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

From Crux to Flux… Part II

Early Saturday morning, just before it gets hot and icky out, I sit on my patio. I exhale; drink my water. I watch how the breeze plays with the leaves and gently touches my skin. I see the tiniest tomato growing on my tomato plant…its small and green and blends with the vines yet it is there. I smile remembering my Mom’s garden in the country. I frown remembering having to shuck corn…the “hair” and the worms you unveiled just flat-out gave me the creepy crawlies. Yet, eating the cooked corn was one of the greatest hits of summer. #yummy  I love nature, the simplicity of it, of how it all works in unison.

Garden_little mater

My little mater. #proudof mygreenthumb

Nothing stops…seasons change, life breathes new as much as it expires, our pain is continuous yet we heal. God whispers to us when we are at our lowest and when we find just the perfect moment of peace. He is ever so indicative of being seen for such an invisible God. Without difficulty, when we are in an existential crisis and cannot see Him we have no other option but to feel His presence.

Pain does not stop. We can both lie, dwell in it as well as allow it to be our entire reason for living. We have the choice to live within the healing process. I choose to heal and to continue healing. Healing is never-ending and it is without compromise. The beauty in brokenness—if I want to heal with love, with expectations, with hope I must do so without compromise. I cannot cheat you and heal. I cannot increase your pain and heal. I cannot stop loving and heal. I cannot forgive and love on purpose. Somehow, someway a part of this curative process is to understand the why. In addition, we cannot live there.

My flux…I am at a new internship site that helps adolescents and adults live with their eating disorders. I have never worked with this population and it is a great learning curve for me. I am completely fascinated, mindfully and spiritually overwhelmed. This is different and no the remedy is not simple as getting one to eat. Eating disorders are physiological and psychological. I am there 4 days a week—analyzing and understanding why clients are suffering with the basic necessity required to live. I have a great part time job. I have a huge gratitude for working with like-minded people. They are professional and so kind. I am near to finishing my first book. I am transitioning. I am healing.

My crux…Quitting at Life is not an option. Just as gardens cultivate, achieve, inspire where they are planted, we too must do the same. When God whispers it will be all right, it will be and just perfectly so. While watching nature I reflect of how holy God is. He is not some Fix-it King nor an entity that just repairs. He does so much more than our minds can phantom. How He intricately set the number of our days and count the hairs on our heads yet leaves it up to us to do what we will. His gift of freewill has no limits. We limit ourselves, create our own little boxes of our wants, we hold on to the familiar—pain, confusion, chaos, and our wants. We continue praying for what we want lessening the power of His intentional purposes for our lives.

Garden_God whispers

My little garden: tomatoes, some type of flower and a little basil

Get unstuck! #BelieveBigger God has a way of imparting and manifesting what we think are weaknesses into the greatest triumphs of our lives. Continue to love with care and heal according to the trust God has for you. That is not a heavy responsibility…if the thought does not bring you joy than that is where you need to heal. #mindyourmental

Intimately written,

Michelle ©

Singleness Relationships His plans

Confident

Human Nature is God created and is the simplest most complex form of co-existing. It seems that relationships are now this big hoo-haw of rules…you have to be, what you should do, do not do that, and then they add in the biblical characters of Boaz, Ruth, then the terms submissiveness, wait and pursue. It kills me, completely. I am not writing to give advice and suggest anything. Just read this with an open-mind and open-heart.

I want to remind you that finding what you want, being single, while-in-wait is not complicated. It truly will take that one day, the one moment (and you may not ever describe it as perfect but it will be for that moment) that one conversation, that one hello, that one smell of his cologne, his swag,  that one act of chivalry and it happens. There really is no rhyme or reason to it. Even the unexpected friendship that blossoms is a part of it all.

Stop allowing what “experts” give, sell to you about your life because this is your life, your choice. Honestly, he/she cannot tell you how to be now in order to be dating if they have no clue of the trials you went through or the fiery acts of faith you believed in your past. People change. Mindsets become new. Our environments change. How I am, is due to the things God has allowed in my life and they are blessings. As a single parent of three African American males (two are adult men) and one daughter I have no room in my life to be passive, submissive nor non-intimidating. It just will not work. Yet, I know enough from my Mom, my Daddy, my brothers, my family, those aunts on how to be loving towards a man who holds my interest.

I have become, am becoming this person, this woman, this loving female not because of my past but in spite of; in spite of all I endured, endure —-because of my relationship with God. There is no doubt in my mind that my intimacy with God has grown me into a woman who is too forward, too passive, too gullible and above all ignorant. He just would not allow it. I am imperfect, perfectly so.  I smile from my soul for who I am. Our walk with Him is personal, it is about growth, it is about healing, and it is about GROWTH! Growth and stagnation does not mesh. God is so much greater. We have to realize that people choose to love or runaway, they choose it. Let them. Their choice does not make you or I less than. The only person that can impede God’s will for your life is you. {Jeremiah 29:11}

The heavy part of love requires all of you, each of you. Know and believe in your definition of love and you will find the partner that will enhance your definition or have you rewrite your definition with his or her edits. Just proofread first! Be in ready mode. Your heart is bigger than what if. God’s will is grander please believe that.

I pray God’s grace in whomever you choose to love….and I am so proud of you for where you are today. You have come through so much. Keep your You! It works specifically for all you are connected to.

Intimately written,

Michelle

Heart Faults, when we break.

In any relationship, manipulation is the highest form of betrayal. We will have to stop eating everything that is fed to us…even if its silver spoon fed. We grow watching, observing and living to our parents and family wishes. We trust them. Believe them without reservation. When we live our lives only by observation, and with their expectations without knowing their wounds, their whys our foundation will crack.

Respectability and accountability are requirements for the things we want in life, what we require from each other. Jesus’ mandate was to love one another as we love ourselves. His commandment sounds simple enough yet I believe it is one of the most difficult challenges in our faith walk. Loving self is a lifetime journey and it becomes more difficult to do when we break. The longevity of carrying pain, damaging pain that steals your joy and stills your heart is not loyalty. Do not lose Self in your love of someone. Our definition of love has to be redefined at times for every relationship is different. I hope that you create, prepare, equip and fall in love with your perspective of love….for love does not destroy you. Remember it. Keep your personal definition close to your heart. When the fires come, you will be able to fall back on a firm foundation no matter the cracks.

Dr. K E Garland has written, “The Unhappy Wife” a book that solidifies the undoing of each woman’s heart within matrimony. The book is a collection of short stories of 12 different women and their intimate soul reveals.  I love how the book is not about failing marriages yet more about individuality and how meshing, merging are important without losing Self.

Intimacy should be a bond that transforms and grows us individually and with our mate. It is inhumane, to not be touched, or reassured in your love. Intimacy is more than sex, more than means of procreating, its right smack in the middle of the whole scheme of things. As you read this book watch how their lives differentiate from their initial dreams, from their wants and how they live, survive within those differences.

My friendship with this author, reading her book leaves me indebted to her. She writes truths that the reader unveils whether we are single, coupled, or married. She understands the schematics of how we love, how we believe with God and that the one-billionth prayer will somehow magically fix the ones we love to love us back. As I shared with her, “We have to do better” for ourselves, our daughters, granddaughters for all who are connected to us. As well as for the honor of a unique want that becomes a spiritual yet legalized covenant.

One thing I did for myself many moons ago: I stopped labeling myself as divorced within conversations, on applications and within my definition of self-love.  That word, that status carries an overwhelming heavy weight. Drop it. Move forward. Love self so that you are able to love others, equally and with compassion. The Unhappy Wife by [Garland, KE]

You are able to purchase, “The Unhappy Wife” here: www.kegarland.com. It will be one of your best book purchases this year. I promise! KE Garland’s blog link: kwoted.wordpress.com/

Please post your feedback here, encourage KE Garland on her website and blog-site. I would love any commentary on this book, this post and your heart faults, please share. I teach a monthly workshop on Identity for Women of Faith and our sessions have been remarkable. So this read, this reflection has me ever so excited for our future. It all circles back.

Keep healing; it recipriocates and removes the fault lines.

Intimately worded,

A. Michelle