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 

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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

 

New Garments

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

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

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

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

Xoxo,

Simone 

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I’m Listening

I’m listening to you….

I’m listening to the beeaatttinng of your heart

as the rain

drip

drop

drip

drop

I’m listening to you….

I’m listening to the hollowness inside of you

as pain wanders about

as regret runs through the halls

as sadness goes to bed

I’m listening

as hope taps on the window to come in…

as joy begs for someone to open the door

as love wishes for an invitation.

I’m listening

and it seems like the world is deaf

to your cries

oh the lies ….

You are necessary

your presence is missed

and I’m not at risk

for loving you.

I know what you been through and I’m still here….

listening…

©Simone Holloway, 2015

Featured Image Credit: https://truestoriesandmakebelieve.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/dsc_0977.jpg

I’m No Longer Waiting…

I think it's funny 

how long it took me to come to this place.

It took me a long time 

to erase the possibility of living life for you. 

To come to decision in my heart 

that said I'm no longer waiting....

anticipating....

self-hating....

or allowing what's going on to exasperate me. 

Or rob me of my peace

my joy 

or my happiness.

To tell you the truth, I'm a hot mess

to think that I've been truly living

breathing in this God-given air with gratitude 

while my attitude turned bitter because you weren't near

or here

with me.  

But tonight, I decided to be free 

from the plagues of living life with you on my mind 

irritated that time is not on our side. 
 
I'm no longer waiting on you to be alive. 

I decided that whether you came or not

I was going to give life my best shot 

and enjoy what was around me 

I was going to simply be 

content in the skin I was given 

Livin' in my complete purpose, divine destiny 

no longer allowing your absence to hinder me 

I was going to love like never before 

I was going to let my boldness roar 

for itself 

becoming self-confident without needing your help. 

And whether we met here or on the other side- 

I was no longer waiting on you to be alive. 

So when we meet, I might be in this country or not 

I might own a small boat or a yacht.

I might have long hair or continue to rock my short do 

I might be single or I might have a boo.

I could even have a tattoo 

because at the end of the day, I am no longer living for you.  

I am living for me.

I am living to be free.

Living to live again- 

I am living as God's best friend.

So instead of making you the center of my world,

I no longer strive to be your girl-
 
I strive to be myself and smile more

I'm tired of living life like a bore

In my pursuit after God, I will continue to strive

Because I am no longer waiting on you, to be alive. 


©Simone Holloway, 2015

Featured Image Credit: https://colourintodarkness.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/1-the-feeling-of-being-alive.jpg

A Good Friday Prayer Vigil

As we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to take an hour that evening to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith who are being persecuted. All around the world, men and women are being asked to deny their belief in exchange for their lives. Let’s come together as a body of believers and pray for these individuals and their families.

April 3, 2015 from 7- 8 PM EST

In order to join this prayer vigil, call 1-712-775-7031. The ID # 514134476.

Join me as our voices are raised to heaven on the behalf of those dear to us.

“The prayers of the righteous availeth much …” James 5:16

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

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You Can’t Give Me What You Don’t Have

I spent so much time angry...
Angry with life and angry with you.
I have wasted so much of my time in frustration
wanting something that you just cannot do.
To love to me, means to give my all
It is to emulate the Son.
It means to love with no conditions
and to deeply care about someone.
This is the way the Father loved me
He loved me enough to give His life.
He's preparing a place in eternity
He is the bridegroom and I His wife.
So I expected something of you
that you simply did not have the capacity to give.
I expected the same kind of love
I expected you to have mercy and to forgive.
But this is the flaw in expectations,
they are never close to reality.
They have the power to keep one bound
when God comes so that we may be free.
I can't expect something from you
that you can't give to me.
You must know Love to give love
And in His love, lovely is what you'll be.
So I take away all expectations of you
I accept you for who you are.
One who may never reciprocate the love I give
who may never heal from his scars.
I hope life gets better and that you learn to love.
I hope you meet Him who resides above.
So in the midst of my heart's pain, I sit back and laugh.
All I know is, you can't give me what you don't have.
©Simone Holloway, 2015

Featured Image Credit: http://heartofdeborah.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/cant-give-300×300.jpg

Grace Overload

Hello Authentic Lovers!

Something heavy has been on my heart since I woke up this morning.  God has been dealing with me about the condition of the church, the body of Christ.  I thought I would share my thoughts with you and hopefully you’ll hear me out.  To tell you the truth, I am slightly displeased with the condition of the church. My spirit is saddened by what I am seeing and I hope things get better soon.  One of the things I am really disheartened by is this belief that because one is a Christian, he/she does not need a sense of discipline.  It’s like as soon as I say yes to Jesus, I am free to be wild and unruly- operating opposite of what is taught in the Word of God.  This belief is so upsetting  because to me (if I looked at it from a non-believer’s perspective) it makes God look so dumb, like He is really stupid- which is not the case.  I listen to the things I hear some Christian leaders say and I am like “Why?”.  We say things sometimes that make our all-powerful God look very small and helpless.  Lately, it’s been – because I have grace:  I don’t have to work in my relationship with God.  It just happens and He does all the work for me.  What?  Why wouldn’t someone have to put effort in a relationship?  Because of Grace? Well…I disagree with this statement and here’s why:

Grace is God’s unmerited favor, freely given to us by Jesus Christ.  What is favor? it is an attitude of approval or liking…an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.  So basically grace is God liking an individual and performing an act of kindness towards them for free.  That is what grace is.  So the fact that Jesus died for humanity and therefore offers salvation free of charge so that we can be in relationship with the Father is grace.  This is why we are saved by grace, because our salvation costed us nothing.  So grace gave us the opportunity to have a relationship with God, not the tools to maintain that relationship.  When I hear, “I can live any kind of way and do things that is not pleasing to God because I have grace,” that irks me because it shows me the ignorance that lies in Christendom today.  Paul says in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” He’s basically saying that just because I have grace doesn’t mean I live a lifestyle of sin.  Grace was created to make us free not keep us bound in sin.  So when someone use grace as their excuse for living a life that is not pleasing to God, it makes my spirit cringe.

Secondly, I don’t understand why as Christians we do not believe that we have to  live a lifestyle of discipline.  Yes, discipline.  No we are not under the law, but we should live a lifestyle that helps us to maintain our spot in this race of Salvation. We are running a race to receive a crown of life, basically we want to see Jesus one day so we are on a path to do so: a race.  I studied all of the other major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism , Islam, and Judaism.  Do you know the one thing all of these religions apart from Christianity all have in common? They all have an element of discipline.  Whether its meditation/chanting, prayer 5 times a day, reading of their sacred text or even their food/dietary needs- these religions have a sense of discipline.  Am I saying that these religions got everything right? No. not at all but I do think that they got this element right in their lifestyle, and that is why I have a sense of admiration for them.  If we are in a race, wouldn’t we condition for the race?  Say I am running a marathon in Central Park, NYC.  It’s my first marathon.  Would I wake up the day of the marathon and just run? Would I win? Or would I get up months in advance and condition my body for the race? Would I change my dietary habits for the race?  Would I be disciplined? A majority of you guys would say, “duh Simone- of course you would condition.” “Of course, you would eat right and train hard,duh”  These responses would be common sense. So why do we make God sound so stupid when we eliminate this element from our lives by disguising it under grace?  When we don’t live a disciplined life, we tell the world that the Holy Spirit inside of us has no sense of self-control, even though He is the author of it.  Again, it sounds stupid-doesn’t it?.  God is self-control and therefore self-control/discipline should be evident in our lives.   If we are going to win this race so that we can receive our crown of life, we have to discipline our walk with God.  We need to spend time in prayer and in the Word of God, that’s our fuel for the race. We have to love others and serve our community, that’s our exercise regime.  We have to live being filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we can have energy and stamina.  We need to be disciplined in a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.  We have to live this way in order to win the grand prize.  The grace of God allowed everyone to freely enter the race, but we have to do our part to stay in the race.

Think about it, what if you was in a relationship with someone who put no effort into you?  They didn’t put any effort into spending time with you?  They didn’t put any effort into hearing/learning your words? They didn’t put any effort in the activities they did with you?  You put all your effort and love into them and they put none into you.  Many, myself included, would say that this relationship is unhealthy and therefore should be terminated, but this is how some of our relationships with God look.  He has placed all of himself into a relationship with us and yet we only put ourselves halfway into a relationship with Him, it’s unhealthy and it’s not fair.  Relationships take effort and it’s this effort that brings about beauty.

Grace is good but when used the wrong way it becomes a crutch for staying in sin when Christ has come so that we be free from sin.  True freedom stems from self-control.

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

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Be At Peace

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers – 

I just came out of 3 am prayer and the Lord began to speak to me about today’s post.  I sat on the bed and could hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Be at peace…”.  These three simple words were what I needed to reassure me of about my day.  I spent so much time worrying; worrying about the future, worrying about the effects of my past, just worrying about things I cannot control.  It’s so easy to live a lifestyle of worrying.  

We worry about everything; our kids, our jobs, our homes, our vehicles, whether or not someone loves us, our marriages, and our place in the world.  We are a people of perpetual worrying, but today I say to you- “Be at peace...” 

Be at peace in your mind, heart, soul and spirit.  Be at peace.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God already knows what we need, all we have to do is ask and release everything to Him. In our release, we allow His peace to transcend everything we have ever known- we allow ourselves to just “be” in His peace.  

Today, I encourage you to stop worrying!  Stop trying to figure out something that you have no control over!  Just “be” in His peace.  Wallow in His peace.  Fill yourself with His peace and allow His peace to transcend everything you have ever known.  Be at Peace! 

Until next time, 

Mo 🙂 

Let’s Be Honest!

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers –

Today I thought we would conquer something that we all have dealt with: Honesty.  That’s right the old H- word, Ho-nes-ty.  Honesty is something that all of us talk about, but sometimes do not practice.  Today, I want to talk about our honesty with God.

How many of us pray?  Prayer by definition is talking to God, so if we whisper a few words to him at any time, we are by definition praying.  How many of us mean what we are praying?  This means that every word that comes out of our mouths, every single word, is sincere/genuine.  How of us say things that we think others want to hear? Do we do the same thing with God? Well, do you?

I’ve come to realize that many people have a hard time saying what’s on their mind to God. Either the individual is afraid to be honest or they are ashamed of what they are going to say.  We have made honesty to be something we use when we get perfect, when we have it all together.

The gospel is not for the perfect, it’s not for those who have everything all together- but it’s for the jacked-up, the lost, the abandoned, the ones who have all kind of scary thoughts in their heads; the Gospel is for them.  How can we become free from where we are if we never talk to God about it?  How can we?  I have learned that God desires that we are completely honest.  

Sometimes we don’t have sunny days and sometimes we are not grateful and would rather complain, but that’s life and we can talk to God about these things.   God is not looking for a relationship where people tell Him what they think He wants to hear, but rather the truth.  He wants to hear the truth about how you are feeling in that moment so that He can make everything better.

Girls, why when we are annoyed and our significant other ask us if anything is wrong, we say no? We say:” Nothing is wrong.”, when clearly something is eating us up.  Why do we do that?  We should be able to be honest with our significant other because we know they love us, and therefore can be trusted with our feelings.  It’s the same thing with God, we can talk to Him about how we are feeling because He can be trusted.  When I have bad days, I go to God and I let Him know I had a bad day.  I even take this process  a step further and tell Him why my day was a rough one.  He already knows what happened in my day, so why not be honest with Him,  I find that my conversations with God and with others are more meaningful when I am completely honest.  Let’s be honest! 

Until next time,

Mo ❤

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