Hope Is Painful

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…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

That scripture convicts me to think bigger and increase my willingness to believe in what I haven’t seen. But can we just take a second and be real about how painful it can be to have hope?

Have you ever wanted a job really badly? You feel like it’s yours so you share it with a friend? Then you don’t get it. So then you find another one and the excitement comes back, but you don’t get that one either. So next time you keep it to yourself so that your hopes aren’t up and you can take your loss quietly.

Have you ever wanted to see someone be healed from a life destroying disease? You pray for them. You pray for healing. You continue to watch them suffer. You pray harder because you have hope. Then, it gets to the point where you see that it’s not getting better. Against all logic, you press beyond the cognitive dissonance and you continue to have hope. You see them hurting and realize that they need and want rest, but you continue to believe. The hope helps your mind rest, but makes your heart ache because your heart acknowledges the reality.

Have you ever decided to open your heart to someone new only to find that they’re gonna break it too? Part of you wants to try again, but the other part just wants to admit that having hope sets you up for disappointment.

After so much hurt and disappointment, life teaches us to be pessimistic or unmoved so that the bad doesn’t damage and the good comes as a total surprise. But I just want to say that no matter how much it hurts, have hope. Believe only the best things are coming for you and your people. Somebody has to see the glass half full. If you can recall the hurt that all the above situations caused, you can also recall life going on and eventually getting better after them.

Hurt happens. So does healing. Keep hoping for the best.

OhCAE?

Our Mother Who Art In Heaven 

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So the verdict is in, Octavia Spencer is my favorite actor.

And yes, I used “actor” on purpose even though she’s a woman. (I’m a proud gramma nazi with an English degree. I know how to use words good. 🙃)

Any who, I used a gendered term because it serves my purpose when examining her role, as Papa, in her most recent big screen feature The Shack based on the New York Times Best Seller by the same name.

I first came in contact with the novel in 2011. I was going through [what my 22 year old self thought was] a very rough season of transition.

I was unloading to my friend, who’s one of my spiritual mentors, (a lot of people’s salvation can be traced back to sacrifices she made as a Michigan State University undergraduate). My dear sister in Christ, Elon, listened to my concerns. She heard my desperation, confusion and hopelessness.

At the time, I thought I needed a car and a boo to make my life better. Elon knew I needed a shift in my understanding of God and who He is. She suggested I read The Shack and I did.

Ever since, I’ve had a recurring picture in my mind of a big Black woman facing the sink singing and dancing to rock music whenever I think of God’s love for me. So when I saw that familiar image on the movie screen, I was again reminded of how God meets us where we are. He meets us where we are to take us where we need to be.

The Shack is a great depiction of that. The shortened storyline is this. A white man, Mack, has a traumatic childhood. He grows up, marries, has children and has a life altering experience as an adult that made him feel distant from God. One day he goes to the shack and has a supernatural encounter with God, the trinity.

He meets God the Father, played by Octavia Spencer, who’s affectionately referred to as Papa. He meets Jesus, played by a man who looks to be of Middle Eastern descent. He also meets the Holy Spirit who’s personified as an Asian woman.

So like the main character, Mack, and probably every other reader I was stunned that God the Father was not just a woman, but a Black woman.

But then again… why is that shocking? Many of the Black women I know and have heard of collectively consistently embody the characteristics of God.

This is a powerful image of humility and strength. The woman pictured was not the only descendent of captured Africans who breastfed their masters’ children. It’s a commonly known fact that after slavery Black women could only find jobs that forced them to serve their oppressors. Black women have shown the character of Christ by doing something that is extremely difficult for the proud, serve someone who may never understand who you really are. Jesus died for people who will never acknowledge Him as Lord.< a href=”https://ohcae.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/4906edad-2346-43e0-9632-90e30ed8fde9-13208-00000bb6edbbd33a.jpg”&gt;More than likely, even the most ignorant person recognizes the person in this photo. Here’s Rosa Parks. A woman who, like Christ, KNOWINGLY went into a situation that cost her life as she knew it. She, like Christ, was arrested and abused.  Because of her sacrifice and her willingness to be crucified, the course of history was changed forever.

If you haven’t already, meet Ella Baker. Ella was a leader who built leaders who built leaders. Like Christ had disciples who made disciples who make disciples. She is known for leaving a legacy that ensured the generation after her would be equipped to do more work than she did. Like, the Lord did.

My granny… widowed mother of 8 who raised each of them and their children to understand how love overshadows every hurtful word and every offense and that it is what enables us to press through the hardest times in life. She taught us that life happens and sometimes it hurts, but the happenings and hurts cannot break the bonds of love when it’s pure. Just like Christ’s love for us fueled His ability to be cursed, whipped, spat on and nailed to a cross.

These Black women in this picture remind me that life should be enjoyed and shared with a core group of people who understand your plight.<<<
ef="https://ohcae.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/ff7c30e6-bde0-4890-8cdc-33e82a07c6e1.jpg"&gt;These Black women who have mentored and discipled me. Some of these women’s shoulders have been soaked with my tears. All of their phones have had texts with my questions. All of them have shown me the importance and impact of laying down your own life for the purpose of seeing other people be freed. Like Jesus.<<<
llow Black women, for your resilience, for your healing hands, for your supernatural ability to forgive, for your humility, for your ability to love without expecting, for your ability to give without the expectation of reciprocity, for lying down your life for others, thank you for being a shining tangible example of our Father who art in Heaven.<<<
gt;

You Can Actually Do It All

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Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Answer those. 

What’d you say for “What do you do?” More than likely you answered with your job. Our culture teaches us to place our value and find our identity in our occupation. 

Think about it. As a kid you probably answered this question innumerable times. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Then you had to do a project to research that thing. Then you were told to go to college so you could be that thing. And perhaps you’ve become that thing. 

I’m sincerely proud of you! But I have a question. What else do you wanna be? What other titles do you wish you carried? What are some hobbies you wish you could invest more time and energy into? 

Why haven’t you done those things? Is it because you believe you have to choose?

Well… you don’t. 

Take this guy. Clearly he’s a speaker of some kind. And clearly a musician. He plays jazz and has a single on the charts that rivals pop artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna. Listen Here!

He’s clearly a family man. 
And he’s lettered and has dope friends who are doing great things. 💁🏿‍♂️👨🏾‍🎓He travels and mentors. 

And through 14 years of sermons and teachings he has pastored me and numerous others. 

My pastor has been the embodiment of exercising EVERY gift God has given you. His leadership and example inspire me to tap into all of my talents and not alllow anyone to pigeonhole me into one arena. But people seriously struggle with the idea that anybody, especially a pastor, can truly be multi-faceted. It’s so bad that he had to release this statement on Facebook in February because his music has been gaining more attention. 

“Hey FB Family! I have been fighting a vicious rumor for about 8 months and it has now hit a new level. It has been reported that I am leaving Lansing and resigning as the Sr. Pastor of the Epicenter of Worship. This rumor is an absolute LIE!! I am not leaving Lansing and last Sunday WAS NOT my last Sunday. In fact, Epicenter is expanding its footprint in the region. We currently have 3 churches in Lansing (two sister churches and HQ). With the help of about 50 people in Detroit we have opened Epicenter of Worship Detroit and it is doing well. IN 2017 ALONE, WE HAVE ORDAINED OVER 12 MINISTERS FOR GOSPEL MINISTRY IN THE REGION.   

Yes, I am a jazz SAXOPHONIST- musician but that doesn’t take away from my pastorate. Why can’t I do multiple things and still LEAD HEALTHY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES? I am asking EVERY EOW MEMBER TO MEET ME ON SUNDAY AT 10AM!! HELP ME PUT THIS LIE TO REST!!!! NOW YOU HEARD IT STRAIGHT FROM ME!!! THE LION IS OFFICIALLY AWAKENED! LANSING GET READY FOR EXPANSION.”

What I’ve learned is this… My job is what I do. It’s not who I am. Who I am is a child of a supreme being who created the universe with His words, who split apart a sea, who set a water soaked altar ablaze, who showed prophets visions of things thousands of years before they happened, who impregnated a virgin, who became a human, who died, who came back and who gives His Spirit to those who receive Him. If that’s my Father why would I relegate myself to one way of expressing myself? 

Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Who’s stopping you from doing and being more?

Thank you, Dr. Sean Holland for living your life as an example for others. 

You can purchase your copy of Steps of a Good Man here👇🏾

Black Girl Magic

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She rocks her hair

Short and curly

Or long and straight 


Really… she can do it all. 

With her ample lips 

That complement her wide hips

She overcomes every obstacle 

To create, shape and fill her destiny. 

She is aware of her call. 

To birth all of humanity


To her family she brings sanity

She’s the glue of her community

She is why we understand real unity 

She’ll be the reason we are liberated from poverty


She’s so down to earth, but so out of this world at the same time. 

Just like her hair defies gravity,

She defies the odds and it’s truly mind blowing. 

Intersectionality shows her doubly oppressed identity


It’s hard to understand how she could be 

Amongst the most educated social group

With all of her degrees 


And still takes care of family

Most don’t get it

Because they can’t do it. 

You see, she gets her strength from the most high God. 

His strength allows her to do this with ease so it doesn’t look hard.

She’s smart, talented, resilient, and beautiful. 


With all those facets, I get why they call her magical. 



Believe Just Because You Can

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I have learned something recently that it so simple that it’s hard to comprehend. If you want to believe in something, just believe. Did you get that? If you want to think something is true then just think it. And when you are convinced that it’s true, you’ll start to act as if you believe it. 

I really wanted to believe that God’s word is true when it says ask and it shall be given, but in order to show I believed it I had to ask and expect that I’d get what I asked for.
It’s hard to believe God will give you something you don’t even want. That’s why it’s important to meditate on the Word. The Gospel according to John tells us the God is His Word and Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. When you meditate on it, you meditate on Him. Before you know it, His thoughts are yours. Your desires are His. 

You’ll be able to move past wanting random things and getting disappointed because you can’t have them. 

As you meditate, you’ll learn to wait. I don’t just mean sit idly, I mean to really wait on God. You’ll know the difference because the bible says that waiting on God will increase and renew your strength. If waiting is making you weaker, assess yourself. Are you being purposeful or doubtful? 

It’s hard to believe God for some things, but He knows that so He gives us faith. So believe because you can. 

OhCAE?

Can I Pray For You?

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I know this is posting to my social media pages, but I’m taking a break from Facebook and Twitter. However, I feel led to extend this offer. So if you see this and the answer is yes, either click the link and comment on the actual blog or send me an email at evans.claricha@gmail.com. 

Feel free to share it with anyone you think would want prayer. 

  

He Is Listening

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In high school I was very depressed but I kept it a secret. So I secretly cried many nights and that was my only relief.When I got to college, I got saved and everything changed for me. One day I was sitting at my desk in my dorm and out of nowhere I could feel the same overwhelming sadness come over me and I almost cried but I stopped and reminded myself that I am new. 

I wasn’t sure what the appropriate response was, but I opened up a New Testament Bible (with Psalms & Proverbs) that was on the desk and randomly flipped it open and I read the first scripture I landed on. It said “Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.” (Psalms 42:11 CEV)

That was the first time in my life that I REALLY believed that God heard and listened to my silent cries because He said to me exactly what I needed to hear in that very dark moment. All I had to do was turn to Him (His Word). 

I’m grateful that God reminds me of that moment from time to time because when life gets difficult some days I can’t help but wonder where God is when I can’t perceive Him. But I’d like to encourage every reader by letting you know that God knows and sees all and He is concerned about you.