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Womanhood: Evidence of God’s Goodness

A Song & Verse Post: Evidence by Josh Baldwin

evidence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid

Every time Evidence comes on in the car I want to pull over and praise God. Today, I came to home to write.

All throughout my history Your faithfulness has walked beside me.

There is not one period of my life that I cannot identify the presence of God and His work in me. I remember being baptized around the age of six. Though I had no understanding of what that meant at the time, I can literally look back on my life to that moment and see how God has held on to me through every devastation, betrayal, abuse, disillusionment and every step of rebuilding and healing.

I remember my one-dollar lock and key diaries from Walgreens that were full of my seven-year-old pleadings for God to save me from the near daily sexual abuse I was subjected to. “Dear God, he did it again. Please make him stop!” Years of one or two line prayers. Silent screams. One day, four years later, God called me out of my house (I didn’t recognize His hand then, but I certainly do now) and guided me on a walk to a nearby police station outpost. I knocked on the door and said to the officer who answered, “I’m being molested.”

From that moment forward, I was never again forced to share space with my violators.

The winter storms made way for spring. In every season, from where I’m standing I see the evidence of Your goodness all over my life. I see Your promises in fulfillment all over my life.

I grew up in families – both sides – that didn’t acknowledge abuse or trauma. Everyone is either a victim or a perpetrator. If anyone could claim to be on the sidelines, they would act deaf, dumb, blind and incapable for standing against any wrongdoing.

A few years after I had forgiven my dad, and a few years before he died, he asked me why I act better than I am. “You’re from the ghetto, you’ll always be ghetto.” This was during the “healing and repair” of our relationship, mind you. It was also one of our last conversations.

Imagine being told by someone who should have molded you for greatness, that you were never expected to rise above his level of filth, disease, psychological, sexual and spiritual bondage. Imagine being looked upon with disgust by a man who, for all intent and purpose, murdered you as a child and then being told as an adult woman that you were expected to remain dead.

At that time, I hadn’t yet started my dedicated faith walk. I was still journaling – writing prayers to God – but the Bible remained a mystery to me. Nothing was catching or keeping. However, I can look back on that time now and see it as the beginning of release in my life. I tried so hard to reconcile that relationship, but when I stopped holding on – when I stopped trying – it was easy to see that I had been on my own the whole time.

I believe firmly that God desires willing hearts most – a desire to conform to His Word in practice and deed. However, He has never allowed me to remain open to those who intentionally harm me repeatedly. I view this as God’s judgement on the other person’s heart condition, rather than my inability to be faithful and obedient to Grace and Mercy.

Imagine telling your sire: I’m more than my beginnings. I’m more than the seed you contributed to my being. I’ve become more than a little girl from the ghetto.

Help me remember when I’m weak, fear may come but fear will leave.

It’s said that we can do anything we can imagine. Yet our imagination is limited by what we’re exposed to. What if we’re exposed to people who can’t see beyond their own dark pits?

I went into a deep depression in my late thirties. My mom died at the age of thirty-six and when I reached that age, my future dimmed to darkness. It was difficult to climb out of my second grave by letting go of the woman I thought I would have become by then. My mother began life as a sharecropper’s granddaughter in rural Mississippi, but I only ever saw her as the best of all created beings. As difficult as her life had been, she had at least accomplished the Holy Grail of Womanhood (according to society) – marriage and children. No matter that she tied herself to a rotten man and worked multiple minimum wage jobs to house and feed her children, she remained the epitome of everything to me. It was difficult to see myself as worthy of more time in this world than she had. Harder still to face the length of her lifespan without even a taste of the Holy Grail of Womanhood.

The end of beginnings is the beginning of letting go.

You lead my heart to victory. You are my strength and You always will be.

My birthday this year will put me at ten years beyond the lifespan of my mother – and still not even a lick of the traditional Holy Grail of Womanhood. Today, I can say I am completely fine with that. In recent years I’ve not only learned to embrace my solitude, I’ve come to appreciate it, honor it and protect it. There’s something being forged in me that I can’t articulate. That glimpse of greatness that repelled my dad fifteen years ago, is unfurling in a wondrous way. I’ve grown from hiding my light under a bushel to Clarkeshia Kent exposing her S with a declarative chest thrust. Yet my light is still gaining strength. I foresee beaming across the Universe.

Why settle for tradition when the Universe is already mine?

I’m becoming a Woman I never imagined I would be. Nothing about my life today was part of the dream, fantasy or hope. Everything about my life is better than all my mind and heart conjured for me. There’s something to be said about what we’re exposed to. Exposure sounds expansive, but it’s actually limiting. If we only trust what our eyes see, we will be satisfied with that view for our life. However, when we begin to let go of all the dead things – relationships, hopes, dreams, ideals, culture, tradition – we will have room to invite the previously unimaginable in. We will be able to develop into beings of light with experiences beyond the confinement of the world. Living beyond the construct breaks the paradigm. At which point, you’ll actually be able to imagine what previously seemed impossible. Thus, within your reality all things are then possible.

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth.

But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued[d] the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.

~ Revelation 12:1-2, 5-6, 13-14, 17

 

[NOTE: More of my story is shared in Clichés: A Life in Verse, My God and Me, and Desert of Solitude. Some poems from Clichés will be reprinted in I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America. All books are available on Harvest-Life.org/shop and Amazon.com]

 

Evidence

by Josh Baldwin w/Dante Bowe

All throughout my history
Your faithfulness has walked beside me
The winter storms made way for spring
In every season, from where I’m standing

I see the evidence of Your goodness
All over my life
All over my life
I see Your promises in fulfillment
All over my life
All over my life

Help me remember when I’m weak
Fear may come but fear will leave
You lead my heart to victory
You are my strength and You always will be

See the cross, the empty grave
The evidence is endless
All my sin rolled away
Because of You, oh Jesus

Why should I fear
The evidence is here

 

See a Victory

by Elevation Worship w/Brandon Lake

The weapon may be formed but it won’t prosper
When the darkness falls it won’t prevail
Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph
My God will never fail
My God will never fail

I’m gonna see a victory
I’m gonna see a victory
For the battle belongs to You Lord
I’m gonna see a victory
I’m gonna see a victory
For the battle belongs to You Lord

There’s power in the mighty name of Jesus
Every war He wages He will win
I’m not backing down from any giant
I know how this story ends
I know how this story ends

You take what the enemy meant for evil
And You turn it for good
You turn it for good


Sources:

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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Matthew 18)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his {subjects}. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


Matthew 18:1-10,12-35 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%2018:1-10,12-35&version=NRSV

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Marriage & Relationship: Dorina’s Testimony & Baptism

For those who followed the Marriage & Relationship Series, you’ll remember my friend Dorina. She joined the #Zoom discussions from Madrid, Spain where she’s been living for the last few years. The discussions did not focus on our personal relationships by design. However, in this recorded YouTube livestream, she shares some of her story before her baptism. Take a listen. Each of the four testimonies shared are encouraging.

Feel free to wish Dorina well on her faith journey in the comments.

 

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Give Yourself Permission to Be Uncertain

This is about fragility, vulnerability, uncertainty, poor decisions and giving yourself permission to do things over when you’re in a better mental state.

#life #permission #doover #selfhelp #selfreflection #fragility #vulnerability #uncertainty #harvest #harvestlife #evolution #women #woman #womanhood #harvestlifeblog

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Video MR 2.1: Divorce, Truth & Love

Video part 2.1 of the Marriage & Relationship series is the first part of the first recorded discussion. Though we don’t get into discussing the focus couples during this portion, a question about divorce leads to a mini sermon on love after truth is alleged to be the greater relationship building block. Take a listen. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Video MR3.3: Culture of Subjugating Women

Why would God build a weak house for Himself? Would you build a weak, inferior house to establish your life and family? Would you raise your children with the sure knowledge that one is weaker than their siblings and therefore not as worthy in your sight? For many people the simple answers to these questions are No. Absolutely not. Hopefully not.

As much as people like to dismiss much of the Bible as being a product of its time, they don’t realize that it’s time is now. Whatever present you exist in, the Bible is relevant. You don’t need to be an ancient history scholar or a revisionist of ancient cultures to comprehend the basics. One such basic, is God did not create a “weaker vessel.”

MR Video Part 3.3

If you doubt, try a simple thought experiment. What we know:

  • God is a Builder and Creator. (Hebrews 3:4)
  • God breathed His Spirit (Life) only into Human Beings who were created for the purpose of fellowship with Him. (Genesis 2:7)
  • Our bodies are temples of the Living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16)
  • God views us as His – His Body, His Children, His Bride. We are a part of Him. (Hosea 1:10,Hosea 2:23)

What in this implies weakness?

The subjugation of women is a trigger for me. I get a bit hot under the collar during this portion of the discussion with Dorina and Glynis, who joins us long enough to drop the “weaker vessel” bomb into the conversation. Glynis is an Episcopal Minister who is steeped in traditional teachings. She’s been one of the main people I’ve gone to with my Biblical questions and spiritual dilemmas since high school. That doesn’t mean we see eye to eye on everything.

Take a listen.

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles Series
Part 3: Adam/Adamah + Chavah/Eve Man + Woman Human + Spirit
Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Part 3.3 Culture of Subjugating Women

  • Paul and Timothy cultural teachings subjugating women in the church
  • Lie of weaker vessel
  • Original intent of created beings
  • Longest war on Earth is between men and women = human and spirit

We meet bi-weekly. Join the conversation! Subscribe to Harvest-Life-org

Related posts:

Duality of Man: Strength and Vulnerability
Know whose you are.
Progressive Women in a Degenerating Society
Women in the Bible: WOMEN of FAITH
Women in the Teachings of Jesus

Related book:
I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America

#bible #biblestudy #discussion #learningwithfriends #adamandeve #manwoman #humanspirit #humanity #spirituality #genesis #harvestlife #harvestlifer #harvestlifeorg

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Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3

Join me Tuesday, November 17, 2020 for Part 3 of the Marriage & Relationships: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles virtual study. We will explore the marriage of Adam/Adamah & Chavah/Eve and the relationship between Man/Woman and Human/Spirit.

Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Discussion questions will be posted in advance of the Zoom call. Feel free to add any questions you may want to discuss to this post or the Discussion Question post.

Zoom Meeting Details

Topic: Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3
Time: Nov 17, 2020 07:30-9:30 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Scheduled for this time every 2 weeks on Tue, until Feb 23, 2021, 8 occurrence(s)

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Bi-Weekly: https://us04web.zoom.us/meeting/upYlcumvqj8qHNG7syUqVlPAiDwJg33NrtHr/ics?icsToken=98tyKu6qpj4qHdCRsB-CR7YQGo_4c-3wiClfgo16ywz8NjFlbjPXP8ZVGLUsQ_bC

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/72850744065?pwd=SVVuMjY2Nk9sSmYwYWZXY0JCSnUxQT09

Meeting ID: 728 5074 4065
Passcode: Lqv4AZ

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Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 2

Naming and Storytelling

Of the four stories we’re reviewing (Pt 1: Jacob/Leah/Rachel, Naomi/Ruth/Boaz; Pt 2: Abram/Sarai, Hosea/Gomer):

  • Which two names and meanings resonate with you and why?
  • What does your name mean?
  • What is the root or history of your name?
  • How does your name relate to your overall story?
  • What does your name tell you about yourself?
  • What drives you?

Relationships Tell a Story

What are the primary and secondary relationships in the four stories and how do they impact or drive the story?

What principle [a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief] stands out to you from the stories we’ve read? Do you see this principle exhibited in relationships you have a view of?

Is polygamy a violation of the principle of oneness (Genesis 2:24-25)?

  • Does surrogacy (as done in the Bible) violate the union between husband and wife?
  • If man and woman are to join together in marriage, what issues do you see with adultery and surrogate mothers (ex. Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah)?
  • How do these issues seep into the larger family and community?
  • How do they impact what becomes culture and tradition?

Here are some resources I’ve been digging into.

The Bible Project creates excellent topic and book video summaries (all under 10 minutes).

Name research

Principles

The next Zoom discussion will be November 3, 2020, 7:00am MST/9:00am CT/10:00 ET/4:00pm GMT

Email harvestlife2020@gmail.com for Zoom connection link.

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Marriage & Relationship Study Primer

I’ve mined the depths of my blog to give you easy access to material related to Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Practices! This list was pulled from eleven years of content to aid, boost or guide study. Read through at your leisure.

Studies

Study: Courage to Trust God’s Plan
Study: Courage to Build, Maintain and Restore Relationships
Study: Courage to Hear, See, Believe and Obey God
Faith Study, Part 1: The One in Whom We Believe (Hebrews)
Women in the Bible: RUTH

Bible Chapters

A Chapter a Day: Ruth 1
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 2
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 3
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 4
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 17
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 18
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 29
ACAD – Blessings: Genesis 48
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 49
Romans 8: Life in the Spirit…, God’s Everlasting Love
ACAD – Helper: Hebrews 13

Pop Culture vs. The Bible

Pop Culture vs. The Bible: Intro
Pop Culture vs. The Bible: For the Sake of His Praise

Relationship

A Personal Relationship with God is Paramount
Khalil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow
My Greatest Enemy
Proving Ground
People who hide themselves are impossible to know.
Devotional: Not My Will, But Yours
When Truth Destroys
Face-to-Face: Sharing God’s Glory With One Another
Kahlil Gibran on Reason and Passion

Women

Who do you want to be like?
Trust no man… 
No hero is coming to save me.
Minister to me.
A Foolish Woman vs. A Wise Woman
Wife… do you respect me?
Women in the Bible: WOMEN of FAITH

Men

A Faithless Man vs. A Faithful Man
Who will speak for this woman?
An Open Letter: Woman to Man
Husband… do you love me?

Marriage

Man & Wife = Leadership & Management
25 Things to Think Twice About Before You Marry
My hopes for my marriage
Our Nakedness
Awareness of Nakedness
Sacrifice, Submission, Surrender
Interview: Matt & Sarah Hammitt on Their Marriage & Song (Lead Me)
Testimony: Charlie & Dorothy Duke: The Greatest Walk Ever
Samson’s Purpose was Greater than Marriage
Singleness is not the prize.
My husband is not my soul mate. Shawnda’s response to “My Husband is Not My Soul Mate”
I AM HE
He Is My Husband…
A Lesson in 1 Kings 13 – Man of God from Judah Meets the Old Prophet from Bethel
The Importance of Communication
Separation from the Unequally Yoked

Family

Sermon: Family Matters – Present
Family Matters – Past
Sermon: Family Matters – Future
What are you teaching your children?

Faith & Obedience

Think on these things…
Are You Saying “NO” to God?
Pleasing God While in the World
Happy Thoughts in the Morning
Healed to the best of your understanding.

Love

Meister Eckhart on love…
About Love
Show Me the Love
Can I Love You?
I asked to be a lover…
…and the people said “HELL NO!”
I Love You, But God Loves You More
Love Anyway: Things I Learned During My Harvest
Devotional: Love and Justice

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Virtual Bible Study: Marriage & Relationship

This is a follow-up to You’re Invited: Virtual Bible Study. The first discussion has been scheduled. Yay! It will be a recorded Zoom call on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 9:00am Central Time. The topic is Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles.

  • Text: Book of Ruth: Naomi, Ruth and Boaz
  • Text: Genesis 29-31: Jacob, Rachel and Leah

Zoom details:

Please note the call will be recorded and shared.
Time: Oct 20, 2020 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/72581560853?pwd=Vm0yK1p0Yk5rUWIrVEtnbVJ3dklyUT09
Meeting ID: 725 8156 0853
Passcode: CSV2T2