Taking a Hiatus

I am taking some time off to concentrate on some personal issues and spend time with the Lord. I’ve decided to suspend my blog while I do this. I don’t know how long I’ll be away but I do know that it will be until at least immediately after the Living the Life women’s conference is over. I ask that those of you who know me and read my blog please pray for me.

Thanks,

Lakendra

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Where Was God?

It never ceases to amaze me how God can use one thing to get at the root of another thing.
For instance, take my new eating program that I just started today. Upon completing the first lesson, there was a Bible verse at the end on which to meditate. It was Psalm 138:5-8, which says:

Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord,
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You will receive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

I have made it a practice for some time to take the Word and apply it to me personally so that the meaning resonates. So when I came to the part that says, “Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly,” I said aloud, “Though the Lord is on high, yet he regards me, who is lowly…”

That sentence stuck with me as I continued to read the rest of the passage. For several minutes afterwards, I could not stop thinking about it. The phrase kept repeating over and over in my mind…

“Though the Lord is on high, yet he regards me, the lowly.”

Me…

He regards me.

The Lord, who is God of all and lives in heaven cares about me.

Suddenly, I began to cry. I wasn’t sure what had come over me but I was sitting there with my face in my hands as huge, gasping sobs racked my body. I trembled from the force, wondering in the front of my mind why that verse had affected me in such a way while in the back of my mind all I could think was, “where were you God, where were you God, where were you?”

Then the thought became more coherent through the tears: “If you cared about me, God, why did you leave me when I needed you?”

Flashback.

Sitting there on my bed, feverishly brushing away tears, I saw in my mind’s eye, a young girl of about 14 or 15 cleaning erasers in a classroom after school. Alone. The young girl was me. Then another scene of me lying down in a back room behind the principal’s office. I used to go there whenever I was having menstral cramps but many times, I’d fake being sick just so I could get out of class and get away from the merciless teasing, waiting for the 6th period bell to ring. Then another scene of me walking to my locker between classes and finding it riddled with graffiti…all kinds of nasty names written on it in black magic marker. Bad names. Names to this day I have never forgotten. The school janitors waited till the end of the day to wipe the locker clean and I had to look at that crap all day between classes, feigning a smile and trying to act as if it didn’t bother me because I didn’t want whoever’d done it to see that they’d gotten to me. But I cried when I got home. Oh, how I cried.

Then the flashback was over and it was just me, sitting on my bed weeping with my face in my hands. I heard a soft inner voice say, “I was there,” and I knew it was God. “Everything you went through, I saw it. I was there.”

I realized what I’d just seen was not from my perspective but from God’s perspective. He was showing me what He’d witnessed, which leads me to believe that what the Bible says is true. Everything we’ve ever done or experienced is on record in the spiritual heavenlies. God was letting me know He’d seen.

But God, I said to Him, you saw yet you did nothing. You abandoned me. Why did you abandon me? Why did you let those things happen to me? Why did you let people get away with things? Why did you leave me to go through everything I went through alone?

Then it became apparent that was part of the reason God was showing me scenes from my life. He was telling me that I wasn’t alone.

He was there.

Then God spoke to me very clearly. He explained to me in my spirit that a person doesn’t always have control over their circumstances. Things happen and bad times will come. But even though you cannot control the circumstance, you can control how you choose to respond to it and…it helps when you have someone who is walking with you through it.

I was walking with you, God said. You just didn’t know I was there.

You know, I love the Lord and I’m born again and I want to do His will. But God showed me today that I still have bitterness towards him about the past. And while I firmly believe that God is with me now, it’s very hard for me to believe that He was with me beyond six years ago. In my heart, I never truly believed he was with me prior to that time. How could he have been when I endured so much on my own? I had no one and if God was hearing my prayers He certainly wasn’t answering them. But God has always been adamant that He was there. Maybe He didn’t operate the way I’d wanted him to but he was there.

“Why do you think you’re still here, Lakendra?” he asked me. “How do you think you came out of all that? I was with you.”

Okay, God, you say you were there. And God keeps replying, “Yes, I was. I AM.”

So, here we are, Jesus and I. Looking down into the bottom of that smelly, putrid garbage bag. This bitterness, this doubt, is part of the trash.

God called my attention to a latter part of Psalm 138: “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” He gave me a prophecy, saying that he was going to perfect me by taking out that which is imperfect.

I guess we’re starting by putting a lie perpetuated by the enemy to bed for good. It looks as if the healing has begun in earnest.

And I thought all I was doing was trying to lose weight!

It’s funny how God can use one thing to get at the root of something else.

 

 

 

 

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A New Outlook on Eating

Today was a pretty lackadaisical one. I did absolutely nothing productive, which is the point of a Labor Day weekend, I suppose. Actually, I was feeling under the weather too.

One thing I am starting tomorrow is a new outlook on eating.

I’ve been overweight since I was about 12 and frankly, I’m sick of it. I’d like to know what it feels like to be thin as an adult and I also want to be healthier, especially since my recent (possible) heart scare. So my friend, Barbara, and I have decided to be accountability partners in a program that offers a Christian and biblical solution to overeating called The Lord’s Table (TLT). It is through a Christian website called Setting Captives Free that deals with addictions including sex, food, gambling and substance abuse.

I did this program on my own early last year and it does work. My problem is that I didn’t keep my focus on the Lord, which is what TLT emphasizes. Plus, I tried to go it alone, without the help of a mentor or accountability partner and I’ve come to find that no matter how much I’d like to be able to do it all myself, I can’t. As Ecclesiastes states, “Two are better than one.”

What I like about this program is that it’s all about focusing on JESUS and not on yourself or your addiction. There’s a very flexible eating schedule you can follow but it’s not mandatory. There’s no ‘you can’t eat this or you can eat that.’ Everything is done with an emphasis on meditating upon the Word and developing a closer relationship with God, who is our source and healer. I would highly recommend this type of program to anyone, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The first phase of TLT is 60 days. Tomorrow is my first day. It’s a half-day for me, which means I will only be eating half portions of everything. I gotta tell ya, when I did this program before, the half days were the toughest for me so I ask that you please keep me in prayer tomorrow.

I also need to finish cleaning out the apartment my grandmother and I just moved out of and that’s gonna be a job. I’m not looking forward to it but it has to be done. So most of my day tomorrow will be spent vacuuming and scrubbing toilets. Ah, joy!

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I’m Getting a Facelift!

Actually, my blog is getting a facelift, not me. But hey, made ya look! Psych!

Seriously, though, I am in the process of revamping my blog in a way that will have more of a look in keeping with my diamond theme.

In the meantime, career and ministry-wise, God has been opening doors for me.  Here is a brief recap:

  • Thanks to the recommendation of my friend, Kristen (who btw, has an awesome blog for anyone living with chronic illness. Check it out here), I performed my first Christian concert at her church last week. The concert went very well and I came away blessed by the audience and church staff, all of whom were fantastic to me.
  • I have also been approached to perform at a big ladies business conference in Dallas next year. In addition to singing and giving some of my testimony, I also will probably do a skit. Details on all of that are still a bit sketchy.
  • Thanks to a short lunchtime gig I did at a local retirement home last week, I got a call from an administrative employee at an upscale retirement home in Portland yesterday. Apparently, someone named Jennifer with whom I supposedly went to school and who is now the administrator of this place, either heard about my singing and/or saw my face on a flyer for the upcoming “Living the Life” conference and wants me to perform at the home’s senior dance next month. I have a meeting to discuss the details next week and also hopefully discover who this mysterious Jennifer is. I went to school with a lot of Jennifers over the years but there was one in particular I remember from elementary school. I’m banking it’s her. In the meantime, who says you can’t be discovered singing in a nursing home?  With God, all things are possible!

Anyway, there is more stuff happening. Lots of angst I need to share and will once the newly-remodeled blog is up, which should be soon.

In the meantime, hope this post finds everybody who still bothers to check in here well.

And thanks to Belinda for getting on me about not writing. Love ya, girl!

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Jesus, Take the Wheel

A while back, I was having an interesting phone chat with a very good friend of mine, Rebecca.

Bec and I are very much alike, which is probably why we get along so well. We both love acting and writing and we’re both unmarried Christian women who, due to the deaths of loved ones, have had to take on the added responsibility of being caregivers. She with her mom and I with my grandmother.

Not that we mind. We love these women. They raised us so it is only fitting that we now give back just a little of what they gave us. But sometimes it’s hard juggling so many balls and like a lot of single women out there taking care of a home and family without the help of a husband, we sometimes vent to each about how nice it would be to let someone else take the wheel. To, just for a little while, go back to that carefree time in our youth before we got our driver’s licenses and someone chauffeured us around.

Mind you, I am an admitted control freak so I usually prefer to be behind the wheel.

But every now and then…*sigh*

Since Bec likes to do some wordsmithing and she tends to have some good insight, I suggested she write down her thoughts on the driver vs. the drivee theory and I would post it as a guest blog. So, here it is:

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“THE DRIVEE”

When I was younger my parents did all the driving. Place to place. Trip to trip. I only had to sit back and enjoy the ride. Stare out the window at the passing countryside and daydream. Ah! The life of the drivee instead of the driver! Mom and dad, though, were “drivers” in life in general. Moving, paying bills, working around the house, cooking, cleaning….that’s what they did. They got these things done. I only had to sit back and enjoy the ride. Make new friends, sleep with the light on, play in the yard, eat a hot meal,  …that’s what I did. Ah! The life of the drivee instead of the driver!
 
As I got older I found myself in the driver seat more and more.  I am now a driver more often than a drivee. It’s now my turn to pay bills, weed the garden, cook, and clean. I now have to know where we are going and how we are going to get there. It’s the responsibilities that come with being an adult. In my life, it became more so when my dad passed away. I have accepted my position as driver with the knowledge and satisfaction that I am doing what I need to do.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.
 
Still, I find myself remembering my life as the drivee instead of the driver! How nice it would be if someone else did the driving! Not all the time but just once in awhile!  I’d love to just sit back and enjoy the ride!
 
So, for all you drivers out there, remember that sometimes it’s ok to be the drivee instead of the driver. I hope soon you find yourself as the drivee, staring at the passing countryside, watching a passing thunderstorm, sticking your head out the window and letting the wind hit your face, and just enjoying the ride! You deserve it! Oh, by the way drivees don’t do any back seat driving!

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Our conversation got me to thinking about how even though us single gals may not have a man right now to help us, we do have a husband. His name is Jesus. And He is just itching to be our driver if we would only let Him. So if you’re a driver who’s feeling tired and overloaded, move over and let Jesus take the wheel…

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Rain…I Don’t Mind

Since it’s raining today and is expected to rain much of tomorrow, I thought I’d post one of my favorite songs on the subject by my all-time favorite band. This song holds a fond memory for me (read previous post). Enjoy and comment if ya like:

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I’ll Trust You Lord (The Accountability Factor)

Right now, there’s a hurricane looming in the Gulf.

It’s very wet today as I stare out over my patio balcony onto the slippery, gray street.

I love the sound of rain, how it bounces off the pavement. The sound makes me feel warm and secure. It reminds me of special times in my youth when I’d sit in the den listening to the Beatles sing about rain as I contentedly watched it fall outside.

Ah, youth…..I remember reading some wise saying about how such a thing was wasted on the young. And even though I don’t consider myself that old, I am coming to the point in my life when I look back on my childhood with a longing to return to those carefree days when I had no responsibilities.

Yet as I write this post, I realize that even then, as little as my responsibilities were, I did have a few: cleaning my room, homework, going to school, doing whatever it was I had to do to collect a few dollars in allowance…

Yes, come to think of it, I did have a few situations in my young life in which I was held–be it by my parents, teachers or some other adult authority figure–to a certain level of accountability. And now that I think about it, I wasn’t so good about adhering to that accountability because I’ve always been a bit touchy about being told what to do.

Okay, since this is a blog that requires honesty, let’s not mince words. I resented being told what to do and am still that way.

I’m hard-headed and I like to be in control. I like doing things my own way because operating in that manner insures that I am in control. Bad stuff that happened to me early on left me with a need to make sure I was always one step ahead of whatever might happen next. I either had to pretty much know the outcome of a situation beforehand or most times, I wouldn’t walk into it. It was the same with performing. If I wasn’t going to perform something be it onstage or off to perfection, I simply didn’t perform.

This stubbornness and desire to know what is around the corner before I get there has been a thorn in God’s side with me from the moment I accepted Christ. Being the control freak that I am, it has been very difficult for me to relinquish control to God. I think part of it is that there’s a young girl in me who still feels God abandoned her when she really needed Him the most. Logically, I see now that this is not true. And because God is a patient, loving Daddy, He also understands that in order for that little girl to trust Him as the adult in me trusts Him, she must be shown the Father loves her. So God is patient with me in my reluctance to turn all over to Him. He doesn’t fume when I take back control from Him but gently nudges me to let Him back in the driver’s seat, all the while assuring me that I must trust Him and have faith because only He knows where we’re going.

And I want to go God’s way but I’m afraid. God won’t tell me everything. Sure, He’ll drop hints. He’s even shown me the end result of some things but never the middle. Never the how and this irks me, the control freak. I know that where I’m going and how I get there is a process but wouldn’t it be so much easier, Lord, if You could tell me what happens so I can be prepared?

Then I hear God say, “Now, what would you learn if I did that, daughter?”

To which I mutter, “Nothing, I guess,” and sulking, cross my arms over my chest.

“My grace is sufficient for you,” says the Lord. “For My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

So through much trial and a lot of error on my part, the Lord has brought me to the understanding that in order to develop faith in Him I must trust Him implicity. Now if it were just a matter of trusting God, I could do that. I really believe God loves me and that He is looking out for my best interests. The real trust dilemna comes when God sends people into the equation. I don’t trust people. People have hurt me, therefore, I must protect myself against them. And that’s pretty much been my attitude from about the age of 14 on. The me-against-them mentality with “them” being the entire world. Yet, ironically, it has been the approval of people (not God) that I have sought most of my life.

Every person God put in my life early on in my walk with Him, I defied; I pushed them out. Nobody was gonna tell me what to do! I wasn’t going to be held accountable to anyone but myself, which was the one person on whom I knew I could rely. I used to think, “God, if you tell me to do it, I will but so-and-so? Who are they that I should listen to them?”

The reply: “They are my servant and the authority under which I have set you.”

Romans chapter 13 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves…for he is God’s minister to you for good.”

Because of my past hurts, I’ve had a lot of trouble seeing the good someone could bring to me. It has been a constant struggle each time I get introduced to some new person in my life to see the Jesus in them rather than the fact that they are flesh and blood and could potentially harm me.

God works through people. And in order for me to trust Him, I must begin to trust those through whom He works. So, the subject of accountability started weighing heavy on my mind. The last month or so-and especially since I had my health scare-I’ve been wondering if maybe getting an accountability partner isn’t such a bad idea. Even Jesus wasn’t entirely a lone wolf.

Back in the day, I relished my aloneness. It somehow, in my mind, set me apart and made me special. But I wonder now if perhaps I haven’t been kidding myself. Or maybe that alone time was necessary but now, it is a new season. Ecclesiastes 4 says:

9 Two are better than one,
      Because they have a good reward for their labor.
       10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
      But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
      For he has no one to help him up.
       11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
      But how can one be warm alone?
       12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
      And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I went to a business conference where I learned that people are more apt to make good on what they say if they make the promise publicly. It’s the resolutions we make privately that tend to get left by the wayside. Funny how we are more committed to do something if others are watching. In fact, now that I think about it, people in general tend to act better when they know others are watching.

So, now I’m seriously looking into finding a few people to whom I can be accountable. Actually, I don’t know if we really have a choice in whom we’d like to be accountable. I suppose that’s God’s call. So let me rephrase and say I believe God is about to give me another crack at being held accountable to someone. I guess I’m either getting older or more spritually mature because I’m not rejecting the idea as I did in the past but am rather looking forward to it.

I wonder how I’ll do? A few years ago, that kind of wondering would have been enough for me to not forge ahead because I didn’t have the answer.

Now I think, “I wonder how I’ll do? I dunno, God, I’m kind of scared but…let’s go find out anyway.”

A few songs come to mind that I feel is relavant to this post. There isn’t just one that stands out, so since I love music anyway, I’m going to post them all. Hopefully, along with what I’ve written, one or more of these songs also relates to you…

Al Green-I’m So Tired of Being Alone

Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston-It Takes Two

Donnie McClurkin-I’ll Trust You, Lord

 

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