Open.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

“Be Open.” That is the instruction ringing in my heart.  All of my fears are contending with the Lord in the form of what-ifs, yet in kindness, He repeats himself once more: “Open your heart. Open your heart to love.”  Tears stream down my cheeks as I realize that I’ve been closed to the idea that someone will actually love me.  Fully.  To tell you the truth, I’ve just fully accepted the idea that He loved me fully.  I just became content with that phenomenon; that in spite of all of my mistakes, weaknesses, and shortcomings, this great God was in fact deeply in love with me.

My heart resisted but the instruction remained the same, “Open your heart. Open your heart to being loved.” “But God” my heart persisted, “What if he hurts me?” The instruction remained the same, “Open your heart.  Open your heart to being loved.”  “But God.” my heart pleaded, “What if this breaks me worse than last time?” The Father remained gentle, in pure kindness- he stated one more time, “Love, the choice is yours. But darling, I’ll ask again – Open your heart.  Open your heart to being loved.”  I sat on my couch and I heard his gentle voice like oil caress my spirit and I had a choice to make.  Either I would open up and take the risk of pain or remain closed and ultimately alone.

At the end of the day to trust in the instruction of God is to ultimately trust in Him.  To trust Him requires the hard thing:  it requires facing our fears, it requires confronting our doubts, it requires trying again at the thing we think we suck at the most.  For me, love.  I have this obvious track record of failed relationships, of apparent heartbreaks.  I have this rap sheet of ugly moments and countless memories of love lost.  I am a woman who has made peace with her regrets yet fear gripped me when I heard his voice.  Fear came to remind me of my past and shame came as a drinking buddy ready to cosign me into self-sabotage.  Yet, here comes Holy Spirit: kind, gentle and full of truth with one simple instruction.  Be Open. Open your heart to being loved. 

So, here I am completely open and vulnerable and just plain scared but willing.  I am willing to be open, I am willing to be loved.

I have no idea where this heart journey is going to take me.  All I know is that I am committed to obeying sweet Holy Spirit’s instruction.  I am committed to being open and to keep my heart open to being loved. I am willing and my heart says “Yes.

Until next time,

Simone 

FIC: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/371447628482-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

 

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

Creators Unite: 2018 is the Age of the Creative!

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

As 2017 begins to wind down, and this year quickly comes to an end.  I don’t know about each of you but this year (for some) was one void of inspiration and creative flow.  I spoke with some of my other friends who are creatives, and they expressed a great disdain for this year in regards to their creative ability.  Again for some, 2017 was the year of the creative block.  Artists, writers, innovators, struggled to imagine again.  We saw this inward turmoil when we looked to the films released, the music heard and even the articles written about our favorite celebrity icons.  It was as if the creative breath of our nation, left with the new presidency and the hope of good, imaginative thought took a downward turn.  Don’t get me wrong this is not a political blog and the new year is not going to change that, but 2017 for a lack of better words : purely, ardently SUCKED!  It was a taxing year of tension between struggle and progression and society once again found skepticism in the intentions of good spoken by humanity.

This year alone, I wrote less than the year before.  I lacked inspiration, hope, time and ingenuity and frankly loss my love for the written art form.  The greatest tragedy is for a creator to lose the ability to create again. I bet those with one-hit wonders could identify with that statement, and too long for the day when they can create something new.  That is my heart’s desire to create something new, to be an endless stream of creative thoughts and ideas in my pursuit to demonstrate love to those around me.  The same old- same old, is BORING and  my attention span for what is lackluster has expired.  I want to create, and I want to create something legendary.  Even some of you, my friends, I watched you hit a glass ceiling with creativity as your posts began to be more prolonged and your woes more apparent.  I have great news… I believe that the year coming is the year for the creatives!  It’s going to be a year of renewed vision, more innovative ideas, and just a stream of creative output.  It’s the age of the Creative!

So… was that a diatribe against 2017?  I guess it was… though I am grateful for 2017, for God has been extremely good to me, it has been extremely hard filled with intense pain.  Yet, the pain I’ve experienced, did not kill me.  I’m here, I’m grateful and I’m ready!  I’m ready to hit the ground running, looking to unite as we create together.  Creators Unite!  For it is our time to shape and influence the world, and the works we set now will be admired for generations to come!

Thank you to each of you for believing in me!  I appreciate every comment, read post, shared post and I love each of you for it!

I believe in each of you.  I believe in your work, your writing, your heart’s desire for good and I wish you the best this coming year.  Are you a creator?  If so, this is your time!  

Much love,

Simone 

©Simone Holloway, 2017

Revived Belief

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I’ve been bursting with experiences that I’ve been dying to share with each of you.  I think creativity and inspiration has this amazing way of being fueled by life and for the past week or so I’ve increased my pursuit for the presence of God.  I can sit here and pretend that I was not in a low place, that I had everything together and that my faith in the promises of God concerning me was rock solid- but ladies and gents, that would be a lie!  In fact, my belief in what God said about me wavered and my trust in the one who held my future faltered.  You see, my biggest fear was that what I was believing God for concerning myself was never going to come true and once again I would be disappointed and left without security.  Friends, I had no trouble believing in the God of miracles for others or even each of you- but I had a hard time believing in myself.  For years, I believed the lie that I was inadequate, that I wasn’t good enough that I was a mistake, that my uniqueness/difference was a curse rather than a blessing.  It was out of this pain, that propelled me to believe so strongly in others – to push them towards their differences and to champion behind their tailored greatness.  Pain pushed me to love more yet I felt emptiness on the inside…

It’s usually the ones who love the most that have experienced such harsh heartbreak.  It’s usually the most accepting individuals that experienced the most rejection.  It’s usually the depressed  that seek to bring others joy and I lacking belief in myself- championed and believed in others.  Even those good works could not bring me fulfillment and after while the seeds of awesomeness that God planted on the inside became neglected and poorly maintained.  It is the grace of God that pushes Him to challenges us to produce a return on the investment he has given us.  It’s like the Father loves us so much that he refuses to let that seed he planted within us to die from our own hands.  Friends, the tables turned and the Father began to point the light on me and where I was in this faith walk with Him.  He began to challenge me! He flashed the light on my hypocrisy- how could I sing of his goodness and not believe he was good?  How could I testify of his power and not believe his power is applicable in my life?  How could I speak of his impartiality, yet believe that he was being partial in my circumstance?  God came for my hypocrisy- he challenged my faux faith.  In the end to not believe in myself,  is to not believe at all!  The same God that love my family and friends, love me. The same God that cares about those I attend school with, cares about me.  The same God listening to the prayers of my mentors, hears me when I pray.  He is just as concerned, bothered,  and alert concerning me as everyone else in the universe.  He loves us all!

It was time that I began to believe- for without faith, it is impossible to please God because we must first believe that He exists that he would reward those that seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).  We have to believe that he will make good on his promise.  Over a stretch of time, God has revived my belief in him and most importantly in myself.

May you find your belief again!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://naumankhan.com/wp-content/uploads/181105-Believe-In-Yourself.jpg

©Simone Holloway, 2017

Desiring More

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken.  My life has been a whirlwind of highs and lows encased within a complex search for answers.  There comes a time in our lives, when we come to desire more: more of God, more out of life, more time, etc.   For me, it’s a desire to truly be happy with myself- like to believe that I am all that the Father says I am.  I’ve heard the affirmations, and I’ve been validated but I still have doubts that creep in moments of weakness.  I want to believe that I am beautiful on my ugliest of days.  I want to believe that I am gifted/talented in moments when all I can see is my mistakes.  Literally, some days I wake up to my flaws and that’s all I can see.  These past few weeks have been about regaining freedom and keeping the freedom that have been brought with such a precious price.

I desire more: more confidence/God-fidence, more certainty, more assurance, and just more presence.  I desire to no longer sense the loneliness that have accompanied my season of singleness.  I get it, when you live by yourself- there is a level of loneliness and depression that is  in-explainable.  It’s like you’re constantly reminded of where you are versus where you desire to be.  Even in these moments of transparency and vulnerability, I believe the Father is beckoning us to desire him.  He wants us to want him more than we want our temporary void fillers.  He desires that we desire for our lives to be filled with Him and His goodness.

For those who have been like me, in this uncomfortable ebb and flow of discovery- be of good cheer!  There is a light at  the end of the tunnel and there is so much more to come.  One day all of the pieces will fall into place, the way you feel in this moment- you will never feel that way again.  I’ve praying for each of you and if you need someone to talk it out with- I’m here for you!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://www.harvestusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/iStock_000050211154_Medium-desires-111115.jpg

 

Belief in spite of Sight

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

There is something so rebellious about believing God’s word over what’s being presented in front of you. You know the scripture, ” we all by faith and not by sight”? I think this phrase become more real when faith and what you see are saying two different things. There’s nothing more contradictory than a promise of sucesss in the face of failure. Or how about this one: a promise of wealth in a season of not having two pennies to rub together. That’s the genius of God to demonstrate the impossible in spite of our limited possibilities. 

I’ve experienced disappointment that could have literally took me out- like out of my mind, out of this life, out of this world but my hope is not in what I see, my hope is in the One who gave me sight. I believe He is bigger and I believe His word is true and just when I don’t think I can take enough, He stands by my side and says you can endure- you can conquer! He’s my strength, He’s my anchor and it is in Him that I have placed my trust! 

So today I encourage you to believe, yeah what you see around you don’t match the hope of God’s word but believe anyway! God’s going to come through, He always do. Believe in the impossible and know that there’s a dope God ready to bring what you consider impossible to pass! 

Until next time,

Simone  

FIC:http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/cms/CW/faith/11350-fog-mist-walking-journey-path.400w.tn.jpg

God’s Opinion…

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

Well… it’s Monday and let me tell you I took an “L” during class today.  Have you ever been asked a question and gave an obvious wrong answer but before you can stop yourself from talking- your mistaken speech has already left your mouth?  This happened to me in Civil Procedure today I could feel the stares of judgement on my back…like, I was so embarrassed.  One of the first thoughts that can to my mind was, “Girl!  Everyone must think you’re so stupid now!” “Like, you’re soooo stupid! Why did you say that???”  Shame and embarrassment began to settle on me.  We can’t change the perception of others, but we can change how we perceive ourselves…

As I sat in my seat, eyes adverted to the floor, the Lord asked me a question:

“Which opinion is more important to you: mine or theirs?”

I could feel His presence meet me in that classroom and He began to share his thoughts about me to me.  “I think you’re smart, I think you’re beautiful.  I think you’re capable of more than you’ve ever imagined.  I think you’re going to make a great attorney! I believe in you.”  His words lifted the shame and his peace began to settle my soul.  There’s this scripture that says, “Those that place their hope in Me will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 49:23)  There is no shame in Him, and his opinion supersedes the opinions of others.

Well…I don’t know what you’ve been embarrassed about or what defeating thoughts you’ve entertained about yourself- but I challenge you to see yourself, the way God sees you!  I challenge you to think highly of yourself because your Creator thinks highly of you. His love consumes all of the fear, doubt, and shame that comes to overwhelm us. He believes in us, so let us believe in ourselves!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: http://il2.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/7656877/thumb/1.jpg

LinkedIn Kills Confidence

I hate professional networking sites.  I really do and it’s not because I have some personal vendetta against the lovely folks that encourage broadcasting your job history for others to see, but rather my hatred stems from this overwhelming sense of losing in the world when I compare my LinkedIn profile to someone else.  Have you actually taken the time to measure up your professional accomplishments with another?  It’s pretty exhausting and it really takes all of the energy out of an individual…trust me I should know.  I’ve always felt like I did not accomplish as much as my Furman counterparts, my classmates from my university are running things in the world and I am just now starting to really figure out my life.  Like seriously… I just now have a plan and my former classmates have written books, cured cancer and are probably going to receive a Nobel Peace Prize by time I come up in the world.  Okay so I’m exaggerating a little bit … but still when I compare my life to those around me I’m like why can’t I accomplish big things too, you know?  It’s that evil comparison trap again, waiting to swallow up my confidence and remind me where I do not measure up to those around me.

LinkedIn makes this self confidence process worse with questions such as “Do you have any certifications?” “Have you won any awards?” “Have you made any publications, written any articles, changed the literary face of the world?” “What about a Pulitzer?” “Pulled a Grammy yet???” And I sit in front of my computer screen, thinking to  myself – “Does this blog count???” Oh man… the sigh of defeat when it recommends a connection that you just happen to know and that individual have written three books and just happened to have time to save a child from an orphanage last weekend.  Why me??? I don’t have the accolades that some of my peers have, nor have I started my path when I thought I should have – but I am on my way.  This is the piece of encouragement I whisper to myself, as I realize that I’m not “there” yet  I am on my way.

There – a noun: that place we all seek to make one day, even though we have no idea where that place of contentment/satisfaction is.

I just want to make it “there” and in order to really love where I am and who I am, I am banning LinkedIn from my life for a little while.  Who cares that I am just now going to law school at 23 (leave for school in August – yay!!)? Who cares that I have not published anything super grand yet – who cares??? I am great in my own right.  I have touched many lives with compassion, created a brand for myself with no one’s help but God’s,  and I learned that the value of life is not in the opinions of others but is in what we think of ourselves.

So… I am writing this LinkedIn rant so that we together can overcome the comparison trap; those triggers in our lives that lie to us and tell us that we will never measure up to the goodness of another. It is a stupid trap that comes when another friend is getting married and you realize you are still single; that trap that comes when your peer gets into the graduate school you was denied admission; that trap that comes when even with your accomplishments it is hard to find a job. The comparison trap comes to kill our confidence and tell us all that we are and will never be – that god-awful trap.

I feel a sense of revolution as we seek to love ourselves, encourage ourselves and learn to live confident within our own skin.  I remember placing my blog on LinkedIn with such a sense of pride.  When I started writing and heard all of the wonderful response from each and every one of you – I felt like I saw a glimpse of my special place, I finally made it “there.” Why should I allow the accomplishments of another steal that pure joy away from me?

Every one of us is destined for a different journey, some are destined for fame and fortune others not so much but it does not discount the adventure we all will fulfill .  My journey started later than most in my opinion but it’s uniquely mine.  No one will have a life like mine.  No one will experience my God-created adventure and that is what makes my life special.  God created my journey, He knew every twist and turn in the road and He anticipated this reaction to my LinkedIn profile today- He knew that would spark the inspiration for this post.   God is cool with who I am and He loves me for me and not for everything I have done.  His love is unconditional regardless of whether or not I make it “there.” This is the confidence we can rest in – God loves me regardless of our accomplishments.

So I will leave you with one final thought – If God loves us regardless of our paths, why can’t we love ourselves?

 

Comparison is the death of joy – Mark Twain

 

©Simone Holloway, 2016

FIC:http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZYK8HbJ7q_w/VohSccrBaEI/AAAAAAAAFHQ/PDexSoEWTuE/s1600/7%2BReasons%2BYou%2BNeed%2BTo%2BMake%2B2016%2BYour%2BSelfish%2BYear.jpg

Until The Very Last Minute

How BIG is your faith?

How CRAZY are you willing to look?

Crazy enough to get CRAZY results?

How BIG is your God?

Does your FAITH truly reflect how big He is?

These last few days, I learned a big lesson regarding faith.  I learned that faith only produces results in the absence of fear and with the unction of obedience.  I think that I am coming into this special relationship with the Lord, where I follow his lead in my life.  To tell you the truth, I trust him to the point of automatic submission.   This weekend was one of those weekends when you have something planned, but you have no idea how things are going to come together.  I was scheduled to arrive in  Chi-town for a law school reception, but a lot of unfortunate events begin to shake my faith regarding my departure.

First, the money that I was supposed to use for the trip never came.  I was promised some bonus money from my job, but the amount was cut severely short.  I planned to fly, but the flight I needed was sold out and all the other flights from home to Chi-town were almost double what I could afford.  I was offered a discount rate for a hotel room but the rates was still pricey considering the downtown location of the school.  Money was the BIG obstacle standing in my way of going to this reception.  I prayed on it and I said “Father, if this is Your will, work everything out.”  I looked for change on yesterday, and nothing happened- I heard nothing from the Lord.  All I could do was wait and implore of Him again.  My bestie/big sis and I prayed together and agreed that whatever the Lord’s will turned out to be- we will wait out the results and trust him.  I sat on my bed, I got the prices of what everything would cost and I placed that concern at the feet of Jesus.  To prove that I believed that God could change my circumstance, I even packed a bag and when my mom and dad asked if I was still going to Chi-town – I said “Yes.”  I didn’t know how I was going to get there, had no clue what I was going to do once I got there- but I believed in God so much to the point that I knew He would back my confession.

I woke up this morning, not with an answer but with a heart of faith, a mind that was determined and complete trust in the will of God.  Even to the very last minute,  I confessed out of my mouth- “I’m going to Chi-town for this law school reception.”

Now, family and friends I am writing to you as I am traveling to Chicago.  Everything worked out; the travel, the hotel, and I have everything I need for when I arrive to my destination.  Sometimes, you have to operate out of faith and not out of  the reality of what something appears to be.  Children of God, we speak about faith and trust, but do we truly live these principles out?  We live life out of convenience- blocked from truly seeing the hand of God move for us because we are so uncomfortable moving out of not knowing what is to come.

The greatest adventures are the scariest ones and the most rewarding memories are those that we never thought we would have.

Until next time,

Simone.

Heb 11:1

Invisible Hands

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

God must not be moving.  That is the thought that runs through our minds when we see all of the chaos and confusion around us.  God must not be moving.  How could He be moving in the midst of this? Plus,  I don’t see Him.  I don’t see Him moving. Good thing, faith is not dependent upon our eyesight. Faith is dependent on our trust and belief in God.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV

Chaos.  Complete disorder and confusion.  That is what I am seeing in my life right now, a juxtaposition being that I am also free- falling in the Will of God.  It’s crazy that in the midst of my obedience to God in expectation of the promise, all I see is confusion and chaos.  My current situation shows the promise being impossible.  My life is set up in impossibility- the perfect environment for the presence of God.

 Jesus looked upon them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 KJV

Maybe this is where I need to be, maybe this is where the Lord was leading me- into the place of impossibility so that His glory can be revealed on a greater level.  God does His best work in the land of impossible and reveals Himself the best in the area of nothingness.  And maybe, just maybe…He was waiting for me to be void so that he can create something to fill the void forever.

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2 ESV

The beauty of God is that when we think He is not moving, those are the moments that He actually is- being Spirit moving His invisible hands.  Naked to the human eye but tangible to His spoken Word.  He is not only moving; but he is watching, orchestrating, rebuilding and working on bringing His promises concerning us to pass.  God is moving, and just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean movement is not happening.  I’m reminded of the air we breath, though naked to our physical eyes- we witness it’s power within us each and every day.  If for a moment we forget to breathe, our lives could be cut short from lack of oxygen in our lungs.  We need air to be alive, yet we will never touch an air particle in our lifetime.  We need something that is not tangible, that holds no form or shape.  Isn’t it crazy how God’s word is sort of the same, intangible to our fingertips yet necessary for our being to function (including our fingertips).  We need His Word and His Word is moving to make us  into who He desires for us to be.

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 ESV

God is moving.  We just cannot see it.  And to tell you the truth, that’s okay because our sight does not hinder His movement.  I want to encourage you guys tonight to let you know that there is still hope in what is to come.  There is still hope.  Trust in the hand of the Lord, though invisible to you; vital to your well being.  I hope each of you have a great night!

Until next time,

Simone 🙂

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 ESV

FIC: http://allwallpapersnew.com/wp-content/gallery/hand-of-god-images/Jesus+hands.jpg