Friday, September 21, 2018

Wild Flower

“She's faced the hardest times you could imagine.
And many times, her eyes fought back the tears.
And when her useful world was about to fall in,
each time her slender shoulders
Bore the weight of all her fears
And a siren no one hears
Still rings in midnight silence in her ear.

“Let her cry for she's a lady.
Let her dream, she is a child
Let the rain fall upon her
She's a free and gentle flower growing wild.

“And if by chance I should hold her
Let me hold for all time
If allowed just one possession
I would pick her from the garden to be mine.

“Be careful how you touch her she will awaken
Sleep's the only freedom, that she knows.
And when you walk into her eyes, you won't believe
The way she's always paying for a debt she never owed
And the silent winds still blow
But only she can hear, so she groans…

For the last four days I have awakened to this song, gone to sleep with it and it has even been in my dreams. "Wildflower" a remake of a song originally sung by Canadian group, Skylark, covered by New Birth in 1973. Often times when a song gets in my spirit, I have learned that the Lord is speaking and wants me to know something. So of course, as I normally do when this happens, I looked up the words.

Then I looked up the reason why the song was written, it said that this man was in love with this woman though something in her eyes told him this woman was troubled, “She’s faced the hardest times you could imagine and many times her eyes fought back the tears.” But he asked to date her and when they were going to go on their date, a patient that the woman had been caring for died and she blamed herself for it, even though it wasn’t her fault. “The way she’s always paying for a debt she never owed.” And the woman falls asleep and the man just allows her to sleep, not wanting to wake her because in her sleep is all the peace she gets.

Looking at her the man falls in love with her and he wants her to be his, maybe to take away the pain that she so obviously feels (thinking no one knows about), “And a siren no one hears, still rings in midnight silence in her ears.” And the man understands. He wants to anyway. And he calls her a lady, and a child and then a wild flower. Realizing that she found herself in a place because of happenstances. Circumstances that just happened that she had no control over. And she was still beautiful.
I also looked up what a wildflower is. It’s a flower that has not been intentionally planted anywhere in particular, but because of the circumstances that seed found itself in, sprung up. Sometimes in undesirable places. But even in that undesirable place that wildflower continues to blossom and grow, in spite of the rain. “Let the rain fall down upon her.” 

That’s when God spoke to me. God loves me. NEWSFLASH!!! And He loves you too. And He will tax every grain of sand whenever we are doubting that, to let us know, even if it means speaking through a song from many moons ago. God said that I am like that flower, growing in the wild.

That wild is representative of the stage that I am in, in my life right now. An unfamiliar place, (becoming all too familiar). For me it’s my walk in this shadow of grief. For you, it may be a job (new or old), where you seemed to have worn out your welcome. It may be a place in your life where you might feel alone. A stage where thorns have grown, and it seems that you find yourself apologizing or blaming yourself (as the lady in the song) for even things you didn’t do. As I have, all too often. It’s an unfamiliar place. A place in the wild. A wilderness experience, where you might feel lost. Where tears are falling, and no one seems to know about it. Where you have been dreaming dreams, but tired that they are not coming to pass. (God has given you that vision, don’t you dare let go of it!) Where you no longer feel useful, because all your world (as you knew it) has fallen. (Like this woman in the song, who was distraught because a patient died). God said that although you may find yourself in a strange place, He knows where you are. (And knows where I am too). You are a flower. Growing in the wild.

But even in the wild, the flower still grows. And it makes wherever it has found itself, beautiful.  Just as this woman was despite her circumstances.

And by mid song, the singer changes the chorus to

“Let her cry for she's a lady
Let her dream, she is MY child
Let the rain fall upon her
She's a free and gentle flower growing' wild
She is MY flower growing wild.

The singer takes ownership of her. It was almost as if God was speaking Himself when I heard this. You are MY child. You are MY flower. MY flower growing wild.

Because God is real, I am

Still His servant and now His wild flower,

Sis. E

Copyright ©2018 EvelynFannell

You can listen to the song here...

I pray it ministers to your spirit, just as much as it has ministered to mine.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

It’s Okay NOT to be Okay

It’s okay NOT to be okay.  I have heard people say this a few times and have seen it in different forms on social media.  And I have certainly heard the term in my head over the last few months, for sure.  But for a certainty, it really is past time that we, as people, Christians especially, realize the truth of this statement.  You are not perfect, nor are you expected to be, (no matter what others may put on you).  As long as you are on this side of the earth you will never be.  And that is “perfectly” okay.

You see the church has said some things to me over the years, and especially since the death of my son, Joseph, that would have me to believe that it is a sin and a dishonor for people to know that you are not okay.  For some reason we have this idea in our heads, that when you display some sign of weakness, some sign of imperfection, some sign that something is wrong with your life, that what you are telling people is that God is not good.  “The church” has also stressed that since you are NOT okay, you yourself cannot go and preach to others to believe God or walk in faith, if you are struggling to do so.  I believe that as long as you continue to live your life; continue to do what you know to do, in spite of your feelings; continue to strive to believe God (remember the father of the boy with the unclean spirit, Mark 9:24,  “Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.”), as long as you desire to live in faith (even the little that you hold on to); you can share your experience with others and encourage people to hang on to theirs.  Time out for everything to be okay with you.  Especially by someone else’s standards.  God does not put that on us, don’t let someone else put it on you.  It’s okay NOT to be okay.  You are not practicing sin.  You are not being a bad example and you can still encourage someone else.

We do God and people an injustice when we walk around as if everything is right with our world, because what we are doing is pretending.  Pretending that things are perfect in our lives and they could not be any better.  When we walk around as if we have it altogether it is part of the reason why unbelievers and the world cannot relate to us, because unlike you, they have issues.  Real ones.  Problems that get them down.  Problems in need of solving.  But if you don’t have any, or pretend that you don’t, how will they know about the problem solver you claim to know?  Or better yet, that their problems can be solved by the Problem Solver you claim to know.  People are delivered by real testimony.  Real situations.  Real circumstances.  Real feelings.  Not something you heard, or made up, but what you have actually gone through.  And if you do not share it, or think it’s okay to share it, how will they know?

Yes, I know.  People should not know everything you are going through. And I agree with that to an extent.  But when people know that you’ve been hurt and see you trying to pretend that you are not, what they actually see is hypocrisy.  You are talking a good game that all is right with your world, when it is not. Clearly.  People know, lots of them, that my son Joseph was killed.  People know how much that must hurt, most people anyway.  But if I were to walk around pretending that I am not hurting, I not only hurt myself, but I hurt others, because some would believe, one, I must have not loved him as much as I said I do; or two, I am invincible (perfect) and have no feelings.  Feelings matter.  Mine, yours.  Yes, we are called to walk by faith, which is why you can overcome those feelings… casting aside every high thing that exalts itself against the Word of God. So, when it comes to am I going to ride with these feelings and let them sink me deep into a depressive state or am I going to take up my bed and walk; my faith says, take up your bed and walk, even if I am walking with a limp.

It's okay NOT to be okay.  It’s okay to feel it.  If you try and bypass those feelings, even talking them out, you’re pretending that you have it altogether.  But you don’t.  You’re holding it inside, too afraid to say something for fear of being judged and you’re giving a place to the devil.  He will take those thoughts and twist them.  His motive is to steal, kill and destroy.  Just as he set about to get Jesus to kill Himself by throwing Himself over that mountain, that devil wants you to kill yourself too.  Whispering the very things that are hurting you back into your ear, to make you so depressed that you actually believe it to be better if you were not here.  Don’t let him do it to you.  It’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to tell somebody.

Find someone to share those thoughts with.  And I know it’s hard.  There are even therapists out there who have experienced pain themselves and are not even sharing the pain that they are feeling, but in turn, taking that pain and causing someone else to fall in some way by passing on lies and false beliefs as to why they feel the way they do.  Therapists have issues too.  Please, if you are a therapist, tell people the truth and not what you would have them to believe.  Tell them you’re hurting too.  Tell them you’re not perfect.  That YOU made a mistake. Show them the power of forgiveness.  
Sometimes the not being okay is because we have not forgiven ourselves.  That’s real therapy.

And for those who believe that people are okay when they are not, don’t think of people being dramatic, or overly so.  What does that mean anyway?  They may have some real issues and you miss the sign, the call for help, if you simply dismiss it as, “her being dramatic,” “or this is what he always does.”  That “drama” might just be a cry for help.  For an ear.  For a hug.

I often wonder what it is that pushes people over the edge.  I believe that the thoughts are always there.  And in little ways, people play a role.  You never know what that phone call did or how the slightest little thing changed a thought.  What happened to Kate Spade recently and Anthony Bourdain, and of late, Bobbi Kristina Brown and Robin Williams, is not a rare occurrence.  Suicidal thoughts are even with people that are well known, loved, successful, young and old.  We never know who these thoughts are affecting and to what degree.  But I do believe this, for whatever reason, those thoughts may not have been shared.    Lots of people suffer inside, in silence, for many reasons and it seems these days we make it harder for them to say anything about it.  For fear of what others might think.  Unfortunately, especially in the household of faith. 

We have this thing in the church, that if something is wrong with your life, you did something for it to be wrong.  We have become very judgmental, hiding behind the Word, and people, especially leaders, are afraid to say anything.  They are living behind the fa├žade that all is right with their world, when they need to be on the altar, the most.  It’s okay not to be okay.  It’s okay to hurt.  It’s okay to feel bad, to be sad, to mourn, to grieve.  It’s okay to display emotion.  All of them. 

I know there was a part in the Bible where God spoke to Ezekiel when his wife died, and He commanded Ezekiel not to mourn her.  But God had a specific purpose for doing that, and unless He told you not to mourn, not to hurt, not to cry, you do it.  It’s okay not to be okay.  And it’s okay to say so.

It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to say you are doubting right now.  It’s okay to come clean with where you are spiritually.  In your walk.  You are free from condemnation.  In spite of what people tell you.

Now of course there is another side to this, because there are always two sides to a story.  It is the way you do it.  Don’t be like Job’s wife and curse God and die, because something has happened to you.  Continue to believe.  Continue to have faith.  Continue to confess that and ask God to help you with your struggle.  Ask God to help you to believe again.  To restore the joy of His salvation.  And most of all, ask Him to be glorified in it all.  Because if that is your ultimate goal even in the midst of your pain, God WILL be glorified.  He can be, and He will be.

It really is okay NOT to be okay.  Take it from someone who knows.  And I admit I am NOT okay.  But I WILL BE.  

And there shall be glory after this, because God is real. 

Sis. E

Monday, February 5, 2018


My husband, Jeff, was away for a couple of days recently.  For those who don’t know him, after working for the Major League Baseball Players Association for over 10 years, God allowed him to start his own business.  It’s been five years and he’s doing great, having just relocated into larger space. (God will increase your territory and bless you indeed, if you wait).  But in his current business, he represents players from the union and/or their agents. 

From the end of January through February is salary arbitration period.  Baseball season is over, and this is the time that has been set aside where players (if eligible), negotiate for a new contract or in some cases, just a better one.  Hubby had a case where he had to argue and represent a player.  His clients were well pleased in how Jeff pleaded his case.  It says a lot about you and your character when others are well pleased in how they are represented.   God said about Jesus, this is my Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Jesus represented Him well…. Hmmmm. 

Anyway, with arbitration different sides of the case are presented, the player’s side, the union’s side and the team’s) as a case is laid by each one and presented before an arbitrator, who decides the case and determines the outcome.   (Our cases are argued too before an Arbitrator, God, who always has the final say in what the judgment will be). 

At one point, my hubby’s case didn’t look too good, and he thought they were going to lose.  While he presented a good case, another factor came in and it appeared as though the scale leaned to the other side.  This is what it looked like.  But God!  Hubby got the phone call just a day later, that they won!  That the player got what he asked for, determining the presentation of the case, a winner! 

As I was praying and thanking God for the win (I normally don’t ask for a “win”.  I pray God’s will be done and that I am able to accept what He allows, but this time, given what happened, I asked for a win), so as I was thanking God for the win, I heard Him say, “In spite of what it looks like He allows for a win.”

In spite of what it looks like, in spite of how that person stepped in and seemingly messed things up for you; in spite of laying the proper foundation and things took a turn; in spite of your stumbling and stuttering during the job interview; in spite of what is showing up in your bank account.  In spite of what it looks like, God allows for a win.  He allows you to win.

God goes against the flow.  Remember that.  Greater is He that is in you than he that is with the world.  You and Him are more than enough.  With God, all things are possible, in spite of what it seems.  When the odds are stacked against you, God allows for a win.  Especially if it was God Who put it in your spirit to ask for it.  And just a day later… God said, “Catch that!”

I am reminded of a song by Jekalyn Carr.  The words have this running theme, “The enemy came up against your home, your children, your name, your character, your health, your finances, your vision.  You will win.  know you're hurt, I know you're torn I know you are broken.  But you will win.  All of those may be facts, but the Truth still remains that in the name of Jesus, you will win.   All of those may be facts but the truth still remains that in the name of Jesus You will win.” 

In the name of Jesus, you will win.  Declare it to be your winning season, as the song continues… “It’s your winning season and everything attached to you wins.  You will win.  God allows us for it!

Because God is real.  “Thanks be unto God Who ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus.”

Still a servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Copyright 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

Broken Crayons Still Color

Came across this sign some time ago and immediately it jumped out at me, so I saved it. As I began to pray this particular morning during my devotional time with the Lord, God brought this back to my remembrance.  Had been asking Him for a Word for the year that will anchor me.  We need a Word from the Lord to hold on to.  A Word that will give us hope and strengthen us for the trials and even the triumphs to come.  That’s the purpose of a New Year theme in church that Pastors often share during the Watch Night services or the first message of the New Year.  The Word that the Pastor delivers at this time is usually an anchor to the congregation, giving them something to stand on, a Word to remember, to hold on to, when things start to go a little awry (and they will). 

Last year, the Word God had for us as a church was “Come Out Fightin'” (Though a year has passed, I encourage you to take a listen, the Word is always appropriate in our walk with Christ).  And yes, a strange word, but it seems that was all we had to do all year as the enemy found different ways to oppose us.  Each battle and each struggle that I personally faced last year, that Word popped up in my spirit, (and of others) as things came to challenge my faith.  'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but of principalities...' It brought me back to where I should be, standing on the Word of God and contending for my faith.  Fight the good fight of faith, that's what the Word says.  And while things happened, I yet remained victorious at the end of the year.  What was meant to destroy me, what was meant to kill me, did not.  It is 2018 and I am still here.  I am still alive.  I am reminded of the words of my dear son Joseph who shared so poetically in one of his spoken word performances, (oh, how I miss them) … “See, they say, the human heart beats 4,000 times per hour.  Each beat, each pulse, each rhythm, each drop, is a token, is a trophy, is a reward, engraved with these words, you are still alive.”  I am still alive.   Albeit, broken.

Anyway, as I had been asking God for a Word, He spoke to me New Year’s Day and said, “Restoration and Renewal.”  And while I thought that this would be my anchor for the year, and it some ways it yet is, God spoke again.  I’ve learned that God often speaks in sentences, a thought today, a Word tomorrow, that if we would only string it together, we would have our ‘Morse code’ from God, a battle plan for our victory.  So, this particular morning, God continued to speak and spoke to me through this image... about brokenness.  

You see when my Joseph was killed, something broke in me.  My heart.  Joseph is my only son.  He was my last born.  He was just 22.  Just getting started.  And we won’t ever be able to see him continue.  In his career, in his performances.  In his life.  He won't ever marry or have his own family.  Life was stripped from him.  And life was stripped from me.  I birthed three children and now that was broken, for now I only had two.  And when he died, so did my passion, my ability to focus, my desire to live as I had been.  My faith was shaken.  Betrayal came, and I lost friends and people I thought loved me.  And so much more, that is not for me to share at this moment.  But I was broken.  And God spoke to me and said, “Broken crayons still color.”  And regarding the restoration and renewal, in order to be renewed, you must first be broken.  But understand, in that brokenness, God yet desires to work in you and through you. He yet desires to use you.  He yet desires to use me.

Broken crayons still color.  This is what He said.  Think about a crayon.  They are used to bring a black and white drawing to life.  To add color to a sketching.  When we were young, we had all kinds of coloring books.  The color by number.  The magic coloring books where things would appear once you colored them.  Theme coloring books, animals, toys, so many.  And we had all sorts of boxes of crayons; the 8, 16, 24, and the double-sized box of 64 with the sharpener.  And those of us who came later even had the erasable crayons.  And we loved to color with a brand-new box of crayons.  We couldn’t wait to use those.  It was just something about them.  They had a point so that we could make our coloring more accurate, staying in the lines.  But there was always somebody who colored outside of the lines (and that’s a whole other message, but sometimes we need to color outside of the lines and not do what everybody else is doing), but anyway, for the most part we needed to stay in the lines in order to have a pretty and perfect view, and color of whatever the subject was.  (Order is needed as well, but that too is another message). 

As a child, sometimes I would color and color with the same crayon, usually the black one, that seemed to be used the most.  (Or the blue and green, as there was always a sky or grass in the drawing that needed to be colored).   But those particular crayons would be used so much, they often broke.  And that was it.  Once those crayons were broken, it was like the whole pack did not work.  And most times it would stop me from coloring at all, because I could not use that one color.  I was like that as a kid (still like that in some ways).  Everything had to work.  Everything had to match.  My hair had to be neat or I would cry.  "The crayon is broken!"  I would yell to whoever was around.   And I would stop coloring or declare the whole box of crayons, worthless. (Thank God that when something breaks within us, He doesn’t toss us out, or stop using us, declaring us worthless).

Anyway, when we really wanted to color, especially if there was nothing else for us to do (there were no video games, or Netflix, or cellphones), sometimes we would take that broken crayon and peel off the paper, sharpen it and use it anyway.  As broken as it was.  But what made it even better was since the crayon was broken, we could share it and someone else could actually use that broken piece. 

Broken crayons still color.  And they still can be used to make a difference.  When we find ourselves broken, just like we did with our broken crayons, God just peels away that layer of paper, that thing that holds us back from being used, and He sharpens us and puts us back to work.  Back in the box with all the rest of the crayons.  Back in the midst of life with all of the rest of the people.  And the piece that was broken, broken off of us, He allows us to share with someone else, so that they can color too.  Our shared experiences serve as a threshold for someone else to share their experiences.

That broken piece of us, where our heart was broken because of betrayal or rejection or loneliness or even death, God allows someone else to learn from and now they are able to color with it.  To use the experience, they gained and the wisdom they learned from your broken piece and color with it.  Make the world around them, and the people they meet better. 

God will use our brokenness in spite of our brokenness.  And each time we break, He will sharpen us and make us new so that we can still color.  So that we can still make a difference.  Just because we are broken, just because things happen to us, death, sickness, a fall from grace even, does not mean God cannot use that situation, or use us as we go through it.  

And every time I am reminded of just how broken I am, God reminds me “yep, but you're still coloring.” So, with God’s help and by His grace, I’ll just take my broken self and continue to color all the plans, God draws for me.  Or puts in the Book.

Though broken, I shall not die, but live to declare the glory of the Lord.  For there SHALL be glory after this.

Broken crayons still color.

And I am still, a servant of the Lord, coloring.
Sis. E


Joseph Malik Fannell
January 14, 1993 – June 5, 2015