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Good

Last year I wrote a post called I Have Issues (read it first!). I want to give a little back story to the post and wrote about how things have changed in the past 11 months. I’m excited/nervous writing this because I have been somewhat private on social media about my relationships. He has been faithful in the midst of the choices that I’ve made, and I feel comfortable sharing a little bit of my journey.

Last year at the beginning of April, I was broken up with. The relationship didn’t last that long, but I was hurting. I had never really experienced heartbreak and I got my first taste last year. It sucked. It really truly sucked. I cried and prayed a lot. I was essentially broken up with because our dreams didn’t align. I was stuck on Haiti and not compromising a cent about it. I had to process through some anger and rejection that I had never felt before.

The relationship dissolved and soon after I get a message about how I got into the Haiti internship. I was over the moon ecstatic and it somehow eased the burden of my broken heart. Just a little. However, if you read in my post I turned down the internship. Oh boy, there were not enough tissues. I was heartbroken, defeated, weary. I mean all of the sad words you can think of I was embodying all of them. ALL OF THEM.

Days lead to weeks and then to months where my pain was building up in my heart and I felt something had to give. I was angry at God, angry at men, just angry. So like a crazy person I deleted my Instagram (the craziest, most emotional thing that I regret to this day), I deleted around 400 people off of my Facebook and deactivated it, I deleted Snapchat, and I stopped writing. I was on a mission to ease my pain, but I ended up causing myself more pain as I isolated myself and found myself embarrassed for feeling how I was feeling.

For months, I wrestled with Jesus. FOR MONTHS. I couldn’t find or see any goodness coming out of my situation. I honestly wasn’t looking for it either. I had somehow gotten comfortable in my “woe is me” attitude. I was done wrong and things didn’t go my way, so I had every right to feel the way I felt. I read my journal from that time and I cringe. I was a hot minute away from losing my mind.

To make a really sad and long story short, I never took that class. I dropped out the second week, started working full time over the summer, and then enrolled into Prairie View A&M. Funny how NOTHING ever goes as planned.

All of this leads me to today. I am a little over a month removed from being out of a relationship. Again this one didn’t last that long and was way more amicable than the last. Not that the heartbreak wasn’t as bad. I’m still feeling throbs here and there. But it’s crazy how literally a few days after the relationship ended I got the call that I got into the same internship again! Hello.

Hello.

I took inventory today because I realized how I am in a much better place than I was last year. I’ve had an awesome community of women holding me up and covering me. All-nighters, sparkling wine, belly laughs, weepy telephone calls, prayer nights, car worship sessions, check up calls, and funny memes on Instagram; every single one has been instrumental in my healing. Instead of disconnecting like I did before I forced myself to open up to my closest loved ones about what I was walking through. I gave myself permission to cry to sad songs, but also gave myself permission to be happy. I acted out in emotion, but I repented for my wrong doings. I gave myself time to be alone to process, but also made sure I was connecting to others in a healthy way. Now, I have not been perfect. I have lost my cool a few times these last few weeks. The people who have been on the other end of my mishaps can testify. This breakup has shown me so much about myself more than anything and it’s been a little unnerving. But I’ll write a post on that soon because it’s a lot!

Jesus, Oh Jesus. I can’t tell you how true the scripture is when it says He is close to the brokenhearted. There are no words to describe the presence that I have felt these past few weeks. I found that as I earnestly sought Him He would meet me where I was at. EVERY SINGLE TIME. My prayer and worship life have undergone some transformation. There is a dependency that I have found in this season that I have never possessed. An intimacy that is undeniable and has carried me through the longest of nights.

At the end of the day, I have an understanding that I lacked going through my last break up. The very nature of the Lord is that He longs and is delighted to be good to me. It is His pleasure to shower me with his goodness and mercy. There is not a day that goes by that I am not on His mind every second, every minute, every hour of the day. He sees my choices and decisions and doesn’t condemn me for them. Whether they be right or wrong He never removed himself from my side. Every step of the way, every right and wrong choice, I have never been alone. Walking through relationships, and walking out of relationships His goodness has never failed. His plan for my life had not been broken down or halted. His mercy has a way of transforming every situation for His ultimate glory. This truth has carried me through my bad days and my good days.

The Lord is good to me. Always.

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One Day At A Time

*Sorry if this blog post comes across as choppy, vague, or evasive. Over time, I plan to write more about the time I took to process and the things I learned but for now, it’s good to be back!

It’s been a while and a long time coming. There have been so many instances these last few months that I wanted to spell out everything going on in my life but ended up staring at a blank screen. Somehow, the words and stories fell short of actually reaching my computer screen and I was stuck. I was stuck for a long time.

It’s been a process, a long process. Now that I look back, I had to heal. There were things I had walked through and were walking through that didn’t necessarily need to be publicized. I was learning discernment throughout and realized the Lord was protecting me from a lot. If I were to have written in those moments it would have been out of a place of hurt, shame, pain, and hopelessness. I needed time to let the Lord truly minister to my heart in those moments. He had to take me back to the basics and remind me who He is and who I am in Him.

Today, I’m in a much better place. I took some time to seek wise counsel, I made time for myself to focus on what I was lacking, I made big girl decisions regarding my spiritual growth, and prayed like never before. I had to learn a lesson these past few months. It took me a while to understand exactly what was going on, but now it’s like a lightbulb has gone off.

“Say yes for today.”

I wish I could go on and on about the fear that cripples me as I think about the future, and how it causes me to  immediately start shaking my head. I hear the promises of the Lord and instead of receiving it and claiming it, I immediately allow fear and doubt to take over. This has happened more times that I would like to admit as a “believer” especially since the New Year rolled around with a fresh new set of promises.

I realize now just how much time I have wasted feeding into this fear. I could have been working on seeing these promises come to fruition but I’ve locked myself down and haven’t moved an inch. I realize now this is how the enemy likes to play. To try and make the possible seem so impossible, and use fear to rob you of precious time. I have been robbed of time, sleep, and peace of mind worrying about something that I don’t even have to worry about!

So today, I take back my peace of mind. I’ve been letting fear cripple me, and stop me from sharing AMAZING NEWS!

In January, I got accepted into Coreluv’s Internship. I have the privilege to serve in Haiti for the whole month of June this year. 

I’ve been so hesitant to share or even try and grasp going back to Haiti. It’s been a long time coming and to have it sitting in my lap, I’ve literally been stuck like a deer in headlights. I’ve allowed fear to rob me of my excitement because I knew fundraising would have to happen, and we all know fundraising stretches your faith like no other. I’ll have a blog post about the story and the internship soon!

But today and every day after, I say Yes. I say yes because I have experienced the goodness of Jesus. I say yes because it is Jesus’ nature to be good to me. I say yes because He has never failed me, not once. I say yes because in Him all promises are yes and amen. I say yes because He had this planned out before the beginning of time and He knows what He’s doing. I say yes because I trust Him. I trust Him to do what only He can do, to calm this anxious heart of mine, and give me rest. I say yes because I love Him. I love Him not for what He has done or what He will do, I love Him for who He is. He is mine, and I am His. Always.

Jesus, give me the strength to say yes even when I don’t understand. In the moments where confusion or doubt creep in, remind me of your faithfulness. Give me the peace knowing that when I say yes you have control and you won’t let me fall.  Help me say yes in my weakness, to not let pride rob me of my promise. Let my days be filled with yes.  Forever and ever. Amen. 

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Black + Woman

Black Woman,

Your history in this country is one soaked in prejudice and corrupt perceptions. You, the first black woman slave, was shipped across the water to be the property of a master. From the beginning you were targeted and abused. Your body was vandalized and crudely labeled. You carried the shame of black skin and were constantly penalized for it.

You were forced into a mold. A happy slave who loved their master. You were Mammy. You did what you were told, and never forgot a smile. You were painted plump, with dark skin. You were depicted as loyal, but you always knew your subordinate place. However, you were Jezebel too. You were labeled as promiscuous and blamed for your voluptuous body. You were known to seduce other women’s men. But if they knew the truth, they would know that it was never your choice to have your body ravaged by those who refused your freedom.

You, black woman, have a history. A history that continues to show truths of a horrific arrival in the land you now call home. You have come a long way as you have lived through the legacy of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Harriet Jacobs. These women paved the way for your heroes: Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Ella Baker. Your history has been a fierce battle for basic rights and a chance to rise above the stain of your skin color.

Today, black woman, you live in a country where you are free. You breathe and hold on to what those before you could not fathom. However, you have your own battle to wage. Your sons lay dying in the streets and diminishing in jail cells. Your daughters are objectified; losing hope and pride in what once was their refuge.

You, black woman, have seen and felt it all. You have dealt with the pain that you would never wish on another woman. You are aware of the system that belittles you, and continuously drowns out your voice. You are battle weary and broken from your fight. This battle continues to wage from one generation to the next with no end in sight.

But black woman, don’t give up yet. You are not alone. Your black skin holds together a body that can and will brave any storm that comes your way. Your black skin houses a mind filled with brilliance, intelligence, and wisdom. Your black skin protects a heart that has been broken and mended many times over for the injustices you and your family have endured. Your black skin is fashioned to withstand the birth and nourishment of your black children. And your black skin encloses a voice box that creates a cry that refuses to be silent.

Rise up, black woman.  It is too soon to be weary. Pursue the legacy and the wisdom that your grandmothers granted you. Pursue the dream that your mothers prayed and spoke over you. Pursue hope, peace, and beauty for your black daughters, and continue to pursue justice and restoration for your black sons. Your change will come like the rain, pouring healing on a soul and renewing dignity to the heart.

You, black woman, are not alone. Millions of others have walked this jagged and uneven road before you.

You are resilient.

You are strong.

You are a black woman.

“My grandmother and my two aunts were an exhibition in resilience and resourcefulness and black womanhood. They rarely talked about the unfairness of the world with the words that I use now with my social justice friends, words like “intersectionality” and “equality”, “oppression”, and “discrimination”. They didn’t discuss those things because they were too busy living it, navigating it, surviving it.” – Janet Mock

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You Are

You are a woman.

A marvelous tapestry of nurturing tendencies and emotions.

You have permission to laugh loudly at the wrong time, to be clumsy, and to say the wrong things.

You can be emotional, and allow things to touch you deeply.

You have permission to ugly cry in secret and in front of others.

You have something to say, so why not say it?

You are creative and a force to be reckoned with.

You are filled with grace. Not only for others, but most importantly for yourself. You will forgive yourself for the things done in the past and the things you will do in the future.

You are dynamic.

A constantly evolving story that anyone has the privilege go be apart of.

You are allowed to spell things wrong, spill things on your nice dress, and speak your mind on what stirs your heart.

You are not perfect and you might not ever be able to wear heels after a long night, but you have your whole life ahead of you to improve. And what a glorious adventure that will be!

You are a traveler. One who knows no stranger.

You are not bound by other’s words, misconceptions, or judgements.

Continue to talk fast, sing loud, and laugh till your cheeks hurt.

Remember your Maker, and remember your shame no more.

Let your hair frizz and tangle. Let your hands get colorful and dirty. Let your insecurities know who you are.

You are well-loved, so love deeply and confidently. Continue to study love, learn to love others better and more fully.

You are no fool. Your momma made sure of that. She taught you that you have wisdom granted to you from the Good Lord to get you through every situation. All you have to do is ask.

You won’t forget those who came before you. You honor those who sacrificed for you, and set the foundation for your many years to come.

You are strong and unique. You are all you need to be for such a time as this.

You are fiery and brave. Nothing can stop you or discourage you from what the Lord has called you to do.

You are hopeful. You continue to hope, expect, and pray for what’s to come.

You are confident that no weapon formed against you will prosper.

You are loud! Heard by all and loved by many. However, make sure you continue to use discernment for those times when silence is key and words aren’t needed.

You are a beautiful woman.

You are brighter than any sun, richer than any chocolate cake, and bolder than any strong coffee.

You are a life that reflects freely of your Creator.

Embrace what the Son has to offer you, you beautiful woman.

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Lately

May 11, 2015

in the quiet, with clutched and achy hands, you dump out your burdened heart. the hurt, the confusion, the insecurity. you’ve needed this moment. be honest, you’ve needed this for a while now. it’s time to let it go. it’s time to decompress and just lay down for a while. you try to conceive what it would be like. maybe it will come like winter, with a bitter reality encased in a cold chill. or maybe it will come like summer, with a bright revelation wrapped in a warm glow. maybe, just maybe; it will come in the quiet. like the soft wind suspended between two seasons. waiting, anticipating the changes to come. you’ll listen intently for that voice. the voice your heart longs to hear. you’ll begin to pay close attention to the soft rustle of leaves and the quick snap of branches. but for now you wait. in the quiet, you wait with a steadfast hope. what are you waiting for? you’re not sure. maybe it’s reassurance. a word that speaks just to your soul and yours alone. or you wait for something tangible. something that takes you by the hand and leads you to what you’ve ached to fathom. you’ll wait. however long it takes, you’ll wait because you know that in the passage of the middle you are being refined. weeds lose their hold and seeds prepare to sprout life. you long to be truly satisfied in these quiet moments. you pine for peace and the realization that you want absolutely nothing, and have all that you need. you fill your lungs and trap the promise that you lack no good thing inside your chest. you’ll wait to bloom. you know you will. because you’ve weathered too many erratic storms, stilted winds, and wilted harvest to stop you now. you’ll wait with emptied hands and a light heart. you’ll wait for the voice your heart yearns to know; the voice that calls you home.

May 26, 2015

it’s comfortable. this life you lead. but it’s not enough. your comfort is safe and debilitating all at the same time. but there is only so much your soul can take. be honest with yourself, this is not what you wanted. you’ve compromised; something you said you’ll never do. but it’s not too late. it’s never to late when He’s here with you. He was there when your heart cracked open and birthed a strength you thought you lacked. He was there when the foxes prowled in your vineyard and attempted to steal your joy. He was there. patient, and steadfast in His love for you. this comfort isn’t so comfortable anymore, is it? it’s starting to chaff and leave your soul exposed. you’ve patched over it a few times. hoping that lies conceal and your secrets erase, but it doesn’t work that way. He’s the only balm for that patchwork soul of yours. still, you lack direction and courage to listen. it isn’t what you want to hear. to give it all up? but Jesus, isn’t that too much? still your heart beats for something greater. something fills you and calls you out of that comfort, into the unknown. it almost sounds like drums, the beat floods you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. and you walk. you leave your comfort behind and walk into the call placed on your life. it’s daunting, but you know the drums beat out a rhythm of grace that guides your every step. your song of deliverance rings inside of you and overflows to those who have yet to hear of His goodness. you’re out of your comfort and in the hands of the ultimate Comforter. you have tasted His goodness and want for nothing. you sit and listen in His presence. His anointing sweeps over your body and you dance. free and unashamed, you dance to the beat, the song only meant for your heart to hear. you’ve pushed past comfort and reached a place where His love is naked before you. your comfort dimmed its light, but there’s no mistaking the love that shines in His eyes. eyes that blaze with passion, and acceptance. you realize now that comfort can be overrated. you’d much rather dance before the One who created you to do more. so much more.

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I Have Issues

I have to be honest.

I have issues.

I am a mess of emotions and poor coping skills.

And I know I’m not being melodramatic because I’ve scared myself on multiple occasions with the vast swing of my emotions.

Like I said, I have issues.

Anyway, now that has been established I’ll get to the real reason behind this blog post. I’ve struggled, BIG TIME. I’ve had the hardest time seeing the good in the set backs and the faithfulness of God in it all. Recently, I had to make a huge decision about school and Haiti. I had gotten accepted into an amazing internship that would allow me to experience Haiti and missionary work in a brand new way. I was ready, and dead set on going. I had it all mapped out, and was ready to fundraise my butt off. However, the day after I got accepted I saw I still needed one more class as a prerequisite for the nursing programs I planned on applying to in the fall. And that particular class was offered over the summer, the exact time I planned on being in Haiti. I was at a crossroads, and I had no choice but to sit and…cry my eyes out. Yes, I cried and I cried. I called up some friends talked about it and cried some more. I knew what I had to do but didn’t understand why I was being put in that place. It was tough. My face was a mess of eyeliner and mascara, but I found the strength to let them know I was unable to do the internship.

I was heartbroken, and confused. I didn’t understand what God was doing and didn’t necessarily want to understand what He was doing. I felt like it was too much. My dream and vision of being in Haiti this summer and doing what I know I’m called to do was gone. I wanted to give up everything. I kept wondering why would God give me a heart for this nation, and then basically block me from doing what He’s placed in my heart to do.

This went on for hours and hours. Stayed up all night just journaling and asking why. Finally, after God heard enough of my ranting He gave me His answer. In that gentle way of His; He whispered to my heart that my life is not my own, and never will be. Ummm…Jesus? At first I didn’t know how to take it. Don’t I have some type of say in my life? Silly question, I know! But then I realized that to live fully submitted to God comes with the realization that my life isn’t mine exclusively. It was a simple realization, but an atomic bomb to all those well thought out scenarios of what could have been my picture perfect life.

In that moment, I realized just one of the many costs there are for being fully submitted to God’s will. Your life is not your own. It is God’s to do what He will. It’s a bit frustrating, let me tell ya. It has come with plenty disappoints and soggy pillows. It’s true, I have seen greater things come out of my own plans being trashed and God taking control. But what’s so different about this time? Why am I having such a hard time trusting Him? Is it because I truly felt I was walking in His will and then just got thrown a curve ball? Honestly, I don’t know. And all it does is make my head hurt if I think too much about it.

Somewhere in the silence of my heart I feel Jesus. Like a stubborn flame that can’t be snuffed out; I know there is hope for the future. As the Spirit moves and weaves a greater story I sit and hope for the goodness of the Lord to shine through. It’s in the quietness of my heart where all the crying ceases and the Lord begins downloading truth of His faithfulness into my soul. I am chosen. I am good enough. I have a dream that can’t be discredited. In that secret place I can lay all my issues, disappoints, swinging emotions, broken hearts, journal pages, and soggy pillows at His feet. Jesus gets me. Jesus understands. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. I might not be in Haiti this summer but it hasn’t stopped Him from cultivating and growing the dream inside my heart. 

My life is not my own, it’s always been His.

Maybe it’s time to start living like it.

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Steady Grace

This year. Oh, this year. I’ve seen and felt things that I’ve never thought possible.

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Looking back, in January I was standing in the aftermath of putting all my dirty laundry out for the world to see. I published “The Year of the Lord’s Favor”  out of obedience. As the new year rolled in, and days transitioned to nights I fought fear and shame. Fear of judgement and condemnation, and a shame that mocked me and told me lies. I fought. I fought hard for peace because I knew my freedom was a promise from God. The response I got from that post was overwhelming. I was completely taken aback by the comments and messages. I felt stronger when I realized I wasn’t alone. I heard Jesus tenderly lifting my eyes up to truly see His grace, and let it flow about me without hindrance. I have never felt such peace, such love.

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Soon after, I was struggling. I had left LSU, and I wasn’t in school. I was taking a night CNA class that I had to drive over an hour to get to every night. I was in a dark place. I felt that God had stopped talking to me. After all I had done for Him; He decided He was going to leave me where I was. I was mad at God. Mad that things weren’t going my way and hadn’t worked out like I had planned. But in that dark place He was all I had. I found worship as an escape. I worshiped and ranted. It looks so funny when I type it out, but I ranted, I cried, I threw tantrums only to go back to worshiping the One who had all the answers. Throughout it all, Jesus knew my heart. He knew I was hurting, broken, and confused. I discovered that my secret place with Him was my haven. My safe place to lay my head after a rough day of battling insecurity. His presence was the balm my soul needed.

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Haiti. My life has not been the same. Mere words can’t express the complete heart change that happened in that country. The intense longing to just sit and be in a moment has never been so real until that one day in a Haitian mountain village. The enemy fought me like no other before both trips. The inner struggle to completely put my  faith in the Lord seemed like an insurmountable task. I felt that the Lord was teasing me somehow because EVERY TIME I drowned in doubt. However, He continued to pour out His grace and His abundance. I experienced miracles, and still get a little giddy when I realize all that He did to get me to Haiti. Oh, Haiti, My heart aches to be there. I have dreams of being back. It makes me laugh because I know God’s just fanning the flame. Who knows, maybe I’ll move there (with momma’s permission, of course).

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After Haiti, I began my transition back into normal life. I was enrolled back into school, and involved in the church like never before. My heart was, and still is to serve my church. But in the middle of the semester I was running on empty. I was desperate for more of Jesus. Even though I felt like I was at church all the time, I was lacking somehow. That’s when He called me into my season of healing and rest. Rest sounded so good, but it was so complicated. I would find myself still falling into the same pattern of filling up my time. Filling it with church things, but neglecting my time with Jesus. It took a while, and I was finally hit with the truth that I was running from my healing. I wasn’t ready to face my issues and work things out. I wasn’t ready to have my wounds cleaned because I knew that involved removing my makeshift bandage. One woman put it to me this way; she told me I was on the operating table, and as Jesus came in to sew me up I would flail. I would kick, scream, and fight while Jesus would whisper rest. It wasn’t until I heard and saw what this woman was saying to fully grasp that I was resisting my healing. Something that I had prayed for throughout the year. 

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So began my healing process. There isn’t much to say except that it was brutal. It hurt, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I felt like I was exposed and vulnerable. The months of my healing process had to be my weakest moments.God led me to share my testimony many times, which would bring back old fears of rejection. I found myself back in my secret place. While the Lord gently operated I saw the beauty being brought forth from my ashes. I wrote a lot, and burned a lot. I had to have a physical representation of what was no longer allowed to hold me hostage. I refused to be a victim and walk in entitlement. I was striped of my pride, and found myself on my knees more times than I can count.

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Now here I am today. A few weeks out of my healing process. Not perfect, but whole. I have found such peace. A sweet rest that accompanies me everywhere I go. I have found a refuge so safe that I haven’t gone a day without feeling protected. I have tasted and seen of His goodness. I’m being called deeper and deeper into His endless love. I found my identity and worth in Him, and I find myself walking in my brand new confidence with shaky legs, but I walk. I press on, and I keep my gazed fixed on His face because I know I’m called for more.

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you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. – Isaiah 62:2-3