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

 

Goodbye.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s Tuesday, the weather is frightening and today was one of making hard decisions and letting go.  It’s easy to talk about letting go but sometimes God asks for things that we’ve grown quite attached to.  Sometimes we will give these things up, and sometimes it takes a sacrifice of self for us to release that which is super important to us.

Anything you’re not willing to let go of is an idol- PT, 6for2 Prayer

For me, it was a man.  I loved this man so much so, that I couldn’t imagine my life without him being in it.  God was like, “Oh really? Why don’t we find out?” And for the past six years, I lived life without this man being in my life.  I found out that I didn’t need this person in my life for it to be filled with joy, adventure, and fulfillment.  Without him, I was fulfilled because I found myself in Christ.

It’s hard to admit that you’ve been serving and striving for other things than God, who wants to face the truth that their heart hasn’t been totally devoted to their Savior?  Not too many people.

But, I think honesty is the catalyst for freedom.  It is not until we face the music that we become free!

In order to say hello to the new, we must say goodbye to the old.  This can include but not limited to:  who we thought we were, who we thought we would be with, where we thought we would live, what we sought career-wise, and other things we refuse to release control.

We must say goodbye because at every end is a new beginning.

I wish I could tell you that saying goodbye is easy.  Oh man!  I wish I could assure you that goodbyes won’t produce any tears, but that is simply not the case.  In fact, a hard goodbye may cause you to cry for days but I promise that what’s coming is so much better than what’s been.

Give yourself time to feel, cry, worship, do whatever it takes to heal properly. To pretend that you’re not in pain is not holiness neither is it spiritual, it’s simply foolish and a sure way to remain injured.  Feel, acknowledge what you feel, be honest with yourself and heal.  Give yourself the permission to heal!

Your (God’s) way is not just right, your way is better! – PT, 6for2 Prayer

May you find the courage to say goodbye. 

Xoxo,

Simone 🦁

FIC: https://cdn.tinybuddha.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Woman-Waving-Goodbye.png

 

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

Memories

I remember being prompted to write to you.

To unleash all of my thoughts and to direct them solely to you.

But fear came in, and I determined

that I could not bear such a weight of honesty.

I did not want to face this insecurity,

so I remained silent.

Yet, I could not continue to hide that…

my mind remembers you.

My mind is also convinced that 1+1=2…

that one day there will be

the two of us, freely

engaged in a relationship with one another

and not just simply together.

My mind and not just my heart is shipping us on the daily.

To tell the truth, you’re to blame

because since our first meeting I haven’t been the same

and that’s when fear and doubt came…

and I silently watched you forfeit the love game.

Hmmm… isn’t it crazy that after all the time that’s gone by,

after sleeping under different parts of the skies,

after absent vacations, birthdays and graduations,

after new jobs and new life situations,

after twists, turns, life unexpected promises,

after suicidal attempts and divine God-visits,

after years of addictions and brand new shoes,

after realizing that life was more than being cool..

I still cannot forget about you.

Trust me, I tried.

I stood in the mirror and lied,

said that I didn’t love you anymore.

I went too far in my confession, I even swore-

to those that loved me dearly and to those who witnessed my pain.

I promised I wouldn’t choose you, because I didn’t want you to break me again.

But my mind doesn’t care because I remember:

Indian and Thai food, Lakers, “Lebron, the princess!”, Christmas 2012, Phoenix (Parisian boys), “I’m destiny, you’re looking at it”, bagging contest, CNC galore, food science degrees, brewery dreams, “Sept. 15, Don’t forget!”, fields and fields of broken dreams.  July 10, 2011,> hands clasped at the altar.

I remember and I tried desperately to forget.

For 5+ years, every moment I’ve had in life has found a way to connect to you.

So… I know I’m intelligent, but maybe I’m a fool.

Because even on your worst days- I still want to be with you!

Maybe this is grace personified in me,

maybe this is love, maybe this is being free.

Maybe this is compassion bestowed liberally…

all in all, still remains the question of what to do.

Yes, I’ll admit it.  I never stopped loving you.

©Simone Holloway, 2018

FIC: https://i2.wp.com/indiacurrents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/memories.jpg?resize=500%2C333&ssl=1

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

This Is Love.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

I hope all is well.  I’ve been swamped with the routine of life.  The top threes: Church, School, and Work, these things seem to consume my time, energy and attention.  The older I become, I realize that life is not about things and places but rather about our love relationships with people.  The way we love a soul lasts for an eternity, whereas position, prestige and the riches of this world will only last a lifetime.

For a substantial portion of my life, I believed the life that  I was not good enough. That me, with nothing added, was not enough for those who loved me.  Since I did not love myself properly, I did not love others properly.  Unless they could offer me something (self-seeking) or add something to me- then I wouldn’t invest or love wholeheartedly.  The day I realized that I was enough: just me and not the “me” with all of the stuff added, was the day that I realized that those around me were valuable and substantial within being themselves (with nothing added).  I was no longer seeking for others to add to me because I was complete and whole in Him.

Love is being whole. For God is love and He is whole all within himself.  If we live life loving Him, He teaches us how to love ourselves and others.  He makes us emotionally stable and mentally sane.  I’ve got it wrong for so many years, but as I wait and place my trust in Him- he proves over and over again that He loves me.  Not for what I do but because of who He is and His relation to me.  I am his and this pure acceptance is love.

You are loved simply because…

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://alwayspushforward.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/godislove.jpg

New Garments

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s a rarity that I post twice but when things change in your life, it deems time fit for another post.  After the post earlier (Shades Down and Lights Off),  I sat on my bed and just began to think.  I thought about God, my life, my past, my present, my hopes, and desires.  To calm the anxious thoughts in my mind, I searched for the 8AM sermon at All Nations Worship Assembly.  Instead of a traditional sermon, Apostle Stevenson got up and began to pray against the spirits of death, suicide, and anxiety.  Man oh man, that prayer wrecked me.  He had no idea that a young girl in SC would listen to something he imparted into Chicago earlier that morning.  I sat, cried, worshipped and kneeled and in that moment I felt the beautiful presence of God. In my lowest of lows, His love came to the rescue once again.  I removed my clothes of sadness and mourning and changed into garments of joy.  My peace returned to me and I decided to go to church again: this time in new garments!

How great is our God, that when we think it’s all over He shows up?  When we turn to Him and express our need for Him, he comes to our rescue- so faithful and so kind, is he.  There’s a lyric in this song called “Reckless Love” that says “There’s no wall you won’t kick down/ Lie you won’t tear down/ Coming after me”  And today, He kicked down some self-made walls and he tore down the lies I  was being enticed to believe.  Loves, I want to affirm you today.  You are NOT a lost cause.  You are NOT hopeless.  You are NOT going to remain in the same situation overwhelmed by the same things.  God STILL loves you.  He STILL chooses you.  He STILL desires you and though your mind may say otherwise, HE thinks of you the SAME.  Today, in my darkest moment the Father showed up in grace, mercy and reckless love.  You are not alone, for the Creator of all good things comes to you- ready in hand with whatever you need.

Thank you for the prayers,  thanks for being my online family and thanks for giving me the freedom to live a transparent life.  I love you all very much!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mZaIKqL7HIM/TyooZ_7sj-I/AAAAAAAAAbI/oBUqO-zywVY/s1600/jacobscoat.jpg

Shades Down, Lights Off

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

I’m not okay.  At all.   Not even close.  I think for a long time, I painted this face of being always happy but I’m not happy not one bit and the more I think about it the more I want to reveal exactly where I am.  There’s a saying that those who can’t, teach.  I’ve invested my whole life into loving people well because I sought to be loved well.  I’ve invested my whole career into advocating for people because I know exactly what it feels like to not have anyone advocate for me.  I push community on others because I would be rich if I had a quarter for every time I felt alone.  In fact, I feel alone now.   I wish I could change that thing about me, I wish I could say I had more good days than bad but truthfully that’s not the case.  Even now, though the sun is outside and it’s beauty is radiating… I’m in my room the shades down and the lights off, wondering if I can really do this thing called life.  It took me twice as long to figure out if I was going to church this morning because it took me a solid hour and some change to figure out if I still wanted to continue breathing.  Like, if I disappeared off the face of the planet, would it really matter?  If my presence disappeared from my apartment, my school, my church or my job- would anyone actually care?  At this moment, I understand so deeply what Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain felt, to be surrounded by people that don’t know you, who are oblivious to the inward turmoil that you’re facing because they assume by your success, position, gifting and outward garments that you’re okay.

I’m done pretending that my faith has positioned me on some pedestal, and I’m over pretending that there are no days when I want to let go.  Today was one of those days… the idea that I have to be strong is overrated and the fact of the matter is: I need God as much as you do. In fact, I need Him now!  I need him to sort out the messiness of my mind, I need his help to break destructive patterns, I need his love to soothe the pain.  I need him now and I refuse to live another day hiding my feelings for the conveniences of others.  It’s okay to not be okay.

Xoxo,

Simone

There’s More

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

Happy Thursday!  Have you ever sat back, reflected on your day and was like “How in the world did I get all of that done?”  You know what I mean?  No, well if you knew how hectic my schedule was you would be like: “OMG I can’t believe she is still breathing!”  Every day is another fast-paced adventure full of twists and turns,  looming with the unexpected and thriving with the unknown.  I plan for the day and I keep a day planner, or I used to- but every moment seems to be an invitation to release control and to step into the adventure that is Him.

How beautiful is it to feel unlimited?  To no longer be bogged down with the weight of limitations?  Whether those limitations are time, energy, money, intellect, etc?   For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’ve broken through the glass ceiling and there is an appreciation of the fact that there is so much more!  There is so much more adventure, much more ideas, much more creativity!  It is as if a well of creativity is flowing on the inside and where there was blockage of doubt, insecurity, and brokenness- healing has come to produce a well that never runs dry.  This is what it feels like to lean into His grace, to relinquish control, to receive His love.  It feels like the words of hope never end, the ideas for the future fail to cease and innovation become a neverending reality. And just when, just when you feel like there is nothing left to give, that well springs up again spouting forth something new and something good.

He is the well and with him, there is so much more!

Xoxo,

Simone

“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

FIC: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/63/Strokkur_geyser_eruption%2C_close-up_view.jpg/300px-Strokkur_geyser_eruption%2C_close-up_view.jpg

 

Oozing With Words

Hello old friend, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I wish I could say that I’ve always had the right words to say, or that I was always confident to speak my heart, but that is not the case.  I remember times, having so much to say but not knowing exactly how to translate my pain.  I remember moments of feeling incredibly numb, lacking the motivation or the passion to write my truths.  It’s crazy how pain makes us silent.  It robs us the freedom of bold speech and instills within us the fear of being misunderstood or hurt again.  So, to make sure we don’t experience pain again, we become silent.  The last blow to my heart almost took me completely out emotionally.  I remember doubting my words, my actions, my friendships, my family, my ability to be loved and to love.  I remember the pain of betrayal gagging me.  I remember word curses binding me, words such as “you’re not good enough.” “Oh really, you want to sing?”  “Do you really think you can write that?”  words uttered by those close to me: those I served with, those I called my Columbia family, those who were once my home.   I was dropped as a daughter, dropped as a sister, dropped as a friend and it was at no fault of my own.  So here I am, gagged by pain.  What’s even more bizarre is that I served through it.  I served through my pain.  I gave through the pain.  I danced in the midst of pain.  I sang songs of victory while bound.  I was mentally and emotionally at a standstill with God, numb by pain.

Over time, fear became my portion.  I lived in fear because I saw life through the lens of regret.  Regret causes us to doubt everything, to come to a standstill, to live in delayed obedience ( which is simply disobedience), and to become hesitant concerning everything.  Regret turned into unforgiveness, and unforgiveness turned into bitterness except I was bitter against myself for opening up in the first place, for placing expectations upon people that did not have the capacity to carry me, for desiring community that I did not see that this community was more toxic than helpful and bitter for trusting my own instincts.  In my mind, I couldn’t trust myself so I stopped advising, writing, singing, encouraging, and speaking.  I became mute.

I went to Charlotte a few nights ago, a young woman began to pray for me and encouraged me to forgive myself.  She said these words: “You have not been treated well as a daughter and God knows that it was not of any fault of your own.  He wants to heal that heart pain where it concerns sonship.”  I broke down in tears because for the first time in a long time, she saw my pain.  She spoke to my pain and all the words I wanted to utter began to ooze out to the Lord.  Her intentional prayers destroyed the gag of pain and released me to a place of tears and healing.  I’m oozing with words because pain no longer binds me.  I am free to express my heart and I’m healed to share the story of my pain with each of you!

Friends, I don’t know where each of you is in life.  Some of you may be like me:  serving through pain, some may be experiencing pain now and some of you may be alright and that is great! For those who were feeling like me, I want to remind you that God sees you.  He knows all about your pain.  He knows what they did.  He knows what you experienced.  He invites you to forgive, to open yourself to his healing voice and he invites you to freedom from heart pain.  He wants you to ooze with words of life, no longer gagged by painful experiences.  I pray that he speaks to you and that you will be healed!

Xoxo,

Simone

“Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul” Proverbs 16:24

FIC: https://2pobaduekzw9jt9a-zippykid.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/honey.jpg