Mountain Top

Mountaintop Experiences – New Season: Spiritual Warfare

 

Part III New Season: Spiritual Warfare by Kwjuana Thomas

It is summertime! The change in season has already introduced the first, tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic and I am in great anticipation of what is in store! I am looking forward to swimming in fresh water, fishing, boating, viewing natural sites; BBQ’s and drinking very cold, specialty beer, near natural bodies of water. Specific, huh?

These comforts will be greatly appreciated because this is a season of great transition, change and moves. It is of great importance that my hope and security is not placed in the natural comforts. Though sufficient as means of recreation and refreshment, I sense much of what has been working over the past two years will begin to manifest this season. The road blocks are lifted. Recently faced with opportunities to concede that I can never have what has been promised to me, I choose to persevere. Again, I refused to I believe the lies.

Unlike seasons past, the time is appointed for the things I have been waiting for to come into being. Much of what I believe and wait for is available, now! Yet, there will be great battles of opposition which are in place to create the illusion that what I believe is not available. Contrition. It has been my experience that in times of heaviness, grief, depression and the like, perspective gets clouded and reality gets distorted. I must determine to stay focused in truth and not allow myself to get carried away by emotional feelings.

In this time, it is important to understand who I am, what I am, and to whom I belong. This is a time to gird up and get ready to stand and fight for what is rightfully mine! The beauty of this reality is: what is mine is rightfully mine. I have had two years to get that from my head to my heart, so the truth of that reality is actually a part of me now. It is like a baby in my womb: its life only exists because it is inside of me, and cannot be aborted. Such is my inheritance.

The battles of this season are in words and actions. My challenge here will be to remain in faith and love despite how things may seem. I have to launch into the spirit and lay hold of the wisdom, comfort, and peace available there. I have recently learned in times of spiritual conflict, the mental perception of what could happen is far more dramatic than what actually does happen. I am very grateful for those lessons.

The time is at hand to put into action the training I have experienced over the last two years. Despite the odds, the fight is fixed, and I stand victorious.

Kwjuana Thomas

Mountain Top

Motives of the Heart

 

Growing up, I hated children, was bitterly angry and without patience. Anything which stood against what I intended for myself immediately became an enemy I sought to shame and assault. Maturing into womanhood, those characteristics posed significant challenges in dating, the workplace and interpersonal relationships. They also bound my spirit and stifled my ability to understand things of the spirit.

Undergoing healing, deliverance and conversion of heart has drawn out a more patient person; I have peacefully tolerated children and the childlike and have begun to consider others: positive change in my life can positively affect and influence those around me. I have expanded my borders to help people in need; I even have a dog. Overall, I believe I have become a kinder, gentler more loving version of myself. I am by no means perfect. And I don’t help because I am great, but because I can. I go beyond because those I am assisting are worthy of love.

All of these changes are great! I like the way I feel about myself and others and am far more accepting of people, positive or negative. I can honestly say, “I love God and I love myself,” I love myself because He loves me. It has not been difficult for me to transition into these changes. My behavior has not been modified, nor have I been beaten with rods. I simply decided I no longer wanted to be in pain and I needed love. So, I made it my business to find, receive and bring love and healing to myself and others. As a result of choosing love things about me changed, effortlessly. What I am learning is though I made a conscious decision to trade: sorrow, pain, mourning, rejection, abandonment, isolation and hatred – and suddenly had room for love, life, joy and self-acceptance. Others are still learning to do this.

The challenge with great change and progression is although I have chosen to walk in the light and be salt; there will always be those around who have not chosen to do so. Therein lays a definite battle. The old saying, “Misery loves company,” applies here. Of late, my greatest opposition has been those who are being healed, are not aware of areas of hidden pain and are acting from those places. They seem to be the proverbial red spot on my white cashmere. As a result, I have received additional healing to be able to function in an environment where others are in pain and miserable. So I have chosen to receive, additional measures of healing in order to walk in a loving manner with those who are not experiencing liberty.

I have resolved to continue in the way of love and not introduce shame into these situations. Although my feelings have been hurt at times, I get it. There is no need to fight or argue. The way of love can only be caught, not taught.

Kwjuana Thomas

Mountain Top

No "Take Back" After Ante

 

One of my favorite songs is “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers. I’ve always been a poker fan; specifically, ”Texas Hold’em.” The beauty of the game is that it can belong to anyone at the table. Every person who antes has an opportunity to fatten the pot and stack her or his chips. The unfocused person loses.

I am not a mathematical whiz, nor am I a professional. Actually, I consider myself a novice. Though the rules are simple, it is the game that takes time to learn. Ultimately, the game is won by the person who has the most insight and empowered perspective, yielding the supreme performance. The one who has the grace and wisdom to know what to do no matter what happens is the winner. The basis of their strategy is not only what is held, but what is presented on the table, how opponents bet, and gut feel. It is not about the cards dealt, who is sitting at your side, how well you are acquainted or your understanding of the game. On the contrary, it is my belief the game of “Texas Hold ‘em” is about how accurately a player can obtain and process all sorts of information.

Don’t misunderstand me, one must know the rules of engagement, how to bet and so on, but more often than not in a game between friends or equals, anyone can win. A good hand is a good hand. The rules of the game are laid out to designate a winner by the ranks of hand presented, but a person with a pair of “8s” can beat another with a “full house” if played like one has “four of a kind.” At the table, the multiple rounds of betting are used to create pressure against the opposition, fatten the pot and in the end, only face off with those brave and focused enough to stay in. I love the game. It is invigorating and its composition elegant and artistic.

My faith walk is much like a card table with the river before me. On every side, I have opposition. I have anted-up. I have moved beyond the turn and now I am standing facing the waters. I am all in. All I can do is crossover. It is too late to fold, so I proceed.

Though the waters are deep, I am holding on to my initial confession without wavering. I believe I have all it takes within me to win the pot and my opposition is already defeated. I have decided to hold, not to fold, walk away, or run.

Kwjuana Thomas

Mountain Top

Part 4: Believing

 

When I decided to leave the industry and all I could produce, I did it because I believed somehow there was something better for me. Although I had no knowledge of what that “something” was, I was determined to locate it. I was willing to do anything to have more, but I knew material was not the answer. I needed something sustainable to life. I needed to be healed of the brokenness; patches were not going to work. I needed something I could not lose.

I no longer believed in material or man because as my mother lay dying, neither man nor his materials could do nothing for her. I knew there was more, I began to believe, “If I choose to live a life seeking only what man can provide, I will be short changed and I’m not going out like that.”

When I look back, I never once blamed God for my mother’s death. I knew the death of her body was a direct result of man’s error. I suppose, it is that reason I ran to God. I didn’t believe He was capable of error. Though initially, a 1-2-3 solution to the grief and anger would have been ideal, I had no energy or resources to pursue that brand of counsel. I believed He was free, available always, and capable. I believed He could help. When I went to Him, I went honestly. Sometimes, I said nothing, I just groaned and cried. Nevertheless, He met me.

Over time, I began to see the ability to believe as a gifted vehicle to move from one place to another. I believed I could quit my job and eventually, I would know what to do after. I had no plan. I baked for a while (this is another story) with no long term plan. But overall, I knew if I took the first step and quit my job, the next step would be revealed in time. I was willing to try it because I knew what I was doing profited me nothing and I had absolutely nothing to lose.

As a result of taking the first step, I have received a new identity; my self-worth is no longer derived from what other people think or what I can produce for myself. Rather, my value system comes from the loving acceptance of my Heavenly Father; it is like a spring irrigating my soul. I’m like a tree planted by water. I am bearing the fruits of the love He has given me and I have received for myself. My life has been totally changed. I choose to believe everything He says, even when I do not understand. As I seek Him, the worldly blinders so strategically placed before my eyes, melt in the light of His truth, acceptance and love. My perspective is vaster and I have obtained greater clarity.

I believed there was better for me. I took courage and pursued it. Now, I have purpose, perspective and renewed life.

 

Kwjuana Thomas

Mountain Top

Part 3: Resting

 

 

I have entered a state of peaceful rest. Before I began, I continuously worked for 23 years; I was only 31 years old. Resting did not come naturally for me. I contracted pneumonia or flu every three years or so which put me down for a week; that was rest. I rarely vacationed or spent quiet time alone. My life was busy, bustling, and filled with action. Sleep came typically after being so exhausted I could not keep my eyes open. Sitting quietly was uncomfortable and foreign, at times frightening.

Due to the hardship of the experiences I was enduring, rest was all I could do. I had no more to give. In those times, I worked in the bar and restaurant industry and had just begun to work with artists establishing a new business concept. When I decided really to rest, that was the first thing to go. I had no compromise, no patience, and no interests remaining. My business was on hold. All other endeavors on which I had been working toward all came to a screeching halt. Finally, I released my job and eventually, sat under a tree. Sitting under the tree was the only thing I really enjoyed.

I sat, read, and logged a journal. I had not been quiet enough in years to sit down and write. Attempts were made, but nothing ever flowed, as a result, I had altogether given it up. I figured, “When I have something to write, it will come forth. I won’t force it.”

Through resting, I realized my entire identity and worth came from my work. I didn’t know who I was without it. However, I knew I could not return as I was to the life I walked away from. Striving, as it were, had warred against who I was created to be, “Surely, I was created for more than tending bar and waiting tables, but what?” I began to seek God for answers.

While I sought Him I asked questions like, “How am I going to make money?,” “What am I supposed to be doing?,” “What’s the next step?” His answers were frequently concise, “Rest. Seek Me. Rest. Rest. No more striving. Surrender.”

Learning to rest has been challenging. Surrendering my goals, ambitions, and personal agenda has brought new life. I have learned from a place of rest and humble surrender, the answers to all my questions come, and my needs are met. There isn’t any need to run around, “trying.”

All I have to do is trust and rest.

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Kwjuana L. Thomas

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