For She Loved Much

This weekend I am off (this is so rare) and I sat on my patio…felt the breeze of the wind on my skin, I did not have to rush anywhere. No counseling, no assignments. The weather was unexpected– cooler than it has been. I noticed the blue of the sky, the green of the leaves on the trees…my recently planted peppers are starting to bloom, my flowers not so much. I breathe. I smile. Daily I commit to reading my Bible, as well as some different devotional books. In reading the excerpt in the Bible of Jesus raising a Dead Girl and healing a Sick Woman, Matthew 9:18-25, a couple of things placed me in a thoughtful mode. Women are powerful and oftentimes how we are is marginalized or interpreted less than positive. During my reading, I tend to analyze and associate my life with the lives of the women in the Bible. Not perfect but faithful. I am far from a Biblical Scholar; however, I am forever a student.

Nowhere in the Bible was a woman isolated –left alone. Even when Hagar ran—ready to give up, desperate to get away, to die even with her child: God sent her back. He promised her better yet He did not explain how it was going to get better.  He was sending her back to what she was running from. She went back; she obeyed…blows my mind each time I read it.

Of my experiences, I know abuse of any kind left unchecked will affect different levels of our lives within different phases. Our childhood despite great parenting may and will dissipate; melt into an intangible, become creased with pain, often sadness will occur, coupled with unworthiness and suspicion. What we learn and what we know due to our experiences will become a part of us –it all keeps us—often we use “it” as a protective barrier.

We, women, we isolate a lot. We pull away. I know I keep the broken pieces hidden well. Through the years and yes it has been years I am learning that transitioning from the emotions of girl-like deadness to continuous healing, to vowing to live and love complete is work. #soulwork I am learning that I have learned to accept rejection –my way, with my own definition. It is difficult to re-frame, remove and grow in your healing. There are different aspects, camouflages we self-incorporate in order to mask what we know, what we will not acknowledge as well as to what we hold on to. #heartwork

“Don’t be so loyal to your suffering that healing doesn’t stand a chance.” ~ginamoffia.com

In the times of our deepest pain, the assurance of God’s presence can provide comfort, a comfort that without our knowing commensurate with current and past pain. He is All-Knowing. The great thing is even in our moments of desperation, we tend to develop a genuine confidence in our Higher Power, certain of His power to heal, to make things better. Within my desperation, my faith is undeniable; faith is my driving force regardless of my circumstances. I was told once that my faith was wonderful…this weekend I am leaning towards believing that.

Back to the strength of women, we are nurtures, we love: the woman with the issue of blood, her condition is desperate both for medical reasons and because of its social consequences; her ostracism would extend even to her private life, she was alone, isolated in her being, within her illness.  Yet, her faith trusted her to not make herself known, not to call for Him but to press forward within a crowd of people to touch,  just touch the hem of His garment. Her faith, her belief in the possible was her healing.

I encourage you to push pass any significant pain that causes insecurity, anything that is less befitting of your future. All may not go as we plan or how we hope—do not allow confusion to outweigh your perhaps. Press forward, hope for greater and above all keep going. Pursue your healing, evolve with His promises…allow healing to persist and remain present. Be better in getting better, for we love much. {Luke 7:47}

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

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

Fractured, yet Healing

Intimately Wrded_picDecember 31…the last date of every year. I believe it to be more. It has become the date in which we tend to count our blessings, regret our mistakes, total up the losses. A date in which we ruminate over in regret…decide to regret or make executed decisions to do better while hoping for a grander life than previous. #2017

What if December 31, symbolizes other than “more”? What if December 31 meant to pause, that we actually live within the momentary time of gratitude. No adjustments, no planning, no goal setting.

My December 31: I am fractured, yet healing. From here, I will continue to grow in my healing. I will continue to let God have His will, His way regardless of how I feel, how dramatic I may get. Regardless of my hurt, my guilt, my disappointments. I will let Him win this for me…this life, these expectations.

What if? I know that God’s love for us is bigger than we realize. What if, I just take this date, this last day of the year to let Him love me with His thoughts, His plans for me…for they are never to harm me.

This thought process has not been easy to achieve. My hurts this year have been gargantuan and not because I am wrong or off path but because He has more in store. Tonight, I will see my life from His perspective—fractured, yet healing. #perfectlyimperfect

Vulnerability is not an easy path. At times, the vulnerability is to get you where He wants you to be…His best work is when we are open, wounded while processing. I have learned that there are connections I cannot be without; spiritual connections do not break. {bfk}

I have learned that God’s opportunities look very different from ours. I am learning that getting closer to God does not necessarily mean that I know Him in the depth and realms He knows me. It will hurt, remaining on your path. Yet, you must remain however fractured your soul is. We are forever healing, forever growing in Life processes.

December 31, you are on the right track. Trust me. #Trust Him Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. May this New Year bring you face to face with God’s purposed plans for your life. I wish you prosperity, grand fortune in love, happiness and peace. #continuedblessings

Intimately wrded,

Michelle

Promises, Hope and my Heart

Counselors picI accepted a job offer last week! I have yet to share it with the world. I have been trying for consistent employment in counseling for the last two years. I am excited and I feel extremely blessed. This morning as I was looking at the beautiful autumn leaves I realized that I am manifesting, yet afraid of His promises of hope.

The dream opportunity to work as counselor—to be in this role before graduation, waiting on licensure scores—terrifies me. Manifestation: an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea. I am walking in what God has placed in my heart, a work that He knew of before my acceptance, a purpose He gifted me without giving details of how to achieve.

I tell you, do not push away from the painful things, the disappointments. Remember, that God is within those things, those interruptions as well, right there with you. This Counselor’s path has been not easy —very difficult. Becoming a counselor is not a stagnant career choice. You will grow whether you want to or not. Your heart will change, stop, beat, ache, break, melt, heal and then do it all over again. Your friendships, the ones you cherish will hurt. Oftentimes your alone time will be your healing time. This is an unquit for me.

This is my unequivocal purpose that is coming true! Although the promises of Hope move me in unfamiliar territory, I am in a territory of harvesting—working within my spiritual divine role. The moments that do not hurt: receiving authentic affirmations from a 15 year old recovering within her eating disorder: “I am beautiful. I am so beautiful! I am disappointed that I treated myself this mean.”

I received a beautiful hand-created scarf (pictured above) —this client did not use a knitting nor crochet needle. She used her fingers! She saw my joy and I put it on immediately, and said, “I will rock this!” She responds so unsure: “Ms. Michelle I can make you another, a better one.”  Me: “I don’t want you to. This is perfect!”

I have learned to love the unexpected hugs! (In the beginning, this was a problem for me.)  They are the greatest especially when I know my clients battle with touch, intimacy and trust. With all that comes with gaining a trauma victim’s trust it has been my intimacy with God that carries me through each session. At times, the science and the spiritual do not mesh and then there are times you cannot have one without the other. There are different paths that lead to healing. I marvel at these concepts and therapeutic techniques. I love Counseling! I do.

My life has by far been a complete God-experience; He has kept me when I did not recognize how He keeps. I could not have identified my professional identity without my spiritual journey. My first day begins after Thanksgiving.

Remain grateful, hopeful and I beg you to, choose the larger life.

“The beginning is most important part of the work.” –Plato

Intimately worded,

Michelle

{Song of Solomon 8:5}

Chapter 47 #birthdayblog the beginning…

Selfie_August 2017

I am not forsaking the last 46 years, I am blessed. I am humbled and ever so confident in God. His works are undeniable. This past week I attended a beautiful wedding where African Attire was required. We are a beautiful people. I attended the funeral of a great friend…her mother was –is her world. I wear my pearls in honor of her memory and my mother’s as well. Our mothers’ are the salt of the earth…they make us you know…they make us in spite of their dreams, in spite of the things they want for themselves. How amazing is the role of mother. In addition, with some dread…I am being matched to date….it has been five years since I have been on a date. What a birthday week!!  I love new experiences and value the past ones. Year 47 will be exceptional!

My life thoughts:

  1. God works within our prayers to show His purposes for our lives.
  2. Others’ happiness can flow over to us but it is up to us to pick up the pieces they leave us.
  3. I am learning that life is grand only if you live it!
  4. Support the ones who support your dreams …without a price.
  5. Our world is relevant to what we do. What we put out returns back to us.
  6. I love being a mother it is far more rewarding than we believe, even with all the sacrifices and …I am good at it.
  7. Damien!
  8. Darius!
  9. Autumn!
  10. Bryant Wade aka Brutus!
  11. Love in spite of how we define it… it wins on its on merit.
  12. Friendships are fundamentals it indicates how we care for one another.
  13. Spirituality although renowned  is one of the most evolutionary, specific and rare experiences that will last forever.
  14. Do not always be aggressive learn to wait in hope.
  15. There is work in the wait.
  16. Connections make you vulnerable yet the real ones last a lifetime. Keep them.
  17. Love more than you hate.
  18. Although forgiveness is a process, forgive anyway. We are unable to stop the hurt. Reflect. Forgive. Move forward in love.
  19. I am okay.
  20. I am worthy of the good.
  21. Your intelligence is an asset…grow it. Share it. Use it.
  22. Hate cripples.
  23. Self-loathing destroys what God has created.
  24. Growth requires new experiences.
  25. Guarding your heart comes with responsibilities, listening and obeying. Do not guard it with barbwire.
  26. Family is the core of our existence. Love them.
  27. Racism is real. God is bigger.
  28. Our biggest fight is to love who we are.
  29. Our greatest fear is not being loved for whom we truly are…we fight to hide and hide to fight.
  30. Self-care is paramount.
  31. Sleep is wonderful, it is when God is doing so much for us and through us. Learn to rest well.
  32. God loves whom He creates. He cannot not love.
  33. Psychology and counseling is what I am great at doing. It is a gift and though heart wrenching I am committed.
  34. Giving birth is life changing; forever.
  35. When the ones we love walk out, it hurts but it is the beginning of so much more. Work through it.
  36. Encourage others; it matters. Fellowship is key to relationships.
  37. You are greater than anything that comes your way. God in all His infinite wisdom ordained it so.
  38. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  39. We indeed reap what we sow. Sow with love.
  40. Love is simple, respectful and honorable. There is not any gray matter.
  41. Do not human up what is spiritually required of you. Freewill is God given. Jesus paid the price, once. He does not have to repeat it.
  42. Adoption is unrequited love. Do not human it up.
  43. Our gifts are our freedom. Develop it. Follow through with it.
  44. Dreams come true with hard work and trust.
  45. Do the necessary #work.
  46. Safety is not a guarantee…it should be with the ones who profess their love for you.

Chapter 47 …new one. I am determined to live life loving better, living wonderfully and assisting in the greater good wherever and whenever I can! ©

P.S. I am excitedly afraid of the possibility of dating. A big sister type of friend says, “Not dating Oh not we cannot have that.” She has been on a mission since Wednesday. #mylife

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 ©

Flux to Crux…Part I

©©When it hurts to write (my number one love), when it hurts to counsel, when it hurts to breathe…within my crux. My well is dry. My give is limited. My encouraging spirit, well it is in wound. This is new. There have been times in the past I was unable to write. This is different; my life experiences are genuine, unique. I try my best to learn from them and move forward. I hold no ill will towards anyone.  This is more than hurt feelings, more than depression, more than overworked, more than transitional. All of me is in such a painful turmoil; my thoughts, my spirit, my body…yesterday I cleaned my face with fingernail polish remover. Smh/laugh, I did.  Yet, I know this is more than I need a vacation phase.

I am not sure what this is, what it means. I quit social media for a minute. I have been fasting since May. I have taken the necessary steps to welcome this transition and yet it seems I am still failing.

My flux—Monday through Wednesday schedule is when I give all of me to others. Monday: work, see clients, facilitate grief group. Tuesday: work, see clients, and attend class. Wednesday: work, see clients, facilitate divorce group. Thursday: work, work on proposals, homework, more counseling projects. Friday: looks like Thursday. Saturday & Sunday: self-care days…even with some sort of training—in ethics or sex trafficking and conducting prayer hotlines. I think my self-care is suffocating because I do not know where I am at, who I am becoming. In addition, how is it possible that there is more to life when it all hurts?

I am alone in my crux. I see, hear so much hurt. From planned suicide to displaced wives and children to grieving individuals. Their hurt pains me so much and I know to run, walk, talk, pray for them outside of my counseling sessions. I do not carry their weight although the heaviness is substantial. I could list all my credentials, my leadership roles, my accomplishments, my wants yet it still is what I did —not what I am doing. I have only the premise that I am in the middle of something huge and I cannot go backwards nor move forward in front of God. It all frightens me.

“There is nothing My Holiness cannot do.” ~Marianne Williamson

Fighting for joy…to keep it…to live with it and in it in spite of what I see, of what I hear and no matter the mistreatment keep fighting for joy. My purposes are my purposes…God-divine. When things come up hard, when reasoning makes no sense, when everything seems to fall short, when the fluxes of this life overwhelm we must remember all that God requires is never easy. Jesus, His son suffered more than anyone. He set the standard for being obedient to God’s will. He won. His victory is for us to win as well.

There will be times I cannot be all to everyone. There will be times my spirit of encouragement is nil. There will be times when how alone I am in this world flattens me. (When Daddy & Momma are gone, it is a whole other kind of growing up.)

I do not talk. I do not complain. I encourage. I smile. I cover up. While in this transition phase one person said to me: “There’s something behind that smile.”  I broke down. I cried. Not those hard cry just silent tears. There is my brokenness. There is the pain of being told my last seven years are a farce. That my struggle, my fight to be a counselor is of all things–unethical.

Normally, I have a few choice words for people who intentionally harm or disrespect me. I have my say. I am my best advocate. Yet, this time the weight of others, of it all, of this journey made me pause. I give. I give a lot. I give out. This time, for this moment I gave in. Whammy after whammy is depleting. The core of everything I am, everything I am becoming has to be fought for and I am tired.

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he[a] will answer my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1 (NLT)

 There is peace in my wait. There is more of me in my wait. He is there for me in my wait. I awake smiling. I enter my space, my chosen time alone is outside where I can see, hear, smell, touch, breathe in His love. There is where I begin…within my crux. I am trusting God to do His possibles for me and for you.

His grace.

Intimately worded,

Michelle ©

Fyi: For those who do not know I am in the practicum/internship phase of achieving my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 
Beauty Selfie (2)

Beginning 2009 or 2010

 

Michelle_June 9 2017

In between June 2017.  (at my daughter’s graduation from Middle School.)