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SONG & VERSE: You Give Good Love

While having a late brunch at Melba’s, one of my favorite spots on NYC and this song came on. Three other women were in the restaurant with their men and we all seemed to burst out at the first note: “I found out what I’ve been missing / Always on the run…”

This was a hair brush song for me when it came out in the mid-80’s, but the self-reflection it brought about today would make you think it was attached to someone in my life. Unfortunately, I can’t recall anyone who has given me good love. Perhaps that’s why the self-reflection lead to sadness…that along with the fact that the other women singing along were looking at their men and smiling the words into their eyes.

During a conversation with a friend earlier today, manipulators and controllers became a topic. I call it a spirit of manipulation and control since I know people from every area of my life who have submitted to it. It’s a destructive spirit that has been prevalent in many people whose wills have collided with mine.

I shared with my friend the story of a young man I met in my early twenties shortly after my mother died. His personality and desire for a relationship with me were more than I was equipped to handle during that period in my life, so he ended up overwhelming me emotionally. He was ready for marriage and children and spoke of taking me to Africa to meet his mother. I was focused on surviving moment to moment, trying to cope with the reality that losing my mother gained me legal guardianship of my teenage sister. I asked him repeatedly to give me time…just give me time and we can explore this – I can’t handle a relationship right now. But he pressured me until I shut down….and disappeared. I have often said he set me back in my dating life. I avoided men for a long time because he represented a vice-like grip men seemed to use on me when allowed in my space; holding on with a determination to change my life to suit theirs.

Where would I be… who would I be, had I allowed him to consume me then?

I know I wouldn’t resemble the woman I am today.

My friend made this profound observation, “Had he worked with you as a partner instead of trying to dominate you, he could have won you and I’m sure you would have followed him anywhere in the world – simply because he was your man and he had worked to make you comfortable with his manhood.”

Very true.

The type of man he was then would be wonderful for me now – attentive, present, direct, decisive, focused, determined, demanding. I’m not concerned with losing myself in another’s personality anymore. Mostly because I demand to be seen and accepted for who I am. And in being who I am, I too have become a forceful personality – attentive, alert, direct, no nonsense, independent with a true desire for a mutually dependent and respectful relationship. In embracing and nurturing all of me, I have become the best lover of me. I’ve learned to give good love to myself and that has become the greatest possible love a person can have.

YOU GIVE GOOD LOVE by Whitney Houston

I found out what I’ve been missing
Always on the run
I’ve been looking for someone

Now you’re here like you’ve been before
And you know just what I need
It took some time for me to see

That you give good love to me baby
So good take this heart of mine into your hands
You give good love to me baby
Never too much
Baby you give good love

Never stopping I was always searching
For that perfect love
The kind that girls like me dream of

Now you’re here like you’ve been before
And you know just what I need
It took some time for me to see

That you give good love to me baby
So good take this heart of mine into your hands
You give good love to me baby
Never too much
Baby you give good love

Now I’ve stopped looking around
Each night what this life’s all about
Our love is here to stay
Baby you give good love

…and a bonus…


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Song & Verse: I LOVE THE LORD

We love each other because God loved us first.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.  ~ 1 John 4:19-20, NLT

love-godMy heart is just so full right now. Amazingly, achingly, burstingly full. When this condition first came upon me, all I could think was, “I Love the Lord!” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Now, I don’t just thank God when the blessings are obvious, I’ve learned to thank Him even in the deep darkness of my affliction, pain and despair. However, when the blessings do rain down, I am not neglectful or stingy with my thanksgiving!

I wish for the whole world to know how great, magnificent, wonderful, merciful, caring, nurturing and amazing my God is! I wish for everyone to experience His provision, wisdom and grace. I have determined to continually be the one who returns to give thanks for what my Lord has done for me before heading out into the world to share my testimony of His overwhelming generosity and healing grace.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As He entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance,crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting,“Praise God!”He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for what He had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” ~ Luke 17:11-19, NLT

Amen! Glory to God for a healing, restorative faith!


performed by Whitney Houston, from The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack

 I love the Lord, He heard my cry
And pitied every groan, long as I, I live
And troubles rise, I hasten to His throne
 Oh, I love the Lord
I sure do, surely do love the Lord
He heard, He heard my cry
And pitied every groan, yes, He did
Every groan
Long as I live, long as I, I live
And troubles rise, troubles rise
I hasten to to to to to
I’ll hasten, I’ll hasten to His throne
I’ll hasten to His throne hold on hold on
Tears are streaming down my eyes
I’ll hasten, I’ll hasten to His throne
Yes I will, I’ll run
I know I can go to His throne
I know I can go, I know I can go
I’ll hasten, I’m gonna run
I know I can go, I know I can go
I’ll hasten, I’ll hasten to His throne
See I can run, Lord you know I will
When there is nowhere to go I know I can go to You
I know I can run to You oh
I’ll hasten, I’ll hasten to His, His throne
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’ll hasten, hasten to his throne
Surely gonna be here
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Song & Verse: Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All

A Pop Culture vs. The Bible Post

But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  ~ Romans 5:15-17 NLT

My prayer for Whitney is that she was in right relationship with her Lord and Savior before she died on February 11, 2012. In the end, that is all that really matters.

What a talent we were blessed with through her voice and music. I admit to being angry with her in recent years. I am not the sort of person who continues to support people when they are obviously doing wrong. I’ll root for them to do better, but I am not going to stay in their corner when they are not right. I am not the type of consumer who spends a dollar to support a habit either. I am not the enabler that builds a person up with false accolades or a show of faithfulness that is not heartfelt. That said, though I’ve been a life-long admirer of Whitney Houston, purchasing and memorizing various LP’s, cassette tapes and CD’s, I refused to support her financially when her drug addiction became known. During her recovery, her highly publicized attempts to rehabilitate her life and her image, I had hoped she would be successful in her quest. I had hoped that her gift would allow her to rise higher than ever before. But when I heard a selection of songs on her last album, I Look to You, I heard a ravaged blessing — a gift that was taken for granted. Her voice was no longer what it had been.

My anger towards Whitney stemmed from my inability to understand how someone could so willfully destroy their gift. We all have special gifts that God has blessed us with – whether or not we are aware of our gift or not. We are gifted even if we choose not utilize our gift. But God has made a way for our gifts to make room for us in the world and bring us before great people or a great multitude of people (Proverbs 18:16). Our gifts are meant to be a blessing to others.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NLT

Remember this: When God blesses you, He intends for you to bless others.

I do understand that people do not comprehend the full scope of the consequences of their actions when they embark on any particular path. They may know in the process of making a decision that things could end up wrong, but invariably they assume that the worst won’t happen to them. I’m not just talking about Whitney; I’m talking about everyone – I’m talking about you – I’m talking about me. We are aware, on some level, that our choices can have some consequences, repercussions and unintended results. We all make and will continue to make choices that harm our life, that can bring harm to others and that we later wish we had not done. But when we make the decision to do that which we later wish we had not done, we don’t consider or even imagine, the magnitude of the situation that one small choice will get us into. [Picture Adam and Eve here.] Our wrong choices aren’t a surprise to God. He isn’t shocked when we mess up. However, His Spirit is grieved when we choose to stay in our mess. He is hurt when we don’t correct ourselves and repent – when we don’t turn back to Him and accept the love sacrifice He provided for us in Jesus Christ, the Greatest Love of All.

Learning to Love Yourself…

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

from The Greatest Love of All; Lyrics by Michael Masser and Linda Creed; Performed by Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston, 1986

Learning to love yourself is only a step towards receiving the greatest love of all. The single, The Greatest Love of All by Whitney on her debut album, Whitney Houston was released in early 1986. I was ten years old. I was being abused at that time and this song became my anthem. I wrote the lyrics down and kept them memorized – I can still sing this song from memory. I was a child and according to the lyrics, I was the future. No matter what was going on in my home life, there was something inside of me that I could depend on. There was something inside of me that would strengthen me. No matter what they (my abusers) took from me, they couldn’t take away my dignity (sense of self). I didn’t’ have to live in the shadow of my abuse – there was something greater in the light. Though the man who should have been my hero was the man destroying my innocence, I didn’t have to live in a destroyed state – I could rise and walk on my own strength (John 5:1-15; see Just do it – Get Up and Walk!). Whitney was the first person to ever tell me to find my strength in love. What a concept.

There is no better principle to live by.

Through this song, Whitney Houston blessed my life in an incomparable way.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Looking back from my perspective today, I will say that God was speaking to me in a way that I could comprehend at that time. Through the years, He has led me into a deeper understanding of love. Love is at the center of every transformative and transitional moment of my life. If you look, you will see that it is also at the center of all of your pivotal life moments as well.

Nearly fifteen years after The Greatest Love of All was released and changed me from the inside, Love evolved into Forgiveness for me. For the sake of love (in my case, love for my deceased mother), I was willing to forgive my dad for his abuse of me in my youth. I actively went after him to explain my decision to forgive him (as a gift, not for him, but for my dearly departed mother who had loved him) and my desire for a reconciled relationship with him.

Step by step, God has shown, and continues to show, me what love is – in very difficult and painful situations. Yet I have not shied away from the challenge of pursuing love. I embraced it – even then – wholeheartedly, before I knew I was in a process of change; way before I recognized God had me in hand.

Forgiveness evolves into Reconciliation.

Full reconciliation was never achieved with my dad. He wasn’t interested in discussing our history; he kept putting it off for another time. He died while our relationship was in a broken state over another matter altogether – and we had never reconciled our relationship from the first breach. For this reason, the failure of reconciling a significant relationship in my life, I know that opportunities to reconcile will present themselves in other relationships until I make that manifestation of God’s love active and visible in my daily life.

Love evolves us. Love stretches us. It grows us. It teaches us. Love is more than an emotion and a feeling – it’s a way of life. Where would I be today without love? Without learning that love lives in me? Without learning that I can offer love as a gift? Without learning that I can accept love as a peace-offering to heal a relationship? Where would any of us be without love?

The life of Jesus is by far the greatest example of the process of love and its evolutionary results. Jesus was given to the world first as a seed in a young woman’s womb. He was nurtured as a child and educated as a disciple of the One True God, who made Him a leader to the masses. Through the process of His physical death, Jesus provided the opportunity for eternal life for every human being. Jesus came for a purpose. He died for a purpose. He rose for a purpose. Jesus was given for a purpose.

For Love.

John 3:16 says: For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (NLT). Because of love, God gave. He sacrificed. He allowed life. He allowed fellowship through His gift of love — Jesus Christ is the way for us to get right and stay right with Our Father in Heaven.

Yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Yes Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so

Pressing on the up away
Always guide me Lord I pray
Undeserving, and stubbornly never fail to love me still

Yes Jesus loves me
Oh yes Jesus loves me
Oh yes Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so
Yes Jesus loves me, love
Oh yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so
For the Bible tells me so

(Feels so good to know) that I’m never alone
See, sometimes I’m lonely but never alone
For the Bible tells, for the Bible tells
For the Bible tells me so

Jesus Loves Me; Written by Benjamin Winans & Cedric Caldwell; Performed by Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard, 1992 

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