Reconnecting With Family Members from a Place of Genuine Love

As the holidays approach, we begin to make plans to see family and close friends to celebrate the festivities of the season. After all, our family is the most important part of our life. But some of us struggle to connect with the family we were born into. Like all relationships, it takes work to connect and stay connected with family. Just because we are related to each other, that doesn’t mean that we’ll get along or have the same interests or values. Sometimes our differences can lead to strife and disagreements. We’ve all had that friend, family member or roommate that we lost contact with or couldn’t see eye to eye on. We’ll often let our emotions get in the way and we find ourselves disconnected from important people in our lives. This is particularly hard when it happens with a family member.

There are many stories about family relations that we can find in the Bible. But my favorite has always been the Parable of the Prodigal Son which appears in Luke 15:11-32. I personally just love redemption stories. If you don’t remember the full story, I’ll give you a short summary.

Jesus starts the Parable by saying that there is a man with two sons. The younger son is foolish while the older is steadfast and loyal. This younger son asks his father for his inheritance early, and the father agrees. With this newfound wealth burning a hole in his pocket, the younger son takes off for a far off land to squander his fortune on a wild, selfish adventure. The money eventually runs out, and the son is left destitute. Deliriously hungry since he has no money, the son decides to return to his father and beg to be hired as a lowly servant on his estate.

As the young son approaches his father’s land his father recognizes him and jumps up to warmly embrace him. He calls for the returning son to be clothed and welcomed into his home. He even calls for the fattest calf to be slaughtered for a celebratory meal. When the older son, who has tirelessly worked on his father’s estate this entire time, hears of his younger brother’s return he is not pleased. He is envious of the preferential treatment he sees his father give his younger brother. But the father does not agree with the older son, attempting to coax him into the festivities. He says, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

There is a lot to learn from this story, the father accepting his son, faults and all, the older son dealing with his feelings of envy, and the overall theme of redemption. In our modern world, what can we take from this story? To me, it’s about reconnecting with someone who we disagreed with. It’s about forgiveness, but really it’s about acceptance. In this modern age, everyone has an opinion, and makes that opinion known. It’s great that we’re able to have this kind of self expression, but it can cause strife when we’re faced with someone who disagrees with us. But like the older son in this parable, we have to go past our emotions and set aside our feelings and accept those we love, flaws and all.

Reconnecting with those long lost family members, especially during the holiday season, is so important, but really has to come from a place of genuine love. If you’re not ready to set aside your emotions, or hurt feelings, don’t push it. But you have to be honest with yourself. Everyone deals with the trials and tribulations of life differently. You can’t force yourself to forgive or accept, you need to come to it naturally. Just be honest with yourself and your loved ones, and let the relationship grow organically.

Jessica Faylor the author, lives in California. She is currently expecting her first child and is available for freelance writings. If you’d like to contact Jessica for writing assignments, please contact us.

Navigating relationships in the church and beyond

Relationships are hard to maneuver, especially professional ones. There’s often a power dynamic that is under written in every interaction. The nuances of a relationship and your role in it is based on who you are; are you parent or child, husband or wife, classmates, coworkers, supervisor or subordinate? As your role changes, so do your interactions with those around you. Your best work friend is promoted to a position above you. Things aren’t the same anymore, there’s more distance between you now.

As women, we have to carefully navigate the world searching for the place where we feel safe and respected so that we can thrive and spread God’s love. This is achieved by finding the best environment for you, trusting those that you work with, and protecting yourself. Once you’ve done all of that you can focus on spreading God’s word and love.

Please read on to see the steps to thrive under leadership in the church and otherwise.

  1. Find a place where you feel safe and respected

I wish I could say that everyone has your best interests at heart and that they will respect you right off the bat, but that’s not always the case. A lot of stress in relationships can be attributed to a difference in communication styles. You might be quick to trust someone, but they don’t feel the same way about you, so they aren’t as generous with their time with you or open to hearing your ideas. It’s okay to walk away and to find a better situation for you. You need to take care of yourself before you can start taking care of others.

2. Build up trust with those that you work with.

Once you find yourself in a good situation that you are comfortable with, you will need to build up trust with those around you. With your boss, make sure that he/she knows that you are dependable, respectable, and professional. No two bosses are the same, you can build up trust with one by always checking in and telling them what you’re working on regularly. While another boss can be more hands off and not want you to tell them about every little thing as long as it gets done. You won’t know until you meet the person. You have to be nimble and adaptable to change with your situation. Just do your hardest and your work will shine for you.

3. Protect yourself

Like I said before, you need to take care of yourself before you can start taking care of others. Jesus took time to pray alone to find his thoughts and do self care before he was able to do what God asked of him. So should you. Relationships are tricky, and not all of them end up working out. It takes a strong woman to see whether or not she is valued and to take steps to change the situation, or leave if necessary. You need to love yourself and love God before you can love others. How do you know how to love others if you can’t love yourself?

3. Let the Lord shine through you

The most important aspect of your life is doing God’s work. He is in everything you do. Make sure to protect yourself and put yourself in the best position to be able to give all of the love that you want to give to your fellow man. A secure, centered woman is the best vessel of God’s love and light. Let his love shine through you and into all you do.

I don’t want to specifically talk about interactions between men and women, because I think people are more than just their gender. But I know that many women in the church will have a male superior. The key is to listen to every relationship, how do they treat you? Do they respect you? Do you trust them? You might have to have some hard conversations to make sure that you are on the same page and that your thoughts and ideas are heard, but that’s part of your relationship with that person. Being confident in your relationship with your supervisor will make you better at your job and better help you achieve your goal of sharing the word of the Lord.

About the author

Jessica Faylor is an American blogger residing in Bologna, Italy. Her writings are focused on global women’s issues in the contexts of spirituality and leadership. Jessica and her family will be moving back to United States in August, 2019 as she prepares for new milestones in her life.

Time Well Spent

This month of June offers us so much in spirituality. On the second weekend, we recognize both Shavuot and Pentecost. Moments in the Torah and the Bible, where God extends his holy spirit to the world.

According to many scholars, the Jewish holy day of Shavuot has a dual importance. It signifies the very important wheat harvest in Israel (Exodus 34:22), and it celebrates the anniversary of the day when God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai. It occurs 50 days after Passover. The Torah represents God’s Spirit externally blanketing Israel to allow His words to move internally.

The Christian holy day of Pentecost, is recognized fifty days after Easter Sunday. It honors the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, during the Jerusalem celebration of Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:1–31. This time around, God choose to work from the interior of his people, to move His spirit to the external, to touch the lives of all people.

“…the LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

Though both celebrations are of equal importance, in the New Covenant, Pentecost is concerned with what is in our hearts. This is why God chose to place His Holy Spirit inside the committed disciples of Jesus Christ. He did this so that they could share the good news to all.

As women, we are up against so much. And, at times the chores, concerns, and circumstances of our days can strip us of the person God created us to be. This is why it is important to take time to simply talk with God. The empowerment we seek whether as boss, employee, business owner, daughter, wife, or friend is already written on our hearts. Let’s allow Jesus to guide us back to our Holy.

May June offer you precious and memorable moments with Our Father! And, may it be a joyous month for you.

Rev. Charlotte

A Mother’s Sadness Ignites a King

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I am led to think of the wonderful and strong women of the Bible. The hardship and stress they each faced, seems unbearable. Songs are made of Sarah and Hagar, poems and declarations are made about Mary, the mother of Jesus. But today, I’d like to take a glimpse into the life of Rizpah.

To teach Saul a lesson, David ordered seven of Saul’s descendants to be killed. This stemmed from his evil behavior toward the Gibeonites. Rizpah lost two of her sons in this killing. Their names were Armoni and Mephibosheth. She had these sons with Saul.

Rizpah mourned heavily for her sons. She laid down a sackcloth near the spot where their bodies were placed, and remained there from the first harvest to the first rain storm. She kept a watchful eye to make sure birds and other animals did not vandalize the bodies of her loved ones.

The author continues to tell us that David heard of her mourning and went to where she was, and took the bones of the deceased bodies. God then gave favor to the land once again (2 Samuel 21:8-12).

When someone leaves us whether by a broken relationship or death, we all try to seek closure. We may also question why this happened, as we try to find peace. Rizpah did not have anyone to talk to, she didn’t have a husband or a close friend; therefore, her time of lonely mourning may have been quite difficult, accompanied by many sleepless nights.

The sins of the father, Saul, affected his sons and descendants, but God knew that Rizpah was not to blame. He kept her safe during her 6 months of living in the wilderness. And, it’s through Rizpah’s persistence that the drought finally ended. If she had just decided to leave her place of mourning and simply give up, David would not have known of her diligence. His taking of the bones of her sons, and burying them, quenched the land once again.

No matter what we are going through, remember that our Lord knows and he cares for us. He understands our hearts, and hears our calls. He made us to be mothers, and to be gentle beings. He adores our feminine nature, which is often needed to soften our sometimes harsh world. And, he hurts when we hurt, our pain as well as our happiness, are always significant to him.

May you have a beautiful Mother’s Day and joy-filled May, 2019!

With love,


Significant Livelihood

“My, how time flies”… was an idiom my mother used often while I was a young girl. She used it to refer to friends who may have left her circle for a year or two and to signify the return of family members studying or who may have moved abroad. With April already upon us, this saying seems to be creeping around in my head more often than I would like. And, I believe it is based on all that I must accomplish today, tomorrow, and this year.

It is my daily routine to work without an audience and void of accolades. I’ve never been one to garner praises for what I do. In fact, I only have a profile on Linkedin, because I believe that I needed to; a thought encouraged by colleagues. But honestly, when I have the opportunity….or even better, when I decide to delete this profile, I will be quite relieved. My heart flutters right at this moment, just thinking about how freeing that moment will be.  No more viewing of status sharing, promotions, awards…nothing like that. Whew!

“Whatever you do, do your work willingly as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your human earthly master.” (Colossians 3: 23). For some, verse 22 of this chapter can be hurtful, specifically as referred to the word slaves. Yet, if we continue on the path of secular society, we become slaves to everything shoved at us. Nonetheless, as believers we know that if we become workers of the Bible and our service for Christ, we are redeemed.

To do so, we must reject shallow living. The type of living where we need to have tangible accolades and rewards. We must simply stop being show-offs to the non-Christian world. This world is superficial and if we are not careful, causes us to crave more of what it has set us up to believe about who we are and about what we need. This is not the way!

To re-route, all we need is Jesus Christ. When we serve Him completely, our work reflects compassion, service, kindness, and pleasantries. Not competition and putting ourselves first.

Let’s look toward our eternal journey. When we live completely for Christ, the path toward our heavenly destiny becomes so much easier. Let’s just be centered on Love.

Rev. M. Charlotte Oliver

February 10th, 2019: Visual Meditation

Meditating on HIS words: Joshua 1:8

February’s Theme: Love is Everywhere

siyach or hagah


John 14:21

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (KJV)

Impressing God

Matthew 6: 1-4, 16-17

In the last year I have been exposed to several type of spiritual leaders. My work offers me this advantage. Some are just finding their way, while others are so experienced that preaching the gospel and building a strong organization is just like drinking water; it comes so easy. However, there are two types that I find fascinating. First, the one with a smaller congregation who lives to impress other pastors, and second, the one who lives truly to impress God. This is not to say that the first type of pastor is not in line with what the second type is most concerned with. What I am really discussing here is the notion of impressions.

In life, as women, we are faced with so much stuff. We must look and act a certain way, parent like what some may see as the ideal mom, be the best wife/partner ever…and so on. Yet, when we read the Sermon on the Mount, what Jesus held of the utmost importance were the acts of giving and how to make impressions. He was absolutely against stage shows, but was most concerned with our own intimate relationship with God.

Yes, God wants us to live comfortable lives. He wants us to take advantage of all the good he provides for us. However, not to show off, but instead, to humble ourselves as discussed in Luke 14:11. Attention should be craved only from God. It is not necessary to be carnally admired or always be noticed for what we do, how we give, what we drive, where we live…the only thing of importance to our God is what we have done to serve Him. As servant leaders, we must often remember that we work for the ultimate leader, our God! How wonderful to know that we are members of His staff. Our just reward is to always be applauded by Him! Even in the quietness of our efforts, we are very popular members of His team. No stage shows are ever necessary.

In this month dedicated to love, consider that when we love our Father first, everything else can surely fall into place.

With love,