immersed

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over the past year and a half, i contemplated enrolling in ministry school. in late july, i finally waded the waters of my uncertainty to an online application for nets (northeast evangelism training school). it was simple enough: name, address, number of years active in church, some recommendation letters, a part of my testimony, a fee. it was cool; easy. about a week after, i came into contact with alina, the office assistant at the school. she answered all my questions and chatted up the program, and everything was good. i was only ankle deep in my decision, it wasn’t real yet. the start date was august 20th.

let’s back up a bit to understand my situation for the past few months; despite my best efforts and close to hundreds of applications, some interviews, and extensive pre-screening processes, i hadn’t worked all summer. the cost of tuition was $4300; i had about $20 in my bank account. at the suggestion of alina, i began a crowdfunding campaign, and i’d like to say i received the full amount, or even half the amount, but $100 is all that came in. during this process, i decided to hold a fundraiser/concert/bake sale. i had three weeks to invite performers and audience members to ‘a night of poetic praise’ set for august 15th at 7pm, sharp.

in all i had about 10 performers, and by the time the date arrived, everything had come together. small decorations were being put up in the church multipurpose building, the food was done, and i had a stunning lineup of artists. the concert was set to begin at 7pm, so at 5pm i went to pick up a friend. i thought two hours would be plenty of time to do this simple task, put on real clothes, and get the food from my house.

almost as soon as i started driving, the rain swelled out of the ominous clouds that had been hovering all day, but i decided to press on. after about 15 minutes, i started to notice nearly all the roads on my path were flooded, and i passed some drivers who thought their cars could channel the girth of noah’s ark as they tried to coast the waters, to no avail.

finally, i had reached my friend’s street to find it completely covered in dirty storm water. she tried to take me a different way, but that was flooded as well. and the rain so thickly blanketed the skies, it was unwise to move. so i pulled into a cvs parking lot and sat while liquid bullets pelted the roof of my car as if they were saying, “let us in.”

i sat for 40 minutes worrying about all the things that would be wrong when i finally got back to the church.

at 6:34pm, i was able to roll up the driveway of my friend’s home and we were off. but, there were still important tasks to be done. the most pressing being that the food was not at church. so i had to stop off at home, to waste even more time.

here’s what happened:

  • i arrived late (not dressed)
  • my sound guy decided not to show up (so i had to do it)
  • food that was supposed to be brought was not
  • we started at 7:30
  • a performer flaked
  • a cord stopped working
  • one of the mics went out twice
  • i messed up my song

despite all the wrong–despite the slight dew of chaos in the air–the Lord blessed. all the performances were wonderful; the bread, cookies, brownies, and smoothies were a hit; and i raised $652 in one night!

in total i now had $752, and despite the wonderful success my concert generated, i was still short over $3000. i had lost; that concert was my greatest, and seemingly last, effort. i messaged alina full of doubt and defeat to tell her i couldn’t attend nets this year. at least i had tried my best and that’s all anyone can ask of a person, right? yet, she still told me to pack my bags, come anyway, and trust God.

i was now neck-deep in the realness of decision, and wanted badly to let my head slide beneath, but the risk was too great. i couldn’t do it. my logic wouldn’t free me; “what if i go and have to come back home?” i prayed for God’s will to be done.

.***

monday morning, august 17th, i received a call from a strange number. if anyone knows me or my father, they know we don’t answer the phone, let alone for an unknown number. but my finger found its way across the flat, green circle on my screen and my ears were greeted by the voice of kevin, the program director for nets. he asked where i was in fundraising, how much i had, and what i was going to do. i told him about my fundraising efforts and that i concluded i would not attend this term because, i didn’t have even half of the money. it was then he offered a slant of hope, and said he would talk to his staff to “see what they could do.”

all day i waited, until 5:43pm. the phone rang again with the same unfamiliar string of digits, and kevin greeted me. he told me to come, continue to fund-raise, and even if i didn’t get the full amount, it would be alright.

praise Jesus!

i ordered my ticket that night, packed everything i could, and was on a train the very next day.

***

throughout this past week, i still felt doubt in the recesses of my heart–“should i be here?” “am i wasting my time?” for ten days, since the start of the program, i’ve felt void of any direction–until last night.

last night, after doing an assigned reading for class, i had never felt so close to God and understanding who and what He is. i feel a renewed vigor, and have never been more sure that He will provide for me. i feel affirmed in my decision to come to evangelism school. i prayed, and i prayed for others which is something i realized i had neglected. i can’t claim to love people and want the best for them, if i keep my prayers fertilized with selfish inquires and requests.

Love cannot be perfected where there is only one.

last night i asked God into my life again.

if you would like to donate to help pay my tuition you can click here. all support is appreciated no matter how seemingly big, or small.

how to decrease

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i know some of you out there wonder, “what’s with the lower case letters?” and most of you could probably care less, but for those of you who do, in short, i loathe and detest capital letters. as a poet/writer they’re just not my aesthetic.

that was the reason for most of the past few years, why i rarely use a capital letter in my writings–i just don’t like them. however, i did have to train myself to use small i’s to make my writing more uniform. lower case i’s just looked strange to me. despite their strangeness, a lone, lower case i is always striking because, it looks like it’s striving to be something–striving to be a part of something bigger.

all through our lives we are taught the by itself stands taller than the other letters–all eyes on i, or all eyes on me. we are taught the does not need anything to be everything other capital letters are with the support of other letters and punctuation. aside from lower case letters’ aesthetic properties, in the last nine months or so, i’ve been thinking more and more, and looking back on some of my poems; the only capitalizations are of God, Jesus, or any disambiguation of He or You (referring to God). under this principle, i found a new use for lower case letters, especially since i began trying to take music and writing seriously. i want to keep myself away from the mentality that i can do anything by myself away from God, or be bigger than the community of support He has placed around me. i keep hearing, “He must increase, and i must decrease.” i know it may be a bit silly to some, and the idea isn’t necessarily novel, but for me it’s just a physical reminder there is Love greater and bigger than the things i think i’ve accomplished.

the title of this post is “how to decrease,” and i am in no way saying if you start putting everything you write into lower case letters, you’ll miraculously be less arrogant, less selfish, or less whatever. the only way i truly decrease is practicing humbleness; striving to live in the mentality that i am a speck of dust that often drifts with the first wind to pick me up, and that i need a big God to settle me. i need a God who gives me other people to help, and other people to help me so we can learn from each other. i need a God who challenges me to do strange and uncomfortable things no matter how small. i need a God who reminds me rule number one of decreasing is realizing i don’t know everything, in fact i don’t know anything.

decreasing means a constant hunger to have the heart of a Man who did no wrong.

blessings,
destinie

the struggle

after a lot of time and effort, and back-and-forths with myself saying “this is stupid and pointless” and “I’m wasting my time,” i released a demo. amid these battles with my physical self, i also had multiple battles with my spiritual self. about a year and a half ago I was 100% convinced i am supposed to be a musician. right now, in this moment, i’m not so sure. music and writing are still the things that make me feel my best, and are things i feel i’m good at, but i’m not sure if it’s what God wants for my life. i know it can take a while to fully discover and be completely immersed in your purpose, but at this moment, the only doors that seem to be opening for me are ones that involve children (teaching). teaching was/is the last thing on my list of things to do with my life, but that’s another post.

despite all my doubts, i believe in the music that i have created–the words, the melodies, bass lines. i’m proud of my little five song demo, and all its imperfections because they’re just reminders of the struggle it took to get them to a place where they sound decent, and reminders that i have to keep struggling to get to the place i want to be. and in my life, i never really wanted to be before people. i like being behind the scenes. so a part of my doubt is probably fear, the fear of the intimacy that artists inevitably have to have with their audience, especially artists who proclaim themselves christian.

it’s all work in progress

-destinie 

download here for free: http://destinie.bandcamp.com

last night

destiniesramblings:

after carpet suckles my knees
for five minutes
i realize i do not have words to pray—
someone advised just say Jesus
but what if i’m afraid
when i say His name
every demon inside me will bust flesh
like budding flowers leaving root around my ribcage,
me open and eyes exposed to the blackness I let cement my heart—
simply put, i have been my own god—a bad god.
when i prayed to myself,
ears clogged to my needs with dead, mahogany lusts—
i try to swab the blockage away
but only push the filth farther in
and these scales and planks
in the shape of everything
i have stacked above Him
keep my tongue wet.
no fingers dipped in clay can remove these blinders
driven into my eyes like pyramids

8 minutes now—the ground swaddles leg and knee
without a word upward.
silence
convinces me to give up and go my own way
and about the 9th minute?…9th…9th…hour
i cry out with a loud voice, saying,
“Eli, Eli lama sabachthani”
that is to say
My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?

but who has forsaken whom?
the girl-god spine-cracked into submission—
herself
El above
Eli, Eli lama sabachthani she repeats
My God, My God…
i am earth
You are God, above—The God
come, comet crumbed chest
destroying root and branch
bludgeoning my cove
a hole large enough to carry You
a planned falling out
passionless to where the pieces land
knowing they will be wholly replaced
by the holy God.
Amen.

and, etc.

Jesus is my homie.

No, more.

Jesus is my savior and healer and I am a friend of God. I speak with Him every day, but not as I should. And I feel, and I feel

so low I cannot be bothered to give Him even thirty minutes of my day,

at times. He gives me everything, even the things I only think I want. And my God is awesome and everywhere, and I experience Him in everything, and I feel and I know He is more than just a belief. He is knowing. Knowing I am just a spot in the universe, but His special creation–imaged after Him. And I and every person are the most important thing to Him,

individually.

Human cannot understand the the infinity, and larger than the largest thing man can make power, of His love. I am finite, He is not. I do not know where He came from, but I know I come from Him. And I’ve watched and listened to people conflate Him and defile His name, while saying nothing, like I don’t know Him, like I’ve forgotten Him–again. But He forgives me…

He forgives me.

He is

He is good.

prayed for

This week at church we’re having a youth week of prayer. As a part of that, tonight our leader asked for an older adult and a young person to pair off, and the older person was to pray for the younger. It’s a wonderful thing to be prayed for by an older person–a wiser person person in general. My person has one of the warmest, deliberate voices I’ve ever heard, and her hands were so soft as they wrapped themselves around mine. I can still smell her perfume between my fingers. 

To hear someone ask God to bless you and keep you safe, and guide you and show you what to do, is an awesome feeling. I don’t think we pray for each other enough though. Do we know how to pray for others? I once had a friend who said she felt so inadequate while she was doing her nightly prayers. She felt that there were so many things and people to pray for, that she could never get them all in, so after a while of praying, she’d just say, “You know the rest." 

I agree that sometimes it seems like the prayer list can seem so long. You have to pray for all the stuff going on in your life, and all the stuff going on in others’ lives who have asked you to pray for them, and even those who haven’t asked. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fallen asleep during my own prayers before. But why does prayer seem so tedious sometimes? We should feel privileged to come before the Creator of the universe and everything in it, who has allowed us to come before Him with boldness, but we waste it sometimes. 

So I guess my final question is: how can we get past ourselves to pray?

blameless.

Why are we so afraid to let things dissolve into the “sea of forgetfulness?”* Once we confess our sins and give them to God, why are we still set on feeling guilty over it, instead of believing we have been cleansed from our unrighteousness?* If Jesus is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before the throne, who are we to say “no you can’t?”* Which is what we do every time we refuse to forgive ourselves and let go of the guilt and shame we feel over sin. Jesus has given us the authority to say, “I am blameless,” and we have to accept that with all the ugliness we think exists within us. In fact, we have to do more than merely accept it, we have to claim it. That ugliness is what was, but God has made us new like a field of fresh flowers spreading beauty to all who behold us. 

However, to claim this forgiveness, confession has to be first. And it has to be true confession; no sugar-coating or being coy about the thing. Say it out loud, and complete and let God know that you’re acknowledging your wrong. Let yourself be forgiven and stop living inside all the feelings we are called to let go of, so that we may proclaim what we have been delivered from with boldness, so that we will be able to give account for what the Lord has done for us, and through our testimony help others recognize the power God has put within them. 

I am BLAMELESS. 

blessings,
destinie

*Micah 7:19
*1 John 1:9
*Jude 1: 24