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Touchdown from HeavenIn the huddle with Felicia Young
By Felicia Young
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Felicia Young
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGod Is Love: He Guards Us from the Enemy
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" —1 John 4:16
"You cannot earn God's love. It's a free gift. "My unconditional love is given to all with no strings attached, free of charge." God's love is not based on what you do or give, God's love is unconditional." Ms. Lisa
In some very familiar Bible stories, Jesus tells about a shepherd who left His ninety-nine sheep and found the missing one. He tells about a woman who lost one of her ten coins and looked for it. He tells about a prodigal son who leaves home and spends all he has. When he comes home his father welcomes him. God loves sinners not the sin (Luke 15:1–33).
In the Huddle
This story is told by a converted woman who always had the love of God planted in her heart. That's me. You can call me Ms. Lisa. My grandparents told me as a young girl, "Child, you gotta have God stored in your heart!" God is love! I never knew what that meant until now.
My first love lesson came from my grandparents, Eliza Owens and Smith Owens. My grandparents were my rock! I can honestly say they were the best coaches I've ever had. Their love was not just lip service. They showed it. I mean they did everything for everybody. If Ms. Loula was sick; you best believe we would be taking over a casserole. If Mr. Wiley needed a ride to church, he could count on Granddaddy, and if Sister Dora needed help with the church banquet, Grandma was there. I really believe this is from where I got my giving spirit. I always saw them giving and doing for others, so giving is definitely a part of my roots. They planted seeds in my life from which I am now receiving a harvest. I remember when we'd sit at the table for breakfast and dinner; my granddaddy would bless the food by saying the entire twenty-third Psalm. Now I understand the true meaning of the "Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." My grandparents loved God's way, unconditionally and unselfishly. I never really knew what that meant until now. God is love! God's love is unconditional. Have you ever really thought about what that means? God is everything, and love is eternal. What does love mean to us, when we say we love is conditional.
It's important to have Godly love. When you have Godly love, your love is unselfish and unconditional. Are you guilty of loving someone because of what they have, how they look, or what they can do for you? Answer the question honestly. If this is how you love, then your love is conditional and you will never be fulfilled in this area of your life. That's why there are so many broken relationships, because we base our love on conditions, like "she use to look good, but now she's gained too much weight," or "he doesn't excite me anymore," or "she is nagging me too much," or "he's not a superstar anymore and I can't shop like I used to." You get my drift! My advice to you is before you commit to someone, examine the premise of your love and make sure God is the foundation. You can't help how others treat you, but you can definitely control how you treat others.
Another important lesson about love: you cannot receive God's reward if you harbor jealousy and bitterness in your heart. Let it go. Don't be mad at the 'Joneses because they have a big house, fine cars, and appear to have it going on. I say appears because I know so many people–and I have been in this place myself—where it looks like we've got it going on, but inside our homes and our hearts, all hell is breaking loose. Don't be deceived.
Many of you may be guilty of exalting yourselves, but the real blessing is when God exalts us. When you are self-exalted, you break lots of hearts and step on many people's toes and heads, and God is not pleased. In reality you are not on a firm foundation and things will come tumbling down. When God exalts you, He will make your enemies your footstool. Don't believe me? Read Psalm 110:1.
You see, team, God judges our hearts. We may be on different levels of our spiritual journey, but God knows our intentions and our desires to do well, so just because someone is a Bible-totin', scripture-quotin', I-know-God-better-than-you saint, this does not mean God loves them more or will do more for them. Often it's the opposite. God uses people who are willing to be used by Him and whose bodies are available and who will exalt Him and not themselves.
In the Huddle
What I want you to know, team, is that God is Love. He loves us unconditionally, in spite of our wrongdoings, our circumstances, or our status. He wants us to walk upright the best way we know how, and I assure you He will order your steps the rest of the way. There is so much I didn't know about God when I began my walk with Him, and there is so much I'm still learning.
When I was young, my mom, brothers and I lived with my grandparents. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents because my mom worked all the time. I remember we use to walk to church every week, and yes, I had to go to Sunday school. My life was built on a firm foundation. I heard the Word at home and at church. I truly believed God was with me, and I gave my life to Christ when I was nine years old. I believed in my heart and I confessed with my mouth that He is the Son of God and He was raised from the dead, and on that Sunday morning I was saved.
I remember my grandparents teaching my brothers and me bible verses pertaining to life's journey. They wanted to make sure we had all of the instructions (the bible) we needed to survive this so called game of life. We stayed in the church house; I think I was more of a church fixture than the pew. We were in the church day in and day out. We fed the sick, transported the neighbors to and from church, to the grocery store, the doctor's office, wherever they needed to go. No matter what was needed, my grandparents helped and showed everyone loves. This is where I learned to be a cheerful giver. All my life all I knew to do was to share with others.
Do everything in love. It's the basis of all things. God summarizes all his commandments by giving us the commandment to love. We are to love God, and we are to love God by loving other people. We are to be vessels of God's love to our neighbors. This allows God to demonstrate His love through us. All of God's Word is about love. It is about what love is and who love is. God is love. The Bible reveals love to us. It also reveals God to us. When we know God, we know love. God desires that we express our love to Him through obeying His voice. This shows Him that we love and trust Him, and it is the beginning of true worship.
The Game Plan: Reflection of Love
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love," —1 John 4:8
List three attributes about God's character that you love: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
Do you believe in love? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
How was love expressed to you as a child? By whom? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
How do you express love? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
Who had the greatest influence on you as a child? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
Describe what love feels like. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
What is your favorite love song? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
Have you ever been hurt by someone who said they loved you? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
How did you handle the pain? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
Chapter TwoOvercoming Obstacles: When the Odds are Against You
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." —John 16:33
In the Tunnel
As we get ready for the game, I just want you to know that we will encounter some obstacles. As defined by the dictionary, an obstacle is one that opposes, stands in the way of, or holds up progress. So in our case, that could be the enemy, our choices, or so-called friends on the opposing team. Don't worry; in the end we will have the victory in Christ Jesus.
Now look, as we go into this game of life, I want to warn you that we are going to encounter some things that will put us on our back, make us doubt everything we were ever taught to believe in and make us wonder why we even exist. In case you don't know God, I assure you you were created for a purpose. Your assignment is to diligently seek God so you may have an abundant life as you pursue your destiny. Don't quit. Stay in the game. The obstacles in your life are there to make you stronger, build your faith, and put you on the road to your destiny. I am a living testimony. Join me in the huddle and let's talk.
In the Huddle
Let me tell you about some of the obstacles and life's lessons I went through to get where I am today. You know the saying "a hard head makes a soft behind?" I can testify to that! A hard head with bad choices can lead you down a road of destruction. I had a great foundation—thank God for that—but I did do some things during my lifetime that would not edify God. I'll share some of these stories with you. My grandfather died when I was nine. That's when we moved to Hiram Clarke, a nice inner-city community in Houston, Texas. My grandmother moved in with us to take care of my brothers and me. We lived what I thought was a comfortable life until my grandmother died and I had to grow up quick because Mama was working. I spent many days home alone taking care of my brothers.
I had so many things to happen to me when I was coming up, at the time I didn't know the reason for my destruction, but thanks be to God I have a clearer understanding now.
The Obstacle that Made a S.U.R.V.I.V.O.R.
When I was fifteen, I had one of the most devastating experiences of my life. I was a victim of a female's greatest fear: rape. My temple was invaded and my innocence was stolen by a stranger's aggression and need for power. The violation I felt is indescribable. I went into shock as I witnessed my brothers being tied up as I was forced into my mom's bedroom by this madman with a gun. He told me to "shut up and be still" as he stripped off my clothes and penetrated my body, which went limp. My heart sank to my toes, and I thought, is this really happening to me? I prayed that I would wake up from this nightmare, I closed my eyes, and then opened them, but he was still there. I closed my eyes again, rubbed them real hard, and opened them, and he was still pressed against my body. It was not a dream!
When he was done, he told me not to move as he shuffled through the bedroom drawers looking for money. One of my brothers got loose and ran out to get help. Hearing the commotion the madman ran out of the house. I don't know if he was trying to catch my brother or just get away. All I remembered was when my brother was running back in to check on us, he fell to the ground in the doorway as a bullet hit him on the side of his neck. I was in shock! Did my brother just get killed right before my eyes?
No one knew what was going on in our house. Our neighbors were outside at the time. And to them this was just a typical day in the 'hood, kids running around, playing. Well the madman didn't just stop at our house. He broke into someone else's house on the next street, but this time it wasn't just kids at home. It was a mother and son—and their German shepherd. He got caught by the German shepherd. I also remember hearing he got a pretty good beating by the son and dog before the police arrived. My brother was taken to the emergency room. Thank God, he survived this tragedy.
I became very withdrawn and scared after this attack. I didn't want to talk to anyone, and I was angry inside and would cry a lot. I remember going to the police station with my momma to identify the suspect. Yep that was him; I saw his face and relived the pain all over again.
The madman went to jail and I remember we had to go to court a couple of times. My dad came down from California to go with us. This was one of the few times I remember him being there for us. The rapist got out on bail because his family put up their assets for collateral. Believe it or not, he never went back to jail—at least not when it came to my case. His family sold their possessions and basically bought him a get-out-of-jail card and moved out of Texas. The attorney asked me if I wanted to go further with this and I could not. I couldn't believe someone could get out of jail after doing something like this. I just wanted this nightmare to end, and I blocked it out of my mind for most of my life—until now. After that I became a little hard — not taking no mess from any man ever again.
Rape is a sensitive subject and is very damaging to many people. I lived through that life-altering experience, so I am a S.U.R.V.I.V.O.R. —Strong, Undeniable, Restored, Victorious, Intelligent, Vital, Original, Renewed. If this is one of your obstacles in life, you are a S.U.R.V.I.V.O.R., too!
Believe in yourself and get back in the game. Go to the Coach's Office to get more resources on coping with rape.
Rape is not a respecter of persons. I've known cases where young men have been raped, too. This is the devil's way of imparting perversion in our society. Statistically a greater percentage of young girls who've been raped become more promiscuous, and young men often become very involved in pornography and sometimes repeat the same offense. If this is you, you can be delivered! Stay in the game.
A word to parents: please listen to your children if they tell you they've have been violated. Do you realize the courage it took for them to tell you? Please take it seriously and get your child help immediately. There are so many people living in bondage because Momma didn't believe what Uncle So and So, the babysitter, or her boyfriend did.
In the Huddle
As I reflect upon the time of my life before I was raped, I realize I've always been grown for my age, often having boyfriends older than me. I started at a young age looking at boys and doing little things to get attention from the ones I liked. That's normal, but as you get older you are more apt to do things that you were taught not to do. I am not blaming myself for being raped, but I was definitely out there more than I should have been.
Excerpted from Touchdown from Heaven by Felicia Young Copyright © 2011 by Felicia Young. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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