the switch up.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Inspiration hits me in the most random places and for once Facebook was more than a distraction but a source of encouragement and joy.  I watched as one of my sisters expressed herself unapologetically in boldness, strength, and grace.  She switched up in the game and I was here for all of it!  She was becoming herself and it was beautiful, almost led me into a little tear-fest but I am a G so I reflected and thought about my own experience- my own switch up.

With John Mayer playing in the background, I sat and thought about my journey.  The Simone from July 2018 no longer exists and I am glad!  I was dope or whatever but I was too passive, cared way too much about the opinions of others and allowed people to take advantage of me.   I was living life for others but wasn’t truly living for me.  It was the end of July and I just got out of an emotionally abusive relationship.  I remember having this talk with God about what I deserved as a woman, as a godly woman.  I was the girl that hid behind her career, behind her gifts and preferred the background over the limelight any day.  I was not too confident with my body and I had a host of fears, I mean your girl was afraid of EVERYTHING!  It is crazy looking back at how bound I was…

I remember the Father directing me to start working out with my girl Lex.  She has a fitness brand/training company called LoveLex, where you come to love your now as you’re working on your next.  I started to work out with her and a group of my friends and fell in love with my body.  Things slowly began to change.  I was in my last year of law school and I no longer hid in the classroom, I began to share my opinion more and began to be transparent about my journey.  I started to embrace my favorite word, “NO.” and put up a host of boundaries.  I even had to switch up from this passive person to a more assertive person,  I transformed from a little lamb into a lioness and I began to take myself seriously. The switch-up was in full effect but the world did not become introduced to the “new” me until January 2019.  As soon as the clock struck midnight,   new me became visible to those around me.  It was an immediate change: my confidence level was on ten, I knew my worth and I was a thriving boss chick that was no longer settling for mess.   

As January faded and February began, I became more racially conscience.  I fell in love with my blackness and realized that all of my melanin was hella beautiful.  Your girl started to rock her natural hair, afro and all!  I read about my ancestors, began to honor my black kings and queens and developed a love for my black heroes that paved the way before me.  I pledged to honor Fannie, Angela, and Ella; to use my influence and position of power as an attorney to rid the world of injustice.  Your girl is black black and I love all of it!  Spring came with March and I was this no-nonsense believer who was more interested in acting out scripture than shaming people with it.  I got a hold of grace and I understood the love of God which went farther than perfection.  It was the most liberating experience of my life.  I was no longer living for church politics or for people who did not create me to accept me, I was accepted already.  I attended dances, went to mixers, traveled all over the country for conferences, and went on day trips- I was having the time of my life!   I became free.

April came and then May followed and before you knew it, I  graduated from law school and I embraced my intelligence as a gift from God.  God was doing a work in my heart and I began to heal emotionally.  I rid my life of the past and I was walking towards my future.  I woke up and realized that I was worthy of happiness, worthy of love, worthy of hearing and being told the truth.  I was worth all of the good in the world. Even today, I look in the mirror and do not recognize the person I see.  I transformed into a new person: one who is full of love and courage, one who is free to speak her mind and express herself, one who loves herself enough to wait.  My change has been transformative for my esteem.

I think every woman goes through this process of awakening when you realize that what you’ve settled for is not all that life has to offer.  There is a moment when you love  yourself enough not to accept half-promises and half-truths.  You come to love yourself more than the comfort of someone, more than the opportunities given, more than the limitations others will place upon you.  There is a day in every woman’s life when she falls in love with herself and her understanding of her dopeness changes the trajectory of her life.  I fell in love with me and that’s when my life changed for the better.  My friends tease me and say that I switched up the game, I did but I think we should all have a day where we switch up on those who thought they knew us, thought they could run us, control us, manipulate us or abuse us.  Switch up Queen and slay as you move into freedom!

Xoxo,

Simone

We can tell a person and say “I forgive you” as many times as we want to but it doesn’t mean a thing until we actually can say that person’s name, go around that person, receive a message from that person and not feel a way.

About four weeks ago I went through a whole situation of just releasing and forgiving people especially an ex of mine. Really quick backstory about us. We were a thing *smacks forehead lol*. We were deeply invested in each other as in talked every day sharing life stories and personal feelings and goals, supporting each other, he’d cry in my lap and I would encourage him. I was deeply invested okay? K. Months went by and I wanted to know if there was any purpose to us spending all of this time together. After so long I’m just not about to keep giving my time and energy to anything that’s not going anywhere. You feel me? So in the midst of me pouring my heart filled with hope and love out and trying to get the answer to what’s happening with us he blurts out, “I’M NOT IN LOVE WITH YOU KRISTEN.” He goes on to tell me what he wasn’t going to do for me and all of that. I said, “okay.” I hung up the phone and collected myself. Years go by and I find myself invested in this dope amazing guy and I realize that I’m afraid to tell this guy how I feel and show true emotions with him. I wanted to know what had a grip of me. Why was this so terrifying? Immediately, my mind went back to the day I was telling my ex how I felt while trying to find out the purpose of us. I was afraid that as soon as I would tell this dope amazing guy that I liked him or showed some kind of emotion towards him he would reject me just like my ex did. I needed to let that go and really forgive my ex so I could go freely and not be afraid to love.

FAST FORWARD. Two weeks after releasing and forgiving everyone including my ex I get a Snapchat direct message. It’s my ex. I was like oh yea! In my best Gap Band vibes at the beginning of “Yearning for Your Love” 🎤The time has come for us to stop messin around! Lol. As in time for me to let this man know where HE messed up and let him know that I have forgiven him even though he’s the person that messed up and should be apologizing. I wanted to tell him off so he could feel what I had to feel on the day he blurted those words out to me. Ya know! *inserts awkward smile* Lol so needless to say that isn’t forgiveness. I had to reevaluate my whole heart before opening that message.

Sometimes when you forgive a person it’s about writing that forgiveness for that person in your heart and treating them equally as you treat any other person you may know and have a conversation with. You know what I did? I opened the message and acted as if it was another conversation with any random person I knew and I said nothing rude or sarcastic and got outta there.

This was my way of showing myself that I really did forgive this person and my heart was clear by not being a jerk to this person. If I would’ve came out and said I forgive you to him it wouldn’t have did anything but open a whole situation up for him to extend the convo way far beyond what I was willing to do. You have to understand this guy had been trying to pull a convo out of no convos for a while since we ended so I wasn’t willing to extend this thing just so he could be happy we were talking again and feel like this thing could get back started up. Nah. Lol. What does forgiveness look like for you?

-KSamone

@_KristenReel

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

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

 

With Everything Inside…

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

“With everything inside…” those were the words of a song I wrote Christmas Day, 2017. It was a random expression of how I felt about the Father. My dad’s friend sat at the piano and I just began to sing, “With everything inside, I will offer you my worship…” These words came from a place of freedom, I felt safe and free to sing what I heard in my heart.

The thought came to me… when was the last time I felt free? I mean, really free. The freedom to sing, the freedom to song-write, the freedom to just be different in the midst of a crowd that wants me to be the same. The last time I was truly free was at the beginning of the year when I was writing more and expressing the love I received with the world. Then, like many stories, pain met me and threw me off course. I stopped writing, I stopped singing, I started to withhold my worship. With everything became with some things and then with some things became with nothing. I had nothing to offer, nothing to bring and nothing to say.

Today, I listened to a few voice memos and started to reflect on the songs the Lord gave me. I listened and was immediately transported to those moments of prayer, worship, and authenticity. I was reminded of a piece of myself that was lying dead from pain- my heart’s posture as a worshipper and a songwriter. It’s crazy how good God really is. Like, when I take time to think about His awesomeness, I’m enthralled in this ugly cry place of gratitude. I’m thankful that in love, he reminded me of my identity in him. I’m his writer and that is enough!

So… lovelies, I encourage you to go to the moments where you felt free. Learn from those moments, reflect on those moments and find your time with Him again. Be His first and let everything else come as a result of loving Him more. Always remember that He loves you deeply!

Xoxo,

Simone

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

Jack of All Trades

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Ever heard the saying, “A Jack of all trades but a master of none.”? Yeah, it’s a phrase I rehearse over in my mind because unlike what the saying implies I actually a master of multiple things.  For a long time in my life, I thought I had to live within separate personalities: the intellectual and the creative.  It was as if I could not reconcile between my known trait of intelligence and all of my hidden creative gifts.  Growing up, I felt the pressure to choose.  So can you imagine a torn kid growing up with this saying over her head?  Thoughts like: “What do you mean I can’t do it all?”  “What do you mean that I have to choose one primary thing to master?”  “Why live limited?”  Phrases like the one mentioned above screamed limitations to me and confined me to a box to please society.  I was a Jack of all trades and a master of them all.

So, here I am at 25 realizing that I don’t have to choose between all that God has instilled in me.  I can be both creative and intelligent, both orderly yet spontaneous, and both a structured and free-flowing.  I can be both!  I don’t have to follow the patterns of limitation and I do not have to succumb to the rules of society.  For I am in this world but not of it and I am free to be all that God has created in his likeness.  The crazy part is, you don’t have to be limited either!  You can be all that he made and you don’t have to choose which gift or feature you can highlight.  You can highlight them all.  The moment I came to this resolve, the freer I became.  I am a jack of all trades and a master of them all!

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: http://lipsticklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/no-limitations-628×353.png

 

here we go again.

here we go again. 

these are the words that come to mind, 

as I sit, read, analyze, listen, doze off and repeat 

going through this cycle called life...

yet I've escaped the Ferris wheel. 

my inward carnival is out of business, 

and the havoc of the Topsy-turvy, up and down- has stopped. 

maybe it's because I'm finally healthy.

whole in my mind, emotions - no longer run by my previous slave master: feelings. 

i  feel and therefore I am not. 

i see and therefore I can accomplish. 

i believe and therefore I can have- it all. 

for I've found consistency in You. 

here we go again, 

yet here we are to something new. 

same law school, new perspective.

same agenda, new energy.

same people, new heart. 

this is what freedom feels like. 

this is what it means to be alive... 

©Simone Holloway, 2018
FIC: http://images.mentalfloss.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/8a11317r-565×376.jpg

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

Running Backward in Fear

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

This weekend was an interesting one, to say the least.  It was supposed to have been the weekend, I moved into my new place.  Unfortunately, life had alternative plans that it failed to clue me in to until after it was determined my move date would have to be delayed.  I don’t know about you all but I hate delay!  Yet, I continued to place a delay on myself time and time again.  Ironic, isn’t it? Years would go by and yet again, there is a dream or vision that I have failed to begin by faith.  Seasons would change, yet I would remain in one season: a season of hiding, hiding from the world and everyone in it.  It was as if I was willfully ignorant to the call of God placed upon my life.  I knew God required more, yet I was scared to give that more to him.  As a girl that grew up in the faith, as a little child- I knew God has big plans for me, but out of insecurity I would make excuses as to why I could not fulfill those plans.

Everyone has this one flaw that they can’t seem to shake, I’m going to share mine.  My flaw is this tendency to run backwards when I’m afraid of what I’m getting ready to walk into.  Have you ever been pushed into a place of newness so quickly, that it overwhelmed you?  Because of this, you seek to return to the old (what’s familiar)?  I know I have, even this weekend fresh off of my commitment to God to come out of hiding, discomfort has me reaching backwards for my favorite hiding spots.   I’m reminded of the children of Israel, who the Lord delivered out of slavery from Egypt.  As soon as things got hard and this new freedom given was not what the people envisioned, they cried out of their desires to go back to Egypt- their place of bondage.  Though, things in the wilderness were not perfect, at least they were free.  Once again, the Father reminds me though things in newness seem to not be going well, at least I am free and he encourages me not to return to my life of bondage.  My places of bondage were as follows: fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, perversion, rejection, brokenness, and depression.   My new place contains: peace, love , joy, trust, acceptance and praise.  Yes, things may not be going as planned or imagined, but at least I am free.

Friends, I encourage you to kick the bucket of that flaw we discussed and let’s not respond by running backward in fear.  Trust me, we are walking through this thing together-even now.  Let’s move forward in spite of what is going on around us!

Until next time,

Simone

FIC: https://cdn.runsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/17230534/How-Running-Backwards-Can-Get-You-Ahead-3.jpg