Soaked with Mercy.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Tuesday!  What started as a bleak and rainy day turned into a beautiful one filled with sunshine.  Man, God is so good.  It’s the little things that make us reflect on the goodness of the Father.  I’ve been in this beautiful posture of prayer and presence.  My soul is soaking up all of this goodness because one day my schedule won’t allow for all this time.  I’m learning day by day to enjoy the season that I’m in.  Clearly, God desires that I enter into a place of rest because all of my attempts of striving and working have come to nothing.   So, here I am sitting in my sacred place, ready to share with each of you.

As I was prepping for my teen bible study class tonight, I read a familiar passage in a different translation.  Y’all, the Passion Translation gives me so much life!!! I was reading 1 Peter 2:9-10 when a particular line caught my eye.  Verse ten reads,  “For at one time you knew nothing of God’s mercy, because you hadn’t received it yet, but now you are drenched with it.”  I’m a big word person, so I like to read with dictionaries and thesauruses nearby.  I’m this way with any piece of text:  sacred, fiction, non-fiction, etc.  There is something about reading a passage of text with a definition in mind.  It changes the context of comprehension and adds depth to the reading experience.  Anyways, as my inner nerd was having a ball, I decided to look up the word drenched.  Simple word right?  Yes and no.  We all know that to be drenched is to be completely soaked or wet but what does it mean to be completely soaked or wet in mercy?  Better yet, what is mercy?

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Mercy is extended when we do not give others what they deserve when we have the power to do so.  For example, a judge not giving a deserved sentence; or better yet a parent not reprimanding a child after they have done wrong.  We are all in need of a little mercy!  According to the verse, at one time we had no knowledge of the compassion or forgiveness of God because we did not receive either compassion or forgiveness.  This tells me that we cannot fully know something that we haven’t embraced.  For example, how can you know (fully know) your friend or loved one if you haven’t fully embraced that person (strengths, weaknesses and other idiosyncrasies)?  We do not know what we do not embrace.  So, if we do not embrace people, places, or circumstances- we have no full knowledge of those things.  This is why it’s so important to be friends with people who embrace you fully because that’s the only way they will know you fully and can love you rightly.  We cannot love well what we do not know.  Alright…moving on.  The passage continues with “but now you are drenched with it.”  So what we didn’t know about before, we are now soaked within it. We are now soaked in mercy!

Earlier today, I had to make an errand which led me to the DMV.  I don’t know about other people but I absolutely hate the DMV.  Like absolutely hate it!  Anyways, the clouds were dark and it was raining a little bit but it wasn’t storming.  As I was leaving the DMV, the bottom fell out from the heavens and buckets of water descended on the earth.  Well, your girl didn’t have an umbrella and my afro already had its daily dose of water and olive oil.  As I ran to the car, I was soaked- wet from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.  There was no mistaking that I was in the pouring rain.  Isn’t that the beauty of God?  To take what we were not privy to and to soak us in compassion and forgiveness.  So much so, that we walk around as evidence of what we received.   Friends, we are soaked in mercy!  May this encourage you that our God is not angry with us, neither is he ashamed of us but he is proud to call us his own.  He is full of compassion and forgiveness for us and he loves us dearly!

May you never become dry! 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a6/df/8a/a6df8adc5f8f7df585160f4ae19c5366.jpg

In Year Three, I Should Have Left.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers – 

Why do we stay in awful situations?  This is the question that I woke up pondering.  Why do we stay with emotionally, mentally and physically abusive people? Why do we submit ourselves to toxic unhealthy church environments? Why do we settle into office cultures that break our spirits?  Why do we hold onto friends that don’t have our best interest at heart?  Why do we stay even when God gives us a way out, time and time again?  Why?!?!?!

I think the culture feeds us this lie that if we endure through something even though it is harmful to us then we are strong.  We label strength to the one who succumbs to emotional abuse and like a badge of honor, we celebrate those who submit to dysfunction.  We can see our sis or bro dying on the inside and express how proud we are of them for sticking it out.  How dumb is that?  To be proud of a group of people for accepting poor treatment in their lives.  We admire the woman who suffers before she is loved well.  We celebrate the toxic leaders who berate their staff but then grow into humility.  We applaud the boss who realizes that he’s been a jerk yet refuses to give an apology for the previous bad behavior.  It is in the fabric of our society to stay in things out of the name of “loyalty” and the persevering spirit of “never giving up“.

Well, Friends, loyalty to dysfunction is unhealthy.  Loyalty for loyalty’s sake is not enough for emotional wellness.  Loyalty to bad behavior is not admirable and anything that destroys esteem should not be celebrated.  To be loyal is defined as giving and showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.  To whom or what are we loyal to?  Why?  If we are giving and showing firm and constant support to abusive people, do we believe the abuse will eventually cease?  If we are financially supporting organizations that have no integrity, should we be disappointed when we learn of the misappropriation of funds?  If we are holding down relationships that are not built on truth, should we stick it out in hopes that our partner will become all that we’ve imagined? Nah. Loyalty is not a prison and faithfulness does not give some the right to abuse time, energy and emotional wherewithal.

I was once a believer in blind loyalty.  I was “all in”  and submitted myself to people, places and things that harmed me.  I stayed with a man who emotionally abused me for years.  I made excuses for his bad behavior.  I defended the ways he hurt me.  I always resolved in my heart that he did what he did because I did something wrong.  In my mind, he held no responsibility for his actions towards me.  I excused his lying, I excused his inconsistency,  and I excused his sly comments and his ample way of making me believe that I was never enough.  I turned a blind eye and stayed with him off and on for SEVEN years.  Why the heck would I do that?  Because I was strong?  Because I was brave enough to stay?  No.  I wasn’t strong, I was weak.  I was weak in esteem.  I was weak in self-love.  I was weak.  I wasn’t brave, I was afraid.  I was a coward looking for that which was easy, that which was comfortable and it costs me years.  The bravest thing I did was leave and that my dear should be applauded.  

In year three, I should have left.

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/uAu4lwLio2E/maxresdefault.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

That’s Not My Job.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Tuesday!  Today has been a full day of reflection, gratitude and spending time with family.  Last night, I had the pleasure to be a guest on my good friend’s radio show.  It was my first time doing a radio interview and I had an absolute blast.  I’m realizing that the more I tread into new territory, the more fun I experience.  Anyways, I was chatting with my good friend when a profound truth escaped my lips.  I looked her in the eye and said, “It’s not my job to parent someone’s dysfunction.” Whoo!  That’s something,  right there! Say it with me:  IT IS NOT MY JOB TO BE THE CARETAKER OF SOMEONE ELSE’S DYSFUNCTION!!!!!

I don’t know about each of you, but I’ve been guilty of parenting others’ issues.  I would take their dysfunction as my own under the guise of “helping” them.  However, taking others’ loads does not help them, it further enables their toxic behavior.  It is a toxic behavioral trait to not take responsibility for your own dysfunction, leaving it to the will of your community to fix you.  It is not the job of your friends to carry your weight, healing is proactive and it requires a person to take full responsibility for their process.  I’ve learned over the years that my picking up of other’s weight was really insecurity that needed to be resolved.  My need to be needed kept me playing savior to those in my life.  I was not God and I was not created to be Him.  It is my role/job to push people to Jesus. Only He has the power to save. Once I identified that I had an issue, I went to the Lord and resolved that I was necessary, enough and equipped for him. I no longer needed the affirmation and validation of others because I was secure in identity.  Maybe, we carry others’ weight because of our own unmet insecurities.  It’s time out for flexing for the Gram.  Some of us have some real emotional issues and wounds that need healing and that comes through honesty.  The day I was able to say: “Girl, you got issues!”  that was the day I became free.

When we heal, we realize that healing is available for all- it’s just gonna take some work! Everyone has to do their own heart work, everyone has to sit in front of their own mirror and journey with God. Healing is an individual process that one must commit to.  It is not the job of those you love dear to parent your process.  It is not the job of those you love to validate you.  It is not the job of those that you love to affirm you.  It is not the job of those you love to heal your insecurities, to break your generational curses, to fill the voids of your mother and father wounds.  It’s not their job and it’s selfish to place that burden upon them.  Sis, deal with yourself and heal! I understand that facing yourself is scary, trust me I know but facing yourself is so rewarding.  Growth comes from standing in the light, acknowledging your needs, and coming to the resolve that you’re responsible for your process alone. Friends, a man or woman, and even our church communities are NOT responsible for our healing.  We must go to God, face ourselves and make decisions to steward our wholeness.  It is God’s job to validate us, to remind us of our identity, to affirm us, to heal our wounds, to fill our soul voids and HE DOES HIS JOB WELL. If we lean on Him, we will find that healing is not only attainable but it is also a preferred way of living. Once we’re whole, we will prefer to live whole.

So, if you’re parenting someone else’s dysfunction- STOP.  If you’re demanding that your community fill your voids and parent your issues- STOP.  Understand the role of those given to you, go to the Lord and journey with him in dealing with yourself.  Be cognizant to take responsibility for your healing. Ultimately, be honest for it’s better, to be honest than to be presentable. Keeping a face is exhausting and it hinders the healing process. Be honest.  Confess your issues, state your needs and you’ll start to see fruit in your relationships.  No one wants to journey with a representative too long, afterwhile we all want the real thing!  If it’s not real, it’s not worthy of investing time and energy into.

Today’s topic was a bit heavy.  Breathe through it and know that these pieces of wisdom are for the betterment of our futures.  God desires that we are whole and I believe that when we surrender to His process, we become just that! I love yall, have an amazing day!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://www.truenorthcpi.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NO_blogimage_1300x540.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

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

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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 off 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

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