Open.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

“Be Open.” That is the instruction ringing in my heart.  All of my fears are contending with the Lord in the form of what-ifs, yet in kindness, He repeats himself once more: “Open your heart. Open your heart to love.”  Tears stream down my cheeks as I realize that I’ve been closed to the idea that someone will actually love me.  Fully.  To tell you the truth, I’ve just fully accepted the idea that He loved me fully.  I just became content with that phenomenon; that in spite of all of my mistakes, weaknesses, and shortcomings, this great God was in fact deeply in love with me.

My heart resisted but the instruction remained the same, “Open your heart. Open your heart to being loved.” “But God” my heart persisted, “What if he hurts me?” The instruction remained the same, “Open your heart.  Open your heart to being loved.”  “But God.” my heart pleaded, “What if this breaks me worse than last time?” The Father remained gentle, in pure kindness- he stated one more time, “Love, the choice is yours. But darling, I’ll ask again – Open your heart.  Open your heart to being loved.”  I sat on my couch and I heard his gentle voice like oil caress my spirit and I had a choice to make.  Either I would open up and take the risk of pain or remain closed and ultimately alone.

At the end of the day to trust in the instruction of God is to ultimately trust in Him.  To trust Him requires the hard thing:  it requires facing our fears, it requires confronting our doubts, it requires trying again at the thing we think we suck at the most.  For me, love.  I have this obvious track record of failed relationships, of apparent heartbreaks.  I have this rap sheet of ugly moments and countless memories of love lost.  I am a woman who has made peace with her regrets yet fear gripped me when I heard his voice.  Fear came to remind me of my past and shame came as a drinking buddy ready to cosign me into self-sabotage.  Yet, here comes Holy Spirit: kind, gentle and full of truth with one simple instruction.  Be Open. Open your heart to being loved. 

So, here I am completely open and vulnerable and just plain scared but willing.  I am willing to be open, I am willing to be loved.

I have no idea where this heart journey is going to take me.  All I know is that I am committed to obeying sweet Holy Spirit’s instruction.  I am committed to being open and to keep my heart open to being loved. I am willing and my heart says “Yes.

Until next time,

Simone 

FIC: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/371447628482-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

 

I Got It Wrong

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Around this time five years ago, I wrote a post called “My Only” expressing joy in the idea that I found (what I believed) to be my “one and only,” the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I thought I found the love of my life. I was wrong. I found a man that was incapable of loving me to the capacity that I needed. I was looking over my blog memories when my stats revealed that someone read that post a few days ago. My first thought: “Simone, delete that post!!! That relationship failed, get rid of the memories of your failures, erase the post.” But, that isn’t life, we can’t go around erasing the terrible things that we’ve experienced. We face our failures, we accept them and we learn from them. So here are three reasons, I believe my getting it wrong was necessary for me to learn how to get it right.

  1. I accepted the love I thought I deserved: subpar, broken and inconsistent. The guy I thought was forever, in hindsight, did not love me well. And to tell you the truth, I can’t blame him. He was not loved well and he had no genuine connection to the One who loved him well. When your life is absent from the Creator of Love, it’s hard to love others. Instead, you love them through your broken version of the love you’ve received. That is the way he loved me: from a place of fear/distance, insecurity which drove his patterns of lying about stupid things, ghosting and poor communication and mediocre because to invest in love is to open himself up to the possibility to be in pain. He prided himself to be a master of pain avoidance and he did this by loving from a shallow place. The worst part was I loved the same way: my friendships were not deep by any measure of the imagination. I was trying to be everything for him, even if it meant being untrue to myself. Lastly, he was everything and because I did not think highly of myself; it was like girl you betta take what you can get. WRONG!!! Now, I’ve grown and I can see that God was like “Homegirl, you deserve so much better!” Thank God!  
  2. I was not okay with being alone. In fact, being and dying alone was one of my biggest fears. Therefore, I settled with “better than what I had” but not necessarily great. Anything that is better than what you had always seemed to be the best but it is not until you understand what you’re worth that you realize what you’ve settled for. There is nothing wrong with looking back and being like “he’s not that great- in fact he’s trash!” I wasn’t secure within myself to have that moment of awakening but God not waiting on my point of enlightenment, in mercy, decided to save this girl from herself! I’m so grateful He did. Because, if we’re honest not one ounce of love lives in fear; so to build a love out of it would be a decision to settle for a love that is indeed false. Perfect love expels fear; there is no fear in true love. As I’ve grown and come to love myself, I seek to be absent of fear and perfected in love. It is the heart of the Father that we are full of love and void of fear and that should be demonstrated in our relationships. To be unafraid is to be truly in love. 
  3.  I realized that I needed to heal. Yep, there were wounds that I neglected thinking that I would find healing in my relationship but that’s not how it works, you are to come to your relationship whole ready to complement them. It is so dangerous to bring your open wounds to someone and expect them to have the balm to heal you. It breeds codependency and easy disappointment. God knew that I needed to heal, that I needed to be alone to really seek him for this necessary balm. The best thing that could have happened was the ending of my relationship because the end of that thing opened my heart to the fact that there were wounds that needed to heal. Ladies and gents, the best thing you can do is heal. Heal and then enter into relationships with other people. Don’t bring your baggage into your relationships and place expectations on people to heal you. Only God heals, so allow him to heal you with His love.

Friends, the guy I was with was NOT my one and only, but he was integral to my growth. He taught me what I did not want in a person. He taught me what I was not willing to settle for. He taught me that what I’ve embraced was not real love. I’m grateful that things ended because it gave me the freedom to learn about myself and to love me.  So, there is no need to fear mistakes because even our mistakes are redeemable in the hands of God.  He has this tendency to take our bad things and He promises to make them work for our good.  He rights our wrongs. 

God allowed me to get it wrong so that He could make one thing right, me!  

Xoxo, 

Simone 

FIC: https://i2.wp.com/digital-photography-school.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/black-white-mistakes-4.jpg?resize=750%2C750&ssl=1

DeActivated

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

There is nothing more exhausting than living a life of comparison. Nothing. I didn’t realize how much of a comparison-driven life I was living until I saw how much time I consumed reflecting on the adventures of others through social media. To be connected to so many, yet to feel so alone is a travesty within itself.

I think this is the trap of the enemy to get us into this mindset of comparing our realities to others’ highlight reel. I mean the snare to compare is so stealthy, you’ll think your life is great until a late night scrolling sesh on insta and all of sudden you’re looking through your life with regret. Crazy to think that something that is supposed to unite us can be the very thing that tears us apart. So last night, I deactivated and logged out of my social media accounts, just to take a temporary break. I didn’t realize how much time I spent scrolling until I took away that option. Ladies and gents, I was in the middle of the comparison trap and I had to tackle that head on.

To say we are immune to comparison would be a complete lie, especially since we live in a world that positions us to compare ourselves one to another. We are indoctrinated in a culture that causes us to readily check our lives against the lives of our peers. We measure our successes, failures and even our worth to the words and opinions of others. Loves, sometimes the Father will ask us to disconnect so that we can come face to face to the truth of what He’s spoken about us. He removes the distractions so that we can be real about our desires and our discontentment with life. It’s not until we’re reminded of the truth of what God’s spoken that we can combat the snare to compare.

So, friends I encourage you to take the time that you need. If that means, getting off of social media for a period of time or so, and becoming present with those around you or even deactivating for a while- do what you must to thrive as a son or daughter!

I love you guys and I can’t wait to speak with you all soon!

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTNnr7bU3b_aEiTk7UA3tnYroHYaiIrl_EE3oib4Rt6mjdf5qB_aQ

With Everything Inside…

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

“With everything inside…” those were the words of a song I wrote Christmas Day, 2017. It was a random expression of how I felt about the Father. My dad’s friend sat at the piano and I just began to sing, “With everything inside, I will offer you my worship…” These words came from a place of freedom, I felt safe and free to sing what I heard in my heart.

The thought came to me… when was the last time I felt free? I mean, really free. The freedom to sing, the freedom to song-write, the freedom to just be different in the midst of a crowd that wants me to be the same. The last time I was truly free was at the beginning of the year when I was writing more and expressing the love I received with the world. Then, like many stories, pain met me and threw me off course. I stopped writing, I stopped singing, I started to withhold my worship. With everything became with some things and then with some things became with nothing. I had nothing to offer, nothing to bring and nothing to say.

Today, I listened to a few voice memos and started to reflect on the songs the Lord gave me. I listened and was immediately transported to those moments of prayer, worship, and authenticity. I was reminded of a piece of myself that was lying dead from pain- my heart’s posture as a worshipper and a songwriter. It’s crazy how good God really is. Like, when I take time to think about His awesomeness, I’m enthralled in this ugly cry place of gratitude. I’m thankful that in love, he reminded me of my identity in him. I’m his writer and that is enough!

So… lovelies, I encourage you to go to the moments where you felt free. Learn from those moments, reflect on those moments and find your time with Him again. Be His first and let everything else come as a result of loving Him more. Always remember that He loves you deeply!

Xoxo,

Simone

Misplaced Expectations.

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

I’ve been guilty of many things, one being the placement of expectations on those I love without agreed upon conversation. I know what you’re thinking, “Simone, you can’t just be out here expecting things from people who have not verbalized their agreement to fulfill certain roles!” I know. It’s not my intention to placed these expectations on others but if we’re honest deep down on the inside, we expect people to love like we do. Yes, we do! We expect people to be as tolerant as us, to give as much as we do, to be concerned with what we care about, to see the world through our lens. The disappointment comes when we discover that someone is not loving us the way we expected them to, that they are not being as kind as we expected, that they are not as honest as we expected. Our disappointment comes from our own misplaced expectations.

I recently came to a place with someone that I love that left me deeply disappointed. I entered into this friendship with this person, shared my heart with them, even told them things that no one else knew about me. I became aware of a bit of dishonesty from them to me and I was deeply troubled: I WAS ANGRY!!! Man, you could not tell me I wasn’t justified in my response. The problem was, I was really angry with myself. Angry that I placed these expectations of honesty and truth upon someone and their failure of those expectations. If we’re honest, our anger is with ourselves. We’re disappointed that we placed faith and trust in someone that we thought could do no wrong, but they did. Problem is: we’re all human, liable to make mistakes. We are all liable to get it wrong and there is grace for mistakes.

So…if I could offer any advice. Please do not place expectations on people unless there has been a direct conversation stipulating behavior. We cannot expect perfection, but we should not tolerate crap either. Some things can be cleared up by mere communication. So have the conversation… do that person value honesty the way you do? How do they feel about the concept of respect? Do they value you? Why do they want to be in your life? What is the role that they want to place in your life? Do you agree with this role? Express your feelings, desires, stances on relational definitions and let the chips fall where they lay.

Rid your life of misplaced expectations.

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://cloud.visura.co/346518.xx_large.jpg

All Walled Up

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m back and I have so much to say!  Have you ever wondered why we have walls? I mean, why do we have partitions between rooms, people, experiences?  I know we are taught that walls protect us, they are necessary for privacy and are critical for boundaries.  But, what if our walls are damaging us?  I mean the walls we keep on the inside that keep us from being honest with others. I remember once upon a time, my Pastor  (PT) preached this epic sermon about walls.  He discussed the dangers of living with walls, of being closed off from those given to you.  I left that service inspired to tear down my walls, but I noticed that some of the walls I’ve built were rooted in my own disappointments and unrealistic expectations. Immediately, God began to deal with my walls.

If I’m candid, the walls I’ve built to protect myself from others became this tool to destroy me.  Here are some of the walls, the Lord and I have been tearing down one by one:  (1) Walls of disappointment, (2) Walls of rejection, (3) Walls associated with childhood trauma, (4) Walls of depression/suicidal ideations, (5) Walls of anxiety and fear, (6) Walls of self-hatred and diminishment of self, (7) Walls of guilt from past mistakes and behavior, (8) Walls of doubt, and finally (9) Walls of expectations.  I shared my former walls so that you can have the courage to identify yours. I mean, your healing is your responsibility.  I’m a big believer in honesty/transparency because I desire to grow as a person.  This new found freedom drives me to open the same invitation to each of you.  We do not have to live all walled up.  The same God who created us can protect us and we can trust Him with our happiness.

Our walls keep us from receiving all that the Father has destined for us.  Think about it, how can we believe in our dream if our wall of false belief about self stands in the way?  I remember delaying on what God placed on the inside because His Word had to run into my wall of fear.  It became exhausting to believe in anything, especially God’s Word.  I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the courage to tear down our walls.  I mean we don’t have to do this by ourselves, our Father is able and willing to help.  That’s the beauty of living in this new way, we don’t have to do this alone!  I couldn’t receive until I tore down my wall, I couldn’t love well until I rid myself of my walls, I couldn’t help effectively until my walls were demolished.

Our walls hinder us from loving ourselves and therefore determine how we love others.  

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://alifebeyondrubies.files.wordpress.com/2013/03//walls01.jpg

My Pastor’s EPIC sermon about walls (Pursue Series: “Come Outside”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilyuf3GCZlQ

I Am Too Proud To Beg

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Pre-Christmas Week!  I’m home for the holidays and I can feel the hustle and bustle of excitement in the air.  It’s been a while since we’ve talked, so I thought I would share something with each of you tonight.

As I began to gear up for dinner prep, I began to think about the holidays as a whole.  As many of you know, I ended a long-term relationship this past July.  Before this final break up, I was stuck in this on again- off again whirlwind of a relationship.  I spent seven years devoted to this rescue project, who did not acknowledge my own value to invest the same.  It was a living nightmare.  The sad part of this whole fiasco was every Christmas I would do the absolute most to convince him that I was “it.”  It was as if in my mind the magic of Christmas would cure our toxic relationship.  Slowly but surely, I awakened to myself, and now I am convinced that I deserve better.

Ladies and gents, this is the first Christmas in a long time that I am truly single.  I mean single-single.  I am single in my mind, heart, body, I belong to God and me alone.  Christmas is not my favorite holiday because of whose attached to me (contrary to Hallmark Channel’s popular belief), neither does this holiday bring me joy because of who is sitting at my dinner table.  Christmas is my favorite holiday because its the day God in goodness full of love gave the world a gift that was too good for it:  His Son.  He loved me enough to give me a piece of himself. And if the Creator gave himself so freely, why on earth should I have to beg someone to love me well?  I don’t.  Point, blank, periodt!

Friends, it took me seven years to learn that I deserved better.  Seven long, teary-eyed, exhausting years.  Now that I recognize my worth, I’m not begging anyone else to.  I know that I’m beautiful,  I know that I’m dope, I know that I’m wife material.  I understand that I am God’s gift to humanity, that I’ve been fashioned in gentleness and grace, that my class and elevated thinking is one to die for.  I know who I am.  And this awareness of me has shifted my whole approach to relationships.  Friends, know thyself!  Recognize the goodness that lies within you and refuse to beg anyone else to see what’s inside- especially someone with no vision, no goals, no ambition and a little to no future.

Be too proud of yourself to beg!

Xoxo,

Simone

Steadfast Love

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m gearing up for the end of the semester.  I thought that I reached a place above adversity, one where I could not be touched by the cares and concerns of the world.

Friends, in all honesty, I became comfortable.  Adversity has this amazing way of keeping one in conscious awareness of their need for God.  It’s like when I’m in trouble, I am more aware of my need for Him. Sad, but true.  So, I became comfortable and I knew I needed Him but my desperation for His presence began to wane and I continued to live life for me.

I believe that God loves us so much that He shakes up our world to causes us to become aware again.  It’s like, He doesn’t want us to ever come to this place where we think we don’t need Him.  Can you imagine loving someone but treating them as if they weren’t necessary?  I believe we treat the Lord this way.  We love Him but we live life as if He’s not necessary.  Long story short, the floodgates opened and adversity hit like a neverending wave.  I mean… a neverending wave!  From school complications to my automobile to concerns with my mental health to the most recent trial the lost of both my sister’s (my roommate) and I’s jobs.  It was as if lost came just in time for the holidays and we’re in this familiar position of needing him, a position that forces our hand into trust.

I thought I trusted God.  I did.  I thought I understood His love for me, this notion that because He loves me He wouldn’t leave me without.  Yet, my heart became increasingly full of fear and anxiety wrapped me in a bear hug as to say “Welcome Home!” Even in the midst of my perceived weakness, He never changed.  He loved me with a steadfast love.  You know, as I get older I understand more and more that life is full of change.  One day we’re at the top, the next we’re at the bottom.  One day we have it all, one day we have nothing.  One day we believe with all our hearts and the next we are full of fear and doubt.  In all the highs and lows, His love is steadfast – it doesn’t change.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So, how do I respond to the only consistent thing in my life?  With gratitude.  I respond gratefully for such a love that I don’t deserve.  I respond with a heart to love others with such intention and consistency.  I know that I will make mistakes along the way but the least I could do is try.  Friends, I am loved well by a God that could choose any day not to love me.  Yet, He chooses me every single time. He chooses you and that is simply beautiful.  I pray that you all do not become afraid with the presence of adversity, that you are full of the love of God.  I pray that you all have a deep awareness of God’s goodness and rest in your eternal need for Him.  I pray that you are filled to the brim with love.

May you rest in His faithfulness, may you bask in His love. 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://freedomcrossroads.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Adobe-Spark-27-777×437.jpg

 

Confessions of a Law Student…

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I usually refrain from speaking about this part of my life, well… in part because it is not full of rainbows and sunshine.  Sometimes, well… the majority of the time, it’s filled with the complete opposite.  I think I’ve cried more in the last three years than I have my entire life.  Like, many of you may read this and be like,” Wow sis, you’re super dramatic!”  But if some of you lived a day in my colleagues’ lives, you would lose it.  I mean you would probably think you’re borderline insane.  Studies show that law students/lawyers experience 30% more depression than the average citizen, 45% more anxiety,  and 40% more issues with substance abuse.  But, what we do isn’t all bad:  we argue for clients to gain a just result!  However, sometimes we make arguments and we lose, our clients don’t get what’s just and is robbed by a flawed system.  If I could gather my colleagues together, I believe we would settle on the following confessions.  So please fancy us and enjoy twenty confessions from a law student/lawyer:

  1. I never have time, I make time.  So please don’t waste the time I give you.
  2. If I knew what the case was trying to say, I wouldn’t be struggling to answer this question right now Professor.
  3. If you ask me what I am doing, odds are I’m working.  Like legitly, I work a lot.
  4. Everyone cannot be a lawyer.  If that was true then my three years of suffering, hundreds of debt in student loans, ten weeks of bar prep, $10, 000 of bar prep funds and my sanity means nothing to society.  Never say that it’s easy to be a lawyer and that everyone can be a lawyer.  Those words are disrespectful…
  5. My life is planned, my days are scheduled.  You being mad because I cannot attend your last minute function, doesn’t diminish my to-do list.
  6. Sometimes, I want to escape my life.  Like how dope would it be to go to another country, change my identity and like never come back.
  7. My phone will ring at the most inopportune times.  At dinner, while I’m in the shower when I’m watching a movie.  My phone will ring and it will be about something that really isn’t as important as it seems.
  8. Law & Order, HTGAWM, and The Bar is not real life.  Please stop trying to convince me that you know the law from your knowledge of legal dramas.
  9. Only 33% of the population has the knowledge I have,  this means Law School must be hella hard.
  10. I work for a client.  That person is my priority and sometimes they run all the way out!
  11. No, I cannot give you legal advice for free.
  12. If I have to do my job, my legal secretary’s job and act as my own paralegal, I should receive the pay for all three of those salaries.
  13. I want to work out but I’m so tired.
  14. I’m taught to conceal my weaknesses, to only show my strengths but this hinders me from being vulnerable in my relationships.  Why do you think a majority of us are still single?
  15. I keep people’s secrets for a living, yet it’s rare that someone keeps mine.
  16. A glass of wine every once in a while was great.  But, now Thursday Happy Hours is the only way I’m getting by.
  17. I see sad things all the time.  I think I’ve lost my sense of connection to the world.  A murder is no longer a senseless shameful act but an aggravated crime dependent on mens rea.  If there is no intent to kill or to cause gross bodily harm or injury, or even just a reckless disregard for behavior resulting in the loss of life or harm, that’s not murder- that’s a lesser offense.
  18.  I wouldn’t wish the type of stress I feel on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
  19. It’s easy to say everything is going to be okay, especially when you don’t have one test determining your semester grade.
  20. Every day I wake up and wonder if I am making the biggest mistake of my life. Every. single. day.

Bonus:  You don’t understand and frankly, I hope you never do.

 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC:http://i2.wp.com/real-law.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/studying.jpg?resize=290%2C174

Safe Spaces

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

Today is Monday.  Yep, I survived another week and as I begin a new one: gratitude, relief, and a sheer “OMG I can’t believe we’re still in it to win it” fills my heart.   However, today I wanted to share something on my heart with each of you.  DISCLAIMER: Today’s post will be super real, transparent and utterly vulnerable. But, that’s the way I desire to be with each of you, for we can only help each other when we remove the masks. So, beloveds (in my Iyanla Vanzant Voice) take a deep breath, let’s go!

I believe that one of the best feelings in the world is the feeling of safety.  l mean safety is better than PSLs from Starbucks, better than holiday meals, even better than a vacay with no cell service so my clients can’t contact me.  Like most individuals in the world, I value safety: physical, emotional and spiritual safety. If you’re in an environment where you don’t believe you are safe to be yourself, it can be emotionally crippling. Ladies and gents, this is why I carry my life as a safe space- a place where people can come, confide and hide in love and compassion. This is where it gets real though…I’ve been a safe space for many but it is extremely rare that there has been someone in my life that has been a safe space for me.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for my safe space.  Quickly disappointed, I’d shut down and became emotionally unavailable to those around me.

Let’s be real, those who are super loving are usually the ones that have experienced the most pain.  Those who are super accepting of others are typically the ones who’ve been rejected by many.  Those who are the “strong” one in their relationships are typically built that way because of traumatic events surrounding their weaknesses.  I have been all of these things…rejected, in pain and have experienced trauma.

Overall, my soul sought safety.

You know what?  I came to the conclusion that if I never have a tangible safe space, a person by which I share my fears, concerns, desires, triumphs, and hardships- I’ve found safety in the Father. For reals, though He is not tangible, He is all around and He is a safe space. The best things about Him: He’s consistent, He doesn’t change, He’s reliable and He’s always available!

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust Him.

Psalms 91:2

I bet when David wrote those words, he was seeking a safe space.  He was on the run, his father-in-law was insane trying to kill him, his wife didn’t help him, he had no communication with his best friend, and he was utterly alone.  I know what it’s like to feel alone like no one truly understands the contents of your heart.  David knew this loneliness all too well, but even in the midst of his pain, he recognized what he had: the Father.  The Father was his safe space, and He is mine.

May you find refuge in the love of God!  May the Father give you a safe space/a community that will love you well!

Xoxo,

Simone