Desperate Me

Ali Larter's character is desperate to take the-oh-so-fine Idris Elba (Derek) from his on-screen wife Beyonce in the movie, Obsessed
Ali Larter’s character is desperate to take the-oh-so-fine Idris Elba (Derek) from his on-screen wife Beyonce in the movie, Obsessed

“There’s a God who walks over the earth

Searching for a heart that is desperate

Longing for a child who will give him their all

Give it all; He wants it all.”

Forever Jones

When I first heard this song, I didn’t yet fully appreciate it.  I mean, the melody is beautiful, the Jones family is talented and the words painted a picture of a God who longed to be in relationship with his children.  But the line that really tugged at me and reeled me in, revealed a God who was searching for one who would yield and surrender completely to him; a desperate heart.  The more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with this song.

I saw, in my mind, a montage of biblical characters who had reached the point of desperation.  Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, was barren when the high priest Eli found her praying to God to relieve her condition.  A wife who could not bear children to her husband was seen as defective, even cursed.  To top it off, she was in competition with the other wife who had no problem bearing children to their husband.  Although Hannah was the favorite wife, it just wasn’t enough.  She longed to have a child of her own.  Her husband tried to console her, “Aren’t I more to you than ten sons?”  It was at this point in the story that we find her, praying so desperately for a child that Eli thought she was drunk.  Eli offered comfort in his benediction, “May God grant your request.”  A year later, Hannah held the baby Samuel in her arms whom she dedicated in service to the Lord after he had been weaned.

The Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus at the end of her rope and threw herself at his feet. With nowhere to turn except to Jesus, she was desperate enough to believe he could heal her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus countered her with this statement, “It’s not good to give the meat that’s meant for the children to the dogs.”  What Jesus had for his people was precious and not to be given away lightly, especially to one who might not even believe or have the proper appreciation for who the Messiah was and what he could do.  The woman immediately submitted her pride, her will, her everything for the sake of her daughter.  “Even the dogs get the crumbs,” she responded.  In other words, “Consider me unworthy, if you will.” She let him know she would not be offended, deterred or turned away so easily.  She was determined to get the help her daughter needed.

These women had this in common; they had run out of resources, run out of answers, run out of solutions and thus, were out of options.  There was no, “Well, if that doesn’t work, we’ll do this.” So they turned to God, the only help to whom they could appeal.  Desperate times call for like measures and these women were just desperate enough to give it all to God and trust him with the outcome.  They surrendered all to him because they had nowhere else to turn.

Then there’s the story of Naaman, a leper and commander of an enemy army.  His servant, an Israelite maiden, referred him to the prophet Elisha to be healed of his disease.  Naaman had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so he traveled to see the man of God.  But Elisha didn’t even go to meet Naaman. Instead, he sent his servant with a message: Go dip in the River Jordan seven times.  Naaman felt slighted that Elisha wouldn’t even see him in person.  And dip in that river?  Surely, there were rivers in his own country that were cleaner, if simple water was the remedy!  Disgusted and puzzled, he was about to leave when his servant said, “If he had given you something big to do, you would have done it.  Surely this is a small thing.”  Naaman heeded that advice and went down in the water.  On the seventh time, he came up with skin soft and smooth like a baby.  But it was never about the water, it was about the surrender.

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”   Isaiah 42:3

Which took me back to the day my sister went in the hospital.  Then, my mother went in the hospital the very next day.  She had fallen.  And I couldn’t even tell my sister because I didn’t want to upset her. Immediately I began to worry – could things get much worse?  I worried about them both and prayed for their recovery.  Sadly, I also worried about how their conditions would affect me. I had to leave work to see about my mom.  I worried about the security of my job and what it would mean if I had to take a prolonged absence to care for her.  I worried about my sister’s condition and what if she was not able to care for my mom any more.  What would I do if?  How could I pay my bills and take care of my family with no job? Could this have come at a worse time? Admittedly, there is no good time for such things.  Really.

As I drove to my sister’s home to escort the ambulance that carried my mom to the hospital, I felt the weight of it all, everything crashing at once.  On my head.  My responsibility.  I began to feel overwhelmed.  But I realized that a song was playing in my head, like background music.  The radio wasn’t on.  God was speaking to me through song.  It was a song about surrender:

Love me; love me with your whole heart

Serve me; serve me with your life now

Bow down, let go of your idols

He wants it all today, He wants it all … 

I realized God was sending me a message.  Give it to Him!  Trust him to make it alright.  Surrender my right to worry about it, cry about it.  Was my situation desperate enough?  For me, it was.  I needed relief.  I needed to believe everything would be ok.  I needed to know that whatever the outcome, God would work it out.  The song washed over me, soothing me, calming my spirit and I surrendered.  I regained my peace.  I prayed and gave it to God.

Looking back, I now realize that worry can be an idol. Anything that can cause you to revere it over God is an idol. Let go of worry (insert your idol here), the song urged me. Bow down to God, not under the crushing weight of your fears. Perfect love, the kind that only God can offer, has the power to cast out fear. Love Him and let go of it all.

The good news came. My mom’s x-rays came back fine – nothing was broken.  My sister was released from the hospital, too. All was well, again.  I guess the lesson I learned was that when we come to him at the end of our rope, when we’re down to nothing and ready to try anything, give anything, and do anything – He won’t turn us away. We humble ourselves before him and admit that we need him and can’t do this alone; we give up all semblance of pride and come to him completely broken, desperate and offering only ourselves, leaving us open and bare before him.  We let Him in. That’s scary.  We say we want intimacy but in reality, we shy away from it. Maybe because we’re afraid if we let someone in and they see how crazy we truly are, they’ll make a run for it. But God can deal with our crazy.

So now that we have the answer, we have the key, this thing that may move God to work on our behalf, the question becomes, “How desperate are you?”  You want or need something from God and the tradeoff may be real intimacy with him.  Do you want it?  Do you really want it?  Get desperate.

Be blessed,


P.S. I don’t blame Ali Larter …

I’m a vessel FULL of POWER!

Oh, this song blessed me this morning! Based on one of my favorite scriptures, it reminded me that I am full of power! So often, I feel this jar of clay to be inadequate for the demands that are placed on it. I see my flaws and become consumed with the fixing of them, LOL! The truth is, the light inside me is so strong, it cannot help but reveal my shortcomings. Every crack in this container becomes visible when illuminated by the light within. But this earthly pot cannot change this one important fact – I am full of power! That this vessel is flawed changes nothing.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

I am troubled, yet not distressed.
Perplexed, but not in despair.
I’m a vessel full of power,
With a treasure, none can compare.
Persecuted, but not forsaken.
Cast down, but not destroyed.
I AM a vessel full of Holy Ghost power
I’ve got a treasure, from the Lord. 
Bruised and battered but not broken

Born in sin but, from sin set free
I’m a vessel full of Holy Ghost power
I’ve got a treasure hidden in me.

Thank you Father
For your power, it has resurrected me.
Oh, the painful cirmcumstances
That my poor soul could not flee.

Be blessed,





Oprah Winfrey fighting for her voting rights in the movie, Selma
Oprah Winfrey portrays Annie Lee Cooper, fighting for her voting rights in the movie, Selma

“Now the war is not over, victory isn’t won And we’ll fight on to the finish, then when it’s all done We’ll cry glory, oh glory!” John Legend, Glory – Selma soundtrack.

Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21

I think we all can testify to such times where we felt life has given us just TOO MUCH to bear. I mean, IF ONE MORE THING HAPPENS, I’M GONNA LOSE IT, kind of thinking. An I can’t take much more of this mindset. A “Lord, please take this cup away from me,” mentality. And then it happens, that last straw comes along that breaks us and we want to give up. Who wouldn’t entertain the idea, given the obstacles? Ah! But to want to give up versus actually do it? No. We cannot. To give up is to die, mentally and physically. May God grant us the means to persevere through each and every one of our calamities. Pray against such troubles, yes. But also pray for endurance to weather the storm because trying times will surely come. So we cannot give in to our circumstance.

We pick up Naomi’s story at a point where she was about to give up because she felt she’d been dealt a harsh blow by God. It was a humiliating end to what began with such promise. Due to the famine in Israel, her entire family had relocated to Moab to improve their situation. Hopes were high. Her boys married local girls – good women and good wives to their husbands, who developed a loving relationship with their mother-in-law. For a time, things must have looked really good. Then tragedy struck. First, Naomi’s husband died. Then, both of her sons. Without a man to provide for her, Naomi would be reduced to begging or worse. She looked at her situation and named herself, in response to her disaster, Mara or bitter. She felt justified so she complained and wallowed in misery. Life had beaten her down.

But Job posed this question during his affliction, “Will we only take good from His hand?” Up till the time of his trial, Job had lived a blessed life. God had given him everything a person could want: wife, family, prosperity. Yet when disaster struck, Job acknowledged that since all he had ever received came from God, it was God’s to take away. He came into this world naked and couldn’t take any of this with him anyway, Job said. In other words, I’m not going to bless God ONLY when He blesses me! I’m going to look for God in the midst of my test because He is surely in it, orchestrating a way out even as I sit in my wretched despair. I will wait for my change to come, because God is faithful, this I know. God will deliver us from destruction and the plots of the evil one. I will trust him even in, especially in, times of adversity.

It’s hard; it’s REALLY hard sometimes to look up when you have been handed a bad hand. I am reminded also of Abraham, whose name was changed to reflect the promise of who he would become: Father of many nations. He led a blessed life, too, yet along the way he suffered setbacks and events that would try his faith. His new name would have become a beacon lighting the way, and a constant reminder that his present situation was not his destination. Whatever happened, no matter what it looked like, his seed would be as numerous as the stars. Meanwhile, his wife, Sarah, was taken away and married off TWICE (still shaking my head at that one) to men more powerful than Abraham. He lied and said Sarah was his sister, to preserve his life. He had a son, outside of his marriage, but at his wife’s insistence. Then, he had to put away this son because Sarah couldn’t handle the competition with her own son. That’s just a few of his trials, yet at the end of his life he could say that God had been faithful. Abraham’s wife was restored to him both times, with interest, LOL! And of the son he had to put out, God also made a great nation. Abraham’s account, at his journey’s end, was better instead of bitter.

And so is the account of Naomi. Thankfully, the new name she took on did not determine her future. Her daughter-in-love, as one of my friends frequently calls her son’s wife, had such a heart for Naomi that she could not abandon her to face her circumstance alone. Ruth couldn’t find it in her to go back, take a new husband, and live in comfort and ease while Naomi faced a life of certain poverty, alone in Israel. Ruth stood by Naomi and refused to leave her side, linking her own success and failure to her adopted mother. When Ruth married Boaz, a wealthy relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, their way became prosperous once more. Ruth bore her new spouse a son, making Naomi a grandmother. In the end, despite the detours along the way, Naomi wound up living up to her original name. When God restored her good fortune, she found that life could be pleasant, indeed.

Today, I look for God – no, I already see Him – in my present struggles. Things may sometimes seem dire, but I see you Lord. You designed me, and all of us, to be made better (not bitter) with each passing trial. And they DO pass! I know that you have a good, happy ending for my life, too, according to Jeremiah 29:11. I claim your promise: my latter shall be greater. I’m made of and for better things. A cake is made better by the beating, as are scrambled eggs by the whipping. And so are we. We can become better because of our trials. Though my mother meant to name me after her favorite cousin, Gloria, somehow it became Loria, instead. But I count this as a happy mistake and I claim my name according to my future. It’s a derivative of Laurel (as in the victory wreath) and Gloria (as in give HIM the glory). And I WILL live up to my name. Yes, I will. I know what tragedy looks like, Lord. Now show me Your Glory.

Be blessed,




“Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16

I didn’t bother posting on Resurrection Sunday because I felt there was nothing I could say to top that feat, truly! He’s alive! He rose from the grave! He conquered death by His sacrifice! It’s all been said before. But God is revealing more and more to me about what happened AFTER the resurrection and what it means for us in this present age. We know that Jesus died for us, to save us from our sins and to pay the price so that we could be restored to our original state. He redeemed us by His own blood, to be in communion and fellowship with God as the first man and woman were in the beginning. He is the second Adam – because he lives, we can live again. But there is more. His life and death, burial and resurrection accomplished something for us in this physical realm that prevails to this day.

Ah, travails. In this life we will have them – many times. Troubles come and go for all of us and no matter your station in life, you are sure to have them. I am currently in the midst of a trial but instead of continually being oppressed by my circumstances, I now cling to hope. My hope comes from, among other things, a song that our choir sang on Easter Sunday, The Credo.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord

Who was conceived, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost

Born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate

Crucified, died and was buried; He descended into Hell

This first part is delivered softly, beautifully in operatic voices. Then, the song picks up and gets punchy. It has a gospel rock/disco vibe going, reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg and the nuns singing Ball of Confusion in Sister Act 2:

On the third day, He arose. On the third day, He Arose. On the third day HE AROSE!

Each stanza crescendos, increasing in drama as it modulates up to the next key. All the time the piano is pounding away and it’s such a fun song that you can’t help but enjoy it. You’re swaying and clapping your hands as you’re caught up in the rhythm. Now, here’s the part that God used to minister to me in my current circumstance. I awakened in the middle of the night, as I do sometimes, tossing and turning and trying to find a way to get comfortable so I could go back to sleep. It’s during these pockets of wakefulness that the devil insinuates his agenda into my fuzzy consciousness and says things that bring me to full alertness. He reminds me that I have concerns, worries and fears. He buzzes in my ears with things that I didn’t or couldn’t address during my waking hours. He makes me feel like I shouldn’t be sleep – I have plenty of things that should keep me awake! And before you know it, my sleep is completely disrupted. Only last night, when he attempted this trick, a line from The Credo drowned him out:

I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe

I believe in God and the Holy Ghost

I believe, I believe in God!

And I thought to myself, and suddenly it seemed quite reasonable – HOW DARE YOU NOT BELIEVE that God wouldn’t deliver you from your personal hell? He raised Jesus – if He raised Him, raising you should be a cinch! How dare you believe in Jesus’ birth through the Virgin Mary and not believe that God can supernaturally deliver you from your problems? WHAT? Does that even make sense? These are the cornerstones of our faith. How dare you believe that Jesus endured his affliction and drank from His cup, but YOU cannot? The same God that imbued His earthly incarnation with power to endure hardship has also empowered you, in this fleshly body, to do the same. Because He did, you can. That has become my motto and my credo. With these thoughts in mind, I went back to sleep.

Someone said once, regarding the devil, that he is God’s devil. Meaning, God created him, as He did all of us, to serve a purpose. He can only do what God allows, as we find in the example of Job. The question becomes then, why? Why allow this evil being to torture your creation? My own answer comes from my life. The evil one is never satisfied with a take down, but wants complete annihilation. He will repeatedly kick you while you’re down. And that is always his fatal flaw. He’s just greedy. See, he overplays his hand. In going in for the kill, he pushes me so far that instead of retreating and fleeing in fear, I actually stand my ground and call his bluff. I drop to my knees and call on God for HE alone can save me. All drama ceases to be important and no longer appears threatening to my future. I know that I will survive. Attacks from the devil cause me to turn to God, to seek Him, to run into His arms for shelter and to get closer to Him. That makes the trouble I go through almost worth it as it causes a deepening of my relationship with and a dependence on God my Father. For me, it always comes down to this. All roads lead back to Him.

Be blessed,


Elementary, My Dear!

elementary schoolhouse rock
Schoolhouse Rock – Elementary!

But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16

Last week, many churches celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The events leading up to his crucifixion led me to this scripture and caused me to ruminate. My mind flashed back to the Schoolhouse Rock segment, “Elementary, my dear!” which recounted the story of Noah and the Ark and used the collection of the animals to illustrate the principle of multiplying by two. It also brought to mind Robert Fulghum’s book, All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten, that featured a list of lessons learned on how to treat others and take care of yourself in this wide world. Both brought home to me something I had to have known since my childhood, but only became aware of at that moment. And I knew a peace from my present day catastrophe which seemingly loomed on my horizon. AGAIN. There’s always one there, you know. In her Saturday Night Live skit, Gilda Radner (ala Rosanna Rosannadana) used to say, “It just goes to show ya – if it ain’t one thing, it’s another!” So there’s ALWAYS another something, just waiting in the shadows, looking for the opportune moment to pounce. It tends to catch you when your guard is down; an unlooked for event and a scheme of the enemy to take your eyes off God and cast them toward your concerns regarding your future. It is true, the lion never sleeps.

But looking back, I realized everything I ever needed to know about God and how to survive these trying times came from my earliest remembrances of Him – in songs learned in Sunday school and verses memorized for church at Easter. “I don’t know why Jesus loves me,” taught me that He does love me and I don’t have to be worthy. (Thank God, because I could never earn His love. I’ve given up on perfection and have decided to be merely human.) And in “Jesus loves the little children,” I learned that He treasures “All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight!” That song showed me that I had a special place in His eyes, regardless to how society viewed me. But the one that brought true deliverance was found in the simple lyrics of “Yes, Jesus loves me!’

This song blessed me so much the other day. Coming off of my latest meltdown (see article, The Greatest) I realized that I had fallen for the greatest trick of the enemy – to believe in one’s own strength and power to deliver. You may ask how I could forget such a lesson, for control is only an illusion. All power belongs to God. He alone is in control of my life. I do some of my best work, lol, and He is able to accomplish much through me, when I am a yielded vessel. I become His arms and legs and mouth to do whatever and to go wherever and to bless others. But at times, sigh, I fall prey to this mentality, this thinking that I have to save my world yet again – likely because I’ve watched TOO MANY Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (she saved the world, A LOT)! I began to feel that it was all up to me, that the burden of my own personal universe was on my shoulders. I’d somehow allowed the thought to bleed into my conscious that I’m doing this alone.

Meltdowns, in my experience, happen because you look at your own resources and realize you have fallen short of what is needed to accomplish your goals. You feel overwhelmed, like whatever you’re trying to do or get is not gonna happen EVER. You get discouraged and want to give up because, instead of looking at what God is able to accomplish (with/without you or your resources and whether or not you deserve it), you look at yourself and your puny mortal limitations. I was reminded recently that God is ABLE to do what He said he would do and to do the unthinkable. He can bless in ways that we cannot fathom.

So I want to leave you today with the words that encouraged me, brought me out of my funk and gave me hope:

Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones (that’s US, y’all!) to Him belong


Yes, it is because He is strong that I can afford the luxury of being “weak.” Sometimes, I feel like I always have to appear hard and strong, like I can handle whatever obstacle comes my way because I come from a long line of women who were made of stern stuff! Whew! And that pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality seemed to serve me well in the past. But I am learning, or rather re-learning, as this lesson has been with me since my childhood, to lean on Him and to let God bear these heavy loads that weigh me down. With every burden I cast off I am returning to my former self and becoming more carefree, for I have given my cares to Him. I am feeling more like me. So much so, that today I visualized myself yelling at my latest obstacle (in my Gerard Butler/Leonidas of 300 voice), “I. AM. LORIAAAAA!” ROAR! That thought makes me smile because I am back. And I am becoming a better me, but not due to being indomitable or indestructible. It is because He has shown me, once again, the beauty of giving it all over to Him. I can rest easier knowing that He is, as my brother once put it, the One who holds all of my tomorrows.

Be blessed,