With so many new followers on my blog (thank you!) I felt tha it was time to update my “who am I” page. And while I was at it I figured I would do some redecorating as well. Enjoy!
Last week was the trial in my brothers death. In less time than I expected a jury was selected, the trial was held and within two hours a jury returned with a verdict of “guilty.” Guilty of 2nd degree murder and carrying a concealed weapon. I praise God.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20
Along with the verdict came an unexpected wave of emotions including grief. It was a reminder of what was lost. Seeing my sister-in-law and niece reminded me of the family he left behind and the new lives they must all begin. But I’m happy to say that there is closure. I saw my mother smile even though her eyes were filled with tears. And the family went to the cemetery to pay their respects and celebrate a victory won.
I’ve also noted God’s mercy for me in all of this. On the same day as the verdict came in the location of my job moved to a different facility. Until then I had worked in the very same building as my brothers murderer. And yes it has taken an emotional toll. But with a new week comes a new building and location. Far enough away and ready to move on. I praise God.
This song has ministered to me and brings a much-needed hope. Be blessed.
|Dr Isaac WATTS was an English minister who published several books: « Hymns and Spiritual Songs », in 1707, “The Psalms of David” in 1717. The various Protestant denominations adopted his hymns, which were included in several hymnals, at that time.
Missionaries reported on the “ecstatic delight” slaves took in singing the psalms and hymns of Dr Watts.
In his book “The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States” (1842), the White minister Charles Colock Jones recommended highly some hymns of Dr Watts (“When I Can read My Title Clear”, etc.). He wrote: “One great advantage in teaching them (slaves) good psalms and hymns, is that they are thereby induced to lay aside the extravagant and nonsensical chants, and catches and hallelujah songs of their own composing”.
However, in the early 1800s, Black ministers took seriously the admonition of Dr Isaac Watts: “Ministers are to cultivate gifts of preaching and prayer through study and diligence; they ought also to cultivate the capacity of composing spiritual songs and exercise it along with the other parts of the worship, preaching and prayer”. So, homiletic spirituals were created by preachers and taught to the congregation by them or by deacons.
During the post-Civil War period and later, some congregation conducted services without hymnbooks. A deacon (or precentor) set the pitch and reminded the words in half-singing half-chanting stentorian tones. The people called their songs “long-meter hymns (because the tempo was very low) or “Dr Watts”, even if they have not been written by this gentleman.
The particular feature of this kind of singing was its surging, melismatic melody, punctuated after each praise by the leader’s intoning of the next line of the hymn. The male voices doubled the female voices an octave below and with the thirds and the fifths occurring when individuals left the melody to sing in a more comfortable range. The quality of the singing was distinctive for its hard, full-throated and/or nasal tones with frequent exploitation of falsetto, growling, and moaning.
The beats of Dr Watt’s songs were slow, while there are other types of spirituals. These beats are usually classed in three groups:
- the “call and response chant”,
- the slow, sustained, long-phrase melody,
- and the syncopated, segmented melody,
- “Call and response”
For a “call and response chant”, the preacher (leader) sings one verse and the congregation (chorus) answers him with another verse.
It’s been a week of emotions. Both good and bad. I have found myself grieving unaware, angry, bitter, resentful and finally seeing things from a proper biblical perspective.
When we are wronged by others for whatever the reason forgiveness must take place. Often it releases us from feelings that hinder us rather than the other person. We are often held captive by our own unforgiveness. On more than one occasion I’ve had to do this during the week. Each time feeling a release in my spirit.
I’ve been in self destruct mode. Hurting myself by sabotaging my weight loss efforts. Now I’m focusing on getting on track, removing the sugar from my diet once again and eating healthy. This is how I show love to myself, how I forgive myself and show others that I am a woman of value. To God be all the glory!
Recently I read an article on leadership journal entitled “invisible matters.” In it the author compares the silent but deadly disease of the heart with that of being in leadership. Both have ongoing symptoms that if gone unheeded can cause significant damage. Physically a heart attack can happen. Spiritually we become bitter, resentful and even disinterested in the call upon our lives. This also is a dangerous place to be. But how do you know if you’ve reached such a place in your own life calling? Have you become complacent? Have you resulted in avoiding people because its easier than dealing with them? Has your time with God waxed cold? It may be time to evaluate your spiritual condition.
In the article the author notes several things he did to restore himself back to a healthy place. Beginning with exercise. This is an often overlooked area in the body of Christ. Getting enough sleep (my own personal dilemma) finding a mentor and journaling (my personal favorite) were all included along with spending more time with his wife.
Has your heart become hardened to the things of God? It may be time to step back, examine your life and take action. Be blessed!
First, allow me to apologize for not posting more frequently. My mother was in the hospital on New Year’s Eve and the week after. But God is faithful. She’s now home, feeling better and learning how to deal with her grief hopefully a little bit better than before.
Sunday my Pastor began a sermon series entitled “the pain associated with excellence.” One of the foundation scriptures is Romans 12:11 which says “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” To say that this brief introduction to the series itself messed me up would be an understatement. Beginning with an example of excellence coming from Christ himself via a movie clip from “the Passion of the Christ.” Perspective is what immediately came to mind. With all that I’ve endured since being called to ministry nothing can compare to the cross. I thought to myself “I have not suffered unto death” and prayed for God to help me forgive those I need to forgive.
So what exactly is “the pain associated with excellence?” It is realizing that your “sacrifice for Christ and the gospel is costly.” Ask yourself the question: “Does God accept your offering?” Think Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-7) for a moment. One offered God his best and the other merely gave without much thought to whom it would be given. Do you desire to give God the best part of your life? Is your Christian life a reflection of this? Is your blog an example of an Excellent offering unto God? This is an area of improvement for me. Stay tuned for more to come!
You bring a smile to my face
Each and every one
Your brightness lights my day
Through hard times you stand tall
Enduring and disproving them all
You are my joy
My hope for tomorrow
The offspring I never had
Have I told you how much I love you?
If not don’t be sad
Your aunt loves you more than you’ll ever know
So keep pressing forward
For in the struggle you will grow
Life is filled with hopes and dreams
But God’s will it shall prevail
Know that I am praying
That you too will come behind the veil
©Yevette C. Gooden
Merry Christmas to ALL of my nieces & nephews
Returning to work for me has meant returning to a constant state of anxiety. This is not good. During my time off I was able to restore balance by exercise, eating healthy and rest. Now throw in the inconvenience of a job (LOL) and I’m completely off course again. Oddly enough I didn’t even realize it until last night. I drove home wondering what was wrong with me. Being anxious was no longer the norm and I didn’t want it to be.
I find myself needing to restructure my life to include all of the above along with work and ministry. It’s called life but I haven’t functioned this way. I’ve been in survival-mode for much of the year and now that I can relax I find it difficult to do so. Also, the trial for my brother’s death begins on Friday. All the more reason to find balance and embrace a positive way of dealing with stress and anxiety.
In regards to my previous entry on “morning pages” I’ve had to dissolve this. It’s much too time consuming. I’m already trying to figure out how to incorporate morning workouts prior to work and lets not forget devotional time. This is where my sanity comes from (smile). I figured if I moved it to evenings then I may as well write a journal entry and call it a day. What do you think? Do you have time in the morning for morning pages and everything else in life?
Last week at the suggestion of someone I began once again to do what are called “morning pages.” If you are familiar with Julia Cameron and her works “the artists way” and “the writing diet” you know what I am referring to. If no here’s a link where she explains it herself.
For the past few days I’ve awakened, made my green smoothie and poured out onto a spiral bound notebook. The outcome is always unexpected yet needed. Today was no different. Often I find myself too drained for what comes afterward. My devotional time. Rather than move on to what’s next I often sit in a daze surprised by what I have written. Completely uncensored and for my eyes only.
What I’d hope to do is move forward with my life. Embrace who I am as an individual, rediscover passions or encourage new ones. And yet I find it mostly therapeutic healing and yes even some discovery about things going on in my life. Now I’m praying for direction as well as a solution. ”Faith without works is dead.” So now that I’ve written this blog post it’s back to the task at hand. Having my devotional time.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet…”
For the past week I have grieved for my younger brother. The anniversary of his death followed by what would’ve been his 42nd birthday only days later lead me to a place of grief. I know it’s a normal part of the grieving process, but after a full year I’ve finally come to the place where I’m tired of grieving.
2 Samuel 12:20 says “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.” He did this after the child conceived in adultery with Bathsheba died and after he’d fasted in an attempt to save the child’s life. This is the passage that came to mind as I told the Lord “I’m tired of grieving.” I know that it’s different for different people especially depending on the relationship. My parents and step father still grieve over the loss of their child. My brother and I were close. Only one year apart and as close as any siblings can be. Now as an Aunt I focus on and pray for his children and wife. I pray for their salvation, healing and ability to embrace life to the fullest.
The one important lesson I’ve learned from all of this is that I must live my life to the fullest while I can. Tomorrow is promised to no one and it would be a very bad commentary to not have enjoyed the life that has been given to me. To God be all praise, glory and honor for the great things He has done! Amen.