Grace and Relationships

Photo taken: November 2020.
Live less out of habit and more out of intent.” ~Anonymous

I haven’t written about earthing my 50th birthday in August. I am not going to excuse myself by stating I am too busy. As I reflect, I have realized its all been rather intimate, personal and my experiences unearth my vulnerability and leaves my heart wide open. This shifting has been grand, wonderful, unexpected and at times the most painful.

Grand….I was able to treat myself to a mini getaway from home without travelling out of state due to CoVid. This beautiful Caribbean themed B&B, located here in Charlotte, NC: http://www.mselsies.com/ The owner was so welcoming, comforting and soulfully-bossy. Just the type of “love” I needed. I’ve never taken a getaway alone. I have always travelled as a couple and/or with my kids. All of this was new to me. I was nervously excited and my soul weary.

Wonderful.…I was nurtured, pampered, fed—my palate was amazed. I was the only guest during my stay. I was fussed over just enough yet left alone with as much space I required. My soul was cared for and some healing took place. My spiritual self required rest yet yearned for more of this. Not only was I fed well –the conversations, the prayers and wisdoms of Life were like Nature’s own medicine.

Unexpected…My core beliefs for my independence was shaken. This ability I have of taking care of myself, of knowing that I have to do this alone was a comfort for me. Although, I’ve always hoped for a love that is comparable to how I love, it did not seem to be in sight. I believe the glimpse of being loved scared me, of the the unexpected places where I sought solace, solitude and sacred rest my Michelle was uprooted.

“Michelle, you’re judgmental in your personal life and only in your personal life. You need to hear what you need to hear not what you to want to hear. Your independence has taught you to make it, to push through. You discern and that is a gift. You’ve forgotten how to be taken care of.” ~Cheryl Watkins, Ms. Elisie’s Granddaughter and Owner of the B&B. She told me this in our introduction. It hurt to hear. My initial plan for my mini-retreat was to reserve a upscale spa and my mind was changed to this intimate oasis. I don’t believe our meeting was happenstance.

I’ve been working this singleness and motherhood with grace while allowing Grace to lead me through graduate life and being a therapist. I haven’t dated in years; no one has approached me in a nurturing, chivalrous manner that would require me to date. During this time, a guy entered my life unannounced and with genuine effort. He paid for my second day at the B&B. He arranged a spa day after hearing of the difficult work day I experienced. He wanted to know if I ate, took my vitamins, was I smiling, was I protected. The more we talked and the grand gestures he carried out was healing old hard wounds. I don’t fall easily. I cannot afford it.

As I live and love within my 50th cycle love is frightening; we lose people either by choice, their actions or inactions, yet mostly consequences will pull us away from others. The extension of grace requires understanding, forgiveness for peace and growth. What I want isn’t always what it seems no matter how conscientious I am. I am learning to move forward with all that I am and that incudes: authenticity, truth, grace and love. I am doing well in my wait. I remind myself that my self-work gives tremendous value to my self-worth. #BeAWholeMovement #FreedSoul Singleness Relationships His plans

I encourage you to trust how you give, learn that rest is sacred and your ground is too. Stand your ground. #LoveGives #ShineAnyway

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

*Please note that since our meet she sends reminder texts: “How beez u?” She happies this heart of mine.

Healing: Necessary Work

I know I haven’t blogged in awhile. As this world continues to be lopsided, broken and undergoing intense psychological warfare on Humanity; I find myself consistently in a weird wounded type of movement. Open, learning, yearning yet not passive nor suppressed….Defiantly Intimate.

The Process of Unlearning

Since last post, I completed my required 3000 hours under my deadline goal of two years—I completed them in 18 months. I have submitted my application for approval for full licensure. I have improved my selfcare with purchasing fresh flowers for my home, just because I like the idea of them. Even with this quarantine, I remain available for my children, my grandchild and my patients. I’ve tried to date….men are exhausting. That’s a whole other ordeal. #MyLife

Living Black does not leave me disconnected from any of the News, the headlines, the atrocities. Racism, the hate isn’t new. The resurgence of the Black Movement is painful, magnetic, intense and divinely necessary. This is more than a moment. Do your work, you matter. #SystemicAwareness

I want to write about the process in healing. When healing, you’re not moving pass it. You’re moving through it. Healing requires acknowledgment before insight and foresight are gifted. How are we to reconcile when the hurt is not recognized? This is where its not about “how you made me feel” takes root but rather having the capacity to self-advocate with, “You hurt me.”

I understand that we do not like conflict. Yet, it is divinely irresponsible to limit the pathways toward your healing. This is where you begin your work. We tend to rationalize reaching down or reaching backward for the very same systems, person or people that broke us.

Be willing to overturn and unlearn systems that benefit from the crushing of Humanity: WE are a powerful people. Good wins; it should. Allow people to leave when emotional maturity is lacking, when spiritual identity becomes foggy, distant, unreciprocated. Give space —huge amounts of space to those who are incapable of making room for you. Move differently. You are worthy of healing.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Writer’s Favorite Work: Lion’s Den and the vulnerability of Belief is one of my greatest written work to date. Take a read or re-read.

July: Healing Humanity

Our 2020 has gut punched seemingly on a weekly basis. I’m proud of how we’ve endured and persevered. WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification two days ago stating that I have been blogging for 5 years now. Wow! I am appreciative for the courage to share my thoughts in such a creative process. Thank you to all who like, follow, share and comment. I value each of you.

This year has had me in such a weird place that writing seems foreign to me. I haven’t been neglectful in writing—there just doesn’t seem to be an easy flow of writing to where readers will be empathetic to comprehend my soul pieces. I hope that makes sense. The political disconnect (truthfully it has always been there), CoVid19 continues, Systemic Racism (woundedly, it remains), Police Murders of Black Lives (#GeorgeFloyd) was not the first and the revolutionary resurgence of Black Movement. #BlackLivesMatter

#Spiritual Wellness…I made major moves this week. I’m doing a lot more focusing on the things I want and requesting those things that I require. I expected some push back on this one request and I didn’t receive it. In a talk w/ a colleague, “Michelle I’m not sure why you expected push back. You are the most sought out therapist here. Look at your location. Every location I visit you’re the only therapist that remains booked. Yeah. No, you’re not going to get any push back.” 

I looked at her strangely. I didn’t get the big head. I became even more humbled. There are times I have no clue where I am in all this. Oftentimes, I miss me. This week was a Monday’s Monday–every day of the week: I listened to a patient apologize yet defend their idea of “All Lives Matter while Black Lives do not matter.” (Actual words: “Black Lives do not matter.”) The more they talked to their Black Female Therapist, the more racist they sounded. I wrote three individuals out of work—mental health has become an issue for the majority; I was threatened “jokingly” while in session and I reported my first case of child abuse to DSS.

 This ‘work” just doesn’t leave me yet it doesn’t become a part of me either. It all causes me to pause and reflect. I move into gratefulness. I think who I am and how I am leads me toward the moments of difficulty, gives me strength and causes me to recognize where my strength comes from. I think if  I had the ability to shake it or become numb I wouldn’t be who I am as a therapist. I believe serving as a therapist has to be one of the most difficult things I had to do…and become. We’re always becoming, evolving; trying to be better than yesterday. This role as therapist is difficult while being purposefully rewarding; so many pieces of me are required. 

In my personal reflection, I notice how we neglect ourselves to make ourselves available for other people. One previous Saturday, I woke up unsure if I was getting sick or if I was just worn out–mentally and physically. I was more apt to believe in the first option, that I was getting sick. In wearing these masks my face has begun to breakout, coupled w/ stress I think it’s natural to assume illness. I needed to rest and reset. I’m going to find my space in this. I’m committed to finding my space in this. I continue to make room everyday as well as set new boundaries. I am selfish with my peace.

I pray that in our moments —those moments that we find difficult to get up that we move towards our wholeness. As we continue to be whole there is no stopping point of movement, of increase. We gain ground. Continue to gain ground. In your grounding: you may have to Reground, Reframe, Reset, Process, Breathe…Love Anyway. 

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Facing Our Monsters

January has been the most difficult concerning my therapeutic life. It was a rough month. This hurt; this stuff hurts. Its not all due to the therapeutic experiences alone yet hearing certain isolated stories of pain caused me to look at some pockets of pain in my life. We are not just facing traumas…to work in a mental health profession, with #mental illness is upsetting, its great, its wonderful, its inspiring, motivating, its painful.

Its painful to see the things we have to see; its hurtful, soul wrenching and heartbreaking to hear the horrific things people go through and the things they want to do…its haunting. What I have learned this year, what I am learning this year: its not that I need to do more or that I need to be more intentional: I need someone.

I’ve set my life up to the point of wanting someone but never will I need someone…that I will ever need someone and that is hard for me to come to terms with. Those are the monsters I’m talking about. The emotional, self- protective modes we come up with because everything becomes very hard, very difficult to deal with. We imagine that no one could possibly understand our journey. So when the monsters show up we don’t know what to do. We stop learning how to let those things go. We don’t know how to process those things. We forget how to not be afraid.

Yet, it amazes me how the Universe flows towards us and never against us. Its great to have someone to ask about your day. Of course, I do not share particular travesties with those that call and check on me…there’s a responsibility in what we leave with people, what we hand over to them. My children surrounded me during this past week. My eldest popped in for a weekend visit, my granddaughter wanted to spend the weekend and she loves her Umi. My heart healed with having all my children under one roof. Monday I sent them a group text:

“Being a therapist has been icky these last few weeks. I don’t tell y’all all of it because it’s ugly very ugly at times. This weekend was what I needed and by far one of the greatest moments of being your mother. I’m so proud of each of you. Being with you does my soul & heart well. You are what I need…always what I wanted and you’re always loved. Your Mom. ” They are what I need.

“Spiritual progress is like detoxification.”

We have to face the monsters. The monsters show up whether we want them to or not; whether we’re ready or not. We have a base, we have home plate—a foundation. It’s not for you to just be okay, it’s for you to be better. Trust your growth process. Understand the experiences for what they are, understand your humanity, understand your heart for whenever the monsters show up its not as scary. For they come, they show their ugliest. Life is difficult…yet we are given the strength to face the monsters. Learn to be gentler with yourself. Love is reciprocal…allow the greater to #evolve.

I’m learning to process so that I can progress and man does that hurt. It becomes easier to trust the Darkness when that’s all we see and hear. Our monsters become bigger when we operate from places of patterns—comfortable patterns that we’ve band aided. There’s Light wherever we are even when we have become the glimpse, a fraction, the source of the Light.

Psalm18:28-29: “You , O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into Light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

His grace

Let grace surprise you. His grace is consistent. His grace is sufficient.

Remember where you are at this moment is not by accident, nor mere coincidence. The plans you have, the goals achieved, they are guided by something greater—no matter where you are in your belief. There is a Force. There is God. There is Jesus. There is the Holy Spirit…and whatever, whomever it, they, them are for you…Our Father created, planned, purposed for our greatest good. Continue to think big and then think bigger than that. There are no spiritual rules; there are Spiritual Laws, Spiritual principles. (Romans 3:27)

I am learning the shortcomings, the mistakes, the “I failed” are learned lessons that simultaneously uproot and tug at my heart –bleeding and encouraging my soul to shine anyway. Feel it. Understand it and grow with it. There will be, there are people who will continue to change on you more than they change with you. I apologize for the hurt you feel, for the pain you have endured. I encourage you to not stop being whomever you are asserting yourself to become. I will appreciate you…this you that you are. Allow God’s grace to surprise you. With it comes peace and a hope that may diminish every now and then yet your faith, our faith does not waiver. The world is deserving of all of you. Do not hide the good parts. #selflove

His favor protects, heals…fall for the healing more than the pain. Fall for the healing until you are assured that your faith is unfailing. Each time we forgive, I know that God grows in us; we have to make room. Make room for the unfamiliar as you do for the pain. #heal
Miracles are not heavy yet they are precise, evenly attributable to your plan, your pain, your problem, your faithfulness. Miracles are every day. God’s gonna do what He said. You openly, expectantly allow God’s grace to surprise you. I plead that you anticipate the best. It matters that you know what it looks like. Discern. Be wise. Grow. Believe so that you can see.

Intimately worded,

Michelle

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My Ragged Bible

my ragged bible

Sunday mornings are my love.  I am ashamed that I haven’t written this year. Forgive me. As I sit here meditating, reading the word, and other reading tools that help me go deeper into God’s word I notice my Bible. I notice how worn it is, how the tears, nicks and picks have crept in over the years. I notice how the binder has completely ripped and the back of my Bible, my ragged Bible is falling apart. I notice how the faces of the women appear bubbled, out of focus and I smile. Well I tear up and smile.

The appearance of  my Bible is a replica of my worn-torn, war –wearied, heartbroken-heart and healed/healing soul. God has watched over me. God has pushed me; He has talked to me and He has loved me because He promised He would. His capacity to love us without the pull of guilt or you owe keeps me hinged to Him. God gives value to our souls.

In reflection, I purchased this Bible on July 7, 2007 and inside I wrote, “To understand God, you have to spend time with God.” (How God works.)  I began studying more of the Word in an effort to save the beginnings of a crumbling marriage; we had not made it to the seven-year mark. I wanted to find solace in the One Belief I trusted…if I just prayed hard enough—I would not break my vows. God could still trust me with the big things. I yearned for the big things. God will turn our selfishness into His greatest opportunities. Oh, how things got worse the closer I became to God. We were divorced two years later. Nevertheless, my Bible was still intact, still looked new.

My journey to return to school as a Business Major, older and as a single parent of four was challenging. Many a night, this Bible was read, yet not felt. We are required to read, to study, to show ourselves approved. I cannot tell you when the binder ripped but it hurt when it did. I refused to tape it, to add anything to it to fix it. I let it be —I just carry the pieces together. (How God works.)  Recently, my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was granted on March 1, 2018. You would think He and I are even…that I have done the work and all is now within the realm of completion. The master’s program journey was devastating. It tore me apart and put me back together so different than I expected. My thought, let’s let the blessings flow, Jehovah. (Laugh) Nope, smh. I have submitted my application for certification in Clinical Pastoral Education—to be educated in spiritual care. I am not a minister…yet my gift is to care for those who are.

I am so far out of my comfort level. Shoot, I have been for years. These next steps of my life are huge and I am terrified. I am alone. This past week, I have endured so many attacks, spiritual attacks. It has been a whoa-Jesus kinda week. So much so that my deceased parents have visited me in my dreams. My mom, “You’re taking care of everyone else. Don’t lose sight.”  My Dad, “You’re’ not alone. Stick with it, Michelle.”

Yet, my ragged Bible, this ragged Bible, my, “Aspire, the new Women of Color Study Bible.” My ragged Bible is in pieces, tattered, pages bent, filled with love notes written by my kids; highlighted words that hem my heart…written for purpose of guidance, written for purpose to encourage, written for the purpose to build, written for the purpose to heal…my ragged Bible, is written for the purpose to initiate and cultivate purpose.

Our need, our individual want to prosper, to be better in life, to live brighter than yesterday cannot be done without Him. I encourage you to find your niche and allow God to incorporate the work, the journey; the balance required to live your greatest life. Again, I write, “To understand God, you have to spend time with God.”

Each time I read the story of Jesus healing, the man born blind I receive a number of different insights. My favorite verse, John 9:3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might displayed in his life.” This had to happen. Our things had to happen. Our must go through is required. Know that what has become increasingly clear to me is that without self-evidence, without the pain and heartache, without the disappointments, the hurt, without the journey, without painful, historical insight I could not share with you that prayer —our relationship with God —is the very breathe of our greatest human existence. Spend some time with Him, your way.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

When it all hurts…

img_20140911_034409-2

#SaturdayReveal…yesterday I allowed the whole world to rest in my heart, all of it at once in one frail moment. That’s painful. And it was okay although I felt vulnerable, weak and so disappointed in self. (I was leaving my second job and en route to my intern site.) I am learning that the part of me that I keep hidden from the world is what this world needs the most. It’s also the part of me I neglect the most.

Everyone is seeking approval in different forms, in ways from you that you are not aware of. At times what they seek from you is their hope of the love you will have for them. They want you to okay them in their stuff…I’ve never been able to do that. I can’t right your wrong. I can’t make you feel good about what will eventually break you. People chip at your greatest gift in an attempt to make it theirs. As I am blubbering to my friend and apologizing for taking up his time (there is no way I am coherent) he reminds me of my Selfcare, he reminds me of my good and he reminds me that I have been pushing so hard for the last 10 years and all of it alone. One thing he didn’t say was to quit. I encourage you to keep going. I remind you that your Selfcare is paramount. I tell you that I know God is in control and that none of this stuff goes unnoticed. {Greater is He that is in me.} I also know that there are more of the good people in your corner than you have the audacity to believe. The Ones who believe in you…you keep going for them. Continue to do your best work while carrying out your Selfcare. At times your Selfcare has to adjust with your growth and your purpose.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-10: “7 Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies.” and  2 Corinthians 4: 16-18: 16 That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. 17 Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. 18 We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.”

I’m not quite sure if I am  thriving in this new environment. What I am realizing is that vulnerability is one of the greatest stretches of trust one has to survive in.

Intimately Wrded,

Michelle

Seeking Intimacy, Living Intimately

Sunset 2As I watch the sunset and see the different colors of the upcoming dusk of the evening I pause…God is everlasting. With all we go through, Life has this way of negotiating our emotions with perseverance, new rules, implementing boundaries, regulations, uncertainties, skeptical faith, insecurities, dismal hope in our beliefs and mind-boggling blows. Our spiritual can become weaken, reaching the bar seem inevitable, defeating almost.

Intimacy… knowing whom you are, learning who you are, as well as being able to live within those learning moments are rare. Yet, somehow, it all comes together. God’s wisdom.

We have the greatest benefits to this life when we believe in the grander and recognizing the opportunities of living life wide open. Counting the different colors of the sky, vivid colors unlike those of crayons…why is it that we can see God’s work in the sky, with the stars and feel Him in the breeze of the wind yet we blindly believe He is unable to complete the same work in our lives. Take a moment to think about how we tend to resolve things in disappointment, how we pause in believing in the possible and turn them into impossible. Our way.

We do not know the future, we never will. I believe we should hold onto the hope that the allowance of intimacy leads us to. The intimacy that friendship, respect and communication incorporates into bonding, and often times in letting go. Allowing another into your thoughts, your actions and your past gives them an initiative to enter and remain in your life. Do not withdraw from where you are…you have grown, you are growing, remain focused on living life to the best of your abilities. You are worth it. Remember in all you do in letting go that you give yourself permission to heal; it is a required gain into loving, living deeper than you imagined. {Ephesians 3:20}

I hope you live your life in peace…spending time and with great efforts to seek your peace. Take ownership in living your best life, with intimate hope. Stop shortchanging your life by giving so much and expecting so little in return. You deserve the best, believe in You. #Hiswork

Intimately worded,

Michelle

No Failure in Faith

October

Autumn Falls

Walkways are filled with leaves of colors

Change is touchable, All-seeing

There will be many curves and turns in our lives but there is no failure in our faith walk. I reflect on the thoughts, dreams, and goals I tell God about and only God. Those dreams that break and only God and I know that they break. Albeit, the dreams that did not meet my request. I am not in a spiritual hold up and not doubting God in what He does. Yet, He is the only companion that knows my heart and when my heart shatters, and hope falls apart; He is still the only one who knows of those particular heartbreaks…that is where I am. In this place of trusting Him anyway…no matter what the difficulty is and in spite of the pain. The path of in-between.

What I know we cannot run in the dark. We cannot love on empty. We cannot trust without promise. We cannot engage in love when we have no understanding of the problem. God’s timing, His perspective is so much grander than ours is. His concepts are for a greater purpose and most times, we have to wait. Most of our waiting is a work on self. God grows us into what He requires of us. At times, the thing we are working diligently on is His opportunity for us to see Him. Trusting Him is without default.

Do not engage with people who pull you further away from God, further away from what you believe in and the God you trust in. Do not engage with those people. Be an example more so than wanting to prove who you are. Resist the fight to prove when God is leading. #spiritualtransitions We know we are where we are because of Him, because of His love for us. Let Him do the rest—fight those battles of unprofessionalism, judgments, ill will towards us. #levelup

Welcome October, each day with expectancy—trusting Him anyway. Be perfectly imperfect, trusting God through the kinks, knockdowns, upsets, the falls and the breaks. Those moments matter the most. Let us continue to build from there—shining and being a light for others…setting faith standards.  {Hebrews 11}

Intimately worded,

Michelle

Happiness

#SundayLove  Selfie_August 2017

Happy Sunday Family! Don’t focus on the mess, you will miss the miracles. #encouragement

I woke this morning refreshed, happy. Yesterday, I committed to my own Saturday self-care as well as celebrated a young cousin’s elevation into marriage.

Last week: Wednesday, I awoke with hives. Stressed. This was after supervision with my site supervisor Monday and my professor’s supervision, on Tuesday. I was so bewildered and confused of why my body was attacking me …well protecting me. I do my best to make sure self-care is a daily practice. Thursday, I met with seasoned therapists that laughingly told me this was normal. Hives, cold sores , hair falling out, and mind-fogs were expected! If I didn’t have these things happening something was wrong. I smiled. God intercepts, intervenes when we believe all is wrong and the path chosen is skewed somehow. Remain focused and be encouraged on this journey. Where you are is not without promise.

I believe our happiness is conducive to what is within. Our happiness is uniquely demonstrated in how we treat others and in how we accept what goes around outside of us. I have learned to protect my happy. (smile) It is hard work, especially when it takes years to develop and define happy.

Happiness, peace and joy are different narratives yet carry the same wholeness required to live celebrating life. No one has the ability to grow your happy…only you can do that.Happiness is in you. Grow it. Share it. You matter. #takecareofyourYou

Intimately Worded,

Michelle