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Saturday, December 31, 2011

I hate u

Did you do to your other man the same things that you did to me?

You gave your body to another in the name of fun.

I hope you had some baby 'cause it means we're through...(at least that's what I always thought Prince sang till I Googled it just now.)

Yeah, those words always hit too close to home for me and my ex-husband when we listened to them, because they applied to both of us.

Say you're sorry if you want to but it's all in vain...

I hate you...because I love you.

But I can't love you...because I hate you.

Did you do to your other man the same things that you did to me?
I seriously love me some Prince, and now I see why lyrics to his epic songs like I Hate U still resonate years later in my mind and soul.

He was just so freaking honest that he exposed parts of himself that others wouldn't expose.

Right now I hate you so bad that I want to make love until you see that it's killing me baby, to be without you...because all I ever wanted to do was to be with you.

Yeah, I'm seriously getting more honest like Prince did with his writing -- but I'm not totally there yet. Now you see why I write under pen names and pseudonyms and nome de plumes?

I feel freer to write that way. I don't have to worry about censoring myself too much to try and spare feelings or not cause confusion or misinterpretation or straight up propagate lies. Still, I think I could learn a lot from Prince.

Of course, on the surface it doesn't sound nice for a Christian to use the word "hate" when that's what's roaming around in their brains as their mouths say, "I'm just lifting you up in prayer."

However, the Lord said he hated Esau.

And God did say he hated divorce. (So sad Mayte and Prince divorced after videos like the one above was made -- be careful what we create in our art. That's why I like to write about happy endings. No, not necessarily that kind...)

I've got my old divorce papers spread out on my couch next to me in preparation for a post about do-it-yourself divorces. But I don't hate my ex-husband at all. I think nothing of him after all these years...
Anyway I'm not saying it's all Godly to have Mayte writhing around in that video -- but it is kind of Song of Solomon-ish because they were married at the time.

Okay: Here's my point. Sometimes when we're thinking "I hate you" we should just say it or write it and admit it to God and let "the Father of the heavenly lights" cover those feelings with all his grace.

So there. I hate you. I wrote it. Okay no, not really. Just a fleeting emotion...
The Lord God help us all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Public Paula, Private Paula

Um...yeah -- Courtesy DaniMorris.com
I thought this post was going to be about separating my private Facebook page from my public Facebook page listed above.

Like the way ABC reporter Jummy Olabanji has her Facebook page...

...or the way my cousin NBC reporter Tracie Strahan has her public Facebook page, and then a private one for family under her married name.

That's all cool and good -- I'm totally down with having separate FB pages for different purposes.

But it has turned more into something about how much of ourselves Christians hide behind trying to look perfect.

So I just wrote about "Imperfect Christians, drunk blogging, drunk texting..." that I hope really still makes sense in the morning.

I believe it will...even more so than some of the stuff I write when I'm a stone cold sober and "perfect" bond-servant of Christ.

Actress Paula Neal Mooney? Hmm....

It's always a fascinating thing to study the terms people type into Google to find your websites.

And the longer I'm online, the more interesting the searches get.

It's heady enough to see people sometimes search for you by name -- and downright weird when people start coupling your name with terms you'd never expect, like the time last month or so when I saw someone search for "Paula Mooney boobies" and landed on my site.

(You ain't gonna find that, I pray!)

But one search that made me smile and meditate on great things to come that I saw today was "about actress Paula Neal Mooney" that someone typed into Google to find this blog:

Because I like it...right...
I thought to myself:

Did they find the video I made for the Dark Girls moviemakers?

I threw the bleaching cream away...
Oh, I see that was written about on The Urban Daily, so praise God that people are thinking that's a part of the movie.

Heck, maybe it did make it into the movie about dark-skinned girls -- I haven't seen it yet because it's still opening across the country and will hopefully come close, to Cleveland or somewhere near us.

Oh yes, and you'll be happy to know that I threw the skin bleaching cream away after making that video and watching another documentary about the dangerous hydroquinone contained in that product that messed some other women's skin up.

I do, however, love that Clinique Dark Spot Corrector that -- combined with Jesus and Mederma -- really has faded that curling iron burn on my face.

Back to the acting thing...
So yes, I'm convinced that the video was at least inspiration for the directors to create the new "Yellow Brick Road" movie that's already in production -- I definitely pray I make that one!

A vision I had in the steam room yesterday, water from heaven
Seeing the word "actress" associated with my name unveiled a secret desire that felt good to see in print.

Of course, I know that "writer" will always be paramount in my life and soul and job here on earth and maybe beyond in the 3rd heaven, but that doesn't mean we should limit ourselves to the gifts that are most prevalent in us.

People have often asked me if I'm related to comedian/actor Paul Mooney -- I'm not -- but it's nice to see my name associated with the entertainment field I sometimes love and loathe (when it's bad stuff I want to do better than) in my own right.

I still laugh at myself when I watch that video above, with the crazy silver nail polish on my lips whose fumes felt like they nearly gave me a contact high -- and maybe that's why I forgot to scrub it off when the close up scenes were done. It's all good and all God of all grace, though...

When I create my list of things to do in 2012 that my friends and I are sharing with each other in a few days, I'll probably add something in addition to publishing more books on there, something acting related -- along with the writing work behind the scenes.

And even though most people like me have assumed we were too shy to act, take heart: Many actors are actually introverts!

So go for what you know in this coming New Year... it could lead somewhere very good.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sex in the Church: Avoiding Adultery and Cheating in Christian Marriages

It is after midnight and I am still up, so I really want to tell all my readers about the book I devoured today in one day, Warning To Ministers, Their Wives and Mistresses: Avoid the Road to Destruction.

My sister bought it for me for Christmas off my Amazon Wish List, and it was an easy and fascinating read at only 68 pages long, being a small yet power-packed book.

And with all the people Googling "sex" and "cheating" and "adultery" and "Christian" and "church" and topics surrounding those terms and how they meld -- I'm just bursting at the seams to write about this tonight.

I'm already going to pass it on to a woman who knows another woman who is caught up in a dramatic situation like the ones described in the book. Thank God I never experienced the sexual sin in church that these women have, but I could relate to how one's mind, emotions and will can be caught up in a soul tie that the Lord breaks one way or another. (Better earlier than later.)

All this reading is helping as part of the "fixing me" process that my husband talked with me about. (I'm also soaking up Every Woman's Battle, so stayed tuned for more goodness...)

The pastor's wife who refused to go to church with him until he stopped talking to a woman...

I didn't realize that the book was written by Dr. Betty Price, wife of Dr. Fred K. Price, a pastor that I used to catch my mother watching on TV, even years after she stopped going to church and before I was truly saved.

She is pretty open about a woman who kept talking to her husband -- and how he let his guard down, because he was not physically attracted to the woman.

Betty Price said that the woman was a "spiritual woman" who kept having a word and so-called prophecy for her husband at church so much that she was monopolizing his time.

The pastor's wife realized that this woman was not fostering a Godly relationship, so she asked her husband to stop talking to the woman. But he refused initially because although he had already made a covenant not to pursue any sexual cheating with his body, he didn't feel threatened because he was attracted to the word in this woman's mouth -- not her body.

Anyway, Dr. Betty refused to go to church with her husband one Sunday, and that hurt him enough to open his eyes to see what his wife was saying. So he stopped talking to the woman.

In another instance, a woman came and sat right across from her, and began wearing tight and revealing clothes. She got an appointment with Dr. Fred Price, and told him, "I want you!"

He said to himself, "My body says, 'I want you, too' but my spirit says 'No!'" so he showed her the door.

Dr. Betty made sure to reveal that she loves women, and that she's barely a jealous person. She said it's okay to let her husband compliment another woman on looking nice or whatever -- she just knew certain situations weren't about jealousy, it was about a wrong spirit trying to mess up God's plan.

The woman who couldn't stop lusting after her husband...the guys who gave women herpes and more...

I'm remembering more and more about the book hours after I read it, so I'm writing more!

Dr. Betty Price also talked about appreciating another woman who came up to her and admitted that she couldn't stop lusting after Dr. Fred, so the woman left the church. Dr. Betty talked about that other church man who had been cheating on his wife -- and his wife didn't know (although Dr. Betty said she didn't know how she didn't know), but she would notice that some women would just disappear from the congregation from time to time.

And then there were the men who messed around and gave their women herpes and the like. Oh yes, one major point was that some of these women who were cheated on put up with so much because their men brought home the bacon -- and they were afraid that if they broke up with him, they'd be left destitute.

But Dr. Betty told them that they have to trust God as their provider more than their husbands. She seems so strong-willed and straight forward. I can see why all these women emailed her and confessed their situations (from the wives to the mistresses to the men) all these 20 years or more...

There's so much I keep thinking about in this book and the response was so overwhelming, with people urging and wanting more, I can see it as a movie. I can see the black church audience (and other races as well) eating this up, because unfortunately it's a prolific situation in some places -- and hush hush in others. But thank God there are plenty of men and women of integrity in lots of churches, as she discusses.

I like that she says people should use their faith not only to believe our Lord for money and provisions, but also for the faith and grace to live right, because there is a big blessing in accepting God's power to help us live right and avoid the deathly tragedies she's seen when adultery and sin continues, with some people thinking they've gotten away with it just because God is being patient and giving people the time to turn their lives around. Great, great stuff in this book.

Not hiding for him or making excuses and covering his sin...

I also love that Dr. Betty really knew her worth and said she wasn't going to put up with things she knew were wrong, like when her husband refused to stop talking to that woman that she felt weird about, not jealous of.

When she missed church that one time that caused Dr. Fred to turn his mind around because it hurt him so much, Dr. Betty said her husband asked her what she was going to tell people about why she was absent.

She said she was going to tell people the truth: that her husband was in an inappropriate relationship and that he refused to stop, so she wasn't going to sit next to him in church like everything was a-okay.

In the recorded interview below, Dr. Betty says that she meets women whose husbands have had babies with other women in the church -- and they refuse to confront him, saying, "That's between him and God."

Or sadly, in the book she writes about pastors' wives who go after the other women and fight them (sometimes even physically) in the church. She said she never goes after another woman, she just sets clear boundaries and expected her husband to live up to them, or else she was out. That is some powerful resolve.

Sinning unto death and destruction...

There are so many true stories in her book about guys in ministry who leave their wives and children for another woman, and then the other woman ends up dumping the man after he loses his prestige and powerful position and half his money after the divorce.

Listen to internet radio with Strait Talk on Blog Talk Radio
She talks about men who get sick from all the cheating (it's kind of heavy against the men, but she talks about women who've done dirt too, especially exposed after the book came out) and one man who had to confess his sexual cheating to his wife after he got sick.

There are some amazingly bold stories and sad, too, that she relates in the book -- and in this video interview with her talking about the book and more experiences, like one wife whose husband forced her to sit in church in between two women he was sleeping with.

Yikes. Craziness.

It's sad to hear about the women involved with men who have such a hard time breaking free, or the ones who didn't want to because of the "benefits" that messing around with a married man afforded them -- or the ones who were stalked when they tried to break it off and leave the man.

The only thing I wish is that Dr. Betty would've talked about any temptations she experienced with men in the church -- maybe it wasn't as common, since churches are usually crawling with a lot more women than men, but I'm sure there had to have been some men who tried to trip her up, seeing as though she's a pastor's wife and all.

It's a great start, and I'm glad she wrote the book to help so many people break free and better yet, avoid situations like this altogether.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Friday, December 23, 2011

Slut, slut, slut...

A vision of water pouring out of lips -- "out of your belly will flow living waters..."
Things I'm learning during this season...

  1. A blessing can be disguised as a curse...

  2. Sexual integrity is not just NOT sleeping with nor kissing someone, it involves things like avoiding emotional affairs and changing my thought life and speech and so much more...

  3. I don't need to pretend like I'm over this when I'm not totally over it yet...

  4. If I tell myself not to think of something or someone, that's like telling myself not to think of a purple elephant. All I'll see are purple elephants. So it's better to just let the thoughts come -- and cast them off to Christ to handle and ask Him to replace them with much healthier and holier and more prosperous vistas...

  5. That I love the way Yahweh shows me stuff through my dreams -- and some of the points I remember I immediately type out in my offline dream journal soon after leaving my alpha state of sleep in the morning, as suggested in The Artist's Way and by other artists.

  6. And I also love the hope that He gives me through visions, like the one I had the other day of a pair of red lips that had water pouring out of the mouth, and it reminded me of the "out of your belly will flow living waters" Scripture. I had to immediately draw that mug out so I could chronicle it -- I'd never seen that one before. I've seen visions like water and gold and honey pouring from heaven, but not out of lips like that, so that was very meaningful to me in ways that few know...but God knows.

  7. That when the thoughts "Drive into that brick wall" or "Take that whole bottle of pills" come to me, they are not from heaven, and it takes work to continually cast dirty slutty thoughts from my mind and give them to Jesus to put in His jail...

  8. I like shocking and honest blog titles; coupled with the Lord God's favor, they help people come and read...

  9. My focus needn't be on what my husband does wrong or other people -- God deals with their sins as He needs to with a quickness -- it's best for me to magnify their great qualities, because they have so many. I need to take a hard look at my own sins and faults and seriously repent by turning away from bad behavior and letting our Maker make me better...

  10. I can't worry about what other people think (or "mis-think") of me more than what He thinks of me...

  11. Praise Him for sending me great Christian friends -- some sort of new ones, and others that I haven't seen in awhile that contact me "out of the blue" to go talk at Caribou or in hotels or living rooms or in cars and cry and connect and agree to do pole dancing exercise classes with me in 2012. He knows just what I need when I need it...thanks, Christian Cleavage!

  12. That this story really isn't over yet -- and that when I hold on to His unchanging hand through those "valley" moments, He really does make the interesting plot point shifts and new chapters in our lives glorious -- and makes me glad that I didn't give up at those low points.

  13. God really answers prayers and brings people to my words, even at 3 a.m., that 4th watch of the night that I prayed about in His Son's Name. He is faithful to forgive. ;-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bishop T.D. Jakes' people contacted me!

That's how we do it in The Chi...
Okay, it's really starting to sink in.

After more than six years online, I am finally understanding in my cognitive domain that when I write stuff, people can find it.

Bless God that those days I am favored to see -- let's say my top amount of views for my best day thus far -- perhaps maybe 100,000 hits on my writing on some hot topic -- I realize now that those numbers represent actual people and human eyeballs reading me.

I know it's an odd disconnect, but whenever I meet someone in real life walking around Ohio who remembers my face and name and tells me, "I read what you wrote..." it surprises me a bit. The first time it happened years ago, it was like an odd out-of-body experience.

As artists, we feel the pull to express ourselves and experience the cathartic release that comes along with getting what's burning inside of us out -- half expecting no one to find us. We are not necessarily chasing fame, we're merely flowing in our gifts. But when recognition comes, it can be cool.

"Your gifts will make room for you, and put you before great men..." He gently whispers.

On to Bishop T. D. Jakes...

Bishop T.D. Jakes produced this movie
When I wrote a piece about Bishop Jakes' not having spoken to Bishop Eddie Long lately, I wrote from my heart about how I really felt about the situation -- and part of me inside was warned to be cautious and careful about "putting my mouth on" anybody, especially wary to protect the character of us Christians, whilst still being honest about my viewpoint.

I felt like Bishop Jakes could be reading that, for some reason.

Turns out Christine Cape -- his PR rep -- of The Demoss Group did read that piece, and when she contacted me about his new movie Sparkle (seriously, I've gotta set up a Contact Me page on that site and stop hiding from people, because some great deals could be on the way), of course my thoughts turned to the time Bishop Jakes came to my old church and told us about the $50 million deal he got with Sony to make 9 movies.

If the PR rep for The Potter's House has in-roads to Bishop Jakes like most PR people have to their clients, then, well...

How Will the Movie Deal Go Down?
Oh yeah, you. Must. See. This.
Of course, I couldn't help but also think of someone who's going to be close to Tyler Perry pretty soon -- and the Hollywood writer dreamer asked in my head:  

Can you slip him this script for me?

I had the same thoughts about my communications with Bishop Jakes' rep, but the ironic thing is, I don't have the latest script in question anymore. Deleted it from every known location in my power, since there was talk of creativity but "darkness" as well. I don't want nothin' do with evil...

Only if God wants it rewritten into something pleasing to Him, that will happen as it is meant to be in heaven's time.

And I can see it going down like that in my fantasies: Bishop Jakes getting hold of the idea of a film/TV series centered around a fictional church -- and we close the deal with a few other producers/contributors/major players I have in mind with checks for $250,000 written to them in their name, to not only help assuage the pain -- but to get their viewpoints on the rewrite of the characters.

Okay, that's my dream of how the Lord can continue to turn something bad into something great -- and save plenty of souls in the process by lighting up the movie screens and flat screens and laptops and YouTube with images of real Christians that operate in gifts of evangelism and prayer and Holy Ghost power and healings -- and yes, fall, and are again resurrected in Christ Jesus.

Oh yes, did I tell you?

The big lesson about the townfolk and women who were all stirred up and gossiping about sad Naomi when she came back to town was that they had to recognize that God had turned her sadness around and blessed her with new hope.

I like holding on to that happy ending...

Can you imagine a person so unhappy? To not know if they'd live through another second?

It is in Jesus' perfect timing that I was recently thinking of lines from the movie Sparkle -- and to be reminded by Bishop Jakes' rep that it would be his next film seems like my fantasy might be playing out in real life. Please God, please...in Jesus' name...

Sparkle and Stix

When fine-old "Stix" came back to hit up "Sparkle" again, she told him just how much their break up hurt her.

"When you first left, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to live without you. Yeah, I used to sit in this room and wondered if I would ever get through another second," she said.

And then there were the lines that kept reverberating with me from the script:

"What can I do with this feeling?"
"Can you imagine a person so unhappy? To not know if they'd live through another second?" she asked her ex.

"I got through the second, Stix. Minutes, days, months, weeks. I'm doing fine without you. Just fine."
Yeah, I like that. So there you go.

And if Bishop Jakes and/or his people and my co-creators and co-producers so "happen" to be led to this writing by the Author and Finisher of our faith, let's make a deal, because it's Him that's making you find me and putting me on your mind and haunting your spirits in a good way -- waking you up in the 4th watch of the night for many nights till this dream is realized in a way that pleases our Creator first and foremost, and then us all.

And just in case you haven't seen the movie Sparkle -- for heaven's sake -- rent it or something! That's what I did with my peeps down in Houston a few years ago, turning people on to the classic film.

I applaud Bishop Jakes for not worrying about what the Pharisaical tongue-waggers might say and for going ahead and introduction this amazing movie to the Joseph generation.

Let me add some love and fascination to your life...

Thank God giving up wasn't this hard for me to do...

And the five of them were so cute and innocent-looking and hopeful when it started...

But there came beauty from the ashes...

Being used by people, guilt...and the spirit of pride

I swear I have some of the most interesting talks with my girlfriends -- sometimes late at night.

Tonight was no exception, as topics like guilt and pride and being used and rejection float around in my head.

Guess I should be sleeping and dreaming and looking forward to God talking to me through my "visions on my bed" right now -- but I want to write out what I'm feeling. Send this angst into cyberspace and hope it lands on fertile ground.

How I wish I could write the things I really want to write. Seriously, I can, I'm just in that mode of being careful and cautious once again -- wielding this writing gift like the powerful weapon that it is...

Late night writers make for late night readers...

Anyway, I think I should add love and heartbreak and recovery and a plethora of other things to that title above.

Okay, here goes.

On being used...
Yes, I've had people use me for their own benefit, their own pleasure.

There was the silhouette of the boyfriend in my bedroom door in college that I begged to stay -- the one I could see smiling in the dark through his excuses as he left.

There were the people I in turn used to get what I wanted, and tossed aside their hurt feelings as I literally pushed them out of my front door.

All this leads me to...

Sometimes we  feel it, sometimes we should but we run away from it.

Sometimes we think of buying people big old phat gifts to make up for the guilt we feel we've caused them. Beg God for the money, in fact.

And He tells us what we should do.

He haunts us like Celie's proclamation in The Color Purple: 

"Until you do right by me, everything you even think about is gonna fail..." 

Ah yes, that spirit of pride.


Basically, I've been forced to look at myself and all the prideful ways I've acted -- especially over the last year. At times we might think we're being the most humble, the one most wronged, when actually we're the ones operating in a spirit of pride.

So yeah, I had to recount the ways I've walked around thinking I'm cute or smart or basically just trying to lift myself above others in order to probably mask the insecurities therein.

"This thing is eating me alive!" Toby Mac sings on the Start Somewhere song below.

"I messed up and you're broken," he says, leaving me wondering what the hell he did to write lyrics like that.

Anyway, back to my lyrics. My words.

I hope the spirit of pride has left me and others. After all, God gives favor to the humble, but opposes the proud.

So Lord help me be humble, because I love all that favor!

He just showed me a shooting star...
Walking my friend outside in the frigid cold 31 degree air, as I continued to pour out my soul and pulled the blanket tighter around my torso in the driveway, I thought about love and heartbreak and recovery and strength.

"Show me Your freedom," I looked up and asked God, and just like that, I saw a shooting star streak across the sky.

Reminds me of the very first blog post on this blog from December 13, 2005 -- oh my God! -- this blog is exactly 6 years old today! Happy birthday, dear blog...

There are no coincidences with our Father.

Anyway, I wrote about becoming Motherless, about returning to Ohio in deep grief once the funeral and repast were over, and I was left with the ravages of my feelings in the wake of her death, God showed me a shooting star in my backyard in Copley, Ohio.

"I didn't cry this much when my mother died..."

That's what I told my friend about my most recent heartbreak, and it was oddly true.

And her death during the wee hours of October 4, 1999, was sudden and shocking to me.

But in its wake, I turned to the Lord Jesus for real, and He's made my life better.

Not perfect, obviously, but going through that valley of the shadow of death eventually gave way to better things on the mountaintops.

So this latest dip in the road is on the upswing, I pray, and I'm already surprised at the way He's strengthening me and changing my desires to not even want to go backwards in some ways.

Other ways, yeah, I'm still leaning on Him to help me through.

But I'm ready for the good part.

Okay, since I'm staring down at 2 a.m. pretty soon here, I think I'm ready for those visions on my bed.

Let's pray for great ones -- ones that continue when we wake up.

Big blessings came into my life after Mommy died and I let Jesus take my wheel -- "Lord, You create my rhymes," LeCrae says.

After this unspeakable and inexplicable heartbreak felt by a few of us, I can already feel the huge release and Christmas miracle the Savior is bringing -- and has already brought. It's like that shooting star was one more confirmation of great things on the way soon.

This next year 2012 is going to be something AMAZING. ;-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011


 I spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend once again reading about the life of Kathryn Kuhlman.

I first heard about her from Joyce Meyer, when Meyer would talk about how much the popular Kuhlman influenced her own successful ministry.

I guess I’d been warned about Kuhlman’s fancy gowns and flare for the dramatic, but not until I watched some of her videos, especially the old ones, did I realize how theater-like she really was.

From Slut to Saint...
Yeah, if you Google "Kathryn Kuhlman," you'll find just as much dirt about her as you will testimonies of the many healings that God allowed to flash forth in her ministry.

As for the dirt, that happened when she met a handsome man named Burroughs Waltrip, who was married with two boys at the time. He may have told Kathryn that his wife left him -- that's reportedly what he told other people -- so he ended up divorced and married to Kathryn.

However, she never had peace about the union with the man, and she ended up getting away from him and repenting to God over it. 

I wish I could find that video where she said that following God can sometimes cost everything, but it's worth the price. I remember watching it on Google Videos, and it was powerful.

So I thought about Kuhlman again when I watched the below video of Pastor Joseph Prince speaking about her dalliances with that man. 

It was part of his sermon about repenting, but not receiving the condemnation that the enemy can try to heap on us over things we've done (or thought of) and then turned away from.

Pastor Prince said that years after she left that guy, some woman asked Kuhlman if she was that adulterer from such and such a place.

"It never happened..." Kuhlman reportedly replied. "That is not the Kathryn I know."

Okay, whether or not she was saying that out of denial, or out of a full realization that God does really forgive our sins and remembers them no more, remains to be seen.

But I found the whole mention of Kuhlman's situation interesting, and since someone was clicking on the book called Warning To Ministers, Their Wives: Avoid the Road to Destruction in my Amazon account recently, it reminded me of that book (that I haven't yet read) but sent me searching through as much as I could read about it online.

When leaders fall...
My Christian friend was over my house all night, with us chatting like a girlfriend's sleepover, and that's when I told her my dismay over the Benny Hinn/Paula White situation.

Somehow that had escaped me as a Christian writer who is online a lot and usually knows what's going on in the Christian world and beyond...

Anyway, Kuhlman greatly influenced Benny Hinn's ministry as well.

I loved the way he wrote in Good Morning, Holy Spirit about being so full of the Holy Spirit after spending hours upon hours in his room talking with God that he would come out of the room and his brother would be knocked back into the wall just from the sheer presence of the Lord on him afterward.

And seeing as though she's my namesake, I always loved Paula White and her hip style and testimony. But it's just sad to see how the evil one can try to throw these darts at those positively affecting the Kingdom of God.

Getting free on Christmas Day...
Yes, my nose turns red when I cry and am cold...
Pastor Prince spoke in another video about going through an "evil day" (he said thankfully those don't last long) himself where stuff was going wrong, he was short with this wife, etc.

When he spoke with several of his leaders, Pastor Prince learned that they had been under some kind of attack as well.

It was good for them to share what they were going through -- and he said it can be a relief for Christian leaders to know what the others are going through so that they know they are not alone.

Pastor Prince talked about not letting the enemy get you alone and off and isolated and buying into extremes. Good advice.

Anyway, they all ended up getting free from the condemnation and attack on Christmas Day -- and I thought that was wonderful.

What is my point? Let's see..

Oh yes, like I was reminded in church today, even King David fell in certain ways -- and Ruth was unable to conceive until after she met and married Boaz (a type of Christ) and the Lord enabled her, in His time and way. Both her and that prostitute Rahab ended up in the lineage of Christ.

So I guess my point still is that as Christians, we are still human beings that make mistakes. There is not one righteous, no, not one.

We should try our best to make the choice to do the right thing, but when we fall, we should really be sorry for it -- and then rely on God to help us turn away.

But falling doesn't mean we're not really believers, or that God can't use us anymore. Lots of people talk about the Kuhlman controversy. That's up to our Maker to sort out what was real and what wasn't -- I truly believe miracles happened.

And even though, like Da. T.R.U.T.H. rhymed, "my sin was botching the Lord's name up" -- that doesn't mean that we can't come back with some even more powerful testimonies in the wake of the situation, like he did.

So those are my main thoughts about the rabbit trail I took this weekend after watching Pastor Prince speak about Kuhlman:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I am sorry...

Can you see the Mac in my eyes?
Sometimes in life God gets us alone with Him to really take a hard and hurtful look at ourselves -- the ugly parts, not the pretty stuff we portray to the world at large.

Yeah, I'm there for a little bit.

And one interesting question asked in the book that's helping me and others is something like:

Have you tried to make amends with everyone you've wronged?

Well, no, I had to answer honestly.

First off, trying to find all those people that I've ever hurt in my lifetime would be like that guy who has HIV trying to track down that one girlfriend he can't find yet.

And honestly, I have no desire to look up some of my exes to apologize for any ways I've hurt them.

Getting pride out of the way...

My knee-jerk reaction is to think of the ways that people have hurt me over my lifetime. But that's not the focus here today. I need to take my part in all the ways that I've bulldozed over people's feelings in blind pursuit of whatever I thought I needed or wanted or was missing at the time.

God deals with each of us accordingly, and right now He's showing me the stuff that needs to be changed in me.

I'm recalling some of the ways I have been prideful and haughty and hurtful, and so blinded by my own needs that I didn't stop long enough to consider any feelings I was hurting in the process -- even though I never intended to hurt anyone.

Intention is one thing, impact is another.

Okay, yes, now I know what that statement means "for real though."

The casualties of spiritual warfare...
The upside-down Kingdom
...can sometimes include souls we really loved and never thought we'd hurt in a million years, or just tried to put out of our minds.

And yet -- I can't blame this on God or any other party. I must take responsibility for my own choices.

And for those bad choices, again, I say: I'm sorry.

I really am sorry.

And I hope to Jesus that it's true repentance -- not just pity over being caught and exposed in my own mess that I made, but really it's got to be the type of sorry that makes me really turn from my bad behavior completely. Even when no one is looking, because heaven is always watching us.

That's what true repentance is all about.

What good is it if people are smiling at me on earth and God is frowning at me in heaven? I've got to act in such a way that makes Him smile more than cry.

"You don't have to keep saying you're sorry..." said one woman.

"I know you're sorry," she repeated, when I apologized once again.

Perhaps I was trying to say it for the people I want to say it to once more but can't say it to right now, for whatever reason.

And that's what came to mind when that question was asked of me in that book.

Yes, most people do want to hear us apologize, even if they aren't ready to forgive yet -- until the wound scabs over a little more. One day that fresh, open bleeding cut will transform into smooth, healed skin.

A battle scar that that we can barely see, and doesn't hurt so much.

One that makes us sing, "I'm over it now...I don't know how...but I'm over it now..." and really mean it on that sweet day.

That can take prayer-filled time and space and grace and grief recovery, and that may be the best gift to give the people we've wronged.

I still care...I'm not a cold-hearted snake
Hopefully they won't take it as I don't care when they see me going on with my life, talking and smiling and befriending people and so on. Sometimes these things are just a way to try and move on, to "get from 8:01 to 8:02" as this other woman told me the other night who's going through a rough time.

My sincere prayer is that Christ performs the miracles to bring forgiveness in the hearts of men and women toward me -- because I know He forgave me before I even asked.

The Most High God knew the messes I'd make in my life -- so I've got to forgive myself for being so stupid as to make them again. I knew better. And I must let that go. Use it as a learning lesson and move on.

That's what His blood is for...consoling those contrite hearts and helping us move forward and become better than we were when we hurt those folks.

Don't let the enemy bring too much guilt...

That's what they tell me.

Once you've sincerely apologized and sought forgiveness, I've been told to not let the guilt consume me, because that's another trick of the evil one. To try and keep punishing myself would be like saying Christ died for nothing on that cross. And we know that's not true.

"Did no one condemn you?" Jesus asked that slutty woman, trodden out before the crowd of finger-pointing Pharisees.

She said no, so Jesus told her:

"I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more."

That's what I have to hold onto, and so can we all -- since, as human beings, we are never perfect. We are going to hurt people in life.

The best we can try to do is not hurt them in the first place, but if we do, we can sincerely apologize and beg our Maker for His forgiveness first and foremost, and then theirs -- but not wallow in grief.

We must leave it to God to warm their hearts.

Friday, December 02, 2011

When your readers flirt with you...

Me in Vegas all the way on the right the first time I went there in 1994 -- let's see...I was 25 years old, the year I met my husband Chris

First off, my gentle reader, can I just tell you how much I love my new MacBook Air and how it makes my work life so much simpler and easier and more productive?

Okay, enough said -- now on to the topic at hand.

How do other writers handle it when their readers flirt with them?

Every once and a good while people will read what I've written somewhere online, and hunt me down on Facebook and send me a friend request.

I -- just like this sister that writes for The Washington Post that friend requested me not too long ago -- accept a lot of my friend requests from readers, so grateful am I that they took the time to Google me and give me kind and encouraging words about writing.

But then...

...the writing compliments are sometimes followed by comments that, yes, feed my baser sides of vanity and insecurity -- but also make me ask myself: Hey, who is this Facebook friend again?

"You are very beautiful," wrote one such guy today via Facebook messenger, which shows up on my phone as well -- and just feels so -- so -- close.

I checked out his page and liked one of his posts or whatever -- but I just didn't respond to the flattery.

Of course it feels good, but anybody can see the big old pic and me and my husband sitting together in my Facebook photo profile, and the fact that I'm married to him.

Okay yeah, I get it -- I'm no Mother Teresa here.

Do you block your readers?

I didn't block him because he seemed normal enough and didn't get out of pocket.

Besides, the whole point of being a writer and expressing one's self online is in the hopes that people will read and relate and be helped by the God-given gift you've been given.

It's just curious to see how this whole online world of writing thing brings up subtle issues that we didn't have to deal with not that long ago.

Hope and pray I deal with them right...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How far have I fallen?

That's the question I asked myself this morning, after coming out of the freezing cold having biked for 7 or 8 miles in the snow like a crazy person.

But the snow in my hair and frigid wetness on my face and muddy clothes felt fine -- because again, I'm right where I need to be at this time and space and place in my life.

"Remember from where you have fallen," came the lesson today whilst I was seeking Him, loving the way Jesus complimented that wayward church first before telling them their faults and warning them to do right before worse stuff happens:

Look how far you have fallen! 

Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don't repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.

So that had me reminiscing about when I first got saved, or any times that I was closer to God than I had been lately. Not that I want to turn into some judge-y Ms. Super Saint, but I did think of some times when I spent more time with Him (usually after being reminded) -- braiding my hair and staring out the window. Perhaps not ignoring warnings...

Or the times I would maybe push away from my laptop and fast every Tuesday for a while there and not let the busyness of life and work and people consume me and take my time and attention away from my Maker.

It's a slow fade, when you give yourself away...

Well, God has my attention now.

And yeah, I may cry nearly every day -- but there are happy times too, and He is doing something to strengthen that "inner man" that I can feel and really need right now.

He keeps reminding me that this is better than it could have been. I must look at the positive side of things.

The Mighty One really does love us and is out to protect us more than punish us...

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is helping me too, reminding me to thank Jesus for the healing He is already performing on our broken hearts and minds and souls -- and to keep any feelings I have in perspective.

After all, a billion people would love to have our lives and the "problems" that we can't let sink us into self-pity.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. The bed and a DVR'd "Modern Family" episode and the hubby are calling -- along with so many other writing projects that will probably take a rest right now.

At least "Open Court" with those retired ball players is entertaining him for now.

There's always tomorrow, Lord willing, and I promise some fun Internet making-money talk will be coming back to these sites.

But for now, I kind of like this memoir-style expression.

It's good and well with my soul... and cathartic, just like those cleansing tears.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

21 days...

I made it past the 17 days that put my mind on that Prince song, and now that it's late into the night of the Central Time Zone that I occupy at this moment, I can't help but think of it being the 21st day.

Yes, some experts claim it takes 21 days to replace one habit with a new one, hopefully a better one.

Should I move to Chicago or California? I asked myself last night.

Well, in between fleeting thoughts of despair I am able to see the brightness of my heart turning back toward home and my husband and this wondrous and wonderful life I've been given.

"Don't go to your sterbs," they say. Oh dear God what if you are my sterb?

And therein lies the rub.

It's not all peaches and roses...it's more like wine and help me Jesus, but He is doing the job.

I finally converted to Mac land...

...and left that Apple Store beaming and guarded with my new MacBook Air 13-inch under my arm, so these new habits are good ones.

The chief change will be digging into God more than before and seeing where His road leads me, career-wise and personally.

I know it will be interesting, and remembering that it will be better than before or any silly wrong imaginations in my head helps keep each day coming and going till I stop counting the days since it felt like the bottom fell out.

Paradigm shifts abound...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sad, but hopeful...

I know this fog will lift.

It's already lifting as I type this on my iPad 2 due to my laptop's hard drive threatening imminent failure.

Yes, Black Friday may actually find me at the store with the big, tempting apple with a bite taken out of it on Michigan Avenue, so prominent and famously recognized it doesn't need a name.

Or more likely online finally adding one of those Macs to my shopping cart and actually checking out.

Less mad at God, feeling His long-term love...

I admit I was mad at the Lord for a good minute there.

I know, the nerve of me, right?

But I asked Him for signs and dreams and felt like I got the go-ahead.

I said don't let me make mistakes with my writing like I did before.

I know I acted foul in other areas but it just felt good to "conversate," as people say in that made up of a word way.

Anyway, when that project became public in the last manner that I EVER expected it to, I knew God orchestrated it that way, and I wondered why.

"He ain't tempt me, but He let me fall," Da.T.R.U.T.H. rhymed this morning in my ears on that elliptical.

Yeah, He let me fall right into His big mighty Holy One's hands.

I see now that it all had to go down in a way that I wouldn't have chosen because it really was all for the better.

Can a man scoop fire onto his lap without being burned? That's what Proverbs asks us rhetorically. No, we can't, unless our Maker snatches us away from the fire we think we're smart enough to handle, even when I'm acting stupid.

My point is that God can see the disaster ahead that we blindly or foolishly and naively walk near to, and works all things together for good to prevent some worse disaster from happening.

I think of tragic news stories avoided.

So I don't need to be mad at God, I need to be thanking Him over and over again for caring about us so much.

I realize some situations are a lot harder than this one.

No outcome may look worse than what some have endured on this earth -- and the Master plan of grace may only be understood in heaven -- but for this situation, I am finally looking past all the hurt and shock and pain I caused (and felt) to be grateful we will never have to feel the pain and hurt and shock that could've been on the other side of a steeper, more rugged cliff.

God really is good. It's all in how we look at Him whether we recognize it.

And He really does correct those whom He loves...so I am feeling his wise, long-term love as something that protected many souls, and drew the ones He ordained in holy matrimony back closer together where we all belong.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love this song...

I love the song by Prince called "17 Days," and couldn't help but think of it today.

I'm off to buy Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival -- a great book that I'm sure God will use to change my life and those lives around me for the better.

I'm surprised Prince didn't send the copyright police for this video yet:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lead me to the Rock which is higher than I...

Admittedly, it's been good spending time with Him that I hadn't been doing consistently.

Only when I've stopped more and turned to Christ Jesus in crisis-mode is when I realized He was really waiting right there for me all along.

Today I learned that as He is in heaven, so am I right now. God help me...help us all...

So this morning as I climbed higher and higher, looking down to avoid snakes that weren't there -- I looked up and thought of that song, "I go to the Rock..."

Looks like it's based on Psalm 61:

Lead me to the rock
   that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,

   a strong tower against the enemy.

And it reminded me of all those times Jesus would just break away from the pressing crowd and climb higher and higher up a mountain to talk with God the Father.

Sometimes He'd spend the night up there.

"Weren't You worried about bugs?" I asked Him this morning, able to talk to Him like a friend about the silliest of most-human concerns.

Eventually He directed my gaze across the mist-covered valley, and brought me down safely and showed me a bridge that I didn't know existed so close to my home.

I made a mental note to come back when it's sunny to get a clearer view. But that time in the misty rain was just what I needed. A fill up.

It's beautiful -- and it's more than any human being could ever give me.

Forgive me, God, for looking for it there. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting over grief: What a difference a day makes...

Grief is such a freaking fascinating thing.

One minute I can be sucking down a glass of Merlot -- something I never do on a Wednesday night -- laughing at Modern Family to mask the pain -- ready to give up on everything again and feeling hopeless.

And then I can wake up on a Thursday morning -- begging "Help me, God..." and "Help us, Lord..." for nearly the 14th day in a row.

I let the Word of our Mighty One wash over me through Pastor Joseph Prince -- who reminded me that lustful thoughts aren't from above, and that we can reject them at their onslaught.

Oh yeah, I should've remembered that little lesson -- and taken a big hint from the visions of snakes around me at the altar when I fasted and prayed. (One was a green one that winked at me...I didn't like that because it reminded me of another nightmare years ago -- and at least that snake's head was soon cut off in the vision.)

But God also showed me a strong chain of links (especially a big silver one on the right in my mind's eye) being broken apart by one weak link in the middle -- and some things are coming clearer.

What did that tenuous, discolored link in the middle that broke apart represent? A horrible fate avoided? That's the type of positive stuff we can focus on when life and circumstances seem bleak. It could've been soooo much worse than it is right now...

The things we lose at times are for good reasons. Great reasons. He protects us and shows us ourselves.

The hope returns...
So I put on those bike pants and let the Tow Path and Jesus beckon me and give me the energy to do an 8-mile bike ride, back where I belong with Him in the freezing cold 33-degree weather.

It felt good to exercise once more...something I'd lost the will to do temporarily.

He reminds me of His "It is yours" promises, and that this seemingly devastating plot point is not the end.

And Christ keeps bringing me back whenever I'm tempted to dance on the edge of despair. 

"I'm back," I felt, peddling those miles with renewed confidence -- after checking out that white goose that just doesn't realize he's supposed to migrate with all the others to warmer climates.

But he knows just fine where he should be. His story is not like the others.

Hold on, old soldier!
That's what Bishop Walter Hawkins told a crack-addicted pastor who went back to that stuff after he was saved. What a testimony of a good friendship the cleaned-up pastor had at Hawkins' funeral, when he told the crowd how Hawkins flew him out to his house and ministered to him during that rough time.

God knows just what we need when we need it.

When I was warmed up enough back home after being fulfilled by my time with Him, that's when the text from my bestie checking on me was found by me, as well as the message on my land line from another good friend I kind of broke up with three years ago.

We were able to pick up past where we left off and share hearts and souls and relay stories, asking ourselves and God, "Why did we act that way?"

Getting Over the Grief and Past Hurts...
As faithful as He is, the answers come right away:

Because you're still hurt by this situation...

Because you need to get over this past pain...

You did the same thing and hurt people because you still need to deal with your anger over this other person...

Exactly when I needed it, the Almighty brought the idea to dust off The Grief Recovery Handbook ideas and let us do more graphs. After all, it's been a good 6 years since I last went through grief recovery.

I think I've got a few losses and people to grieve since that time.

So lunch dates are planned, loss letters to be read -- as well as blessed time away (I pray) during the holidays on vacation trips, if they are meant to be.

Prolific posts are happening, and I know this is just not our sad ending. I can literally feel it.

And even though down-in-the-dumps nights can happen to anyone, it's worth it to wake up in the morning to discover His new graces and mercies being showered upon us.

Paula Neal Mooney