Every other Friday I attend a Bible Study where we study a book called The Holy Spirit. The leader is a prolific and articulate man that is a member of the same church that my parents are and one that I was a member for the latter of my high school years and throughout college.
This past week he taught us on speaking in tongues, the purpose of it as well as breaking it down to the varying ways that they are used. There were four breakdowns but we focused on personal edification, praying for ourselves to create a better relationship with the Father. He made sure to say that we should pray in an unknown language, or tongues, at least 15 minutes a day.
I had no idea that I could even pray in tongues that often, I always believed it to be something performed only when overcome with the spirit. When I did it before, I was in church and felt the need to and now realize I was practicing it the wrong way. We dove into scriptures that supported this statement and it opened my eyes. I was expecting to get a nugget out of the study but I had no idea it would change my entire view on a subject as powerful as speaking in tongues.
Now, as I pray daily I add tongues to edify my prayers solidifying my words speaking in the natural and the spiritual. The more my faith grows the more I'm always expecting to see God move or teach me in a new way. I went into the Bible Study looking to grab a hold onto a new characteristic or principle that will help me be the man I need to be. When you're expecting, God is bound to show himself because whoever ask shall receive.
This walk with God is exciting.
On Sunday, my big brother Edmond proposed to his girlfriend, another exciting experience. He has been a man with many suits for a couple years now and he was looking sharp as he went down on one knee. They have a truly unique relationship since his soon to be wife is deaf, we have all been learning sign language or ASL as a result.
It's been fun and interesting, but the best part is to see my brother's growth as a person. A naturally introverted and secluded man, he has made long strides into an outspoken individual. From Rhema Bible College, to the military, and now a woman he has fallen in love with, he truly is different from when we were kids. It's been awesome to see!
In his happiness, he wants to see me happy as well especially after seeing all that I have been through when it comes to dealing with women. He has been encouraging me to get back out in the dating world, maybe download a Christian dating app or be willing to go look for a life partner. His heart is in a good place, but I'm not sure if mine is, or maybe I'm still in fear of my heart being ripped from my chest again.
I'm still questioning if I'm in a good place to bring others into my life, more than anything, I want to get this court case resolved first. I want to be in Amelia's life without being hindered before allowing myself to be open to another relationship. Maybe God will send me someone before that, but I really want to focus on my strength in my faith and walk. That matters more than anything, because as long as I seek him first all else that I desire will be added onto me.
This past week I've been on Michael Todd's sermon series called Damaged Goods, conveying that we all have been hurt in an area of our life but we're still chosen in God's eyes. This morning I listened to the last sermon which was spoken by Bri, a lady who often takes the pulpit. She talked about the unfair situations that oftentimes leave us damaged, and how to make F.A.I.R out of unfair.
Detailing four points that will help us make fair out of our unfair circumstances. The "F" stands for forgiveness. She orates that without going through what we have, ee wouldn't get the chance to learn this art if not for a seemingly unforgivable happenstance. Before having to claw for the rights to see my own daughter, before getting my heartbroken, I thought I knew how to forgive but I see now that I had no clue.
She gave an example of a character in the Bible named Stephen, who forgave his stoners as they were killing him. He was unfairly lied on which resulted in his death, all he wanted to do was preach the goodness of the gospel. All I want to do is be a father to my daughter but instead I get lied to, lied on, hated, and exiled when my heart has been in the right place.
The "A" is for authenticity, unfair requires those who have experienced it to be real about their feelings. Otherwise, like me, it tore me down to a point where I wasn't sure if life was even worth it. Losing out on my basketball dream that I worked so hard for, losing passion for it because of the overwhelming hurt, and realizing I try to construct a family with the wrong person. I developed alopecia and spiraled down a sexual path grasping for control in places where only the hopeless congregate.
How my life has played out I've been forced to be authentic with those around me allowing them into the deep recesses of my mind. Portraying my true feelings and thoughts that have riddled my soul since I was young. Before I was able to keep it all under wraps, but these last five years unearthed sentiments that I chose not to address. Being authentic with people has been therapeutic, as well as going to therapy, which I thought was for the weak growing up. Suffice it to say, my viewpoint on mental health has drastically changed since I graduated college.
"I" is for identity. Through my struggle is when I was forced to look at myself and take the time to find out who I was. At first my identity was tied into being an athlete and playing basketball, but when that was gone I had to take up a new trade. Shortly after is when I found my passion for writing poetry, books, and short stories which has helped me script out all that has been wound up in me.
This last year and a half I found my identity in Christ, who he says I am and finding the path that he has laid for me. It's my best self, the man I see now is ions better than who I ever was or could ever be. I am who he says I am, a child of God, chosen, redeemed, forgiven, worthy of dying for. An identity that I can relish and be confident in.
The "R" is for relationship, namely the relationship built with the Father. Hitting my lowest point without a foreseeable way to climb back to my normal self, I was forced to turn to the foundation that my parents implanted in me. I'm not sure how far below the surface I would have fallen without knowing that God was on the lip of my troubles with an outstretched hand waiting for me to look up and take hold.
A long lasting relationship better than any brother, mother, earthly father, or significant other could ever be. One that always has my best interest at heart and unequivocally leads me in the right direction. Having the Holy Spirit to rely on for all my needs even as small as which way to drive home. Truly, the perfect relationship.
She ended by saying that Jesus Christ on his worst day presented these characteristics, which was humankind's best day. On the cross, he asked God to forgive his killers and was authentic by pleading to the Father why was he forsaken. He had stake in his identity as he told the thief that he will have a place in heaven once he professed that Christ is Lord and stayed strong in his relationship when he knew that he was about to die.
A tall feat, but attainable, even when life is unfair.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.