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As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sometimes you just need to be watered…

Sometimes you just need to be watered…

The past couple of weeks have been spiritually brutal.  The details of that brutality for this blog aren’t important other than to say I have been left feeling disrespected and betrayed by several people who and one organization that I held dear to my heart.

I try hard to keep going even through the storm.  Last Thursday, even in the pain of my life, I attended a Christian Faith based drug recovery meeting at Urban Hope.[1]  (No, I’m not an addict.  I attend as part of my current ministry that you can read about in this series of blogs.)  When my dear friends Rick and Brenda are leading the meetings, they open with joyful and boisterous worship/praise music and prayer that my soul was just not absorbing through any outward sign of worship that night.

As the twenty or so men and three women stood and sang and clapped and raised their hands in praise, I just couldn’t do it.  Even though I was able to engage in basic conversation with a smile, I was wiped out, spiritually numb and defeated.  While everyone else was up, I was down in my chair with my eyes closed and tears almost flowing from the pain of this past couple of weeks.

So I just listened to Brenda sing.  (Here’s an example from another setting.)  The men and women sang with her and I listened.  I listened to a chorus of recovering or recovered addicts praise our LORD with a quality of singing that was not quite ready for Carnage Hall but was more than ready for the Throne Room of God.

I saw myself in that Throne Room somewhat curled up in a corner and sitting in a clay pot – which I thought to be a bit odd.  And then these words slipped into my conscience…  “Sometimes you just need to be watered.” 

The clay pot now made sense…  I had become a shriveled houseplant in a clay pot.  I needed the water that can only come from the Throne Room of God by way of the Holy Spirit which was flowing through these men and women as they praised God for their personal freedom from drugs, a freedom of two weeks to 27 years joyfully celebrated and represented among them.

The situations that have caused so much pain in my life still exist.  Having been watered by the Holy Spirit renewed my strength to do what needs to be done to get past these situations.  As with your typical houseplant, this watering by the Holy Spirit must happen on a regular basis and by “regular” I’m not talking weekly!  Daily, Hourly, Minutely and Secondly is often what’s needed to get through by prayer and Bible Study (Yes Rick, I remember your message that night J).

[1] Rick Cartagena is involved in a wonderful ministry to those who are incarcerated or just coming out of prison. He and his wife Brenda are part of an extension of the Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Visit to find out more.

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