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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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acceptance

Sunday Special: My Birthday Gift

Hi, Family!

I hope you had some goodness last week. I didn’t post last week, but I prayed for you. If things didn’t go well, just know that you were not forgotten and it just got better. 🙂

Let’s jump right in. My birthday was Friday and I had a simple plan to just be in it. Be present in my mind, body, and spirit and feel the essence of being in that space of time. I was reflective as usual. You know that about me by now. 🙂 One of the things that kept resurfacing during my meditation this weekend was the best birthday gift I could have ever asked for – knowing who I am and walking tall in it.

One of the things I planned for my birthday was to stroll through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The bamboo forest was beautiful. I had to snap a photo along the way.

I vividly remember when it wasn’t this way. So uncomfortable in my own skin. If the DeLorean had been available, I would have been a frequent flyer to skip all awkwardly frustrating moments. The conversations that my words never seemed to fit in. The weird encounters where I wanted to say something but was too afraid. The situations where I sincerely wanted to shoot my shot, but backed out because I thought I wasn’t good enough. The repetition of accepting less than what I was worth. Just beam me out of there!

Today, I had one of my intentional solo dining experiences. The kind where you pick a restaurant that is designed for two and utilize the space for you and you. *lol* I reflect on then and now and see how each moment made me pine for this one – the season of confidence that I unapologetically walk in. No, I didn’t get everything I wanted and some things haven’t come true, but the greatest gift on this birthday is that those weird moments are no longer normal.

Confusion and anger are not my bedmates.
I speak up when I need to and keep them guessing when necessary.
I love everyone and I understand where certain people fit in my life.
I am in the career lanes that I prayed for.
I love my chocolate skin and what it represents.
I appreciate my body and I listen to her.
My spirit is attuned to God’s Spirit and I pay attention when they speak.
I got Vibes.
I walk into a room and Peace walks with me.
I love intimately, sweetly, and consistently.
I leave when I need to without FOMO tugging at my shirt.
I don’t feel like I’m scratching my way through life trying to reach a pinnacle.
I don’t feel like I am merely surviving until the next day.

It’s beautiful here. It’s not perfect, but it is exquisitely warm. To be able to sit in this space and time and not feel compelled to satiate the appetite of others is a blessing. A blessing this former people-pleaser asked for decades ago.

So, this tree bark and my hair were twinning.

That’s my birthday wish for you, Family. If you’re not already there, I pray you receive and experience this level of Peace too. I pray that you walk in your divine purpose on this Earth so your loving spirit can multiply in others after you’re gone. I pray you are exceptionally well in your mind, body, and spirit and that you take nothing less for that alignment to occur in your everyday life. I pray that wherever your feet tread that you send seismic warning shots to any dark forces that may be lurking nearby. I pray your smile lights up your life first. I pray you exceed your own expectations. I pray you look in the mirror and nod in agreement to the Masterpiece looking at you.

I love you all and there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re family. We’re connected. I’m rooting for you.

Peace & Thanks for listening! *throws birthday confetti*

P.S. – I’ll post a few photos from my birthday-month fun on social media later this week. Here are my links –

Wednesday Wind Down: Receive

Hi, Family!

I hope your week is going well so far; if not, it just got better. 🙂

I have a confession – I’m not a good receiver. In the words of Shonda Rhimes in Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person , I should say thank you, shut up, and smile. That’s it. The end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. I’m working on it, but there’s no oak tree just yet though progress has been made. My immediate response is to reciprocate out of fear of being misunderstood as a taker. I also loathe being indebted to someone. Those that know me personally know I have a giving heart; nevertheless, the reaction is instinctive. How? Negative repetitive experiences. They rewire us – it’s science. In the case of receiving beautiful gifts from people I cherish or from strangers with big hearts, this science works against me. So, what you may see when you give me something is an attempt to recircuit myself. A small smile. A slight lowering of my head. A significant exhale. Whatever it takes, I’m working on it.

Well, here I am minding my ongoing personal growth business when a beautiful moment happened this week.

The place: in the shower. I was listening to a meditation of bible verses and it was nourishing. When it ended, I heard a voice in my spirit say “Do you receive it?” I took a deep breath, like someone had just snatched the check after a meal and placed their credit card on top of it. I immediately knew the rewiring process didn’t just apply along horizontal lines. I was being challenged to accept God’s opportunities and promises as well… and that was difficult for me. The truth is my relationship with God has holes in it. He’s ever faithful and His Spirit has guided me to places I could have never imagined, yet, I still feel like He’s going to let me down sometimes. That the prayer won’t be answered. That I won’t get the opportunity. That I won’t hear from that certain person. That the bottom will fall from beneath my feet. Call what you will, but I say it’s doubt based on a history of unfortunate events. Just enough for me to take a deep breath before saying my prayers sometimes.

Photo by Dom J on Pexels.com

But when I heard that Voice, it was sweet. It was loving. It was empathetic and understanding. It carried a tone that said “I know you’ve been hurt, Daughter, but will you trust me again?” I felt the sincerity deep in my bones. And I opened up. I felt like the sun was radiating through my skin.

So, I opened my hands and received the water from the showerhead. Overflowing with a oasis of clarity, I lifted my palms and splashed the water over my face. Over and over again. With every wave, I said “I receive it.”

*splash*
“I receive it.”
*splash*
“I receive it.”

Every time I said it, my smile on the outside matched the revelation on the inside. I smiled so big that a laugh escaped. Why couldn’t I receive God’s Love as easily as I received this water? Here it is, pouring freely, and all I have to do is stand under it (and pay for it, but you get the drift).

*splash*
“I receive it.”
*deep breath*
“I receive it!”

I feel like I had more than a shower. I had a growth spurt. My prayers sprouted green leaves of trust this week and it feels amazing. I pray that you experience the same and it’s OK if you feel like you need baby steps to walk along that journey. I have plenty of baby steps on my own.

As you allow your spiritual relationship to heal, I also pray that you recall when things went well. When it did work out. When you did get the call. When you did laugh with that person. Those moments were promises kept and I have to believe that if I don’t have it, I didn’t need it. I believe that I am worthy of receiving goodness in my life just as I am. I am worthy of being a receiver. I am a sincere and insatiable giver, so why wouldn’t Father want me to receive Love in the same spirit from which I pour?

Just something to think about. Something to stand on. Something to clutch close to your heart. I know I am.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I’m rooting for you, Family. 🙂

Wednesday Wind Down: Post-Op

Hi, Family!

I hope you had an enriching day. If not, I hope these words give you some solace.

Let me start by saying that today was a hard one. As I claw my way out of depressive waters (thank you Jesus and Therapy) and realign my life, there are days like today that make me wander down a rabbit hole of “why’s” and “what if’s.” I know what you may be thinking… “Why would you wander down a road of why’s? What good does it do?” It’s not a place I wanted to be, but somehow I ended up there today and whew… talk about a headspin. Next thing I know, I was sitting in my car with a pen in my hand trying to write my way out of a dark hole of loneliness. While that’s not the cool thing to say in Christianity, we keep it real around here.

So, what happened next was a beautiful reminder in the form of a whisper. Pen still in hand with about a half-page of spillage, I heard “You’re in post-op.”

It made perfect sense… instantly. In 2019, I told a friend that I felt like I was in spiritual surgery – like God wanted to rearrange some things in my life and all He wanted was my yes. I remember saying “OK, let’s go. Whatever You want to do, I’m in.” I had just transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship and felt like I was already skywalking on faith anyway. So in 2020, when depressive waves crashed into my soul, I remember saying “OK, so isn’t it over? Is the surgery incomplete? Am I still going through it? This is rough.”

*insert radio silence here*

Me and my frustration cried and yelled feeling like a used discarded sweater. Meanwhile, my body felt limp and expended. What in the world was happening? Was this the second phase or something? Whatever it was, I wasn’t a fan and it was lasting too long.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

*insert timelapse here to present day*

I sat in my car, lamenting on paper, then I heard that whisper and I saw it clearly. Me + hospital gown + hospital bed + tubes + monitors + four sterile walls. I knew the scenary all too well. There I was, lying there, eyes closed. I took a deep breath and realized what the Holy Spirit was telling me.

Occasionally in the vision, a nurse came in to check on me. A doctor had already spoken to my family. Limited visitors, one or two persons. I slept mostly. Limited words left my lips because my throat was still sore from anesthesia and/or the surgery itself.

After surgery, I think I should be up and running like a car after a tune-up. I always think that even though I know better. Once a procedure is completed, there’s a place called post-op and there are post-op instructions. Even same-day surgery has a post-op period. Nevertheless, what do I do? A slight tip over too much. *SMH* Why? Because I think it’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on.

Well, Family, that’s how depression hit me like a freight train last year. I had a series of “it’s time to move on” lies in my head that lasted over a decade. Each compounded over the other. I still had joy. I still had divine anointing over my life. I still used my gifts in church, and yes, I still inspired others. And I did it well. And I meant it. But when I gave God permission to rearrange and extract as needed, I tried to apply the same lie – “OK. It’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on.” Meanwhile, in the batcaves of reality and against my desire, I’m in post-operation recovery. Some friends have been removed. Some boundaries have been implanted. Some desires were shifted underneath others. Some thought patterns have been rewired. Stitching of redefined faith is in place and my insides are learning to work with them. I don’t feel like talking much because it hurts as it heals. I’m relearning my voice and its abilities. I’m raw, fragile, and strong at the same time.

I’m healing.

I’m healing.

I am healing.

And I can’t rush the post-op. “Change my heart, God!” “I want to be like You!” “Make me over!” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, if you want it, this transition can not be skipped. There are instructions that must be followed so the healing can continue past the operating room.

Photo by Nguyu1ec5n Thanh Ngu1ecdc on Pexels.com

Tonight, I want to share some grace with you in the form of this reminder – make peace with the post-op period. It’s uncomfortable, I know because you want to jump into the swing of normal, but truthfully, your normal is different after you ask God to change it. After you want to level up inside. After you say yes. When I said “OK, let’s go,” that meant that some people, things, thoughts, and habits could not go with me… and I didn’t get to decipher which ones stayed. I won’t lie to you, Family. It’s been the rawest experience of my life to date but the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’ve been here for a while, you know attention is not my cozy place, but with this experience, I’ve had to speak up more and share my heart past the uncomfortable part of me. Every time I do, someone says “Me too.”

Hence the entire reason for this blog. I don’t want anyone to be afraid of the process of Jesus’ Love. I don’t anyone to be ashamed to say “I need a therapist.” I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their walk of faith. If no one has told you lately, you are not alone. You have value and you have purpose on this Earth. You also have a right to be the best version of yourself… the version God had in mind when He fashioned you with His hands.

My prayer is that you embrace the discomfort of recuperation knowing that healing is a process and wholeness is on the other side of it.

I love you. Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there and reach out if you need to.

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #7

Hey There!

Why am I writing you if you were not a pleasant addition to my life? Simple. Because I want to.

After all, you always did what you wanted at my expense. I took it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t leave wounds to irrigate later.

Calling me darkie, inkblot, nigger… it all fortified my breastplate of righteousness. When you walked up to me and slapped my elementary-aged face for no reason except to get some laughs, my body grew hot like a bonafide member of the X-men. As weird as it sounds, I knew even then that anger was dangerous if left inside of a soul.

Don’t worry — I’m nowhere near bitter and this isn’t a “See where I am now” message. I don’t have time for that. I don’t have anything to prove to you. My life is enough. My peace is my proof.

Photo by Evelina Zhu on Pexels.com

I do want to thank you for strengthening my chops. It made me bend so I wouldn’t break and and it concentrated my self-discipline. My mental prowess is as sleek as a panther now. My vocabulary expanded the shortstops of your lips and that’s all because your teasing made me generate responses I was too scared to say… so they germinated and lied in waiting for future situations.

You were good for me. I hated the experience, but your bullying was great training ground.

You don’t know it, but I prayed for you… relentlessly and despite my tears. My mother made me. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’m glad she did. It prepared me to dig up and dismantle bitter roots sooner than later.

So, I truly hope you are doing well and that the wounds you were hiding or the evil you were hoarding have been flushed out of your life. I hope to see you soaring and not in the same toxic state of mind. I pray no one else is disintegrating from your actions and you and God are best friends. Everyone makes mistakes — some enough to burn a hole in your heart… but even they should have forgiveness on their plate.

Thank you again. You were a blessing. Peace and Blessings to you and your families.

Sincerely,

CJW

Wednesday Wind Down: Birthday Behavior

Hello, Sweethearts!

As promised, I’m sharing this year’s birthday behavior with you. I altered my original plans a bit as my knee recouped, but I definitely did something I wanted to do every week. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with my annual ritual, let me catch you up.

Each week in August, I do something that fills me with joy or I’ve been postponing, then I continue the celebration once per month until the end of the year. Catch last year’s behavior by reading Birthday & Beast: Part I and Part II. This year, I am full of gratefulness and blessed to be here again to share with you.

Week 1: Rest. Much needed rest.

white bed linen
Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

Week 2: Fun Rehearsal with my Troupe. Self-care Nails Day. Fun performance with my African dance company teammates. Rest again. Much needed rest.

Week 3: Great conversation with an old friend and a new friend. Online dinner date with my long-distance sister eating one of my favorite meals at Olive Garden. Recorded a back-to-school video clip with my Troupe. Attended the birthday party of my friends’ twins (that game of musical chairs was something serious) and ran into another member of our old Crew. Enjoyed my favorite milkshake – the limited time peach goodness from Chick-fil-A.



Week 4: Great food and conversation with my mother. A beautiful conversation over prime rib with my sister. Self-care Pedicure Day. High Tea at the lovely Smith-Byrd House with my favorite tea-drinking sister. Girls’ Night Out with lots of dancing and laughs.

Week 5: Facilitated an absolutely fun step dance class that almost didn’t happen but I’m so glad it did. Self-Care Massage Day. Shared an uncomfortable, yet necessary detail of my personal growth with my Troupe. Had a complete blast at my alma mater’s first football game of the season with my friend and sorors. Searched for new Bluetooth wireless earphones so when it’s in the budget next month, I’ll be ready.

IMG_20190814_111434_046.jpgIMG_20190830_123119_760.jpg20190829_212804.jpg

So, why do I share this list with you? Because I want to show you that it can be done. That joy can be visible when you’re willing to look. That you can and should live a life that is fulfilling from the inside out. Today, I encourage you to create your own personal law.  If you’re caught in the hamster wheel of work-sleep-repeat, you’re missing out on beautiful moments that won’t break the bank. Furthermore, when you’ve had near-death experiences (as many of us have), you should definitely invest in those moments on the regular. I engage in things I love all year, but during my birthday month and for the remainder of the year, I kick it up a notch to celebrate that I’m still here, reward myself for being on the grind, and refuel my spirit for what awaits me in the next year.

Lastly, I share this list with you because if my stretch marks make you feel more confident about yours, I’m for it. The older I get, the more I am compelled to peel back the layers of my soul. I’m OK with that. I’m at peace with the woman that continues to evolve inside of me. I love her and she appreciates the opportunity to stretch, learn, and breathe. Maybe your inner self has a message for you too. I hope that this post helps you to hear her/him and oblige accordingly.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts. Here’s to your week!

Wednesday Wind Down: Pick Up The Pieces

Hello, Sweethearts! Here’s a shortstop for your week!

You know how you feel when you’ve broken something you love? I have some jewelry that makes me happy, but they are broken. Beads. Shells. Charms. Seeing them disjointed makes me sad and I can’t bring myself to throw them away. Somehow, I believe I can put them back together or at least manifest a new creation out of their brokenness.

As I thought about this concept, I can’t help but include us humans in the scenario. Some of us believe we are too broken for God’s Love. Life hurled unwanted surprises and left cracks in our hearts. Just like my jewelry, our minds, bodies, and spirits are not as put-together as our social media allows. I am convinced that the more we try to pick up our own pieces to fix ourselves the more those pieces slip through our fingers.

This week, I was reminded of something and I heard His voice so clearly. If God can make a person out of pieces, certainly He can put the pieces back together. All of you is valuable. All of you deserves the opportunity to exceed expectations. All of you deserves to be whole. Pick up the pieces and hold them in your hands. Admit that you can not fix yourself. Acknowledge that you’re broken and allow the Creator to repair His Masterpiece.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

photo of woman throwing her hat
Photo by Idy Tanndy on Pexels.com

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