On Faith

by Matt G. Owens

 

Faith is like a candle flame

 

A glow that keeps us strong

 

Faith is there to see us through

 

When things seem to go so wrong

 

Life’s not always easy,

we’re bound to have some sorrow

 

But faith can help us see it through

to a better day

tomorrow

 

So when you burn this candle and see its steady light

 

Remember that your faith will help

make dark days seem so bright

Just Write! God Called You and is with You

In the 6th chapter of Judges, versus 14-16 reads, “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Christian writer – it is time.  God is sending you to answer the call to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It is time for you to write, publish and share His goodness and grace.  Partner with Xulon and receive a discount on a publishing package.

Maybe you feel weak and afraid.  Maybe you believe you have nothing to offer and nothing of importance to say.  But God says otherwise.  Just like He told Gideon, God is saying to you, “Christian writer, ‘Go in the strength you have…I will be with you.’”

Maybe you tried to do this before – alone.  Delving into the mirage of information about writing can be overwhelming.  The tangent of online information can begin with the business of writing and conclude with securing gigs, managing contracts or any topic in between.  Where does a person begin?  How does a person make sense of it all?

Simple.  We make sense of it by being led by the Spirit of God and following those instructions.  So, if God says enter to Win a Xulon Publishing package, do it.  (They are awarding three packages this year.  Apply for one!)

Now, I have to admit, I acted just like Gideon a year ago.  Using a small amount of faith, I submitted a blog post to a New York company.  I tested God and God showed out.  The article was accepted, a check was printed and mailed to my address.

The point is Christian writers begin with a little faith and the knowledge that God has led them to this path.  We surrender to the call, answer it and humbly, slowly and maybe even with reservations – write and then, publish.

One online suggestion for new writers was to enter writing contests.  Yet, what I found intimidating about that suggestion was where to find a Christian contest for Christian writers?  Fortunately for me, I had been introduced to and eventually joined Faithwriters.com some time ago.  I had to surrender – again – and begin to familiarize myself with this resource that I believe God led me to use.

I found a source of information to satisfy my curiosity and support my adventure into the world of writing.  Faithwriters.com offered me writing classes, a support group to critique my written thoughts and leads on paying jobs.

Now, publishing wasn’t initially on the horizon for me when I first began to take this call to write seriously.  Yet, the chance to enter a Christian writing contest was a comforting idea.  If I knew anything, I mused, I knew Christianity.  All those years of Sunday School, morning worship and Bible study over the course of my lifetime had to amount to something.  But did I know enough to enter a Christian fiction publishing contest or Win a Xulon publishing package?

You, nor I, will never know our full potential under the guidance of God’s support unless we write!  There is no way around it.  There is no side stepping it.  A desire to obey God and shun fear will prompt us to answer the compelling call to write.  Because it is when we write that the enemies, called fear and doubt, lose their battle.  It is when we write that our testimonies and stories strengthen believers and non-believers.  It is when we write we demonstrate, through written expression, our gratitude for God’s love toward us.  We are able to lead others into victory.

So, go ahead.  Accept the promises God made with you.  Write knowing that He sent you to earth to deliver a specific message and touch many hearts.  This promise will nullify any notions of weakness and smallness from our perspective.  God’s promise, when we meditate on it as Christian writers, tells us that we are more than conquerors and are able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever think.  Why?  Because God is with us.  So, write.

How to Set Your Soul Free

 

Is your soul free?

 Listen.  Do you know what your soul sounds like it’s free?  

The poet Anne Sexton listened to her soul.  She listened so hard she won a Pulitzer prize.  She also had severe mental illness.  Yet, even she said, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” 

If your soul is not happy, it will tell you. 

Living in a state of dis-ease internally is uncomfortable and noisy.  A few symptoms include restless, sleepless nights, headaches, stomach aches and anxiety.  Your mind may whirl with racy thoughts.  Or, you may keep the TV turned up loud to drown out the inner noise. 

How to get out of this place may be a mystery to some.  Others may know what to do, but refuse. 

Remaining in a state of unrest is common because it is comfortable, familiar and, in some sort of illusionary way, safe.  It actually isn’t safe because peace is absent which can cause stress, outbursts of anger and acts of self-destruction.  Yet you, like so many other people, remain. 

 Your soul calls out – cries out actually – for some relief.  “I don’t know how to get there,” you respond. 

 Finding the Light within is another way of answering the call to be authentically you.  Discovering what the soul is speaking requires journeying into a place of self-discovery. 

 •           Apologize for ignoring you

 If you have lived your life doing what others expected or demanded, the voice of your soul may not surface upon request.  This is an internal, intangible consequence of ignoring yourself – a form of self-destructive behavior.  External consequences might include being overweight or having bags under the eyes.  By taking a moment to apologize to self, you are acknowledging your existence on earth.  You are acknowledging to yourself that you matter to you.  May sound silly, but if you don’t know you matter to yourself, will anyone else think you matter?

 •           Listen

 Learning to listen to the sounds of the soul is possible.  Being able to hear what is spoken internally helps you discover who you are.  Being able to know who you are and what is important to you is a gift.  It is the first step in finding out what makes you who you are.  This is the first step in discovering self-worth.

 •           Practice

 Listening to your soul is an activity you can practice any time day or night.  By traveling inward, you are acknowledging your presence.  You are saying to yourself, “What do I really have to say about _______?”  The answers may jump out or hesitate to surface, but the more you practice, the easier it will occur.

 Apologizing for wrong behavior is not something many people want to do.  Maybe it is because they are not in the habit of apologizing to themselves when they make a mistake – as humans tend to do.  So, make a decision to do something different for you.

 Find yourself through apologizing, listening and practicing hearing the real you.  Then, when you listen real hard, you will have the freedom to make choices that honor your true self. 

 

The Making of a Minister

I closed my marketplace ministry. Many people ask why? My response is, “It was time.” Seven months to the date of our opening, we were closed.

It didn’t mean we had failed either. One person graduated, another 15 women were housed, and numerous seeds were planted. It was time.

There are other pursuits calling from my soul that need attention. Actually, I almost was backed into a corner and made to pursue these other ventures. They must happen. They must take place. More people will be blessed by my obedience in closing the distraction that keeps me away from a new call, the new move of God.

This is the second ministry I have closed.

Why so many attempts God? Am I really hearing your voice? Or am I simply responding to society’s call to “succeed?” These are some of my initial questions. But I was sure at the time when I opened those ministries and I am sure about closing this one.

House of Friends Ministries it was called. The mission statement read, “A safe, drug-free living environment for women seeking recovery.” Many things went wrong, but I choose to focus on what went right!

I filled a house with donated goods…furniture, towels, bed linen, food; the list of items donated is astounding. Then there were the trickle of financial contributions that kept the lights on, the paper products available and the memberships to conferences and conventions. No dollar was wasted or unaccounted for.

Yet, it was a real learning experience too. I learned what was too much and what was not enough. I learned about board of director’s, city compliance, taxes, lack of sleep and the need for accountants and lawyers! I learned to ask for help. I learned I had a big job in front of me and I needed assistance. I learned that I am loved and still on the frontline for enemy attack. I learned I am still useful to God, society and self. I learned a lot.

But I needed an outlet. A place or forum to vent, be real, transform, evolve, share, grow…I needed self-care, self-awareness, self-esteem, dignity, integrity…

I learned I am still being formed and shaped as a minister.

Maybe tomorrow…

Maybe tomorrow I’ll love harder

Maybe I’ll believe longer

Maybe I’ll sail the skies

 

Maybe I’ll cut dead ties

Maybe I’ll walk in newness of life

 

Maybe…

 

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Maybe tomorrow will fulfill a dream

Plant a seed

Or restore a soul.

 

Maybe. Just maybe.

Baby Steps toward Wholeness

Why is it the most difficult steps to take are the healthy ones?

 Those steps that firmly plant our feet on solid ground…

Those steps that say I am worthwhile…

I walk and make progress along this heavenly path

Then I turn around and run back to the ills that disease me

I can’t move forward

I can’t go back

It is almost like I’m in a no where trek

A journey towards making my own personal hell

Really…

What will it take to get back to me?

To find the me I always wanted to be?

If I go forward what will I leave behind?

Who must I walk away from in order to not be blind?

 Am I really worth it?

Does anyone really know?

They say what is most important is that I know.

Fo sure.

3/21/13

Hello world!

The Making of  A Ministry

This blog should have been started back in October of 2012.  That is about a month after I started serving God in my latest capacity.  However, it took a minute for me to accept this particular call into ministry.  Alas, here I am.

My intention is to use this blog to share my experiences living and managing a women’s recovery house.  I decided to open this house because of negative experiences I had living in a few recovery houses.  I didn’t like or appreciate the lack of respect displayed towards women seeking to rebuild their lives.  I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way.”  Hopefully, I am offering something better than what I experienced.

Yet, this journey, now for the past six months, has had both ups and downs.  And it is okay.  Life is a journey and everyone knows that on a journey you deal with what the road offers.

Until the next time…be blessed.

Michelle Baynes Owens, M.Div.