, how does one explain to their child why they shouldn’t be afraid of the dark when its bedtime yet they are seen screaming and jumping in a chair because of a mouse… or spider (that’s me)? Fear is fear is fear! We can’t be fearful AND have power! We can’t be afraid AND show love! We certainly cannot have fear and self control at the same time! No matter how hard we try, if faced with our fear and the belief of God’s promise is not prevalent, we will lose control!

Here’s another honesty pit stop: I will run the other way in MY house if I see a big enough spider! If they are that big, I don’t want to know what their family looks like! No ma'am, I do not! I used to be that way with speaking. I have at the least conquered that fear but the enemy is faithfully trying to get me to back down or make me think I sound stupid and no one is paying attention.  I will even allow him in by procrastinating and waiting till the last minute to prepare! You see, he doesn’t stop because you conquer a fear. No, he has to keep going until he can get you back in that fear prison he had you in. That reminds me of a drug dealer. Let’s say you are a meth/ crack addict. You see the Light and surrender your life to Christ one day while talking to a street preacher. You are feeling free for the very first time as if you have just been let out of prison after decades. You go home and begin to clean up your home and destroy all paraphernalia linking and reminding you of that former life. Days go by after your deliverance and you feel good and praise God regularly. Then life begins to happen again. Bills that need to be paid get delinquent. Spouses that simply can’t or won’t believe you really are free of this bondage keep bringing up the past hurts and possibly even leave after being by you all these bound years. And to put the perfect cherry on your trials, your dealer calls. He hasn’t heard from you in “a minute.” He wants to know why he lost his best customer and is willing to give you a free “hit” of both drugs to get you through if You will “just come back.” This is how the enemy works! Many churches have the perfect “infomercial” sermon that promises when you come to Jesus, your life will be so much better (in so many words of course). They don’t reveal the clause that hell breaks loose when you break free of hell! Dear heart, can I tell you that the enemy doesn’t give up simply because we give him up! He tries even harder. The good thing about God is that He knows our abilities, our staying power. He has confidence in us when we go through things because He can see what we cannot. In Job 1, the enemy searches for someone new to conquer. When he goes to give account to God (that should say something right there!), God GIVES him permission to try Job. Not because God is cruel, not because He is unjust but because He knows the outcome! His confidence in Job is outstanding, no it’s sovereign! And in Job 19, we can see where Job proves God right once again when He says “For I KNOW my Redeemer lives,” (v 25)! Oh to be able to say that in the MIDDLE of my hardships!

Let’s begin to trust God as He trusts that we can do what He says we can! Fear is a stifling, binding, smothering, limiting spirit form Satan. Let’s begin to do as James says to do and “resist the devil” and watch him flee! Even as I write this, he wants me to be afraid. Well I laugh and say Satan my power, my love; my self control is greater than my fear! Will you do the same or stay the same? In the words of the old school cartoon Captain Planet, “THE POWER IS YOURS!” Use it to break free from your bondage today! How do you do that? By asking God to reveal to you your fears, known and unknown, and then replacing it with His Spirit!

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us a spirit of power and of love and of self control! Help me, Lord, to use this for Your glory and my good, no matter the circumstances. Help me to see that the bondage I am in is a prison I choose to be in and help me to get sick of it and break free as Your Son died for me to be! In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Transparent Hunger

"Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied." Luke 6:21

This new found hunger is like a (for lack of a better description) newborns feeding schedule or like a new couple who have just started dating and can’t seem to get enough of seeing each other. I want that feeling to remain, no matter what and especially when I am going through trials and tests. I can think of no better place to be. My latest discovery of Him is the fact that He loves me!! I am loved! Not the kind of love that is shown only when I am succeeding or when I am doing well. Not the kind that is showered on a child when they have had a good year in school, completed all chores, been honest and have rave reports from all of her/ his parents friends. No, I am speaking of the kind of AGAPE love that is there even when a decision I make is bad or I screw up. The kind of love that draws me near even when I know discipline is coming as a dog does its owner when it has had an accident or gone in the trash. The kind of love that dwells in me even when I don’t want to budge and face the day is what I hunger for.

I know full well that hunger of wanting someone to show love to you and running into the wrong arms or being disappointed by family who you have put into God’s place. I know the hunger of longing for God, His presence, to dwell in Him, to grow in Him. And only now has the question rose, “how do I satisfy this hunger?” The quest I am on now, I am praying will lead me to that answer. I will continue on this journey until I see Him face to face. This is what brings me to my transparent hunger.

In all of us, there grows a hunger for something. Some have a hunger for money, some a hunger for material things. I have even found out that some have a hunger for attention and without it they starve each time it is denied. Some have a hunger for love (been there) and seek it wherever it seems to be. Some have a hunger for success and/ or climbing the proverbial ladder, there are even some that hunger for the praise they get when something has been accomplished well in their lives (been there too). A hunger for lust/ sex, drugs, alcohol and harming are the only ones we seem to look down on in today’s society. Even the hunger for shopping is praised (especially in stores). What do you hunger after? What are the things you seek out to fill a “growling stomach” feeling in your spirit?

Hunger is defined in the dictionary as being a “compelling desire for food” or an ache in your stomach that needs filling with food. What it doesn’t tell us is that a lot of times when your stomach growls because it is empty, thirst is really what’s going on. Health nuts and water advocates like will tell you time and time again that when you KNOW you have eaten already but your stomach is hungry, drink a full glass of water. How symbolic is that statement? When we as children of God are hungry and in our fallen state, God gives us a full glass of Living Water! Then, He feeds us! Even most diets, which I am against, tell you to first drink water before eating your meal. It fills your stomach yet leaves room for the food. I gotta tell you, I have tried this and it is true!

Hunger in the biblical dictionary is defined as having an eager desire; longing. It is from the Greek word peinao and is a verb (action word). Hunger is what drives a lot of people whether they know it or not. Hunger for food wakes us up in the morning when they smell breakfast cooking. Hunger is what tells us to stop at the drive through for lunch when we are aware of the food we have at home or grabs the candy purposely placed RIGHT by the cashier when we need a snack. Notice how fruit and veggies are NOT placed there as well? Hunger, spiritually is just the same. We are either driven to seek God when we are hungry for Him or if we don’t know Him or are unaware that it is God we are hungry for, we seek other avenues which are unfulfilling and leave us hungry again.

In order to fill this spiritual hunger, you must seek God. In order to seek God you must be in His Word, in devotion with Him, in prayer and fasting and listen for His voice. I usually go upstairs to my quiet place to jump into His Word and pray. I get kind of hard when it is so hot in the summer, but I find that God provides an effective breeze to keep me there until I’m full. Just like following the right recipe, seeking God in the right way will fill you, trust me on this! You don’t put 3 eggs in when the recipe calls for 2 or even 5 do you? Your 7 up pound cake will come out horrible! It’s the same with God. Seeking Him is something I have been asking about since I surrendered in 2008. I researched on Google, asked my pastor, even searched through His Word, to no avail. It wasn’t until I followed the directions to the Feeding My Hunger recipe that Holy Spirit did a work in me.

I ask the question again, what are you hungry for? And what will you do to fill that hunger?  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt 6:33

Monday, June 27, 2011

Transparent Love

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

This verse has never really meant that much to me. I have always understood it to be for those who had "arrived" at superior Christianity. Let me tell you, I have had my share of disappointments in the church for thinking that! I was an ironclad pedestal that I put saints on, especially pastors. In fact, I can't really say that I have ever heard a talk or sermon on this one verse. Until yesterday, I never knew the effects of love covering a multitude of sins.

Last week was a hard one. I had a heavy spirit hanging over me wanting me, no, pressing me to worry and stress about my accident and money. Now let me interject here. I am by far no angel! I fail epically at trying to fight the urge to sin every day. I have been delivered of some, thank You Father; however I have others that linger on like some church goers after a good sermon do waiting for a good gossip session to begin. I still lie just to not have to deal with something or someone, i.e., bill collectors, pushy people, acquaintances I did NOT mean to get my number. I still procrastinate from time to time. As a matter of fact, that is the next spirit I know Holy Spirit is working up papers on to evict! I have a session with IBLOOM, a wonderful life coaching team who right now are zoning in on organizing. I am excited to know I will get valuable information from them... my issue is putting it to use. I also still get angry and hold hatred and grudges in my heart. This too is being dealt with because I can feel the hard ground of my heart being molded and getting ready for a transplant!

Now, let me explain last week's details to you. Monday, I woke up with my lips swollen and scaled. I had tried a new lip protection and it failed epically! My poor lips were so swollen and miserable that I couldn't really talk or eat at all. I then had that phone call from the insurance adjuster from my OLD insurance asking about a new policy. You see when I first started renting, I told them I had Allstate; I had just not by then, and never corrected them whenever they asked. That is my weak point... my area of non trust which the enemy uses as a door to come in. So anyway, I told her that I didn't and that was the end of that conversation. I then begin to feel heavy worry set in on me and instead of praying and jumping in God's Word; I sat on the couch and surfed the web... for practically two days! I mean I got up when it was necessary and slept but that was mainly my thing to do. And then on Wednesday after I began to come out of it a little bit by doing my devotion and praying for God to help me, my cell phone was shut off. Now I had set up a plan to pay that day but had misunderstood the rep on the phone and missed my arrangement. After raising my blood pressure and praying and crying while on hold, Verizon (an awesome phone company) was able to knock some of the bill down and reactivate my phone with no payment. I knew by then that the enemy was throwing dirt in my pit and trying to keep me there.

It is now Monday again and although I am still in financial trouble, I am free from worry! Now let me explain how that and the verse I started with coincide. My mom and I have never had a really good relationship. We don’t communicate well and sometimes not at all. She does things that get under my skin and I KNOW some things I do at least scratch hers (okay, they bury under hers like a chigger!). Let me give a little background. A few years I was so frustrated with my mom that when I got in the car from her house I yelled, "Lord, I need you to step in! Right now I don't care if my mom falls off the earth and that is not good! Take this hatred from me! I don’t want to feel this way!" You see after years of not intimately knowing God or that His Son died for me and rose again, my door was wide open and the enemy was coming and going as he pleased. I guess I had a welcome mat... or maybe I was the mat! But for all the hurt, pain and abuse I endured (no my parents did not abuse us, those whoopings we needed!) my blame and anger went towards my mom. Now this was the year that I surrendered my life to Christ and little did I know that not ALL my life was surrendered and my loving, forgiving God had set out to make sure I surrendered the rest! You see He is a jealous God!

I know that some of my anger by the time I had gotten to that place was due to the fact that my mom had surrendered in the late 90's and I watched God do a work in her. She was one of the main reasons I got into church and ultimately heard God calling my name. But she was dealt a blow that she alone could not deal with. Early 2000's she had gotten sick and it took a lot from her, I believe including her confidence in Christ. The enemy stepped in when she was sick and did as much damage as he could. My anger stemmed from her being a moving force in my life yet standing still and what I considered weak in her own. By the time I surrendered, my mom was well in health but still sick in spirit and I hated that. The enemy, though, had me thinking it was her I hated, her weakness, her constant jumping in my life, her discussing my life with others (wait now that really did bother me) and her carefree way with my children. What he had closed my eyes to was her wisdom that I was able to pull from her, her love for her children and grandchildren and the fact that she is still breathing, something a lot of children can't say.

Well fast forward to Saturday night/ Sunday morning. My kids and I had gone to a Tedashii/ Pro concert and had a blast with the music and message. The enemy hated that fact because we took a kid from the neighborhood that is not saved and a seed was planted. When we got home, my mom was sleep and apparently the enemy had been reviewing things with her to make her angry. By the time she got up and got ready for work he had been in her ear nonstop. Now, she will admit faster than anyone on her behalf that she does not hold her tongue (James 1:19) and this was no different. She had some words with us and the neighbor kid and left for work. Of course the enemy didn’t leave the house quiet, he left a worker to deal with me and my son. But before going to sleep I was able to vent to God and ask Him to help me. Little did I know He was going to do just that. In the morning after listening to Lifechurch.tv (an awesome vessel for God) I was urged, no, I was told by God to get up and hug my mom. For about 10 minutes I went back and forth with Him about when was I gonna be able to tell her words hurt sometimes and when I was gonna be able to tell her other things. He just kept telling me to give her hug. I went through every excuse I could until finally I said fine. I asked her to stand up and when she finally did after asking what for and saying it was too cold, she stood up and God hugged us! It was like Heaven had come into the dining room and God's Spirit had settled down on us. HIS Love covered a multitude of our sins! His Love covered us as if it was a huge bucket of water that dumped on us refreshing us.

We as God's children need to do an assessment of the heart everyday! Look at how people are being treated in the church by counterfeits sent by our adversary to destroy His House! Do we merely stand by and let that happen or do we swallow the pride we constantly choke on anyway, commit spiritual suicide and do our Father's bidding and Christ’s command to love one another and then our neighbor and enemies? Why is it so hard to follow His commands but so easy to go and ask when we are in need and EXPECT the answers the way we want? LOVE covers a multitude of sins. THIS is how we forgive when someone has hurt us. This is how to forgive 70x 7, because THIS is how God forgives us.

I still have things to say to her, and I know in due time God will deal with me on some issues to just let go and mold her to hear some things He needs me to say but for now we are mother and daughter and the enemy has lost this battle! Amen!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Transparent Incident

Yesterday was a day of Divine appointment! I started the day out with my devotions, finding three key Scriptures to chew on. Exodus 14:13-14 "Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.", Deuteronomy 31:6 "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts." and Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" I then got a message from my friend, Samone, basically saying the same thing and reminding me, "Whether you feel on top of the world or stuck beneath it today, remember who was and is there for you at all times." My God is incredible with His grace and mercy which are indeed FOREVER!!

Now to explain the transparent incident. The day had been going good after my prayer time, because I had literally been asking where money was gonna come from when God heard my cry (Psalm 40:1) and gave me strength from His Word. I then started on my day. First was a meeting, turned ice cream social for the youth ministry which was very much needed. Then upon returning home to get my mom for work as I was talking to 2 of my 3 children, a car drove right into me from the side! This is where transparency is not fun. The first thing out of my mouth was NOT "Lord help me." I screamed and immediately said, "Lord not again! This cannot be happening again, please! How am I going to pay for this? I can’t believe he hit me!" The supernatural calm did not hit me all at once. I was so enraged at that moment that I could have "spit nails" as my mom used to say to me and my brother. But in His loving patience, He sent someone to remind me in the form of a young man who instructed me to stay in the car and breathe. Much needed instruction for me! In that time, I was able to breathe, vent, breathe again and begin to thank God for the protection He afforded me. My mind began to race to the many things that could have happened. I needed to refocus and pray. And I had the time to do that.

My mind then raced to my son whom I was on the phone with at the time that he hit me. He heard me scream and took off out the door running to me. He is 18, he was on a dangerous street and he has asthma. But I had to trust that God would be his breath.

I learned a lot from this encounter. I learned that I am not perfect. I learned that God still has a long way to go with me and I still have a lot yet to surrender. I learned that I have been delivered from things that I used to do though because "from out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." I can thankfully check off cussing being evicted in my heart. I did learn that I still have anger that needs to be gone and I know that God is working on me. I also learned that what the world called an accident yesterday is most definitely NOT one. That was, as all my steps are, ordered by God and I am thankful for it!

The other driver, a young man, is okay too. I hate that he got a ticket and will have to pay more for insurance. I also hate that I did not have a chance to speak to him and make sure for myself that he was alright. But I know that God has a plan for him and I am going to continue to pray for him. I am also glad (transparent moment) that he had insurance because the car I had was a rental! So I am back on the road again with another rental and a little jarred from the experience, but aren’t we all when we experience God moving in our life more than we expected?

Have an awesome and safe week! I will be praying for everyone that reads follows and comments on this blog. And please remember your seat belts! God sends protection even in the form of a seat belt!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Transparent Direction

So Tuesday, I was up early and moving. Jumped into my Word but didn’t really pray, which I really need every day because. I had to get my son to the college he will be attending in the fall (a WHOLE nother story). So on the way there, I use my Verizon app for directions, Navigator, which I downloaded the day before. We got there relatively easy but left a little too late to get to the school on time (story of my life!). Well he got there in enough time to get a mini tour which would be finished after his college placement test and I was able to leave quickly. SN: It is not the same leaving your child at college as it is in their first daycare/ school. Anyway, so I start out to leave, once again using the Navigator and I notice that I am not going the same way. Then as I start to leave, not waiting for it to upload, it keeps "recalculating route" (literally that what it says). Each time it does, I have to go through some sort of mini thorough way or residential area, making my trip longer and longer. Then as I get to a road I know, it tells me to go another way. Much to my dismay and frustration, I come out on that same street! "WTHeck!” is what I said out loud (would that be WTHeckOL for facebook abbreviation???) I finally got so mad that I shut the thing down and went the way I knew, what I really wanted was to throw the phone out the window!

Now at first, trying to be all spiritual, I ask God what He needed me to learn out of that frustrating experience. Then without even waiting for the answer I made up my own, that I have to listen to His direction in order to get where He needs me to go. SMH! Then I started contemplating and listening up until even now when I JUST got confirmation of what the lesson was! I need to SLOW DOWN!! Not all of His answers and routes in my life will happen so quickly! Sometimes He will have me take the longer back roads just so that I can spend more time in Him, in training! And finally sometimes the quickest road is not always the BEST road to take! Sheesh Lord! I’m so thankful that You take the time with me, show me how to take time with others and the things You need me to! Amen!!!

Lesson from His heart to me shared with you: Take your time! The world is not our worry. Things are perishing every day. Our focal point while in labor with His blessings is to be His Kingdom... (Again my life verse) Matthew 6:33. "Seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness..." We don’t have to worry, as a matter of fact He commands us not to several times! We do not have to fear what is to come... or what is not, we are to focus on HIM! And He is not a microwave god so the fast-food mentality of learning and meditating will not work. Some days He will have a quick lesson for us and others will be long and "drug out." Nevertheless, we should take our time with what He gives us, good and bad, just as He takes His time with us!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

True Freedom

So this week has been a blister for me! I have prayed, planned, waited and spent what I really did not have for the sake of my only son graduating. I can truly say it's time to write a pamphlet for junior parents to warn them of the impending expenses they will incur senior year! I wish... oh how I wish someone more experienced would have said, "HEY!! This next year it will be expensive! If your child is in any sports, this is your cost. Any activities? This is the cost. If your child just wants to graduate and leave this portion of their life behind then this is your cost." I would have loved that! But now going through two different types of graduation and being able to afford parties, jackets, proms, pictures, graduation necessities and the like, I can put together a pamphlet for the unsuspecting victims (I am one of those too! Got a one more to go.)

So with all that I have learned a few things that I wanted to share with you this week. First, God must be first. I feel like when I pinch pennies and make Him wait, I am the only one who suffers. He isn't losing out because of my mere 10%, I am! That command was just that, a command. He is not like these "name it claim it mega churches who want you to pay for every little tear drop that comes from your eye or every prayer they pray for you! No! He has and because He already has, He wants us to have. But He knew already before clearance and BOGO were invented that if He was to just give with no expectation we (I really mean myself) would be going buck wild right now! We are to give back to Him as a testament of what He has already given us!Its out of mere obedience that He calls to do this because if He cant trust us with what isn't ours, why should we expect to get something of our own? I'm sorry. I got off on one of my self sermons. You know, when you have to yell at yourself, call out yourself and encourage yourself? Yeah I have to do that so often it's been labeled as schizophrenia. Well not really, thank God but I wonder sometimes! Anyway, instead of trying to budget MY money from now on, I am going to better manage HIS money He allows me. I really have to start thinking of it as His money and the consequences (see Matthew 25) I will have for dipping into whats not mine.

The second thing is freedom. God started showing me freedom which is what I really need. Not the car I don't have or the money that seems to be always missing from my account but true freedom in Him. Now I know very well that if I seek Him first and His kingdom and all His righteousness that all others will be given to me (Matthew 6:33) That happens to be my life verse so yeah I know that one. What I wasn't counting was the fact that I need to be free from all bondage even to go through some things. Example: If I'm not free to go through loss of job because I am so bound in the paycheck, bills and money I make, I will miss the lesson, call to persevere and blessing waiting on the other side. POW!! That was a hard blow for me because I just left my job.

The last thing is purpose. This is something I struggled with. I was always asking what mine was. It seemed that others knew theirs and were stepping into them while I was stepping into something less pleasant and more odorous. It seemed like every move I made was the wrong move, even when I knew it was or is a move I needed to make. I have to first seek Him and know that I was free in order to know my purpose. I had to understand that a simple question would lead me into where He was going to use me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I, the adulterous, cheap, lying, stealing, gossiping, grudge hoarding, sex having woman... I could step into my destiny! The purpose He has for me is what I have been saying and desiring to be all along! I will be studying to be a life coach and counselor this fall. I don't know how that is going to look as I loathe school but I know that is what He has for me to do. In the meantime, I will be planning events, including weddings and birthdays, some for profit others for free. My only prayer remains the same as when I put in my notice to my job, "If this is Your will Lord, then take care of my family, my bills and our needs." I now have to put that trust in Him that He will, no matter what storm I walk through, I know He is with me and will NEVER forsake me!

Until next post..... have a great day... on purpose!

Monday, May 30, 2011

All About The See Through Me

My name is Felicia. I am a 40 year old single mom of 2 high school graduates and a ninth grader, which a feat in and of itself if you knew my creative kids! I started my journey seeking GOD on June 29, 2009 when I sat in my bathroom crying and internally screaming at GOD about a man I thought He had brought into my life to save me from a drought marriage. Yes, I am an ex-adulterer, but I will get to that Im sure somewhere in this blogging journey. My life verse is Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." And my saving verse for practical needs is Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." I, like many, have had that traumatic childhood (divorce, molestation, bullying, depression) and Im sure that I have had my share of adulthood experiences to carry all us women. My journey has led me to this simple thing.... to blog. I have never been able to read through a lengthy blog or have I desired to so rest assured these will be simple notes of experience taught to me through YHWH which I pray will in turn help you (I mean who likes to go through trials for no reason??) get through your trials.
I can guarantee that there will be mistakes (spelling, grammar), you will laugh, you will cry and even be upset that I am leaning in your window sill far enough to grab a fork and taste test your pies. But what I can also guarantee is that this will be a supernatural experience for you felt through me as Holy Spirit moves and speaks through me while walking this ragged, narrow journey. This blog will be about my life in Christ, my struggles in Him, my children, my motherhood experiments... I mean experiences and life as a unmarried mother and person.
Let me explain the title, TransparenMe. A word that GOD keeps bringing me back to is transparency. The definition simply means to see through. This is what I want for my life in Christ to be. Soooo transparent that you can even see me through the screen. So grab your beverage of choice, find a quiet place to sit (if you have kids, you know there is no quiet place unless they are in their angelic state... sleeping) and dont forget the tissues as GOD uses me to rake through the muck in our lives that blocks us from being the transparent vessel He can use!