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In the Midst

Today I woke up with a purpose, my main objective was to make it to church on time. Going to The Citadel only heightened this desire, before attending I was punctual. When I wanted to be, with work I've always done my best to be on time or show up a couple minutes before. I will always remember one of the famous lines by Dr. Lee in the movie Drumline, "You're on time if you're five minutes early, you're late if you're on time."

That seemed to stick with me, along with the movie's plot and many more mantras that are still echoed today. Somehow, it didn't always translate to attending church. Actually it never did, to me at least, until recently while on my mission to prove to God that he is first in my life. I know as a child I didn't grasp the importance of getting to church on time or even going at all.

The last couple of days my alarm hasn't been ringing properly but God's been faithful in making sure I still get up in a timely fashion, wanting to get up I made sure I prayed about it. It buzzed at 7am this morning, resuming my gospel music when I finally got a grasp on the phone shutting it off. I moved quickly after saying my morning prayers thanking the Father for waking up and the ability to be able to be who I am.

Deciding not to make up my bed, yet, I got ready to lift weights before service. New Kingdom Church starts at 10:30am, which is perfect for me, enjoying a late service except the days I have to work.

Like today.

I just recently acquired membership with Planet Fitness, getting the black card so that I can get into any facility across the state. Maybe America, I'm not entirely sure. After graduating, I lost the passion for lifting weights letting running be my only form of exercise. My coworker exhorted that I should come about a month ago, and after feeling the release of energy I became addicted again. I was lifting at O2 Fitness before Corona closed down the gyms and the transition has been a little difficult. Planet Fitness doesn't have nearly the same amount of space or amenities but it still gets the job done. Today was leg day and I bounced around the fitness gym combining weighted lifts with various jumps so that I wouldn't overwork any muscle. Working on my lower body always takes longer than my upper, it's why I choose Sunday mornings instead of my limited time on Tuesday or Thursday.

Leaving the gym, I felt lighter, I believed that it was going to be a good day. The exercise usually puts me in a good mood and has been instrumental in my mental recovery. I had no idea that my day would continue to be on a high rise.

Unfortunately, I still found myself rushing to church after stopping in Lowe's and grabbing a chocolate protein drink. My shower felt so good I didn't want to get out and I was naturally emptying my stomach contents which took awhile due to all the food I ate last night. I wanted to make a breakfast sandwich but time wouldn't allow so I rushed out of the house making it to church at 10:31 or :32, I'm not sure.

I had no idea I would be a part of a worship service like I was today, I've seen and heard of people feeling the Holy Spirit and talk about it taking over an entire service. I surely never felt it myself, until today. I don't know if it was the particular song that played or if everyone had something that they were currently going through, but, God was in the midst.

I was praying as the last song slowly receded, and honestly I tried to fight it, but God brought me to my knees. There was a connection, a sentiment I've yet to bare as all I could do was lift my hands and continue praying. Speaking life into my situation, speaking against the anger and the hate, confessing that he controls the minds and hearts of men. Knowing that one day, he'll restore the time lost between Amelia and I and the relationship between her mother's side of the family.

As I was in the midst, I felt sweat perspiring on my back arms and face as if all my impurities were escaping me. My body heated and legs started to quiver as if I was on my run. It started to pour out of me, I started speaking in tongues and when unwarranted thoughts tried to enter my mind they had no place. God brought me to my knees in a symbolic notion of surrender, feeling his presence I believe I heard him speak. Not in an audible voice but in my thoughts and how my daughter's are strategically placed in areas that need him.

He is going to use me as a vessel to make a difference, Rocky Mount is often referred to as Murder Mount and the black community of Charleston is riddled with the worshipping of false God's and demonic witchcraft practices such as black magic. Places that suffer from the crab in a barrel mentality, everyone running in the same circles falling to jealous cycles. It's evident throughout the family structure, mothers controlling daughters, absent fathers, and touchy aunts and uncles that are protected by other family members.

Of course this happens in a lot of places, but what if God will use my own demise to show his face. The scripture says all things come together for my good to give God the glory. As I was on my knees praying Pastor Bynum came over and laid hands speaking more words of encouragement, I don't remember what was said because I was too intuned. I spoke in tongues for the first time since my rededication and it felt a lot more natural than in 2020.

I spoke on things in the natural through the spiritual realm, I don't know exactly what was said but I know it pertained to all that I was dealing with. My sister felt the Holy Ghost as well, I felt led to walk over and lay hands praying for her wedding and the relationship that follows. An experience I'll never forget, God was truly in the midst and I felt like I belonged.

To make the day even better I got to speak to this homeless gentlemen about the Word of God, he reminded me of myself questioning the Bible and the validity of it. Was it personified? Or is it to be taken literally? I related to him in many ways and I prayed that God will have me say the right words that will get his mind churning back in the eternal direction. Imploring to him that there is a better life out there he just has to receive it, has to believe in it, and more importantly has to live it.

Which is probably hard to do from his standpoint, his world crashing down around him after COVID befell the world. His vocabulary was better than average in my opinion and he said that he had a degree in Political Science. He didn't expound on his institution but I didn't have reason to believe he was lying. Our relationship started all from me asking if he wanted a job yesterday, he said he was good but came back today looking for one.

Look at God, it was obviously for a purpose.

He didn't carry himself like a homeless individual but I put it together, he asked me to watch his bag for him which seemed to hold his entire life. I kept it in the office and he said that he was going to Food Lion and will be right back, it took him at least five hours. I figured he was panhandling because the Food Lion up the street was prime stomping grounds. The length of time he was gone was the real testament and I'm glad I got to speak life into him today.

After he left though, tears welled up in my eyes because we ended in prayer breathing God's breath onto his situation and I want to see him do a miracle in mine. I miss Amelia so much, even though I have more peace than I had since she was born because of who I rely on, I wish I could be the father that I desperately want to be.

Still, only life filled words spewed out my mouth as I paced the community center singing "Speak to my Heart" and praying for him as well as me and my daughters. I know that things will get better, I believe it wholeheartedly, I have no choice. Too bad peace isn't the absence of pressure but the true measure is having a calmness in the midst of. There's a song Transformation Church wrote called "Sustain," and I listened to it about five times as I tried to settle down. I was watching a sermon and couldn't even turn it back on until I spoke to my heavenly Father.

God was in the midst.

One day. One day my daughters will see me worshipping the Father as vehemently as I shout at their sporting events or dances or plays. One day, they'll be saying the things that I grew up saying about my earthly dad.

"Now that's a Man of God."

Amelia and Amara, daddy will show you the way not only in words but in action. Don't give up on me because I promise I'll never give up on you. Your daddy loves you, but more importantly, God loves you.

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