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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “self discovery”

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 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.

 

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

 

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.

Christian Challenged

I keep returning to this verse:

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.  —John 12:42-43

and now I know why.

Boss

Have you ever felt a faith-rooted challenge?  Seriously, have you ever faced a circumstance when before doing something, or saying something, you knew your beliefs were being challenged?  Have you ever received too much change back from a cashier and pondered if you should return the surplus amount?  Have you ever heard a discriminatory joke and everyone around you laughed?  Has a supervisor ever asked you to forge numbers on a report?  Have you ever been tempted to gossip?  What did you do?  How does your response measure up when compared to what you say you believe?  Do you love praise from men more than you love praise from God?  More so, do you fear men more?  It’s ok.  Be honest with yourself.  The Christian…challenged.

Lady Pointing at Herself

As I type this, I know that I am being challenged to spiritually grow.  In time I will write more about that, but for now this is what I will say:  I was hurt.  I have been healed.  I must help.  To remain in my comfort zone would be selfish.  I know what is in me is meant to be shared.  Am I alone?  Are you letting hurt hinder you from reaching your full potential?  Has your naiveté about people affected your trust in God’s word?  You are not alone.  Many Christians are consciously opting to play it safe because of this manifestation of angst.  Fear has a funny way of containing people–Christian people–in that way.  Even leaders–YES, Christian leaders–are faced with this controlling agent.

Blog3

It is easy to get loss in the crowd’s mediocrity—to be silent when God is urging you to speak, to go along to get along, to be ordinary and deny the extraordinary creation of that which you are.  It is easy…until it isn’t.

Kevin Hart It's About To Go Down

As you evaluate your life ask yourself, “Am I being led by man or by God?”  This is an important question.  Everyone has an audience.  Someone, somewhere is always watching you–judging you—making observations about you.  Do they see the God who you say you believe or the man of whom you are afraid?

Dear Christian,

Rest

You have been challenged.

 

Who Do You Say I Am?

Today I did something sooooooo incredibly awesome as a result of accepting an invitation to be a Guest Messenger at a church.  Listen to the message I delivered earlier today.  No worries—it’s less than 18 minutes. (LOL!)  I hope it is a blessing to you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YKJDy3sae4&feature=youtu.be

Conversational Focus

The older I become, the more I am realizing how I spend time and the conversations I am having with those whom I spend time.  It is an interesting awareness which I am finding, more and more, makes me conscious of my part in dialogues.  Let’s face it:  We, each of us, have a responsibility when communicating—as the listener and the talker.

Yeah, yeah, yeah….I know you’ve heard this before.  I had too, but recently I had an experience which reminded me that people will use you as their audience to justify their point of view and how easy it is to be that audience for them when you lose your conversational focus.

Brittney Spears Clapping

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind.  “Give glory to God,” they said.  “We know this man is a sinner.”  He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!”  —John 9:24-25

People will see Truth in you.  They understand the value of your concurrence.  You better understand your worth—spiritually.  It has physical manifestations…and you better believe an audience that tunes in nonstop.

Women watching tv

  • A second time they summoned the man….”  Don’t sleep on this!  Just because you think a conversation is over does not mean that everyone has let it go.  Isn’t it funny how gossip seems to go on and on and on?  Truth will stop it every time though.  Don’t Get Caught Up
  • We know this man is a sinner.”  Note:  Words spoken with authority are not always words of certainty.  Truth is Truth.  It does not need a majority vote.
  • The man’s response, however, impressed within me an “Aha!”

Woman Standing On Rock

Here, I saw a perfect example of the application  of conversational focus.  In short, he was not persuaded by the excitement surrounding the discussion.  He was not influenced by the person speaking to him nor his entourage.  Fear was secondary.

Instead, this man did two things.  He listened and when he spoke, he spoke only Truth.  When you speak, do you only speak Truth?  Were you blind and now can see?

Are You A Well-Wisher?

Are you sick?  Really…are you?

Blog1

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  —John 5:5-6

It is easy to admit when you are physically ill, isn’t it?  Feeling under the weather is a status society accepts and many times wishes of healing, prayers, and positive vibes quickly follow.  Taking medication, sipping tea, and getting plenty of rest are ready remedies to mend you to rejoin your peers in activities of life.  If only it were really THAT simple—are you sick?  Really…are you?  When was the last time you looked into your own eyes, into your own truth, to gauge your mental and spiritual well-being?  When was the last time you faced your fears and insecurities, your shortcomings and weaknesses, all of those things that hold you back from being the best YOU that you can be and asked yourself, “Do you want to get well?”  How long have you held yourself in bondage???  Seriously, do you want to get well?

Blog2

It seems like a lifetime ago now, but there was a time when I found myself totally exhausted.  Thankful I had not been in that condition for thirty-eight years, but I had been in it far too long.  The time had come for me to face my truth.  I stepped away from the distractions–from the parasitic noise I allowed to influence my life.  I surveyed my landscape, and was brutally honest about my condition.  Looking into my eyes I asked myself, “Do you want to get well?”  My answer would be life-changing.

Blog3.GIF

“YES,” my soul shouted!  Then, I cried… for two weeks.  Without my full comprehension, my cleansing had begun.  What I later realized was that with every tear I shed, a weight was being lifted.  I believe God was patiently waiting on me to get to the YES!  I needed to consciously want to get well.  THANK GOD I WANTED HEALING!

I could go on and on about the positive life-changes I have made which are a direct result of my decision to heal, and of the blessings these changes have brought.  It is all founded, however, on deepening my relationship with God and on trusting His promises.  I had compromised this focus before.  As a result, I became enervated.  Lesson learned!

Blog4

Are there things in your life, in yourself that you want healed?  Is it time for you to take a timeout—to get in a quiet place and have an honest conversation with God about your condition?  Do not sleep on YOU!  Do not sleep on HIM!  Do not get to the end of your life only to WAKE UP with a Should-a, Would-a, Could-a List.  Do you want better for your WHOLE life?  If so, do not become satisfied with simply being a get well-wisher!  God wants you healed!  Take action!  You have rested long enough!

 

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!

 

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