Prayer:“Lord, please help my unbelief. I know you’re here. I know you are God, but it’s just hard to believe that this is working for my good.”
I know what the Word says but that doesn’t mean my belief muscles are always strong. There was a time when they felt frail. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe at all; I just had fragments of hope that couldn’t find their way to faith. In Mark – Chapter 9, I found someone who understood me.
Belief is a tricky thing because you are taught that it is all or nothing. Either you believe that your chair will hold you or not. Either you believe that the plane will carry you and your luggage to the next destination. But what happens when you believe with all you have left? Is that enough for God to work with? Absolutely. I am the evidence. He can work with the shredded pieces of your tragedy. He can love the torn parts of your faith. Just give what you have to Him. He will help your unbelief and it’s OK to admit that it is there. In Mark 9, the father had to give his unbelief to Jesus in faith that He would accept that too. And He did.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Keep praying real prayers.
Prayer:“Your handiwork is breathtaking. You made me so well.”
Hey, Sweethearts. Welcome to Day 5 of #bloglikecrazy. Thanks for reading!
So, I have a confession to make. I have never struggled with body positivity in regards to my shape. Yes, I realized I was skinny as a kid — especially when my grandmother’s friends told me that my hips were sticks — but, I recall letting their comments bounce off my little breastplate and going outside to ride my ten-speed. I have never fought the battle of hating my form. Now, my skin tone? We had to work on that.
In elementary school, I was called nigger, inkblot, darkie, blackie, midnight, holy draws, goodie-two-shoes, etc. The verbal attacks were always related to my color, my faith, or my virginity. By the time I reached high school, you couldn’t tell me that my skin wasn’t comprised of chocolatey goodness. I had developed confidence without forming an ego. Before #melaninpoppin became a thing, God opened my eyes to how beautiful I was in His eyes. I remember the moment distinctively. Puberty was in full swing and I noticed stretch marks and… wait for it… hips! Instead of being horrified, I traced the new wavy lines on my body. They seemingly appeared overnight and my nerdy self was fascinated. I squeezed the new fluffy additions on my hips and smiled in the mirror. They were soft and looked sweet, especially since I was an aspiring doctor and admired all things anatomy. I was ready to wear them with pride.
Oftentimes, I look in the mirror and speak those words of prayer. I let the Creator know that He did an exceptional job. My mind, body, and spirit do amazing things on this Earth and I am grateful for what I see. I love the thickness of my thighs and moles on my face. Now, Myrtle (my encroaching gut) has gotten rude and out of hand due to various factors, so she’s got to go starting after Thanksgiving, but I don’t hate her. She just needs to be checked so some of my favorite clothing items can fit the way I want them to (I know… purely carnal). I don’t model my body according to societal standards. I just want to be the best creation I can be to show my Creator that I appreciate His Masterpiece.
I pray that you appreciate the same about yourself, Sweetheart. Pray that prayer as you look into the mirror once a week if needed. Do what you got to do. Love that body and do right by it.
Peace, Thanks for listening, and pray those real prayers, Sweethearts!
I’m so glad you made it through another week. *fist bump* You’re still here. That makes you a survivor and if no one has told you lately, I’m proud of you. Want to chat about dirt? Great!
I was in a good place before it all went down. For weeks, I kept thinking about Earth… the ground, the air, the resources. Someone even asked me about global warming recently and I shared my sentiments. God didn’t make us dump trash in the oceans and hurl pollutants into the air for decades. We did that. And when was the last time you recall such frequency of turbulent and abnormal weather patterns? Alabama was still breaking heat records with 100-degree days well into October. So, do I also think Earth is aching (Romans 8:19-23)? Absolutely. I believe we are experiencing two forces at work every day — divinity and volition. After all, we are made of dirt and water, right? Anywho, I digress… let’s keep going!
Take this same battle to an internal level and I see the same tug-of-war. The person we became based upon the decisions we made vs. The person God created us to be. It’s a realistic struggle, yet we also have to factor in situations that happened to us, not because of us. This is where I was spiritually before it all went down Tuesday… in a good way. Let me explain…
The Birmingham stop of the Women Evolve Night in the Wild Toursold out four hours before I got off work and could purchase my ticket. So, I pouted for a few minutes and faced the fact that I wasn’t going. The next day, I heard God’s voice clearly say “You need to go.” The only available ticket was for the Nashville, TN and I just knew that wasn’t the method on deck. My financial basket wasn’t prepared for the road trip. I figured someone I knew wouldn’t be able to go in Birmingham and she would miraculously let me know. So, I waited it out. I even had a Gideon moment. If the Nashville stop still had tickets available that Monday, I would go. Needless to say, He tested my faith and I drove peacefully up I-65 to receive the spiritual refreshment I needed. Like soil, I gathered the broken pieces of my heart and prayed that God would nourish it when I got there. My knee burned fiercely, two women cut me off in the parking lot, I had to walk an incline and a significant amount of stairs, but it was minor in comparison to the vulnerability I would face and the strength I would receive. I took this picture before service because I had a gut feeling that I wouldn’t care to take one later. I was right.
During worship service, I held those pieces of my heart as my hands flew up to the heavens. I traveled solo, so I didn’t know anyone which meant there were also no inhibitions. I was determined to get what I came for.
Within the Word, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts mentioned the importance of women recognizing themselves as beautiful and formidable soil. She invigorated our supernatural selves and I found myself in a sanctuary full of other women that brought their cardiac fragments too. The atmosphere was safe. I cried freely. When she asked for women to come forward if they needed to uproot toxic seeds, I didn’t hesitate to limp down those stairs and receive the necessary work on the soil of my soul. I had roots of abandonment, depression, despair, and pessimism hiding deep within and at the most inconvenient times, they would germinate and I would feel ashamed. The crazy part is that I could see each seed and I knew exactly how it got there. So, those pieces that I brought with me were really sprouts from past pain both inflicted by my decisions and by things that happened against my will. Healing was one thing; I had undergone that spiritual surgery. Allowing infusion of strength in exchange for those pieces was a completely different story. It required a deeper layer of trust — a full submersion into my vulnerability — to the only One who wouldn’t hurt me. It sounds like an easy surrender, but vulnerability makes me itch before I have to do it. When you’re already at a low point, you have nowhere else to look but up. The difficult part is relinquishing your strength in exchange for His once you’ve stood up.
That’s what went down… well, up. And I’m so glad it did. Sweetheart, I encourage you to allow the Lord to aerate the soil of your heart. In the beginning, it may hurt like hell, but that exchange is necessary no matter how many times or levels you have to experience. Each time, remember that you’re beautifully crafted and God wants nothing more than to help you up so awesome seeds can grow out of you.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Have a great rest of the week!
In The Valve, I described what it felt like to reach a pressure point. Tonight, Sweetheart, I’m going to give you some practical tips to regroup after you’ve emptied out. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but the more you do it, the easier you can reach for it when you need it.
Remember who you are, not what you feel. I read Bible verses that remind me of whom I belong. I may feel like crap or be treated like it in a situation, but how I feel doesn’t reprogram the Truth of who I am. What I feel is valid; however, I have to live like I’m still wearing a crown. If you need suggestions, here are a few.
Write it out. If you’re like me, sometimes (who am I kidding… most times) I don’t feel like talking when I need to do so. On most occasions, instead of venting to a friend, I’ll release it on the page. I have cheap notebooks and fancy journals — it doesn’t matter. A page is a page. The beauty of writing is that it’s between you and you. Sometimes I talk to God through the pen and by the end of the sequence, His spirit has answered my questions.
Be still. When was the last time you paid attention to your breath and heartbeat? One of the most valuable lessons I learned in college was how to stop for a few minutes to check-in with myself. Each heartbeat is a blessing. Each breath is a beauty. If you have a high-energy personality, set a timer for 15 seconds. Put your hand over your heart and focus on it. Tune everything else out. After a few days, try 30 seconds. Work your way up to 5 minutes. You can say truthful sayings or Bible verses between exhales or stay silent. This practice saved me on many lunch breaks so I could return to work in a calmer state of mind.
Solo jam. – If you know me personally, you know that music runs through my veins. Another way I fill up is to jam to some favorite songs. I could be driving, standing in a check-out line, walking, or in my kitchen. The location is irrelevant. If you have a friend that can jam it out with you — even better.
So, if you see me out and about and I’m bobbin’ my head and snapping my fingers, you know what’s up. Ask me what I’m listening to and join in. lol
Good Evening, Sweethearts! How are you? I hope you’re doing well. Here’s a thought for your week just in case.
I find myself saying “thank you” for the oddest things. Just this week, the wind wrapped Himself around me and it felt like a supernatural hug. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness, so I looked up and smiled at the sky. To someone else, that doesn’t make sense, but to me, it’s how I choose to live.
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7
It’s easy to thank God for the good stuff. The stuff that feels warm and fuzzy. The good stuff that you don’t see coming. It takes skill to be grateful for the stuff that feels awful and unexpectedly hits you. You read correctly — I said skill, as in something you learn and hone over time and experience. Now, I don’t believe that God plays chess with our lives; some things we bring upon ourselves. It’s called volition and it can be a help and a hindrance.
The ability to make decisions is what saved my mouth from going into overdrive while I was paying a bill over the phone. I could have invoked the Earth-given privilege of speaking my mind, but in actuality, it would have been speaking my emotions. It would have been sharp, egregious, and unapologetic. In the mix of the moment, I chose to be grateful instead of spiteful. I thanked God that the payment amount was at the level I needed it to be and that my account was current. I also thanked the Lord that I had the money in which to pay it this month. It was a split-second decision (with a dash of reluctant maturity) to be grateful for the Truth and not distracted by the disrespect. It made me think of how quickly things can escalate at the drop of a word and how gratefulness saved the future chain of events.
This week, my prayer is that you find gratefulness in the little things that are truly big things to someone else. I pray that you say thank you to all of the “sandpaper” people in your office because they are making you smoother for your future. Find the moment. Dig for it if you have to. You don’t have to like it, but you may need to hold that “thank you item” in your hand to keep from crying or doing something destructive.
Have an awesome week out there. No stoking the fires, OK?
Good Evening, Sweethearts. Here’s a shortstop for your week.
What do you do when you’ve messed up? How do you handle it? Guilt and shame usually wait at the door of any misstep. It’s easy to think that you’re invincible and if others think the same, the fall can feel fatal. So, what do you do next? Where do you start?
One of the first things I do is remember to whom I belong. I remember that God sees me as His daughter because I allowed His Love to envelop my heart. Here are some Bible verses that can help you get back on your feet. They have helped me over the years and have never lost their flavors.
Wherever you are, I pray that you remember that you are loved and that you are never too broken to be valuable. You are worth another try. So, give yourself a dose of God’s grace and smile at your fresh start.
Peace & Thanks for listening.
Bible Verse photos courtesy of my Free YouVersion Bible App
Tena Wilson. Annie Joe Edwards. These ladies are legends and I can’t talk about them without beaming with adoration. Honestly, I’m a fan of their artistry and their queendom. Whenever I can watch them perform, I treat myself and marvel at their creative excellence. Then, when it’s all over, I get to hug these two powerhouses and they shower me with wisdom, humor, and love.
Queen Tena (as I call her) is on the far left of the photo. Actor, music educator, and vocalist extraordinaire – opera, jazz, spirituals, you name it – she can sing you into euphoria.
My SoRHOr Annie Jo is in the middle and she still hand-scores her music. *insert emoji face with heart eyes here* Music educator, actor, songwriter, playwright, pianist, and comedienne.
Between them, they have decades of entertainment experience and touring under their belt and they’re also great friends.
Sit under wisdom and stay there. “Yes, ma’am” freely leaps from my lips and pride is nowhere in the room. I listen. I learn. I obey. I accept. I pay attention and I leave richer than I came.
When you see wisdom walking, stop and soak, especially when someone wants to share her with you. Proverbs 1:20-29 says that wisdom cries in the streets with the hopes of gaining your attention. Too often, we’re just too stupid to listen to Her. Consequently, we succumb to negative effects and wonder why they happened to us.
Wisdom is not far away and you may be surprised at how freely She flows when you ask for Her.
Most likely, you’re not walking around with a bag of blood with you in case you run out.
So, how do we have enough blood to live if those cells don’t divide? Let’s do the math.
Red blood cells live approximately 120 days (4 months), then they are engulfed by macrophages (the clean-up crew of the cellular world). Don’t fret – new ones are created in your bone marrow daily and massage therapy affects the body all the way down to the chemical level, so we definitely must be knowledgeable in your cellular function. Blood flow can tell us a lot while we are administering modalities to assist your well-being – inflammation, blockage, tissue damage, etc. Blood carries life and in 120 days, there’s a lot of life to live.
I was driving to work recently and the Holy Spirit reminded me that we were charged to be fruitful and multiply in allthings, especially in the purpose in which we were born. When God the Father said “Be fruitful and multiply,” it didn’t just mean to populate the Earth. Whatever awesomeness that is transcribed into your DNA is designed to multiply in the lives of others. If you have a passion for fashion, that natural ability was destined to be fruitful by increasing the self-image and body positivity of everyone you serve. If you enjoy cooking, your love of culinary arts was designed to multiply by sharing the work of your hands. This doesn’t mean that everything you love to do that you should run a business in that area. Truthfully, that same food lover could be a horrible restaurant owner and terrible entrepreneur; yet, that thing that makes you smile and power-up… it’s worth exploring when you see lives being changed by it.
Ask God to open your eyes to the ways in which you can multiply.You don’t have to divide yourself and be thinly spread among various responsibilities. The directions were clear. Be fruitful and multiply, not divide. It’s not efficient to sprinkle slivers of yourself everywhere, but you can plant seeds with each client, student, and family member. Seek wisdom on how to grow your gifts and passions so others can bear the same fruit. Most likely, someone is hungry for what you were born to grow. The law of the harvest is real and you will be held accountable for everything you don’t use. That’s why I’m on a quest to die empty. I’m using everything God planted in me to multiply on this Earth so the harvest can outlive me.
Fruit trees don’t divide themselves in half; they bear fruit of the same seed. After all, isn’t that how we know the tree’s identity (Matthew 7:16)?
Red blood cells don’t divide, yet we function well on their 4-month run. What are you going to do for the next 4 months? How will you circulate? Let’s do the math and live. Need some help getting started? Check out this throwback post.
Peace, thanks for listening, and wind down safely, Sweethearts!
A spiritual message has come up in recent conversations since Sunday –
“You have to go through the cave to get the crown.”
Recall the story of David before the glory days of kingship (1 Samuel). Faking insanity to prevent being killed on site… hiding multiple times from King Saul of Israel who was determined to see him dead… being best friends with King Saul’s son, which caused its own set of challenges and grief as he dies in battle. This is a difficult road for someone who was promised a crown.
So, what does this say about us? Can we not fathom the possibility that we may experience a cave before the crown? Is it crazy to think that we will obtain a promise unscathed? Just look at Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. Her marriage into the British Royal Family is still undergoing mudslinging from some disgruntled family members. There is no shortcut to the promises of God where there is more responsibility waiting. You can’t wear the crown if you can’t handle the weight of it. There’s a process in the cave that prepares you like no other journey would. We can hear the lament and rawness of emotion in David’s voice in Psalm 142. He was confused, angry, and humbled and being in the cave felt horrible and safe simultaneously. Somewhere in the midst of hiding and fighting, his faith and fortitude birth the muscles capable of ruling a kingdom. Because of the cave, David was able to hold his head up as King of Israel and extend mercy to the man sought to kill him… more than once!
The cave sucks, but it can also bring the very people designed to fight with you. So, this week, I encourage you to embrace your cave. It won’t last forever. It’s not your landing place. You’re just paused there, not stopped. Darkness is not your enemy because it’s where you learn to shine.
I believe that God is still awesome and He continues to amaze me even though there is much I do not understand. As I move forward through my cave, I can confirm that He is a keeper. You are not there alone. I’m right there with you and I’m praying for you all the way. Get your #LATSOL notebook or your online notepad and write what you hear during this time. That’s the good stuff coming out.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Let’s keep shining together.