emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the category “Reflections”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 2

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top….  Excuse me little “Black” girl, I wonder about you.  YES, YOU!  I wonder how many of you have experienced a period of peace, a time when you had no worries and was carefree.  I wonder if you have two loving parents, parents who often tell and show you that they love you.  Do you tell and show them that you love them?  YES, I mean ACTUALLY SAY  the words:  I-LOVE-YOU-Mom-Dad.  Do you come from a loving home, a place where you are valued and protected, encouraged and supported, challenged and taught?  Is your foundation solid or is it shallow?  I wonder…about you.

Sad Girl

When the wind blows the cradle will rock…. Have you experienced bullying–on the playground or in the classroom?  Have you ever been picked last because you are a girl?  Has a teacher overlooked your raised hand to call on Jim, not that his hand was raised but because he should know science?  Have you ever been teased for being too light or too dark, for not being Black enough?  Have you been told that you think you are white, talk like you are white, act like you are white?  Have you struggled to understand what this means, and what this really means for you?  Do you embrace your uniqueness or do you try to fit in?  When the wind blows, what do you do?

Unique

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall….  I wonder if you are aware of the injustices that await you in this world–injustices related to your gender, to your race, to your gender and to your race.  I wonder about your preparation for being a healthy, well-balanced being operating in a world that defines so much around gender, race, and economics.  I wonder about your preparation as I think about my own.

Mom and Daughter

 

You see, there is a need to introduce race and gender scenarios to you in safe environments so you can ask questions and get answers, so you will learn to analyze matters for yourself without depending on media messages and mainstream citations to parrot.  As you go forth to be boldly brilliant, you will see some heart aching events.  Some, you will experience firsthand.  Allow yourself to grow in maturity, to experience a range of emotion.  Grow in patience and in perseverance.  Being you, being Black and female, is not a bad thing.  It is a blessed thing.  You will gain insight and strength unlike no other.  You will see that storylines have been created for you, but that you are created to create headlines.  Write your own script once you have captured their attention.  Be open to diverse friendships.  Live outside of confined narratives.  When the bough breaks, change the ending.  Surprise some people and soar!

Soar

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 1

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl,

Sad Girl

Yes you.  I am talking to YOU!  I know, I know….  You want to know, “Why?”  Believe me when I say, “I understand your skepticism”.  I have confidently interrupted you for no reason other than that you are female and black.

Is that a crime?

No…well, some may think so on two counts but in this case NO!  To the contrary, I have stopped you to encourage you to continuously set goals and envision achieving the impossible in this crazy world.  Its manifestations are indeed possible!

girl dreaming on laptop

I get it!  I GET IT!  Achieving goals is hard.  No one said it would be easy!

The ability to overcome stereotypes about who you are—or who you are expected to be— combined with societal hindrances, both inter-and-intra-culturally, does not come with a manual.  BREATHE!  Life is not that easy.

These breaking-barrier conversations, in number and in depth, to obtain guidance are not readily-accessible.  We are not mythical, however.  Living examples of us are in fact around, but you (and we) are being conditioned to overlook our essence and devalue our worth.

“Your turn will come,” they will say, “after his and hers.”  Time does not stop.  Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”  Your turn is now, just as his and hers.  Truth is, our worth is your worth.  Collective value carries weight.  It is either relieving or burdensome.  Be conscious and careful about what you cart.  No one said it would be easy.  You must push on and push through.  Your dreams will resuscitate you.  You will learn to trust that your help, meaning help that is specific to you, will come.  Time will teach you to expect and to accept it in whatever form and time it appears.  Experience will sharpen your ability to identify it.  In turn, you will become aware that you are being shaped to be the help for others of which you seek.  It is a process.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, you are being transformed.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

Allow yourself to learn your SELF.  Be patient.  This is a never-ending process.  It must be embraced with (at times stubborn) determination.  Media messages will tell you, and those around you, who you are.  Songs and television shows will do the same.  Religious interpretations and authority figures will have a say, as will community leaders—if you are mentioned at all.  Find appreciation in the knowledge of other’s misperception of you, then confidently introduce yourself.

peace

It was nice meeting you.  Now you know WHY.

 

Time To Build

It started as a whisper…a reocccuring remembrance of Deuteronomy 15:6:

When the Lord your God blesses you as He promised you, then you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow….

For weeks, I would be reminded of these very words.  I tried to ignore these nudges, but they only grew louder.  There was no denying that the time had come for me to consciously  get out of debt!  Why?  Well, I could list numerous reasons.  I mean really, who desires to remain in debt?  Sure, it can become comfortable—similar to walking around in circles for 40 years.  Circular walking makes me dizzy though.  I want what He has Promised!

Frog

So last year at this time, I was receiving student loan and credit card bills fully aware that I needed to PAY THEM OFF sooner than later!  I had no clue how I would do this.  Admittedly, I was not in a position where I had extra money.  (Who really has extra money though?)  Times were definitely hard and there I was being consumed by a divine  pressing that I could not disregard.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe it was not with your finances, but in any area of your life???  Have you ever felt God telling you to do something and you wanted to do it, but you did not know how?  For me, getting out of debt sooner than later would be entirely God’s work.  I would more or less be a functional spectator because it was truly outside of my control.  It really came down to me believing that God would do it if I simply followed His lead.  Once I surrendered to this belief, He revealed to me enough of the why to encourage me along the way.

Jeremiah 1.20

As I write this, I am smiling because of what happened next.  A few days after my surrender, if not the very next morning, I was watching Joyce Meyer on television.  (For those of you who may not know about the ministry God has given to her, see:  http://www.joycemeyer.org/ ) Well, I was actually listening to her because for some reason that morning I was unusually sleepy.  At the end of her broadcast, however, she announced that she was giving away a FREE book on getting out of debt.  You would have thought an alarm was blaring in my ear if you saw the way I instantly jumped out of bed.  All I had to do was email/tweet/call/contact the ministry and they would send it.  I know God did that for ME!  As I fought sleep, I did not know I was fighting to receive a blessing (but in hindsight it was clear).  I got my copy on April 30, 2015.

got FRee joyce book 4.30.15

On September 5th (2015), I paid off my credit card debt.  Today, I paid off my student loan debt.  (Thank you Joyce Meyer for allowing God to use you to bless me!)  The beginning was the hardest, but it was fun seeing the progress in both myself and in the reduced balances.  God is so awesome!  Throughout the whole process, He allowed me to treat myself (and others) regularly along the way.  He is amazing and I am in awe.

greatness

Excitedly, I am moving on to complete the next steps of the why.  It is a process.  Be encouraged!  Be obedient!  God will provide the how!  Just trust Him!  It’s time to build!

 

Those Lyrics

I ended my relationship with him because his music of preference degraded, devalued, and denounced women.  How did we get to this place?  When did I become his enemy?  Surely, he did not think of me as a friend!

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you,” he would say.

Ughhhhhh, my frustration rose with every point he missed.  Of course the lyrics are not about me specifically, but its collective implication is placed squarely upon my shoulders.  The weight is heavy.  The conversation is lacking.  Maybe if I were not a professional woman, I would not notice?  Maybe if my life did not require me to be in situations where I am the only one, I would not be bothered?  How have we gravitated from R-E-S-P-E-C-T to O-P-P?  Perplexed and tired, I ended the relationship.

If you are wondering, yes we are still friends—the one, he says, “that got away “.  What an interesting choice of words when considering the bondage his ideology would have placed me under.  Walking away, I was left wondering if he would ever know A Woman’s Worth.  I can only hope so, but I still don’t know.

peace

Unless empathetic, people only seem to understand “a thing” if it has a direct impact on them.  Have we become so desensitized that we only have empathy when catastrophes occur?  Don’t we know that by the time we see the physical manifestations of inequity, inequalities have already run rampant?  Many seem to think that if they do not have a dog in the fight, then the fight is simply theater.  “Get over it”, they say.  “It’s not that serious”, they insist while attempting to bully via shame.  “You are too sensitive”, they sing.  Their perspective, however, does not change your reality nor how such attitudes affect your life.

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you” become about me when I show up to defend someone in court and have to check a dude who calls me honey.  They become about me when I am in a meeting and the males are addressed by their respective titles and I am by my first name only.  They become about me when the salary being offered to me is less or when I am overlooked for a promotion, not because of my work product, but because of this rule that a man—and many times a white male—is simply worth more.  How could he not be worth more, right?  People like to do business with people like them and most big business deals are done between men—white, wealthy men.  Now, you know like I do that most people are not white and wealthy and male.  Yet, the oppression amongst those of us who are not continues to pit ally against ally.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Although at times slow to make mainstream rotation, songs empowering women are being written and played.  Their vehicle is not limited to the radio, but more readily seen in life.  So, what songs do you turn up…or turn off?  Are the lyrics being sung about you?  The big picture, most miss.

Bottom Line

Have you ever given out of your poverty?

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” —Luke 21:1-4

I have pondered this.  Initially, I thought this entry would tell a story similar to this passage’s explicit scenario.  Nah.  That would be too easy, especially in this time when I am being pressed in a particular area.  Let’s reflect honestly.

Sometimes, financial giving is seemingly easier than the giving of your time and talents.  With so much hurt and pain in the world (in the nation, in your community, in your church), let us not continue to ignore the why in this.

  • Are you too “busy” to notice that your Brother or Sister (your neighbor) is depressed, suicidal, hungry…?  (Come here Elijah, Job, Jonah, and Jeremiah…I see you.)
  • Are you still feeling the sting from being rejected by the very people/person God continues to redirect you to minister?  (Long after the trend has faded, who continues to ask, “WWJD”?)
  • Have you stepped away from a difficult situation because your flesh said so, but His guidance is now saying, “Go back”?  (Moses, where are you?)

Hmmm…..I don’t think you are feeling the depth of these questions?  Have you ever been at the end of yourself, more than tired and exhausted, emotional spent, physically weak….just here, and barely that?  (Well, I can be a little dramatic at times but you get the picture right?  Anyway…)  It is at that point and place in one’s spiritual journey that I am signaling for recollection.  It was there, at that point of poverty, where I discovered, in a way unlike ever before, my bottom line.  I looked at the numbers—checked and double-checked the math, evaluated the equations, reviewed the formulas.  With great detail, I scrutinized.  I searched for answers, for comprehension.  Undeniably, I spiritually matured.

So, have you gotten to a point in life where you have consciously decided to truly become serious about growing in your faith?  Have you decided that if you have to live your faith all by yourself, you are all inAre you all in?

People do not always say it, but this faith walk is a continuous path.  There are so many things that could be shared, but are not.  Who knew a part of my journey would include discovering my bottom line?  It makes sense and was necessary, but who knew?  It was there that I prayed by faith for God’s blessings and protection of my life.  It was there where I began to have a deeper appreciation for the seriousness of ministry—of sharing my time, talents, and money.  How interesting?  It was there, where upon reflection, that I am able to see something that continues to amaze me.  Such awareness continues to press me.  In the midst of the delicate balance, between the breaths, the laughs, the tears, the ups, the downs…right there…in those moments…I still gave time, talent, and money.  Admittedly, in hindsight I can understand it better.  I can treasure and respect its symbolism.  Its lessons continue to empower me.  In my poverty, by faith, I gave.  Like the poor widow, in so many ways I put in all I had to live on.  I have an idea of what that feels like, and of what it means.  Do you?

Woman Praying

Once you know your bottom line, you understand what can be built upon it. 

My 2015: Professional Lessons

That time of year has come when I take some time to re-evaluate my year.  A year ago, I was determined to make some major changes and some major progress.  My spirit had reached the point where it was no longer interested in playing second fiddle to anyone or anything.  I knew that I was overdue in accepting God’s love and its manifestations in my life.  Sure, I had been saying for a number of years prior that I wanted all that God wanted to bless me with and I wanted to be a blessing to others.  The being a blessing to others part came easier for me.  Well, at least I was half way there right?

2014

Many, many, MANY years ago I got a very clear vision of me helping a large number of people.  What I saw was likened to actual footage of what this looks like.  Its memory serves as a constant reminder and motivation, but you can understand how at times it can be frustrating—can’t you?  Just think about it…there you are, sitting like a child at Christmas on Christmas Day looking at gifts with your name on them, but you can’t unwrap them (yet).  “What am I doing wrong,” I thought.  What must I change?

Around the middle part of 2014, I began to seriously consider relocating.  Some potential opportunities were presented to me, but my spirit was strongly against such change.  Trust and Believe! was my reoccurring message.  Oh, the struggle was real yet I challenged myself to remain still and to gather lessons of the season.  Being still forced me to be present.  Being present allowed me to become more conscious, more centered.

challenge be yourself

I made it a point to slow down.  Spending more time with my family replaced mandatory meetings.  Discovering new hobbies and returning to known ones creates for me environments which support my growth.  In doing so, I began to write again.  One of my 2015 goals was to complete my second novel for publicationDone!  What the mind can dream, one can achieve!  Now, I am looking for a particular literary agent.  I am looking for a literary agent who enjoys both topics of faith and that of gender.  (HELP ME by sharing this request/blog/post!  Someone may know someone or that someone may be you!  Email:  emergingfree@gmail.com  Now, THAT’S growth!)

In 2015, I grew professionally as well.  I finally understood the importance of surrounding myself with people who value my gifts and talents!  This was easier once I trusted God to provide for me professionally.  Being goal-oriented, it is easy to get so focused on reaching the goal that God is left out of your equation.  Once I surrendered to God being the equation, I confidently became uncompromising about my self-worth and the value of my gifts and talents.  He and He alone is my Source, my Provider, my Resource-Sender.  My ability to discern increased and this is vital for the sustainability of healthy working relationships!  Amazing and supportive environments are waiting for me and YOU to show up.  Show up!

As a result of my professional surrender to God, I realized I had a mental block that was thorn-ish.  (I think I just made that word up, but stay with me.)  Once I understood, however, the bigger purpose of what my professional pursuits serve, I was able to see its connection to the vision(Aha!)  Through my faith, I was able to find rest.  Do you think faith-based people generally identify their professional lives as being intertwined with their spiritual lives and divinely-inspired purposes?  Do you think they find rest in that?  For me, this revelation was MAJOR!  Don’t you just love it when you can see God’s work in your life?!  (I’m sure I will blog more about this later.)

i awake now

As I look back over the last twelve months, I can see progress and that fills me with excitement.  Thank You God for progress!  I have grown as a professional and I understand how such growth allows me to be a blessing within God’s Kingdom.  I am aware of the importance of setting boundaries and how such boundaries allow for life to be enjoyed.  If you are like me, there is a potential for us to become vulnerable spending time and energy doing good things because our flesh encouraged us.  Setting boundaries, however, keeps us focused on doing things directed by God because we understand our purpose.  I needed to apply this principle to my professional life.  I needed to merge my professional lessons with my God-inspired vision and grow.  Do you?

peace

 

My 2015: Back To Loving ME!

Here I am again reflecting on the year—smiling, fully conscious of the joy I have in my heart as memories flood my thoughts.  I entered the year with a list of goals AND A PLAN.  First, however, I knew I needed to commit to being whole.  I was finally tired of holding myself back.  I had reached the point within my self where I had intentionally settled on uncompromisingly growing into my best self.  To do this, I had to return to the basics.  In 2015 I returned to loving me and it feels oh so great!

2014

Have you ever been afraid to be great?  I have.  Thank God those days are over!  How can I say that I want all of the blessings God has for me and then await them with closed hands?  It seems silly now, but it took a while for me to see my self.  I wonder how many people are like how I was, wanting better but not wanting greatness.  (Is that you?)  How many people are denying their uniquely-made brilliance and settling for mediocre because that is now the accepted norm?  Guess what, we are not normal! We are supernormal!  We are exceptional!

As I go forth in claiming the promises God has given me, I do so in humility.  This is a good thing as I have discovered the difference between being humble and having low self-esteem.  Oh, how fine that line can be, especially in a world where lowering the esteem of another seems to be a sport.  (Why does “Hunger Games” come to mind?)  Loving your self, however, is the counter to the world’s punch.  Admittedly, I could not love myself without growing closer to God.  It is a continuous process.  How exciting!

About ten years ago or so, a woman told me that the Lord is going to do great things in my life but I would have to learn humility first.  I remember this like it was yesterday because her words confused me.  I thought, “Who is this lady?  She has me all wrong.  I am already humble.”  Although I was woolly, I knew she was prophesying to me.

Had I known then what the lesson plan looked like for me to learn “humility”, I probably would have said, “Never mind.”  I may not have cried out for God to bless my life in ways only He could.  I may have settled.  Sometimes, maybe more often than we care  to realize, the blessing is in not knowing.  His ways are not our ways.

Having gone through the coursework and passing the test, I have now invested in the blessings.  They are already a part of me.  They have always been.  I just needed to return to the basics to locate them.  I just needed to love me, my humble self.  The world offers many temptations to that which it defines as “success”.  Humility provides balance.  Yes, “balance”–something to remain upright and steady.  Won’t He do it!?!?

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Book Review: Intuition

About a week before Thanksgiving I got an intense urge to read three books.  I quickly decided on two of them.  The third, however, I only had an idea of the subject matter.  (That book, BTW, turned out to be the one by Shondra Rhimes.  See this post:  https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/book-review-yes/)

Intuitive Self-Healing by Marie Manuchehri was the second book I decided to buy.  (See: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Self-Healing-Achieve-Balance-Wellness/dp/1604076275 )  It, however, ended up being my third read.  Thanks to India Arie, I knew it included exercises.  I wanted to really take my time with it, so I saved it to read last.

Outside of knowing Manuchehri’s book would focus on intuition, I began it without any additional expectations—just with an openness to consider its presentation.  I found myself being introduced to chakras and how these  energy sources are connected to life’s manifestations.  The silliness I felt doing the first exercise quickly evaporated with the turn of each page.  In them, I found confirmation and clarity regarding things I already knew.  I also discovered things that had already resulted in lightness, smiles, and the embracement of both identifying and accepting love.

Aside from many of the exercises, there are two main things I will employ from this book.  The first is to be present!  I spend a lot of time problem-solving and using analytical skills because: of my profession, my spiritual gifts and talents, and my future hopes.  I have an active mind.  Yes, I think a lot.  People tell me this to which I always think, “Don’t you?  How can you not?”  I laugh now because those conversations normally stop with my questions.  I would walk away not understanding the point of the observation.  Can you relate to this?

Now, I know that it is necessary for me to be in the moment—to feel the clothes on my back, the emotions that I have, the socks on my feet, the water when I am washing dishes, etc..  It is easy to take these things for granted, especially if you are a person with a great ability to be empathetic.  I cannot afford to negate this part of my life anymore.  Can you?

Secondly, I must SPEAK self-love mantras to myself often and daily.  I would think these things, but what I have found is that I MUST SPEAK THEM!  There is a powerful energy in the SPOKEN WORD.  Try it!  Feel how your body reacts when you look yourself in the mirror and speak to you about you in a loving and caring way.  Go ahead.  No one is watching but you!

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a short, easy read.  The exercises were a great supplement.  Upon reflection, I am a better, stronger person with a greater awareness for living a joyful life.

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I’m glad I listened to the nudging to read three books.  God is amazing!  He gives me what I need when I need it.  He reassures me that He is with me.  He guides me along this journey.  I am truly thankful!

My 2015: Friendships

That time of year has come when I take some time to re-evaluate my year.  A year ago, I was determined to make some major changes and some major progress.  My spirit had reached the point where it was no longer interested in playing second fiddle to anyone or anything.  I knew that I was overdue in accepting God’s love and its manifestations in my life.  Sure, I had been saying for a number of years prior that I wanted all that God wanted to bless me with and I wanted to be a blessing to others.  The being a blessing to others part came easier for me.  Well, at least I was half way there right?

2014

My first test came early and it was in the area of people.  (How fitting!)  You see, I had walked away from one of my closest and dearest friends because of what turned out to be a misunderstanding.  (OK.  OK.  I was in the mindset of NO DRAMA FROM NOWHERE!  You can go!  You can go!  You can go too!)  My friend fought for our friendship though and in doing so I gained a greater awareness of the responsibility of friendship.

Friends

How many of your friends would truly fight to keep you in their lives because they see the mutual benefit?  (It is important that there is a mutual benefit.)  How many call you or send an email or text when they have not heard from you in a while?  How many do you treasure enough to make sure they are alright, that you pray for, that you walk close enough with to notice their absence and would put action behind your care to secure their presence?

Being attentive to my traveling buddies would be a continuous project in this new year (and beyond).  Having gained a deeper appreciation of friendship—of what it means to me—and an opportunity to exercise forgiveness, I have been able to both expand my networking circle and be clear about my friendships.  It has been interesting in that I have been able to accurately label my relationships with people and my purposes in those roles.  When you know that your purpose is to help others, this awareness is vital.  Being clear of my role and responsibilities has made me a better person.

BW.face

Later in the year I would see how this experience would make it possible for me to be the friend asking for forgiveness in another situation.  (The thought precedes the action.)  Nobody is perfect.  Even those who truly love you make mistakes.  In this world where acts of terror get front page coverage, take a moment to assess the relationships in your lives.  Time is precious.  Make sure to invest it in those you treasure.  It is funny how life prepares you.

peace

 

Book Review: YES!

Shonda Rhimes?  Private PracticeGrey’s AnatomyScandalHow To Get Away With Murder.  Yes, you know the one!  YES!  The one who has ABC‘s Thursday nights on lock!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes.  No, I don’t watch them either.  Well…maybe Grey’s Anatomy…maybe.

WriterCreatorVisionaryShondaLand.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one!  College graduateMotherSingleDream CatcherHistory MakerYES!  The one who is not afraid to address “controversial” matters in honest, educational ways!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes!  YES!  Sign me up!  I’m a supporter.

So, she wrote a book?  Really?  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.  It’s entitled, “Year of Yes”.  (See:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/Year-of-Yes/Shonda-Rhimes/9781476777092)  Interesting….

OK.  OK.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is a great balance of honesty and humor.  I enjoyed how she intertwines her experiences, explicitly including reflective examples of race and gender.  (YES, this is her life.)  Rarely have I seen that done in such a matter-of-fact, I’m-simply-saying, the-world-through-my-eyes way.  Through the chuckles, you realize that she is growing and that you are too.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.

I’m glad I made time (specifically three days) to read this book.  In its pages, I discovered glimpses of myself.  It helped that like her, I am a writer and can relate to the solitude of the craft.  Finding inspiration, it did not take long before I began to say, “YES”, to more invitations and to facing fears.  After all, have I loss pieces of myself in the safety and security of the “No”?  Maybe.

You know, I have a strong sense that a lot of amazing things are coming my way.  Life is what you make it.  I am saying, “Yes”, to new opportunities; to working to achieve greatness; to being happy, healthy, and whole; to being unapologetically abundantly blessed and great beyond measure.  I am saying, “Yes”, to living!  What about you?  Need some motivation?  Check out Shonda Rhimes’ book!  Yes, you know the one!

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