I am writing this post because I am compelled by God. My heart breaks because his heart breaks. I am not trying to cause offense. I speak the truth in love.
Two weeks ago I attended a talk focused on how to make my city a more equitable place for black girls. The topic made me venture downtown. My passion for girls and women knowing their value to God and my life experiences motivated me to learn more.
The statistics I learned about the plight of black girls shocked me.
My heart hurts at the injustice of their treatment. The sole perpetrators of these violations are not done by only one type of people. This maltreatment is done by all races, including their own.
These girls and women are in unhealthy home and community environments that foster violence, disrespect, self - preservation by any means necessary, risky sexual behaviors, hopelessness and fatalism. A toxic environment influences toxic behavior.
Outside of the toxic home/community situation they are bombarded with the climate of schools or work. An environment of devaluation, disrespect, low – worth and other micro aggressions beats them down. These conditions are another weight on their fragile psyche.
The media environment is more detrimental. Many black girls and women esteem some celebrities that have sex appeal, are raunchy, violent and devalue other women. Disrespect exudes from their pores. The false stance of feminism is believed, taking them farther down into the mire of deception.
The Holy Spirit is grieving. I feel his sadness.
Injustice against women – predominately black girls and women -is rampant in this world. Justice can’t be served without Jesus. He’s the pillar of truth and equity. He is the real avenger. God’s truth wins.
God wants you to know the truth. The certainty of his love for you. The facts of your value in the world. The good news of Jesus. These revelations can break down barriers. Receive and believe them.
5 Truths a woman should know:
1.You are made in God’s image.
So God created human beings[a] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NLT
2. You are important. God made you with a purpose. He knows about you.
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 121:6-7 NLT
3. You are beautiful no matter what color you are. God made women and girls as creatures of beauty. God doesn’t make junk. You are unique and special.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Masterpiece means a person’s best work.
4. You are precious in God’s sight. He knit you in the womb! Read all of Psalm 139.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! Psalm 139:17 NLT
5. God loves you. He sent his son Jesus to sacrifice his life for you. He died in your place so you can have a relationship with God. There is no shame or guilt in Jesus.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NLT
There are many more truths God wants you to know. But I don't have enough space for them. You can find them in the Bible, nature, a child's laughter, a dog's wagging tail, a cats purr, the birds singing, spring flowers, crisp snow, a smile, chocolate, sunshine, hugs, soft blankets....you get the picture. (I might make this post a series, there is lots to cover)
God loves you with an everlasting love. I love you, too!
Thanks for reading. I love to hear your thoughts.
The not - so - secret to reverse anxiety and fear.
I have a confession: I am anxious. Two weeks passed since I attended the writers conference and the pressure to submit my proposal and the 50 million other things to market my book is building. Writing this devotional/blog piece is hard. Fear and anxiety strangle me – I have a knot in my chest that won’t leave. My thoughts are mixed up and incoherent… But I still have a little measure of peace and joy in my heart.
I have peace in my heart because I know what Jesus says’ about anxiety, worry and fear. It is up to me to believe, apply, trust and rest in what he says. All these feelings I’m going through is stunting me and my growth in this process that God has planned. I’m letting the feelings control me and not using the power that God has given me. Me and only me – through Jesus – keep moving forward with the task assigned to me. I WILL DO IT!
My Urban Missionary friend I volunteer with always says, “What does Jesus say to do?” That is the not – so – secret to reverse anxiety and fear. I love it! I repeat it to myself on days like today.
Jesus, what should I do about my anxiety?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NLT
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIV
Jesus, should I be fearful?
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Jesus, I need peace.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Psalm 4:8 NLT
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NLT
After reading these verses, I’m feeling a little better. I will meditate on these scriptures with each step forward, renewing my heart and mind. I’m confident in the Lord because he can’t lie, he won’t forsake or fail me (and you, too). I rest in the Lord and his promises and use the power he gives me. Forgive me Lord for doubting your Word. Thank you for forgiving me.
If you experience anxiety, worry or fear sometimes, you are not alone. I pray that God’s peace and power fill your heart. He will free you from all fears and troubles. His ears are open to the cries of the righteous and he will help you. He guards you day and night. (see Psalms 34).
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How to be a good friend.
A few years ago, I was going through a rough time in my life. This was from a culmination of things, including some sinful choices on my behalf. I won’t list my sin resume (I took that phrase from Priscilla Shirer) and you don't need to either. What I was doing was causing a war inside of me. I had no peace. I was grieving the Holy Spirit and felt his sorrow, a heaviness in my spirit. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it was hard to stop by myself. I needed help.
I tried to help myself and not tell anyone what I was doing, but one day when I was in the presence of my good friend, who is a strong Christian woman, I was compelled to tell her what I was doing. The Spirit was leading me to tell her, he knew I needed her. I followed the Spirit’s lead and poured my heart out to her. Told her what I was doing and how I was feeling.
What was her response?
We are meant to be in relationships with others and to help each other out of their sin. This is a crucial aspect in a true friendship. We can’t navigate this life alone. God knows that, too. We are to help other Christians live life honoring and glorifying God.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 NLT
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Jude 1:22-23 NLT
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT
If we don’t apply these verses to our friendships, some serious disaster and/ or consequences can befall our friends and the people in their lives. Remember our choices affect many people, not just ourselves.
Here’s an example:
You and another person are sitting on a bench overlooking a beautiful view off a mountain. Along comes a friend, who is blind, she is looking for you and can’t find her way. She walks very close to the edge, you want to grab her before she falls, but the person sitting next to you stops you.
“Let her do what she wants. It’s her life.” The other person says to you.
“Yes, but she’s blind and can’t see where she is going. I’m her friend and I need to warn her of the danger of falling off the cliff.”
“Yolo. Why are you judging her?” The person asks.
“What? How is that judging? I love her and want what’s best for her,” you answer.
“Maybe she needs to be hurt, so she won’t do it again.”
“If she falls off a cliff she will be seriously hurt or may die. I would want her to help me if I was close to a cliff,” you say.
You jump off the bench and run over to your friend just as she was about to step off the ledge. You saved her life and she is forever grateful for you. She knows not to go out there alone ever again.
That story is a little far - fetched but you get the point. We aren’t being good, loving and helpful friends when we let our friends continue down the wrong path. On the other hand, we need to be able to receive help and correction from our friends, and not be offended.
People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray. Proverbs 10:17 NLT
Being a good friend involves many aspects, but it comes down to one basic thing. Loving each other like Jesus loves us.
Dear Lord, I pray that we will hide your word in our hearts, so we won’t sin against you. Thank you for the act of friendships and all the joy and help it brings. Thank you for being our friend. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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Christina Leeman MPH, CHES, writer and health educator, emboldens women to be the She Who Honors God with her all - body, thoughts, words, actions.
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