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 

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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

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

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

 

Memories

I remember being prompted to write to you.

To unleash all of my thoughts and to direct them solely to you.

But fear came in, and I determined

that I could not bear such a weight of honesty.

I did not want to face this insecurity,

so I remained silent.

Yet, I could not continue to hide that…

my mind remembers you.

My mind is also convinced that 1+1=2…

that one day there will be

the two of us, freely

engaged in a relationship with one another

and not just simply together.

My mind and not just my heart is shipping us on the daily.

To tell the truth, you’re to blame

because since our first meeting I haven’t been the same

and that’s when fear and doubt came…

and I silently watched you forfeit the love game.

Hmmm… isn’t it crazy that after all the time that’s gone by,

after sleeping under different parts of the skies,

after absent vacations, birthdays and graduations,

after new jobs and new life situations,

after twists, turns, life unexpected promises,

after suicidal attempts and divine God-visits,

after years of addictions and brand new shoes,

after realizing that life was more than being cool..

I still cannot forget about you.

Trust me, I tried.

I stood in the mirror and lied,

said that I didn’t love you anymore.

I went too far in my confession, I even swore-

to those that loved me dearly and to those who witnessed my pain.

I promised I wouldn’t choose you, because I didn’t want you to break me again.

But my mind doesn’t care because I remember:

Indian and Thai food, Lakers, “Lebron, the princess!”, Christmas 2012, Phoenix (Parisian boys), “I’m destiny, you’re looking at it”, bagging contest, CNC galore, food science degrees, brewery dreams, “Sept. 15, Don’t forget!”, fields and fields of broken dreams.  July 10, 2011,> hands clasped at the altar.

I remember and I tried desperately to forget.

For 5+ years, every moment I’ve had in life has found a way to connect to you.

So… I know I’m intelligent, but maybe I’m a fool.

Because even on your worst days- I still want to be with you!

Maybe this is grace personified in me,

maybe this is love, maybe this is being free.

Maybe this is compassion bestowed liberally…

all in all, still remains the question of what to do.

Yes, I’ll admit it.  I never stopped loving you.

©Simone Holloway, 2018

FIC: https://i2.wp.com/indiacurrents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/memories.jpg?resize=500%2C333&ssl=1

A Lover of Love

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I hope you all are having a great Saturday.  I love love, but I realized that I don’t love it as much as the one who created me.  God loves love.  Like for reals… God loves love.  So much so, that he desired someone to love deeply and that is why he made us:  man and woman.  He wanted to love and to be loved.  I think that is why we all have this innate desire to be loved because we were made in the image of our Creator.  So, we have a God that has everything, a huge house, streets made of money, angels who serve on the regular and there is still something missing- us.  To fulfill a need, God created mankind to love him, each other and all that he has placed into the Earth.  How beautiful is the understanding that God made us to love us?  He didn’t need any more servants, he had plenty (angels); he didn’t need any more beautiful things, he made so many (stars, flowers, etc.); he didn’t need any more houses, he had a huge one with a shiny throne on the inside; he didn’t need any more money, for his streets were made of gold.  But there was one single need, God needed someone to love.  He needed someone to lavish love upon, to demonstrate love to, he needed someone to love well.  Because of this and this alone, he created you and I.  I was created because God wanted someone to love. 

When we come to the place where we see our Heavenly Father as a lover of love and not a beacon of hatred and terror, it is then that we can appreciate the sacrifice of his Son.  We get so caught up at seeing God as this hard taskmaster, waiting for us to mess up- hating us for what we do that we lose sight of the reason by which we were created.  We were created to love and to be loved by Him.  Do you know why God hates sin?  I mean, really know?  It’s because sin creates separation between us and Him.  When God created Eden and formed man in the garden, scripture speaks of a time where man and God were not separated.  He was our homie, hanging out every waking moment.  I could imagine, man and God fishing together or taking walks on the nature trails, or even sitting up late to count the stars- all TOGETHER. As soon as Adam and Eve ate that dreaded fruit, they were aware of one of the biggest evils known to man: BAD SEPARATION.  Think about it:  all criminal activity results in bad separation. When we steal, we separate the owner from their possession.  When we kill, we separate that person from their loved ones, co-workers, and just the world.  When we engage in adultery and various sexual affairs, we separate a person from a covenant they made with their partner.  All pain stems from some type of bad separation: whether separation from joy, peace, trust or happiness.  GOD NEVER DESIGNED OUR WORLD TO BE FILLED WITH SEPARATION FROM WHAT’S GOOD.  However, this is the mission of sin.  Sin is designed, advertised and encouraged to breed separation from God and good and its biggest hype man is the thief, the accuser, Satan.

I bet you’re like whoah, wasn’t expecting the Sunday School lesson and that may be the case, but I’m sharing all of this so that you all may gain a deeper understanding of the one who designed you, who formed you and called you good.  It is my desire that you may know Him and know Him rightly.

So,  we have this Lover who made us to be loved and here we are loving everything but Him.  I mean we love our jobs more than Him, we love our significant others/spouses more than Him, we even love our pets more than Him.  Though He designed us to be loved and to love Him well, we don’t in fact- many of us aren’t even submitted to Him, yet He loves us anyway.  I remember a time in my life when I loved everything more than I loved Him.  I mean, I sought for things to replace His spot in my life.  Time progressed, people entered my life and people left but yet He was still there seeking to love me.  How beautiful it is to be loved consistently.  His love didn’t waver because of my behavior and I didn’t have to work to earn His love,  He freely gave it time and time again.  His ultimate goal is a relationship that would stand the test of eternity.  He desires that there would be no separation between Him and me.

This is the One whom I live for. An honest guy who loves love, who hates sin because it causes separation and who desires to love and be loved by me.  This is the core of who He is.  Every other quality, trait, and characteristic is like a beautiful bonus: icing on the cake to the solid foundation of who He is.  May you rest in the simplicity of his decision to love you.  He decided to love you before he made you, seeking to demonstrate his love for you throughout each day of your life.  Bad things happenI know and the question comes, if God loves me why did this happen?  This is the question I’ve asked multiple times, but then I came to the understanding that God is not the orchestrator of the bad things in my life.  He’s not out here seeking to make me sad, or to destroy my esteem or to take life from me.  There’s another presence at work, super jealous that God loves me with all of my flaws – so he works overtime to cause me to doubt this love I was given.  The thief comes to steal, kill and to destroy and he is responsible for the evil we see in this world.  “For I have come that you may have life, and life more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10)  God desires that I live and that I live to the fullness, only someone who loves us can hope so deeply that we live well.

I am loved.  I was created to be loved.  I was created to love God.  I was created to love others well.  This is the core of why I am here, this is who I am. 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.jashow.org/articles/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/garden-large.jpg

There’s More

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

Happy Thursday!  Have you ever sat back, reflected on your day and was like “How in the world did I get all of that done?”  You know what I mean?  No, well if you knew how hectic my schedule was you would be like: “OMG I can’t believe she is still breathing!”  Every day is another fast-paced adventure full of twists and turns,  looming with the unexpected and thriving with the unknown.  I plan for the day and I keep a day planner, or I used to- but every moment seems to be an invitation to release control and to step into the adventure that is Him.

How beautiful is it to feel unlimited?  To no longer be bogged down with the weight of limitations?  Whether those limitations are time, energy, money, intellect, etc?   For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’ve broken through the glass ceiling and there is an appreciation of the fact that there is so much more!  There is so much more adventure, much more ideas, much more creativity!  It is as if a well of creativity is flowing on the inside and where there was blockage of doubt, insecurity, and brokenness- healing has come to produce a well that never runs dry.  This is what it feels like to lean into His grace, to relinquish control, to receive His love.  It feels like the words of hope never end, the ideas for the future fail to cease and innovation become a neverending reality. And just when, just when you feel like there is nothing left to give, that well springs up again spouting forth something new and something good.

He is the well and with him, there is so much more!

Xoxo,

Simone

“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

FIC: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/63/Strokkur_geyser_eruption%2C_close-up_view.jpg/300px-Strokkur_geyser_eruption%2C_close-up_view.jpg

 

Things We Learn From Movies….

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Have you ever watched a movie, invested in it and then at the end was left disappointed? Literally, my life ten minutes ago.  I checked out a new film, invested two hours and fifteen minutes into the film, but by the time I got to the end I was like “OMG ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?” It was as I was #AvengersInfinityWar’d all over again!  But, Ladies and Gents- that feeling of disappointment matches some of the relationships I chose.  I entered into these relationships:  excited, intrigued and overwhelmed with the hype of who their representative swore to be but by the time I got to the root of the substance that lied within the individual, I was quickly disappointed.  It’s nothing worse than wasting time, especially in people.  How many of us were attracted or intrigued by an individual and when push came to shove, was ultimately disappointed by what we invested into?  This is something, I’ve experienced and I these are the thoughts I would like to share with you.

So…why are we attracted to the shallow and insufficient?  Why do we jump all the way into things without testing the weightiness of it?  I think all of my experiences were rooted in fear.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of not connecting with someone in the same way.  Fear that nothing better will come along.  The crazy thing about fear is that it will have us dancing on the line of desperation, in an effort to control what’s next.  I think that we jump too soon because we’re scared that we’re going to miss out because of time.  Time like sand slips through our fingers and we feel this anxious clock hovering over us telling us who we should be by a certain year. I ran into relationships because of these fears and I was disappointed because I invested in something without counting the costs. I made decisions out of my fears and I was disappointed.  However, the Father promises that if we place our trust in Him, we will never be disappointed.  God choices do not disappoint.  Choices construed out of myself, feelings, and fears are going to disappoint me every single time.

What I love about God is that He doesn’t get mad at us if we choose wrong, but instead He reveals to us what we need so that we can choose right.  He does not disappoint us, we disappoint ourselves!  So… let us move forward and let us make the God-choice where it concerns relationships!  Let us choose what He desires and we won’t find ourselves disappointed.

“… those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: http://www.patrickbetdavid.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/movies-red.jpg