A Mother’s Day Prayer for Those Who Are & Those Who Are Not

candace easterHere is your monthly dose of spiritual wisdom from Min. Crystal L. Cochren of My Faith and Fitness.  Happy Momma’s Day!  Be blessed.

Today is Mother’s Day. For many of us, the second Sunday in May is a source of pain and suffering. Between the run up to Mother’s Day and the 24-hour span that constitutes Mother’s Day, many of us smile through the pain that we endure.

Today, I pray for those of us whose experience with motherhood has not been ideal or happy or joyous. I pray for us who are mothers or not mothers. I pray for us who have been hurt by our relationships with our mothers. I lift us up in prayer today to let you know that you do not have to suffer alone. God hears our cries. God wants us to be healed. God wants us to be whole. Let us cast our cares upon God. God cares for us.

Us As Mothers or Not As Mothers:

Many of us have never wanted nor attempted to have children. We are at peace with that decision. Yet, society looks down upon us and we are treated as less than because we “do not have a family.” In the eyes of the world, clearly, something must be wrong with us. Society does not regard our lives and current relationships as valid because offspring are not a part of the equation. This has been a source of pain. I pray for healing.

Some of us may have attempted to get pregnant on several occasions and through various methods, yet miscarriage met us at every turn. We may feel less than whole because our wombs deny us the opportunity to carry and deliver a living being. I pray for comfort.

Many of us may have given birth or adopted after experiencing a miscarriage. Yet, we still mourn the loss of what could have been. I pray for consolation.

Others of us became pregnant as teenagers. Initially, we may have wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Yet, we did not. Now, we regret our decision to give birth. That regret is a source of guilt. I pray for the elimination of guilt.

Additionally, we may have become pregnant as teenagers and gave the child up for adoption, either voluntarily or involuntarily. We wonder where our children are. We live with an emptiness for what we lost. We exist in a constant state of mourning. I pray for comfort and peace.

A lot of us have adopted children, whether it was a legal adoption or we raised the offspring of our family members or friends. We welcomed these individuals into our homes. Loved them. Raised them. Prayed for them. Yet, they tell us “You are not my mother” and leave our lives without looking back. I pray for healing of our hearts.

Many of us have terminated numerous pregnancies. Now, our bodies refuse to allow a pregnancy to begin. Now, we regret and lament our previous decisions. Those previous decisions are a source of pain. We may think that God is punishing us for those decisions. I pray that we learn to forgive ourselves.serene

Some of our children have been taken from us because of death from illness, death from homicide, death from suicide, incarceration, addiction… We mourn the loss of these relationships. I pray for solace.

Our Relationships with Our Mothers: (This part is for both men and women)

Some of us have or had mothers who did not like us or love us. Their disdain for us was palpable. They did not hide their awful feelings for us. We wanted to have a strong, loving relationship with our mothers. She did not want such a relationship with us. I pray for healing of our hearts.

For others of us, our mothers were teenagers when we were born and our grandmothers or aunts raised us. We never established a loving relationship with our mothers. We mourn the relationship that never developed. If our mothers are still alive, I pray that a mutually affectionate relationship will be formed. If our mothers are no longer alive, I pray for comfort for that lost opportunity.

Many of us were our mother’s favorite child. This status caused strife with our siblings. We may resent our mothers for placing that burden upon us. We may resent the jealousy of our family members. I pray for reconciliation.

For some women, mental illness prevented them from having the capacity to walk in the role of mother. We wanted to establish and maintain a relationship with our mothers, but we could not make any connection, through no fault on our part…or theirs for that matter. I pray for understanding for her incapacity.

Others of us experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of our mothers in the form of abandonment, drug use, molestation and prostitution. Our mothers may have walked away from us when we needed her the most. Our mothers may have been addicted to drugs or alcohol and did not have the capacity to love us. Our mothers may have sold us as prostitutes to feed that addiction. The addiction was too powerful for her to overcome. Our mothers may have molested us or knowingly allowed us to be molested by predators in our lives. I pray for healing of our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits.

I lift up this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus, the lover of our souls. Amen.

As we navigate through another Mother’s Day, I want you to receive consolation, healing and restoration from God. God hears your prayer. God sees your tears. God will relieve your pain, agony and suffering. Be blessed. Remain encouraged.

Hosanna!

Here is your monthly spiritual food from Minister Crystal Cochren.  Enjoy!

Palm_Sunday

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:  10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. ~ Mark 11:7-10 (KJV)

Today is Palm Sunday.  Today is the beginning of Holy Week.  Holy Week is Continue reading “Hosanna!” »

Second Sundays with Crystal: SAY “NO” TO MARCH MADNESS & “YES” TO MARCH STILLNESS

Minister Crystal Cochren of myfaithandfitness.com sends this timely blessing to us. Read on and be blessed.

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” ~ Psalm 27:4 (KJV)

​The liturgical season of Lent began on Wednesday, March 5. Lent is a time for reflecting on our individual relationships with God. We should take this time to ask ourselves some important questions. Continue reading “Second Sundays with Crystal: SAY “NO” TO MARCH MADNESS & “YES” TO MARCH STILLNESS” »

Heal Your Heart- Second Sunday’s With Crystal

20140209-085433.jpg
Here is your monthly dose of spirituality from Minister Crystal L. Cochren of My Faith and Fitness.
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.”
~ Jeremiah 17:14 (KJV)

​February is National Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer…combined. I have been wearing my red dress pin all month. I even made a point to wear red on National Wear Red Day. The perfect storm of events caused me to start taking my health seriously. Before my husband and I joined a gym in early April 2012, I lived a sedentary life. I practice law during the day. So, I am either sitting in my office reading and typing or sitting in court waiting for my cases to be heard. Before I joined the gym, during the evening, I would usually crochet something to sell in my online boutique. I was taking medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, I had FOUR of the risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight and physical inactivity. No bueno. Because of my healthy and fit lifestyle, I increased my HDL (good) numbers for my cholesterol. As a shortcut, I remember it as “H” in HDL for Healthy and “L” in LDL as Lethal. We want our LDL numbers to be low.

Sometimes, in our focus on the physical aspects of heart health, we fail to remember the emotional aspects of our hearts. Many of us have experienced abuse, neglect and rejection. The abuse may have taken the form of a physical, emotional, spiritual or sexual assault. The perpetrators were usually someone we knew and trusted. For instance, statistics show that most sexual assaults on women are committed by a person who the woman knows. Others of us have lived with domestic violence during our formative years, either as victims or witnesses. Our mothers may have gotten beaten by our fathers or father figures. Our fathers may have gotten beaten by mothers or mother figures. Perhaps, our parents used to fight each other, both of them equally culpable of giving out the violence. We may have been involved in intimate relationship where we were abused. Maybe as children, we were abandoned and rejected by those we loved and trusted. We grew up in one or more foster homes with no one to love us.

After we become adults, after the bones heal and the physical damage fades away, we are left to deal with emotional scars on our hearts, minds and spirits. In our attempt to self medicate, we abuse alcohol, drugs and other substances. We may have even attempted suicide on one or more occasions. If we do not believe in God, one of the reasons that we do not is because we think that if God existed, God would have prevented those horrific things from happening to us. If we believe in God, we wonder why God allowed those horrible things to take place. I cannot answer that question. Christians like to quote scripture and tell us how “all things work together…” That scripture is true. However, we need more than a scripture quoted to us in passing to enjoy emotional healing and restoration. Only God can heal us of such deep emotional wounds.

I encourage you today to seek God to begin or continue the process of receiving complete healing and restoration for your heart. God wants us to be whole in all aspects of our beings. God loves us and wants best for us. Place your faith and trust in God. Be blessed as you increase your focus on your spiritual and emotional health. Remain encouraged.

Second Sunday’s With Crystal- Power to Overcome Brokenness

Here is my monthly spiritual post from Minister Crystal Cochren of My Faith and Fitness. Be blessed!

“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
~ Matthew 17:21 (KJV)

​Prayer is communication with God. Spending time in prayer is crucial. Prayer time is not the time for a long monologue with us giving God a list of things that we want or think that we need. Prayer time is the occasion for us to pray on behalf of others. Prayer time is for God to speak to us. It is a time where we can receive revelations and assignments. We cannot know exactly what God wants us to do in our lives and ministries if we do not make the time to learn what our assignments are. The more time that we spend in prayer, the clearer the assignments become. Continue reading “Second Sunday’s With Crystal- Power to Overcome Brokenness” »

Being Angry with God

I know it’s not Sunday but Crystal has a valid word for any day of the week.  I’m a little late but here is the latest from Crystal Cochren of My Faith and Fitness.

 

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

~ John 11:21 (NIV)

There have been times during my Christian walk when I have been angry with God.  After careful reflection, God revealed to me that the anger stemmed from disappointment.  I was disappointed that my life was not going in the direction that I had planned for it to go.  I was disappointed because I was involved in relationships, familial, professional and personal, that were detrimental to my spiritual and physical health and emotional well being.

 

In today’s scripture, Martha is angry at Jesus for not arriving sooner.  Martha and her sister, Mary, sent word to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Jesus did not come immediately.  In fact, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days.  With the messenger’s travel time to Jesus, Jesus’ two day wait and Jesus’ travel time to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days by the time that Jesus arrived.  Martha expressed her anger.  Disappointment in Jesus was one source of Martha’s anger.  Martha knew that Jesus had the power to fix the situation.  That knowledge is why she and Mary told Jesus that Lazarus had been sick.   Jesus took that opportunity teach Martha about the resurrection and show her Jesus’ power to resurrect the dead.

 

Maybe you have also been angry with God, once or twice.  Maybe you are angry with God right now.  You cannot share your anger with everyone.  Sharing with the wrong person could lead to that person giving you awful advice.  Your relationship with God would suffer as a consequence of following that bad advice.  Talk to God about your anger during your prayer time.  Be honest with God.  Tell God why you are angry.  Cry.  Lament.  Get it all out.  Then, wait.  Wait for God to reveal the sources of your anger.  The discovery may not come during your first session.  It may not come for months.  The revelation will come as long as you continue to seek the source of your anger.  You will realize why you are angry with God.  After the realization, you be able to remedy the problem.  God will take the opportunity to teach you some things.  Be blessed as you increase your focus on your spiritual and emotional health.  Remain encouraged.

Second Sundays with Crystal – Experiencing the Fullness of Joy

This is our monthly dose of spiritual wisdom from Min. Crystal Cochren of My Faith and Fitness.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” ~ John 15:11 (KJV)

Joy is not happiness.  Joy is a spirit.  Happiness is temporary.  Joy is long lasting.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)  We can only get joy from God.  Oftentimes, we seek happiness in earthly things and beings and we think that we are seeking joy.  Many of us shop, eat or participate is self-destructive activities in an effort to fill the void we have because we lack joy.  Sometimes, our conduct results because we realize that something is missing from our lives.  Another reason for our awful behavior is that we do not know what joy is and is not.

People can fake happiness.  Joy can only be real.  I know a woman from college who, by most accounts, was happy.  In public, she always had a smile on her face.  She always had a kind word for everyone who she encountered.  Years later, I learned that she had been battling the spirit of depression while in college.  She was faking happiness and faking it quite well, actually.

In the text, Jesus is teaching the disciples about Himself.  Jesus explains that our joy can only be full when we possess joy from Jesus.  Without Jesus’ joy, we will have a void that cannot be filled by any substitute.  We have so many issues with which to contend.  We have to fight the adversary’s attacks.  We must fight the attacks on our personhood.  For instance, the media’s portrayal of Black women can constitute a daily assault on our spiritual and mental health and fitness.  Additionally, we must heal from the damage done to us before and during our walk with Christ.  I encourage you to pray about how you can receive joy.  Analyze your life and the people in it.  What impediments exist that prevent you from experiencing the fullness of joy?  Only God can give us the tools so that we can receive the healing and joy that we need.  Be blessed as you increase your focus on your spiritual and emotional health. Remain encouraged.

 

 

 

Soul Food Junkies – Do They Run in Your Family?

After years of research, filmmaker Byron Hurt blessed us with the documentary Soul Food Junkies, which tells the story of his father’s love affair with soul food and eventual death, likely related to an overall unhealthy diet.  This story is exactly why I do what I do. I know first hand what it’s like to have family members addicted to unhealthy eating. In fact, I inherited the trait.

Did you catch my Krispy Kreme Testimony? Well it didn’t start there.  I remember my mother telling the story of how the neighborhood doughnut shop used to give her a courtesy call at her request each morning at around 4am to inform her that the doughnuts were hot and ready to be picked up. Sound familiar? She told me she would get three dozen; one for her, one for my dad, and one for us 3 kids to share. Damn shame, huh?

At some point during the documentary Byron touched on the fact that the comfort his dad got through soul food was likely his way of escaping the pain of the loss of his first born son. I, too, know the comfort of food after losing a child. That’s exactly how Sweet Tooth Therapy was born. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch myself after gaining 12 pounds and switch from baking and eating for comfort to baking and selling.

If you ever watch The Biggest Loser, you may notice a common thread, other than obesity. My hubby would watch the show and say “wow, he really loves food.” And I’d always say “no, he’s loving the comfort the food is giving him in the midst of some deep pain or void.” And sure enough, somewhere during the season, Each contestants’ demon is revealed. Molestation, rejection, secret homosexuality, abuse, loss of a child, parent or spouse; something devastating is usually brought to the surface.

Myles Munroe was the first person I ever heard say “when you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you abuse it.” And that’s exactly what soul food junkies do. And all other food junkies for that matter.
It’s a combination of food abuse and self abuse. The ethnicity of the food has nothing to do with it. For me it was sweets. For my mom it was good food, period. For Byron’s dad, it was soul food and fast food. It’s interesting how food abusers are often seen as food lovers. it’s like a person can abuse another person and the one being abused can actually think they’re being loved.  When you really love food, you’re too selective to eat just any and everything. And when you are loving yourself, you only eat what you need and no more. When it slips over into greed and gluttony, there is no love in that neighborhood. I’m just sayin’.

If you find that you’re abusing, or neglecting yourself by habitually overeating and having an unhealthy diet, the main thing is to fix what’s eating you, and then you can fix what you’re eating. When you try a new diet and don’t deal with the real internal issue, you’re just putting a bandaid on a deep, infected wound. You deserve better treatment than that.

I thank Byron Hurt for sharing his father’s story. I know it will get the attention of someone who is self medicating with food, and hopefully cause them to take notice before it’s too late.

Have you ever felt out of control or like a food junkie? If so, what, if anything, did you do to turn it around? Do you, or someone you know need prayer in this area?

You can watch Soul Food Junkies online until January 22, or purchase the DVD.

Praying The Pounds Away – Ridiculous or Reality?


We know that prayer changes things, but can we apply this to weight loss? The word says faith without works is dead (James 2:17). In other words, yes, pray, but also, do. I know a woman who once said “When God gets ready for this weight to come off of me, he’s gonna knock it off”. This same woman also told me that she was waiting for a 13 million dollar check in the mail from Ed McMahon. Here we are 10 years later, and she’s still waiting for both. Yes, she had faith, but what work did she do? She ate whatever she wanted, did no exercise, and waited by the mailbox promptly at 4pm each day. I would have to call her the poster child for ridiculous.

We also know that God is able to do above and beyond what we ask or imagine according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). Ok, did you get that important part? The power is within us. That is a major key that unlocks the gate to your weight loss reality. YOU have the power within YOU to get where you are trying to go. So how exactly do you tap into this power? Certainly not by stopping at Krispy Kreme whenever the HOT sign is flashing and then praying for forgiveness later. I know from firsthand experience, that does not work. I do have an extreme example of the power within that I call my Krispy Kreme testimony. I will share it one day. But right now, I don’t think you’re ready for that jelly.

So here are the basic steps to get you started on your weight loss journey. First, when you rise in the morning, make sure you take a few moments to set your will for the day. You can call it prayer, meditation, or whatever you decide. Doesn’t matter to me, as long as it involves you mentally deciding and physically speaking. Decide right then and say out loud that you are going to do what it takes to reach your weight loss goals. Forget yesterday. Today is a new day, with new mercy. Allow yourself to be forgiven for yesterday. Now decide and determine that you will do your part this day. Find scriptures and create a mantra to support your decision. Basically what you are doing here is activating the power of your will, or, as we know it, willpower.

Set the atmosphere for success. Are there unhealthy, high calorie foods in your home? Toss them out. You are not a garbage disposal, so no, you cannot eat food as a way of getting rid of it. Yes, there are starving children in Africa, but do you really think your eating that food is going to help them? Simply throw it out and start fresh with a healthy pantry. Are there household members who still bring home the foods that they know will tempt you? I would have to call them haters, as they are clearly not supporters. If you can, “fly above all the haters” (Kandi Burruss). In other words, get them back by ignoring their food choices. Since this is next to impossible, I also suggest that you toss their offending foods out, which will make the haters either hide them or stop buying them. By any means necessary, make the changes to create an atmosphere conducive to success.

Plan for the journey. There is no room for laziness in a plan for weight loss. Is your gym bag packed and at the door, or in the car? What about your snacks, or lunch? Unless you work for the corporate office of Safeway or Whole Foods, your employee cafeteria does not likely give a rats’ azz about how healthy your lunch is. That is YOUR responsibility. What about dinner? In order for you to have success on a daily basis, you have to plan your meals, all of them. If you cannot get a personal chef, be one. Pick a day to cook your meals ahead of time. This leaves no excuse to go out and eat something that goes against your plan. You have got to plan for your own success daily, unless you have a personal assistant, chef, trainer, and life coach to help you to succeed. And if you have all of that, then you probably don’t even need to be reading this.

Focus, focus, focus. What are you feeding into your soul and your body? What are you looking at, listening to, smelling, touching, tasting? Ever notice when you drive by a Popeye’s or In n Out Burger, the smell is mesmerizing? Or that HOT sign at Krispy Kreme flashes and you forget where you were going? Or you hear a commercial about ice cream and cake with a catchy tune and the next thing you know you’re looking for your car keys? You end up in the drive thru of these places and have no idea how you got there, and don’t even care. This had NOTHING to do with your plan for the day, but it happened because your spirit was willing, your flesh was weak, and as a result you lost focus. Make the effort to protect your soul, and your goals. Close off the entryway for things that go against your efforts. Press mute when commercials come on. Drive a different route if you can. Mention these specific things that you will not do when you set your will in the morning. And as far as that Krispy Kreme sign… that’s a hard one. Some things are going to take divine intervention and/or an exorcism. Again, one day I will share.

My prayer is that you will do what you now know to do, as you are equipped with the basics to get the job done. Note the word basics, as this can get much more complex, depending on the extent of your love relationship with food, and your love relationship with yourself. If either relationship is extremely out of whack, this info will only be cracking the surface. However, cracking the surface is the only way to start. And starting is the only way to finish. So let’s get busy praying, doing, and making our answered prayers our reality.