Darn, Mammon! #Money #God

I feel an urgency to write this before I go on any further with my life. That sounds dramatic, I know (lol), but it’s true. I just have to get it out and I have to let you or whoever else that needs to know, know.  It’s about mammon again.

I say again because the Holy Spirit has stirred me to write and discuss this topic before. I’ve been talking about this darn, mammon (money) for a while! The message has been shut up in my bones and maybe this post, just maybe, it will put it all to rest. My most recent post about it can be found here. God used that post as a confirmation to me that He speaks through my writing, and not only to others, but to me! At the moment I needed it most, my own post, God’s own post, encouraged me. Allow me to explain…

30 pcs of silverLast week, the Lord humbled me with the truth that I had been serving a spirit of mammon. Me? Really?  Yea, really. The truth was a hard pill to swallow. I had to crucify my pride before I could ask for it, and I had to truly desire to know it. Knowing it isn’t enough. I then had to accept it and choose who I was going to serve. I was heart-broken and I chose God, and was humbled again by the truth that He had already chosen me. I’m sharing this because I know there has to be someone else out there who was like me. There has to be someone else out there who needs to crucify their pride, ask God the hard questions and turn after learning the truth. That’s what real Christians do. Real Christians are about Christ, not about themselves.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. – 1 John 3:9 (NIV)

After I asked God for forgiveness and then deliverance from that darn spirit of mammon, He did it! Yaaaaay! Let freedom ring! Granted, I still have a lot of mess and consequences I still need to deal with, but He’s with me and goes before me as I cross the Red Sea on dry ground. You can’t have me, Pharaoh! What blows my mind is His love for me. He stuck by my side through it all; married to the backslider. His grace and His favor never left me; not once while I wasn’t serving Him! What love is this?! It’s unconditional. It’s agape.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
– 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NIV)

garden-of-eden

When you ask for forgiveness, you restore yourself back to the Father. You walk in the garden of Eden again like the good ‘ol days; naked and unashamed. You become one again. Know that God is not upset with you about the sins you aren’t aware of. He has always been and will always be for us, even while we are still sinners (See Romans 5:8). He’s already factored in all of our mistakes and all of Satan’s snares. He knows how heavy His cross is, and knows we have the free will to choose to carry it or not. He is pleased when we pick it up from wherever we are. He’s pleased by our attention to things that matter much to Him. Let’s face it: Satan is good at what he does, but God is greater, bigger, stronger, higher than any other. Our God is the Lord of ALL hosts!

My experience convinces me that there are many other Christians out there ignorantly serving a god and requiring salvation again. I share this with you not to incite nosy questions or concerns, but because I love you and I know that what God did for me He can do for you. If you’re serving God wholeheartedly, great! But I thought I was too. I dare you to ask Him. And if you find that it’s not Him that you’re serving, I dare you to turn and restore your relationship with Him. It may be man, it may be fear, or it could be that darn mammon! Eck!

 

God, Man, and Woman #Feminist #Leadership #Power #Authority #GenderRoles

I recently finished up one of Ron Carpenter’s teaching series titled, “What Makes A Man”, and found it to What Makes A Manbe wonderfully insightful.  Initially the title brought some doubt about whether or not it was for me (a woman), but after hearing his introduction, I was convinced that he would share something that my heart was ready to receive.  By learning “what makes a man”, it became clear to me, that which does not make a woman, and therefore, what a woman should not seek to make herself into.  God has already done a great job.  You, woman, are beautifully made and there is no flaw in you!  (Song of Songs 4:7)  My heart was stirred, and any competition within it was getting squashed in my prayer closet!  Yaaaay!  This night…I was hearing, I was receiving, and I was getting. my. life!  God is truly for us.

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
~ Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV) ~

My attention was drawn to the somewhat controversial topic of a woman’s role.  I want to flashback to Genesis and recall a story about us and for us.  My goal is to stir your heart and make you think about God’s word in relativity to the way we live (mind, body and spirit).  I’ve included many scripture references for you to do your own study (and I hope you do!).  I encourage you to test the spirit delivering this message (1 John 4:1)!  And If the truth stings, let it sting!  It is a small cost for liberty.

Men vs Women

Briefly about Adam…
Back in Eden, good ol’ Adam was placed there before Eve.  With his God-given glory and dominion, he reigned slightly lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7).  Adam was a man with great responsibilities, and therefore many requirements (Luke 12:48).  He named animals and tended an entire “garden” stretching across the Middle East!  It pleased God to watch Adam do his thang.  He came from God, “looked” like God, and walked with God; like Father, like son.  Gon’ Adam with yo bad self!

Briefly about Eve…
Without coincidence (on purpose, for a purpose), Behold! God had created the lovely Eve from Adam, for the purpose of help and companionship.  The woman’s role then and now is to simply help the man with what he needs.  Side note: This is why it is extremely important for a woman to choose a man who is Christ-centered and truly walking with God.  A wise woman once told me that the real ones are not trying to convince you, they are doing it.

“And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:14 (NLT) ~

Eve’s deception led her to believe that she was missing something.  She sought after this forbidden knowledge and power that seemed harmless and good for her.  She sinned, she tainted her legacy, and she placed her family in a position of struggle for life.  We are descendants of her, and God has a word…

“To the woman he said, ‘…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'” ~ Genesis 3:16 ~

God spoke, and the fight of woman for the position of man began.  Now singles, you may think the above scripture is only true for married women, but not so!  You, my single sister, are married to the best of the best, God himself! Your devotion and submission is to the Lord, holy in both body and in spirit! (1 Corinthians 7:34).

We Can Do ItI believe many feminist, “shero”, and anti-male movements are examples of Genesis 3:16; women attempting to change an order that was divinely set in place.  Now I’m not knocking women’s rights; I am for me, and I know that my greatest and highest thoughts of myself cannot compare to God’s thoughts of me (Psalm 139:17).  The concept that God exceeds us in every way must be grasped (Isaiah 55:8-9).  It is extremely important for us to seek God to learn what is right before we cause a mess.  Why cause a mess when you can enjoy rest in His will?  Instead of fighting God and man, we as women need to arise and kill our flesh that attempts to control man and obtain something that does not belong to us.  That my friends, is liberation!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
~ Psalm 51:10 (KJV) ~

If us ladies are honest with ourselves and receptive to the word of God,  then we agree that there are a whole lot of us Evelets running around at fault; both single and married.  It is time to realign.  Awake!  Stop listening to the outside world and getting bound and entangled (See Galatians 5:1).  You can do this!

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.”
~ Psalm 17:8 (KJV) ~

The truth of the matter is, whether or not the bible says  go”this way”, we all have the free will to go “that way”, and when we This Way That Waydo, although we become separated by sin, we will never ever ever be separated by the love of our Heavenly Father (See Romans 8:31-39).  I’m not okay with that, though.  I am in no way okay with a one-sided relationship on account of me.  Relationships that only take and do not give are not rooted in love.  Love keeps the commands of The Most High God, and God has spoken (John 14:15).  Protest THAT!

Eve lost horribly and I refuse to lose like that. I may lose, but it will be God’s way, with a humble heart of surrender.  It is time for us as women to position ourselves for the restoration of our proper place of worship in God’s kingdom as He purposed it.  God uses those who are willing to be used.  I believe God’s will looks different for all of us, especially since fewer men are unwillingly rising to their positions, but seeking and discerning His will is key.  We may survive outside of God’s will, but only inside can we thrive. 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
~ Acts 4:12 (ESV) ~

I Surrender All

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
~ Luke 9:24 (NLT) ~

Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON. #Encouragement

A couple of months ago I had a short interview with a close family friend who was writing a book on healing after painful experiences. He wanted to know how long it took for me to be healed and how I went about reaching that place of healing.  My response was something like this:

I can’t really put a number on it.  I’d love to think that I am 100% healed from x, y, and z, but the truth of the matter is, maybe just x and y…or honestly, maybe 80% of all three ha.  I don’t know.  Once you think you’re good, you undergo spontaneous triggers by something big or small…a month later…a year later…maybe even 3 years later (to each it’s own).

These triggers remind you, and may leave you disappointed or annoyed by the realization that dang, there’s still residue.  Dang.  There is still some healing, maybe even lots of healing left to be done.  In my experience, from one trigger to the next, disappointment came when I misunderstood what not being completely healed really meant.  I thought it was bad, but now I know that when you are willing to heal, the fact that you are not completely healed of something simply means that God isn’t done, not that we aren’t ready for ____________.  So, if you’re triggered by something that reminds you that you still need grace and humility, and reminds you that you’re still a human who needs God, then good!  We were created to need Him.  You are not delayed in meeting, reaching, or receiving what God has for you.  That my friend, is a lie from the enemy!

rootsOne must get uncomfortable enough to deal with the roots.  One must  get uncomfortable enough to allow God to dig beneath the messy surface where the beginning of your issues and pain lie.

In order to heal properly, you have to deal (with the pain) properly.” – Nu 

If you’re on the path to healing, then you know that you get those full circle, déjà vu, divine do-over moments when _____________________ happens again.  Except this time it doesn’t make you angry, it doesn’t make you cry, and it shockingly doesn’t affect you the way it has in the past.  You figuratively (or literally if you’re like me) leap in joy at the felt sense of accomplishment that you have finally, at last have been stamped by the Lord as “Healed!”.  Not!

I believe us earthlings (ha!) are never completely healed of any worldly ailments until we leave this world and enter into our true destination…Heaven.  Ahhh…The beautiful place of no pain, sorrow, or frustration…just love and fruits – my fave! 😉  We should know though, that while here on earth…

godlovesyou

“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

I am convinced that healing is ongoing and not to be consistently associated with readiness for something new.  God is not a God that withholds good things from people who love and obey Him.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11 (ESV)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON.  You may not be 100% healed from x, y, and z, I don’t know, but we should certainly celebrate the fact that we’re making progress.  My heart personally smiles when I understand me better than I did yesterday.  It gives me a better shot at understanding you.  By faith I am healed, today, tomorrow, and forever.  I am pleased with me and He, from whom my help comes…as should you.  So stay blessed, be encouraged, and HOLD ON!  Love you.

xo,
Nu

My greatest #commission.

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.'” – Mark 16:15 (ESV)

Great-Seal-of-California-GoldI recently became a notary public for the State of California (Woot! Woot!).  In a nut shell, what we do is legally serve the public (without offering legal advice), but mostly by signing and stamping documents with an official seal that pretty much makes them legit with the state to be used in court, or life, or whatever.  That’s the “Nu” version.

Ever since I found out that a “commission” is what I was to receive from the Secretary of State before I could perform notarial duties, I was intrigued by the word.  I looked it up and laughed.  It was like an inside joke between God and I.

I liked these below:

com·mis·sion

kəˈmiSHən/

noun

  1.  an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people.
  2. a group of people officially charged with a particular function.

verb

  1. give an order for or authorize the production of (something such as a building, piece of equipment, or work of art).
  2. bring (something newly produced, such as a factory or machine) into working condition.

goodnewsI realized that this commission to serve the public in the natural was yes, something ordained by the State of California, but my greatest commission and high calling to go out and proclaim the gospel and spread the love of Christ in this hurting and dying world is far more valuable. I am grateful for the God-given revelation in this parallel and for the opportunity to serve Him in serving you, His people.  That, my friends is our greatest commission and we can expect a great reward in Heaven.  I don’t take my birth lightly, nor more duty following.  I heard Dr. Tim Storey say once that, “You’re a big deal” and I agree.  God does so much, and allows us as individual believers to go through so much…for just one sometimes.  What an honor to serve you, to teach you…what an honor to love you and prepare you (and me) for the Kingdom!

16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.

Naturally Me. #NaturalHair #TeamNatural

Over the years I’ve been asked so many inquisitive questions about my hair and natural way of living. People want to know when it all started, why it all started, and how I keep it going.  For too long I’ve thought that with all of these naturals sprouting up my story isn’t needed, but I realize that there’s only one me that someone can identify with and that me, is the only one who can tell my story appropriately. Let be start by saying this…

For years African-American women have had complexes about their hair. At young ages we began relaxing (or “perming” — a culturally misused synonymic) our hair to make it more manageable or presentable (whatever that means) to our counterparts. Straight was deemed as better. Hang time a bonus. I began thinking about my hair and realizing that I knew nothing about its natural state. I was the girl constantly relaxing my hair and making appointments to relax everybody elses smh.

While studying Business at SDSU (Woot! Woot!), I took an Africana Studies course to fulfill a prerequisite and quickly fell in love with the subject.  Every day I went to class I felt like I was learning something new about me, and low-key upset with the timing (but it’s all good).  You can imagine how easy it was for that 1 course to turn into 2, 3, 4, 5…and before I knew it, I was minoring in Africana Studies. I developed a strong sense of pride for my heritage, but more importantly, a strong understanding and appreciation for all who have gone before me.  I was disturbed with an overflow of facts.  I was a free-spirit learning the depth of my people’s bondage; my bondage.  I was disturbed that they couldn’t freely be themselves in allll fashions and realized the area of hair was still one lingering.  I wanted to express my freedom and love me, inside and out.  I wanted to know how Nu’s hair looked.  I wanted to know if Nu needed that creamy crack (aka relaxer).  I wanted to show other races who has been in their presence all along, and who’s not leaving.  And so, in 2005, I decided to “go natural”. I didn’t big chop, I just transitioned, straightened, rocked braids, etc…and the struggle was reaaaaal! 😉

I battled the doubts, the dandruff, the tangles, the breakage all by my lonesome. Then 4 years later, there were others like me, learning their hair and calling it naturally beautiful. I was excited for us all.  But shoot, it’s about time y’all showed up! haha

Most naturals you meet will tell you that once you become serious about your “natural hair journey”, as many will call it, the journey at some point no longer becomes about hair, but about your health.  That same energy is transferred throughout all parts of your life.  If you can stay up late and twist, invest in products to maintain, then maybe you can stay up late and work out that issue with your spouse too.  But I’m just saying!

So yea, that’s pretty much it.  Today, I still can’t braid, I still don’t know it all, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’m free, and enjoying every minute of it, naturally…me.

snapchat-2004072089611205627

Completely different books with the same color pages. #Christian #Poetry #Friendship #MothersDay

So once upon a time, back in high school, I was a popular tri-athlete. I was involved in every club imaginable and so-called friends with many and all. It was no shock that I won the title of homecoming queen and unanimously deemed me as “Unforgettable”, but ending my Senior year of high school and beginning my college years I was feeling the total opposite.

I went through some repeat back stabbings with my best friend at the time that lead to the demise of other relationships in our circle of friendship as well. Though I started college with high hopes in our relationship, I was stabbed for the final time. Ouch. I was done.

I used to cry and beg God for just 1 friend. “Just one, Lord!”, is what I would say. I thought if I had just one genuine friend, who would stab me in the front and drive me to the hospital afterwards, I’d be good.

I was a mess. Imagine…
A girl wearing her heart on her sleeve. So unknowingly desperate for a friend that she perceived every new person she met as an answer to her prayer. “Yes, they must be it!”, she thought. Poor people, they didn’t know what she’d been through. And it just led to another lonely night of her dorm room cries for “Just one friend, Lord!”

4-5 years later after becoming content with who I was and more in love with who God is, an old friend gave birth to my now God-son, whom I adore. His name is Zephaniah.

There’s something about babies that ignite changes in us adults.

The Lord restored our relationship and his mother is now my best friend. I’m grateful that even when we forget things, God doesn’t, and has our prayers stored away for a divine time to answer.

‘Til this day I’m so appreciative of our friendship. I am grateful for the experience of the rough dorm days when I was without a true friend. It definitely allowed for this level of appreciation for when one would arrive.

Never underestimate why God has you go through the things that he does and when He does. He’s building your character, chipping away the unnecessary, and preparing you for something greater that you will appreciate. He is shaping your testimony so that you can help others.

So in the spirit of gratefulness, I decided to write about one of my most cherished relationships. Not only is this woman a great iron and wise counsel to me, but she’s an amazing, admirable mother who I know one day will write a best-selling book for us all!

We’re so different, yet similar. This poem is for her.
Happy Mother’s Day, Shanté! I love you so!



We…
read completely different books with the same color pages,
White.

Captured by the light
to shine
when we dine
and feel inclined
to share
just how much
our Savior cares
And dares
not to stop,
even when we do.

We’re unworthy you see,
To walk this earth
And continue to make history,

We should be done!

But he is not,
and so, with grace,
we keep reading, friend…

Completely different books with same color pages,
White.

We…
have plenty of space
to write,
in the margins of life
about
the ups and the downs,
and all these demons around.
To write
about
our hopes and our dreams
and the way it all seems
to unfold
like valuable gold,
Before our eyes
can be blinded
by the glitter
that we shan’t choose
to make us bitter
because that choice
actually isn’t sweet at all!

We…
wage war together.
And slit throats on our knees
While planting seeds
that grow trees
Yup, simultaneously…
Somethin’ like a G.

Satan tries to attack
but we call each other back
And tag-teamin’ we give him yet another smack
DOWN.

We…
stand tall together.
despite whether
or not
we got a ‘tude from that
little comment made
so rude!

You…
are such a blessing, friend.
And even so, it’s not my prayer,
that you were here
or I was there.

For I do understand
that for this season
for this race
for this fight
for this chase
God deems it
absolutely necessary
that

We…
read completely different books
with the same color pages,
White.

And I,
just want you to know
that it’s my honor to do so.

© 2013 •Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

 

CARPE DIEM. #Mothers #Daughters

What the heck?! I don’t know what just came over me.  I just went to say goodbye to mom before she departs for a short business trip and I felt my eyes well up.  I’m so sad.  I miss her already.  I have really gotten used to spending time with her.  This precious, invaluable time.  She’s only gone for a bit, but I guess I’m just thinking about the near future.  Geesh.

move-forwardI’ll never forget the vision that I had when living on the East Coast.  Without going into too much detail I will just say that in it, my mom needed me and the Lord gave me an option to stay or go.  As usual, I said yes to God’s proposal and easier said than done, I moved back.  Let me tell you, moving forward mentally is way harder than moving forward physically.  Especially when your physical move is literally back! Haha.  It’s like, really Lord?  I think so often we forget that we’re spiritual beings having natural experiences and that in actuality, none of the things that the world says are valuable mean much of anything to the Lord.  He delights in our obedience and lavishes in our love.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)

So many people want to do what makes sense when in reality a lot of our blessings in obedience require us to take leaps and do things that don’t make sense and possibly make us look a little crazy at times.  People want to be and do what they think is great.  Instead of loving their neighbors, they’re coveting after their neighbors.  People want to be or do what looks and sounds good.  Instead of respecting a person, they’re respecting a title.  But we need to forget about those worldly things that don’t matter start finally chasing, or re-chasing those eternal things of true substance.

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. – Colossians 3:1-2 (AMP)

be yourselfWe have to deepen our relationship with the Lord so that we can find our true identities through Him.  So that we’ll know who we are and in turn how to be.  So that when all in this world is stripped away, ha…not our identity.  I’m so sick of seeing a whole bunch of “turn up” copycats *rolls eyes*…have a seat already!

But yes, I was going to talk about my relationship with my mom…

Mother/Daughter relationships are so beautifully intricate.  So delicate like lace or something.  They go through ups and downs in milliseconds.  There’s battles between respect and assertion and assist and diversion.  So complex.  Figuratively speaking, I think the Lord definitely hand washes them cold and hangs them carefully to dry.

motherhood

Since my move back to the West Coast, I’ve really enjoyed the growth and transformation I’ve experienced in my relationship with my entire family, but my mother especially.  I believe every Mother/Daughter relationship suddenly hits this “Freaky Friday” growth point  where the daughter, now a mature, adult woman with her own life experiences, comes to this realization that her mom, who she for decades was thought of as this flawless, invincible superhero, is in actuality not *gasp*, in fact, she is just like her daughter who has become just like her mother, a mature, adult woman with her own life experiences.  This place of truth does something great (and rightfully so) and God does something greater as the relationship accepts and adapts to it accordingly.  We love and respect each other way more these days.  It’s so refreshing for me to see my superhero mom without her cape quoting Tamar Braxton saying things like, “You tried it!” and “Getcho life!” haha…oh goodness.  She’s truly my best friend.  I can’t wait to bless her with early retirement and a trip to Italy.

heartbeat

The other night I hugged her and rested on her chest for a good while; because I could.  When I did, I heard and felt her heartbeat, and it was like hearing an old, favorite song.  At that very moment a tear fell and I thanked God that my mom was alive and that I was too.  That we were here for this and the best is yet to come.  Now that, my friends is what I call Carpe diem.