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

Steadfast Love

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m gearing up for the end of the semester.  I thought that I reached a place above adversity, one where I could not be touched by the cares and concerns of the world.

Friends, in all honesty, I became comfortable.  Adversity has this amazing way of keeping one in conscious awareness of their need for God.  It’s like when I’m in trouble, I am more aware of my need for Him. Sad, but true.  So, I became comfortable and I knew I needed Him but my desperation for His presence began to wane and I continued to live life for me.

I believe that God loves us so much that He shakes up our world to causes us to become aware again.  It’s like, He doesn’t want us to ever come to this place where we think we don’t need Him.  Can you imagine loving someone but treating them as if they weren’t necessary?  I believe we treat the Lord this way.  We love Him but we live life as if He’s not necessary.  Long story short, the floodgates opened and adversity hit like a neverending wave.  I mean… a neverending wave!  From school complications to my automobile to concerns with my mental health to the most recent trial the lost of both my sister’s (my roommate) and I’s jobs.  It was as if lost came just in time for the holidays and we’re in this familiar position of needing him, a position that forces our hand into trust.

I thought I trusted God.  I did.  I thought I understood His love for me, this notion that because He loves me He wouldn’t leave me without.  Yet, my heart became increasingly full of fear and anxiety wrapped me in a bear hug as to say “Welcome Home!” Even in the midst of my perceived weakness, He never changed.  He loved me with a steadfast love.  You know, as I get older I understand more and more that life is full of change.  One day we’re at the top, the next we’re at the bottom.  One day we have it all, one day we have nothing.  One day we believe with all our hearts and the next we are full of fear and doubt.  In all the highs and lows, His love is steadfast – it doesn’t change.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So, how do I respond to the only consistent thing in my life?  With gratitude.  I respond gratefully for such a love that I don’t deserve.  I respond with a heart to love others with such intention and consistency.  I know that I will make mistakes along the way but the least I could do is try.  Friends, I am loved well by a God that could choose any day not to love me.  Yet, He chooses me every single time. He chooses you and that is simply beautiful.  I pray that you all do not become afraid with the presence of adversity, that you are full of the love of God.  I pray that you all have a deep awareness of God’s goodness and rest in your eternal need for Him.  I pray that you are filled to the brim with love.

May you rest in His faithfulness, may you bask in His love. 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://freedomcrossroads.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Adobe-Spark-27-777×437.jpg

 

Safe Spaces

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

Today is Monday.  Yep, I survived another week and as I begin a new one: gratitude, relief, and a sheer “OMG I can’t believe we’re still in it to win it” fills my heart.   However, today I wanted to share something on my heart with each of you.  DISCLAIMER: Today’s post will be super real, transparent and utterly vulnerable. But, that’s the way I desire to be with each of you, for we can only help each other when we remove the masks. So, beloveds (in my Iyanla Vanzant Voice) take a deep breath, let’s go!

I believe that one of the best feelings in the world is the feeling of safety.  l mean safety is better than PSLs from Starbucks, better than holiday meals, even better than a vacay with no cell service so my clients can’t contact me.  Like most individuals in the world, I value safety: physical, emotional and spiritual safety. If you’re in an environment where you don’t believe you are safe to be yourself, it can be emotionally crippling. Ladies and gents, this is why I carry my life as a safe space- a place where people can come, confide and hide in love and compassion. This is where it gets real though…I’ve been a safe space for many but it is extremely rare that there has been someone in my life that has been a safe space for me.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for my safe space.  Quickly disappointed, I’d shut down and became emotionally unavailable to those around me.

Let’s be real, those who are super loving are usually the ones that have experienced the most pain.  Those who are super accepting of others are typically the ones who’ve been rejected by many.  Those who are the “strong” one in their relationships are typically built that way because of traumatic events surrounding their weaknesses.  I have been all of these things…rejected, in pain and have experienced trauma.

Overall, my soul sought safety.

You know what?  I came to the conclusion that if I never have a tangible safe space, a person by which I share my fears, concerns, desires, triumphs, and hardships- I’ve found safety in the Father. For reals, though He is not tangible, He is all around and He is a safe space. The best things about Him: He’s consistent, He doesn’t change, He’s reliable and He’s always available!

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust Him.

Psalms 91:2

I bet when David wrote those words, he was seeking a safe space.  He was on the run, his father-in-law was insane trying to kill him, his wife didn’t help him, he had no communication with his best friend, and he was utterly alone.  I know what it’s like to feel alone like no one truly understands the contents of your heart.  David knew this loneliness all too well, but even in the midst of his pain, he recognized what he had: the Father.  The Father was his safe space, and He is mine.

May you find refuge in the love of God!  May the Father give you a safe space/a community that will love you well!

Xoxo,

Simone

So, I Obeyed God…Now What?

Hello old friends, new followers & fellow bloggers-

Have you ever faced a hard decision?  Like, either you’re going to obey Him or you’re going to live life the way that you desire?  Once upon a time, not too long ago, I too was at this crossroad: either to obey Him or to live life for me.

The hardest decisions we must make are not the ones that we don’t feel but the decisions that we feel deeply.

So… as many of you may or may not have known, once upon a time, I was in a relationship with this (in my mind) dope guy.  I mean (in my mind) He was the next best thing since sliced bread.  He was it!  You hear me?  He was “the” perfect age, perfect height, he looked like a Ken doll, he had all the qualities I would have wanted for a guy: kindness, compassion, generosity, and intelligence.  He could do no wrong.  He was the one I was waiting for… or so I thought. I think we all in our minds imagine our lives with certain things:  certain careers, certain houses, certain cars, and even certain people.  It is like we race toward the finish line to make sure that we are set and therefore we settle for things and people that temporarily satisfy.  This is what I did with my relationship, I settled.

On a random Tuesday morning, God wanted to speak about the thing I held dear in my heart.  To tell you the truth, I held this person I loved more dearly than I did Him.  Yep, I was guilty of allowing someone to sit on His throne.  That morning, God came and He shared some truth with me and asked me to let my relationship go.  I had a choice, either I was going to trust my Father and obey or I was going to hold on to something out of the fear that what I was letting go, I would never find again.

I chose to let go:  not because I was brave, not even because I knew what was coming, but simply because I trusted God and His choices for my life.

So, I obeyed God… now what?  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m single and I still desire companionship.  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m still not as financially secure as I would prefer.  I obeyed and nothing really changed:  I’m still navigating through life alone and I don’t have anyone I can confide in.  These are just a few examples of our responses to obedience.  Ladies and gents, God never promised immediate change as the reward for obedience, but he did promise that trusting in Him will not cause us to be ashamed/humiliated/embarrassed.  Though it may appear that our act of obedience has done nothing, in retrospect that simple act has changed everything.  My act obedience wasn’t magic, it didn’t shield the pain of my decision, it didn’t make my decision easier but it gave me a peace about my future.

Obedience to the Father is an act of love and trust, not into what he has for you but into who he is and his nature to be good.

So, I obeyed God…now what?

Xoxo,

Simone 

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV

FIC: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TBZw5dQ8oN4/WDBeBCCvn1I/AAAAAAAAZ5g/ZrPUHCvFqqobU6U7VDHLsskd9cUqT5IcwCLcB/s1600/Path.jpg

 

Goodbye.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May you find the courage to say goodbye. 

Xoxo,

Simone 🦁

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

 

Memories

I remember being prompted to write to you.

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

But fear came in, and I determined

that I could not bear such a weight of honesty.

I did not want to face this insecurity,

so I remained silent.

Yet, I could not continue to hide that…

my mind remembers you.

My mind is also convinced that 1+1=2…

that one day there will be

the two of us, freely

engaged in a relationship with one another

and not just simply together.

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

To tell the truth, you’re to blame

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

and that’s when fear and doubt came…

and I silently watched you forfeit the love game.

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

after sleeping under different parts of the skies,

after absent vacations, birthdays and graduations,

after new jobs and new life situations,

after twists, turns, life unexpected promises,

after suicidal attempts and divine God-visits,

after years of addictions and brand new shoes,

after realizing that life was more than being cool..

I still cannot forget about you.

Trust me, I tried.

I stood in the mirror and lied,

said that I didn’t love you anymore.

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

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

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

But my mind doesn’t care because I remember:

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

I remember and I tried desperately to forget.

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

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

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

Maybe this is grace personified in me,

maybe this is love, maybe this is being free.

Maybe this is compassion bestowed liberally…

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

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

©Simone Holloway, 2018

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

A Lover of Love

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I hope you all are having a great Saturday.  I love love, but I realized that I don’t love it as much as the one who created me.  God loves love.  Like for reals… God loves love.  So much so, that he desired someone to love deeply and that is why he made us:  man and woman.  He wanted to love and to be loved.  I think that is why we all have this innate desire to be loved because we were made in the image of our Creator.  So, we have a God that has everything, a huge house, streets made of money, angels who serve on the regular and there is still something missing- us.  To fulfill a need, God created mankind to love him, each other and all that he has placed into the Earth.  How beautiful is the understanding that God made us to love us?  He didn’t need any more servants, he had plenty (angels); he didn’t need any more beautiful things, he made so many (stars, flowers, etc.); he didn’t need any more houses, he had a huge one with a shiny throne on the inside; he didn’t need any more money, for his streets were made of gold.  But there was one single need, God needed someone to love.  He needed someone to lavish love upon, to demonstrate love to, he needed someone to love well.  Because of this and this alone, he created you and I.  I was created because God wanted someone to love. 

When we come to the place where we see our Heavenly Father as a lover of love and not a beacon of hatred and terror, it is then that we can appreciate the sacrifice of his Son.  We get so caught up at seeing God as this hard taskmaster, waiting for us to mess up- hating us for what we do that we lose sight of the reason by which we were created.  We were created to love and to be loved by Him.  Do you know why God hates sin?  I mean, really know?  It’s because sin creates separation between us and Him.  When God created Eden and formed man in the garden, scripture speaks of a time where man and God were not separated.  He was our homie, hanging out every waking moment.  I could imagine, man and God fishing together or taking walks on the nature trails, or even sitting up late to count the stars- all TOGETHER. As soon as Adam and Eve ate that dreaded fruit, they were aware of one of the biggest evils known to man: BAD SEPARATION.  Think about it:  all criminal activity results in bad separation. When we steal, we separate the owner from their possession.  When we kill, we separate that person from their loved ones, co-workers, and just the world.  When we engage in adultery and various sexual affairs, we separate a person from a covenant they made with their partner.  All pain stems from some type of bad separation: whether separation from joy, peace, trust or happiness.  GOD NEVER DESIGNED OUR WORLD TO BE FILLED WITH SEPARATION FROM WHAT’S GOOD.  However, this is the mission of sin.  Sin is designed, advertised and encouraged to breed separation from God and good and its biggest hype man is the thief, the accuser, Satan.

I bet you’re like whoah, wasn’t expecting the Sunday School lesson and that may be the case, but I’m sharing all of this so that you all may gain a deeper understanding of the one who designed you, who formed you and called you good.  It is my desire that you may know Him and know Him rightly.

So,  we have this Lover who made us to be loved and here we are loving everything but Him.  I mean we love our jobs more than Him, we love our significant others/spouses more than Him, we even love our pets more than Him.  Though He designed us to be loved and to love Him well, we don’t in fact- many of us aren’t even submitted to Him, yet He loves us anyway.  I remember a time in my life when I loved everything more than I loved Him.  I mean, I sought for things to replace His spot in my life.  Time progressed, people entered my life and people left but yet He was still there seeking to love me.  How beautiful it is to be loved consistently.  His love didn’t waver because of my behavior and I didn’t have to work to earn His love,  He freely gave it time and time again.  His ultimate goal is a relationship that would stand the test of eternity.  He desires that there would be no separation between Him and me.

This is the One whom I live for. An honest guy who loves love, who hates sin because it causes separation and who desires to love and be loved by me.  This is the core of who He is.  Every other quality, trait, and characteristic is like a beautiful bonus: icing on the cake to the solid foundation of who He is.  May you rest in the simplicity of his decision to love you.  He decided to love you before he made you, seeking to demonstrate his love for you throughout each day of your life.  Bad things happenI know and the question comes, if God loves me why did this happen?  This is the question I’ve asked multiple times, but then I came to the understanding that God is not the orchestrator of the bad things in my life.  He’s not out here seeking to make me sad, or to destroy my esteem or to take life from me.  There’s another presence at work, super jealous that God loves me with all of my flaws – so he works overtime to cause me to doubt this love I was given.  The thief comes to steal, kill and to destroy and he is responsible for the evil we see in this world.  “For I have come that you may have life, and life more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10)  God desires that I live and that I live to the fullness, only someone who loves us can hope so deeply that we live well.

I am loved.  I was created to be loved.  I was created to love God.  I was created to love others well.  This is the core of why I am here, this is who I am. 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.jashow.org/articles/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/garden-large.jpg

This Is Love.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

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

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

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

You are loved simply because…

Xoxo,

Simone 

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

New Garments

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

Xoxo,

Simone 

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

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