emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “encouragement”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 5

A LOLLIPOP GIRL!!!???!!!!  My eyes quickly shift to her mother who is obviously mortified.  The giggles from the audience ring out.  An Around The Way Girl?  Returning my attention to the five-year-old, I wonder if she understood the question.  There she stands so innocently smiling, ignorant to her naiveté.  The teacher is noticeably uncomfortable.  She simply asks the next student the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Excuse me little “Black” girl, we need to talk.

Soar

What’s going on?  No really, what is happening?  What messages are you receiving–about yourself, about women, about life?  What television shows are you watching?  What music do you hear?  What conversations do you overhear?  What messages fill your head?

Sad Girl

When you play, what do you pretend to be?  When I was your age, I played with dolls and teddy bears.  They were my students.  I was the teacher.

What!  You don’t play with dolls?  Teddy bears neither?  Really?

Well, when did that get old?

Let me tell you a story.  Last week my assistant told me that every day, several times throughout the day, she sees a woman walking by the window.  One day, this woman approached my assistant’s friend and asked to be his lollipop girl.  He said, “No.”  Then, another man walked by and she asked him the same question.  Again and again, she did this–all day, each day.  Sometimes she would walk up to men sitting in cars.  Sometimes she would get inside the cars, but not long afterwards she would be seen walking down the street.  Every man does not say, “No”.  The woman, however, always looks really tired.  Still, she continues to walk up and down the street like she is on a mission—all day, back and forth, forth and back.  She walks.  She walks to find a yes, only to walk some more.  Does that sound like something you want to do when you grow up?

Listen to me.

1 girl looking

Ask your parents to take you to the library.  Ask them to check out books for you.  Fall in love with books.  Look at the pictures.  Listen to the stories.  Study the letters.  Read the words.  Understand their arrangement.  Books are treasures to be valued.

little girl reading

Allow your mind to crave knowledge.  Imagine unwritten success stories about your life.  Can’t you see you winning?  I can!

girl with book looking

There will be times when your feet will hurt.  They will feel like you have walked for days.  People will see you and know you are on a mission.  Along the way, you will hear more noes than you will care to count.  Do not become discouraged.  The yeses you receive will be well-worth it.

Listen.  They say lollipop girls are the world’s oldest professionals.  Although that is not true, you will show the world that you are no suckerLittle girl, go get ’em!  I’m rooting for you!

 

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 4

Ponytails.  Afro Puffs.  Hair Clips.  Barrettes.  Beads…with foil tips. 

Yes, you know! 

Braids. Jheri Curls. Candy Curls.  Hair Rollers.  Hot Dryers. Hot Combs. Ouch!  Protect your ears!  Wash and Press.  Perms.  Just Wash?  Nah! Excuse me little “Black” girl, let’s talk hair.

little girl smiling

Since I was your age I knew I had good, thick hair.  Hair dressers would routinely tell me that my hair was a lot of work, but it was what other people wish they had.  Thank God for hair dressers who have loved on my tresses!  My reward for sitting hours in those styling chairs and sweating under those roasting dryers were tons of compliments from the awaiting public.  

“Mom,” I recently asked, “why did I start getting hair relaxers?”

perm on girl

“Convenience,” she simply said, and with that I remembered the words of my many stylists.  Your hair is a lot of work, but it is what other people wish they had.  Convenience made sense.

Sad Girl

An interesting thing happened to me in exchange for this convenience.  It took a while, but I can now realize its onset shortly after my first perm.  You see, while waiting for my mom to blow dry my hair I would let my towel hang down and pretend that my hair was longer and stringy.  I wanted it to shake when I moved my head like I saw girls hair move on television.  I wanted to wrap it into a ball and tie it back.  I wanted one side of it to tuck behind an ear and hang down my back.  How convenient it must be to just wash your hair and it be naturally straight?  I did not have that luxury, so I pretended.  Have you ever done that? 

press girl

At the time, I did not realize that I was buying into the idea that the desired look was long and straight and movable.  I did not understand that obtaining this look came with a cost, a cost I could not afford.  So in my naiveté, I would prolong my mom blow drying my hair by leaving the towel on my head and walking around the house imaging that it was my hair.  Oh, the innocence of a child’s imagination.  Convenience.

Shhhh

It is only now that I realize the importance of the honesty and the positive messages I received from my stylists which preceded the hair compliments I frequently received from the public.  I never stopped loving my hair no matter what state I choose to wear it and a lot of that unwavering love is because of the hair stylists I have had over my lifetime.  In their own ways, they have always and without question instructed me to love my hair.  Unfortunately, however, I had begun to devalue it.  Make sure, no matter how you wear your hair that you never shortchange its value.

me upside down

As you can see, I have returned to wearing my hair without the addition of relaxing chemicals.  Go ahead! You can smile!  It has been an absolute joy rediscovering the texture and behavior of my hair.  And to think, I last saw it when I was your age.  Oh boy have I missed it, and the messages that it reinforces within me.

What messages, you ask.

Oh, we will talk more about them later.  I need to go and wash my hair.

Just wash?

Yes!  Just wash.  I am about to do a wash and go…and in case you are wondering…I still receive numerous compliments, from all shades of people although now I don’t actually need them.  My hair is a constant reminder to love and value my whole unique self, even in the face of convenience which may convey otherwise.  

me hand up

Love yourself little girl!  In short, that is what my hair messages me.

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 3

A school teacher….Maybe?  I do love learning.

A nurse….Nope!  Needles make me queasy.

An attorney….Can I really be one?

Left alone….  You smiled!  I saw you.  Sorry though.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, but I can’t afford to do that.  You can’t afford for me to do that!  One day you will better understand.

Soar

“You can become whatever you want,” they say.

“Dream big and believe bigger,” they cheer.

“Work hard,” they instruct.

Then what?

Sad Girl

Where are people talking about unfair situations that occur because of your gender and race?  How do you make sense of discriminatory practices that are systemic when so many continue to buy into the social construct designed to define you as property, on both counts?  How do you maintain your innocence about people and possibility when news outlets make a lucrative business by branding the worse of mankind—of all shades and both genders?  Then, of course, there is that day when you realize that the Pledge you excitedly learned to recite in pre-school seems to have loss its meaning to so many who:

  • question the idea of we being one Nation,
  • disagree about being under a —and/or the same— God, and
  • …well, the idea of liberty and justice for all continues to be a hard pill for the masses to swallow.

Although your parents try to shelter you, unfortunately that day is still being introduced to you.  So, what is a girl to do?

Cute little African American girl wearing a ballet costume

Recently, an elderly Black woman heard me talking about some concerns.  I did not know her prior to my presentation, but afterwards she said something so heartfelt.

“Sorry,” she gently whispered, “we dropped the ball.”

WOW!  I was speechless.

“You, however,” she continued, “must keep doing what you are doing and we will help.”  She then shared with me some networking information.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

So to you, when you ask what is a girl to do?

I respond by relying upon our elder’s instruction, YOU MUST keep doing what you are doing and we will help.

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.

 

Love In Action

What is your motivation when you help another, when you do a good thing, when you serve?

duck-looking-around

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.  Acts 9:36

On the surface, who does not want to always do good and help the poor?  I mean, it sounds like the correct thing to think and say right?  To say otherwise seems too pompous, too raw, too real.  Let’s face it—we are too polite for that, aren’t we?

Kevin Hart It's About To Go Down

As a result, people say what you want to hear and do what they want to do without considering that the two never meet.  Yes, even those who profess Christianity are susceptible to this.

faith

There are, however, those who have spiritual gifts of kindness.  They are not simply doing good works and helping those in need because they are nice people.  They are not doing it for self-gain.  They do it because they have been divinely created to minister in this way.  Have you ever taken a moment to meditate on the power of such awareness?  These people are truly special.  Their impact is inspiring.

woman-helping

I am challenging myself to become more aware of these people in my life.  I know that I need to identify and appreciate them while they are alive.  The examples, lessons, and insights they illustrate through the alignment of their words and actions are treasures.  The positive impact that they have on individuals and communities is far-stretching.  They represent so much love in a world where hate makes common headlines.  We need to see love in action.  I need to see more of this.  Don’t you?

Rest

Crippled Beggar?

Are you a crippled beggar?  No really, are you spiritually depleted, but boldly asking for help?  Do you feel defeated, tired, weary, and have accepted living less than your potential?  Has it become routine and you now only focus on surviving: second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day?  Is this you?  Have you been there?

Women Thinking

Would you take the hand of a stranger, if offered, and allow life to enter your soul?  Can you see yourself victorious, happy, excited about everything because everything is new?  Would you embrace your new position, rejoice and praise God for your healing?  Do you believe God can heal you?  Listen, He healed me!

It's Handled

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given the complete healing to him, as you can all see. —Acts 3:16

A crippled beggar is noted, even by those attempting to avert eye contact.  Some will attempt to help by meeting physical needs.  If asked for a dollar, a dollar may be received.  If asked to be carried, being carried may result (at least for a while).  A beggar’s initial pain of rejection fades away, outweighed by the need to survive:  second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day.  Through it all, do not give up hope!  Hold on to your faith, even if it is the size of a mustard seed!  God has a miraculous way of sending divine remedies in ways you least expect, from people you least expect.   Accept it!  Then, go forth exemplifying the living testament of which you are.  You have been healed…completely!

Woman Standing On Rock

Invisible Allies

One of the lessons I learned during my campaign run was to appreciate invisible allies.  I laugh about it now, as I reflect upon my growth in this area.  Truth is, not everyone who support you will cheer for you publicly, and not everyone who cheer for you publicly will care for you privately.

Ghost Scene

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.  With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.  This was in accordance to Jewish custom.  John 19: 38-40

Who cares for you, for your soul, when no one else is looking?  Who do you care for; who do you pray for; who do you call, text, or email to sincerely encourage when an audience is not around?  Do you hold it against people if you do not see their support?  To you, I share what I had to become conscious about and am still maturing in:

  • Do not lose focus on God or on your divine assignment;
  • He is working in you and He is working in others;
  • Know that He will provide for you, even in times when you do not see or understand; and
  • Remain open to receiving love from people, even after you have left the scene.

Invisible allies are not your enemy.  If revealed, don’t treat them as such!

 

You Are Hated

Do you concede the notion that you are hated?  Seriously, have you ever settled yourself enough to acknowledge that you are detested, and then to understand why?  Have you ever fought to emerge pass the hurt and pain, the shock and self-doubt to maturely and boldly stand in your creation?  Have you ever made such awareness not about you, finding comfort in He which you reflect?

Women Thinking

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  This is why the world hates you.  —John 15:19

In sanctuaries, we valiantly profess our love for Christ.  That is always easy to do in environments where we think we are the majority.  Would you be so loud if you knew you were surrounded by wolves in sheep clothing?  Are you as brave when you are in the world?  Spirits recognize spirits, even when one does not do so consciously, no matter the conditions.

Have you ever shown up somewhere and people become uncomfortable?  Your mere presence causes a shift in the atmosphere—sometimes it is pleasant and other times you know to be on heighten alert.   Do not be deceived in thinking such changes are because you are well-liked or disliked.  It is spiritual.  Are you amongst your Family or have you found yourself in the midst of the clan of another?  Know your truth!  Spirits do.

Friends

For me, it became vital to understand the spiritual nature of hate.  Sometimes it is easy to identify.  Other times, it will masquerade as a friend or ally.  However it appears, it is a formidable opponent.  Love and hate cannot share the same space contently.  There is no compromise.  Life lives!  Are you living according to your faith and His purpose?  Sure, there may be times when you feel as if you are all alone.  Know that you are not.  There will be times when you will feel outnumbered.  Remember, Light shines upon darkness.  Do not become distracted by hate.  You have a purpose founded in love.  You have work to do, a work much bigger than you.  You have been chosen to stand out, to not surrender to hate, envy, or jealousy.  So YES, you are hated!!!  You are hated because you are different from that which the world purports.  Now that that is understood, carry on.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.  —John 16:1

 

Words Of Comfort

I had not noticed it until I picked up my Bible to prepare for my next blog entry—this blog entry….  I was to read, beginning at the 14th chapter of John.  Finding my placement, there it was:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  —John 14:1

Woman Reading Bible

These were the words which comforted me, just days ago, as I stared at them inside my cousin’s coffin.  No really, they soothed my soul.  You see, tears fell uncontrollably when I first saw my cousin’s lifeless body.  I had a hard time walking down the aisle at the funeral home only to sit in the front row at the Family Viewing.  The reality of not being greeted by her always welcoming smile and hospitality, wit and wisdom was setting in.  These were things I always received when visiting this Georgian city, one where my ancestors were instrumental in its development and discovery.  I guess I took for granted that this cousin would always be there.  Reality was setting in, however.  There is a season for all things.

Rest

So, there I sat—crying and staring, staring and crying.  Then, I noticed the words that were inscribed inside her coffin. I began to remember their meaning, Jesus’ instruction.  Knowing my cousin, I am confident that her soul is rejoicing.

Face

Yes, I will continue to miss her.  I will not be sad, however.  She would not want me to be unhappy.  Instead, I will be encouraged by her life and by the way in which she lived here on earth.  Her ability to touch hundreds, if not thousands, of lives across generations, professions, socio-economic brackets, and political affiliations is simply remarkable.  I did not know the extent of the reach of her assignment until her death, and through death I know she still lives.  My heart is not troubled.  Jesus promised then, and He reiterates it now as I note the timing of my preparation for this blog entry.  Words of Comfort.

Book Review: Goals…Set Them!

BACKDROP

I knew I needed to get a particular book, but I had no idea where or what it was.  What an odd feeling—knowing you are being nudged to read a book, but not knowing its title.  A couple of weeks passed, but it would not go away.  I knew I needed to be obedient, so [finally] off to the bookstore I went with two conspicuous ideas in mind:

  • an athlete’s mind and
  • setting goals.

Getting out of my car, I did not know if I should first visit the Sports section, the Self Help section, or the Adult Fiction section.  Maybe the book is in the Non-Fiction section or the New Release section?  Books are everywhere.  I could see them walking to the entrance, but when I opened the door and stepped inside the strangest thing happened.  I was instructed to go to the Christian Life section.  Off I went to find what I was looking for.

REVIEW

This morning I finished the book entitled, The Circle Maker.  See:   https://www.amazon.com/Circle-Maker-Praying-Circles-Greatest/dp/0310330734   What a timely read!  It had been pressed upon my spirit that I needed to pray more, so much so that I had begun mentioning it to people.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who hear my cry.  One friend got so excited when I said this and soon after I discovered why.  She gave me a movie to watch.  YES….She gave me War Room.  Clearly, God wants me to tighten up my prayer life.

Woman Praying

War Room was recently added to my Movies To Watch list, but I had not gotten around to viewing it.  [Can’t help but think that maybe that was by design too.]

The Circle Maker, inspired me to start a prayer journal, one that is devoted to prayer and goal setting.  Within a week I jotted down, what turned out to be, two answered prayers.  Now, I know that more than two prayers were answered during the week but these were two which resulted from specific prayers I prayed.

If you want to grow in your prayer life, I would highly recommend reading this book.  I liked it because it is not “preachy”, yet it gives tools which encourage you to PRAY BIGGER.  By the end, I knew I was not praying BIG enough.  [After all, God can do all things!]  The realization that I had not been praying BIG enough sadden me just a little.  More so, however, I was excited for my future because I knew I was about to make some changes.  Memories of past visions were triggered.  Images that God showed me in dreams and confirmations I received were surfacing.  I know now, however, that prayer is essential and praying with others is important.

Some people have the spiritual gift of intercession.  I am not aware that I am one of those people, so reading this book is a blessing and verification that the time has come to seriously focus on my assignment.  There is work to be done and settling is not an option.

I won’t share (all) the tools that Pastor Batterson gave as I would encourage you to buy and read the book, but when thinking about how the Holy Spirit led me to this book and ministered to me while reading it I cannot help but wonder if it was because of someone else’s circle.

Note:  This book makes a great group read.

Post Navigation