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God Sees Your Ugly Cry!

06/24/2017 by Calvonia Radford

god saves my tears

Hello, my name is Calvonia and I am a crier!

It’s been a secret for too long. I love to wear my façade.  It fits me well.  It conceals my weaknesses and covers my Achilles heel.  Nobody needs to see that, believe me! Most people have never seen me naked.

Naked – the state of being completely transparent emotionally and spiritually.

I try to wear emotional clothing at all times.  Only undressing in my closet.  My prayer closet that is. Truth be told, my husband has rarely seen me naked.

There are some emotions that I have become a pro at masking.  I understand my emotions are beautiful.  That’s the way God made me.

You’ve heard the verse we quote to boost our sister’s self-esteem. Yet I fail to speak that truth to myself.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14

In Psalm 139, David teaches us that God knows our thoughts and every word that comes off our tongue.  He’s just that into us.

With God, I can bare it all, literally and find assurance in knowing he will hold my conversation confidential.  He will understand.  He will comfort me.

I’m currently reading Chrystal Evans Hurst’s book, She’s Still There. In chapter two, Chrystal gives a very descriptive narrative of a time when her circumstance led her to spill all her pent up emotions and cried the ugly cry.

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Life can be hard! As hard as following a recipe with a pinch of this and a dash of that.

There is, however, a blessing in the hard circumstances of life.

Hard times break away the curb side appeal of our whitewashed emotions and cause that spillage that Chrystal recalled in her book.

Chrystal cried.  I cry.  You cry.  Because a moment in time will barricade us in and all we can see is what we can see.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to confuse you.  Let me explain.

Our scope of vision is limited.  We only see what our carnal eyes will allow.  But God sees all.  He has an omniscient point of view. He knows that we are going to be alright. He understands that our challenges and difficulties are too hard to bear alone.  So he meets us right where we are and wipes our tears away.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8

I was trying to remember the last time I cried the ugly cry.  I have such a portfolio of tears that it’s hard to weed through.

I’ve cried the ugly cry during financial hardships and shed salty tears over relational difficulties.

Buckets of tears have fallen from my eyes over the loss of loved ones.  And, I have mingled my tears with shower water many times during 35 years of marriage.

However, I think my ugliest cries have been over my children.  I cried when they were babies and I couldn’t sleep at night. I cried when I prayed for their soul’s salvation.  I cried when every discipline strategy I tried failed.

When my children transitioned from childhood to adulthood I cried over their life choices. I cried in prayer over their future mates, their career choices, their unborn children, their trials……….

Through my tears, God has taught and is still teaching me to cry out to him.  He has shown me his heart. God cares.  He hears me before I call.

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

If you are living behind a façade of strength and seek a safe place to bare the ugly cry.  Run to God.  He cares and he is already listening to your cry.

This blog can also be found here:

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Permission to take a Vacation? Granted!

6/22/2017 by Calvonia Radfordpermission slip

When was the last time you took a vacation?

Let me think about it.  My husband and I went away for a few days in March for our anniversary.  Unfortunately, I cannot pin point the last family vacation we had. I think it was several years ago.

As a pastor’s wife, over the years we have spent too many of our vacation days attending denominational conventions and other similar events and not enough on family adventures.

Sprinkled in between those annual dates we have scheduled an occasional family trip.  Which was usually nestled in a holiday weekend so that I would not have to use all my leave time.

One of my favorite songs is The Cats in the Cradle, by Harry Chapin.  Actually, I have a love/hate relationship with the song because it pulls at my emotional strings.

The Cats in the Cradle is a heartbreaking song about a father and son who cannot schedule time to be with each other.  It addresses a cyclical dilemma, which begins with a workaholic father and then transitions into an adult son who is too busy to go visit his dad.

The phrase that rings in my ear most is “But well get together then, You know well have a good time then.”

Those lyrics pull at my heart because my children and two of my grandchildren are now adults.  I wonder how many precious moments I missed when I was working on my career or doing “The Lord’s” work. I wonder how frequently they would come visit me if their visits were determined by how much time I spent with them when they were children.

God expects us to work.  He says if we don’t work, you don’t eat.  I Thessalonians 3:10

He also created us to serve him.  Rick Warren says, we are designed to make a difference AKA do “The Lord’s” work.

“God has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do”

(Ephesians 2:10b, TEV)

Sometimes we church folk have difficulty discerning between God’s calling and man’s calling which promotes less family time.

I pray that I made time to make indelible memories with my children and deposit some nuggets of wisdom they can carry with them the rest of their lives.

When my daughters asked me to accompany them on a one week vacation this July, I hesitated.

“Seven days!  I’ve never take off work for seven days.”

“Your daddy’s not going? You want me to be away from him for seven days?  The only time we have been apart that long was when I went on a two week mission trip to Kenya.”

Then it hit me. I felt like I was struck in the head by a foul ball at a major league baseball game. Right between the eyes.

Someday is not a day of the week!

One day, my children will be entwined in life; marriage, child-rearing and the like.  They will struggle to pencil me in on their calendars.  Ouch! It hurt to type those words.  I feel the lump in my throat and the heaviness in my heart that my parents and grandparents have felt. Sometimes God calls us to enjoy life. Enjoy your family!

Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. Ecclesiastes 9:7

It is a cyclical dilemma.

So, I said yes to the invitation.  I gave myself permission to go.  I give myself permission to be away from home for one week. To allow my work emails and voicemail to fill up until it takes me two days to weed through them.  I give myself permission not to plan any church related projects.

This is a time of making memories. It is a time for uninhabited fun, quality time and hopefully some R&R.

“We’ll get together then, I know we’ll have a good time then”

 

This blog post can also be found over at

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It is Father’s Day. Don’t forget the fatherless.

If God is a father to the fatherless and we are his children, what does he expect of us?

June 18, 2017 by Calvonia Radfordfatherless

Did you know that 23.6% of children in the United States live in a father-absent home?

Alarming?  I think so.

Significant? Absolutely. Especially since father absence is the main contributing factor for many of our most incurable social ills affecting children.  Those being poverty, teen pregnancy, violence, drug abuse and incarceration.

Born into a single-parent home, I was meant to be a statistic.  But God had a different plan.  I praise him for his sovereign will for my life.

Today is the day our nation pauses to recognize our fathers.  We turn our sentimental radars up, pull our pleasant memories to the forefront of our minds and open our wallets for gifts and special dinners. I’m not making light of the event.  It’s a wonderful occasion which we should not neglect.

Allow me to pose a question. What about the fatherless children?

Think about those people sitting near you today in worship service.  I assume you were in attendance.

Where there any fatherless in the congregation?

Where there any foster children present?

Of those children who had fathers in the home, how many are emotionally disconnected?

How many adults were silently suffering from fatherlessness?

Open your eyes. What do you see?

In my church, with an average attendance of less than 100, we have children from single parent homes (mother-led), young ladies who have lost their fathers from sudden death or divorce and children who attend faithfully while their fathers sit at home.

Today, my eyes were dilated and I noticed those adult children who had reluctantly arrived with fresh grief still salty on their lips and sat there trying to survive.

Some seats were empty.  These vacancies usually occupied by those who could not bear to come to church on Father’s day. Regardless if their father was taken weeks ago or years gone by, the gut wrenching pain will not allow them to suffer through the accolades and gift giving of the Father’s day service.

Is there any consolation?  Yes, there is hope in God.  He has promised to be a father to the fatherless. Though he sits high, he is always there to play the role of father.

“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5

We can encourage our dear sisters and brother with those words.  God will wrap his arms around us and engulf us with his tangible presence.  He is at our beckon call.

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

If God is a father to the fatherless and we are his children, what does he expect of us?

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. ” James 1:27

What does “visiting the fatherless” look like on Father’s day?

  • Share an encouraging word or scripture.
  • Make a phone call. and acknowledge their circumstance.
  • Give a hug or pat on the back.
  • Send a thinking of you card.
  • Offer to sit with the hurting during service.
  • Provide the funding for a single mother to take her kids out for Sunday dinner.

God wants us to put ourselves in their place and do unto them as we would have them do unto us. Luke 6:31

I am not writing this post because I have it all together.  I have been self-centered more than not. Today, I repent!

Lord, I ask you to make me more sensitive to the fatherless, young and not so young. I need the prompting of the Holy Spirit so I will diligently contact others with a word of comfort and cheer.  Father help me to represent you better.  You have demonstrated for me exactly what you want me to do.  Strengthen me, Sir.  Make me a blessing.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen

This post can also be found on the following links.

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What is your Worth in Christ?

June 9, 2017 by Calvonia Radford

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According to Webster, the archaic definition of the word worth is “having monetary or material value”.

What exactly am I worth to God?  I think this thought is worth pondering for five minutes.

People who know me may say I am not worth a dime.  I have heard that statement in reference to other people; surely, the same has been stated about me.

I hope that my husband and my children would assess me as worthy to die for.  I know I would gladly give up my life for theirs.

A valuator can only assess property based on what he or she can observe i.e. a house or a car.  Therefore, my fellow sisters and brothers rate my worth on the external.  What they see and hear from my carnal being.

Jesus has x-ray vision.  He sees me inside and out.  He looks at my heart.  Remember, what he told Samuel when he was checking out Jesse’s boys to see which one was worthy of being anointed king.  God had chosen David because he knew his heart. Can you visualize one of those other boys trying to conquer Goliath?

Jesus’ death on the cross is proof that he thought I was worth saving.  He was willing to pay the price for my redemption.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” Galatians 3:13

 

It’s #FiveMinuteFriday. The word prompt is WORTH. Above is five minutes of free flow writing.

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I have been adopted into the Family of God!

June 11, 2017 by Calvonia Radfordadopted

Did you know I was adopted?

Yes, I am adopted!

My father took me into his family when I was nine years old.  He had known me since I was born.  Actually, before I was born, but that is another story.

Every day he watched me play in the yard.  He observed me when I interacted with my friends.  He even came to my school to see how I behaved in that environment.  He knew I was stubborn, hard headed, selfish and disobedient.

I couldn’t get anything past him.  He was very aware that I was a slacker.  I failed to focus in class, I lied about having homework, I procrastinated when it came to studying for an upcoming test or working on a project.

I was a mess!  Definitely a work in progress.  But my progress was slow as a snake crossing the road.

My father saw me.  The real me.  Not the one that I allowed people to see.  The mannerable, helpful, Sunday school going little girl.  He knew me.  Inside out.

Yet he loved me still! Just the way I was.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

My father is so wise, he looked into the stony heart of mine and saw a ruby.  He saw his plan and purpose for my life as if I was already walking in it.

So he loved me to him.  When I was unloveable, he loved me even more!  He loved me until it dripped down my sides like sticky molasses running down the bottle. His love was visible, tangible and smellable. Yes, smellable is a word.

His love drew me to him.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.“ Jeremiah 31:3

I am adopted and if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God has adopted you into his family as well.  You are my sister!  We are one BIG happy family.

“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:18

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:26

We are not children of God biologically.  He loves us deeper than that.  He loves us in a way that is not humanly possible.  He loves us to death! Literally, the death of the cross.  John 3:16

I love this little poem that clearly depicts the love an adopted mother has for her children.  It accurately describes her love and how that child grew in her heart.  Anyone who reads this poem can feel the love expressed through those words.

My sister, God’s love for us is so much better than that.  He loves us past death.  He has prepared a place for us in heaven with him.  There are plenty good rooms in my father’s kingdom.

If you have not come into the family yet.  Won’t you consider accepting his invitation to God’s family?  There is still room at the cross for you.

Not flesh of my flesh,

Nor bone of my bone,

but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute;

You didn’t grow under my heart

but in it.

Fleur Conkling Heyliger. 

 

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Expect New Things from God!

Change your view my sister.  Stop looking in the rear view mirror.  Ahead there are new things.

June 8, 2017 by Calvonia Radfordnew-things-series-slide1Sometimes we get stuck looking in the past, become paralyzed and prevent ourselves from seeing the present.

I have had some experiences that have blown me off my foundation.  Some toxic words said, still ring in my ears.  Wrong actions sometimes replay in my mind.  I could allow these thoughts, of woes gone by to disempower me and avert the blessings of the day.

The Israelites were so busy looking back, they almost missed out on the blessings God wanted to give them.

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

Therefore, God sent Isaiah to tell them  three things.

  1. Don’t recall the former things
  2. Do not dwell on the old.
  3. Do focus on the new things sprouting up.

He declared that he wanted to do a NEW thing in their lives.

The Israelites were God’s chosen people.  He had redeemed them, called them by name and they were his. Isaiah 43:1

Today he proclaims the same to you and me.  We are his chosen people!  I Peter 2:9

He has brand new things, life changing encounters, incredible miracles and bold messengers positioned to pour new things out on us.

Change your view my sister.  Stop looking in the rear view mirror.  Ahead there are new things.

It’s #FiveMinuteFriday. The word prompt is EXPECT. Above is five minutes of free flow writing.

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The blood of Jesus makes us smell brand new!

June 5, 2017 by Calvonia Radford

laundry-dry-dry-laundry-hang-963150 (1)When you hear the word new, what do you smell?

No, I didn’t misspeak.  I really want to know what you smell at the sound of the word, new.

When I hear the word new, I smell;

freshly baked bread just out of the oven,

an infant, who has been bathed and slathered with Johnson & Johnson baby lotion,

or the recently laid carpet and fresh paint of a new house.

I could go on and on.

Generally, we don’t describe newness with scents.  Yet, when prompted to think of what newness smells like you can provide an appropriate response.

The day we accepted Jesus as our savior and began our walk with Christ, we became new.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

If we give some thought to what we smelled like before we came on the Lord’s side, it would make us sick to our stomach.

The prophet Isaiah used some serious adjectives to describe our pre-salvific uncleanliness.

“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6

No one wants to stink!

In 2016, manufacturers of personal hygiene products gained 13.91 billion dollars in profit off our desire to smell good.

If you read this post and realize your current state of spirituality is less than pleasant.If your life smells like a sewer due to the rottenness in your soul.  Don’t fret. There is good news!

Deciding to make Jesus your choice is like being laundered and hung on a line to dry only to be collected later looking crisp and smelling like fresh mountain air.

Jesus is our example.  He hung there on calvary’s cross after being kept up all night, beaten and whipped. Flesh hung off his back.  Thorn prints were wrapped around his head. The smell of blood mixed with sweat, tears and other bodily fluids must have been foul. But to God, it was a sweet smell.

Paul described Jesus’ sacrificial death as a fragrant offering. Ephesians 5:2

Because of Christ, our spiritual DNA is filled with sweetness.  We supernaturally exude a sweet smelling aroma.

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: “   II Corinthians 2:15

Isn’t it amazing? God takes our filthy souls, stained red with sin and washes them white like snow. Isaiah 1:18

His blood leaves us smelling fresh and new, baby fresh that is.

Have you ever felt too dirty for God’s grace?

Do your sins reek?

If you answered yes to these questions, come to Jesus.  He desires to make you clean, to make you brand new.  His blood still works!

Plan of salvation:

Admit:

Confess to God that you are a sinner. Repent or turn away from your sin.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3: 23

Believe:

Trust that Jesus is God’s Son and that God sent Jesus to save people from their sins.

“but God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Commit:

Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.

That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Roman’s 10: 9, 10

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