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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
“Keeping the devil down in the hole:” https://youtu.be/9k9FMGp7oGU
I love creating in the kitchen. When life events become perplexing deciding what to prepare for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner based on what is available in the kitchen is a joy. #mindbliss
When it all gets complicated, keep it simple. Wait your turn it is all coming around, know that for every unanswered reason and all the unbelievable whys will make sense. Remain confident in where God has you. If He doesn’t have you where you are go and find Him.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
See the pics of creations below:
Happy July! Be grand in every endeavor you are lead to or have to take. It matters.
©©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.
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.