Click on the image below to read Dr. Melissa Barber’s day 5 of Thanks.
Day 4: EVERYTHING
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Day 3: A Way of Escape
Click the image to visit Dr. Melissa Barber’s cite for Day 3, 2020
Day 2 : Inner Healing
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7, NIV:
Happy Second Day of Thanks Everyone!
I give thanks for soul care, emotional health and well being and the process of purging one’s heart of unhealthy emotions, characteristics, traits and patterns for inner healing to occur.
For the past few Saturdays, I have been awakened in the very early hours of the morning for prayer and to subject myself to a complete heart check by God. Thank heavens God is so gracious and merciful because each Saturday, I have failed my heart check, miserably. I’m found wanting because there is still something else to purge, to forgive or to release. There is more secret woundedness exposed, another hidden hurt to address, and more anger towards someone surfaced. Geez! The bible was not lying when it says that the heart is deceitfully wicked. Here I am thinking I am good and okay! (Wrong!)Because I don’t want any hindrances, impeding me from reaching my next level of destiny, I want so desperately to do the work of inner healing. This particular Saturday, my prayer was for God to search my heart to see if there was any residual anger in me. If there was, I wanted God to help me to clean it out. (I should have known to be careful about what I was asking for.) Almost simultaneously as I was saying my prayer, God was revealing a person with whom I was angry and the situation that still makes me “tight” when I think about it. However, it was time to forgive, repent, renounce the anger I had towards the situation, and release it and this person from my grip of vengeance, if I truly wanted to have inner healing.
.*** I’ve changed the names of characters***The situation… A former friend (Mary) was dating a gentleman (Nick) who was very emotionally and psychologically abusive to her. He cheated constantly, married another woman, destroyed her self-esteem, and did what I consider unspeakable things. But, since she wrapped her worth in “having” him, and the soul tie between them was ridiculously strong, she was okay with staying. I’ve had my share of having to get friends away from physically abusive situations and am ready to show up with a bat swinging, if a friend tells me I need to do so. However, I’m not one to intertwine myself into someone else’s relationship, especially when I know they are not ready to leave. I encourage the person as much as I can and tell them that when he/she is ready to leave and need my help to do so, I’m here. While in this relationship, the young lady’s personality begin to take on the character traits of this gentleman. She became a pathological liar for no reason, highly insecure, and an emotional leech who sucked the energy out of the people in her surrounding. Because God had me interceeding for her, at times when she was in serious trouble, God would reveal what was happening so that I could pray specifically for her. But, no matter what, I just encouraged her.
During one of her gentleman’s disappearing episodes with another female friend, she called me completely undone. She was now pregnant by this man, completely devastated and didn’t know what she was going to do. Understanding and feeling her distress, I invited her to come to my house, get her head together and figure out the next steps in her life. As I often do, I made my house a sacred space. I availed myself to be a listening ear, where there was no judgement but comfort and love. As she talked, I prayed in my head that God would give her peace about having her baby and strengthen her for her journey ahead. I never told her what she should do, but left the onus of her decision to her. She wrestled with the decision all night and by morning’s day break, she decided to have an abortion. A few days later, when she made her appointment, since this gentleman was still no where to be found, she asked if I could pick her up from the clinic. I took a half day off from work to pick her up to make sure she was okay. I showed complete love and support to her. We ate lunch together and I let her share her thoughts and what she was feeling. At lunch, she said that she was very surprised that I didn’t judge her or condemn her for her decision. (I’m always fascinated by people’s perception of me.) I told her that I knew what it was to sit in that seat and have to wrestle with the same decision and knew that it wasn’t an easy choice to make. I also told her that since we were both clear about what our belief system said concerning the issue, there was no need for me to beat her over her head with our belief. I asked her how she came to her final decision and I was blown away by her response. She said that she saw how I had become very intentional about breaking generational cycles and how Lilah was growing up exposed to love that was different than what we experienced. She said that she didn’t love herself enough and couldn’t break the cycle of how she was raised and knew she would be imparting that into her child. My heart had such compassion for her.After I made sure she was safe and okay, i went home and had a complete emotional melt down. Seeing my friend in this situation and going through this type of heart break riped my soul to pieces. I cried for almost 2 hours on the phone with my best friend at the time. I was so devastated for her and disgusted by how this man did not show up for her at all. It hurt that she was going back home to him and subjecting herself to the same situation.
We talked regularly but we didn’t see each other. She chalked it up to her studying and running around to prepare for her big move across the country to accept a new job. About a month or so after she left the state for this new job, she called me and told me that she was pregnant again by this same gentleman and almost eight months. I’m on the phone like “Why are you just telling me that you’re pregnant now? I thought we were friends.” She was on the defensive about how her pregnancy had nothing to do with me. Although I was real pissed off and hurt by the projected defense mechanisms and what she was saying, I stayed quiet because I don’t believe in pregnant woman being in any kind of distress. I asked her about the gentleman; she mentioned that he told her he wanted nothing to do with her or the baby and to get an abortion. (Now, it was starting to make sense why she chose that option previously and why this gentleman was no where to be found.)
I asked her is she was okay and if she had a support system in place where she was. She told me she had some needs for the baby. Although I didn’t really have the finances, I told her that I would make a way to get those things for the baby so that she could have what was needed. I made connections to plug her into my network of Sisterfriends (a mommy mentor network) so that she would feel supported where she was. I ordered and had the stuff for the baby shipped directly to her.Shortly after, a mutual friend of ours (Bria), concerned for Mary asked me if I could help her and starts telling me about Mary’s situation. At first, I had more compassion for Mary because Bria’s version of the story was totally different than anything I knew and had more complexities to it. In my head, I’m becoming more concerned for Mary and her baby thinking of ways I could be more of a support to my “friend.” When I asked Bria for more details of the story, I realized that Mary told Bria a completely fictitious version of the story and acted as if she had no support. When I told Bria that her knowledge of the story was not grounded in truth and that I had supported Mary as much as I could. She was upset and confronted Mary. I’m not sure what was said, but knowing Bria’s personality, I’m sure it was very harsh and abrasive. I never heard from Mary again but through the grapevine heard of all these accusations against me. My anger was not so much on the basis of our friendship dissolving. Mary’s situation was toxic and it would have eventually poisoned the friendship. Additionally, her gentleman friend also hated my guts and couldn’t stand to be in my presence and since he was still sporadically in the picture, I knew sooner or later I would not be. (The devil can’t stand light and truth!) I was angered by the fact that after seventeen years of being a great friend to this person, she abandoned the friendship without saying a word and spewed accusations about me to others that were baseless. I always showed firm love, encouraged, and supported her in every way possible to the best of my ability. I constantly prayed for her. I was always honest and truthful and confronted her directly; I also gave her whatever sound advice that I could offer when she asked for it. I had never done anything to her or said anything about her with malicious intent. I was a real friend.
Until this very moment, I was never directly or personally confronted about anything that she accused me of to our mutual friends and have never discovered from her what her real issue(s) were with me. It made me feel like she faked seventeen years of friendship to use me for “the support” that she needed and was receiving. I also feel like she was waiting to invent something to walk away from our friendship because it was easier than her dealing with her own inner issues. Mary made it very clear throughout our friendship that she could not and would never be like me…meaning that she would never have sex out of wedlock or be a single parent. (Although I think it is disrespectful when people tell me things such as this, I chuckle when people think I’m their worst option in life because it usually means that I’m going to end up being their model mentor sooner or later.) I was going to be the reflection in Mary’s mirror and it was a hard pill for her to swallow and too much humble pie for her at one time.
Back to me… Here I was sitting on my knees, a few minutes before not even thinking this was an issue in my heart, and God was saying “You ready to stop being angry about this?” (Lawd have mercy!) My reply was, “yes God.” I forgave her, out loud, for abandonment and the lies. I asked God to forgive me for allowing unchecked anger to be harbored in the compartments of my heart for so long and holding this young lady in the grip of my unforgiveness. I renounced the effects of anger in my life, my attitude, my behaviors and told it to leave. As I was praying, I could feel the burning sensation and stirring in my chest. Finally, I invited the peace of God to enter my heart so that this issue would no longer have residence in my heart. Almost immediately, I felt a calmness over me and the burning in my heart ceased. This is not the first “lay it down at the altar” moment for this issue but, hopefully the last. Getting free (deliverance) and doing the work of inner healing is not easy. But, I’m grateful that God is gracious enough to have mercy on me, when I take the wheel and try to do His job, and gently exposes my faults and invites me to get back on track.
Today as we give thanks for inner healing, I’d love for you to support the organization, doT erra Healing Hands Foundation, https://doterrahealinghands.org/donate, whose mission is to help people and communities worldwide to become self reliant. One hundred percent of your donations go to aid since all the company’s overhead and administrative cost are donated to the foundation.
Love Ya,Have a great day of Thanks!
For further reflection:* Think of one issue/person (this may include yourself and folks who have transitioned from this life) in your life that has had a negative impact on you and is begging for your forgiveness or release and decide today whether you are going to forgive them or not.
*Write the person’s name or the situation down on a piece of paper.*Out loud, declare: I forgive (person’s name) for (what they did). I release them for (what they did). I ask for forgiveness for holding the hurt of (what they did) in my heart and letting it fester. I command (the painful feelings/emotions) to leave my heart and I invite peace, joy, and love to reside in its place instead. * As a prophetic act of dissolution, burn the piece of paper.
Day 1: Rest
“You are my hiding place and my shield. I wait for your word.” Psalms 119:114
Happy First Day of Thanks Everyone!
I am so grateful for the “rest” that God is giving me to prepare me for my next level.
Last year, God gave me a directive to leave my job of ten years so that I could shift into the next season of my life and focus on the many other things that He was calling me to do. I started preparing for the next season; I wrote the visions down. I started applying to programs and getting everything aligned so that a steady job and provision would be in place once I left my job. In my mind, everything was perfect and I was set to go. God, in His sovereignty and grace, let me do all the planning and preparing because He knew of my need to have security and to be in control. (Life has been too hard and shaky to not be secure and ensure that Lilah’s well being is always great.) But, unbeknown to me, God had completely different plans that shook the very foundations of MY EXPECTATIONS.
I obeyed God. I left my job and watched almost every plan that was set in place completely unravel. I played it cool (“Never let anyone see you sweat!”), got on my knees and said, “Lord, what happened? Didn’t you tell me to leave? Why did almost every plan I made fall apart? Did I not hear you? God, you know what we’ve been through; you wouldn’t have us go back there, right? ” Thoughts of my past and the emotional devastation associated to it began to flood my mind. In a matter of seconds, the fear of poverty, homelessness, rejection, and abandonment tried to grip me. Then I heard a still small voice in the depth of my soul. “I’m with you.” It quieted everything in my spirit, in my physical surroundings, and in my mind. Suddenly, God began to remind me, with the scriptures that He was recalling to my mind, that He knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalms 139:1) and therefore knew all about me. He had plans for me to prosper and have a hope for an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). He explained that He had gone before me to make every crooked place straight (Isaiah 45:2) and sent his angel to keep me on track and bring me to the place that He was preparing for me (Exodus 23:20). He guaranteed me that He would never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6) and would be with me even until the end of the earth (Matthew 28:20).
Man! I had never been so thankful for all those times and hours of reading what I believe is God’s word (The Bible). The encouragement and assurance that began to engulf my spirit like a cloak was so powerful. The grip of fear instantaneously broke. Coming into that prayer, I was feeling real droopy like a wet spaghetti noodle. But, I was coming out a roaring lion because I knew that my daddy (The King of Kings and Lord of Lords) had my back and was not going to let me fall. Those three words changed everything. My daddy was with me. Suddenly, I felt like the little child on the playground who was telling that bully (FEAR), “I’m going to go get my daddy, because he is going to whip you and your daddy’s butt for bothering me!” I knew that my big brother (Jesus) had jumped in the fight and landed a TKO punch on Fear too, because at His name demons tremble and flee, and there was no residue of FEAR in my vicinity at that point.
Now that Fear was gone, I could hear clearly. God began to tell me what He was going to do with me during this time and what He required of me. God said that I was to “rest” and clean my house. Interestingly enough, I thought this meant my physical space and even enlisted the help of a friend to do it. We started cleaning out and de-cluttering my house only for me to realize that my “cleaning house” had less to do with my physical environment and more to do with my heart. (Ya’ll, please keep praying for me because the cleaning of the physical environment still needs to happen but has been a very slow and hindered process.) I was told that I am being taken through a season of “de-programming” so that God could re-program me for the next season of my life. To be real honest with you, I have lived the last 30+ years of my life in “fight or flight” mode. I’ve always been placed in low resource environments and have had to survive and thrive in them. (Me and God know how to make a dollar out of fifteen cents!) I’ve spent the last eleven years with minimal sleep mainly because of Lilah’s bouts with epilepsy, hustling to make provision happen and other commitments. All of the stress has taken a toll on my physical body and created some mental fatigue as well. Although the “fight and flight” mode was great for my last season, nothing in my new season will require that mode of intensity constantly. Please don’t think that I am naïve enough to think there will be no struggles. That is not what I am saying. What I’m saying is that my new season doesn’t involve the lack or toiling of my last season; it is and will be the abundance and overflow of rain in the land of milk and honey. So, I can’t take my old mentality and mindsets into this new place. This new season is God’s gift to me and the reward of decades of sacrifice, delayed gratification and sowing seeds from a completely dry place. It deserves nothing less than my complete trust in God and my best self coming to the table with my “A” game.
[For some reason, I feel in my spirit that this is a perfect time to put in this disclaimer for those of you reading who may be secret haters. Don’t hate on me or other people’s reward seasons! You have no idea what we have been through nor the many sleepless nights of crying, praying, fasting and sowing in secret to get what we are receiving. Since God is no respecter of persons, you can ask God to give you our trials and tribulations so that you can get the same reward. If you are interested in getting my reward, here are some of the trials that you can pray and ask God for: homelessness, rejection, abandonment, career sacrifice, destroying rage, a child with autism and epilepsy, jealous/envious people, backstabbers and a Judas, to name a few.]
Before I get to the new place, I have to go through this transitional period of rest. This period is one of testing that requires complete and utter surrender and abandonment of my will. It requires strict obedience to every directive God is giving me. It involves the purging of my heart and emptying all of the secret, hidden compartments of hurt in it that can easily trip me up and hinder me from getting closer to God and immersing myself into a deeper dimension of His glory. It requires trusting God for everything, even the provision (food, patience, finances, etc.) that I need every single day. It’s hard.
Only my trust in God allows me to rest and be that kind of vulnerable at this time. (Most days my flesh, my fist, or my tongue lashes want to prevail!)
I almost feel ashamed to say this, but, I was a little scared to rest and be still because I really didn’t know how to do it or what it actually meant. I don’t know and have never known how to enter into a state of rest. In every area of my life, I have always had to be on guard. But, if God said I needed to rest, slow down, get de-programmed, and clean my heart that was exactly what I was going to do.
In this short time of rest, so much more deliverance and healing have taken place in me and my household that I will keep pressing to see the finished work completed. God’s presence has been my sacred space where I can lay my gloves down and stop fighting or hiding to heal. I have been exposed to and have identified some of those hurt spaces in my heart. I’ve been forgiving myself and other folks and repenting for letting the hurts linger in my heart for so long. I’ve been renouncing the effects that the wounds in my heart have had in my life, my attitudes, my behaviors and my actions. And I’m getting free. My rest is making room for my healing and wholeness and is drawing me closer in my relationship with God.
As we give thanks for rest today, first, I invite you to let God into your heart so that you, too, can stop fighting and hiding. My prayer is that you Be Whole, Be Healed and Rest. Rest in God! Rest in the promises that God has for your life!
Secondly, as we give thanks for rest, I invite you to give of yourself in service (volunteering, praying, writing letters to the children, etc.) or by means of financial donations to the wonderful organization, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (https://www.stjude.org/donate). Here many children with cancer find rest and solace and healing. The parents of these children also find rest, never having to worry about a bill for treatment and receiving hope and comfort for their love ones.
Love ya, Have a great day of thanks!Melissa
For those of you who want to go deeper in reflection, think on/answer these questions:
*Why are you thankful for rest?
*Can you identify specific areas in your life where you need to rest?
*What are some action steps that you can take to provide the rest that you need in those areas of your life?
*How can you use a state of rest to draw you closer into a relationship with God?
If you are looking for Dr. Melissa Barber’s Thirty Days of Thanks, Please visit her blog by clicking HERE
Read Dr. Barber’s preamble to this year’s Thirty Days of Thanks Below:
Good morning everyone,
I am so excited! It is that time of year…our 30 Days of Thanks Journey. After several weeks of praying, fasting and seeking God, I have the blueprint for this year’s journey. It’s going to be mind-blowing and incredible. This is another dimension and we are definitely going deeper—ocean deep.
I had in my mind that today would be the very first day of our journey. However, Lilah’s last night melt down ended in the shattering of my laptop screen and me waking up to a laptop screen that is warped with mostly thick black block lines across the screen with a few colorful stripes in the mix that make the laptop visually non-functional. I’m SMH and sucking my teeth! (Thank God for perseverance and an old monitor screen that I had in the house that is allowing me to see a screen to type this message!) Of course, I am no stranger to the warfare that breaks out suddenly before and during our journey. In years past, my computers would freeze or die, keys would just stop working, my phone, the other source of my getting out the message, would break down as well. (Please don’t let any of this scare you off from taking the journey.) It’s the enemy’s attempt to stop the blessing from going forth. But, I look the enemy square in the face and say “That’s all you got!” and find another way to keep going. So no matter what, we continue the journey. (Even if you get the message later in the day or the next day or maybe even the next week, it will come). Our Journey will start on Monday, November 23rd.
For all you old timers and book readers, you know how we do. We start with gratitude. We read, we reflect, and we donate our time, our prayers, our service and/or our money to a person or organization that does amazing work to make this world a better place. For the nubbies on board, be prepared to laugh, cry, reflect, get angry, and purge in some of those needed areas of your life. This is sacred space and there is no judgment here. You may or may not agree with everything, and that’s okay. Be okay with agreeing to disagree. Sit with everything you read, though, and make sure you do the introspection necessary. Feel free to respond individually or collectively when something touches you, if you have a question or you just want to share. Since I’m dealing with this complicated screen situation now, I need to get more social media savvy and present, and I want you to visit my website and buy my book (“Thirty Days of Thanks: A journey Towards Healing and Deliverance” is a great gift for yourself and others/Christmas stocking stuffer.), I am going to post each day of the journey on my website, www.thirtydayofthanks.com, and maybe my social media outlets.
The first two days, in addition to posting on social media, I will send out a massive email like this one to those who want to participate in the journey. Afterwards, you go to the website. (Note again: After Day 2 of the journey, you can find each day’s post on my website and social media.)
So, are you ready? Here’s the invitation…Would you like to do life with me for the next thirty days (starting Monday, Nov 23) and join this year’s journey of thanks?
Send me a reply so that I can make sure that you are on the email list for the first two days.
P.S. if you know of others who would want to take the journey, let me know and send them to the website or social media pages.
Have a wonderful day of thanks!
This historic day/ bright yellow and orange Autumn leaves/ church bells ring/the Adhan can be heard/ dancers are whirling and turning/ the work we have hoped for is finally here!!
It’s 2020, Halloween weekend just ended, and Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday November 3rd. Voting poles have been open for weeks. I voted early. So did many of my friends. Over the past few weeks I have heard numerous recounts from friends and colleagues of crying, some weeping, at the polls. This year has been scarier than any of us could have ever imagined, but it may pale in comparison to what lies ahead. I wanted to spend Halloween listening to fairytales and gentle bedtimes stories, but instead I wandered through the day and most of the night, meandering through the crevices of my mind. In moments of pause, my thoughts would land on imaging what it means to live the past eight-months as the norm of existence.
The escalating deaths and illness due to COVID 19, and brutal callous and divisive politics have played out on the lives and bodies of African-Americans, the larger African Diaspora in and outside the United States, and Black, brown, and indigenous peoples. While the world holds its breath in wait of what will unfold tomorrow and beyond, African-Americans and African Diaspora communities in the United States are laboring to exhale. We know that whatever happens tomorrow, the road ahead will be rough, we will cry, weep, knowing that momentary gains can be turned quickly into losses.
In my opinion it’s been Halloween at the very least since March 2020, and it may continue to be Halloween for sometime to come. With dead bodies piled up, and piling up, like autumn leaves, the dead walk among us hungry for their burial rites, disconcerted in their struggle to find their path to whatever lies beyond.
The abruptness of these endings has made the dead and the living yearn for rites, old rites, the creation of new rites, something to light the way into unknown territories. It’s November 2, 2020, the Eve of Election Day. My colleague, head in hands, declares: “I cannot even think about the unimaginable though it feels so close. I honestly don’t know what I will do, if…”