Yesterday was full, so I’m checking in with you today. I’m getting better at this Girl-go-to-bed thing. That’s what I tell myself when I’m trying to complete something in a half-sleepy stupor. Progress is happening, Folks. lol
Now to this short stop (under 500 words) –
Imagine yourself planning a delicious dinner for someone. As you stroll through the grocery store aisles to create their favorite meal, sheer excitement kicks in. The recipe is at the apex of your mind. You can’t wait to see the person’s face as they explore and experience the fruit of your labor. When you arrive at home, you immediately prepare the ingredients. A dash of spice here. A pinch of pepper there. Stir, stir, stir. It’s a creation to behold with both the eyes and the nose. The smell arrests your attention as you set the table and plate the food without flaw. Those TV chefs have nothing on you. The doorbell rings and you greet your guest with a smile. Pure endorphins rush through you with anticipation; then, your guest says “I don’t want it.”
I don’t know about you, but that would deflate my smile in less than a second. I’d pack it up and eat it myself later, but the sting of my guest not wanting their favorite meal after I’ve put forth such effort would last a bit longer than a minute.
That’s how some of us feel when we show Love and they block it like a basketball pro. It hurts when your heart extends its hands and the person retracts in response. Let’s be real – it makes you not want to try anymore.
Today, I encourage you to serve the Love of Jesus anyway. Like those ingredients created a favorite meal, Loving certain people in certain situations takes planning, patience, and sincere effort. That’s the only way the person can experience the supernatural sweetness His Love can bring.
The “taste and see” part of Psalm 34:8 always gets me. You can’t taste anything until it is produced. Notice I didn’t say until it is cooked. Food is a production… a derivative of a process. Once we allow Love to germinate in our hearts, it has to be shared. The fruit of the Spirit produces more fruit. One of my favorite quotes carries this point further –
“If you always love one another, if you always uphold one another, you will be capable of working wonders!”
-St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier
Wonders. That’s the power of the Love beating in your chest. It has the potency to create miracles. It is capable of reproducing goodness and wonder in others.
Taste and see… revelation comes after Love is expressed. As much as you want to withhold it from those deemed unworthy, you can’t. How else will they see?
Don’t keep Love to yourself. Let it produce. Even if they don’t want it, they’ll know that Love was behind it.
I hope that you’re doing well out there. I’m glad you made it to another week.
There’s a lot going on and I’m not oblivious to it, but whew… it can be a struggle to keep your spirits up. One thing I remember my late father saying is “If you look down, you go down. If you look up, you go up.” I used to think “Man, that sounds so easy, Pop. It sounds good, but it’s not that easy.”
But to him, it was. It truly was.
Between racial injustice, church scrutiny, and near-death experiences, he endured more than his fair share of adversity. He lived through so much turmoil that I guess he had no other choice but to look up. Looking down in despair would have surely taken him out of this world sooner than appointed. When I am surrounded by dark clouds, I find myself grasping for Pop’s determination to look up… to look up past the hovering gloom. I know it wasn’t easy, but somehow he kept his spiritual chin up. Being a deacon-turned-pastor would probably cultivate that strength within any person. The grounds of his heart had to be rich with fertilizer to grow such wisdom and unbothered-ness.
So, how do you keep your spiritual chin up when your head and heart feel heavy? I’m glad you asked. Here’s three practical things that help me save myself –
I religiously use my Google Chromecast. Whether it is instrumental jazz for four hours or a feel-good movie, I take news breaks so I am not overwhelmed via heart and mind. Seeing division and unrest rips my heart to shreds. Social and political misrepresentation squeezes my analytical educator brain. Hypocrisy makes me sick. Modern-day Pharisees give me hives. The perpetual dismissal of the obvious can make my chest heat up. So… I utilize my Chromecast to the fullest before I get full. On many days, I feel more like the God in Amos 6:8-14 than the Peter in 1 Peter 2:12. Streaming a mental palate cleanser works like a charm.
I remember I am just a piece of the puzzle. Say it with me, Family – “I can not fix all of this.” Say it again if you have to – “I can not fix all of this.” Replacing “everything” with “all of this” makes my typical mantra plop down on the doorstep of my heart, right there with the rest of the world’s problems. I cannot look at pain and not be moved. I cannot see an opportunity to help and not flinch like a track athlete ready to run at the gun’s fire. I’m not built that way… yet, while I believe my puzzle piece has purpose, I am still just one piece. I don’t have the capacity to eradicate racism or provide a limitless supply of homes for the unhoused. I certainly can’t fix everything I see. I just have to make sure to do what I can. In other words, think micro when you’re overwhelmed with macro. Ask yourself, “What’s my piece of the puzzle?”
I save my voice. Listen, I’m going say this with a sharper sentence – don’t lose your voice screaming at people who aren’t listening. Period. In a time where all sides are shouting, someone has to have Peace at the center of the conversation. Someone has to let Love rule the table… even if it’s piercing. As my Pop would say, “Somebody gotta have some sense.” I watched my dad stay silent in the most heated debates. When he was done talking, he was done talking. It’s like a switch flipped and he knew it would be a waste of time to speak further. Like the Holy Spirit gave him a baseball coach’s signal and he knew to stay on base. I admired that about him so much. Over the years, I’ve acquired it, but even past the grave, his mastery is well above my level. One thing that doesn’t happen anymore is me being physically or spiritually hoarse. By saving my voice, I save myself.
I hope one or some of these tips help you this week and beyond. After all, it’s the second day of September and there is much opportunity for goodness to happen to you, through you, and around you. I know it’s difficult to be in the midst of turmoil, but remember that you are a vessel of Peace. You may not can stop everything bad that is happening, but you can stop letting it control your heart. Take charge of your eyes and ears and take care of your spirit. You are worth the Love.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there and I love you!
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.
*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 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.
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.
I hope you had a good day. If not, it just got better. I prayed for you this week and here’s the shortstop Word I was given to share.
One of my consistent prayers is to see the heart of people. To peer past the surface and listen to the heartbeat God placed within these bodies. Let me warn you – this is one of those real prayers. It’s not an easy feat to penetrate a heavy armor of hatred and seek the root of a person. Honestly, it takes practice (but doesn’t all of this thing call faith take practice?).
After praying that request some years ago, my natural empathy boosted 10 times over. It felt like an overload some days. I walked by a woman one day and realized her retail therapy was an attempt to hush her grief-stricken heart. I spoke to her and she cried. Moments like that began to multiply and I found myself praying the following: “Lord, how many of us are there? How many of us are walking with invisible scars, aches, and pains? How many of us do we not see?” The answer I heard – “Everywhere.”
Every day, the Invisibles are among us. They work with us, shop with us, and even live with us. Some are strangers we love and some are family we despise. Some hold stark opinions that can make your blood boil. Newsflash: Our faith calls us to Love them too.
Now, I’m not telling you to act like a licensed professional and diagnose everyone you meet. I am challenging you to see beyond. Since we do not know what a person is experiencing, it would behoove us to act like Jesus and show compassion to all. Since some battles are invisible, it would be wise not to pass judgment to anyone. Since we do not live in each other’s skin, we should watch our mouths. Our words alone could repel someone from seeing the essence of our beliefs. So, since we don’t know, we should be quiet. Be still. Check in with the Holy Spirit and check our circles of influence. Be for real and ask God to illuminate and eliminate our blind spots . We should show that overwhelming Love that was shown to us.
It doesn’t take much. It just takes kindness. An extra tip to your server. An open door for a person who is carrying a load. An encouraging text to someone you admire. A listening ear to someone who feels unheard. A sincere compliment. It takes an extension of yourself past that prayer.
So let’s make grace contagious. Let’s move past the familiar and into the invisible. Let’s see the fingerprint of God in people and Love them as we are commanded to do.
Stay well out there and, in case you haven’t heard it recently, I love you and I’m proud of you. You’re still here and you made it this far.
As I prepared for bed last night, this short-stop message floated in my spirit just for you.
Say this phrase with me –
I will not curse my current.
Say it again if you have to –
I will not curse my current.
That’s what I’ve had to say aloud a few times this year. I’ve had to remind myself that my current situation is the very thing that will carry me into the next breakthrough. The current is a current and cursing it doesn’t help. Let me explain.
You can swim or ride a boat in the right direction, but if you don’t understand the currents, you can still drown. The water doesn’t just flow straightly; it has unexpected curves and riptides. The current is always changing and you have the choice whether to move with it. I guarantee if take Jesus into your current, you will always have an anchor. A safe place in your boat. A reference point. A compass. It won’t matter if the current feels like it’s taking you under or it’s sweeping you off your feet like a gust of wind. Even if you don’t know why you are where you are, you can be assured that you are on your way to a purposeful destination and that your current has a purpose as well.
So, what do you do in the meantime, especially when it seems like water keeps getting into your boat? You refrain from cursing where you are and be thankful for the current. It’s the very place that will grow you into the person you were designed to be… the person needed to handle the destination. Be mindful that when you curse your current phase, you block your opportunity to develop into a better version of yourself. I’m an avid believer that every difficult situation is designed to teach me something and to make me better. I may feel completely clueless at the time, but when I look back at every riptide, I can see how it strengthened my spirit for the next chapter. I’m also reminded that it eventually dissipated; currents do not last forever.
Family, no matter how tempting it is, do not curse your current. Seek God for direction and understanding, but don’t curse it. You’re unknowingly cursing your gift of the future.
So, let that current develop your discipline. Let it stretch the boundary of your skill set. Let the experience trim profanity from your daily dialogue. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for us!
We made it to another week, so I celebrate that with you!
I received a few private messages regarding last week’s post – that it helped them breathe a little easier as they walk along their respective journeys. Thank you for letting me know. I write for you. Let’s dive into the second part of my Pain Principle –
Pain should not be muted.
Pain has a voice and we should listen to it every chance we get. It tells us that something is changing or something needs to be changed.
About 17 years ago, God showed me a vision to explain a concept about pain (I love that He knows I’m a visual learner). I saw a vision of a human spine. It was vertically suspended. A hand slid one of the thoracic vertebrae out of place as if it were a wooden block in a game of Jenga; then, it slid it back into alignment. Then I heard the following:
Either way, there’s pain.
A lightbulb went off in my spirit.
Pain is an indicator that something’s wrong and that something is right. Think about it – whether the vertebra is out of place or returned to its place, pain would be present. It’s a crazy dichotomy, yet our bodies were built to know the difference. At some point during the healing process, the pain would subside. That’s how God made us.
But what do we do? We mute pain through pills, alcohol, vacations, porn… you name it, we’ll use it to prevent us from dipping our toes into a pool of pain. We run away from it thinking that it will suddenly disappear only to find that it has grown roots into areas we thought were off limits. Pain is an indicator that something is changing… for better or for worse. When we listen to it – physically or spiritually – we allow healthy footsteps to lead us into a better version of ourselves. We lay the groundwork for true healing to take place.
So, my motivational questions for you are the following:
What pain are running away from? Since pain has a voice, what is it saying to you? Is something out of alignment or is something being aligned?
I pray that you allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the voice of your pain. I know it’s dark down there and you’re not quite sure of its depth, but the more you mute its echo, the more it will grow into other areas of your life. I’m a firm believer that whatever is in you will come out of you. It may look like an emotional blow up or emotional constipation when talking to your parents. Trust me – it’s there.
Ever since that day when I envisioned that spine, I have allowed pain to tell me something so I can adjust accordingly. Like many of you, I’ve grown accustomed to “dealing” with pain, but over time I realized that terminology can send us into a spiral of unhealthy living. I tell my clients that pain on the way to healing is better than pain standing still.
I love all of you and I want us to be well inside and out. If you think that journey will be difficult to begin, I highly recommend finding a mental health therapist to match your needs. After all, God made therapists too.
What a week. What a month. Before I begin, just give yourself some room to appreciate that you made it to today. And if no one has told you lately, allow me to say I’m proud of you.
This post is wrapped around a simple Word from the Father that truly nourished my soul.
You don’t have to prove your pain.
I stopped in my tracks.
I paused everything and let it seep into my pores.
Why was this Word so profound to me? Because probably like some of you, I am accustomed to hiding pain. From health challenges to grieving loved ones, I learned to override my senses and clock into the next item on the agenda. I found that zone when I was in elementary school and I knew how to access it when it was needed. Fighting health battles that people couldn’t easily detect grew easier over time and I learned to just not talk about it. Besides, I’m uncomfortable in the spotlight. Always have been. But, growth tends to throw you into that thing anyway.
Hiding pain a great trait to develop, but it can also be physically exhausting and emotionally castrating, yet we do it anyway. Why? Because in many cultures, it is celebrated. The less you express, the louder the applause. You must admit the prestige is to be coveted when you hear things like “You would never know he was in pain” and “She was so strong through it all.” I mean, who wouldn’t want those accolades!
So, as I got out of my car with my temporary disability placard hanging from the rearview mirror, I thought People aren’t going to believe me. Just get across the parking lot. No, try to walk straight. Let’s get rid of this limp… but then, someone’s going to judge me for parking in that limited mobility spot. Ugh. I hate this.
Placing one foot in front of the other, I attempted to smooth out my gait, then I felt my body slip into the familiar limp that resided in my legs for over a year. My hip moved to an imbalance posture and subconsciously, I let the pattern follow through. I didn’t feel like facing judging eyes as I tried to walk out my healing process. It was easier to just fall back into my abnormal rhythm and just get to the door of the grocery store.
That’s when I heard that Word and it arrested and empowered me at the same time.
I slowly straightened my posture to the best of my ability (yes, in the middle of the mini-roadway between the parking lot and the Publix doors). I attempted the heel-toe rolling action and in my mind, I resembled my old school marching band 8-to-5 stride. I probably didn’t, but I didn’t care. Honestly, it hurt like hell and it was scary, but I did it anyway because my God said that I didn’t need anyone to approve my process. It didn’t matter if I appeared in pain or not.
Likewise, I shared this freedom with a massage client recently when I listened to him share a similar sentiment. When he completed his thoughts, I said “You don’t have to prove your pain… to me or to anyone else.” I watched relief rain down his face. His eyes softened, then he nodded. I mirrored his affirmation and resumed his massage.
How many of us could actually heal if we gave each other the grace to do so? Seriously. Think of how much healing could truly take place?
I recall countless times when my face and voice didn’t match someone’s definition of pain. I have a high pain tolerance (elementary school, remember?), so once I say it hurts – I’m there. Until I get to that point, my exterior doesn’t change. This makes it difficult for people who don’t know me to gauge and thus, judge. I get it; we’re all looking for barometers to help us understand each other in this crazy world. Unfortunately, that desire can place a yolk on someone who is already cringing from the process itself, especially if it’s a visible one. It isn’t fair to place our cloak of definitions on anyone’s anything.
I share my newfound freedom with you as well, Family. I don’t care if you are experiencing mental anguish, emotional upheaval, spiritual renovation, or physical immobility – God knows your pain. He hears your cries and sees your attempts. He can pick up your crumbles one by one until you’re healed and whole. No one deserves proof of that process… not a supervisor, family member, or a stranger. Your word is enough – just like our Father’s. Just try to walk again. Try to walk with your heads up, even if it’s a slow stroll from the parking lot to the door.
I love you all and I wish you the absolutely best of days ahead. Here’s to your healing and, as always, Peace & Thanks for listening!
Tonight, it’s real prayer time and I’m going to share some real talk I had with God this week after reviewing the details and footage of 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario’s case and a few other atrocities.
My prayers also include you… that your spirits will be malleable enough to empathize and fortified enough to carry out the duties of the days ahead. It’s been a difficult week so far for some of us, but we are a family in the eyes of God, and families stick together, so let’s approach the Throne of Grace… together.
Father God, in the name of Jesus –
America the Beautiful is not America the Perfect and sometimes those imperfections are hard to see, hard to digest, and hard to admit.
We’ve come a long way, but we have a ways to go… but let some folks tell it, we’re just fine. Nothing’s wrong. Everything is as it should be. I couldn’t disagree more.
I’ve seen tears and anguish once again and it seems there is no end in sight. Every hail of accomplishment seems to carry with it another blow, another dismissal of human dignity.
I’m coming to you in a state of gratitude right now. Grateful there’s proof of what we need to fix. Grateful that for the countless others who were never filmed, there is a dossier of visible scars that never healed. At some point, the disjunction has to be undeniable and our shades must be removed so we can see the full picture. We need Your grace to helps us with that because we suck at it right now.
Sometimes our teeth grit and we square our shoulders ready to combat anyone that can take the brunt of our pain. Unwarranted words filled with bile fly back and forth between us. I can’t believe we’re in 2021 sometimes with the things I see and hear.
We are sick in need of a Cure, yet You’ve given us the anecdote to eradicate the invisible virus that is truly keeping us apart. I know utopia is not an option. I’m not oblivious to the fact that things will worsen as You prepare to return; however, I pray that the saturation of discord and rhetoric decreases, in the name of Jesus. Cut off the pipelines of hate on every side. I know it will never leave, but at least it doesn’t have to thrive. Not like this.
Help us to see each other as part of the same whole… that helping or listening to our brother doesn’t discount us in any way. That we are spirits in human form.
Keep correcting us, O God. It hurts, but it’s necessary. Again, you remind us that we can’t say we are your children yet we treat each other otherwise. 1 John 4:19-21 states that we can’t love You and not love each other.
We say “Fill me up,” “I want to be like You,” and “Show me Your face,” but…
You keep showing us our hearts instead. We can’t even get the fundamentals right… the love You with all of our heart and to love our neighbors and ourselves… those… right there, those keep tripping us up from the Kingdom. You gave us the greatest commandment and I can only imagine Your face as we beg for more to follow.
Keep irrigating the wound so it can heal correctly somewhere… anywhere… everywhere…
Keep bringing us closer to where we should be instead of our cozy places. Only You can change the heart, but You also give us the free will to let You.
Keep my readers safe from all harm seen and unseen. Keep their minds clear and their hearts open to receive the Love you have so readily available to us all. Keep their ears open to hear Your voice and willing hands ready to serve.
In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
Be safe out there, Family. Peace & Thanks for listening. I love y’all. Have a great week! 💙
I have another shortstop for your week – actually, it’s for your whole season.
Right now, there’s a whiff of grind culture in the pollen-filled spring air that can lead you into a bowl of trickery. If you’re not careful, you’ll get swept in the undercurrent and end up dazed and confused before Thanksgiving.
So, that’s where I come in with the following no-fluff statement:
Don’t buy into the hype of jumping into something you’re not willing to work for.
Tis the season for starting new ventures, moving to new places, and dressing up in new clothes. Easter usually marks the tangible change from winter although the solstice is in March, yet as soon as the warmth of sunlight brushes over our shoulders, we get drunk off goals. The buzz of new beginnings hum around us and we start to make plans without consulting the Divine Compass.
Add dashes of “I’m going to do this!” and “I’m going to do that!” and the next thing we know, our to-do list is full of 30 things we vow to accomplish in one season. It sounds sexy and doable, but that’s where that trickery comes in.
Everything in your life wasn’t designed to be obtained in this way. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment on your list is learning how to listen to your children. Maybe it’s to draw a boundary between you and your work. Maybe it includes the creation of a solid self-care routine. Whatever it is, God wants quality over quantity. So, if you only accomplish that one thing, I promise Your Father will be just as proud of you.
This doesn’t deface the big bang items you want to accomplish. I am encouraging you to not get swept up in the spring air over overdoing it. Your life is worth more than long list. Your worth is more than your building blocks and you are not in competition with anyone. Be free in the Truth that you have nothing to prove to the world. So, scrub that to-do list and don’t make empty promises to yourself. Pray about your next steps, write down what you know, write down what you want, then go for it.
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
My prayer is that anxiety doesn’t overwhelm you and that you allow God’s Spirit to guide you and your to-do list. I’m doing the same because that undercurrent is a monster and I refuse to be on its menu.