Here’s a shortstop for your week (500 words or less).
Seeds grow at different times.
I walked in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens recently and heard that in my spirit. It was like a gift I didn’t see coming. I looked around and saw all of the different types of trees, grasses, and flowers and noticed how harmoniously they lived together. I was in wonder enough, then that sentence dropped. Wow, I replied internally, that’s so true. We get so caught up on where everyone else is in life that we forget we’re seeds too and we are on separate timetables. There’s no race to the finish. No checkpoint to reach before our competition catches up. There’s not even competition around you – it’s in you. The more you focus on the growth track of those around you, you’ll stunt the growth in you… but I won’t digress. Let’s keep going. Here’s the next thing I heard.
We need to let a seed be a seed.
Seeds don’t grow into trees overnight. They take time and the right conditions. They require nutrients from the air and the soil. So that means we do too. Our environment affects our growth mindset – words said around us (air) and where we’re planted (soil). We must be patient with ourselves and each other because only God knows the timelines. He is the Master Gardener and He knows exactly what we need to grow to fill what is needed in this world. In the process, He also grows us up… and we can’t rush that. What parent looks at their children and say “Tommy, it’s March. Your sister learned to write her name in March, so you have until the end of the month.” Umm… nobody. Furthermore, you have some growing to do in an area that is probably behind someone that you know and love. We’re all seeds and I thank God that He knows what each seed needs for each season. I would totally messed this world up with too much water, sunlight, or something else. *lol*
I hope you’re having a good week. My prayer is that you are filled with pauses that make you wonder. They’re good for the soul. And if you’re in Alabama, visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It’s a beautiful place. The pictures in this post came from my camera.
I love y’all. Stay well out there. Peace & Thanks for listening!
I hope you’re doing OK out there. There’s a lot going on, so keep praying for each other. Like how you want someone to pray for you. 🙂 Here’s a short stop for your week.
There’s two things about messes that can make us better –
It’s in the mess that we realize what matters.
It’s the mess that makes us remember.
Whether we’ve made it or whether it happened to us, a mess in any stage in life is inevitable. A mistake at work, a car crash, a financial fiasco, a rough relationship… whatever it is, I bet it taught you something. I bet it gave you a clearer picture of what you want and what you don’t want. It created an opportunity to regroup and realign after you remember how you felt in it.
That’s because messes teach us lessons we need for the next chapter. They can cleanse impurities from our spirits and prepare us for the road ahead. They can extract what could destroy our futures. As terrible as they are, they make us better… if we allow them.
Ask the Lord about the messes. Pray for guidance to not repeat the mistakes. Engrave the lessons learned on your heart’s tablet. Allow the Peace of God to pour over the wound and set your eyes to being a better version of yourself.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there and you are loved!
We’ve been on the appreciation train and tonight we’re focusing on each other… but not quite how you think.
I was listening to a sermon on YouTube and the auto-playlist showed a clip about a celebrity divorce. I’m not into gossip, so I rolled past it. Then I went back to it and stared at the sensational title and description. I thought of how crippling it could be to have intimate details of your life dissected among the public and sprinkled with the hot sauce of opinion. I imagined it was me.
During my divorce process, my mother said one thing – “No one really knows what goes on in a marriage except the people in it.” It’s true. All of the highs and lows are stuck between you and your spouse. Even if children are involved, they host a non-marital point of view.
Mutual friends. Mutual places. Mutual memories. It all comes to a close.
You wonder if you’re still connected to the people you shared – What do they think of me? Are we not friends anymore? Will I get invited to the wedding, baby shower, birthday party…?
Eating at the same restaurant without them feels weird. There was flirting, dessert, a symphony of laughs… you’re used to being part of a pair. Events you both attended now feel like foreign soil, even if things ended on civil terms.
And the memories. No one prepares you for the flashbacks in your mind, body, and spirit. After all, you were one.
Some of those areas close abruptly while others commit to a slow (and sometimes awkward) burn. You’re open. Raw. And you’re still going to work, raising children, caring for a parent, and appearing “normal” while debriding parts of your life. Now, your name is changed (again), you have to learn a new morning routine, or you have to create a solid face each time you say “We’re no longer together.”
What if the intimate details of your life were on display for millions to watch and reply? Then those persons demanded to be updated about each step without regard for the crackling sound of your heart breaking seconds at a time.
What if they captured your tears on camera and replayed your exposed emotions on their hand-held screens? Then tell you that you’re required to filet your wounds because you’re a public figure.
Did I also mention that your body is constantly being dissected according to its best and worst parts? Yeah… because your photo is always up for the taking. And your hair and makeup better be perfect.
I want you to sit with that amount of emotional exposure for a minute. No wonder some burn under the limelight and seek seclusion at any chance. The thought of people digging into the season of my divorce makes me shudder. Seriously. Though it was amicable, it was still a tender time in my life.
If we can respond to the invasion of Ukraine with a high level of compassion (prayers continued to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters and visitors of the country), certainly we can spread it to others during sensitive times.
Be gentle with people going through divorces, especially public figures. Let’s grow from being messy school kids gossiping in the social media cafeteria. It’s depreciating and we can do better. There are delicate emotions involved that should be handled with care. Before you comment under that post or upload the meme, put your face in there. See your child’s face there. Imagine your parent’s name there. Now think of Jesus. Remember His compassion and our charge to treat each other with value. That’s the center of appreciation.
I love the second definition of appreciation from Merriam-Webster – increase in value. Something increases in value when it is preserved over time and with distinct effort. It’s been protected, catalogued, and gently handled. It was valuable upon creation, but its value increases with consistent care. The more fingerprints, the less value. Family, don’t be the excess fingerprints that decrease a person’s sense of value. Be uplifting. Say encouraging words. Pray earnestly… and not out of what you want but out of what God says is healthy for their lives.
Love will forever be an action word. How can we say we Love God and not express Love to each other? How can we Love people we do not know and not the ones we do? We should handle each other carefully, with grace and Love. Every day. No matter what they look like or where they live. No one is required to update their status to soothe your itch for details. No price is high enough to demand answers when someone is restructuring their reality.
My prayer is that someone appreciates you in your current season. If things are going well, I pray they raise their arms with you in celebration. If things are not so great, I pray they elevate your heart with compassion and walk through the mud with you. And if you’re a celebrity/public figure reading this, my prayers are with you always. It takes a lot to be where you are, so I pray God reminds you that you are more valuable than your gift. I pray you feel the blanket of His Love every day, no matter the chatter at the lunch table.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
I have one question for you tonight – how are you healing?
If you’ve been around for a while, you know I am a work-in-progress when it comes to the physical healing patience. I can deliver dishes of grace and empathy to family, friends, and strangers yet when it comes to myself, the plate is usually empty.
Part of refining your spirit is God teaching you about your design and I’ve been listening a lot about mine this year. Self-care begins to expand into understanding what you need versus what you think you need. It is asking God for the blueprint of your awesomeness so you can learn how to maintain it.
If you’re like me, this isn’t an easy ask. It feels weird. Healing is an enigma only the superhuman and uber-holy obtain… at least that what I’ve always told myself. It was unreachable. Prayer of all kinds still rendered surgeries, medicine, and bills.
Was I “less saved” than my sister or brother on the same church row? Did I not believe enough? Did I even have time to heal with all the work I had to do? How long could I be evasive before a progress report on how “better” I felt was due?
It took my aunt passing away and disheartening medical news colliding within 24 hours to humble my inner superwoman this year. I had a break between clients and a broken heart. Right then, I asked myself the following question:
What do I need right now?
My answers were warmth and comfort. The manifestation was a muffled sob wrapped in a serape blanket and silent ringtone topped with a nap. I needed that moment to make it through the rest of the day. It didn’t cure anything, but it was a balm on my open wounds.
It also led to me creating a healing plan for my surgery recuperation so depressive thoughts wouldn’t drown my hope. I needed to uproot those old questions that curated anxiety and plant seeds of self-care… proactive self-care. So, I added two questions to my aerated heart in preparation for the healing journey ahead.
What brings me comfort?
Who makes me feel loved?
The first question forces you acknowledge your present need and dull the noise around you. The second question ushers comfort into your hurting space. The third question allows Love to walk with you during the process, helps you to eliminate the fake stuff, and stretches your ability to receive.
Lately, these three questions have created a divine blanket around me physically and spiritually. I rest without guilt. I let the Holy Spirit guide my day. I practice expressing what I need. I bare my weakness before God and He comforts me. Burying my frailty in my faith did not serve me well, so I offer my brokenness with trembling hands if necessary. I pray with a certain rawness that only my heavenly Father can understand. And this is all part of my healing plan.
Before I head to bed, I’ll give you (us) another note of encouragement that I recently heard in my spirit. Christians love to quote 2 Corinthians 12:9 but they don’t like being weak (me included… I’m working on it). The only way to receive the miraculous power mentioned in this verse (see Greek interpretation) is to be in a state of humble acceptance. To be empowered and infused is to be open enough to let Love in. Pride blocks healing. Pride blocks the infusion. Pride says “I don’t need help… I don’t need to heal because I’m not hurt.” Pride essentially says “I don’t need Love.” All of which leads us to walking wounded in phantom armor we’ve built to protect our pain.
When we are intentional with our healing, as I am learning to be, we admit that we need the power of God to be whole. So, I ask you again – how are you healing?
Stay well out there and pray about your plan. Peace & Thanks for listening!
Thanks for joining me for the first entry of the See Jane Write #blogbetter challenge (formerly #bloglikecrazy)! That Friday surprise didn’t work out, but it’s coming! Until then, here I am with a Tuesday post instead of a Wednesday, so let’s chat a minute!
One of the hardest things to do is to accept the truth after lying to yourself. Your cozy chrysalis breaks open and you’re exposed to the air. Truthful, piercing air. The kind of experience that creates a huge breath of freedom. That’s how the following lessons arrived in my life and I’m so glad they did.
📝LESSON #1 – Stop expecting others to act like you.
Have you found yourself caring about someone and not experiencing reciprocity? Same here. Sweet gestures simply weren’t enough to crack the code to their heart space. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is platonic or romantic, it hurts. I pray those moments do not happen often for you, but when they do, remind yourself of Lesson #1 – Stop expecting others to act like you.
You may extend yourself in ways that others do not. It doesn’t mean that your heartstrings are defective. It doesn’t mean you are too nice, too helpful, too considerate… too anything. I’ve heard it all and worn all the stickers.
You are you for a divine purpose on this Earth. They are them; you are you. Separate what God tells you to do from who they are and how they may receive it. Once you get that Truth serum in your spirit, the heartbreak of caring for others will start to melt. When you do something for someone and you only hear from them when they need something (you know how that goes), it will hurt less over time. You’ll remember the reason for your extension of Love is just that… Love. Every time I have extended Jesus’ hands to someone, God has always returned that Love to me somehow. The law of the harvest is not a lie. The pain from not receiving the Love you give can cause your heart to rot; it’s not worth it. God made that heart to hug others, so let it flow… unapologetically.
Quick Sidebar: The crazy thing about this lesson is that it applies to petty people too. You may dish out gossip, but that doesn’t mean the other party will do the same. Let that prick your petty heart the next time you mistreat someone.
📝LESSON #2 – Your words will outlive you.
When someone dies, the first warmth I feel is from their words. Whatever they said, I grasp on and hold tightly, pulling that blanket up to my chin then over my head to bathe in their presence. I remember moments, not things. Even if I hold an item of theirs, their words and the moments flood me. If words are so potent, it is imperative that we leave as many good ones behind as possible. Those are the kind of seeds I want to be remembered by.
📝LESSON #3 – Progress isn’t pretty.
Perfection is cute. It has a nice little bow and a sweet fragrance. It beams beneath the limelight of filtered social media posts. Perfection is what we aspire to obtain, but what you really need is progress. She is treated like the ugly stepsister when she’s really the star.
Progress isn’t pretty but she’s necessary. When you see an artist’s work or an athlete’s performance, you may not see Progress. She usually brings a cocktail of sweat, tears, financial stress, doubt, with a splash of dreaming on the rocks. All of that stuff in that glass may taste terrible, but just like medicine (not the cocktail up there), it will make you better. Progress improves us on the way to excellence. So, drink up!
📝 LESSON #4 – There are people in the Bible just like me.
One of the best lessons I learned is that every feeling I have felt has been felt by someone in the Bible. If I’m frustrated, I can read about David or Job. If leadership is feeling a little heavy, I can read about Moses and Joshua. When I feel like a mountain is in front of me, I can read about Jesus.
The Bible is not an archaic book of fiction to me. It hosts examples for my everyday life, examples of people that were fragile just like me… examples of imperfection, love, and miracles wrapped up in one place. Reading about their experiences helps me see myself when times are difficult.
Peace & Blessings, Family! As always, thank you for listening!
Were any of these lessons helpful to you? Let me know in the comments and on social media (when I post it there later today). Stay well out there and I love you!
I hope you slept well last night. Sammy and I were knocked out. I prayed for you before I went to bed and this sentiment floated to the surface of my spirit from earlier in the day –
Either way, I win.
Let that roll around your current status for a minute and say it to yourself if you have to.
Either way, I win.
So, I am having surgery in a couple of weeks and an evil thought crept up recently. “What if you die on the table? You could lose a lot of blood.” Just as rudely as it walked up to my pretty bubble of peace, I snapped back. “Either way, I win,” I said aloud without flinching. I said it so fast that while my spirit was resolved, my mind was like “Wait… what did you just say?” This conviction was coming from a woman that used to be afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid of dying. I would clean the house because I was scared that if I died, someone would gossip about my tidiness. Have you ever had those thoughts? Weird, I know, but we keep it real around here, right? Right!
That response, that level of confidence is a new but comfortable space for me in this season and it doesn’t just apply to this physical body. When someone says something off color to me or treats me negatively, I’m developing this same attitude in those spaces like a thick layer of smooth leather over cool steel. On the outside, it may look like the word or deed damaged me to the core but it didn’t. I’m covered. I have layers now.
Whether you speak life or speak ill of me, I win. That’s just a little fertilizer, I say to myself. Thank you, Sandpaper, I say quietly to an offensive person. Either way, I win because I grow in Love and wisdom. Either way, my armor is strengthened and I develop into a better version of myself. I don’t have to fear the pendulum’s sway from left to right. I win. If I die during surgery (I pray that I don’t, but still…), I leave this earth with Love on my mind and memories of the same through beautiful relationships. There is no one in my circle that doesn’t know how I feel about them. I have done my absolute best to allow the Love of Christ to transform, expand, then spill out of me. I will see my Creator and I believe I will see loved ones I’ve missed. If I wake up in post-op, I still win because the journey continues toward more enriching experiences. More opportunities to spread Love on this planet. I’m with Paul on this one when he talks in Philippians 1.
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
How’s your side of the planet? How was/is your day? I snatched a nap under a pretty tree that made me smile, so that’s a win. We made it to another week, so that’s a win too. 🙂
This week’s wind down may sting a bit, OK? Cool.
Remember when you finally completed a math problem only to hear “Check your work” from the teacher? Math wasn’t my strong subject, so I checked my work repeatedly to the point of obsession. As for the “check your work” mantra, it’s applicable in more than academic arenas. I believe God is encouraging us to do that very thing during this pandemic season.
What do I mean? I’m glad you asked. 🙂
Sunday is a fellowship day for many Christians. We sing songs of praise, ask the love of Jesus to saturate our lives, and pray for expedited miracles. We exhort, cry, and pledge to be more like the One who saved us. We review teachings of Christ, catch up with fellow church members, and proceed into the week after a hearty Sunday dinner (which really happens at lunch time, but I digress). Unfortunately, the rest of that week brings a slew of words that do not exemplify the very thing we commemorated on Sunday. I’ve heard the following commentary while frolicking in the public on a Sunday afternoon or during a workday:
“That’s what’s wrong with America… they just let anybody in.” “The Mexicans are taking over.” “They need to go back to their own country.” “They come here illegally and get away with it.” “Well, I did it and so can they. We got to stop giving handouts.”
Sidebar: That’s one of my pet peeves when discussing social issues. Say who you mean instead of shooting “they’s” and “them’s” around folks like stray bullets.
Now, I could dissect those statements better than a frog in a high school biology class, but I won’t. My point is that we have ethereal (or ritual) experiences on Sunday and barrage a group of people with the same tongue that blessed God. We can’t possibly think that is OK.
Here’s how God sounds in my creative mind –
“So, you don’t like them, huh? You don’t want them to live next to you? They’re fine until they date your son or daughter? That’s right… you don’t see color and love everybody. Yeah, I heard that line last week. Prove it. Love them like you love yourself.”
You know I believe the Word of God applies to real life, so check out James 1:26.
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
James 1:26, The Holy Bible, New Living Translation
That’s straight from the brother and former mocker of Jesus. James, who saw his resurrected brother, says your claims of faith are worthless if you don’t control your tongue. Since the tongue expresses what it is in the heart, there lies the reason to “check your work.” To check the work of your hands and make sure it matches the beat of your heart… the heart that celebrates Christ on Sundays.
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and I’ve been reflecting on the grit it takes to be Hispanic and Latinx in America. To be born here and assumed to be born elsewhere. To be bilingual or to speak broken English the best you can. To navigate homogeneous spaces where you may not be welcome. To be stereotyped as being less than a contributing member to society. To be mislabeled as a non-citizen when you have your credentials. To serve in this country’s military while waiting on citizenship approval. Remember that commentary up there? Does that sound like Sunday? Does that sound like the love of Jesus?
If you need a starting point, here are three quick items that may need a checked.
Everyone that “looks Mexican” is not Mexican. Beware of this assumption.
Everyone that “looks Mexican” is not beneath your social class.
If you can appropriate it, you can learn about it and honor it properly (food, music, holidays, etc.).
When we say we want Jesus to be in our lives, that means all of it… especially our habits. I know they’re comfortable, but they aren’t traits of Who we worship.
Check your words. Check your work. Check your heart.
I wanted to share four verses that may help you get through this week or this season. Think of them as vitamins for your spiritual immune system. You may be taking a hit between current events, homeschooling your kids, caregiving for a loved one, or juggling work deadlines. Your spiritual armor may have a few dents in it and that’s OK. That means you’re fighting. That means you’re surviving. That means you’re winning. So, let’s power up a little. There’s nothing wrong with taking your vitamins.
“But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.” – Psalm 59:16 NLT
When we drench ourselves in Love, He makes our hearts impenetrable to anything that looks otherwise. It’s a way to gear up with what’s true instead of the fiery darts melting away your joy. Clothe yourself in what’s true. Armor yourself with the Truth that you are loved. Reach out to someone that loves you to circulate that superpower.
2. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
His bowels were hanging out. They had beaten him beyond recognition. He wasn’t as white and clean as we’ve seen in pious paintings. He was bloody and his hair was matted from to his scalp underneath the crown of thorns. After all, when blood dries, it isn’t glamorous. Jesus knew what it was like to be deemed inferior, yet He tells his disciples to take heart because He already overcame the world… before He is arrested to die for it (John 18). You have the right to take heart too. I promise.
3. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
It’s hard to look someone in the eyes and know s/he/they are lying to you. It’s frustrating to explain why you’re wearing your protective mask when it seems obvious. It can make you angry when someone refuses your help. So, let me help you, Sweetheart. You’re fighting a spiritual battle. The quicker you remember that, the less those darts will hurt. Does this mean you’ll be invincible? No. It means you won’t let those darts stick because you’ll separate the person you love from the behavior you hate.
4. “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10
Boost your spirit with wisdom. Now, in order to that, humility must come with you. To gain wisdom, you have to admit that you are not all-knowing. Pride damages armor. What a foolish decision for a soldier to run in front of a formidable straight line of opponents without protection. This is how we look when we leave wisdom behind to pursue items on our own accord. Like the Word says, sharpen your ax. When the ax is sharp, the skill is able to shine.
Well, Sweethearts, I hope these vitamins help you go a little further on your journey. I love each and every one of you, so if you ever feel like you’re drowning in your situation or that your suffocating under the “I’m fine” syndrome, call the number — 800-273-8255. Counselors are available 24/7.
Peace & Blessings! Thank you for listening and stay well out there!
Yep, I said it. I know people want to cancel 2020, throw it in the trash, and light a match, but I believe we need to be preparing for a shift. A good one.
A shift toward a better version of ourselves.
A shift to drop the weights that easily veer us off the purpose path (Hebrews 12:1)
A shift to receive the love we deserve
A shift to throw away procrastination so we can level up our businesses
A shift to collaborate in uplifting families and communities
September is the perfect time to write down what you want to leave behind and notate what you want and who you want to become. Why? Because it’s before the holiday rat race when work and home tug at you on both ends. Take 5 minutes on your lunch break or pull over during your commute and write it down… unfiltered. Give yourself the grace to change. Grace to evolve. You do have the ability to shift into another gear.
I know I am… and it feels good. It feels right. It feels holy.
I’m praying for your shift, Sweethearts. I pray that you do not lose hope in whatever situation you are in. I pray that you continue to dream, build, and rest. I believe your shift is coming and it starts with you.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there! I’m rooting for you!