Uncategorized

I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

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book review, Men, Women

Be Brave

I’ve been reading 100 Days to Brave: Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self by Annie F. Downs. Little did I know that this was the devotional I needed to be reading. I had searched through many devotionals on a website looking for the one with the “x” factor. Maybe it was the word Brave that stood out to me or the gold accent on the cover? Either way I instinctively knew courage was what I was after. Not that I’m a scaredy cat or live in fear of everything – because I don’t. My whole life is out of my comfort zone and I can look back on my life and see many times I have been brave. I can also look back on my life and see the many times I was not brave. I let insecurity and doubt shut me down. I can also look at my day to day, week to week life and see where I am not stepping up and out. I know God has many things planned for me on the other side of insecurity and doubt.

In the 100 Days to Brave, Annie challenges us to discover what our calling is and narrow it down into one sentence. I had been entertaining an idea like this but it’s been called a personal mission statement. It’s a statement that will give you purpose and direction for your life. Of course, I have over analyzed any idea I’ve had of what the statement would be. So when I read this challenge my brain went to work. For days it was in my peripheral but nothing came to the fore front. I’m called to… I’m called to….? On that Sunday right after worship at church, it came to me.

I’m called to… fortify the weak.

Fortify means to strengthen a place with defensive works so as to protect it against attack, strengthen or invigorate someone mentally or physically.

I reflected on this and could see how over the course of life (so far) I’ve done this in the positions I’ve held in and out of the workplace and within friendships. With a recipe of truth, compassion, and sass I’ve validated and challenged others in the most sensitive times in their life. Whether advocating for others in a court room or meeting, certifying that someone is not crazy for the how they’ve mismanaged their childhood trauma, offering effective solutions for other’s dilemmas, helping someone discern between the truth and a lie, not welcoming the status quo. I’ve heard many times from friends “you make me feel like I’m not crazy.” I used to think – people frequently feel crazy?

This doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I’m far from it. Hearing from the Holy Spirit what my calling is opens up my mind.

The other day I was also thinking of my assignment. I’ve decided there is a difference between your calling and your assignment. Your calling is your purpose. Your assignment is how you are to carry it out.

About a year or more ago, I felt this impression on me that I’m not assigned to minister to those in the church building. I’m not saying this absolves me from any serving that I am to do in my home church. I do serve in a couple of ways. However, there was a distinction I made regarding those already attending church and those lost in the world that don’t even believe they are worthy of salvation, even entering a church building any day of the week. Those so far gone they won’t attend a service or even dare ask God for anything. Those are the people I am assigned to.
I am to be the one that goes into the cave with a flashlight of the Gospel to meet people where they are in their deepest pit. I am to be a light that shines on them while we speak. A light that intrigues them. And when I walk freely out of the cave they’ll want to follow.

I’m drawn to the darkness, not to live but to rescue.

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For the past 10 years, my resume is filled with a variety of jobs. Topics of trauma, philosophies of care, emotional intelligence, trafficking, disorders & diagnoses, physical restraints, juvenile justice, criminology, addiction, self-harm, stages of change, abuse & neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, CPS, probation, homelessness, and more – all saturate my mind every day. I see the world through these lenses.

I didn’t actually ask for this.

I’ve always been obsessed with the WHY.

Why do people do what they do?
What makes a criminal a criminal?
Why do people choose to do wrong?
How are they different from anyone else?

The Why is often a hard red pill to swallow. We are broken. We are fumbling in the dark with a blindfold on and ear plugs in. As Christians we are to introduce people to the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 tells us there are two frequencies – flesh and blood, dark world –AND- rulers, authorities, spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

Most people function in the flesh and blood. Everything changes when you tune into Heaven. You become acutely aware of the over developed disease of evil. You should be able to see and hear the enemy roaring, strangling and killing souls.

There are many theories out there, you can spend a lot of money hearing about them, taking exams and writing dissertations on them.

The ills of society, the brokenness of people won’t be answered by theories or a national organization or by a federal program. Those systems can bring awareness to the symptoms but they have no concrete solution.

The solution is Jesus Christ. When Jesus became my Lord, His ministry was put before me.

Love them and lead them back to me.

Loving like Jesus isn’t hard, loving like a human is hard because no one will meet our conditions 100/100.

God has given us special people to love.
-the homeless
-the unborn
-the military
-the developmentally disabled
-the sick
-those trapped in modern day slavery
-pedophiles, rapists
-pimps and johns
-children
-addicts, dealers
-parolees, probationers, felons, death rowers
-those in hospice
-post-abortive mothers and fathers
-the suicidal, the homicidal
-the abused, the raped
-the unseen and unheard
-the invisible

They are everywhere at all times. Your assignment is who God told you to love intimately and fiercely.

Ask Him right now. Who do you want me to love? Show me how to love them well. If you have yet to identify who God wants you to love, you are living in rebellion.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
-Matthew 22:36-40

You don’t want to face God and tell him that you spent your lifetime unburdened for the souls of others. You had an extra ticket to Heaven but you threw it in the trash. Be brave and send out invites on behalf of the Bridegroom.

 

Related Reading:

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs.

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Transformation, Uncategorized

21 Before 21

As the year comes to a close in just a few days,  I thought I’d share 21 things I wish I knew before I was 21. What would I tell my younger self?

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1. Cockiness is not Confidence. Humble yourself.

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2. Don’t spend money you don’t have (credit cards, buying things before paying bills).

3. Guys will use you,

4. If you let them.

5. The bad boy is not who you want to marry and have kids with.

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6. You will need your friends.

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7. Trust God, not the world.

8. You don’t have to try so hard [titles, status, guys].

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9. Don’t give away your power. The worst times in your life are a direct result of giving away your power.

10. Feminism is a lie. An imitation. True female empowerment comes from Heavenly places.

11. Living solo is great.

12. There is a plan. God’s plan. You’ll take many detours, but God will always redirect you.

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13. Stop hiding your feelings

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14. and Stop trying to play it cool.

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15. You can depend on others, it doesn’t mean that you’re incompetent. Ask for help.

16. You’re ENOUGH.

17. You do want to get married, stop lying.

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18. People like you for you. Stop thinking you’re weird.

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19. Don’t let anyone come between your peace and joy.

20. God is not afraid to hurt your feelings.

21. When it doubt call Mom or Dad.

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In case you forgot what 2005&2006 felt and sounded like, here’s are some of my jams from back in the day! Proceed at your own risk LOL!





*Bonus* All you need to know about the old me can be experienced in these two albums!
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I could have saved this girl a lot of trouble… 5/15/06
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I’d love to hear from you! What would you tell your younger self?

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Journaling

Notes to my Husband

This week I finished reading Captivating by John&Stasi Eldredge. They emphasize that this world needs my feminine heart. The people in my life need me to be who only I can be. “No one can be to the people in your life who you can be to them. No one can offer what you can offer.”

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I can risk being vulnerable because I am secure in God’s embrace. Through these last, uh….10ish+ years I have struggled with vulnerability. Holding back tears and swallowing that lump in your throat. Waiting until you get home to cry about a conversation that took place  hours prior. Standing there with the opportunity to honor your soul by speaking words but instead you bare the tension and fix your eyes on an invisible dot on the wall. Typing out a text message either lengthy or just “hey” then deleting it, because you can’t just keep putting your heart out there. Having all the right words while alone but feeling your strength fleeting in the presence of others. Deciding a pokerface is much better than mascara-tear face. Hot tears on my pillow are safer than tears stared at from across the room. Fearing that you’re feelings will repel others. This has been me time and time again. But as I grow in my Protector, I have felt more confident to be my uniquely feminine self. It’s not easy to open up and talk about the things that make my voice shake. I prefer to be well versed, eloquent, composed, unjarred. Life is messy, but there’s beauty in the struggle.
This is me sharing my feminine heart with you all today. Almost a year ago I started a list for my future husband. I reflected on past failed relationships and asked myself What Should the Next Guy Know? I thought at some point in my next  (and final ) relationship I’d share this list with my fiance/husband. Maybe a surprise on our wedding day?

12/16/13  1:23am
for my husband…
somethings you should know about me…

I love pasta, spaghetti, alfredo, lasagna, garlic bread, I love it all!

I’m quiet, a lot. you’ll have to be okay with that. just sitting next to me in silence and know that I’m perfectly content.

but…the once in a blue moon that I’m stressed, worried, scared, nervous, hurt – I hope God gives you the ability to know the difference because…

so many times i just can’t say what i want. fear holds me back from saying certain things. please be patient.

I will almost always forget to wash dirty pots and pans.

I’m far more sensitive and emotional than i let on. i may just cry in secret places at secret times. please be patient and kind.

I dont like many sports but would gladly go to any sporting events with you,  just because it’s you.

i may stare at you often. its because I’m in awe of you and your male-ness.

i love hot tea. hot coffee with flavored creamer.

I eat cereal all times of the day.

i love rainbows, glitter, sparkles.

I love to laugh, so i hope you’re funny.

hug me everyday please.

there is never enough “i love you”s

I’m writing  this on a day that all i can do is trust God that He is bringing us together, because know. ..

I’ve had boyfriends, crushes, flings, and unrequited love

and I’m putting in my faith that you’re mine to keep.

I like to sleep in.

unless we have plans, I probably won’t get dressed and put makeup on.

I’m not always on time.

I can’t wait to make a house into a home for US.

12/18/183. 2:35am
I don’t like to be rushed.

I can definitely be indecisive.

I don’t like yelling, slamming doors, cussing, acting out in anger towards me makes me not feel safe.

I dont like being called boring.

I’m shy. I don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like superficial conversations.

so it may seem like I’m not trying to be social but I really am trying.

my perfect day with you would involve us laying in bed all day (even calling in to work) and just talk,laugh,and just be together.

I hope we have a million inside jokes.

6/11/14. 2am
I always have a pile of clothes on the bedroom floor.

I have to fall asleep with the fan on.

I eat strawberries in the middle of the night.

I hate car problems. I pray to God that you’re a car enthusiast…

and I drive on empty for days.

my mascara routine is entirely too long, be patient.

I don’t like crying in front of people, even myself.

if I’m in a sad mood and I choose to listen to music,it’ll be sad music. if I choose a movie, it’ll be a funny movie.

I procrastinate haircuts.

I’m perfectly happy sitting outside on a porch reading a book.

cloudy days make me feel like doing nothing.

I prefer any  chore except laundry.

I love macaroni and cheese.

8/6/14  1:50am
I don’t like being rushed to make a decision.

I prefer to have a partner when doing small things like running errands.

“I want the parts that you’ve tried to throw away -the parts that you were convinced no one could ever love”

every so often I fall in love with a song or movie and play it in repeat for days or even weeks a time.

everyday is an occasion for froyo

also donuts.

oneday I want to get in my car and drive to anywhere for the weekend.

8/26/14  2:05am
sometimes fear immobilizes me.

I love summer

but I like fall much better.

I love X-Files and hope one day you will too.

“if you’re a bird, I’m a bird” learn it. love it.

every once in awhile help me experience something new, at my own pace.

I like making lists 🙂

I go to bed really late.

I keep quiet about important decisions until I’m sure of my choice.

please give me a puppy.

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To be continued. ..

12/05/14    4:31pm

im usually too hard myself
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Related Music: Lord I’m Ready Now by Plumb, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBUQqLp6N24

 

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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