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Bringing Me Back from Captivity


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all you heart. “I will be found by you” declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:13-14

Certain scriptures stick out in my head. They pop up when I’m struggling and need a reminder of God‘s promises. But every now and then, there’s a different word that stands out and gives me an even greater understanding  of what God is saying.

“I will be found by you” declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:14

The past couple of days I’ve been a hormonal moody mess. The majority of the week left me feeling trapped more than  empowered,  and definitely un-“able to do all things.” Why wasn’t my life moving?  And why wasn’t it working like it should? It wasn’t that I didn’t have ideas but everything fell short. I felt stuck. In my messy captivity. Not that I did anything wrong,  or that I was being punished. But nothing was working. And nothing I did made any difference. That’s when I pulled out my Bible and saw the end of Jeremiah 29:14. In my arrogance, I read the verse thinking, “yea, I know what it says, I’ve seen it before a million times.” This time was different because I finally read the end of the scripture. The part where God says  “I will bring you out of captivity.”

Then it hit me. Some of the problems I’m dealing with (created) are not designed for me to easily wiggle my way out of. And with this being the kind of year where I’ve had little to no control (except in how I react) over things, my first thought as of late is to “I gotta do it on my own.” Which is why nothing was working. Which is why I’ve been exhausted. And tired. And grouchy. I can try, but I can’t  do anything on my own. My writing, my work, my singing, cannot be done without the favor of God on my life.

So when I saw  the word “captivity”, the stress in my shoulders relaxed because I realized I’ve tried to DO  and BE everything on my own. And doing without inviting the One who knows how to DO it best is a futile attempt. I prayed for help. I prayed that God would lift my burdens and remind me that if I honestly call on him, he will answer. Not to give a passer-by prayer, but a real-time, “I need you to help me God because if you don’t, I’m liable to do something stupid really soon” prayer.

As a single woman, I do a lot of  things on my own. So I admit I need help letting go and remembering God is the piece of the puzzle that keeps me from being overwhelmed. Unlike Britney says, it’s not me against the world. And unlike Beyonce sings, it’s really not me, myself, and I.  And even when I feel trapped, if I just remember to seek God, he’ll bring my out of whatever stressful thing I’ve gotten myself into. Again.

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HIV and the Dilemma of the Black Church


Black Women. Unprotected Sex. Faithful in church. Christlike. Love the Lord.  Pure in heart. Still having Sex.

HIV is killing  the Black  community one by one as the CDC reports the highest HIV + rates exist in the Black community. Black Americans account for only 14 percent of the U.S. population, yet they account for 52 percent of all new HIV infections each year. We are at risk more than any other group.   Obviously, this is  a social issue that could easily be addressed by the cornerstone of our community, the Black Church.  Why? Because black women make up the largest populations in the predominantly black church settings. An article written by Theola Labbe’-Debose indicates that ‘black women are the most religious people in the nation.’  But with that comes the quandary of faith and sexuality.  The elephant in the room. That thing. That  belief. That church folk don’t have sex. Right?  But admitting that church going members are sexually active  is almost acknowledging that what’s taught scripturally  is not being received.  HIV is a touchy subject because initially, the assumption was it’s a gay man’s disease. With 52 percent of heterosexual women testing positive, nothing could be further from the truth.   One in five people (adolescents and adults)  in the United States are unaware that they are infected with the virus.   So, the blind folded dance continues. Many churches (in general)  are aware that many of their  members are not abstinent,  but find themselves in the precarious position of addressing safe sex or ignoring the reality of risky behaviors and praying one day their choices will change.

I’d like to challenge the notion that HIV is  a social issue worth addressing and propose that the church is the perfect place to do so. It’s clear that the majority of  Black women use  their  faith as a strength regardless of  denomination.  So, it stands that women who are carrying the HIV virus may be in your pew on Sunday morning. While we don’t expect teachings about sexuality to change, we also must acknowledge the risk  Black women  place themselves in when sleeping with men without protection, without regard for their self-esteem or physical health.

Questions to think about:

  • Would you willingly get tested in a church setting for  HIV instead of going to a clinic?
  • Would you support your church creating a ministry devoted to those who suffer with HIV but are thriving in spite of the disease?
  • Would you have compassion for someone with HIV just the same as a member with cancer?
  • While your pastor, spiritual leader  may not agree with risky sexual behaviors (as he shouldn’t),  would he consider tailoring sermons to teach the need for “knowing your status?” as a part of honoring the body God gave you?

Bravo to the  churches who are getting involved and tackling the heavy topic of HIV and not shrinking from the stigma that sex shouldn’t be discussed in church. If you’re a woman of faith, you may sit next to a  member who is HIV positive. They may have even contracted it from another member sitting in another pew. Married couples are at risk if there is an issue of  monogamy. It’s risky to connect the two topics of sexuality with spirituality but I’d rather have folk uncomfortable for an hour or so than living with a disease that will change the course of their lives. And if risky sexual behaviors is a constant for Black women, perhaps there needs to be more  talk why the  faith we cling so heavily too for our hopes and dreams, fades away when sex comes into the picture.  

Your thoughts?

Growing Up Means I’ve Outgrown That


1st Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

We all have friends that we used to run with in high school, college, and even our first job. We probably ran the streets with them, did some things we might be ashamed to admit to our current boss or our significant other. As we get older, it’s absolutely normal for a person to change their priorities and focus. It’s called growing up.   People get involved in relationships, marry, have kids (or not)  or get highly involved in their career and academic exploits. So it was odd to hear a friend complaining that an old college buddy didn’t party like he used to. Like in college? Like when his reputation in the business world didn’t matter? Or when he didn’t have enough sense to know what he did in his personal life mattered? Hmmmm…..

I don’t know about that one. I feel like when we grow up, we also grow out of some of the things we used to do. For example, you might stop trying to impress people with how much liquor you can throw back or how many men/women you claim to be sleeping with. You may decide you want a family or a committed relationship and cut out all the one-night stands. Or you may decide your circle of friends who support you as long as you aren’t trying to do anything needs to be  cut. You finally figured out that you need friends who will challenge you and help you grow.

I’m at the point where I  don’t want anyone who isn’t trying to improve their life around me. I said trying because  if you are making the effort, you are at bare minimum taking baby steps and will eventually  learn how to make it happen. So, if it’s really that important to have a hot party, maybe throw it yourself? Or let go of the past and realize, as we get older, we don’t always do what we CAN because we now it’s  no longer beneficial.  FYI, it cost a lot of money to impress people who don’t care about you.  So once you figure that out, you stop.  Sounds like someone’s growing up.