They were always inspiring, spiritually enlightening and had away of making you feel as though God was truly using all your bad, dark and struggling moments in your past to bring something good and freshly new to your eminent future. Yes, New Year’s Eve service at a black church is when despair intersects with hope at the strike of midnight. -Lady Sherri Pearce, Church Thorns
This excerpt from my upcoming novel pretty much sums up the expected end for many black churches tonight. In case you are clueless to what I’m talking about, we call it Watch Night Service. It has been an annual traditional church service held up until midnight.
What are we watching for?
The manifestation of hope in our promised future.
Research has indicated that one of the primary barriers to black people receiving mental health care is the stigma of being weak minded when we have been clothed in strength.
Strength that was birthed from a history of survival mode.
Strength that was developed through struggle.
Strength that is continuously being nurtured by separation.
There has been no acceptance or place for weakness.
Haven’t you heard, “I’m too blessed to be stressed,” “Black people don’t do therapy, we do Jesus,” from someone in your life if it wasn’t you yourself that said it?
Yes, I will be the first one to admit that our faith has kept us anchored. But as a black woman of faith I will also admit that probably like you, as the song writer says, “I have had many dark days and hills to climb.”
I recall spending one New Year’s Eve regretting that the clock was ticking and the calendar was soon to turn. My struggle was so real that isolation and depression had become my best friends. All I hoped for was being able to breathe through the night and that too depressed me because I didn’t want to see daylight.
I had strength . Strength to get up every day and put on a mask for the world so that they wouldn’t know about my weaknesses. There was still a voice that reminded me that even when I am weak, then I am strong.
“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (Acts 12:5).
Right now you might be feeling like you are a prisoner of midnight. Your midnight has been a season of disappointments, despair and desperation. There might have been many times this year when the pressure seemed so immensely unbearable.
Whether black or not, you are a woman or man of faith.
But the stigma of your issues have kept you from the place of healing.
If you are contemplating whether to attend a Watch Night service tonight, I encourage you to rise up and start rebuilding your life. You have enough strength in you to change the emotional barriers holding you captive.
You know how I know?
The Bible says so. When the real intercessors were praying, God divinely released Peter from prison.
I know so. Because God has made me a testimony just for you.
Yes, there are many resources available that God wants us to use within our communities. It is something about receiving powerful words to stir up what has been dead. An anointed Word will bring your spirit under submission and cause a renewing in your mind. When your mind is thinking clearly, you can get the best help for yourself.
Do not be worried about whether or not church folks will criticize you for seeking help or even believe you after you have received deliverance. They didn’t believe Peter had been released from prison and he was knocking at their door!
It’s time for your release. It’s time for you to be set free.
Your emancipation awaits.
There’s a blessing for you at midnight. Will you go get it?
For the power of the LORD is still the same, you don’t have to leave 2015 like you came in Jesus Name!