The Letter

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo,

Simone

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

Trust Issues

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers, 

My name is Simone and I have trust issues.  Yep, it’s true – I have a hard time with trust.  I thought this journey of becoming was going to be easy.  I shouted on the promise that year 26 was going to be the year of eradicating my fears.  On January 11th, I thought God was going to eradicate fear out of my life by challenging me to do new and exciting things like traveling or skydiving.  I had no idea that His eradication process would consist of moving back home or admitting to my community one of my issues.  I never imagined this post being apart of the plan, but yet here we are.

Let’s start from the beginning.  I am preacher’s kid, I grew up in church memorizing and reciting scripture.  I’ve probably heard the term “Trust the Lord” more times than I can count.  So much so, that the phrase became a cliche and Proverbs 3:5-6 was just another reminder of my childhood Sunday School class.  I don’t think I’ve ever come into a place of complete trust.  The majority of the years of my fellowship with God have been marred by skepticism.  I would declare trust only to get into circumstances that revealed that I truly didn’t believe that He cared about me deeply.

Whoah.. that moment of transparency was a lot but let’s continue.  So, why my lack of trust?  Fear.  I was afraid to trust again.  I’ve placed my trust in individuals and experienced disappointment, in churches and left broken, in systems that have failed and I think over the years I’ve equated all of the heartbreak with trusting in God.  My lack of trust stemmed from a fear of shame.  Even last night, I had a need. I’ve been praying for the longest and last night was the deadline.  I remember saying to the Lord, “I’m not trying to be out here looking embarrassed.  You got me out here in the middle of nowhere proclaiming that you’re with me and if you don’t come through, I’m going to be so ashamed.  I’m not placing trust in you to end up humiliated.” If I was Him, I would have been so offended.  I mean God has done so many things for me: time and time again and I still didn’t fully trust Him to keep His Word.  I mean let that sink in… homie has proven himself even died on a cross and we’re still at this crossroads of trust.  Yet, in gentleness, he spoke these words to me:

Those that place their trust in me will never be ashamed.  If you trust me, you have no need to be afraid.  I won’t let you down.

I surrendered to his request to trust Him.  The need was not met last night but it was provided for this morning.  He came through, just like He said he would.

I have a friend that one night in a rehearsal began singing “You always do what you say you’ll do.”  In a moment of vulnerability, he began to sing that line over and over proclaiming that God could be trusted.  That line came back to me this morning and I began to sing it too.  The fact of the matter is, God is trustworthy.  I can’t say the same for every person, or job opportunity or even my own logic or reasoning, but I can say that about the one who has not switched up on me even when he had every reason to.  I can be a lot.  A lot to deal with, a lot to console, a lot to journey with.  I can be really headstrong, stubborn sometimes, petty on my good days and unforgiving on my bad days. I’m a lover of justice and my pride will convince me that I can be both judge and jury but that’s not my job.  I know me.  So for God to stick with me all these years is a testament of His love.  He loves me beyond me and that amazes me every single time.

Early this morning, I prayed a simple prayer:  “Lord, will you help me?  I want to trust you and those you’ve given me.  Can you please teach me how to trust?”  That was step one.  Now, I’m leaning into him. I’ve chosen to trust Him and share my journey with each of you in spite of the risk.  At the end of the day, He got me and He’s going to make sure I’m good!

Friends, will you let him speak to your fears? To deal with your issues?  I know it uncomfortable and there is this notion of risk involved in healing but what is the alternative?  Living life alone?  Worrying about everything all the time?  Always viewing people and situations through the lens of skepticism?  Dr. Matthew Stevenson III stated that “everything we need to receive is funneled through trust.” Every gift in a person or relationship, every prophecy, every amount of healing comes through trust.  We cannot get what we need if we do not trust.  I think this is why God is dealing with trust within me because He’s promised me some things that will only come if I place trust in Him.  I can’t go to my next outside of trust.  I encourage you to be honest with yourself and ask some hard questions. For example: Do you really trust God?, Do you trust anyone?  If not, what is the fear that’s keeping you from trusting in God’s love for you?  And lastly,  do you want to be able to trust?  All it takes is an honest conversation with God and community and I promise He will help you!

May you find the courage to be honest and the strength to trust in the One who hasn’t switched up on you.

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC :https://cdn-images-1.medium.com//max/1200/1*XfamT0OI3iaB8yS_s40XoQ@2x.jpeg

“Trust Issues” sermon by Dr. Matthew Stevenson III: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znoJoFw0f00

 

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

 

I Got It Wrong

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Around this time five years ago, I wrote a post called “My Only” expressing joy in the idea that I found (what I believed) to be my “one and only,” the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I thought I found the love of my life. I was wrong. I found a man that was incapable of loving me to the capacity that I needed. I was looking over my blog memories when my stats revealed that someone read that post a few days ago. My first thought: “Simone, delete that post!!! That relationship failed, get rid of the memories of your failures, erase the post.” But, that isn’t life, we can’t go around erasing the terrible things that we’ve experienced. We face our failures, we accept them and we learn from them. So here are three reasons, I believe my getting it wrong was necessary for me to learn how to get it right.

  1. I accepted the love I thought I deserved: subpar, broken and inconsistent. The guy I thought was forever, in hindsight, did not love me well. And to tell you the truth, I can’t blame him. He was not loved well and he had no genuine connection to the One who loved him well. When your life is absent from the Creator of Love, it’s hard to love others. Instead, you love them through your broken version of the love you’ve received. That is the way he loved me: from a place of fear/distance, insecurity which drove his patterns of lying about stupid things, ghosting and poor communication and mediocre because to invest in love is to open himself up to the possibility to be in pain. He prided himself to be a master of pain avoidance and he did this by loving from a shallow place. The worst part was I loved the same way: my friendships were not deep by any measure of the imagination. I was trying to be everything for him, even if it meant being untrue to myself. Lastly, he was everything and because I did not think highly of myself; it was like girl you betta take what you can get. WRONG!!! Now, I’ve grown and I can see that God was like “Homegirl, you deserve so much better!” Thank God!  
  2. I was not okay with being alone. In fact, being and dying alone was one of my biggest fears. Therefore, I settled with “better than what I had” but not necessarily great. Anything that is better than what you had always seemed to be the best but it is not until you understand what you’re worth that you realize what you’ve settled for. There is nothing wrong with looking back and being like “he’s not that great- in fact he’s trash!” I wasn’t secure within myself to have that moment of awakening but God not waiting on my point of enlightenment, in mercy, decided to save this girl from herself! I’m so grateful He did. Because, if we’re honest not one ounce of love lives in fear; so to build a love out of it would be a decision to settle for a love that is indeed false. Perfect love expels fear; there is no fear in true love. As I’ve grown and come to love myself, I seek to be absent of fear and perfected in love. It is the heart of the Father that we are full of love and void of fear and that should be demonstrated in our relationships. To be unafraid is to be truly in love. 
  3.  I realized that I needed to heal. Yep, there were wounds that I neglected thinking that I would find healing in my relationship but that’s not how it works, you are to come to your relationship whole ready to complement them. It is so dangerous to bring your open wounds to someone and expect them to have the balm to heal you. It breeds codependency and easy disappointment. God knew that I needed to heal, that I needed to be alone to really seek him for this necessary balm. The best thing that could have happened was the ending of my relationship because the end of that thing opened my heart to the fact that there were wounds that needed to heal. Ladies and gents, the best thing you can do is heal. Heal and then enter into relationships with other people. Don’t bring your baggage into your relationships and place expectations on people to heal you. Only God heals, so allow him to heal you with His love.

Friends, the guy I was with was NOT my one and only, but he was integral to my growth. He taught me what I did not want in a person. He taught me what I was not willing to settle for. He taught me that what I’ve embraced was not real love. I’m grateful that things ended because it gave me the freedom to learn about myself and to love me.  So, there is no need to fear mistakes because even our mistakes are redeemable in the hands of God.  He has this tendency to take our bad things and He promises to make them work for our good.  He rights our wrongs. 

God allowed me to get it wrong so that He could make one thing right, me!  

Xoxo, 

Simone 

FIC: https://i2.wp.com/digital-photography-school.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/black-white-mistakes-4.jpg?resize=750%2C750&ssl=1

Misplaced Expectations.

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

I’ve been guilty of many things, one being the placement of expectations on those I love without agreed upon conversation. I know what you’re thinking, “Simone, you can’t just be out here expecting things from people who have not verbalized their agreement to fulfill certain roles!” I know. It’s not my intention to placed these expectations on others but if we’re honest deep down on the inside, we expect people to love like we do. Yes, we do! We expect people to be as tolerant as us, to give as much as we do, to be concerned with what we care about, to see the world through our lens. The disappointment comes when we discover that someone is not loving us the way we expected them to, that they are not being as kind as we expected, that they are not as honest as we expected. Our disappointment comes from our own misplaced expectations.

I recently came to a place with someone that I love that left me deeply disappointed. I entered into this friendship with this person, shared my heart with them, even told them things that no one else knew about me. I became aware of a bit of dishonesty from them to me and I was deeply troubled: I WAS ANGRY!!! Man, you could not tell me I wasn’t justified in my response. The problem was, I was really angry with myself. Angry that I placed these expectations of honesty and truth upon someone and their failure of those expectations. If we’re honest, our anger is with ourselves. We’re disappointed that we placed faith and trust in someone that we thought could do no wrong, but they did. Problem is: we’re all human, liable to make mistakes. We are all liable to get it wrong and there is grace for mistakes.

So…if I could offer any advice. Please do not place expectations on people unless there has been a direct conversation stipulating behavior. We cannot expect perfection, but we should not tolerate crap either. Some things can be cleared up by mere communication. So have the conversation… do that person value honesty the way you do? How do they feel about the concept of respect? Do they value you? Why do they want to be in your life? What is the role that they want to place in your life? Do you agree with this role? Express your feelings, desires, stances on relational definitions and let the chips fall where they lay.

Rid your life of misplaced expectations.

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://cloud.visura.co/346518.xx_large.jpg

I Am Too Proud To Beg

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Pre-Christmas Week!  I’m home for the holidays and I can feel the hustle and bustle of excitement in the air.  It’s been a while since we’ve talked, so I thought I would share something with each of you tonight.

As I began to gear up for dinner prep, I began to think about the holidays as a whole.  As many of you know, I ended a long-term relationship this past July.  Before this final break up, I was stuck in this on again- off again whirlwind of a relationship.  I spent seven years devoted to this rescue project, who did not acknowledge my own value to invest the same.  It was a living nightmare.  The sad part of this whole fiasco was every Christmas I would do the absolute most to convince him that I was “it.”  It was as if in my mind the magic of Christmas would cure our toxic relationship.  Slowly but surely, I awakened to myself, and now I am convinced that I deserve better.

Ladies and gents, this is the first Christmas in a long time that I am truly single.  I mean single-single.  I am single in my mind, heart, body, I belong to God and me alone.  Christmas is not my favorite holiday because of whose attached to me (contrary to Hallmark Channel’s popular belief), neither does this holiday bring me joy because of who is sitting at my dinner table.  Christmas is my favorite holiday because its the day God in goodness full of love gave the world a gift that was too good for it:  His Son.  He loved me enough to give me a piece of himself. And if the Creator gave himself so freely, why on earth should I have to beg someone to love me well?  I don’t.  Point, blank, periodt!

Friends, it took me seven years to learn that I deserved better.  Seven long, teary-eyed, exhausting years.  Now that I recognize my worth, I’m not begging anyone else to.  I know that I’m beautiful,  I know that I’m dope, I know that I’m wife material.  I understand that I am God’s gift to humanity, that I’ve been fashioned in gentleness and grace, that my class and elevated thinking is one to die for.  I know who I am.  And this awareness of me has shifted my whole approach to relationships.  Friends, know thyself!  Recognize the goodness that lies within you and refuse to beg anyone else to see what’s inside- especially someone with no vision, no goals, no ambition and a little to no future.

Be too proud of yourself to beg!

Xoxo,

Simone

Holiday Anxiety

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy pre-holiday season, with Thanksgiving approaching in the next few days, some of you may be feeling the what I describe as “holiday anxiety.”  It’s this dreading feeling that comes when you know you have to be surrounded by family and answer a bunch of aggravating questions.  As a newly single walking embodiment of awesomeness, I hate all of the aggravating questions that come with being seated at the family dinner table.  I don’t know about you all, but I feel like we live in a world where we are always asked to supply answers to questions that we simply don’t have the answer to.  For example, “How long will you be single?”; “When are you going to have some kids?”; “Girl, why you ain’t got a boyfriend?; “Girl, when are you getting married?”  In my heart I want to scream, “I DON’T KNOW, DO I LOOK LIKE GOD?”  but on the outside, I smile gracefully and say, “I don’t know.  I’ll let you know when I find out.”  I’m not going to let them know… I’m going to make all my announcements after the fact on social media.  My family will find out about my life choices when the world finds out. Trifling?  Yeah, I know.

Ladies and Gents, If you’re like me, I feel your pain and I understand your holiday anxiety.  But more so, I sense the temptation to return to my past due to my own loneliness.  It’s like Lord, you separated me from what I was in before but because of my own desires to be held and to be in a relationship, I feel tempted to return back to that which you’ve set me free from.  I believe that many of you are facing the same temptation, the temptation to return back to your past. This overwhelming temptation to settle for what you’ve been freed from out of convenience and loneliness.  This, I believe is the reason many of us have found ourselves at a crossroads:  Do we return to what the Lord asked us to leave?  Or, do we wait for what He promised?  I had a choice, return back to my ex so I can finally have an “answer” pleasing to men or to wait for what the Lord promised which is better!

Anyways, I can’t tell you all how to live your life.  All I’ll say is do not forfeit your future for the temporary conveniences of today.  So, here I go approaching this awkward time with boldness and depth reminding myself of the truth: I’m happy, I’m content,  and I’m waiting and that my dears will have to be enough.

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://www.b2beck.com/images/holiday_anxiety.jpg

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

 

Things We Learn From Movies….

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Have you ever watched a movie, invested in it and then at the end was left disappointed? Literally, my life ten minutes ago.  I checked out a new film, invested two hours and fifteen minutes into the film, but by the time I got to the end I was like “OMG ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?” It was as I was #AvengersInfinityWar’d all over again!  But, Ladies and Gents- that feeling of disappointment matches some of the relationships I chose.  I entered into these relationships:  excited, intrigued and overwhelmed with the hype of who their representative swore to be but by the time I got to the root of the substance that lied within the individual, I was quickly disappointed.  It’s nothing worse than wasting time, especially in people.  How many of us were attracted or intrigued by an individual and when push came to shove, was ultimately disappointed by what we invested into?  This is something, I’ve experienced and I these are the thoughts I would like to share with you.

So…why are we attracted to the shallow and insufficient?  Why do we jump all the way into things without testing the weightiness of it?  I think all of my experiences were rooted in fear.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of not connecting with someone in the same way.  Fear that nothing better will come along.  The crazy thing about fear is that it will have us dancing on the line of desperation, in an effort to control what’s next.  I think that we jump too soon because we’re scared that we’re going to miss out because of time.  Time like sand slips through our fingers and we feel this anxious clock hovering over us telling us who we should be by a certain year. I ran into relationships because of these fears and I was disappointed because I invested in something without counting the costs. I made decisions out of my fears and I was disappointed.  However, the Father promises that if we place our trust in Him, we will never be disappointed.  God choices do not disappoint.  Choices construed out of myself, feelings, and fears are going to disappoint me every single time.

What I love about God is that He doesn’t get mad at us if we choose wrong, but instead He reveals to us what we need so that we can choose right.  He does not disappoint us, we disappoint ourselves!  So… let us move forward and let us make the God-choice where it concerns relationships!  Let us choose what He desires and we won’t find ourselves disappointed.

“… those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: http://www.patrickbetdavid.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/movies-red.jpg

Giddy

Paused but for a moment an unusual excitement takes over me….

I don’t understand  it’s just a picture – how could this be?

Though miles apart, our hearts are woven together.

I better…be careful, I feel in over my head yet I dread

spending another second separated from you.

Whoo… I feel giddy.

Not overwhelmed, yet slightly overtaken.

Not anxious, yet extremely nervous- cheesy smiles consume my lips

and your name is on my tongue, maybe I was wrong to think that the love I had

for you doesn’t exist anymore I don’t know my brain is moving really quick and I feel

a ramble coming on, OMG, OMG…there you are!  In…picture form,

yet your smile has this magical way of overtaking me, making me all warm and

fuzzy.

I’m just a little giddy,

a little silly

while in love with you.

©Simone Holloway, 2017

FIC: http://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3389/3204002130_cc0538d41f_z.jpg?zz=1