Friday, December 13, 2013

Keepin' It Real

(Facebook Post)
©2013 Chantelle Henderson

I know some folks will be like, “Dang, I can’t believe she’s putting all her business out there like that!”, Some people will say, “Really?! Me too!”, No matter what you say, it is what it is and I make no apologies for it. I hope it doesn't offend you but if it does there is nothing I can do about it. This is one of those post where you can say whatever you want. You can quote scriptures or swear me up one way and down the next. You can rebuke me or thank me. It does not matter to me. I will, however, delete your comment if it’s just waaaaaaaaaaaay over the edge. Like fo rizzle. Everybody has sense enough to know when the line’s been crossed.

Why am I posting it? 

1. Because I’m a writer (or at least a wanna be writer) and if you know writers, when we don’t get some things actually out, for others to read (not just journals or diaries) it becomes like poison in your soul.


2. Hopefully, it will give you something to think about. If not, chew the meat and spit out the bones. OR you can upchuck the whole thing if all of it makes you sick.


3. I’m tired people. My posts are heartfelt and they are always honest and real. For over two years I’ve tried my very, very best, as a result of AN INTENTIONAL conscience effort, to maintain a drama-free page. Today you may consider it drama. I consider it a writer’s truth. I’m sharing a “diary entry” that you don’t have to wait to read until after I die. Either way, just like every other day, you’re getting to look into the wonderful life of Tae Tae and I will forewarn all my Christian brothers and sisters right now that it may not be your favorite post……just a heads up.


Today was one of those days I found myself breathing and yet not living. Those are not one in the same you know? A lot of folks think I have a life full of sun and roses all the time, but there are days like today where it is full of nothing but fertilizer. You find yourself sobbing, not feeling sorry for yourself; don’t mistake the two, but crying buckets because you realize that some of the most precious people in life turned out to be the biggest monsters you have faced. I have not, nor will I ever be perfect. My life has been and will continue to be a roller coaster unless a miracle happens. By the way, there are no small or big miracles. A miracle is a miracle. 

I’m Bipolar. I have PTSD and Severe Anxiety Disorder triggered at any moment by whatever causes the PTSD. I’m not a name it. Claim it. Blab it. Grab it type of Christian anymore because I've seen life. I say anymore because I used to be. I’ve seen too much too know in my life and others that the ultimate healing may not be in way or "form" we think of it.  In other words, rather than seeing our loved one stripped and healed of cancer on this side of eternity, it could be that their healing takes place by way of them crossing over into the Heavenly, eternal realm where there is no more sickness or disease.  Does that mean God did not heal them?  No!  It means He didn't heal them in the way we expected or thought He would.  It shouldn't stop our prayers or arrest or future faith for miracles.  It just means that in His sovereignty, He chose a different way than we would have hoped for. I’ve had nightmares about things that took place in my past that I’ve prayed and prayed to be taken away and sometimes they get stronger and stronger. I’ve seen people I thought were the happiest take their own lives. I’ve seen some of the most committed couples commit adultery. I worked in the mother/baby unit at a hospital where mothers went in for a check-up at 38 weeks only to hear that her baby has no heartbeat. I lost a Godfather at 50 unexpectedly. Not only was he, by several standards extremely physically healthy when he dropped dead of a heart condition one morning but He was the greatest man of faith I ever knew. I know what it feels like to be raped and molested. I’ve seen great men and women of the strongest faith and belief receive the opposite of what they were standing for. Some of the aforementioned circumstances were the result of poor choices and some of these simply don’t make any sense at all. As I struggle with my past addictions and current illnesses, does that make me a person of lesser faith? Not so much. I dare say that it is, all of it, is what makes me Chantelle Yvette Thomas Henderson. God’s Jeremiah 1:5 & Psalm 139 girl! I’ll be honest, some days, as Jo Dee Messina’s song goes, My Give A Damn’s Busted-Close your mouth because you said some curse words today too…..probably several. Anywhoooo.......Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t have the patience to deal with one more crisis. If one more unexpected emergency happens it just may put me over the edge. Don’t get me wrong. I am no victim here. I don’t care what’s happened in my life I do not consider myself a victim. The people who hurt me and used me and abused me didn't win. They don’t get to win. While I don’t have the right to give judgment, I do have the obligation to bestow upon them mercy and forgiveness, but vengeance belongs to God.

I don’t pretend to be anything that I’m not. I learned a long time ago that when you wear a mask you get all hot, stinky, and sweaty and it’s just best to be you and do you. There’s always room for change and improvement. I always want to grow and change more and more in Christ. So while I am constantly a work in progress, what you see is what you get. I don’t say that pridefully. I say it because it is my greatest strength and my strongest weakness. Don’t get me wrong. When you read some of the things below don’t think that I have been that to all of the people in my life. I know what it’s like to be the opposite of those for whom I am thankful, but it was my choice. I have boundaries. We should all have boundaries. I love everyone and hate no one. It is fascinating to me that the closer Jesus got to the cross the smaller His posse got. He started with the masses. Then a few hundred. Then the disciples. Then the three he took to the Garden Of Gethsemane, Peter, James, and John. The people you read about below are people who have been in my life for many, many years. They are my Peters, James, and Johns. What is bringing me to this post is the realization that after three years in Florida, they are still my true and only ride or die girls. They have my back, not to stab, but to cover. When I get tired and weary, they place my arms around their shoulders and carry me and my storm-tossed, wounded, and broken spirit to a safe haven of trust, love, covering, and compassion just as I have done for them. 

Some seasons the relationships have been 30/70 others 50/50 and some 90/10. The beauty of true friendship and sisterhood is that you don’t keep track because when everything is said and done it all adds up to 100.

Thank you for allowing me to cry without making me feel weak. 


Thank you for laughing at my corny jokes instead of rolling your eyes and looking at me weird. 

Thank you for speaking the truth in love rather than judging me and making me feel scolded. 

Thank you for loving me without condition and not only when it was convenient. 

Thank you for telling me when I had food in my teeth right before I take a picture instead of taking a picture anyway and posting it on FB for the world to see :-) . 

Thank you for finding beauty in my loud, boisterous laugh instead of being annoyed by it. 

Thank you for not acting perfect, but for showing your flaws to because it allowed me to feel safety in showing my own. 

Thank you for giving back as much as you received. 

Thank you for riding the roller coaster when you had every right to stop and get off or at the very least, telling me you needed to stop and get off for a while instead of just abandoning me.

Thank you for seeing the treasure in the trash rather than the trash instead of the treasure. 

Thank you for not throwing my mistakes in my face, but rather taking your love to cover the multitude in them. 

Thank you for not judging me for using a swear words when you could have held so much more against me as I opened and shared the darkest secrets of my heart with you. 

Thank you for not being a hypocrite when it would have been easy to hide behind a fake smile, pretty make-up, and nice jewels. 

Thank you for sitting next to me with a box of tissue and helping me wipe away my tears rather than being more concerned with your mascara running.  

Thank you for not using me for your purposes and then “letting me go” when I was no longer of use to you. 

Thank you for sticking by me as I have battled my addictions and mental illnesses instead of bailing because it made you to uncomfortable or you didn't have the time.  

The "Thank You's" can go on endlessly but there's no need because you know the rest of them all too well.  

At this point simply wrapping it up with one final "Thank You." is sufficient.

For those of you who couldn't hang, it's okay.  Everyone isn't meant for a lifetime.  Some people are just meant for seasons and I am thankful for the season you were in my life.  If you've ever been in my life you have taught me something.  The time we spent was not wasted so thank you.  I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically.  

To my 100%, you know who you are and I love you and thank God for you each and every day.  

With my love, heart, and affection always,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Burning Bridges

©2013 Chantelle Henderson

Sometimes the very people we keep trying so desperately to hold on to are the very ones we must let go of if we are to answer the call of God on our life. If they wanna leave, let them go. T.D. Jakes says, "Some people come into your life as a blessing, others come into your life as a lesson." 

It's difficult to decipher at times and it won't be until you've walked away and stand outside looking in that you will realize just how unhealthy the situation you were in was. I know it's much easier said than done because I've been there more than once. It doesn't mean it won't hurt. It doesn't mean you won't miss them.  In fact, in some cases, even after YEARS you want to pick up that phone and call but to do so would be to your detriment.  

With letting go comes a peace and joy you never thought existed because all you have known is the toxicity of that relationship. All you have known is you reaching out, you forgiving, you giving them chance after chance after chance.  It doesn't mean that you were perfect, or even that you did not contribute to the monster of unhealthiness that became the normality of the relationship.  

The longer I live the more I understand that it is important to know your boundaries BEFORE going into new friendships and relationships. People will treat you and contribute to the relationship whatever you allow to take place or refuse to confront.  People are not mind readers. If you don't tell someone what you are and are not willing to accept they have no way of knowing.  I will say this, however. If there is an unsettling in your heart that you "can't put your finger on" it may be to your benefit to re-evaluate that relationship because chances are that there is something going on that you may not realize that is unhealthy.  

Don't settle because you are lonely.  Don't go "all in" thinking you can trust someone until they have shown themselves to be trustworthy. If someone is talking about someone else to you, chances are that they are talking about you to other people.  I'VE BEEN GUILTY, so I'm not throwing stones here.  Do not be afraid to walk away. There is a way to do so with class.  It doesn't have to be done with harsh words, pointed fingers, and anger.  It can be done with civility, in a spirit and attitude of love, and on respectful ground.  Also, not all relationships are a lost cause.  I have seen reconciliation and restoration take place when both parties were willing to do the work of rebuilding the burnt bridge.  That doesn't happen instantly (unless a miracle takes place). No matter what, wisdom, and plenty of it, must be involved.  

If there are people in your life who don't celebrate you, then celebrate yourself. God does! He celebrates you. He thinks you are awesome. He rejoices over you. He loves you. He sings and dances over you.  He calls you His beloved. He believes you are a priceless gem, a one-of-a-kind, precious, chosen, beautiful creation. He longs to be your everything~your best friend, life partner, and confidant. You have to believe that you are worth more than being treated less than the child of God you are.  That doesn't mean that we won't face trial, suffering or persecution. It does mean that if you are consistently being abused, mistreated, and taken advantage of, it's time to take a break or make a break altogether. 

Now, IF YOU ARE BEING PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, OR VERBALLY ABUSED and you want to work on it, good for you.  That's between you, God, and that person but I STRONGLY suggest a suitcase, taxi, hotel, and a neutral, 3rd party with more degrees than a thermometer behind their name while working it all out.  For a professional opinion don't take mine.(I don't have a degree so I'm putting this disclaimer here to seek a physician or professional or whatever they say on TV.) 

This started out as four or five sentences and ended up with all this.  I need it for myself more than anyone else, I guess.  Last night I was strongly reminded not to pick anything or anyone that God said to put down because the disobedience, toxicity, sickness, stress, anger, tears, and pain is not worth it.  Like the picture attached to this post notes, "Sometimes burning bridges isn't a bad thing.  It prevents you from going back to places you should never have been to begin with."

 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dying Star Days

December 7, 2013
©2013, Chantelle Henderson
Dying Star Days

***BLOG ORIGINATED AS A RESULT OF A SONG, DYING STAR BY JASON UPTON.  THE VIDEO AT THE END OF THIS BLOG***

“If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts, or ego. You were designed to worship God and if you fail to worship Him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose, what you surrender to but you are not free from the consequence of that choice.”  ~ Rick Warren


Usually I say the Lord peels back the layers of our healing ever so slowly like and onion.  For the past 2 months I’ve been in the process of coming to the end of myself and crying out for a life of holiness and that I may be emptied of myself, my flesh, my wants, desires, and perceived “needs” so that they I may be filled with more of Him.  It was John The Baptist who mad the profound declaration in John 3:3He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]” (Amplified Bible)  

There just wasn’t enough room for Him to grow in me while still living a life of pride, bitterness, unforgiveness, and not allowing others the grace so abundantly bestowed upon me by Him.  Years ago I listened to a song by Jason Upton titled “Dying Star”.  Ryan reminded me of it and as I listened I heard everything that I know Heavenly Papa would want me to hear.  So there came a time when the moment of “peeling back the layers of our healing ever so slowly” became more like slicing, dicing, and being tossed into a frying pan, and being sautéed. But that’s what it took for ME personally.  For someone else, it may be a different experience. 

There have been many ouchies as the scales of deception in regards to the things that were taking the place of Him, The Father in my life, fell off.  Of course, the expedited onion metaphor has been hard, but oh SO worth it. 

This song, Dying Star directly confronts what I suspect most Christians face.  In it Jason sings, “I hope you take it from me you look just like your enemy.  You're full of pride.  We better trash our idols if we want to be In the army of the Lord.  And the greatest idol is you and me.  We better get on the threshing floor.  When will we learn that God's strategy is giving glory to the Lord?  We better trash our idols if we want to be In the army of the Lord.  Star how beautiful you shine.  Shines more beautiful than mine.  Shine from sea to shinging sea.  Worldwide is your stradegy.  But shining star I hope you see, if the whole wide world is stareing straight at you, they can't see me.”  If you have time, I hope you watch this video and not only be encouraged but moved to action in removing anything in your life that should only be filled by God Himself.  Ask Him if you don’t know what those things are.

What I found and still am finding is that it is impossible to be so full of myself, selfish desires, and ambitions while still having room for Him in my life.  The things I put in His place could not heal me.  They could not restore my soul or give me the peace that passes understanding.  They could not comfort me when I was inconsolable.  Pay close attention to what or who you are giving your most time and attention to because whatever or whoever it is, that is your idol; it’s what you are choosing to worship. If it’s anything but Him, be careful because what you worship will end up being the answer to whatever problems you may face in life you change the direction of your heart and look to Him.  Put bluntly, if your affections and the longings of your heart are towards the Father then He is your idol and Who or What you worship.  So if it’s that TV show instead of the time you carved out for God, make sure it has the power to address and conquer the trials you are going through. If your idol is your pastor or best friend, make sure that he or she is available 24/7/365 to pray with you and heal your sick body.  If it’s your spouse, you may want to confirm with them that it’s okay if you call them God and can fix all your issues.  If it’s your parents, check their sky miles to see if it covers a jet to have them arrive on the spot to be in the emergency room with their grandchildren if they fall seriously ill.  Let me give you a heads up. Nothing,absolutely NOTHING OR NO ONE will fulfill you and complete you except the One, True Living God; not your job, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, job, house, car, best friend, pastor, children, parents, music, TV, books, nothing or no one, because like Pastor Rick Warren says, "You were made by God and for God and until you understand that life will never make sense." 

If you, like me, have failed Him time and time again by worshiping empty idols and false Gods, it’s never too late to enter into the throne room of Heaven boldly to obtain that mercy and grace in time of need to repent and ask for forgiveness and to re-erect Him as the only God in your life (Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. ~ Hebrews 4:1-16 ~ HCS Bible)I suspect with life’s blows, triumphs, victories, and trials, I will be faced time and time again with who/what I will choose to turn to and thereby idolize and make my answer and comfort during those times and seasons.  Will it be God or will it be man?  Will it be my Bible or will it be Oprah's Super Soul Sunday?  Will it be my husband or will it be The counsel Of The Holy Spirit?  God is a Gentleman and will not force His hand and He will not make me do anything.  It's my choice.  I get to choose who or what I will seek out for answers, wisdom, strength, healing, restoration, truth, understanding, love, and peace when life doesn't make sense or even when it does. My prayer is that it will always be Him.  When I fall short may I not cease to remember that he made allowances for our shortcomings and foresaw that we would time and time again stand in need of His grace and mercy every single day.  The word of the Living God says that “His mercies are new EVERY morning.” (God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.  They’re created new every morning.  How great your faithfulness!  I’m sticking with God. I say it over and over.  He’s all I’ve got left. ~ Lamentations 3:22-24 ~ The Message Bible) If we didn’t need His mercy daily it wouldn’t be in His word.

When I took a look at my own life, it was everyone and everything but Him.  I was so deceived in my heart because I TRULY believed it was Him until I saw, knew, and perceived with mighty revelation that it was not.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Message Bible when it references our own hearts deceiving us, as was the case with me and unless I guard the work He’s doing in me will happen again. “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.  But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind.  I get to the heart of the human.  I get to the root of things.  I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” Jeremiah 17:9-10)

The purging has not been easy. In fact it’s been downright gut-wrenching, and painful.  It’s been inconvenient and grievous.  It’s been demanding and exhausting.  But it has also been humbling and a lightening of my heavy soul.  It has reduced me to the point of finding myself constantly and consistently at the foot of the cross.  It has put the song back in my heart that I used to sing with such confidence, meaning every word, It Is Well With My Soul penned by Horatio G. Spafford; “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”  It has moved me to a life of action rather than reaction and a place of love rather than tolerable likeness.  So many changes….too many to list.  They would never end because they are coming daily, even hourly on some days.  But even so Lord, continue to work in me so that when people see me they are seeing Jesus with skin on.  The person who is described in 

Matthew 25:35-40

“I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat;
I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink;
I was a stranger and you didn’t take Me in;
I was naked and you didn’t clothe Me,
Sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of Me.’

“Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’

(Holman Christian standard Bible)

I could never accomplish or survive any of this in my own strength.  If I had attempted to I would have been driven to a state of complete and utter madness.  Instead I engross myself in the promise of the presence of The Holy Spirit, my Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby (John 14:16 ~ Amplified Bible).  In doing so that means laying things, people, behaviors, attitudes, and even some beliefs in the furnace of His purification process.

I say with full confidence and assurance that nothing I am laying down is to be compared to all there is to gain in Christ Jesus and a life committed wholly to Him.  As I continue to grow in Him my prayer is that I will die daily that He may shine more brightly, grow more abundantly, and love more radically in and through me than ever before.  Rather than my life being a dying star, may it point to the living and only Star that should be seen in my life, Jesus Christ.

 

***TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BACKSTORY OF DYING STAR READ BELOW THE VIDEO OR VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINK:  http://jasonupton.com/portfolio-item/dying-star/



About Dying Star

It’s not good music that breaks the yoke; it is the anointing of Jesus that breaks the yoke and sets us free. All through the Bible God used people who didn’t have a clue, who didn’t have all the answers and who didn’t really know anything. They had no strategy – or their only strategy appeared to be to look to heaven and say, ‘my eyes are on You, great victorious warrior, You are my shinning star’. In the end, it’s our own choice whether to live out our own strategies thereby living so that others see only ‘our’ abilities; but then we’ll end up just like the enemy – just another “dying star”.

God is building an army of sons and daughters whose single-minded passion is for His purposes alone. Stars rise and fall but sons don’t. God has raised up a generation of sons and daughters, not a generation of superstars. But as long as we continue trying to be someone or something we will never be anything of worth to God. Jesus was worth everything to God. Jesus was the ultimate warrior, the ultimate pastor, the ultimate intercessor, the ultimate worshipper, and the ultimate teacher; and not because Jesus was the ultimate superstar, but because Jesus was the ultimate son.

The songs on this cd call us from stardom into sonship. Recording Days at Dark Horse Studio, August, 2002 After our recording sessions in Nashville in August, one of our band members, William Clark, wrote the following about the experience: The old man who made his living by carving beautiful and ornate designs into huge wooden doors was asked, “How do you know when it’s finished?” “When they come to take it away”, he responded. I fear you have come to take away “The Days at Darkhorse”. Though if you were to leave it with me, I might never finish, because how do you fully describe an experience like that ? I could go on carving and touching and pondering forever, and never render a fitting description.

Nevertheless… here it is. “The Days at Darkhorse” The days at Darkhorse are ones that I am sure we will never forget. Even though what you are about to hear is a collaboration of immense proportions, the experience of it was such a light yoke and an easy burden. From the peaceful atmosphere so carefully cultivated by the studio owner, to the expertise of the engineers, to the wisdom of the producer, to the prayers of hundreds of intercessors, to the heart of the musicians and singers, to the precious words from the Father… all of this was so powerfully yet delicately orchestrated by the Holy Spirit into the worship experience captured on this recording. Just as soon as we had gotten settled in, the Holy Spirit began to move so strongly through the place, and the intimacy we felt with Jesus moved us so deeply that all we could do was abandon ourselves and respond to Him in worship. Eighteen hours later, we had captured eighteen songs. (We had reserved the studio for four days, but wound up only using two.)

There were times when we were literally unable to play or sing, having been overcome with emotion. There were times when friends who had stopped by to pray, found themselves in an intimate embrace with the Father, weeping and worshiping Him along with us. And there were times when we sat in rapt wonder and just listened as the Lord of all creation responded through the thunder and the rain. The days at Darkhorse were such a precious and overwhelming experience of Him. But it was just a small taste of what He longs for us all to know. Our deepest prayer is that by worshiping Him along with us, you truly come to know Him and how passionately He loves you and cares for you. God bless you, from all of us at Key of David.