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

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

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

So, I Obeyed God…Now What?

Hello old friends, new followers & fellow bloggers-

Have you ever faced a hard decision?  Like, either you’re going to obey Him or you’re going to live life the way that you desire?  Once upon a time, not too long ago, I too was at this crossroad: either to obey Him or to live life for me.

The hardest decisions we must make are not the ones that we don’t feel but the decisions that we feel deeply.

So… as many of you may or may not have known, once upon a time, I was in a relationship with this (in my mind) dope guy.  I mean (in my mind) He was the next best thing since sliced bread.  He was it!  You hear me?  He was “the” perfect age, perfect height, he looked like a Ken doll, he had all the qualities I would have wanted for a guy: kindness, compassion, generosity, and intelligence.  He could do no wrong.  He was the one I was waiting for… or so I thought. I think we all in our minds imagine our lives with certain things:  certain careers, certain houses, certain cars, and even certain people.  It is like we race toward the finish line to make sure that we are set and therefore we settle for things and people that temporarily satisfy.  This is what I did with my relationship, I settled.

On a random Tuesday morning, God wanted to speak about the thing I held dear in my heart.  To tell you the truth, I held this person I loved more dearly than I did Him.  Yep, I was guilty of allowing someone to sit on His throne.  That morning, God came and He shared some truth with me and asked me to let my relationship go.  I had a choice, either I was going to trust my Father and obey or I was going to hold on to something out of the fear that what I was letting go, I would never find again.

I chose to let go:  not because I was brave, not even because I knew what was coming, but simply because I trusted God and His choices for my life.

So, I obeyed God… now what?  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m single and I still desire companionship.  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m still not as financially secure as I would prefer.  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m still navigating through life alone and I don’t have anyone I can confide in.  These are just a few examples of our responses to obedience.  Ladies and gents, God never promised immediate change as the reward for obedience, but he did promise that trusting in Him will not cause us to be ashamed/humiliated/embarrassed.  Though it may appear that our act of obedience has done nothing, in retrospect that simple act has changed everything.  My act obedience wasn’t magic, it didn’t shield the pain of my decision, it didn’t make my decision easier but it gave me a peace about my future.

Obedience to the Father is an act of love and trust, not into what he has for you but into who he is and his nature to be good.

So, I obeyed God…now what?

Xoxo,

Simone 

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV

FIC: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TBZw5dQ8oN4/WDBeBCCvn1I/AAAAAAAAZ5g/ZrPUHCvFqqobU6U7VDHLsskd9cUqT5IcwCLcB/s1600/Path.jpg

 

Goodbye.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s Tuesday, the weather is frightening and today was one of making hard decisions and letting go.  It’s easy to talk about letting go but sometimes God asks for things that we’ve grown quite attached to.  Sometimes we will give these things up, and sometimes it takes a sacrifice of self for us to release that which is super important to us.

Anything you’re not willing to let go of is an idol- PT, 6for2 Prayer

For me, it was a man.  I loved this man so much so, that I couldn’t imagine my life without him being in it.  God was like, “Oh really? Why don’t we find out?” And for the past six years, I lived life without this man being in my life.  I found out that I didn’t need this person in my life for it to be filled with joy, adventure, and fulfillment.  Without him, I was fulfilled because I found myself in Christ.

It’s hard to admit that you’ve been serving and striving for other things than God, who wants to face the truth that their heart hasn’t been totally devoted to their Savior?  Not too many people.

But, I think honesty is the catalyst for freedom.  It is not until we face the music that we become free!

In order to say hello to the new, we must say goodbye to the old.  This can include but not limited to:  who we thought we were, who we thought we would be with, where we thought we would live, what we sought career-wise, and other things we refuse to release control.

We must say goodbye because at every end is a new beginning.

I wish I could tell you that saying goodbye is easy.  Oh man!  I wish I could assure you that goodbyes won’t produce any tears, but that is simply not the case.  In fact, a hard goodbye may cause you to cry for days but I promise that what’s coming is so much better than what’s been.

Give yourself time to feel, cry, worship, do whatever it takes to heal properly. To pretend that you’re not in pain is not holiness neither is it spiritual, it’s simply foolish and a sure way to remain injured.  Feel, acknowledge what you feel, be honest with yourself and heal.  Give yourself the permission to heal!

Your (God’s) way is not just right, your way is better! – PT, 6for2 Prayer

May you find the courage to say goodbye. 

Xoxo,

Simone 🦁

FIC: https://cdn.tinybuddha.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Woman-Waving-Goodbye.png

 

New Garments

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s a rarity that I post twice but when things change in your life, it deems time fit for another post.  After the post earlier (Shades Down and Lights Off),  I sat on my bed and just began to think.  I thought about God, my life, my past, my present, my hopes, and desires.  To calm the anxious thoughts in my mind, I searched for the 8AM sermon at All Nations Worship Assembly.  Instead of a traditional sermon, Apostle Stevenson got up and began to pray against the spirits of death, suicide, and anxiety.  Man oh man, that prayer wrecked me.  He had no idea that a young girl in SC would listen to something he imparted into Chicago earlier that morning.  I sat, cried, worshipped and kneeled and in that moment I felt the beautiful presence of God. In my lowest of lows, His love came to the rescue once again.  I removed my clothes of sadness and mourning and changed into garments of joy.  My peace returned to me and I decided to go to church again: this time in new garments!

How great is our God, that when we think it’s all over He shows up?  When we turn to Him and express our need for Him, he comes to our rescue- so faithful and so kind, is he.  There’s a lyric in this song called “Reckless Love” that says “There’s no wall you won’t kick down/ Lie you won’t tear down/ Coming after me”  And today, He kicked down some self-made walls and he tore down the lies I  was being enticed to believe.  Loves, I want to affirm you today.  You are NOT a lost cause.  You are NOT hopeless.  You are NOT going to remain in the same situation overwhelmed by the same things.  God STILL loves you.  He STILL chooses you.  He STILL desires you and though your mind may say otherwise, HE thinks of you the SAME.  Today, in my darkest moment the Father showed up in grace, mercy and reckless love.  You are not alone, for the Creator of all good things comes to you- ready in hand with whatever you need.

Thank you for the prayers,  thanks for being my online family and thanks for giving me the freedom to live a transparent life.  I love you all very much!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mZaIKqL7HIM/TyooZ_7sj-I/AAAAAAAAAbI/oBUqO-zywVY/s1600/jacobscoat.jpg

Shades Down, Lights Off

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

I’m not okay.  At all.   Not even close.  I think for a long time, I painted this face of being always happy but I’m not happy not one bit and the more I think about it the more I want to reveal exactly where I am.  There’s a saying that those who can’t, teach.  I’ve invested my whole life into loving people well because I sought to be loved well.  I’ve invested my whole career into advocating for people because I know exactly what it feels like to not have anyone advocate for me.  I push community on others because I would be rich if I had a quarter for every time I felt alone.  In fact, I feel alone now.   I wish I could change that thing about me, I wish I could say I had more good days than bad but truthfully that’s not the case.  Even now, though the sun is outside and it’s beauty is radiating… I’m in my room the shades down and the lights off, wondering if I can really do this thing called life.  It took me twice as long to figure out if I was going to church this morning because it took me a solid hour and some change to figure out if I still wanted to continue breathing.  Like, if I disappeared off the face of the planet, would it really matter?  If my presence disappeared from my apartment, my school, my church or my job- would anyone actually care?  At this moment, I understand so deeply what Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain felt, to be surrounded by people that don’t know you, who are oblivious to the inward turmoil that you’re facing because they assume by your success, position, gifting and outward garments that you’re okay.

I’m done pretending that my faith has positioned me on some pedestal, and I’m over pretending that there are no days when I want to let go.  Today was one of those days… the idea that I have to be strong is overrated and the fact of the matter is: I need God as much as you do. In fact, I need Him now!  I need him to sort out the messiness of my mind, I need his help to break destructive patterns, I need his love to soothe the pain.  I need him now and I refuse to live another day hiding my feelings for the conveniences of others.  It’s okay to not be okay.

Xoxo,

Simone

Once Again

It's silent around me. 

I can't hear a peep-

for my brain no longer recognizes the sound of a broken heart. 

It's crazy how time has not healed anything, 

I'm still standing in 2011 longing - 

for what seems to be the impossible. 

I hold my breath and look over the edge, 

and I begin to count my fears. . . 

For I am afraid. 

Yes! I am utterly afraid- 

that 7 years worth of prayers will greet me at my front door, 

seeking perfection. 

I'm not perfect but I find myself concerned with a standard, 

that never measures up.  

An unspoken question: am I good enough? 

What if he is greatly disappointed?

But, what if he's extremely pleased?

But, how would I ever know if I never jump?

I stand on love's cliff and the wind beckons me to the sky. 

Either I will sink or swim- but first I must fly! 

Lo, it's time to take a chance- once again.

3. . . 2. . . 1

©Simone Holloway, 2017

 

FIC:  http://www.nstperfume.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/crater-lake.jpg

 

Revived Belief

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I’ve been bursting with experiences that I’ve been dying to share with each of you.  I think creativity and inspiration has this amazing way of being fueled by life and for the past week or so I’ve increased my pursuit for the presence of God.  I can sit here and pretend that I was not in a low place, that I had everything together and that my faith in the promises of God concerning me was rock solid- but ladies and gents, that would be a lie!  In fact, my belief in what God said about me wavered and my trust in the one who held my future faltered.  You see, my biggest fear was that what I was believing God for concerning myself was never going to come true and once again I would be disappointed and left without security.  Friends, I had no trouble believing in the God of miracles for others or even each of you- but I had a hard time believing in myself.  For years, I believed the lie that I was inadequate, that I wasn’t good enough that I was a mistake, that my uniqueness/difference was a curse rather than a blessing.  It was out of this pain, that propelled me to believe so strongly in others – to push them towards their differences and to champion behind their tailored greatness.  Pain pushed me to love more yet I felt emptiness on the inside…

It’s usually the ones who love the most that have experienced such harsh heartbreak.  It’s usually the most accepting individuals that experienced the most rejection.  It’s usually the depressed  that seek to bring others joy and I lacking belief in myself- championed and believed in others.  Even those good works could not bring me fulfillment and after while the seeds of awesomeness that God planted on the inside became neglected and poorly maintained.  It is the grace of God that pushes Him to challenges us to produce a return on the investment he has given us.  It’s like the Father loves us so much that he refuses to let that seed he planted within us to die from our own hands.  Friends, the tables turned and the Father began to point the light on me and where I was in this faith walk with Him.  He began to challenge me! He flashed the light on my hypocrisy- how could I sing of his goodness and not believe he was good?  How could I testify of his power and not believe his power is applicable in my life?  How could I speak of his impartiality, yet believe that he was being partial in my circumstance?  God came for my hypocrisy- he challenged my faux faith.  In the end to not believe in myself,  is to not believe at all!  The same God that love my family and friends, love me. The same God that cares about those I attend school with, cares about me.  The same God listening to the prayers of my mentors, hears me when I pray.  He is just as concerned, bothered,  and alert concerning me as everyone else in the universe.  He loves us all!

It was time that I began to believe- for without faith, it is impossible to please God because we must first believe that He exists that he would reward those that seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).  We have to believe that he will make good on his promise.  Over a stretch of time, God has revived my belief in him and most importantly in myself.

May you find your belief again!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://naumankhan.com/wp-content/uploads/181105-Believe-In-Yourself.jpg

©Simone Holloway, 2017