In Love With The Idea.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

I hope you all are having a great evening!  It’s been a great day for me and I am super pumped about sharing my thoughts with you.  Those who know me, know that I love films.  I love all films but I have a special place in my heart for black cinema, especially films that celebrate black love.  I’m the girl that has seen Brown Sugar way too many times.  I’m the girl that understands Darius’ pain in Love Jones; that wanted to fight for my man like Monica in Love & Basketball; and who knows how secrets can potentially kill friendships like in The Best Man.  Movies such as Just Wright taught me how looking for my preference can get me in so much trouble and Beyond the Lights encouraged me to believe that my person would indeed “see me.”  Unfortunately, life is not like the movies and sometimes there is no happy ending.  Sometimes we find true love and then sometimes we find ourselves in love with the idea of love.

I love love.  Yep, I love all things that pertain to love.  I love connection, friendships, familial and romantic relationships.  I love the way love makes us feel and how brave we are when we’re loved well.  I love hearing how people connected and about the exact moment, they knew their soul found its home in each other.  I love love.  Yet, it is this rose-colored ideal that caused me to confuse infatuation with love.  I would confuse my butterflies in the relationship to equate to falling in love when we all know that is not the case.  Love is more than desire, it’s more than that “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars” type of stuff.  Love is sacrifice and commitment; it’s hella messy and full of risk.  Love is safety and vulnerability; the ability to just be with your partner.  That my dear is love.

Once upon a time, I was in love or so I thought.  I loved this young man and even considered marrying him.  I thought about taking his last name, and I thought about him being the father of my children.  In my heart, I convinced myself that I loved him.  And I did, in part. I loved the idea of him.  I loved the idea of him being my forever partner, the idea that I would no longer wake up alone.  I loved the idea that we would conquer the world together, that I would finally have a teammate.  The idea of loving him was so wonderful that I convinced myself that I loved him.  Since I was committed to my love of this idea when he lied or cheated- I forgave and took him back because I loved him.  He didn’t love me well, but I “loved”  him.  I remember realizing this as I prepped for a wedding and then I knew:  “homegirl, loving an idea will never make you love him fully.”   You can love an idea for eternity but that does not mean that this idea is great for you or your future.  Life is nothing like the movies, we cannot manipulate our situations to give us this picturesque ending.  Sometimes, things don’t work; sometimes, things do. You can’t force the fit, either it works or it doesn’t.

So I have a couple of questions for you:  Do you love them?  Or, do you love the idea of them? If you truly love someone, you will love them for who they are and not for who you would like for them to be.  Love says I’m down for the ride regardless of your brokenness, issues, strengths, and weaknesses.  Love says the real you is accepted with me.  Love says truth is more important than comfort.  Love protects, never gives up, and covers a multitude of faults.  Love is more than a feeling, it’s a choice.  A free-will choice.

So, do you love them or are you in love with the idea of who they should be?

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://cdn.fstoppers.com/styles/full/s3/comment/2014/12/03/14457559557_1f3cd6643e_o_1.jpg?itok=cK8gQjUl

Heal first.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s Monday which means if you’re highly motivated like me, you’ve planned the rest of your week.  I started the day thinking of my daily affirmations, and then it was time to get up and dressed for the day.  As I met each appointment, I barely had time to eat because there was so much to do.  I had a thought about my to-do list and I realized that if I wasn’t whole, then all of my accomplishments would be in vain. First things first, heal. 

We live in a world that hates the process.  If we can get what we want quickly or easily, we’ll bypass what is good for what is mediocre because of our own laziness. How beautiful would it be to enjoy our accomplishments from a place of wholeness? I think it’s one thing to go for the gold and it’s another to hold on to what we’ve gained.  Wholeness gives us the capacity to hold onto what we have accomplished. Before we aspire to be known or to leave our mark the world, let’s become whole.

Have you ever met a person of influence who was full of emotional wounds? They have everything:  the dream job, the dream house, and dream car but are so broken on the inside.  These individuals have so many people around them yet still feel alone.  These individuals have all of the accolades yet are bound by substances such as drugs and alcohol.  Have you ever met someone who was one scandal away from losing everything they have worked hard for?  I have met so many intelligent, creative and beautiful broken people who have lost so much because they were not whole. I don’t believe it is the heart of God that we live in perpetual brokenness.  We should live with our hearts broken towards him in a continual state of humility but we do not have to live in emotional turmoil.  Jesus still heals and he desires that we enjoy the wholeness he so readily provides.

If I can encourage you to aspire to be anything, be whole.  Take time this week to prioritize healing, for things will fade but your soul will last forever.  Let’s face our dysfunction with courage knowing that we are allowed to be works in progress refined through the power of Jesus and therapy. It’s okay to be a hot mess but it is not okay to stay there.  The grace of God empowers us to become the best versions of ourselves and Jesus has given us the grace to heal.

If you have any questions or just need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at authenticlove789@gmail.com.  I’m here for you guys, I’m praying for y’all, and I believe that you were created to live emotionally healed.  Have a great week!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.ucg.org/files/styles/full_grid9/public/image/article/2019/04/03/healing-broken-trust-in-marriage-part3-commitment-personal-healing.jpg

The Holding Cell

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I hate waiting.  We all have that one family member whose super accommodating and it seems like they can wait for anything. I  mean they can wait for food, in traffic for their exit, and for other things outside of their control.  These people have the best attitudes and seem to be full of patience.  I am not one of those people, not even close.  If my food is taking too long at a restaurant, I’m like what’s up?  I hate waiting in traffic. I hate waiting in long lines.  I hate waiting for the light to change.  I don’t like to wait.  Once I create a schedule, I want it to run smoothly free of delay.  Man, I wish God felt the same way about waiting as I do, but he doesn’t.  In fact, He encourages that we have periods of waiting- moments where we sit and wait for the promise

I was sitting here thinking about my life and  I feel like I’m in a holding cell.  It’s like I’m in this season of transition, waiting for someone of a higher authority to determine what’s next.  I have to wait for God to move.  The crazy thing about the holding cell, it forces me to trust that God is making the best decisions for my life- that He knows what He is doing.  Sadly, friends, I’ve jumped the gun so many times and moved ahead of Him.  This moving ahead of Holy Spirit left me in so much trouble, cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided with a bit of patience.  I’ve played clean up because of my inability to wait.  But, here I am again in a transitional state of my life and I have no choice but to wait and trust.  What do you do when you have no other choice but to wait? I took the wrong approach and complained about my wait.  I complained about what God was doing because I couldn’t see all of the details.  Yet, God being so full of mercy did not get angry with me but left me in the holding cell to wait things out.

God so full of mercy and compassion is making me wait.  He rather I sit still and wait than to push ahead of him and mess everything up.  There is beauty in the wait!  When we wait, we get to sit with God and prepare for the next.  In the wait, we learn the beauty of rest! In the wait, we understand that good things take time.  Waiting is for our benefit, waiting is for our maturity, and the wait helps us grow!  I’m in a season of waiting and I’m learning that out of his steadfast love for me, He’s placed me here.  I’m waiting and that is okay.

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:  Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord.  Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.  Yes, keep on waiting – for he will never disappoint you! Psalms 27:14 TPT

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

My Sacred Place.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

It’s a late-night and I just finished spending time in my sacred place.  My sacred place is where I spend time with God.  There is a space right next to my bed, it’s where I keep my prayer blanket, journal, and a wireless speaker.  There is something special about that space.  Whether I’m sitting Indian style or laying prostrate on the ground, I immediately feel the presence of Jesus.  This section of my room is our special place, it’s where we meet to chat about life.

A friend came to see me a few weeks ago, with her she carried all of her bags to my room.  She scanned the room, saw the blanket on the ground next to my bed and immediately tried not to cross over into that portion of my room.   Out of respect, she took off her shoes and continued to be mindful of where she stood.  I chuckled but I was grateful for her attentiveness.  As I looked at her, I thought of one of my biblical heroes: Moses.  There is this dope story about God finding Moses in the middle of Midian.  He was busy doing his job (he was a shepherd) when he saw a burning bush.  Curiosity consumed him and he went to see what was going on in the wilderness.  The coolest part about Moses’ discovery was that while the bush was burning, it was not consumed.

“One day Moses was tending the flock of his father- in – law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush.  Moses stared in amazement.  Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. ‘This is amazing’ Moses said to himself. ‘Why isn’t that bush burning up?  I must go see it.'” Exodus 3:1-3 NLT

Let’s pause here:  though Moses saw the fire, he did not see destruction.  This is a great metaphor for  life, though it looks like  we’re on fire- dealing with the cares of life, we’re not consumed because of the grace of God. Just because we see flames does not mean that God is allowing us to burn. He is not going to let us burn, we won’t smell like smoke!  

“When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him in the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am!’ Moses replied. ‘Do not come any closer, ‘ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” Exodus 3:4-5a

Anyways… Moses comes into an audience with God, into a sacred place.  The spot where Moses is standing is so sacred, he’s directed to take off his shoes.  Even though Moses did not plan to meet with God, God planned to speak with Moses. How dope is that?  

This morning, I felt the tug of God to come to our sacred place.  I wish I could tell you that quality time with the Father was the first thing on my mind, but that was simply not the case.  In fact, all of my concerns and worries harbored my mind.  I dwelled in this land of reevaluation, a place where I was constantly questioning my faith moves.  It’s one thing to step out on faith and it’s another to burn your back up plan, to slay your ox of convenience.  That is what I did.  I burned my safety nets, destroyed my back up plans and now I was frustrated with what I gambled for. We all have moments when we’re like “God, is it worth the risk?”  I believe Moses had similar questions.  I bet the prince of Egypt never imagined living a life as a fugitive in Midian, but here he was reimagining all he dreamed.  Yet, God being so gracious used curiosity to grab his attention.  God wanted to spend that time with him, the same way he desired to spend time with me. 

Want to hear some good news?  Well… the good news in all of this is that God desires to spend time with you too.  What do you have to lose by going to yall’s sacred place?  That place where you two meet and chat about life?  I’ve found that the lower I am, the stronger I become.  Prayer is my lifeline of strength and wisdom and every time I have questions, He comes with plenty of answers.  I think my favorite part about our time is that I don’t have to pretend- I can be all of who I am because I am fully accepted and loved.  For example, this morning  I whispered, “Jesus, I need you.”  Nothing fancy, nothing long.  A simple short prayer of how I was feeling at that moment.  And just like that, He came ready to meet my need for more of Him.

Get to your sacred place.  Hide in your sacred place. Rest in your sacred place.  Create a home with just you and Him and allow Him to fill your life with peace.  Time with Him is worth every second. Well, family, that’s it for today.  Have an amazing Sunday!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://i1.wp.com/www.simpleandseason.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Journal-candles-and-a-cup-of-tea-on-a-blanket-on-a-sunny-windowsill.jpg

RIP Forever.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Friday! I would have written earlier but the way my week has been set up… all I can say is that the devil is defeated, God is exalted and honey – I GOT THE VICTORY!!! The test that came at the beginning of this week? Almost took me out! But loves, your girl passed the test!  It’s crazy how hell can come full force on Monday and victory can greet you on a Friday morning.  Jesus is so intentional and good in that way.  Anyways… I thought I would share one of the beautiful lessons I learned this week.  Loves, allow your past to rest in peace forever. 

What?!?!  Yep, I said what I said.  LEAVE YOUR PAST IN THE GRAVE!!!!!! I cannot write this enough.  I’m learning that every time I am called by God to a new level in life, my past “coincidentally” want to make a reappearance in my life.  It’s like clockwork.  People I haven’t spoken to in years, “conveniently” desire to reach out.  Individuals who held some sort of position in my heart decide that they would like to make a return; and what was dead decides to spring back to life.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

Friends, as you know I left a relationship over a year ago.  God killed my relationship for multiple reasons.  My relationship was good but it wasn’t great.  I knew that I wasn’t going to marry the guy and to continue in the relationship would’ve been a complete waste of time.  So ladies and gents, I took every ounce of courage I had and with the help of the Father- I broke up with the love of my life.  Yep, your girl had the hard conversation and left what I thought was my forever. For the past year and some change, I’ve been enjoying this adventure of singleness; I’ve been finding myself and learning to love me with nothing added (aka a man).  Well, a lot has changed in a year.  I graduated from law school, took the bar exam, and I’m transitioning to a new city for a career opportunity. So being sent from hell, this joker wants to make a reappearance.  Yep, the man that told me that I wouldn’t find what I wanted in a partner, that everyone could not be as perfect as me, decided to “conveniently” show up.

Imagine my face, when I picked up a phone call to find his voice on the line.  It was a classic:  WHAT THE —–? Yep, saints, I swore.  I did.  I was so confused that I almost didn’t even know what to say.  I stared at the phone and thought to myself: “Girl, how are you going to finesse your way out of this one?” My heart responded to his voice.  History and sweet nothings will remind you of a love you once shared.  Like an old blanket, full of comfort and nostalgia, all the memories of us filled my mind.   Some of you may be saying:  “Sis, that’s true love!”  FALSE- THAT’S A SOUL TIE.  A neglected little thing, that I may have overlooked in the cutting process.  I said hello, and asked what he wanted.  He responded with a classic lie: “I missed you.”  I would miss me too, I mean your girl is out here living her best life looking like a whole meal.  I said  “Ok.” Like what am I supposed to do about that? That seems like a personal problem to me.  He kept going, “I just wanted to talk to you.  I made a huge mistake.  You’re the one for me.  I need you in my life.  I want to marry you.”  My jaw dropped because for years I wanted to marry this man.  Can you imagine thinking that 3 years in is the time, then year five comes and no proposal, and finally, your relationship is over by year seven.  Instantly my past started contending with my future.  All of my fears started to speak at the same time:  my fear of starting over with someone new, my fear of getting in the game and facing rejection and then this one fear of never meeting someone who would “get me” like my ex.  I had a choice to make.

I gathered all of the courage I had and simply said: “I’m good. Thank you for calling and for sharing your heart with me but I’m not interested. I think you deserve to be with someone who makes you happy and though we made each other happy once upon a time, that is not the case anymore.  I wish you the best and overall, you’re not the best for me.”  This, of course, wasn’t good enough for him because then he decided to remind me of the dreams we had together.  He reminded me of the businesses we were going to own, the home we were going to build, and the son we would raise.  Lovelies, I remembered those dreams.  Once upon a time, I prayed over those dreams, I fasted over those dreams.  Heck, I even journaled about those dreams but that was then and this is now.  Those dreams died when the relationship did.  I took a deep breath and once again stated my heart: we could NEVER be together again.

Dr. Matthew Stevenson preached a sermon a few years ago and he said a profound line, “To return to the past is to dishonor the future.”  This saying has become my lifeline.  It’s easy to return to the past.  Our past is familiar, consistently toxic and maybe even comforting within its dysfunction but it requires no courage.  It takes courage to go after something or someone new.  It takes guts to try again,  to develop a new pattern and to solidify a new path.  I don’t want to live life stuck because of my comfort.  I want to experience the goodness of God because I was brave enough to leave the past behind.  Plus, if I return to my past I can miss out on what God promised me: the future.  I don’t want to dishonor my future, holding on to someone who lacks the capacity to carry all that God has placed within me.  We must honor our future by abandoning our past!

So, friends, if I could encourage you with anything, I would encourage you to leave your past dead.  Don’t return to what you’ve left behind.  You’re worthy of your future!

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://live.staticflickr.com/3846/14145215440_ff6ab7e2e3_b.jpg

 

 

 

There’s No Need To Fear.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

First, Happy Birthday!!! Today, this beloved blog turned six years old.  It’s crazy to think that six years ago in a college dorm room, I created a blog to journey towards healing.  God has used this beloved platform to be a space of freedom, a community where we can all walk together towards authentic love.  Over the past six years, I’ve learned a lot in this love journey, have had my share of victories and losses but through it all: I survived!  Blessed be unto God who causes us to triumph!

Today, I had a whole meltdown because at the root of it all- I was utterly afraid.

For today to be the blog’s birthday, it was a rough one.  It was a day filled with emotional ups and downs.  To tell you the truth, I forgot all about our birthday because my impending BAR exam was the only thing on my mind.  For those of you that are unaware, I graduated from law school in May.  To practice law, one must take and pass what we call a BAR exam.  It’s an exam that tests all of the material we learned over the past three years.  It’s an extensive, rigorous exam.  It’s mentally, physically and emotionally taxing.  It’s not for the faint at heart.  This exam has been the focus of my attention for the past two months and the exam is in four days!  Today, I had a whole meltdown because at the root of it all- I was utterly afraid.   I was afraid of failure, afraid of people’s opinion, afraid of disappointing myself and with this fear came a butt load of pressure.  

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 TPT

It was so hard to get out of bed this morning.  I didn’t get out of bed until around one, I trudged to my workspace to begin prep, looked at the problems and in my heart said:  “I don’t want to do this.” The truth of the matter was, in my heart, I was afraid that I couldn’t take this exam and pass.  Fear gripped me in the crevices of my soul and I whispered to the Lord, “I feel so alone.  I’m here yet I cannot hear you.”  It was as if the darkness swallowed me whole and I had to fight to see the light.  One of my favorite worship leaders once said, “Many of you are getting ready to enter into a night.  Remember that the light is on the inside.  The light is on the inside!”  Her words fought against the darkness that plagued my mind.

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.  You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!  You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. Psalm 139:3-4 TPT

Seeking wisdom, I went to talk to my mom.  Y’all, my mom is like Jesus’ best friend.  She held me, prayed over me and reminded me that she was proud of me if I became a licensed attorney or not.  She was proud of me if I took the exam in four days or four months.  She was proud of me!  Her words took away all of the pressure. For the longest,  I felt this pressure to become for those that were counting on me.  I felt pressure to become for those that looked up to me.  I felt pressure to become for those that loved me.  She held me as I cried and reminded me that regardless,  I was loved.

Many of you are getting ready to enter into a night.  Remember that the light is on the inside.  The light is on the inside!- ©Steffany Gretzinger, 2018

Jesus loves me.  That is the simple truth that I tell myself when I feel the grip of fear.  Jesus loves me.  He is in love with me.  He cares about me deeply and because of this, I don’t have to search for love and comfort.   When I don’t know, He knows.  When I don’t have the strength, He is strong.  When I don’t feel like I can, He believes so strongly in me.  Jesus loves me.  I felt His love this evening as I sat to reflect on the day.

There’s no need to fear, for you are right here.- ©Simone Holloway, 2018

During a Tuesday evening in November, surrounded by my beautiful church family,  I began to have this musical conversation with the Lord.  Those who know me, know that I love to sing and write songs.  The songs that enter my heart are usually spontaneous and driven by my relationship with the Lord.  I was in the middle of a rehearsal when the words “There’s no need to fear, for you are right here.” came to my heart.  It was as if God knew that I would face so many things that would make me afraid.  He knew that I would feel alone, so he prepared me with a song.  Then in love, He sang these words over me: “I’m walking right beside you/I’m holding your hand./ I’m walking right beside you./ Though you don’t understand.”  He is the light at my feet, the wind at my back, and the lover of my soul.  Tonight he reminded me that he was my guide, that he was the strength and power I needed to move forward and that he was the one who loved me deeply! Then He reminded me of our six-year journey and his faithfulness brought me to tears.

I’m walking right beside you, I’m holding your hand.  I’m walking right beside you, though you don’t understand.- ©Simone Holloway, 2018

Long story short, I’m taking an exam that can determine my career in a few days and I am not afraid.   Because guess what?  Jesus will be there with me!  He’ll be there holding my hand, looking out for me, and making sure that everything works for my good. He’s near, He’s right here and He’ll be with me forever!

The Lord is my revelation-light to guide me along the way; he’s the source of my salvation to defend me every day.  I fear no one!  Psalm 27:1b TPT

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.churchleadership.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/leading-unafraid.jpg

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!

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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

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“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 

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