Sunday, July 31, 2016

I'll Rise Up...

What bears repeating time and time again, is the simple truth that in order for new life to come forth, our old life must die. In order for healing to take place, the old body must be laid to rest, sometimes figuratively as well as literally. It’s necessary that we understand these truths in order to survive the trying times, the lonely times, the painful times and the times when we feel as if we are suffering so much that we are leaving this earth way too soon. I say this in honor of all those who have, those of us left on this earth to live, must do so with purpose, determination and gratefulness. We must honor each breath as if it is our last. We must let go of the things that are destined to hurt us, for the things that are destined to heal us…

God, I seek you in ways that I never thought my spirit could cry out. My desperation for all things love has brought me full circle back into your embrace. I’m broken inside, surrounded by a shattered frame, the ghost of my own strength. I refuse to pretend anymore because I know that you meet me in truth. I cannot run from the calling within, that has kept me seeking all these years, because I have run out of road, still I have many miles to go with you. I cannot speak without you, walk without you or live without you.

This surrender in this season, has taken me to a far off place that I’ve never been before. I cannot navigate this climate on my own. My hand searches for yours in the dark. I still myself and wait for dawn. I seek my reflection in a stream filled with tears, only to find staring back at me the image of a tree. Branches reaching for the sun and earth, leaves singing in the breeze, a lullaby for the spirit, roots one with holy soil, pumping new life through its veins.

You allowed the life I knew to drive me to my knees, if only to seek you on my face. I cried out for death to take my soul and you released me from my pain and raised me up within the limbs of a tree. “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth, shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18

No longer a shattered frame of desperation, I am now a tree standing against the forces that dare take me over to steal my voice and render me helpless. One breath from you Lord, and I rise up in new form, to bask in your sun and give shade to all those who embrace the You in me…

“I’ll rise up”

Bonita Y. Jones © July 30, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dear God...

I am writing to you today, not because of any one personal need that I have as an individual, but because I have witnessed your unfailing love and total commitment to my life for many years now. Your faithfulness to me cannot be rivaled by anyone else on earth. For that I want to say thank you.

God, I am writing this letter about the state of my country America. I will admit that I am not a patriot as some would be. I am not consumed with the colors of the flag nor am I enamored by the tales of how this country was established because hidden history has been revealed and revived and lives to tell its story. The truth is my ancestors, both Native Americans and Africans, are the story. Because of this, I find it hard to pretend that we are not standing on the remains of those who were here first. We have built highways and shopping malls over the trail of tears. We have turned plantations into quaint inns and banquet halls. We mock the murdered by distracting tourists with t-shirts and coffee mugs. But this is not the America that so concerns me on a daily basis.

I am writing to you about Christian America. The select set of citizens who wear crosses and gather on Sundays to worship. The people who claim to know you intimately and take communion to remember your suffering for us all. I am concerned God, truly concerned by the double standards, the mixed messages, the lack of love for fellow man, the anger and racial tension that abides deep within those who claim to be your people.

It seems as though your teachings have been replaced by the need for political power and the lust that comes as a result of a long standing adulterous affair with weapons and war.

Murder has become acceptable and division a way of life. There are now sympathizers of Cain and a calculated response to his rights for killing Abel, only with modern day scenarios.

Holy Scripture is used for waging war against anyone who doesn’t look or act “American” and some Christians wish silently for an ethnic cleansing by openly supporting those who will attempt to carry this out.

Dear God, I have two well-mannered educated sons who have a bright future. But even if their manners weren't so polished and their education not complete, they still deserve to live.

I have a daughter who is the promising jewel of our family with great hopes and the ability to change her generation. But even if she didn’t always act promising and refused to carry the mantle for her generation, she still deserves to live.

I have raised my children well God, all with your help and guidance. I have raised them to be Christians and now I’m not so sure what American Christianity means or what it stands for. I feel as though we have bought into a construct that has nothing to do with you because it is being used in direct opposition to who you are. I feel betrayed. Not by America, our relationship started with betrayal but by Christian America who pretended at first that we love the same God and then deserted me for political power and a false sense of freedom, only to side with the murderers of the innocent speaking on behalf of Cain instead of mourning Abel…

Gracious Father, please intervene, heal our hearts and our minds. Deliver us from evil and heal our land by way of a mass repentance. It’s the only way back to you Lord.

Love Always,

Your Daughter & Descendant of Eve…

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When someone says "I believe in you"

Recently I sent a letter out to a group of friends in order to receive support for a program that I’ve developed called EMPOWER ME TO READ AND WRITE! This was a difficult task for me because it involved a request for help with funding my project. Asking for funding help is not my strong suit. Asking for anything is rather difficult for me period. Still, I felt led to send this letter, so I did it afraid.  Here’s what happened…

Words of affirmation reached my heart:

“I believe in you.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“I support you.”
“You’re doing wonderful work!”

Those words were sent along with financial support. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be validated this way. I wasn't expecting such a response. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded because life has been tougher than usual lately and when we are faced with persistent challenges during hard seasons, our perspective for good ever coming our way becomes clouded with doubt. That doubt manifests itself as a huge roadblock which seems impossible to get around particularly if it’s never met with a frightening leap of faith.

Maybe we are most afraid of taking risks because it leaves us completely vulnerable to being rejected or ignored. Maybe it feels safer never knowing if someone is in your corner if you don’t ask for their help. Whatever the case, I’m starting to believe that the perfect antidote for such fear is pushing past all the apprehension and asking for what you need, butterflies and all.

Lately, I live with a lot of butterflies in my stomach because everything that I’ve known to be the norm for me is turning upside down and I have no choice but to learn this new path that is being paved for me. My program is living proof. I work with children to ignite a sense of love and passion for literacy and when I step into a classroom, I never know if my ideas and methods will work but somehow, by the end of class, I have managed to get their attention and actually get the students engaged. But the butterflies stay because there is always a next time and a next class.

What propels me to keep going is the fact that I love what I do and who I do it for.
But what gives me wings…are the words of affirmation spoken by friends.

“I believe in you”