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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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Christian blogger

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #7

Prayer: “Why can’t people just do right?! Why is that is so hard?! Lord, get your children because I can’t deal!”

Don’t act like you have never walked away shaking your head at a few people. It may be the workplace, but some folks just make you wish for a Mortal Kombat standoff (Scorpion, anyone?). Countless occasions have yielded moments like these in my life and it wasn’t easy to walk away. I mean, c’mon, when you factually know that a person is lying to you or doesn’t host your best interest or is tarnishing your character, that’s enough to make anyone twitch. At times, only God stood between me and the other soul, and s/he will never know it. I’m not a fighter, but Sweethearts, I’ve definitely been tested as such. The unfortunate part is that I’ve thought of so many spiteful things to say and do in retaliation. Enough to stay on the altar until the day I die.

While it would be wonderful to experience camaraderie with everyone, that’s just unrealistic and the Lord and I have had plenty of conversations about His creations. Can I love you without liking you? Yes! Love is a commandment; Like is not. Even the Bible tells you the real deal.

“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18

See? Do all. you. can.

So, if you’ve ever been in the situation of wanting to dropkick someone, you’re not alone. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. The best revenge is the view from your mountaintop. But until you get there, get those prayers out of your system… every time. Make it a habit so you can stay free.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay prayed up!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #6

Prayer: “I don’t understand this one. You’re going to have to help me with this. I don’t get it. Why did they have to die? Why couldn’t you just take someone else? This just doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it.”

I admit that I have thought about the following: Why did she have to die in a car accident? Why did he have to die with Alzheimer’s? Why did she die before seeing me graduate? 

I know it’s not acceptable Christian vernacular, but I’m guilty of asking God why he didn’t take someone else’s life in place of the ones I love. I thought of the rapists, the murderers, the pedophiles… the ones deemed by society as below hell’s respect of persons, then I thought of how sweet my persons were. How undeserving their deaths were in my eyes. I couldn’t wrap my rationale around the reality of my persons no longer being a phone call away and to be brutally honest, I was pissed. Why would a good God take away pieces of my heart? Some deaths were easier to handle while others pushed me off my axis. What was I supposed to do with that… all of that anger and confusion?

I questioned my faith. I questioned the validity of the Bible. I didn’t want to hear that they were “in a better place.” I wanted them here. With me. No exceptions. No soothing back rubs. No funeral flowers. Just here… where I could touch them. Talk to them. Love on them again. At those times, the only prayer I could release were the words above and I had to trust that God wanted to hear my pain just as much as my praise.

During those seasons, I clung to this Bible verse with every fiber of my weakness. It was the only thing that made sense because it described how I felt.

Psalm 34:18
Courtesy of YouVersion – The Bible App

The most difficult thing to do was to crawl my way back to Love after feeling scorned by it. I had to come to terms with the truth that I didn’t know the prayers of my persons. It could have been one of relief or swiftness. I don’t know. I just knew I was hurting and my prayer lines were on life support. Eventually, I made my way from a crawl to a kneel like a fighter recovering from a blow. Kneeling transitioned to standing. Breathing slowly. Then came walking forward. No one could rush me or assign a path to my process. Only God could resuscitate me back to life and I had to grow to the point to let Him do it.

I love you all and pray that you feel confident to pray a real prayer of grief whenever you’re ready. He can handle it. Trust me. I’m a living, breathing, walking witness of that. You are still more than a conqueror. You are still strong. It’s just time for you to be honest about the rest.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #2

Prayer: “Lord, I just want to be free… and not just free for a moment. I want to be free for a lifetime.”

I was sick of a cycle that I didn’t sign up for. In one hand, I held receipts to my anger, fears, and insecurities. In the other one, I held receipts that were shoved into my hands. I didn’t ask to be mistreated or molested, but there I was — holding shredded remnants of pain and wondering when the rollercoaster would stop.

I never wanted to repeat the rides of my anger, fears, insecurities but the horror happened anyway. Altar calls didn’t seem to do it and Christian music couldn’t end the free-bound-free dysfunction I experienced. I thought something was wrong with me. I was tired of being enslaved over and over again by the same chains. Chains I thought had been eradicated but seemed to resurrect themselves without my permission. I couldn’t understand how it could happen so quickly. It wasn’t for lack of desire and fight. It wasn’t for lack of prayer and effort. Finally, in desperation, the words exhaled from my soul during a nighttime walk. Freedom kept ringing in my ears and I looked up at the starry sky for a hint of hope.

Did I instantly feel free? No.
Did I feel finally heard? Absolutely.

There was something about that night I will never forget. Being sick and tired of being sick and tired met the opportunity to speak from the depths of my darkness. I had finally reached that point where I was ready to release it all instead of a few shreds. The problem? Those chains were uncomfortable but familiar. I had the desire to be free, but I was struggling within my own strength. Exhaustion and frustration were the end result. I realized that it would always be a losing battle as long as I fought without the desire to surrender to God first.

So, I did. Then, the healing journey again.

I pray that you’re able to do the same, Sweetheart. Here’s one of my favorite verses to start the conversation. I leaned on this one and it still gives me great peace when I need it. I love you all and pray those real prayers. Peace & Thanks for listening!

He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas. – Psalm 102:17

Wednesday Wind Down: Four-peat

*sips hot tea and stretches*

Good Evening, Sweethearts!

We’re on the cusp of November, so you know what that means… #bloglikecrazy is here! She’s officially staring me down and I see her in all of her literary glory. Her challenging physique awaits me to step into the ring. This is my four-time sparring partner and she always transforms me a better version of myself at the end of our 30-day bout.

If you’re new to my community, #bloglikecrazy is an annual writing challenge hosted by Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of See Jane Write Birmingham and my official empowerment pusher. Each year, writers from everywhere join the opportunity to post on their blogs for 30 consecutive days or participate in NaNoWriMo by writing a novel in by the end of November.

So, why am I squaring up to #bloglikecrazy? Because I decided to share a deeper level of transparency this time around. Last year, I shared 30 Days of Good. This year, I’m allowing a peek into my most intimate relationship — my prayer life with God. I’m warning you now, Sweetheart. As with all other posts on this blog, it’s real communication. No sugar-coating. Raw snippets from written and verbal prayers I’ve expressed in both happy and horrid times. My hope is that by unveiling these lines, someone will be compelled to be authentic with God as well. To give Him every part of you and be confident that He can handle anything and everything.

Are you ready? I am. *stretches one more time*

See you Friday, November 1. 🙂

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Bricklayer

Hi, Sweethearts!

OK, I am still on a high from watching Boss: The Black Experience in Business – a documentary about African-American history in entrepreneurship and business industries. If you haven’t seen it, please do. Definitely a must-see. Here’s a play-by-play of how it all went down in my world. Special Shoutout to Carmen Mays, Founder of Elevators on 4th, and my alma mater UAB for hosting this event and reminding Birmingham of the juggernaut of Black entrepreneurship she was and will continue to be.

boss film uab

BEFORE THE FILM

20190716_175221.jpgI have a confession to make. Networking events are not at the top of my social list. It’s where my introversion leaps out to block my smile and I have to overshadow her by scanning the room for people I know and introducing myself to people I don’t. In all that I do that involves others (blogging, dancing, and massage therapy), solitude is where I am cozy.

So, what did I do? I made my introverted nemesis attend the pre-film reception. I’m also recovering from a knee injury and walking from my car to the event space was the longest distance I had accomplished without using my crutches. Needless to say, I was ready to sit down. While familiar faces wove in and out of their elements, I shared sincere laughs with another great businesswoman in my state and we decided to sit together during the film.

Me – 1
Nemesis – 0

DURING THE FILM

I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I tried to capture a few notes, but only if the visual stayed the same. As soon as it changed, I looked up fast like a little kid with a bad case of FOMO before bed. Throughout the film, I was infused with strength. It would have been easy to be angry at the injustice, but I was undoubtedly empowered. Fortified. The stories of my ancestral heroes sealed the natural cracks in my entrepreneurial foundation. Some of the stories, I knew and taught my students. Others, I learned for the first time. I sat forward with my hands clasped at times and in other moments I smiled in awe.

What a beautiful rocky road of Black determination, I thought. Seriously. We were given manure and we made it grow – over, and over, and over again. Our money was stolen and we generated more like a prosthetic limb. We pumped the life-blood into ourselves after being left for dead. Agriculture. Banking. Hair. Clothing. We are a force to be reckoned with no matter which decade you decide to slice. I recalled my first time reading Ebony, Jet, Black Enterprise, and Essence as their humble beginnings were told in front of me. To see bursts of Color in a monochromatic printed world was lifechanging. Seeds of cultural self-esteem were planted within me at an early age and watching these gladiators of vision and ingenuity reminded me of their fruits manifested through today’s industry moguls. I sighed and smiled again to see such relentless prowess right before my eyes.

AFTER THE FILM

20190716_195315.jpgI sat up straighter. My back was stronger and my neck held my chin a bit higher. My hearty handclaps might as well have been among a sea of applause at Carnegie-Hall.  I felt so proud. So tall. As an African-American Woman Entrepreneur, I am walking on the bricks of hard labor and I get the immutable opportunity to place my own brick along that historical trail.

Black business owners have proven that skin color should never override intelligence and passion. We are beyond capable of building a present and a future for ourselves and others – nationally and internationally. Regardless of the opposition of ignorance, we continue to showcase dexterity and incredible resilience. Can you imagine the escalating levels of repeated faith it takes to accomplish such feats? I can’t imagine. To create decades of legacies without an Ellis Island is an irrefutable honor that should never be undermined or forgotten. 

Lastly, I also realized that I am exactly where I should be. To be reminded that those pillars of strength began with pennies in their pockets was just the juice I needed keep my energy going. Six months ago, I plunged into full-time entrepreneurship after my school closed, and it has been an exceptional journey. I have no complaints, but people often romanticize the life of owning a business and I couldn’t help but smile to know that my grit was in good company. My scars were in the right place. My tired eyes could still see my ancestors rooting for me. My hands were still capable of facilitating my dreams just like their cotton-picking fingers repeatedly reached for hope. My heart was still able to incubate their fire for economic freedom. My spirit was still synonymous with theirs and my feet could still walk forward on the bricks of their backs — one day, allowing someone to step on mine. Let’s keep building, America.

You don’t have to lose who you are to be successful.
Cathy Hughes, Founder of Radio One –

Peace & Thanks for listening! Keep shining!

boss film pbs

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

Wednesday Wind Down: Let ‘Em Talk

Good Evening, Sweethearts!

As you wind down for the day, I pray this message reaches you with good health in mind, body, and spirit. I can’t wait to share what I heard this week.

One of my favorite athletes is Manny Pacquiao. No, I am not a boxer, but I admire the profession and Manny has earned my respect over the years.

On FOX Sports PBC FACE TO FACE, I watched undefeated Welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman talk about how excited he will be when he defeats Filipino Senator and Legendary Champion Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao. Frankly, he was talking a lot of trash with shots of cockiness. Thurman spoke jovially of Pacquiao’s age and career statistics. He said that he studied Manny’s fighting style and described ways he could penetrate his speed. I shook my head at the television while my athlete remained unphased on the screen.

The reason why Pacquiao is on my respect list is that he keeps his priorities straight — no matter what. I love how cool he is under pressure. I love how he keeps the main thing, the main thing – faith, family, then the fight. I appreciate his ability to train hard and serve his country equally hard. I admire his work-life balance. So, as I continued to watch the dialogue, I couldn’t help but notice the dichotomy in demeanor. In the midst of this observation, I heard 3 things that can help us prepare for battles in our lives.

pacquiao-thurman (1)
Courtesy of BoxingScene.com

1. There’s a difference between training to obtain and training to maintain.

Looking at sizzle reels of their training sessions revealed how different they trained.  Thurman’s clip was grizzly. His workouts were aggressive. He explained his rise to fame and his teenage decision to choose boxing over academics. I loved it actually. So much passion at such a young age and still tenacious as ever. Pacquiao’s clip was seasoned and strategic. He looked like wisdom in motion, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my favorite. Their attitudes during exercises were visibly different as well. Thurman kept repeating his goal of being a history maker for bringing down his opponent. Pacquiao never mentioned him. It was like watching a car in the acceleration lane versus on the open road.

2. Let your fight talk for you.

The moderator asked for pre-, during, and post-fight predictions. Pacquiao had little say. His words were light, short, and clear. “I respect every opponent,” he said. When asked how the fight would end, he said that both fighters worked hard and made the fans happy. Thurman? In his best announcer voice, he claimed himself as the champion. Pacquiao smiled.

3. Let your enemy keep talking.

Throughout the entire session, there were opportunities for Pacquiao to retaliate with a fiery response. He let Thurman talk as much as he wanted and only spoke when asked a question by the moderator. His face didn’t flinch. He didn’t smirk. He didn’t grimace. His eyebrows didn’t furrow. He was calm. Even his instinctive blinks were undisturbed. I study communication like coaches study plays. I can’t deny my sentiments — I loved it. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but he definitely wasn’t moved.

So, on July 20, 2019, we’ll see words and training in action. Of course, I am #TeamPacquiao all day and regardless of the prediction, his character is a winner in my book. My prayer for us is that we take his lead when faced with situations underneath our royalty. Enemies always have a lot to say. Let your character be just as loud. Now, I’m not saying Thurman doesn’t have good character; I do not know him. What I am saying is stop engaging in every conversation as if you have something to prove. You don’t. Let your work speak for you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Thank You

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.

person holding cactus on a stick
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

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?

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Try Again

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.

Psalm 34:18

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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

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