Masks & Monsters

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s Halloween aka costume day!  As a believer, I do not celebrate Halloween.  However, my timeline is full of cute pictures of little munchkins in costume.  As I was sitting in meditation, I started thinking about the concepts of masks and monsters.  Halloween is all about dressing up, eating candy and all things spooky.  This causes children to dress up as monsters, zombies and to cover their beautiful faces with masks as they play pretend.  However, what if we were pretending every day besides today?

Think about it. When was the last time you felt the freedom to be who you really are?  I mean the “real” you.  I think that we wear masks all the time.  When someone asks us how we are, we lie and say we are good.  When we ask someone how they are, we hope they will lie because we don’t have the time or capacity to handle their truth.  We are a society that encourages pretend.  Heck, we have a whole holiday dedicated to this very concept.  Being oneself is less favorable, but becoming like the ones we admire is encouraged.  Everyone wants to be the next influencer.  Everyone wants to have the most traffic on IG.  Everyone wants to appear to be living their best life.  These ideals create monsters, emotionally unstable members of society that cannot communicate truthfully what they desire.  It’s hard, to tell the truth when you’ve committed to your fantasy.  It’s easier to ignore red flags when you’re dedicated to the lie.  Our love for masks has created monsters.

“Well Simone, that’s a little harsh.” Yes, it is.  Just because something is harsh does not make it less true. The more I live, the more I see the epidemic of inauthenticity.  It is a disease to hide oneself to please those who did not create you. Dishonesty is like cancer, it destroys originality.  We were created in the image of God, each beautiful and unique.  We were given “difference” as a superpower, a weapon against a world system built on conformity.  Why are we conditioning ourselves to forfeit our superpower?  Our weapon? To pretend to be something we were never designed to be.  For the longest, I believed the lie that being myself was not enough, but the more I step into who I am the freer I become. Authenticity and radical honesty bring a level of freedom that’s dangerous to our world. So, loves you must stay dangerous!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5a21b49a8a02c7d83e094cad/1515100682136-0ZMS54TUCGQW6JLO6FHQ/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kEQ7bTnq4YamhxaihQ2NKUQUqs/venetian-mask-ball-image-with-no-text.jpg

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 

FIC: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a6/df/8a/a6df8adc5f8f7df585160f4ae19c5366.jpg

Heal first.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s Monday which means if you’re highly motivated like me, you’ve planned the rest of your week.  I started the day thinking of my daily affirmations, and then it was time to get up and dressed for the day.  As I met each appointment, I barely had time to eat because there was so much to do.  I had a thought about my to-do list and I realized that if I wasn’t whole, then all of my accomplishments would be in vain. First things first, heal. 

We live in a world that hates the process.  If we can get what we want quickly or easily, we’ll bypass what is good for what is mediocre because of our own laziness. How beautiful would it be to enjoy our accomplishments from a place of wholeness? I think it’s one thing to go for the gold and it’s another to hold on to what we’ve gained.  Wholeness gives us the capacity to hold onto what we have accomplished. Before we aspire to be known or to leave our mark the world, let’s become whole.

Have you ever met a person of influence who was full of emotional wounds? They have everything:  the dream job, the dream house, and dream car but are so broken on the inside.  These individuals have so many people around them yet still feel alone.  These individuals have all of the accolades yet are bound by substances such as drugs and alcohol.  Have you ever met someone who was one scandal away from losing everything they have worked hard for?  I have met so many intelligent, creative and beautiful broken people who have lost so much because they were not whole. I don’t believe it is the heart of God that we live in perpetual brokenness.  We should live with our hearts broken towards him in a continual state of humility but we do not have to live in emotional turmoil.  Jesus still heals and he desires that we enjoy the wholeness he so readily provides.

If I can encourage you to aspire to be anything, be whole.  Take time this week to prioritize healing, for things will fade but your soul will last forever.  Let’s face our dysfunction with courage knowing that we are allowed to be works in progress refined through the power of Jesus and therapy. It’s okay to be a hot mess but it is not okay to stay there.  The grace of God empowers us to become the best versions of ourselves and Jesus has given us the grace to heal.

If you have any questions or just need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at authenticlove789@gmail.com.  I’m here for you guys, I’m praying for y’all, and I believe that you were created to live emotionally healed.  Have a great week!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.ucg.org/files/styles/full_grid9/public/image/article/2019/04/03/healing-broken-trust-in-marriage-part3-commitment-personal-healing.jpg

Do You Know What’s Attractive?

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

What’s up family?  Happy Friday!  Ladies and Gents, I’ve been in this really dope space where I’ve returned to the dating market.  Let’s just say that dating in 2019 is interesting, to say the least.  What I’ve learned in my short time back on the market is that we live in a culture that is obsessed with determining attraction.  We present our best selves on dates to be seen as attractive. We speak on relevant subjects to appear to be intellectually attractive. We make sure that we have a dope sense of humor because that would make our personalities more attractive.  So, the men I’m meeting look amazing on paper.  They have the chiseled looks, they are super smart and can even make me laugh but there are communication issues that make them less attractive.

You know, when you’re a boss you need something more than a great resume.  You need something more than a piece of eye candy- something more than something delicious to look at.  There has to be more!  I don’t know about each of you but I’m looking for something deeper.  What are his values?  What are his dreams?  What is his vision for life?  Yeah, the degree is great but what are we doing with that.  Yeah, the nice car is impressive but how do you treat the poor?  Ok, I see you’re the hotshot here at the parties but what is your reputation like in the marketplace?  Do you have a reputation of integrity or is it corrupt because of compromise? There has to be something more.

I’ve met so many representatives.  I’ve met the all-around guy, I’ve met the creative, I’ve met the musician,  and I’ve met the one with the ten-year plan but as I lifted the curtain of what’s been presented to me,  I saw that these dudes had some real issues.  They do not know how to communicate their desires.  They do not know how to let go of their past.  They do not know how to express their insecurities.  These dudes had everything but wholeness.  So, I resolved in my heart that I was going to add emotional maturity to my list.  The thing is, I don’t blame these men for not entering into wholeness.  Their whole lives, men have been groomed to shy away from vulnerability.  They’ve been taught to communicate through physical intimacy instead of verbally expressing what is on their heart.  They have been gender-shamed for expressing feelings and ridiculed for being clear and that is not right.  I blame society, I blame the culture, and I blame the home.

Do you know what’s attractive?  Emotional wholeness.  Emotional wholeness is hella attractive.  The ability to express vulnerability, to boast in weakness and the ability to state clearly what a person will or will not allow is attractive.  Standards are attractive.  Boundaries are attractive.  Clear communication is attractive.  Radical honesty is HELLA attractive and it makes a person extremely sexy.  The ability to be direct, concise and thorough is attractive.  Integrity is attractive.  Faith in God is attractive and the ability to hear and obey the voice of God is attractive. A fun,. down to earth person is so attractive.

Do you know what’s NOT attractive? Our dysfunction is not attractive.  Our inability to communicate is not attractive.  Passive-Aggressiveness is not attractive. Nagging is not attractive.  Being overly critical and nitpicky is not attractive. Being a Debbie Downer is not attractive.  Deception is not attractive and presenting representatives instead of being ourselves is not attractive.

Be yourself.  Be more than a good resume. Loves, be attractive!

Xoxo,

Simone

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 

FIC: https://www.truenorthcpi.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NO_blogimage_1300x540.jpg

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

The Letter

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

My thoughts are hot off 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