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

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

 

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

 

Jack of All Trades

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Ever heard the saying, “A Jack of all trades but a master of none.”? Yeah, it’s a phrase I rehearse over in my mind because unlike what the saying implies I actually a master of multiple things.  For a long time in my life, I thought I had to live within separate personalities: the intellectual and the creative.  It was as if I could not reconcile between my known trait of intelligence and all of my hidden creative gifts.  Growing up, I felt the pressure to choose.  So can you imagine a torn kid growing up with this saying over her head?  Thoughts like: “What do you mean I can’t do it all?”  “What do you mean that I have to choose one primary thing to master?”  “Why live limited?”  Phrases like the one mentioned above screamed limitations to me and confined me to a box to please society.  I was a Jack of all trades and a master of them all.

So, here I am at 25 realizing that I don’t have to choose between all that God has instilled in me.  I can be both creative and intelligent, both orderly yet spontaneous, and both a structured and free-flowing.  I can be both!  I don’t have to follow the patterns of limitation and I do not have to succumb to the rules of society.  For I am in this world but not of it and I am free to be all that God has created in his likeness.  The crazy part is, you don’t have to be limited either!  You can be all that he made and you don’t have to choose which gift or feature you can highlight.  You can highlight them all.  The moment I came to this resolve, the freer I became.  I am a jack of all trades and a master of them all!

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: http://lipsticklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/no-limitations-628×353.png

 

Purposed Delay

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

So… this weekend has been interesante so far. I walked into my NEW apartment last night to spiders- like legit God-created spiders and I felt a panic attack coming on. I rushed to Walmart with my head scarf still on. Yep, fear took away the shame and I grabbed the one and only bottle of Raid that I could find! I then spent an hr spraying down my apartment but could not sleep a wink. Fast forward… out of paranoia I desired intensely to wash my bedding but then realized that I didn’t have a washer or dryer, so… I pack things up and head to my parentals place which is two hours away for peace of mind. Then I end up stopping by Walmart and once again my plans are derailed and I am delayed in leaving town. Again.

You know what? Maybe delay is not always a bad thing, you know maybe it’s God’s way of orchestrating his will. This delay though annoying in my mind was a perfect vehicle to me seeing an old friend, meeting a new one and getting an opportunity to share some resources to one in need. This weekend is about engaging culture and remembering the one, I believe the Father delayed and derailed my plans to do just that!

All things work together for our good, even the annoying things and inconvenient things. Everything is working for our good!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: https://damhyul3s75yv.cloudfront.net/photos/6112/original_Getting_United_to_Pay_EU_Compensation_for_a_Flight_Delay.jpg

Coming Undone

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

Welcome to a new week and a new month!  It’s a time of newness, expression and becoming more in touch with the person God has created for you to be.  So… I went to church yesterday and my Pastor spoke about how creation is waiting for the person God has created to be revealed here on the earth.  As she continued to preach, I cringed a little bit because in that moment I was guilty… guilty of hiding the person God created. I bet a lot of you are like: “What???” “How???”

Well, here we go- it’s confession time!…

Like some of you, I have a plethora of gifts and talents that the world has no idea about.  I can sing, write, make pottery, I play drums, and I can also perform some poetry- but over the past few years, I have allowed fear, opinions of others, insecurities, perfectionism to hinder me from revealing all of who I am to the world.  To tell you the truth, I’ve placed confidence in others and their abilities but somehow forgot to believe in myself.  If that is not honest and transparent, I don’t know what is…  Like many of you, I’ve even convinced myself that what was burning on the inside of me ( a song, or a post) could be done, performed, or perfected by someone better or more skilled than I.  That is ridiculous, right?  It sure is… but these are the lies that many of us believe.  We believe that we are not needed, we believe that once we’re revealed the world won’t like what is presented before them, we believe that we are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough= all lies that the Enemy uses to keep up hidden, dormant and dying.

What if I told you that freedom was not in some type of chant or mantra but simply in the idea of coming undone.  What if I told you that freedom was wedged between honesty and vulnerability?  That freedom was locked in you losing control and just going for it?

Yesterday, I left service with a new mindset and a new attitude, while making a new decision.  I decided that I was going to live my life coming undone, peeling back the layers I’ve used to cover who I am- I was going to reveal the one God created for this earth.  So…. Ladies and Gents, I encourage you to come out of hiding.  The world is waiting for you: your voice, your ideas, your cooking recipes, etc.  The world is waiting for you and only you. You being the one God created is enough and extremely necessary to the world.  Friends, I love each and every one of you and I’m praying fiercely for you- join me in this new season of life and let us become undone!

“For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.” Romans 8:19 HCSB

Until next time,

Simone

P.S. S/O to my Pastor and the Holy Ghost for WRECKING my entire life with a sermon that encouraged me to get myself together and to move forward undone!!!

FIC: https://thoughtcatalog.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/25539082232_46cea712c1_k.jpg?w=1140&h=656

Daydreaming

I stay dreaming… daydreaming

zoning, refocusing, imagining,

Paris on a clear summer night.

Sweet gardenia’s fill the air and

people around would stop and stare, care, desire to bare-

the concerns that pass between you and I.

Hand in hand, electricity as we stand, in a world full of masks.

I thought this would pass but even paradise can’t erase the past.

If only it was raining, then maybe romance would fuel forgiveness,

but the restoration we seek can’t be found in the weather.

My perfect dream becomes another perfect nightmare,

as I realize that reality burnt that bridge of us together.

Parisian perfection sadly cannot perfect what appeared to be a perfect partnership.

I guess that ship has sailed… oh well,

we will forever have our day dreams.

©Simone Holloway, 2017

 

 

 

The Wanderlust List

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

Lo, I am filled with wan•der•lustthis intense desire to travel, see and enjoy the world created for us.  I was thinking last night that time is so fragile and after some close reflection, I’ve realized that there is so much more to see and experience.  Think about it, how have you experienced the days given you?  Being a Christian is not supposed to be boring or void of adventure, in all actuality- it should be the complete opposite.  Loving God is an adventure…

SO… I’ve prayed and thought closely about how I wanted to remedy my “situation” and I landed on a goal list- my wanderlust list.  My wanderlust list is simply a list of places that I desire to travel to with prices for flights, lodging and activities that I wish to experience there.  It’s a little more than a bucket list but rather a list of short-term goals that I intend to bring into reality.  For example: I desire to dance in the Piazza Navona (town square in Rome), sip coffee with a french pastry at Cafè de Paris (eatery in Paris France) , and to shop within the Bulevard Rosa (shopping mall in Barcelona, Spain).  These are my plans, to see the world in all of its beauty…

So why now???  Well, I would counter that with why not now?  What do we have to lose by going for what we desire?  What is there to be afraid of?  NOTHING!!!! Absolutely nothing.  I think that God desires for us to go beyond where we are, to see more than what we have already seen, and to strive for something bigger than us. You know friends, I’ve come to this place in my life where I am no longer settling for the same thing year in and year out.  Don’t get me wrong, my life has been amazing thus far and I am extremely blessed- but there is so much more!  There is so much wonder to experience and so much more love to share.  I believe that God desires that we release the limitations off of our lives and experience more – he wants more for us!

Well… would you guys like to join me in this movement of breaking limitations, in going after the more?  If so, make your own list.  Maybe yours is not centered around travel or experiences but rather a personal goal list for your business, or maybe a list of doing those things you were afraid of (mines: sailing – too much water lol)- whatever your list is, write it down and commit to fulfilling each item.  God is bigger than our fears and He has no limitations so why should we.  Friends, let us strive to live righteously and to go after more of God and more of life!

Alright, let’s go!!! 

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://designwithdan.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Wanderlust.png

 

***Disclaimer:  We are to go after those things that are pleasing to God, going after some else’s possessions so that you can have more is not what I meant by going after our desires… The more time we spend with Him, our desires begin to match His and we find ourselves enjoying life without our enjoyment being at the expense of someone else. Love y’all ❤

Survival of the Fittest- Law Student Edition

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

It’s so good to be back, happy summer 2k17!  I survived.  Yeppers, I truly survived the fire and the flood and the hardship of a first year law student.  It’s crazy to think about the essence of survival, fighting against all odds and making it out on the other side.  To say that this year taught me a lot about myself, is an understatement!  This school year was one of trial and tribulation, stretching and growth… I can truly say that I have grown as an individual.

There is something so fulfilling about survival…about making it through something that you envisioned taking you out.  How rewarding is it to overcome??? To conquer what was designed to conquer you? In this moment I am reminded of the words of Jesus,  “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) When I read these words all I see is: no matter what, you’ll survive!  To think that I can overcome anything is not only encouraging but empowering!  Defeat does not live in the land of the Overcomer.

So today, I seek to encourage each of you to rise out of the valley of defeat and to choose to overcome.  Don’t give up, don’t throw in the towel- survive and overcome that thing that seeks to overcome you!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: https://vaccamma.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cliff-bow-lmb.jpg

 

Rock

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I can’t remember the last time,  I shared something with you all.  I’ve been consumed with school, church, extra-circulars and have carved out some time to hear from God to speak to you.  So… I was thinking, what good is a home without a solid foundation? 

Really though, if the foundation is cracked underneath the house- how long does that house have before it caves in?  

I would say, not very long.  Foundation is everything!  The one thing, the Lord has been speaking to me about is foundation.  Specifically, the foundation of our faith,  and our churches.  As I was sitting in this study room, mentally prepping for finals- I was reminded of the parable of Jesus about building our houses upon rock vs. building them on sand.  You know the story! Maybe??? We are supposed to build our houses on rock so that when the storm comes and the winds blow, our houses can withstand that storm.  If we however, build our houses upon sand: when the storm comes and winds blow, our houses will cave in and fall to the ground.

So what are our houses?  Our house is our heart.  The innermost sections of ourselves, the center pivotal focus of our spiritual walk with God.  It is in our hearts that we make a majority of our decisions.  Similarly, where our treasures resides, our  heart resides there also. So as a believer, someone who follows/believes in Christ, it is very important that Christ is positioned at the center of our hearts.  It is very important that he resides within us there.

So if our house is our hearts, what’s so important about rock?

Rock is sturdy, steadfast, not easily moved by condition and circumstance.  I’ve never seen a rock adjust because of someone’s feelings or because someone had an opinion about it’s purpose or use. Rocks remain in position regardless of the change happening around it.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on a rock, it can’t be easily moved by bad news and awful circumstance.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by sickness, disappointment,  or loss.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by the validation or opinions of others, but remains steady during times of change.  Unmovable faith is built on a rock.

So… what about sand?

Sand is unsteady,  not sturdy, inconsistent and easily moved by condition and circumstance.  When we go to the beach, as soon as the tide comes in the sand underneath our feet moves in response to the seawater.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on sand, it’s fickle and changes based upon our feelings.  If we feel like we love God, then we do.  If we feel like we don’t, then we don’t.  One day He’s friend, next day He’s enemy.  There is no consistency in the time we spend with him.  There is no consistency in our witness and if others were looking to us to point them toward him, they would not find the way.  Faith built on sand, breeds confusion, anger and waste.

Why does this matter?  Things in life are going to happen.  Some good and some terribly bad- it’s apart of the process and if our foundations are cracked or not steady then when these times come we won’t know how to withstand the storm.  Can you imagine being in a home with “sandy” foundation in the middle of a Hurricane?  Think about it, the fact that you are within that home can costs you your life.  Would you not rather be in a sturdy home built on a “rocky”/ solid foundation?  I believe that God is challenging our foundation, and he wants us to truly find out if we’re built on rock or if we’re built on sand.

Since we are the church, when we gather together- in an organized fashion, either we are worshiping on rock or we are worshiping on sand.  Churches built on rock produce fruit, demonstrate maturity and walk in true love.  Churches built on sand live in carnality, produce church hurt and discord, and contain a building of immature stagnant individuals.  Let’s build upon rock, in fact let’s build upon the Rock who is Christ himself.  He is worth building our faith, churches, and simply our lives upon.  Let’s build upon Him!

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

Words of Jesus, Matt 7:24-27 NLT

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: animatedviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/flintscomp-01.JPG