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

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

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

Rock

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

I can’t remember the last time,  I shared something with you all.  I’ve been consumed with school, church, extra-circulars and have carved out some time to hear from God to speak to you.  So… I was thinking, what good is a home without a solid foundation? 

Really though, if the foundation is cracked underneath the house- how long does that house have before it caves in?  

I would say, not very long.  Foundation is everything!  The one thing, the Lord has been speaking to me about is foundation.  Specifically, the foundation of our faith,  and our churches.  As I was sitting in this study room, mentally prepping for finals- I was reminded of the parable of Jesus about building our houses upon rock vs. building them on sand.  You know the story! Maybe??? We are supposed to build our houses on rock so that when the storm comes and the winds blow, our houses can withstand that storm.  If we however, build our houses upon sand: when the storm comes and winds blow, our houses will cave in and fall to the ground.

So what are our houses?  Our house is our heart.  The innermost sections of ourselves, the center pivotal focus of our spiritual walk with God.  It is in our hearts that we make a majority of our decisions.  Similarly, where our treasures resides, our  heart resides there also. So as a believer, someone who follows/believes in Christ, it is very important that Christ is positioned at the center of our hearts.  It is very important that he resides within us there.

So if our house is our hearts, what’s so important about rock?

Rock is sturdy, steadfast, not easily moved by condition and circumstance.  I’ve never seen a rock adjust because of someone’s feelings or because someone had an opinion about it’s purpose or use. Rocks remain in position regardless of the change happening around it.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on a rock, it can’t be easily moved by bad news and awful circumstance.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by sickness, disappointment,  or loss.  Unmovable faith is not shaken by the validation or opinions of others, but remains steady during times of change.  Unmovable faith is built on a rock.

So… what about sand?

Sand is unsteady,  not sturdy, inconsistent and easily moved by condition and circumstance.  When we go to the beach, as soon as the tide comes in the sand underneath our feet moves in response to the seawater.  Therefore, if our faith in Jesus is built on sand, it’s fickle and changes based upon our feelings.  If we feel like we love God, then we do.  If we feel like we don’t, then we don’t.  One day He’s friend, next day He’s enemy.  There is no consistency in the time we spend with him.  There is no consistency in our witness and if others were looking to us to point them toward him, they would not find the way.  Faith built on sand, breeds confusion, anger and waste.

Why does this matter?  Things in life are going to happen.  Some good and some terribly bad- it’s apart of the process and if our foundations are cracked or not steady then when these times come we won’t know how to withstand the storm.  Can you imagine being in a home with “sandy” foundation in the middle of a Hurricane?  Think about it, the fact that you are within that home can costs you your life.  Would you not rather be in a sturdy home built on a “rocky”/ solid foundation?  I believe that God is challenging our foundation, and he wants us to truly find out if we’re built on rock or if we’re built on sand.

Since we are the church, when we gather together- in an organized fashion, either we are worshiping on rock or we are worshiping on sand.  Churches built on rock produce fruit, demonstrate maturity and walk in true love.  Churches built on sand live in carnality, produce church hurt and discord, and contain a building of immature stagnant individuals.  Let’s build upon rock, in fact let’s build upon the Rock who is Christ himself.  He is worth building our faith, churches, and simply our lives upon.  Let’s build upon Him!

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

Words of Jesus, Matt 7:24-27 NLT

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: animatedviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/flintscomp-01.JPG

 

Sojourning Into the Land of “Unfamiliar”

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers – 

It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken and I have missed all of you deeply.  Question of the day: Have you ever found yourself in a position that was frankly awkward? Like, you just did not know how to feel about where your life was positioned at that time. Awkward.  It is this word that best describes where I am in life right now.  I’m not in a comfortable place but I’m not uncomfortable either- I’m somewhere in between.  I’m feeling awkward.  Last time we spoke, I mentioned the demands of law school ( with anxiety that increases like a  pressure cooker). I feel like I’m doing well, but I don’t have any grades that can truly attest to that… awkward.  I joined a new church so I have a church family, but… I don’t really know (deeply know) anyone that I worship with…so awkward.  I live in a new city but I haven’t became acclimated with the environment so I have no idea about great places to eat… awkward, especially since I’ve been living in town since the beginning of August.  I feel connected, yet disconnected.  Accepted, yet rejected.  Fulfilled, yet purposeless.  I feel awkward as I sojourn in this land called Unfamiliar.

I’m in a place that I have never traveled through before, surrounded by people that I don’t know and who do not know me.  VERY AWKWARD.  But, is it not just like God to lead us into a land called Unfamiliar, down a path that’s never been traveled before.  I think God takes pleasure when we find ourselves in this very place- a place where we depend solely upon Him. Today, I’m reminded of Abraham.  God told him to leave his family’s house and all that he knew to go to a place that would be shown to him.  It wasn’t like God said leave your family and move to Egypt or some other concrete place near the Mediterranean. No, God said leave all that you are familiar with to go to a place that I will eventually show you.  If I was Abraham, I don’t know if I would have been able to leave everything and follow- but that is exactly what Abraham did.  He left all that he was familiar with and He left to go to a place that he had no idea existed.  I feel this story becoming more real to me as I left my familiar place (hometown) to go into a land  where I knew no one and nothing, to experience an adventure that God is only privy to at this time.  I have no idea where I am going, and no idea what awaits me when I get to that God destined place.

If this describes where you are: awkward, a place of being discombobulated, or slightly overwhelmed – take heart! We are exactly where God wants us to be.  We’re in this sweet spot with the Lord, where we understand we desperately need Him.  It is in this place, our faith grows… It is in this place, we experience all of who God is in our lives…  It is in this place that we conqueror fear and become fearless.  We are in a great space.  Our lives may not feel great and sometimes we may want to curl up on the couch and cry, but be of good cheer – we are in the perfect place to witness a move of God.  In an awkward place, the promise of a nation was given and received- God has so many things in store for us as we journey with Him in this unfamiliar place.

Happy Sunday y’all!  I pray God’s blessing over each and every one of you.  Know that I am praying for all of you daily and I look forward to these moments we have together.  I love y’all very much!

Until next time,

Simone.

FIC:http://images.barnesandnoble.com/pImages/bn-review/2011/0412/TheSojourn_AF.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

An Evident Shift

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers!

I know that I have been away from my blog community for a little season but I have appreciated all of yall’s love displayed in the comment section of some of my previous posts.  I really love you all who are in my blog community and family.

Okay, let’s get started with tonight’s discussion.  Today was a snow day for me, and I am doing all that I can to survive snowpocalypse 2016.  I had to attend work this morning, but the inclement weather forced the company to shut down and therefore I went home- driving EXTREMELY slow…. I would hate to face an icy death, I’m just saying.  As I watched the sky release snow, and then suddenly shift to sleet and then to freezing rain.  I realized that today we are living in the season of an evident shift, a time where we will see the hand of God moving in our lives.

I have spent so many years guessing whether the hand of God was moving in my life, like maybe – maybe not.  My faith shaky because each day was a guessing game as I looked at the present details of my life.  As some of you know, the last few years have been the hardest season of my life .  It was a time of disappointment, loss, betrayal and it took everything for me to trust and to believe in God and his goodness.   It took everything for me to continue to follow him even though I did not see him walking in front of me,  this faith walk took everything out of me.  I believe that God wants us to get that place, where it takes everything inside of us to continue to believe…

It is at the peaks of these crazy faith moments, in the moments that we trust in the midst of havoc that the Lord appears by our side and once again prove that He was journeying with us the entire time.  I believe that the reward for our trust is not only this relief in the presence of God, but it is his hand moving quickly in our lives and in those moments – WE SEE HIM MOVING!

I don’t know where you are in your faith journey.  I have no clue where you are in your walk with the Lord.  But I do know, that if you stick it out with Him and choose to trust and believe in the midst of the pain and in the midst of chaos, you’re going to see Him show up in your life and you will experience an evident shift.

Until next time,

Simone

“The race is not given to the swift, nor to the strong but to he that endures until the end.”

FIC: http://www.wallpapervortex.com/wallpaper-52913_winter_snow_snowing.html#.VqL1bCorLIU

The Spirit Of Expectancy

Hello old friends, new  followers and fellow bloggers- 

It’s been awhile since we have spoken.  Guys I’ve been tremendously busy and equally exhausted, but I thought I would   take a free moment to share something with you guys this morning.

The most powerful thing you can have in this season of time is a spirit of expectancy- a confidence that God is going to show up.  The Spirit of Expectancy is so powerful because it has proven to yield results.  When you come into the presence of God, expecting him to move in your situation- He usually moves in your situation.  God responds to faith, and having a spirit of expectation is evidence of faith.  My mom used to tell me all the time, “Simone…you’ll have what you expect.”  And I have found this saying to be true.  When I started my day out expecting happiness and joy, my day was filled with happiness and joy; but when I started my days expecting the worst-the worst usually came.  What are you expecting?  Are you expecting God to show up and out concerning your situation? Or are you expecting what you are facing to get worse?

Expect, anticipate, and hope in the Lord because He’s going to come through and when He comes, He is coming quickly.

Until next time,

Mo  🙂

Featured Image Credit: http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/expect-great-things.jpeg

I Have A Problem With Disrespect…

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

As you all know, the SCOTUS legalized marriage equality- making Friday a win-win day for the LGBT community.  As Christian I believe that God loves everyone, but He does not care for the sins we operate in, homosexuality alike.  I take the stance that sin is sin, there are no big sins or small sins or more justifiable sins…all sin is the same.  So does this mean that I dislike those who identify as gay or lesbian, no- most definitely not!  I don’t treat anyone that identifies in that community different/worse than any of my other neighbors (humanity).  I take this stance on the position that when Christ took on the sins of the world, the Father turned His head and could not allow his eyes to dwell upon His sin any longer- not because Christ was a bad  person but because sin was upon Him, and God can’t tolerate or be in the presence of what is deemed sin.  So…if He turned His head and did not even look at His only begotten Son, whom He loved dearly- what makes me think, He is going to wink at my sin.

Anyways…I’m not up here to argue with anyone or convert anyone to my beliefs.  I have many in my life that identify with the LGBT community that I love very much.  We don’t agree in regards to our lifestyles but we can peacefully engage in conversation, enjoy wonderful meals together and love each other regardless….

I don’t have a problem with those that are in that community, my problem comes from those that antagonize me, put me down, and harass me via social media because I have a different opinion. I don’t go around telling people that they need to convert to Christianity- I believe that coming to God is a choice and I respect the idea of people having the ability to choose their lifestyle.

A small minority of the LGBT community has come across as super aggressive and have rallied this idea that if you don’t care for the way I live than you are filled with hatred and bigotry, which is not the case.  I know a lot of people that don’t care for my lifestyle of faith- it doesn’t mean they hate me, it means that they disagree with how I see the world.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Why can’t I have an opinion?  Since so many opinions are made about me?  This girl told me that she “was gonna make me gay.” I don’t want to be gay. My heterosexual orientation is my preference, I think girls are awesome but I don’t want to be with one.  What gives her the right to aggressively try to make me into something I don’t want to be?  I never told her I  was going to make her love Jesus… So what gives her the idea that she can make me gay?  Or why am I seeing pictures of Crucifixes with men kissing Christ on the cross??? Why is it okay to cross the line and make something that I hold with deep religious revere sacrilegious???? Why??? What have I ever done to the community?  Why is it okay for someone to call me a homophobe?  I’m not scared of homosexuals.  I love those in the LGBT community, the same way I love those who are apart of the “Straight” club.  I get these messages of “You Christians are so judgmental.” “You Christians are so hypocritical.”  “You Christians are this…” “You Christians are that …”But who says any of that applies to me?  Yes, I am a Christian but the same way I can’t judge someone because of their sexual orientation, I shouldn’t be judged because of my standard of faith.

I don’t have a problem with the LGBT community, I have a problem with disrespect.

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

Featured Image Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/cc/e3/26/cce3262d123f89433c1ccda35ec8f64c.jpg