No Shame

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Friday!  Have you ever been so full of clarity that you’ve sat and thought about life?  Maybe it’s just me:  but after I have a moment with God, sometimes I just sit in my room in silence and ponder what I just experienced.  Last night was one of those nights. I was recovering from experiencing a sermon by the GOAT Dr. Matthew Stevenson III, and I just happened to be wired at 1:45 in the morning.  I was up UP.  Anyways, I sat and heard this song by TenthAvenueNorth called “No Shame.”  and my life was changed forever.  I found the theme song for my season/life.  There is a freedom that comes with living and expressing truth, free of shame.

During my time in Greenville, each day God has been pulling back layers of fear- asking me to confront my heart issues and removing all kinds of weight including the weight of shame.  When you’re in this place of vulnerability, it’s easy to think man, what will “so and so think” but that doesn’t matter. God has taught me that the fearless live in truth and where there is the truth, there is no need to be ashamed.  I’ve lived bound under the realm of shame for so long, not sharing my truth- not addressing things with others, belittling my call or purpose, but now that shame has been dissipated with perfect love I’m good.  I turned the song all the way up and began to sing to the top of my lungs.  Before you knew it I was dancing in my kitchen celebrating freedom.

Where there is grace, there is no shame and where there is love, there is no fear.

Y’all, I have no idea what this life of no shame will bring but I’m excited.  I feel free, like in the depths of my soul.  I feel like I can conquer the world.  I feel strong and full of life in the inner chambers of my heart.  I feel brave.  It takes bravery to move into the unknown out of fear into love, out of being guarded to being open, out of holding things into being extremely honest.  I am okay with where I am and that is freedom all in itself.  I’ve embraced the truth about me and I am unashamed.  I’ve embraced my triumphs and my failures, every ounce of my brokenness and the places where I am whole, all of my strengths and all of my weaknesses.  I’m okay with every ounce of me and I am enough because I am in Him.  I’m literally smiling as I type this article, overjoyed at the process He is doing in my heart.

I am happy with my process.  I rejoice at my journey.  I’m content with my story.

Family, this is what a life of no shame looks like: it’s singing and dancing at 2 o’clock in the morning with no fear, with no shame.  It’s trusting for provision when it seems like all hope is lost.  It’s being unfazed with bad news because you know in your soul that He’s working all things for good.  It’s loving others beyond their capacity to love you.  It’s forgiving even when you don’t want to.  It’s having hard conversations, dealing with the hard relational issues, and making hard decisions for your next.  It’s going beyond opinions of others, beyond even your opinion of yourself, feeling fear but doing it anyway.  It’s riding the tallest rollercoaster, swimming in the deepest oceans, and taking road trips on faith. It’s relocating because God said to, and finding that you have a home waiting for you.  It’s being light, weight free and full because those that place their trust in Him will never be put to shame.  Trust not only eradicates fear but for me it eradicated shame. 

I’m living with no shame! 

Xoxo,

Simone

P.S. Check out TenthAvenueNorth’s song “No Shame”.  It’s available on all streaming platforms!

FIC: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c7/a6/3c/c7a63c0f9aa1e312f6b51a8ac19d15fb.jpg

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

 

Holiday Anxiety

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy pre-holiday season, with Thanksgiving approaching in the next few days, some of you may be feeling the what I describe as “holiday anxiety.”  It’s this dreading feeling that comes when you know you have to be surrounded by family and answer a bunch of aggravating questions.  As a newly single walking embodiment of awesomeness, I hate all of the aggravating questions that come with being seated at the family dinner table.  I don’t know about you all, but I feel like we live in a world where we are always asked to supply answers to questions that we simply don’t have the answer to.  For example, “How long will you be single?”; “When are you going to have some kids?”; “Girl, why you ain’t got a boyfriend?; “Girl, when are you getting married?”  In my heart I want to scream, “I DON’T KNOW, DO I LOOK LIKE GOD?”  but on the outside, I smile gracefully and say, “I don’t know.  I’ll let you know when I find out.”  I’m not going to let them know… I’m going to make all my announcements after the fact on social media.  My family will find out about my life choices when the world finds out. Trifling?  Yeah, I know.

Ladies and Gents, If you’re like me, I feel your pain and I understand your holiday anxiety.  But more so, I sense the temptation to return to my past due to my own loneliness.  It’s like Lord, you separated me from what I was in before but because of my own desires to be held and to be in a relationship, I feel tempted to return back to that which you’ve set me free from.  I believe that many of you are facing the same temptation, the temptation to return back to your past. This overwhelming temptation to settle for what you’ve been freed from out of convenience and loneliness.  This, I believe is the reason many of us have found ourselves at a crossroads:  Do we return to what the Lord asked us to leave?  Or, do we wait for what He promised?  I had a choice, return back to my ex so I can finally have an “answer” pleasing to men or to wait for what the Lord promised which is better!

Anyways, I can’t tell you all how to live your life.  All I’ll say is do not forfeit your future for the temporary conveniences of today.  So, here I go approaching this awkward time with boldness and depth reminding myself of the truth: I’m happy, I’m content,  and I’m waiting and that my dears will have to be enough.

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://www.b2beck.com/images/holiday_anxiety.jpg

12 Days of Love Letter Writing

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

Those who know me, know that I LOVE opportunities to share  love and light to the world. Any chance that I can get to bring a smile to a face, makes me extremely happy and fulfilled.  SO… I happened to come across another opportunity and I wanted to share this one with you!

There is a beautiful organization called More Love Letters  and these amazing human beings, spread light and love into the world by collecting love letters for individuals who are either going through a hard time, need a little encouragement or just need to be reminded that they matter and that the world cares.  This Holiday season, they are doing a 12 days of Love Letter Writing Campaign.  Each day, participants receive a story of a letter candidate and have the opportunity to write a letter to that individual.  The letters are bundled and sent to the individual during the holidays.

This year, I am writing love letters and would love for YOU to join me!  I could use YOUR help in spreading light and love to those who need it most.

You know what’s so great about this opportunity??? The cost is roughly NOTHING… all you need is a little stationary, a stamp and a little bit of time; and you’ve got everything you need to make someone’s day!  Isn’t that AMAZING? I think so…  So, come join the fun!

Will you join me? The campaign is running from December 4th to the 15th

Today’s letters are being written to the beautiful IRENE. Check out her story below!

“Irene is the strongest woman I know. After her husband unexpectedly died after the birth of their fifth child, this young nurse did what was necessary–working long hours to support her children on her own, even at the expense of her personal life. I have never heard her complain once about her lot in life.

Irene now has grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She never forgot a birthday, and holidays with her were filled with homemade cookies and cheer. In her later years, she’s been happily living on her own in an independent living apartment. Recently though, she suffered a sacral fracture, sending her to the hospital. We are hopeful she can return to her apartment, however, that may realistically not happen. She’s very sharp mentally, but her always able body is feeling the wear and tear of age.

This setback has understandably dimmed Irene’s ever-bright light. This once positive, loving figure is now feeling the weight of not being able to live on her own. She does not want to spend her remaining time in a hospital bed or in a nursing home, but her optimism is waning.”

Let’s write to Irene and encourage + support her during this difficult season.” 

 

ALL LETTERS CAN BE MAILED TO: Irene’s Bundle c/o Anna B. 451 Acequia Madre, Santa Fe, NM 87505 USA. 

So… grab a pen, paper, turn the Christmas music all the way UP and join me in spreading cheer to those in need this  holiday season!  Let’s strive to love well.

Until next time,

Simone ❤

 

Links with info and all that jazz…

http://www.moreloveletters.com

http://www.moreloveletters.com/12days (campaign website)

http://www.moreloveletters.com/diary/2017/11/29/frequently-asked-questions (FAQs & other concerns)

 

 

Giddy

Paused but for a moment an unusual excitement takes over me….

I don’t understand  it’s just a picture – how could this be?

Though miles apart, our hearts are woven together.

I better…be careful, I feel in over my head yet I dread

spending another second separated from you.

Whoo… I feel giddy.

Not overwhelmed, yet slightly overtaken.

Not anxious, yet extremely nervous- cheesy smiles consume my lips

and your name is on my tongue, maybe I was wrong to think that the love I had

for you doesn’t exist anymore I don’t know my brain is moving really quick and I feel

a ramble coming on, OMG, OMG…there you are!  In…picture form,

yet your smile has this magical way of overtaking me, making me all warm and

fuzzy.

I’m just a little giddy,

a little silly

while in love with you.

©Simone Holloway, 2017

FIC: http://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3389/3204002130_cc0538d41f_z.jpg?zz=1

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 ❤

42

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

42. That’s how many blog posts I wrote for the year of 2016.  Pretty sad, huh?  I think so… but I think the low number of work produced was symbolic of my life in 2016.  2016 was the year that I felt the most burnt out, my self-esteem took a hit and once again, I began to question my value and worth compared to the measures of society.  It was a year of great triumph, but also a year of great loss- 2016 was a doozy.  Yep, so I thank God that we are not only in a new year but in a new month- in a time where dreams are coming alive and passions are being restored.  

Family, I have missed spending time with each of you.  I’ve been unplugged for the last month or so taking time to really reflect on my life, my relationship with God and to reflect on how God feels about me and what He has to say about this season that I am embarking on.   I’ve realized over the years that sometimes in order to hear: you have to silence the noise around you, you have to position your life in a momentum of being distraction free.  My pastor challenged us to stop our social media use for the month of January, and at first I quickly felt as if I was dying.  Ok, so maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, but in all seriousness; I began to understand my dependency on the affirmation and validation of others. 

Think about it:  How many times do we post a picture or video that we know others will like? How many times do we take pride in the number of notifications waiting on us? Or get this one, on our birthdays- what’s our favorite parts of the day?  Spending time with family or friends? or checking our Insta or FB for the bday notifications from people we don’t even talk to anymore?  Why do we  value impersonal relationships and yet lack the patience to maintain our connections with those among us? These are the questions that I felt were calling out to me during that season of fasting and prayer and it were questions that challenged the true intentions of my heart.  Do I pray aloud so that others may hear and think I’m super anointed? Or do I pray because I genuinely want to connect with God?  Do I read my word to fulfill some sort of quota or am I truly longing for time with the Lord?  

Why do I do the things I do? 

It was with this awareness, that I realized that I only posted 42 times last year because I was so concerned about other people. As I watched the readership of this blog drop to an all time low, I hung up my hat and decided to relinquish my passion for writing.  In my mind, if my writing was not popular to others then it was not worthy to be shared. This falsehood crippled me in 2016 and opened the door to inadequacy, insecurity and fear- forces that are not of God. God has not given us the spirit of fear but commands us to walk in confidence and boldness for every aspect of our lives. 

At the end of the day, I’ve come to the realization that I am living for an audience of One and as long as He is pleased with my work then I am fine.  When we come to that understanding in our lives, the opinions and affirmations of others become irrelevant and we can truly live in the manner that Christ has intended for us.  Fearlessness give rise to BIG DREAMS, BIG VISION and BIG PURPOSE and being that I serve a BIG God – I know that He wants me to walk fearless.

So… with that being said: let us walk out this year in boldness, confidence and the assurance that we are amazing in the eyes of God. Darling, do what He has placed into your hands whether you have the validation of others or not!  Happy New Year, welcome to February and may your day be the best day yet!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC:http://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/blackandwhite_vs_color1.jpg

Sojourning Into the Land of “Unfamiliar”

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers – 

It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken and I have missed all of you deeply.  Question of the day: Have you ever found yourself in a position that was frankly awkward? Like, you just did not know how to feel about where your life was positioned at that time. Awkward.  It is this word that best describes where I am in life right now.  I’m not in a comfortable place but I’m not uncomfortable either- I’m somewhere in between.  I’m feeling awkward.  Last time we spoke, I mentioned the demands of law school ( with anxiety that increases like a  pressure cooker). I feel like I’m doing well, but I don’t have any grades that can truly attest to that… awkward.  I joined a new church so I have a church family, but… I don’t really know (deeply know) anyone that I worship with…so awkward.  I live in a new city but I haven’t became acclimated with the environment so I have no idea about great places to eat… awkward, especially since I’ve been living in town since the beginning of August.  I feel connected, yet disconnected.  Accepted, yet rejected.  Fulfilled, yet purposeless.  I feel awkward as I sojourn in this land called Unfamiliar.

I’m in a place that I have never traveled through before, surrounded by people that I don’t know and who do not know me.  VERY AWKWARD.  But, is it not just like God to lead us into a land called Unfamiliar, down a path that’s never been traveled before.  I think God takes pleasure when we find ourselves in this very place- a place where we depend solely upon Him. Today, I’m reminded of Abraham.  God told him to leave his family’s house and all that he knew to go to a place that would be shown to him.  It wasn’t like God said leave your family and move to Egypt or some other concrete place near the Mediterranean. No, God said leave all that you are familiar with to go to a place that I will eventually show you.  If I was Abraham, I don’t know if I would have been able to leave everything and follow- but that is exactly what Abraham did.  He left all that he was familiar with and He left to go to a place that he had no idea existed.  I feel this story becoming more real to me as I left my familiar place (hometown) to go into a land  where I knew no one and nothing, to experience an adventure that God is only privy to at this time.  I have no idea where I am going, and no idea what awaits me when I get to that God destined place.

If this describes where you are: awkward, a place of being discombobulated, or slightly overwhelmed – take heart! We are exactly where God wants us to be.  We’re in this sweet spot with the Lord, where we understand we desperately need Him.  It is in this place, our faith grows… It is in this place, we experience all of who God is in our lives…  It is in this place that we conqueror fear and become fearless.  We are in a great space.  Our lives may not feel great and sometimes we may want to curl up on the couch and cry, but be of good cheer – we are in the perfect place to witness a move of God.  In an awkward place, the promise of a nation was given and received- God has so many things in store for us as we journey with Him in this unfamiliar place.

Happy Sunday y’all!  I pray God’s blessing over each and every one of you.  Know that I am praying for all of you daily and I look forward to these moments we have together.  I love y’all very much!

Until next time,

Simone.

FIC:http://images.barnesandnoble.com/pImages/bn-review/2011/0412/TheSojourn_AF.jpg

 

In Rememberance

I thought I was going to post something traditional,

something with the same previous opening- something super inspirational.

But it is I, that is inspired as I reflect on the significance of this day.

In frustration and with deliberate disobedience I left my room to “play”,

to gamble with my life.

Three years ago, I drove to my friend’s house going through a stop sign- not looking twice.

I was hit dead-on and my car spun out of control,

that moment reflected how I felt about my life- I thought I lost my soul.

I opened my eyes and saw smoke and sunshine,

a calming piece became my lifeline.

Only problem, it was raining that day.

The skies were foggy and gray.

So I knew I was between earth and heaven-

I wasn’t ready for an eternal transition.

Because based upon my sins, I knew I would make my bed in hell.

Yet, on earth I felt like I was in jail.

Trapped, stuck and simply contained-

no one knew, I never complained.

Went to church regularly,

wore a fake smile faithfully-

yet wanted to desperately,

to be free.

Figured, no one truly cared about my end,

and if this car wreck was the just the beginning,

to an eternal damnation – well so be it.

God’s plans with my  twisted thoughts did not fit.

Once again, I opened my eyes and realized I was still here-

still among the living to my heart who are dear.

I became overwhelmed with gratitude since life was not deserved to me.

That day, three years ago, I swore to strive to live free.

The rest is history.

©Simone Holloway, 2016

FIC: http://hdwallpaperbackgrounds.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Beautiful-Nature-9.jpg