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Wednesday Wind Down: Help and Hurt

Hi, Sweethearts!

Here’s a shortstop for your week. I hope it helps!

I work in two career paths that require interaction with people in vulnerable positions. As an educator, a student’s esteem can be elevated or obliterated in one assignment. During a massage therapy session, a disrobed client is trusting me to be knowledgeable, skillful, and respectful. In both seemingly non-related professions, I had to consider the same question: “How do you help them without hurting you?”

That’s the conundrum, right? In light of recent health precautions, many must consider this item for physical reasons, but I am challenging you to look at your relationships and pose the same question.

Familial: Do you have a social circle outside of your family? How do you refuel in order to pour out to them? Do you suffer from parental guilt when you’re not with your children?

Professional: Are you a workaholic? Do you need to reassess your work-life balance? Have you created an on/off switch for your work mode? (Trust me. There is one.  Celebrities and executives do it all the time.)

Personal: Do you have friends that only communicate with you when they need something? Are your bills behind because you keep loaning funds or playing taxi?

Be honest with God. Be honest with yourself. The lie is that if you don’t almost die in the process, then you didn’t give it your all. You didn’t truly sacrifice until you pass out trying. Let me help you, Sweetheart. Stop living (and almost dying) in that lie.

Every ounce of you does not need to be squeezed out before God honors your faith. There is rest. There is fun. There is help. Pour all of that into a beautiful mug of humanity and it will make the rewards of your relationships taste so much sweeter.

Here’s some Bible verses to guide you through those questions up there.

Stay balanced out there, Sweethearts. Remember… you should not be dying so others can live — Jesus already did that. I love you all!

 

Wednesday Wind Down: DNA

Hi, Sweethearts!

I had a thought this week and I hope it encourages you as it did me. I always say that what’s in you will come out of you. Let’s look at that from a biological perspective.

The famous double-helix of deoxyribonucleic acid. It’s a pretty cool construction of genetic material. Some genes are prominent while others seemingly appear out of nowhere such as eye and hair colors. Genes can also remain recessive and others express themselves loudly and proudly. Remember that Punnett square from biology class? That was one of my favorites in school.

punnett square khan academy
Courtesy of Khan Academy

Speaking of dominant vs. recessive, I recall times in class when I knew the answer but was discouraged to share it. You know how it is… it is easier to blend into academic cultures if you don’t seem like a know-it-all. How unfortunate that I was coerced to snuff my intellect to make my classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. I was ridiculously shy and my comfort in learning was never intended to create a shadow on those who I hoped to be friends with at some point in childhood. I felt that I studied the content, did the homework, and came prepared to share it with others. I just didn’t understand why they were so reluctant to share their thoughts too. What they didn’t know was that I was always nervous. Always afraid that I would be misunderstood. I also didn’t like the teacher standing there wanting someone to just show some effort and looking disappointed at the silence. Then came math class — my nemesis. I wasn’t so excited to share in that arena. I felt dumb and inadequate, but I still tried to express my desire to learn. After all, I still studied the content and still did the homework; I just wasn’t good at it, but I wanted the teacher to see that I tried. The life lesson I gleaned from my childhood was that dousing my abilities cost me peace. The less I allowed God to simply shine through who He made me to be, the more unrest and insecurity I experienced.

This week, God brought that back to my remembrance. The heaviness of hiding is such a difficult cloak to wear. God made us so beautifully different that it would be a discredit to his creativity to be anything else than yourself. Taking it a step further — my faith is part of my spiritual DNA. When Jesus died for me, His blood provided all the divine genetic material I need to walk confidently in faith. Sweethearts, allow your spiritual DNA to shine through just as strong as your natural one. Whether you’re a science wiz, nail polish lover, or welding enthusiast… be that. Own that. Flourish in that. If your spiritual gifts include hospitality, prayer, or influence… walk in that. Flourish in that too. Time’s up for decreasing what makes you exceptional.

I believe God’s grace is in my DNA. His loving fingerprints are all over my soul and I am unapologetic about that Truth. My chocolate skin can’t hide herself. My tone and texture are distinctive to my vocal cords. My faith has expressive DNA as well. I’ve been through the rounds and my scars have created a battle cry that I can’t suppress. So, oh well, if it makes others uncomfortable. I can not sit quietly when I know the Answer… and His name is Jesus.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I’m praying for you during this holiday season.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #30

Prayer: “JESUS!”

Sometimes, that’s all you have time to say. In a split second, your life could be in danger or you’re so far in despair that you can’t see a way out of your situation. In times like those, I learned that the name of Jesus IS a prayer. Let me tell you why.

We love justice. We love to see those that have wronged society get what they deserve. Since we were created by God, I believe his spiritual fingerprint is on our lives. So, that justice-seeking attribute, that is a God-like quality in the form of Jehovah El GemuwalThe LORD God of Recompense. Because this same standard applies to our wrongdoings, Jesus died and rose from the grave so we could be freed from the power and perpetual penalty of sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he provided the opportunity for freedom to be our lifestyle instead of a historical luxury for the affluent, lawful, and patriarchy. Take the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The law stated that she be stoned, but Jesus brought up a great point — that the law needed to apply to the accusers as well. He then pardoned the woman and told her to go and sin no more. That’s the power that I believe in. His name is like no other.

So, you best believe, when I only had that split second during a drive or doctor’s appointment, the only thing I could think to say was the name that I believe is above all names. Is it a magic trick where everything goes perfectly whenever I say it? Absolutely not. Bad things still happen; we see it every day on the news. I also know that in times when I could have had justice, I was given grace and that’s enough for me to keep believing… and praying.

I’ve enjoyed you this month and I hope that I’ve said something that will carry you into the new year. You have been exceptional company and I’m glad you chose to stop by my writing home this month. Next week, we’re back to the Wednesday Wind Downs.  See you then and stay safe out there.

Peace & Thanks for listening. *drop mic on #bloglikecrazy challenge*

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #28

Prayer: “Thank you so much for loving me back. I don’t know what I would do without You.”

Reciprocity of love is such a beautiful thing. I snuggle in it. When you extend yourself to someone and s/he does the same, it develops a level of unparalleled trust. That trust is then strengthened to a force that can never be broken.

That’s how I feel in my relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Trinity and that each form envelops me in Love in different ways… and there’s nothing like it. I appreciate the fact that in my faith, God loves me back. I could never return the same Love, but the Love I have is welcomed and appreciated. There’s an exchange between the Creator and me and it has formed a bond of trust that I can not denounce. I smile and I feel Him smile back. I look at nature and see a nurturing mother providing for her children. I show Love to people to sow into the spiritual connectivity of mankind. It encircles us all if we let it.

I pray that you experience reciprocity of Love as well. You deserve it. Hugs, kisses, warmth, all of it. I truly never feel unloved and you are worthy of the same Truth.

Peace, LOVE, and Thanks for listening, Sweetheart!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #14

Prayer: “Lord, please cover my words. I didn’t mean to say it like that. Just cover all of that, please. I’m so sorry. Let them know I didn’t mean it.”

I’ve said plenty of things that I didn’t mean. It may have come out of my mouth with a little more heat than I expected or it wasn’t as clear as the thought in my mind. Either way, I was put in a position where I couldn’t take it back or I couldn’t reach the person to fix it. Like a muddy pig, my words slipped out and there was no redeeming the moment.

One time, I was at an event where my team donated water. I mentioned over the mic that our water was cold and my team later tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that it could have been taken in a negative way… as if to throw shade at other water donors. That thought was the furthest thing from my mind when I said it and I couldn’t run back on stage to fix it. All I do was pray that prayer above. It may be small, but I never want to hurt anyone in word or deed — knowingly or unknowingly.

Sweethearts, it’s inevitable that your words will not adequately reflect your intent one day if it hasn’t already. I pray that you’re wise enough to own it and ask God for forgiveness. I’ve run into people that recalled me from an event and they had no clue what I was apologizing for. God always knows the heart. Remember that. And you’re not perfect. Remember that too. Just do your best to have a clear highway in your heart for God’s Love to always land.

prov 21.2

Peace & Keep Praying, Sweethearts. May God direct the words of us all and clarify our intentions toward each other.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #13

Prayer: “Lord, please help my friend.”

The worst feeling for me is wanting to provide assistance but something is blocking me from doing so. I’ve experienced blockages of both distance and spiritual directives when it came to those situations. There were times when I truly wanted to extend myself and God told me no. That hurt just as bad as not being physically present in their time of need. Now, my friends (and I don’t take that term lightly) know they can call me at any time. If I can, I will — they know that too, but what do you when your hands are tied? When you know that this is a lesson they have to learn on their own? When you want to do it for them, but you know it will handicap them instead? When you’re hundreds of miles away? I had to learn to release that control freak to God too.

I say this often — I’m not Jesus, but I do listen to Him. I can’t be everywhere for everybody. I can’t make every baby shower, wedding shower, bridal party, funeral, birthday party, retirement party, hospital stay, court hearing, church event… you get the point. Trust me, I tried and it was an exhausting lesson of my finite abilities. I had to make peace with that unfortunate truth and send prayers where my hands couldn’t reach. Sometimes, I’ve sent prayers and a PayPal blessing where my pockets permitted. Other times, I stopped what I was doing, tucked away in an empty classroom or closed the door to my office and interceded on their behalf. Whether through my hands or my lips, through a text message or through a hug, my friends are always on my prayer list and I have learned to let God move through me however he wishes in order to confirm His Love in their situation. I’ve gone through some doozies with my tribes, but they always appreciate prayer… and so do I.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! Keep praying for your friends and listening for your next steps! I love y’all!

#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: In The Middle

Good Evening, Sweethearts!

First, I acknowledge the survivors and families affected by the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I also acknowledge the first responders and volunteers that rescued and sacrificed themselves in the name of Love. I appreciate you and remember you forever.

Now, to the message at hand… a very direct one at that. It encouraged me so much Sunday and I pray that it reaches you too.

Watch this clip then read below.

Between here and heaven, you have an Intercessor (Jesus) and an Interpreter (the Holy Spirit). Liaisons that speak up and out when your silence needs a voice. When your tears are immutable forces flowing from your eyes and a wail is all you’ve got. I wasn’t in a sad space on Sunday, but a sweet surprise from a sister cracked open this hardworking vessel and my grateful heart cried out. This year has been a great lesson on how to throw my cares with a weight of faith tied to the end so it can sink in the bottom of worry. Each month, my throwing arm gets stronger and my Peace grows. All because my Intercessor knows how I feel and my Interpreter makes sense out of my jumbled emotions.

A huge part of my spiritual freedom is that I am not afraid to pray. I am not afraid to say the following:

“Lord, I’m scared.”
“God, this doesn’t make sense.”
“I don’t like this.”
“You are so awesome.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I need your help.”
“I don’t know what to say.”

Those are prayers that I release often into His lap. I am able to do so because I believe that I have an advocate in the middle of my words and eternity. Whether I’m excited or frustrated, I pray with vulnerability and confidence. God knows, Jesus prays, and the Holy Spirit guides. Because of that support, I am never afraid to share my innermost fears and expectations with my Creator. Just start the conversation and listen.

When you’re in the middle of whirlwinds and life events, remember that you have Someone that is in the middle with you. You are not alone. You are not desolate. You are not an island though you may feel like you’re standing on one. I can’t explain why bad things happen in the world other than everyone has volition and we are not robots programmed by God to be good and perfect beings. What I can say is that I have experienced supernatural comfort and intentional acts of kindness. I have felt arms around me when I felt afraid and an inexplicable amount of fortitude in times of need. I have awakened in the nick of time while driving and gotten a hug from a friend that merged my pieces back together. None of which I prayed for immediately prior to receiving… but I had a middle and I encourage you to put your middle to work too. Just like in the above video clip, those hands are on you too.

Peace & Love you, Sweethearts!

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