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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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love

Wednesday Wind Down: Appreciate Each Other

Hi, Family!

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.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

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.”

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

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.

Courtesy of Youversion – The Bible App

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!

Share this reminder!

Wednesday Wind Down: Appreciate Your Attributes

Hi, Family!

How are you? I hope you’re doing well out there.

I missed connecting with you while I was out. It feels good to be on an upswing and back on the page.

I thought about what I would say and the only thing that kept resurfacing was love, more specifically how to love yourself. Yes, Valentine’s Day is approaching, but that doesn’t mean that all of the love has to pour out and leave you behind. Plus, it sounds great, but sometimes you need night lights to lead you in the best direction.

Loving myself has been a journey with several moving pieces. I loved the parts that I loved, but it took work over the years to love the parts that were quirky, annoying, and confusing. When I was child, a constant question was “Lord, why did you make me like this?” I didn’t hate myself, but I disliked the parts that didn’t make sense to me. Being in what Jane Fonda calls the “second act” of life – between 30 and 60 years of age – has brought with it a deeper sense of self. A deeper understanding of what makes me an exceptional Creation of God. A sweeter Peace that passes all understanding.

In January, there’s natural talk about goals, developing new habits, healthy decisions, new career moves… things you will activate in the new year. I want you to consider a February resolution – to embrace every part of yourself.

My challenge is for every month of the year, I want you to locate and ask God to illuminate part of your design – your purposeful DNA, your spiritual architecture. If once a month is too daunting, just start with this month and see how it goes. You may even focus on the same attribute for a while. That’s OK. It’s not about quantity here; it’s about the quality of self you were designed to live with.

Courtesy of my YouVersion Bible App

In your stillness, ask “OK, what is it about me that you made that is meant to multiply? What is it about me that is meant to elevate this world before I leave?” Maybe it’s your ability to make others feel comfortable in your presence or your ability to navigate difficult situations. Maybe when you hug people, they feel comforted. It could be your expressive nature that empowers others to lift their hearts, their voices, and their actions. Whatever it is, it’s important. It’s vital to this life down here.

We are often asked to cherry-pick our attributes and sometimes they bleed into stressful situations. I believe there is more than one thing that is awesome about you and I’m asking for you to begin learning how to love all of them. All of you. Starting this month.

Notice your design. Notice your stellar nature. Notice how God carefully created you.

While I pray nothing bad happens to bring out your awesomeness, the truth is crap happens. And sometimes it happens in clusters, to good people, at inconvenient moments, etc. So, if you naturally give comic relief in sensitive moments, embrace that. The more you illuminate how God made you and recall how He sees you, it will strengthen you when feel like you don’t have purpose and that you aren’t fearfully and wonderfully made. Because you really are.

My prayer is that you see yourself as different pieces that make up a mosaic, a beautiful piece of art… and I say that intentionally because we’re all a piece that’s designed to work together (1 Corinthians 12). Instead of boxing yourself as being one-dimensional or ordinary, I would like for you to ask God to show you what He made.

I love y’all! Peace & Thanks for listening!

Sunday Special: Processing

Happy Sunday, Family!

I hope you had the weekend you needed!

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I’ll be honest with you (because we keep it authentic around here), I was unsure how it would go this year. There was a nervousness attached to it because this has been a season of processing a pendulum swing of intensities.

I gained wisdom.
I lost 8 loved ones due to death.
I acquired insight.
I lost a dream.
I gained stronger relationships.
I lost ties I thought I had.
I developed a deeper love for myself.

Sweet and bitter. That was the mix I couldn’t bypass. I tried, but it didn’t work. I screamed in both victory and in anguish this year and frankly, the velocity of the pendulum swing was nauseating. As we speak, I cried tears of appreciation and grief in less than 5 minutes. So, I paused, prayed, made some hot tea, and returned to writing this post. A post for processing smiles and frowns and to let you know you are not alone.

It’s OK to be excited about a new home, new family member, or new career venture, and yet be nervous your stewardship of it. I’m crazy enough to believe that God can handle that dichotomy of emotions.

Processing on a work day…
…and on a rest day.

You may not be finished processing everything, and that’s OK too. It truly is. Don’t let anyone stamp an expiration date on your journey; only God knows when and how. The Holy Spirit can walk you through a season until it is digested and He’ll even give you certain hands to hold along the way.

I also want to stand with you and say “You made it.” You made it through one of the most intimate holidays of the year! Keep breathing through the rough patches and celebrating the good parts. That’s what Christianity truly is. It’s giving God our broken pieces instead of hiding them and it’s appreciating His divine communion as we take one step at a time.

Process it, Family. Everything doesn’t bounce off you and everything shouldn’t stick to you either. Digest as you need it so you won’t be imprisoned by it. That’s what I’m doing… and it’s working.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I love y’all and stay well out there!

Written in honor of Alana, Kevin, Courtney, George, Mrs. Packer, Brian, Aunt Janice, Mr. Larry, Deacon Welch, Daddy Wade. I am so grateful to have experienced this life with you. You will forever be missed.

Wednesday Wind Down: What’s the Plan?

Hi, Family!

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.

Until now.

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.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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!

Thursday Love: Either Way

Good Morning, Family!

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!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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.

Philippians 1:20 NLT

Either way, I win.

Either way, you can win too. It’s like what a member of the transient community said to me one day – “I’m blessed any way the wind blows.”

Say these phrases at work, at home, and anywhere else you need it. Once they stand tall in your soul, so will you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: I Love Me Some You!

Hi, Family!

While I do “love me some you,” I wrote that phrase as an example of how you should talk to yourself. Here’s a short stop for your week.

When was the last time you spoke kind words to yourself?

If it’s been a while, try these truths.

  1. I am a masterpiece.
  2. I am a blessing.
  3. My breath has meaning.

Tonight’s post is a quick reminder that being kind to yourself is vital to your health. Like a relaxing shower, speaking love over yourself is what you need after defending your worth in various arenas. It’s the medicine you can’t depend on anyone else to give you except God.

Maybe you’re wondering why I said “some.”

The colloquialism “I love me some you” is expressed when you can’t get enough of someone and you love to swim in their presence. The truth is most folks need a little time to love all of themselves. All of the ugly parts. The unfinished places. The scrapes and bruises. The dark corners. It takes the unmatched Love of God to love all of that and multiply that Love among others. Until that time comes, I encourage you to look in the mirror and say positive things. Start with one sentence if you have to – one word even. Say sweet words your soul can eat. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, but it needs to be real. A real step in forming a healthy habit.

Look at yourself and speak the Truth to you. That you were made by an incredible Love this universe can not contain but left undeniable proof in the form of your awesomeness.

Here’s to you smiling at you. Sooner than later.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I love you and stay well out there. Inside and out. 🙂

What’s a truth that you can or would like to speak to yourself?

Wednesday Wind Down: Fruit

Hey, Family!

Can you believe it’s October? Y’all… we made it to October. I’m going to pause and celebrate that with you. *fist bump* Here’s a short stop (500 words or less) for your week.

I’ve been on a fruit kick lately… as in the study of how fruit multiplies itself.

Elementary school gave us the following basics, right?

seed -> sprout -> bush, tree, or vine -> flower, bud -> fruit

But we know the story doesn’t end there. Inside of that fruit is more seed to keep the process going. To perpetuate what began. I always found that part fascinating… how God placed that law in motion at the beginning of time and it continues to this day. Strawberries make more strawberries. Oranges make more oranges. Bananas produce more bananas and we are not surprised. We expect the fruit to multiply, but not just multiply more fruit… we expect it to multiply itself.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

When you read and hear the Word of God, a seed of Life becomes available for the soil in your spirit. Maybe it’s a word of hope, faith, love, encouragement… whatever the type, it is a viable, living seed that is divinely designed with spiritually-genetic code. It was created to multiply just as God’s Word did during the Creation. It was destined to die in the soil and germinate in your heart so fruit can burst forth in your life. Seeds die so they can produce what is within. In that unsuspecting seed is a tree full of more than we can imagine and someone somewhere needs that fruit.

My thought for us is to remember the purpose of our seeds. Remember there is fruit in them. In every Bible verse you read, there is fruit waiting to happen. Goodness waiting to multiply. Love waiting to be shared. Hope waiting to be held. In each Word you hear, you have the opportunity to multiply it everywhere you go.

Everywhere.

Here’s the question – what are you planting around you? If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you may remember a #bloglikecrazy post or a Wednesday Wind Down about this topic. I’m passionate about it because it affects everything around us. The very air we breathe can carry remnants of positive or negative fruit from a previous conversation. So, I encourage you to multiply the fruit of God’s spirit as much as you can. It’s a struggle sometimes, I know… for real… but we can do it. We were built for growth, after all, we’re made from the Earth. *shrug*

So, sprinkle those seeds of temperance in the office. Place a seed of self-control in your home tomorrow. Throw a seed of kindness in the grocery store. It won’t go to waste… I promise. Seeds never die without purpose. At the very least, they can’t say they didn’t see a Seed in you.

I love you all and I’m praying for you. Stay well out there.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Thursday Love: Serve It Up

Hi, Family!

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.”

The gall!

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.

Courtesy of my Bible app. Thanks, YouVersion.

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’m praying for you all. Always! You got this!

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Pick One

Hi, Family!

I hope your day went or is going well (shout out to our international family members).

I heard a Word in my Spirit over the weekend and I am so excited to share it with you!

Let’s look at half of one of my favorite passages – Psalm 1.

Psalm 1:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)

(1) Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (3) He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers.

OK, so I want to highlight the “sit in the seat of the scoffers” part. What is a scoffer? According to dictionary.com, it is a person who speaks derisively; ridicules; mocks; jeers. Isn’t that happening right now over various topics? Sure it is! The phrasing indicates that the man doesn’t sit in their seat. He doesn’t get comfortable in barbaric conversations where love and listening are not welcome. He doesn’t delight in mocking others. That’s not where he lives; it’s not where he thrives. He does not breathe there.

This passage came to mind after I heard the following in my spirit over the holiday: They want a religion that will not change them.

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

Whoa.

I paused what I was doing and let the gravitas float in the air. The Holy Spirit was spot on (per usual) and I shook my head in disappointment.

Although Sunday is deemed a sacred day in many communities, I believe it became more ritualistic than life-changing. This was never the intent. Never in the Plan. I truly believe the upside of the pandemic is that this comfy church blanket was ripped from our hands and more importantly from our internal dictionaries. When we couldn’t go to an edifice, we had to create space in our homes for Christ to inhabit. We had to sit with ourselves or with our families, pause some duties, and cultivate intimacy in our belief systems. More importantly, we had to create space in our hearts.

Let’s go back to Psalm 1:1-3. The only way for that man to be like a tree is to have a consistent supply of nutrients. He meditates day and night on what will foster growth. The tree is planted by water and the last time I checked, trees have all sorts of things crawling and growing around them, but they keep being a tree. They keep rising, sometimes growing against seemingly impossible odds. They grow. They bear fruit. They release leaves. They do what they were created to do.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

Are we the man in the passage or are we stuck in the ritualism of our faith with no intention of growing – attending church events with no appetite for the Word to purify our lives?

Even David mentions a similar frustration in Psalm 4:2“O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?”

Now check out Proverbs 15:12“A scoffer doesn’t love to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.”

As believers, we can’t want the highlights of our faith without the grittiness of growth. What the world ends up seeing is a group of hypocrites scorning them, which is actually closer to the origin of the Hebrew word for “scoffer” used in Psalm 1.

Not Love.
Not Wisdom.
Not Correction.

Scorn.

So, the latest additions to my prayer life have been the following:

“Lord, I don’t want to be in the way of someone seeing You.”
“Growth is a continuous expectation. Let me be at peace with the process.”
“I have an appetite for Your Word to live in me.”

Some years back, I picked one. I picked life. I picked growth. I picked the streams of water that channel the Love of Christ into my spirit over getting into petty debates about mask wearing and vaccines (Family, remember what I always say – it’s not worth the neurons. I picked the opportunity to not be a living thing that does not grow.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

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