Nuggets from Noah: The Perks of Living in an Ark

This reflection was written July 8, 2016 in one of my journals. Today I was reminded of it. I was encouraged all over again. I pray it encourages you:

Today I felt led to read the story of Noah (Genesis 7:9-17). While reading, I tried to rush through it assuming I knew everything there was about Noah. The Holy Spirit, said “slow down and read all of it.”  As I started to take my time to read, I recognized the time it took for Noah’s world to return to its regularly scheduled programming (i.e. no animals, no living in an ark, and etc.). It took well over a year for things to return to “normal.” It took 40 days to flood the earth and over a year to restore the land.

As I read this story, I started to see my life. I too have been in an ark, a place of protection during the flood of life.  It is as if all that was good, honest, and true were permitted to remain while every lie, deception, past mistake, and negative mindset were left out of my ark. The world as I knew it was being destroyed around me; and I was forced to be by myself as things from my past were being drowned by the torrential rains of God’s love, truth, forgiveness, and grace. It was cold and dark, but I was never alone. Being in similar situations, I assumed it would not take as long to get out the ark. However almost 7 ½ months later, I am still in the ark. Things are slowly returning to normal, and the sun is starting to shine again. It is not quite time to come out, but I have more hope that the doors will be opening soon.

I must retract my statement about Noah’s life returning to normal. Nothing was normal about Noah’s life after leaving the ark. In the beginning of the story, he had just a piece of land to call his own. Now, he had the world as his possession. He already had authority as the patriarch of his family; but he obtained dominion over the earth upon leaving the ark. His family had been entrusted with replenishing the earth for the glory of God. He went into the ark as a servant, and he left it as a Ruler. He went into the ark following commands, but he left it free to do what his heart desired.  Noah was a completely different man a year or so later after being in the ark. He had become wiser; skilled at taming animals; and a great strategist dealing with the issues that arouse on the ark. Noah’s patience was perfected while waiting to be released from the ark. He became a master at caring for creation. He developed a deeper understanding of God while enduring the flood. Building the ark proved God to be a provider. Living in the ark proved God to be a protector and sustainer of His creation.

 Today you may be in what appears to be the greatest storm of your life. Having gone through a few storms, you assumed God would have responded by now. However, you do not know what is being prepared beyond your limited view of the situation. God is developing a place where you can thrive, have dominion, and enjoy His creation. Take a lesson from Noah and wait on God. Allow God to handle what is outside of your power, and you tend to what you can fix. Allow this time to perfect your love and skills. Let the truth of God’s love for you assure you that this time will not last forever.

Noah received new instructions upon leaving the ark, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:2) Initially, he was restricted by what could go into the ark. Once Noah was released, he was given permission to produce as much as he could for as long as he could. Authority is given to those who submit themselves to God’s will during the time of a storm. I pray you will be found submitting yourself to God’s will while in your storm. There is something God is working inside of you and outside of the ark. Yield to the process and watch God keep his promise of protection and provision. You’ll be released from the ark at the perfect time. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Ex-Racist Christian

This morning I woke up and felt led to open one of my journals. As I read it, I laughed at a few of my foolish request, and I smiled at my growth as a human trying to learn how to live this life. Since it is  Throw back Thursday, I will share an entry of Introspection from September 9, 2015:

I believe one of the hardest thing for a person to admit,especially a Christian, is he or she is a racist. No one who claims to love God wants to admit they have a problem with His creation; but it is  part of the Church’s reality. It took me roughly 25 years, six years ago, to admit racism lived in my heart. It was something I tried to ignore, but, living in the South and becoming more aware of the injustices of my tribe, I found myself HATING white people. I  found it difficult to admit my racism because I had friends I genuinely cared about although I could care less about their kind. To my credit, I did not hate my friends just all of the “other” white people smh… I figured, if I refrained from watching slave movies that it would go away. I thought, if I tried harder to befriend them that it would go away. I assumed, if I tried to replace negative thoughts about them with good ones my problem would be fixed. Oh how I assumed incorrectly! The more I attempted to fix a heart issue with my logic, I despised them more. Finally, I had a moment of truth with God because the hate in my heart was conflicting with the cry of my heart to love him and his people.  I poured my heart out to Him concerning the matter. I confessed that I was in fact a racist, and I held deep hate in my heart towards Caucasians. I confessed that my knowledge of how their ancestors treated my tribe and how some treat us today makes it difficult to forgive and love them. I even admitted that I felt I had both the right and plenty of reasons to stay angry with them. I repented for claiming to love God and hate his creation. I knew I could not be an effective dispenser of God’s love to the world with this kind of hate in my heart towards people. I asked God to change my heart and teach me how to gather knowledge without hate being attached to it. When I decided to be honest about the condition of my heart, God did an amazing work in it. I no longer carry that Hate I did towards my lighter brothers and sisters. I stopped  accusing them all of being one way based on the actions of a few. I truly make a conscious effort to judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Life has truly been much sweeter with hate out of my heart. Thank you God for helping me!-Charity

For those who will read this, particularly those who claim to be Christians, please consider your ways.  Take the time to tell God how you truly feel about certain groups of people. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” My encouragement to each of us is to be honest about who we are in God’s presence so that we can love as God commands us. We as believers cannot expect the condition of the world to change when we refuse to change and deal with the hate in our hearts. I am praying for each us that we would truly allow the love of God to permeate our hearts and be the change this world needs. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

Freedom Friday: 20 Years of Torture & Unnecessary Shame

img_20160930_144721You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous.”-Psalm 139:13,14 NLT

I will admit that this has been one of the hardest scriptures for me to believe in the bible. It has been very difficult for me to say, “Thank you for my body.” This is due to all of its deformities. I have a severely clubbed right foot that makes my right leg and foot significantly smaller than the left side. I was born with a dislocated hip, congenital scoliosis, and missing chest bone. I will admit that after my hair and face, in my most jaded opinion, my body goes downhill.

To add to the disfigurement, I am also left with scars on my foot, leg, and back as doctors made attempts to correct the way I was “knitted together in my mother’s womb.” It has been very difficult for me to believe that a God who carefully created creation seemed to have missed a few steps while creating me. Of my mother’s four children, I seemed to carry the physical deformities for everyone. No one else was born with a physical deformity. For years I never questioned it, but I would be lying if I said at one point or another that I did not find myself envious of their “normal” bodies and disgusted by mine.

At 12 years old, I pronounced a life sentence of shame and hiding upon myself. I stopped wearing clothes that would reveal what I hated most about me. I stopped wearing sandals because I no longer felt like explaining my condition to people. I did not want pity or sympathy. I just wanted to be normal. So I became a hider, and into my closet I went hoping to never have to face these legs of mine again. If I hid them, they would eventually go away. Now that I am 31 years old, I can say that was the dumbest idea ever in the history of Charity’s dumb ideas. I literally signed my life away when I decided to start hiding my legs. I stopped swimming. I did not try out for any dance or cheer team because it meant I would have to show my legs. I almost quit softball one year because I thought they were going to make me wear shorts. I removed myself from any activity that required your legs or feet to be seen.

As God would have it, the one activity I could continue was dancing. Our liturgical attire was always long and covered! The only thing that gave me assurance that God meant to put me in this body is that even with my deformities, I am still able to dance. Some of my moves are limited, but I am able to dance unto His glory. He gave me a voice, and I use it for his glory. He has given me the gift of counsel, wisdom, and writing. I use them all  for his Glory. The interesting thing is nothing about my physical deformities have stopped the gifts of God from operating through me. The only thing that has hindered those things at any time have been my mind. I have allowed the “what ifs” to keep me from doing. What if my legs become a meme? What if the men who follow me find out and unsubscribe? What if people start treating me with pity because they discover the truth? I never considered what if I share my story and help others overcome their own insecurities? What if my process of freedom convinces others to find freedom? What if God placed me on this earth as an example that the package is only limited by the mind not by its deformities or flaws? For 20 year I have allowed something that I had absolutely no control over ruin and rule my life. I was completely convinced that because I was born this way I was undeserving of love, friendship, and fulfilling my dreams. That was all a lie.

For years I was afraid of  photo tag notifications. I just knew that someone from elementary school would post a picture that would expose the secret I was hiding, and I would lose everyone once they found out the truth. None of my friends from junior high up until now have been privy of this information, minus those who knew before I started hiding and those who were at Oral Roberts University my Freshmen year. I was just too afraid of rejection, and the enemy had my mind convinced that if people knew the truth about me they would not want me around. However, now that I understand my purpose I must take that risk. God cannot get all the glory that is due Him if I remain in hiding.

The photo being used for this blog was taken on my birthday, July 25th, as I declared the 31st year of my life to be my year of freedom. I asked my sister to capture it because I wanted to see what freedom looked like. It has been twenty years since I have seen myself photographed in a dress and sandals. I had every intention of posting this pic that day but fear convinced me to wait. Well i’m tired of fear and shame ruling my life, and I did not consult them this time. I am tired of preaching freedom and living enslaved to thoughts of fear, rejection, and shame. I am tired of worrying myself with how people will respond to something beyond my control. I am tired of being hot during the summer LOL, and today is the day I free me for good. Even with what is deformed, disfigured, and ugly about me, I am still His workmanship. I am finally choosing freedom over fear, and that my friends is a marvelous thing!-Charity Israel

Getting Know God: El Roi

El Roi: The God Who Sees Me

One of my favorite names to use for God when praying is El Roi. Every time I use it I find it to be an instant reminder that He is aware of my circumstances. It tends to ease the ache of the request; and it sets God back in his proper place as God above all that is bothering me. In Genesis 16, we are introduced to the name El Roi, by a woman named Hagar. For those of us who may not be familiar with Hagar, she was the servant of Sarai (Abram’s wife). Sarai had the bright idea to help God in fulfilling His promise to her husband and suggested that Abram sleep with Hagar. As Sarai desired, Hagar became pregnant. Once pregnant Hagar started to treat Sarai with contempt (v.4). Sarai returns the favor and treats Hagar so harshly that she runs away.  It is in this time of running that she is found by the loving-kindness of God:

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. 12 This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”a She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. (New Living Translation)

I find the timing of God very interesting in this story. At any moment, He could have revealed himself. However, he waits until she is expecting and in a dry place before He reveals he has been with her the entire time. He waits until she is out of options, without friends, and without any sense of direction before he says, “I see you!” He allows her to feel every ounce of fear, isolation, and abandonment before revealing the I AM is with you. It was not until she was away from all that she had known that she came to know God for herself.

God did not simply reveal himself to her in the wilderness; but he spoke to her purpose. He provided her with instructions on how to rectify her past mistakes (v.9); and he gave her insight to what her future would entail (vv. 10-12). It never cease to amaze me that how one encounter with God can bring wholeness and clarity to the thing(s) that pains us the most. Hagar heeded to the instructions that were given to her, and she was able to return “home” with a better understanding of who her God was and what was in store for her future.

For those of us who may be in a wilderness situation like Hagar, I would encourage us to:

  1.  Sit still for a moment and allow the voice of God to speak to our situation.
  2. Admit where we were wrong and mishandled the situation, relationship, and etc.
  3. Stop rehearsing the offenses and choose to forgive those who hurt you. 
  4. Obey the instructions that God give us.
  5. Walk free from condemnation knowing that the God who sees has come to your rescue.

El Roi is aware of all that is hurting you, and he is waiting for the moment that you stop trying to figure things out. He longs to commune with you so that He can reveal the truth of who His and who you are to you. My prayer is that you come to know God as El Roi, the God who sees me so that you can see yourself as He does. Hagar’s life was never the same, and I am certain your will not be either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://biblein2015.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/el-roi-the-god-who-sees-me.jpg

Ask for Help: Tips on Surrendering to the Will of God

” Teach me to do Your will. For you are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”-Psalm 143:10

I truly believe this verse should be the prayer of every Christian. Our hearts should long to know and to do God’s will. We should desire to know His plans for our lives. We should long to fulfill those plans. This longing is admirable, but we should at  some point in our spiritual journey  go from simply desiring His will to submitting ourselves to His will. Here a four ways to ensure that you are doing just that:

1.Recognize Your inability to do God’s will outside of His help. The first sentence in this scripture indicates one man’s recognition of needing God’s help in order to do His will. As I was studying, I came across a beautifully written description by  MacLaren’s Expositions that helps illustrates this point :

We may learn from this prayer, then, that practical conformity to God’s will can never be attained by our own efforts. Remember all the hindrances that rise between us and it; these wild passions of ours, this obstinate gravitating of tastes and desires towards earth, these animal necessities, these spiritual perversities, which make up so much of us all-how can we coerce these into submission? Our better selves sit within like some imprisoned king, surrounded and ‘fooled by the rebel powers’ of his revolted subjects; and our best recourse is to send an embassy to the Over-lord, the Sovereign King, praying Him to come to our help. We cannot will to will as God wills, but we can turn ourselves to Him, and ask Him to put the power within us which shall subdue the evil, conquer the rebels, and make us masters of our own else anarchic and troubled spirits. For all honest attempts to make the will of God our wills, the one secret of success is confident and continual appeal to Him. A man must have gone a very little way, very superficially and perfunctorily, on the path of seeking to make himself what he ought to be, unless he has found out that he cannot do it, and unless he has found out that there is only one way to do it, and that is to go to God and say, ‘O Lord! I am baffled and beaten. I put the reins into Thy hand; do Thou inspire and direct and sanctify.’

If we are ever going to do the will of God, we must recognize that it can only happen with His help.

2.Surrender your free will to God’s will.  The interesting thing about God is that He does not typically force His way on people. In his kindness, He has given us “free will,” and our free will often conflicts with His. This is why the Psalmist plea of asking God to “teach me to your will” is so important. It is by asking to be taught that he simultaneously surrenders his own free will and submits himself to God. The moment we ask for God’s help is the moment we surrender all that we know and yield to what He is willing to teach us.

3.Know Who God is. After praying that God teaches him, the psalmist points out, “Your spirit is good.” By this phrase we come to understand why the psalmist was able to surrender his will. His understanding of God’s goodness made surrendering to His will the only proper response. The goodness of God compelled him to trust God with his life, and it should compel us to do the same.

4.Know where God leads. After acknowledging God’s goodness, the psalmists then cries out, “Lead me in the land of uprightness.” This gives the psalmist a measuring stick of whether the places his feet trod are God’s will or his. As he pursues what is right He can rest assure he is being led by God. God will rarely lead us to a place that His goodness and righteousness cannot be found. For the most part, he leads us beside quiet streams. When we are committed to doing life His way righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost is our portion.

If we truly desire to surrender our lives to God, we must be like the psalmist and recognize we cannot do it without Him. We must drop all of our pride and ask God for help. We have to be convinced of who God is so that in the moments He requires more than we would like to give, we trust what we know about Him over our desire. I will not pretend that a life of surrender is not difficult at times. It can be excruciatingly painful in those moments you would prefer to do things your way. However, his grace is sufficient and he helps those who ask for it. My prayer for us all is that we would drop our pride and lift our hands in total surrender to the purposes and plans of God for our lives. He is ready to lead us when we are ready to surrender.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/03/12/new-research-confirms-black-students-better-taught-black-teachers/

#TBT: The Prude and the Prostitute

Tonight, I took one of the many goofy quizzes that pop up in my News Feed on Facebook. It was titled Which Biblical Heroine Are You? I took the quiz sure that I would get someone like Esther, Ruth, or Anna; but to my surprise, I was Mary Magdalene. I literally chuckled considering the fact, my past was nothing like hers. I mean we are complete opposites! She was a prostitute, and I am what some may call a prude. She had a plethora of men, and my list of men is practically non-existent. I honestly was a tad bit offended, and then I read the kind description attached to it. It said:

You’re a woman with a past, that’s for sure… but your past has made you into the person you are today and you wouldn’t change a thing. Even though you’ve been hurt, you’re an incredibly sensitive and caring person who loves deeply and passionately. A people person, you love going out with your friends for a night of fun and mild debauchery. You have a steady, comforting presence that draws people to you effortlessly and you’re the most true, loyal friend that anyone could ask for. Ignore the haters and keep being your fantastic self.

“You’re a woman with a past, that’s for sure…”  I let those words sink in, and I began to reminisce on what my past entailed. I considered my environment, my friends, and a many  dumb decisions I made in my life. Growing up I desired to be “bad,” but the fear of my mother kept me away from most things. I considered the many flesh fulfilling thoughts I contemplated,  but I never managed to act upon them. After taking a trip down Memory Lane, Mary and I had more in common than I thought. She was a broken woman, so was I. She was in dire need of a Savior, so was I. She was wise enough to accept the grace of God, and so was I.

I grew up in an environment that ONLY manufactured those type of people.  If God’s grace had not intervened on countless occasions I would be a hood rat, a prostitute, a crackhead, a drug dealer, an alcoholic, and etc. I go to bed tonight grateful for the unmerited favor that God has shown me. Who I am today is not based on any goodness of my own but SOLELY based on the loving-kindness of God. I look at those who are what I should be with eyes of compassion not judgment because it should have been me too. In my self-righteousness I could not see how the prude and the prostitute could have anything in common, but after looking through Grace’s lenses we are one and the same. Two broken women who lives were transformed after meeting Jesus. Neither one of us are bound by our past, and both of us free to share the Good News. That’s pretty amazing to me!

 

Tonight’s Challenge: Take a moment to reflect on the goodness of God in your life. Take some time to remember where he brought you from and the situations he has pulled you out of in life. Surely you can take a few moments out of your evening to say “Thank You Lord!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/55439/20150508/exclusive-interview-a-d-the-bible-continues-actress-chipo-chung-discusses-mary-magdalene-and-her-special-relationship-with-jesus-christ.htm

The Inclusivity of the Gospel

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”-Romans 10:13

Before you freak out, this is not my Coming Out Speech in support of  The Gospel of Inclusion. This is my little exhaustive list of what the Apostle Paul meant by the word “everyone” in Romans 10:13.  I believe this scripture reveals the love, equality, and mercy of God to mankind. Everyone is welcomed to receive salvation if they so desire it. There are no prerequisites.  There are no background or credit checks. Your I.Q is not taken into consideration. Your family history does not keep you from it. Your past is not held against you. Everyone means EVERYONE.

It does not matter if you are liberal or conservative. It does not matter if you are a democrat or republican. It does not matter if you are voting for Trump or Clinton. It does not matter if you watch Fox News or CNN. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

It does not matter if you were once a Satanist. It does not matter if you grew up in a Muslim home. It does not matter if you were once a Buddhist. It does not matter if you were once a Five Percenter. It does not matter if you were a Voodoo priest or priestess. It does not matter if you were Wiccan or you worship St. Lucia. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

It does not matter if you enjoy telling little white lies or large white lies. It does not matter if you have found yourself to be a thief, gossiper, and a cheater. It does not matter if you have had an abortion. It does not matter if you have a proclivity towards pedophilia, pornography, homosexuality, or bestiality. It does not matter if you are murderer, rapist, or what most consider  to be the lowest of humanity. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

I will admit it took me a while to be comfortable with the idea that everyone can receive salvation. It was only a problem because in my humanity I considered some sins greater than others; but in His divinity, God sees them all the same. He provides the same remedy for every sin we will find ourselves entangled in, and that is SALVATION! God never intended salvation to be so complicated. It has always been a matter of simply confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life; and anyone who believes and confess is a recipient of this wonderful Salvation. It is available to “EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD!” Let us stop making Jesus so unattainable to people. Let us keep the Gospel message as simple as Jesus made it in John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”(New Living Translation) It really is as simple as believing in Christ and confessing him as our Savior. I pray that will be the Gospel we share with others. It is really the only one worth sharing!-Charity Israel

 

 

Photo Credit: http://billypenn.com/2015/08/04/the-pope-in-philly-how-many-people-could-actually-fit-on-the-ben-franklin-parkway/

The Blessing of Confession

PhotoGrid_1469807035387Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”-Psalm 32:5

For the last few days I have been meditating on this scripture; and reflecting over the many times in my life that I wanted to live in rebellion rather than experience redemption. I remember the countless times I tried to justify certain thoughts, behaviors, and motives. I can recall the plethora of times that I lingered in sin a little longer than I should have and the consequences that accompanied such dumb life decisions.

Once I started to get serious about my relationship with God honesty became a requirement for it to function properly. As I began to spend time in prayer and studying scripture, sin was not so easy to commit or leave unconfessed. The magnitude of His love compelled me to tell the truth about me. I could no longer pretend that the life I was living was one that pleased Him. I had two options: to live a lie and remain outside of his presence or to start confessing so that I could fully enjoy His presence. Like the psalmist I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”

I John 1:9 tells us “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” As I did this I began to experience freedom from guilt, shame, and public opinion of my past. Assurance in God’s forgiveness produces freedom. However, we will NEVER know that freedom if we choose to remain in rebellion and unconfessed sin. We will spend our time trying to justify our actions to ourselves and to those around us. Even worse we will become reprobate and sever our relationship with God. He never leaves us, but we will leave Him as we allow both shame and pride to keep us from confessing what we have done. One of the most cunning weapons of the enemy is to convince us that we have done too much wrong to receive the love and forgiveness of God; and I am here to tell you that as the “Father of Lies” that is one of his greatest lies!!!

The Truth of the matter is “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Rom. 5:8,9) There is no sin, outside of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, that will keep you from the forgiving grace of God. If he sent His son while we were in sin, surely any sin we have committed is forgivable if we are willing to confess it. Do not allow the enemy of your soul or even yourself talk you out of receiving the freedom from guilt that is made available to us through confession.

God sent Christ so that we could have the opportunity to have a relationship with Him if we so desire it. Do not let the moments of slipping or even falling into sin keep you out experiencing the beauty of having a relationship with the Creator of the universe. He gave us an anecdote for renewing our relationship with Him after we have fallen prey to the sin and our selfish desires. Confession is the key, and it is a blessing to those who will humble themselves and tell God the truth. I pray from this day forward you will choose to confess instead of cover up. You will never have peace inside until you reconcile your relationship with the One who made you, and confession makes it possible. I pray you will find the time to do it.-Charity Israel

Goodbye Thirty, Hello Freedom!!!

So be strong and courageous all you who put your hope in the Lord!-Psalm 31:24

Six months before I turned 30, I went on the pursuit of finding out what the decade would entail for me. I talked to women who were in their early thirties, late thirties, and well into their sixties. I made it my mission to come up with a plan to prepare myself for this monumental shift from being a “young” adult to just an ADULT! I read books, blogs, and anything that would give me a glimpse into my future; but NOTHING prepared me for what I would describe as the most painfully liberating year of my life.

Thirty was pure hell, darkness, chaos, and confusion. It started with my birthday plans for the year. A friend and I planned to watch a play on Broadway. However, I ended up spending my day alone in Manhattan sipping a glass of Riesling and contemplating the meaning of life. LOL  Eleven days after the worst birthday ever my grandmother on my father side passed away, and six days after her my mother’s mom passed away. Two of the most loveliest souls on the planet left without my permission. Life has not been the same without them.

September was spent trying to cope with the events of August, and trying to convince myself that I was happy when in fact I was hurting. The hardest truth for me to admit was that I was starting to despise the two things that meant so much to me, my job and living in the city of my dreams, New York.  I suppose this discontentment with my life was God’s way of preparing me to do what he requested of me in June, which was to stop being a Flight Attendant and move back to Atlanta. However the 401k, great health insurance, and the steady income made that request hard to comply with until December 2015. Between continuously getting sick and the anxiety attacks I was having, it became quite apparent it was time to let it go and I did.

By March my savings had dwindled, and all I had left was my knight in shining armor that I was planning to marry in August 2016. As fate would have it March 5, we decided it was best to go our separate ways due to the chaos that both of us was experiencing. I cannot express the pain that comes with saying “Goodbye” to the person you were ready to share the rest of your life with. Everything that I was so certain of in 2015 had slipped through my fingers by March 2016. I was jobless, super single AGAIN, and found myself embarking upon the darkest night of my soul to date.

It was during this time of chaos, confusion, and loneliness that something beautiful was being formed. I was stripped of everything that I allowed to define me throughout my years, and I was left at the mercies of God. I had to admit to my idol worship of marriage, success, fame, and prestige. I had to find purpose outside of my possessions or the lack thereof. I had to clean out the skeletons in my closet, and I had to confront the insecurities within me that were sabotaging my future. As I sat in the dark room of my life, I was forced to deal with the truth of my self-image. I had to wrestle on a few occasions with the demons of my past that were doing all they could to keep me in fear. It was here I became content with my own being and confident in the God who created me.

It was in my weakness that I found God’s strength to be perfect. It was in choosing to receive His love that fear had to flee. It was sitting in darkness that I discovered the beauty of His marvelous light of Truth. Thirty was the year that my pride was crucified; my selfishness was exposed; and my greatest fears were realized. It was also the year I learned what it meant to live free, strong, and courageous. I literally have nothing to lose in this life, and it puts me in a place to gain all that God has in store for me. I say goodbye to 30 joyously, and I tell it thank you for introducing me to myself!

Thirty-one will be an amazing year for me because it is the first time, I will actually be living unapologetically as Charity. The freedom that becomes available on the other side of facing your fears and confronting the lies you have lived for so long is indescribable. It expels all the shame, and it leaves you confident in who God has created you to be. I embrace 31 as a completely different person; and I look forward to the lessons it will teach me and the opportunities it will present me as I have decided to let go of fear and live in God’s love for me. Happy Birthday Charity Israel!!! Freedom looks good on you!!!!!!!!

P.S. The book is coming soon. I had to live it before I could write it!!!

Declaration for May 2016

 

 

blooming-flowersI woke up early on May 1, 2016, and I found myself writing this declaration out. Life has been a little busy so I’m just finding time to post it. If it agrees with where you are in this season of your life, feel free to make it your own. If it does not agree with you, feel free to disregard. My prayer is that we will all hear what God is saying to us individually, and I pray this encourages you: 

This month will be a time of Divine Enablement and Acceleration. It will be a time of victory and an opportunity to see some of the results of the work accomplished in the first quarter of the year. I declare this month to be one of provision, prosperity, and purpose. I thank God for every divine connection and I will meet the prophetic voice of this season in my life. I thank God for divine appointments and increased discernment (Ps.119:66). This month will consist of laser beam focus as it pertains to doing what God has called me to do (Prov.4:25; Col. 3:2). This month a revealing of the Sons of God will take place (Rom. 8:12-14). I thank you that you are providing strategy to get the job done (Ps. 32:8). I thank you for an increase in my capacity for the Word (Matt. 4:4). I will have a hunger for it (Deut. 8:3). I thank you that I will live a disciplined life and that nothing will Lord over me except You, oh God (Ps. 119:9-11). I declare this month of May to be a time of spiritual promotion that many of us would gain access to certain authorities, revelations, and insights that were not privy to us in the last season of our lives (2 Cor. 3:18). This month will be a time of reward for those who have been faithful over the few things (Matt 25:21). We cannot afford to walk blindly in this next season (Matt. 13:11-17). We will get before God and find out what Heaven desires to be done on earth through us (Matt. 6:10). I declare this month to be a time of revealing concerning the relationships in our lives. May every lie, ulterior motive, and hidden agenda be exposed in Jesus name (I John 4:1). This month will be a time of access being granted and for those who have wrestled with God expect favor (Gen. 32:24-32). I declare a stirring up of the gifts and a desire to mature the gifts inside of us (2 Tim.1:6; Prov. 22:29). I declare that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding shall accompany you this month as never before (Prov.4:5-9, 9:10; Eccl. 7:12). I declare this month that your prayers will match Heaven, and that you will be found only desiring what he wants for your life (Ps. 119:9-16). I declare the strategies of demonic forces have been discovered and destroyed (Eph.6:11). I declare that you will become skilled in using the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (2 Tim.2:15). This month is a time of courage (Ps.27:14,31:24). You will step out and do what God has requested of You (Jer.1:17-19). The spirit of rebellion has been casted out of your soul and you will walk in obedience at a level that you have never known (Heb.12:5-12). Your “Yes” this month will be the difference in eternal gain or temporary pleasure (I Cor. 15:58). I declare this month to be a time of blossoming (Isa. 35). Your identity in Christ will bloom before your eyes (Col. 2:6-3:17). Your success in this season will be contingent upon your service to God and his people. This month we will come into the Truth of who we are and we will boldly operate in that truth (1 Pet.2:9;ICor.12). The scales have been removed; the clouds have cleared; and the haze is gone. You have divine permission to pursue what God has placed inside of you to do. Go forth in God’s love, grace, wisdom and favor in Jesus name.-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Credit: https://illegalbriefs.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/blooming-flowers.jpg