Soaked with Mercy.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Tuesday!  What started as a bleak and rainy day turned into a beautiful one filled with sunshine.  Man, God is so good.  It’s the little things that make us reflect on the goodness of the Father.  I’ve been in this beautiful posture of prayer and presence.  My soul is soaking up all of this goodness because one day my schedule won’t allow for all this time.  I’m learning day by day to enjoy the season that I’m in.  Clearly, God desires that I enter into a place of rest because all of my attempts of striving and working have come to nothing.   So, here I am sitting in my sacred place, ready to share with each of you.

As I was prepping for my teen bible study class tonight, I read a familiar passage in a different translation.  Y’all, the Passion Translation gives me so much life!!! I was reading 1 Peter 2:9-10 when a particular line caught my eye.  Verse ten reads,  “For at one time you knew nothing of God’s mercy, because you hadn’t received it yet, but now you are drenched with it.”  I’m a big word person, so I like to read with dictionaries and thesauruses nearby.  I’m this way with any piece of text:  sacred, fiction, non-fiction, etc.  There is something about reading a passage of text with a definition in mind.  It changes the context of comprehension and adds depth to the reading experience.  Anyways, as my inner nerd was having a ball, I decided to look up the word drenched.  Simple word right?  Yes and no.  We all know that to be drenched is to be completely soaked or wet but what does it mean to be completely soaked or wet in mercy?  Better yet, what is mercy?

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Mercy is extended when we do not give others what they deserve when we have the power to do so.  For example, a judge not giving a deserved sentence; or better yet a parent not reprimanding a child after they have done wrong.  We are all in need of a little mercy!  According to the verse, at one time we had no knowledge of the compassion or forgiveness of God because we did not receive either compassion or forgiveness.  This tells me that we cannot fully know something that we haven’t embraced.  For example, how can you know (fully know) your friend or loved one if you haven’t fully embraced that person (strengths, weaknesses and other idiosyncrasies)?  We do not know what we do not embrace.  So, if we do not embrace people, places, or circumstances- we have no full knowledge of those things.  This is why it’s so important to be friends with people who embrace you fully because that’s the only way they will know you fully and can love you rightly.  We cannot love well what we do not know.  Alright…moving on.  The passage continues with “but now you are drenched with it.”  So what we didn’t know about before, we are now soaked within it. We are now soaked in mercy!

Earlier today, I had to make an errand which led me to the DMV.  I don’t know about other people but I absolutely hate the DMV.  Like absolutely hate it!  Anyways, the clouds were dark and it was raining a little bit but it wasn’t storming.  As I was leaving the DMV, the bottom fell out from the heavens and buckets of water descended on the earth.  Well, your girl didn’t have an umbrella and my afro already had its daily dose of water and olive oil.  As I ran to the car, I was soaked- wet from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.  There was no mistaking that I was in the pouring rain.  Isn’t that the beauty of God?  To take what we were not privy to and to soak us in compassion and forgiveness.  So much so, that we walk around as evidence of what we received.   Friends, we are soaked in mercy!  May this encourage you that our God is not angry with us, neither is he ashamed of us but he is proud to call us his own.  He is full of compassion and forgiveness for us and he loves us dearly!

May you never become dry! 

Xoxo,

Simone 

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In Year Three, I Should Have Left.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers – 

Why do we stay in awful situations?  This is the question that I woke up pondering.  Why do we stay with emotionally, mentally and physically abusive people? Why do we submit ourselves to toxic unhealthy church environments? Why do we settle into office cultures that break our spirits?  Why do we hold onto friends that don’t have our best interest at heart?  Why do we stay even when God gives us a way out, time and time again?  Why?!?!?!

I think the culture feeds us this lie that if we endure through something even though it is harmful to us then we are strong.  We label strength to the one who succumbs to emotional abuse and like a badge of honor, we celebrate those who submit to dysfunction.  We can see our sis or bro dying on the inside and express how proud we are of them for sticking it out.  How dumb is that?  To be proud of a group of people for accepting poor treatment in their lives.  We admire the woman who suffers before she is loved well.  We celebrate the toxic leaders who berate their staff but then grow into humility.  We applaud the boss who realizes that he’s been a jerk yet refuses to give an apology for the previous bad behavior.  It is in the fabric of our society to stay in things out of the name of “loyalty” and the persevering spirit of “never giving up“.

Well, Friends, loyalty to dysfunction is unhealthy.  Loyalty for loyalty’s sake is not enough for emotional wellness.  Loyalty to bad behavior is not admirable and anything that destroys esteem should not be celebrated.  To be loyal is defined as giving and showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.  To whom or what are we loyal to?  Why?  If we are giving and showing firm and constant support to abusive people, do we believe the abuse will eventually cease?  If we are financially supporting organizations that have no integrity, should we be disappointed when we learn of the misappropriation of funds?  If we are holding down relationships that are not built on truth, should we stick it out in hopes that our partner will become all that we’ve imagined? Nah. Loyalty is not a prison and faithfulness does not give some the right to abuse time, energy and emotional wherewithal.

I was once a believer in blind loyalty.  I was “all in”  and submitted myself to people, places and things that harmed me.  I stayed with a man who emotionally abused me for years.  I made excuses for his bad behavior.  I defended the ways he hurt me.  I always resolved in my heart that he did what he did because I did something wrong.  In my mind, he held no responsibility for his actions towards me.  I excused his lying, I excused his inconsistency,  and I excused his sly comments and his ample way of making me believe that I was never enough.  I turned a blind eye and stayed with him off and on for SEVEN years.  Why the heck would I do that?  Because I was strong?  Because I was brave enough to stay?  No.  I wasn’t strong, I was weak.  I was weak in esteem.  I was weak in self-love.  I was weak.  I wasn’t brave, I was afraid.  I was a coward looking for that which was easy, that which was comfortable and it costs me years.  The bravest thing I did was leave and that my dear should be applauded.  

In year three, I should have left.

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/uAu4lwLio2E/maxresdefault.jpg

That’s Not My Job.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Tuesday!  Today has been a full day of reflection, gratitude and spending time with family.  Last night, I had the pleasure to be a guest on my good friend’s radio show.  It was my first time doing a radio interview and I had an absolute blast.  I’m realizing that the more I tread into new territory, the more fun I experience.  Anyways, I was chatting with my good friend when a profound truth escaped my lips.  I looked her in the eye and said, “It’s not my job to parent someone’s dysfunction.” Whoo!  That’s something,  right there! Say it with me:  IT IS NOT MY JOB TO BE THE CARETAKER OF SOMEONE ELSE’S DYSFUNCTION!!!!!

I don’t know about each of you, but I’ve been guilty of parenting others’ issues.  I would take their dysfunction as my own under the guise of “helping” them.  However, taking others’ loads does not help them, it further enables their toxic behavior.  It is a toxic behavioral trait to not take responsibility for your own dysfunction, leaving it to the will of your community to fix you.  It is not the job of your friends to carry your weight, healing is proactive and it requires a person to take full responsibility for their process.  I’ve learned over the years that my picking up of other’s weight was really insecurity that needed to be resolved.  My need to be needed kept me playing savior to those in my life.  I was not God and I was not created to be Him.  It is my role/job to push people to Jesus. Only He has the power to save. Once I identified that I had an issue, I went to the Lord and resolved that I was necessary, enough and equipped for him. I no longer needed the affirmation and validation of others because I was secure in identity.  Maybe, we carry others’ weight because of our own unmet insecurities.  It’s time out for flexing for the Gram.  Some of us have some real emotional issues and wounds that need healing and that comes through honesty.  The day I was able to say: “Girl, you got issues!”  that was the day I became free.

When we heal, we realize that healing is available for all- it’s just gonna take some work! Everyone has to do their own heart work, everyone has to sit in front of their own mirror and journey with God. Healing is an individual process that one must commit to.  It is not the job of those you love dear to parent your process.  It is not the job of those you love to validate you.  It is not the job of those that you love to affirm you.  It is not the job of those you love to heal your insecurities, to break your generational curses, to fill the voids of your mother and father wounds.  It’s not their job and it’s selfish to place that burden upon them.  Sis, deal with yourself and heal! I understand that facing yourself is scary, trust me I know but facing yourself is so rewarding.  Growth comes from standing in the light, acknowledging your needs, and coming to the resolve that you’re responsible for your process alone. Friends, a man or woman, and even our church communities are NOT responsible for our healing.  We must go to God, face ourselves and make decisions to steward our wholeness.  It is God’s job to validate us, to remind us of our identity, to affirm us, to heal our wounds, to fill our soul voids and HE DOES HIS JOB WELL. If we lean on Him, we will find that healing is not only attainable but it is also a preferred way of living. Once we’re whole, we will prefer to live whole.

So, if you’re parenting someone else’s dysfunction- STOP.  If you’re demanding that your community fill your voids and parent your issues- STOP.  Understand the role of those given to you, go to the Lord and journey with him in dealing with yourself.  Be cognizant to take responsibility for your healing. Ultimately, be honest for it’s better, to be honest than to be presentable. Keeping a face is exhausting and it hinders the healing process. Be honest.  Confess your issues, state your needs and you’ll start to see fruit in your relationships.  No one wants to journey with a representative too long, afterwhile we all want the real thing!  If it’s not real, it’s not worthy of investing time and energy into.

Today’s topic was a bit heavy.  Breathe through it and know that these pieces of wisdom are for the betterment of our futures.  God desires that we are whole and I believe that when we surrender to His process, we become just that! I love yall, have an amazing day!

Xoxo,

Simone 

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My Sacred Place.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s a late-night and I just finished spending time in my sacred place.  My sacred place is where I spend time with God.  There is a space right next to my bed, it’s where I keep my prayer blanket, journal, and a wireless speaker.  There is something special about that space.  Whether I’m sitting Indian style or laying prostrate on the ground, I immediately feel the presence of Jesus.  This section of my room is our special place, it’s where we meet to chat about life.

A friend came to see me a few weeks ago, with her she carried all of her bags to my room.  She scanned the room, saw the blanket on the ground next to my bed and immediately tried not to cross over into that portion of my room.   Out of respect, she took off her shoes and continued to be mindful of where she stood.  I chuckled but I was grateful for her attentiveness.  As I looked at her, I thought of one of my biblical heroes: Moses.  There is this dope story about God finding Moses in the middle of Midian.  He was busy doing his job (he was a shepherd) when he saw a burning bush.  Curiosity consumed him and he went to see what was going on in the wilderness.  The coolest part about Moses’ discovery was that while the bush was burning, it was not consumed.

“One day Moses was tending the flock of his father- in – law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush.  Moses stared in amazement.  Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. ‘This is amazing’ Moses said to himself. ‘Why isn’t that bush burning up?  I must go see it.'” Exodus 3:1-3 NLT

Let’s pause here:  though Moses saw the fire, he did not see destruction.  This is a great metaphor for  life, though it looks like  we’re on fire- dealing with the cares of life, we’re not consumed because of the grace of God. Just because we see flames does not mean that God is allowing us to burn. He is not going to let us burn, we won’t smell like smoke!  

“When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him in the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am!’ Moses replied. ‘Do not come any closer, ‘ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” Exodus 3:4-5a

Anyways… Moses comes into an audience with God, into a sacred place.  The spot where Moses is standing is so sacred, he’s directed to take off his shoes.  Even though Moses did not plan to meet with God, God planned to speak with Moses. How dope is that?  

This morning, I felt the tug of God to come to our sacred place.  I wish I could tell you that quality time with the Father was the first thing on my mind, but that was simply not the case.  In fact, all of my concerns and worries harbored my mind.  I dwelled in this land of reevaluation, a place where I was constantly questioning my faith moves.  It’s one thing to step out on faith and it’s another to burn your back up plan, to slay your ox of convenience.  That is what I did.  I burned my safety nets, destroyed my back up plans and now I was frustrated with what I gambled for. We all have moments when we’re like “God, is it worth the risk?”  I believe Moses had similar questions.  I bet the prince of Egypt never imagined living a life as a fugitive in Midian, but here he was reimagining all he dreamed.  Yet, God being so gracious used curiosity to grab his attention.  God wanted to spend that time with him, the same way he desired to spend time with me. 

Want to hear some good news?  Well… the good news in all of this is that God desires to spend time with you too.  What do you have to lose by going to yall’s sacred place?  That place where you two meet and chat about life?  I’ve found that the lower I am, the stronger I become.  Prayer is my lifeline of strength and wisdom and every time I have questions, He comes with plenty of answers.  I think my favorite part about our time is that I don’t have to pretend- I can be all of who I am because I am fully accepted and loved.  For example, this morning  I whispered, “Jesus, I need you.”  Nothing fancy, nothing long.  A simple short prayer of how I was feeling at that moment.  And just like that, He came ready to meet my need for more of Him.

Get to your sacred place.  Hide in your sacred place. Rest in your sacred place.  Create a home with just you and Him and allow Him to fill your life with peace.  Time with Him is worth every second. Well, family, that’s it for today.  Have an amazing Sunday!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://i1.wp.com/www.simpleandseason.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Journal-candles-and-a-cup-of-tea-on-a-blanket-on-a-sunny-windowsill.jpg

There’s No Need To Fear.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

First, Happy Birthday!!! Today, this beloved blog turned six years old.  It’s crazy to think that six years ago in a college dorm room, I created a blog to journey towards healing.  God has used this beloved platform to be a space of freedom, a community where we can all walk together towards authentic love.  Over the past six years, I’ve learned a lot in this love journey, have had my share of victories and losses but through it all: I survived!  Blessed be unto God who causes us to triumph!

Today, I had a whole meltdown because at the root of it all- I was utterly afraid.

For today to be the blog’s birthday, it was a rough one.  It was a day filled with emotional ups and downs.  To tell you the truth, I forgot all about our birthday because my impending BAR exam was the only thing on my mind.  For those of you that are unaware, I graduated from law school in May.  To practice law, one must take and pass what we call a BAR exam.  It’s an exam that tests all of the material we learned over the past three years.  It’s an extensive, rigorous exam.  It’s mentally, physically and emotionally taxing.  It’s not for the faint at heart.  This exam has been the focus of my attention for the past two months and the exam is in four days!  Today, I had a whole meltdown because at the root of it all- I was utterly afraid.   I was afraid of failure, afraid of people’s opinion, afraid of disappointing myself and with this fear came a butt load of pressure.  

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 TPT

It was so hard to get out of bed this morning.  I didn’t get out of bed until around one, I trudged to my workspace to begin prep, looked at the problems and in my heart said:  “I don’t want to do this.” The truth of the matter was, in my heart, I was afraid that I couldn’t take this exam and pass.  Fear gripped me in the crevices of my soul and I whispered to the Lord, “I feel so alone.  I’m here yet I cannot hear you.”  It was as if the darkness swallowed me whole and I had to fight to see the light.  One of my favorite worship leaders once said, “Many of you are getting ready to enter into a night.  Remember that the light is on the inside.  The light is on the inside!”  Her words fought against the darkness that plagued my mind.

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.  You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!  You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. Psalm 139:3-4 TPT

Seeking wisdom, I went to talk to my mom.  Y’all, my mom is like Jesus’ best friend.  She held me, prayed over me and reminded me that she was proud of me if I became a licensed attorney or not.  She was proud of me if I took the exam in four days or four months.  She was proud of me!  Her words took away all of the pressure. For the longest,  I felt this pressure to become for those that were counting on me.  I felt pressure to become for those that looked up to me.  I felt pressure to become for those that loved me.  She held me as I cried and reminded me that regardless,  I was loved.

Many of you are getting ready to enter into a night.  Remember that the light is on the inside.  The light is on the inside!- ©Steffany Gretzinger, 2018

Jesus loves me.  That is the simple truth that I tell myself when I feel the grip of fear.  Jesus loves me.  He is in love with me.  He cares about me deeply and because of this, I don’t have to search for love and comfort.   When I don’t know, He knows.  When I don’t have the strength, He is strong.  When I don’t feel like I can, He believes so strongly in me.  Jesus loves me.  I felt His love this evening as I sat to reflect on the day.

There’s no need to fear, for you are right here.- ©Simone Holloway, 2018

During a Tuesday evening in November, surrounded by my beautiful church family,  I began to have this musical conversation with the Lord.  Those who know me, know that I love to sing and write songs.  The songs that enter my heart are usually spontaneous and driven by my relationship with the Lord.  I was in the middle of a rehearsal when the words “There’s no need to fear, for you are right here.” came to my heart.  It was as if God knew that I would face so many things that would make me afraid.  He knew that I would feel alone, so he prepared me with a song.  Then in love, He sang these words over me: “I’m walking right beside you/I’m holding your hand./ I’m walking right beside you./ Though you don’t understand.”  He is the light at my feet, the wind at my back, and the lover of my soul.  Tonight he reminded me that he was my guide, that he was the strength and power I needed to move forward and that he was the one who loved me deeply! Then He reminded me of our six-year journey and his faithfulness brought me to tears.

I’m walking right beside you, I’m holding your hand.  I’m walking right beside you, though you don’t understand.- ©Simone Holloway, 2018

Long story short, I’m taking an exam that can determine my career in a few days and I am not afraid.   Because guess what?  Jesus will be there with me!  He’ll be there holding my hand, looking out for me, and making sure that everything works for my good. He’s near, He’s right here and He’ll be with me forever!

The Lord is my revelation-light to guide me along the way; he’s the source of my salvation to defend me every day.  I fear no one!  Psalm 27:1b TPT

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.churchleadership.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/leading-unafraid.jpg

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

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

 

Fearless.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I think God is taking me on this incredibly, crazy, uncomfortable yet fulfilling journey.  He is breaking the back of fear out of my life.  My biggest desire has been to live a life that was fearless.  One absent of apprehension, fear, and doubt- to be free to take risks, to embrace chances and to run into the unknown.

Y’all, I did something so brave.  I cut my hair.  I was transitioning to a more natural hair lifestyle for about a year or so now and one day, in a fit of courage and a desire to have something new, I cut all of the perm out of my hair.  Beautiful curls framed my face as I watched all of what I placed my identity into powerless in my hands. To think I thought my beauty was in the way my hair looked.   The overall problem wasn’t this notion of beauty but the fear attached because of people opinion.  The moment I realized that I was hella dope, the fear began to unravel… slowly but surely courage filled my heart and before you knew it there was nothing I could not do.

There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgement- is one not yet fully formed in love.

1 John 4: 17-18 MSG

I gave a presentation in class yesterday. anxiety filled my heart but the presentation had to be done.  I had a choice:  I was either going to step to the occasion or I was going to shrink back in fear.  I chose to take a deep breath, say a little prayer and I went for it:  all things positive came from my act of bravery.  But, the Father wasn’t done challenging my fears.  Last night, we had vocal assessments at my church.  For a period of time, I stopped singing.  I allowed the negative words of someone I admired, trusted and looked to literally mute me.  It was like I missed the mark and therefore was disqualified from revealing that portion of myself.  So… as I sat and waited for my name to be called, again anxiety filled my heart.  I sat and laid on the ground trying to calm my fearful heart.  I began to sing something, anything to drive the fear away.  The words of United Pursuit filled my heart and  I knew that God was with me at that moment,  that He was filling me with His love because in His love there is no need to be afraid.   I sat, I waited, I entered the room, I closed my eyes and I began to sing: aloud, in public, unashamed for the first time.  It was like my voice was waiting to be free, finally free from the oppression of fear  I felt the fear but I did it anyway…

In your strength, I can crush an army; with my God, I can scale any wall.

Psalm 18:29 NLT

What if the Father is inviting all of us into a life of being fearless?  A life truly fulfilled, carefree and full of the joy that comes with being loved well.  It’s always easier to hide, but to hide what’s within out of fear leaves us living limited lives.  So today, I invite all of you to abandon fear, to take the chance and to see the wonder on the other side.  I’m convinced that bravery and brillance coincide within each other.  Every time I’m brave, I experience such brilliance and beauty within the world, I simply forget that I was ever afraid.  Man, what a beautiful feeling!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://schragephotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fearless.jpg

“Home” by United Pursuit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNvDCeRrk1o

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

 

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