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

On The Run

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

If we’re honest, I’ve been in this amazing yet crazy place with God.  For the past few months, I’ve felt like David on the run, hiding in caves, seeking safety/shelter.  Can you imagine, you’re living what you deem to be your best life when transition hits?  What you thought was safe isn’t anymore?  Can you imagine being in an environment that once upon a time brought such life and now it has filled your heart with pain?  It’s crazy how sometimes the same voices that affirm your identity can tear it down.  The same environments that bring comfort can hurt your soul.  It makes you feel mad even, like oh my freaking God am I losing my mind?  That my dear friends have been my life since February- I’ve been on the run.

I’ve been serving through pain, encouraging through heartbreak, giving in the midst of lack.  I’ve been used up and forsaken, discarded because of brokenness and I’m finally finding my way back “home.”  My discernment has sharpened, my weaponry has increased and I’ve learned to fight in the midst of fear.  Ladies and gents, it’s the curse of the gifted.  People like me who are full of life and love, we’re targets for the insecure, the immature and those who lack compassion for the world.  The more I watch the lives of my creative/gifted friends, those of us born to rule and conquer- we seem to all have the same story:  a story of being on the run, seeking self-preservation, finding God in the midst of the darkness, finding healing in the midst of our pain.  We’re little Davids out here checking over our shoulder, knowing that at any moment our enemies can find and abuse us- we seek safety for our souls.   But, there’s good news.  One day, the season of the cave ceases and before you know it, we are strong enough to return home to sit on the throne that was anointed, waiting on us.

I’m returning home.  I sense this freedom around me to stop hiding. I’ve healed and now I’m whole enough to step into what’s next for me.  My next is a job in Atlanta, GA.  I’m moving to a new city, ready to experience new things but first I had to experience the cave.  I had to learn to war, how to become shrewd, how to band people together to heal.  I had to gain community, learn the intentions of those around me, I had to start again.  I had to embrace my vulnerability, honor during hard circumstances, learn the art of forgiveness.  I had to experience the cave.  In the cave, I learned that He was my safety, my shelter.  In the cave, I learned to keep my eyes open.  In the cave, I learned how to be honest and how to confront hard things.  I needed the cave to mature, to do the hard work, to grow.

Typically, we grow hidden underneath the soil.  We mature in the obscurity. We develop in the dark.  Caves are dark but are amazing spaces to be hidden, to grow.  Growing up, I felt bad for David.  Can you imagine knowing you’re king but living in a cave?  Like, why God would you give a promise only to allow his life to be filled with affliction?  But, now I understand that David needed his process to become the great King Israel needed.  He needed the tactical warfare skills of the cave.  Every place of darkness is used by the Lord to bring clarity and the more we run towards His light, he teaches that even the bad things are used for our good.

Family, you might be in a cave (mentally, spiritually and emotionally) trying to figure out if it’s safe to return “home”- but know that God is with you in the cave.  He is right there, holding your hand, keeping you safe.  He is your shelter, your fortress, your hiding place. Also, be rest assured, you won’t be on the run forever.  One day, it’ll be time to return to your rightful place:  you’ll be safe, you’ll be home.  Seasons change, life evolves but your Father remains the same and He loves you even now.  That’s the truth I had to remind myself every day: He loves me in my weakness, he cares about me in my brokenness and when I don’t know if it’s safe to show my heart- HE WILL KEEP ME SAFE!

Love you guys and I’m lifting yall up tonight!

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/2017010/univ/art/2017010_univ_cnt_4_xl.jpg

Scripture reference: 1 Samuel 24

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

The Letter

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo,

Simone

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

Phone Calls

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m an old soul, born circa ’93 but in my heart, I feel like I’m from an earlier era.  I love phone calls.  Yep, I’m one of those weird people that rather receive a phone call than an email or a text message.  It’s something about hearing the voice of those you love, it’s comforting yet exciting.  It’s a simple way of building connection and intimacy, two things that I hold dear.

I have a friend who is a master of connection.  She is the only one I know that loves phone calls, facetime, and face to face meetings.  It’s like she feels no anxiety as she bares herself to me in conversation.  Every time I’m with her I feel safely loved, heard and just free to be myself!  Over the past eight months, she has taught me about connection: both with God and others.

I realized that I shied away from connection because it allowed people to see me. And I mean see me: in rawness, brokenness and undone.  Yet, it is this baring of oneself that builds intimacy and connection.  If you cannot see me fully, then you cannot know me and you cannot love me.  Now, I find myself putting my phone down in the company of others, preferring face time calls, and wanting to have amazing conversations over a hot cup of coffee.  I prefer connection because to me:  it’s raw, it’s intimate, and it’s real.  Who wants to be in relationships and cannot be real?  Who wants to invest in something that only appears to be close?  That only appears to be solid?  Not me.  I’m good without the facade.  Give me the real, where I can hear in your voice that you’re not good.  The real, where I don’t have to decode your text messages or wonder why you used a certain emoji?  Instead of laughing emojis, I want to hear the ones I love laugh and I want to know that they are laughing from a genuine place.  At the end of the day, we all want something real.  Now, for my friends who are not like me, I’ve mastered my text game: GIFS, emojis, and short paragraphs of text but in my heart, I love a good phone call!

So why talk about phone calls? Well… maybe because we live in a world where people desperately want to feel connected.  To something, to anything; to someone, to anyone.  There are people all around us who want to know that they are seen, heard, loved and valued.  If we look up from our screens and start looking into the face of those around us, maybe we will build connections based on the raw, based on the real.  It’s harder to forget about those whose voices you hear frequently- that’s why when someone is around you all the time, you find yourself feeling closer to them.  On the flip side, those we only engage with via social media from time to time and even through an occasional text, sometimes we forget about them.  We forget to see how they are doing, beyond the highlight reel, we forget that we were once apart of their lives.  Our friendships lack communication, our relationships lack depth and before you know it, it’s easier to move on breaking covenants because what we had lacked the real- it lacked connection beyond a keyboard.

I encourage you to look up!  To be aware of those around you.  I encourage you to come out of your comfort zone and to connect.  I love phone calls, but it’s because at the end of the day I am okay with vulnerability. Are you okay with being vulnerable?  Are you okay with revealing who you are to have depth in your relationships? It’s okay if you’re not ready yet.  It’s okay if vulnerability frightens you, but I can guarantee that the level of love you desire is only coming through vulnerability.  What you want in your friendships and relationships is only going to come through revealing who you are, baring yourself to your inner circle.  Depth only comes through the raw, it’s only strengthened through the real. Happy connecting!

Xoxo,

Simone 

 

 

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

 

Misplaced Expectations.

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

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

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

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

Rid your life of misplaced expectations.

Xoxo,

Simone

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

All Walled Up

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m back and I have so much to say!  Have you ever wondered why we have walls? I mean, why do we have partitions between rooms, people, experiences?  I know we are taught that walls protect us, they are necessary for privacy and are critical for boundaries.  But, what if our walls are damaging us?  I mean the walls we keep on the inside that keep us from being honest with others. I remember once upon a time, my Pastor  (PT) preached this epic sermon about walls.  He discussed the dangers of living with walls, of being closed off from those given to you.  I left that service inspired to tear down my walls, but I noticed that some of the walls I’ve built were rooted in my own disappointments and unrealistic expectations. Immediately, God began to deal with my walls.

If I’m candid, the walls I’ve built to protect myself from others became this tool to destroy me.  Here are some of the walls, the Lord and I have been tearing down one by one:  (1) Walls of disappointment, (2) Walls of rejection, (3) Walls associated with childhood trauma, (4) Walls of depression/suicidal ideations, (5) Walls of anxiety and fear, (6) Walls of self-hatred and diminishment of self, (7) Walls of guilt from past mistakes and behavior, (8) Walls of doubt, and finally (9) Walls of expectations.  I shared my former walls so that you can have the courage to identify yours. I mean, your healing is your responsibility.  I’m a big believer in honesty/transparency because I desire to grow as a person.  This new found freedom drives me to open the same invitation to each of you.  We do not have to live all walled up.  The same God who created us can protect us and we can trust Him with our happiness.

Our walls keep us from receiving all that the Father has destined for us.  Think about it, how can we believe in our dream if our wall of false belief about self stands in the way?  I remember delaying on what God placed on the inside because His Word had to run into my wall of fear.  It became exhausting to believe in anything, especially God’s Word.  I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the courage to tear down our walls.  I mean we don’t have to do this by ourselves, our Father is able and willing to help.  That’s the beauty of living in this new way, we don’t have to do this alone!  I couldn’t receive until I tore down my wall, I couldn’t love well until I rid myself of my walls, I couldn’t help effectively until my walls were demolished.

Our walls hinder us from loving ourselves and therefore determine how we love others.  

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://alifebeyondrubies.files.wordpress.com/2013/03//walls01.jpg

My Pastor’s EPIC sermon about walls (Pursue Series: “Come Outside”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilyuf3GCZlQ

I Am Too Proud To Beg

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

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

Be too proud of yourself to beg!

Xoxo,

Simone

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