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

The Letter

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

My thoughts are hot of the presses and I’m excited to share with you the raw, the real and the now.  Today was all about cleaning.  I recently moved home to prep for my next, but for the last three weeks or so, I’ve been sleeping with boxes all around me.  Clothes are strewn all over the floor as my anxiety is increasingly heightened by not being able to find what I want to wear.  Tucked in a corner is a plastic bag full of paper: scriptures, prophecies, business cards, song lyrics, and other pages are all gathered in a messy heap ready to be sorted by yours truly.

As I reached my hand into the bag, I pulled out a letter I wrote to God about five years ago.  This letter was one of gratitude, thanking Him for always being with me and for showing me the road ahead.  At the end of the letter, I began to thank God for my ex, the possibility of our children (what we discussed together) and the businesses we would run as we took over the world for good.  I was thanking God for the life I thought He commissioned for me, the life I thought I would live.  Fast forward five years, and I do not have that life.  I am not with that person anymore, I do not have any children and those businesses do not exist.  My life now doesn’t match the hope for my life in that letter.  It’s crazy how things change.  Who knew that 11 mos ago, I would enter into a season of singleness, would forsake all desire for children and would find myself trying to figure out what I was going to do. Once upon a time, I was so sure, now I’m peering into the future like “God is this really for me?  “Can we actually do this?”  Can we actually dream again about this buried desire: the desire to be both wife and mother. Can we return here?  In gentleness, He whispers “Yes.  Yes, we can.”  “We can revisit this place in your heart, my love,  do not be afraid.”

“But How?”  my hearts screams out.  “How can we return to a place I never got to.  I almost got there, I thought I was there but I failed… I never got there.”  In love, He grabs my hand and whispers, “Your only failure would have been to marry someone who was never designed to love you.  To procreate with someone who did not have the capacity to be a father and to enter into a business partnership with someone with no integrity.  Babygirl, you did not fail.  You succeeded!  For you chose your future over your present and you chose what was hard over what was easy.  You said Yes even though the cost was your heart. You, my dear, can return to this place…”

Today, I look at the letter as an obituary of the life I thought I would live.  I mourn the union someone promised, the blueprints for businesses I envisioned and the picture-perfect family described.  I mourn what I thought I needed to be complete, to be whole.  I mourn what I thought I wanted to secure happiness.  I have found that my “Yes” to God has always been the answer.  I’ve found that my ability to walk away from what I prayed for is what makes me brave, my ability to be grateful in the new, in the unknown is what gives me strength and my sweet surrender is what makes me His, and His alone.  I cry as I reflect on the past but I am so hopeful for the future, because anything we give up for Christ including our dreams, He returns it 100 fold in this lifetime and the life to come.  I don’t know why I am sharing my process with you.  I wish I had some neat and tidy ending that describe this perfect healing process but I don’t.  All I have is the truth, and the truth is God is good even when our hearts are broken.  God is good even when plans change.  God is good even when we don’t understand our way.  In every season, in every moment, He is good and that in itself is worthy of a simple ‘Thank you!” 

He’s good, He’s God and because I’m His, I am going to be okay.

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: http://kaizenjournaling.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/large_3584131250.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

 

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

She’s Dead.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

I bet many of you are looking at the title of today’s blog and you’re like “What???” But what many of you do not know,  is that a piece of me died today.  Yep, a portion of myself that held me back, that kept me stuck in the rut of my past, that caused me to lose hope/faith in God- that thing/piece died.  That fearful, anxious, timid girl died, and I’m happy that she has been laid to rest.

It’s insane to belong to Christ, yet still live like the world.  Right?  Why buy into this new way if you’re still going to experience the same old troubles and hardships?  Why work to never enter rest?  As I grow in my faith with God, I realized that the way I was living my life was never what he intended.  He did not design me to be stressed, extremely exhausted, malnourished and utterly miserable.  God did not save me so that I could have a miserable life, but this was my life day in and out- miserable.

 I was saved to be filled with joy, to hope in something bigger than myself, to live full out fearless and free from anxiety.

I was a bound daughter, living like an orphan, striving and working in my own strength to make my dreams come true.  Due to this life, I suffered greatly: mentally and in my physical health.  Yet, in grace and mercy, the Father never disowned me but in gentleness and compassion he beckoned me to himself and loved me anyway.  Though I was still the girl who was afraid of living, he still loved me.  Even though I still found myself in the rat race of life, he still loved me.  Even though sometimes I got it wrong: said the wrong thing & did the wrong thing; he still loved me.

It was this love that kept pushing at my fortress of fear,  it kept smashing against its doors, looking to destroy it once and for all.  For His perfect love casts out (banishes) all fear!

When I became a Christian, He promised that I would be a new creature that the old things of life would have no more effect on the new that was to come.  I lived as a ghost of my former self: afraid, anxious, lonely, depressed but my new self is none of those things.  My new self is fearless, full of trust, at rest, loved well, and full of joy.  So today, as I was talking to the Father, he explained that the season I was in was one of the old dying so that the new could come.  So today, I make a declaration in faith that the old person: anxiety-ridden, fearful, striving, lonely, depressed, and overwhelmed is dead.  She died and she no longer exists! I am now fearless, bold, confident, trusting, at rest, in peace, full of joy and optimism, at ease, and never alone for He abides with me.

Goodbye old, may you never resurface again.  Thank you for teaching me about my strength, thank you for showing me that there was more to life than what I was living, thank you for being my past- for my past led me to Jesus who gives me the authority to proclaim my perfected future.  Goodbye, good riddance, may you rest forevermore!

Hello new, may you spring up!  May I perceive you all the time, rest in you, and long for you.  May I never become content with settling with what I’ve already seen when there is so much more to come.  I welcome you, I identify with you, I identify as you: new.  I rest in you, for you are a gift from my Father to me.

Until next time,

Simone (new and improved🦁)

FIC: https://image.shutterstock.com/image-photo/tombstone-graves-ancient-church-graveyard-260nw-508109173.jpg

Scriptural Citation: 1 John 4:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Isaiah 43:18-19

Also, a link to what the word casts out is in Greek and what that means, it’ll provide better understanding and context to the scripture referenced.  (1Jn 4:18)

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/ekballo.html