Hello Family! Parts of this post have been sitting in the draft folder of my website for two and a half years. WOW, but I believe that me being able to finish it is ultimately strategic. So, here we go! In January of 2016, I started a journey to become a Certified Biblical Counselor. I, honestly, didn’t know what was going to come out of it, but I knew that I needed it. My Pastor and Leading Lady, along with other members of the “PRAISEDOME”, took the same course in the Fall Semester of 2015. Seeing them graduate and talk about how amazing the class and the instructor was at their graduation made me want to take it, but I wouldn’t have the deposit by the due date to sign up. So, I just kind of put it in my mind that it was something that was going to have to wait, along with the other goals I will embark upon. But, I fooled around and just said the words, “I’m interested”, and the person I told, who has been purposely placed in my life, said, “I’ll pay your deposit.” That was really all I needed to hear to lead me to believe this was something I had to do.
Dr. Rhonda Sneed, founder and CEO of Restoring Souls Outreach Center and AMAZING woman of God was our instructor. She told us two things the first Monday night of class, as she tells everyone who even considers being apart. Number one, “Get ready, because all hell is about to break loose.” Number two, “Before you become a counselor, you have to be the counselee.” I must say, live and in color, she was absolutely correct. Those 15 weeks changed my entire life. There were days I didn’t know how I was going to pay the rest of the tuition and still take care of things at the house and days I had no money to get food or gas to get to class, but God always made a way, literally. Some people in the class I knew and some I didn’t, but we truly became a family and even apart of an even bigger family as a graduating class. Then, on top of that, I was coming to class every week feeling like I was laying on a couch spilling any and all of my beans to a counselor, who gave me spiritual and natural ways to deal with all these different issues and feelings I was dealing with. Some of these issues and feelings, I didn’t even know I had. One week, I’ll never forget, we discussed bitterness and anger. At this particular time, I was going through very secretly, but, also, on the forefront. I didn’t realize I was either of these things until God lead her to call it for what it was, at the same time giving the lesson. She not only taught every lesson with examples of her own and others she have come in contact with experiences but, most importantly, God’s Word. I grew up knowing that everything I needed was in there, but I never truly studied for myself. I would go off what people told me was in there. But with the help of this class, along with our weekly 3D Biblical Studies at my church, I started to strive to find exactly what I needed for myself or what I needed to help someone else in that moment and in times to come.
Since graduation, and, even before then, I have been wondering what to do next. For the longest time, I wondered, was I taking the class just to say I finished something or am I going to really do something with this certificate. I have been known to, more often than usual, procrastinate and leave endeavors unfinished. So, then, I wondered am I going to class faithfully every Monday because someone invested in me and I don’t want to let them down, or am I actually going to take what I have learned and apply it to my life and help someone else. All of these things I thought about were indeed true, but the key is talking to God and hearing from Him what my next assignment is. As the world knows, I went through a great deal in the past four years, mostly good, but I had some downs. However, I believe in my heart I went through, and yet and still, go through, not only to help others get through, but for God to show Himself mighty in me and get glory out of my life. This class ultimately changed my life forever and ignited an even bigger desire to become a better woman, one day, a wife, and, most of all, an outstanding mother.
You, too, can become apart of the family of Biblical Counselors and get the tools to correctly help in more ways than one through God’s Word. Classes start in 3 weeks. What are you waiting for? What do you have to lose? The attached flyer will speak for itself and I know others who can attest to this class changing their perspective on counseling within the four walls of a church building and even outside those same walls. Be Blessed.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!!! I have a feeling this year is about to be BIG! Not just any feeling, but after the last few hours of 2018 and the first day of 2019, I know that I know that I know, this year is about to be BIG. I was invited to be apart of Evangelist Tina Armstrong’s 4th Annual Purpose Breakfast where the theme was “Restoring the Remnant: Can You Cover Me Until I Recover?” In my previous blog post, I gave you just a snippet of what happened when you get kingdom-minded women together to talk about the theme and prepare us and others for the upcoming breakfast, but I’ll tell you from my own personal experience, it exceeded any expectation I had settled in my mind.
As I walked in the building, I was warmly greeted by everyone in the room, along with the smell of heaven prepared by DJ’s Grill. I swiftly found my assigned seat with my name and gift neatly placed. I knew from the hugs and blessing with my name on it, I was already in for a treat. As I settled in my space to prepare to do as I was asked, Mrs. Armstrong, the SUPERWOMAN herself, gave me an assignment. She handed me a Ziploc bag containing smaller Ziploc bags with what I recognized as mustard seeds in them and said, “I need you to count these. Make sure I have 40 now.” When she handed me the bag, I was reminded of the first time I saw these seeds. I was a child and one of the ministers gave an example of the seeds in his bible study lesson. I was reminded in that very moment where my FAITH in God and what He was capable of began to grow. I was almost brought to tears because it’s funny how at many times in our lives we seem to lose focus over what’s going on or wrong and forget what God gave us to remind us we still have seed. Now back to these bags. In my mind, I’m thinking she wants me to make sure there’s enough for everybody to receive a bag and I immediately thought, “We’re going to need some more bags” just from looking at the outside. She asked me did it look like 40. I told her no after I counted them out one-by-one. She then says, “So you found you had more than what you thought you had right?” And she walks away. Now astonished, I saw other women walking into the building, each one of them had their own reaction to the assignment given. My fellow blogger, Ms. Victoria Fisher, walked in and only counted 39. The entire room was looking just as stunned as I was knowing without a shadow of a doubt we all counted 40. It was found that one of the attendees heard in her instructions to take one after counting them. I found that maybe, just maybe, she pulled exactly what she needed. All she needed was just a little to make it. We’ll talk about those seeds a little more later though.
After being served an AMAZING breakfast provided by DJ’s Grill, full of chicken and waffles, eggs, seasoned potatoes, and shrimp with grits, which might I add, was the first time I tried them and it was sooo good, we had our first speaker, Evangelist Shandra Powell. This Woman of God walked into the room and stood in boldness as the song “This Is My Season” by William Murphy played, while holding what appeared to be a handkerchief in her hand. She prayed in that same boldness and, in the same breath, spoke into every person’s next season. One of the statements she stated as she encouraged the room, was, “Because I survived, I still have purpose”. That is what this handkerchief symbolized to me. The handkerchief was made of stitched together leftover patterns, or “fabric remnants”. The key things about these “fabric remnants”, is that they were once apart of a whole piece, then cut or torn away. We all have been cut up, battered, and bruised a time or two or a million times in our lives but it doesn’t mean we don’t have purpose or a reason we are placed and kept here on this Earth. We, the “fabric remnants”, those who have been torn apart, or “set apart”, have been broken, put back together time and time again to be connected to another someone to help them. As stated by Evangelist Powell, “with recovery, comes responsibility”, which is to go and strengthen the next person. She shared her own personal experience in discussing needing covering herself and having to pour into God’s people at the same time, along with being ever so “careful not to bleed on the people God sent to you to help”. Another account Lady Powell gives is we can’t be “so alive in duty, you don’t realize you’re dying”. What that meant to me was that we can’t be so busy trying to keep ourselves moving about and not realize we have an open wound that can infect us and possibly infect others. For that reason, we all seem to “camouflage our pain”, but God has people in place who are qualified to cover you as you recover. They are watchful, alert, and in Spirit, will see you where you are and cover as God sees fit.
Next in this move, we had a “Scarf Exchange”. Everyone in attendance was asked to bring a scarf. We all grabbed our scarves and stood in a circle. Now, all in attendance for some reason or another did not have a scarf, but there were women there who gave up theirs for another sister to participate. This was a clear demonstration of the covering, to me. No one was left out. As we stood in a circle, our host, Evangelist Tina Armstrong, gave instructions to pass your scarf to the left or to the right. At the end, whoever had your initial scarf, we became accountability partners. The scarf became a direct symbolism of the covering of one another.
Our next speaker, who was introduced by our host, who stated she has been blessed to see her flourish, meaning “grow in unprofitable and uncomfortable conditions and circumstances”, was none other the “One and Only” Evangelist Special Scales. Lady Scales stood tall in frame and in the same manner, presented God’s Word. She stated for us to repeat, “I AM A MEPHIBOSETH.” Mephiboseth, who is mentioned a few times in II Samuel, was the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. He was a lame young boy who, after his father and grandfather died in battle, was being brought back to town by his nurse. His nurse stumbled and dropped him and caused him to become disabled. As she talked about this man who was dropped by someone who was supposed to be caring for him, she posed a question to the room. She asked how many of us had been dropped and left for dead? Being that “pain is universal”, everyone has at some point in their life felt some type of pain. The most interesting thing about life is, most of the time we endure pain from the least suspected person, family. To an enemy or someone who doesn’t like us or had an issue with how we do things, “we expect you to play your part as who you are.” You’re an enemy. We expect you to do what you are assigned, but when you were sent to cover me, take care of me, love me, and uphold me at my weakest moment, you inflict the deepest pain mostly because I don’t expect it from you, of all people. Lady Scales inspired us through her own testimony to not focus on what we lost in the midst of the pain caused because God can “use our broken pieces”. He can use what you have left and restore you in the process.
Our final speaker was non-other than the MAN with the MIC and MESSAGE, my pastor, Dr. Robert Bailey, Jr. He spoke on these mustard seeds we encountered when we first walked in. His scriptural basis for his message was Matthew 13:31 & 32. Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” What amazed me most about this seed is though it’s very small, it grows into a tree. A TREE! I believe the tree is the biggest and tallest plant there is on this planet. Dr. Bailey said it best, “God will take the small of you to produce the big in you” and for this reason, he advises us to be careful where we plant. He spoke on the difference between a seed being planted in dirt and soil. Dirt is easy to obtain. To the seed, it only smothers it and doesn’t have the nutrients to grow it. On the other hand, you have soil. It has to be bought and it has the proper materials and minerals to help the seed break open. It actually fertilizes the seed and gives it exactly what it needs to produce what God wants to pull out of it. Another part of the scripture Dr. Bailey touched on was the birds. The birds represented people and he warned us to “watch who’s coming to perch”. Perch means, of a bird, to alight or rest on something. Some “birds” come to sit to snatch from your limbs to cause you to become barren or unfruitful, but you have others who come and plant a nest so they can give birth where you have planted. I did some research on these birds who build nest and found that not all birds who build a nest are there to give birth. Some birds build it, plant or lay the egg that possesses their seed, or promise for someone else to come and nurture, which brought me to believe this can be tied to one of my favorite scriptures. Habakkuk 2:2, says, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it”, meaning what if at some point I am giving birth to something, I nest it in a lively place (tree) to be picked up, when it is ready, and released to be ran with. My Pastor, then, asked us to go to the end of our planners gifted to us by Evangelist Armstrong and write down what we would like our 2019 to look like. Those of us who had been at Watch Service the night before had already done this and only by God, I took a picture of mine before I put it in the basket to be blessed. I wrote everything down from my paper and even added some things to it. Dr. Bailey had us to put our tiny bag of mustard seeds on the list and just pray over IT without saying exactly what IT is and do THIS for the rest of the year.
As I settled in my space, where the blessings with my name on it lay, I wrote at the top of my notepad, “*This Is For Me*” and that it was. Evangelist Tina Armstrong had no idea the impact it would have on me when she asked me to blog for this meeting. After Dr. Bailey prayed over our lists and mustard seeds, there was what I called, a “Covering Session”. Lady Armstrong was lead by God to choose a different woman in the room to cover another. It amazed me how God saw fit to choose me, even in the midst of having to deal with something before I made it to the place and I thought in that same breath, “why not me?” God has placed something on the inside of me, whether it be from my experience or the gifts He has placed in me to help COVER the next person as they recover. I walked away from this encounter with the tools to COVER and BE COVERED. I learned so much and pray through THIS you are blessed as well. Be Blessed.