Lion’s Den and the vulnerability of Belief

God walks before us. He never plays catch up. As so many things fall away, as our fears are presented to us daily in different ways we should be able to “see” more of whom God is.

It is during the midnight hours, the darkest moments in my life that I can hear, “see”, and feel God with the greatest clarity.​ To think we are alone, living and loving without the aid of others is a self-demonizing discouragement, which is fueled by our greatest fear — that we are unloved.

There are thoughts we tell ourselves to build walls of protection…it is where we live, where we hide our hearts. Where we stick our real dreams. ​Unknowingly, we begin to suffocate them. ​We expect to remain in the Lion’s Den. We secretly fear a rescue. For then, what would we do? ​I know trust is one of the most difficult things we learn to do, even with God.

​We should strive to meet our hurt challenges with hope. Even hurt inflicted by others,​ ​greet them with hope, believing we will get through. There have been worse times, remember?

“Faith strengtheners” those problems, those issues are construed to sidetrack us. ​Designed to keep us right where we are, in fear and in worry mode.  Yes, I know some are so heavy and so hurtful you wonder what the point is. When we do not understand the why we move to what for, remaining stagnant in trying to understand, why me? ​

For a moment, let us wrap our mind around the elements of Love. There is so much more to love than what we receive. We have to be able to give back. We have to. Push forward. When in the Lion’s den our opportunities of relate, release and recover are met. We emerge better, without a scratch; better focused. I am committed in my belief that everything happens for a reason a lot of it not by our own choices but rather for our experiences. There is no way I can encourage you about faith when I do not know one thing about being faithful. I cannot assure you all will be all right if I do not know the place of not being all right. (It is temporary.) There is more in the Lion’s Den then chaos. At times, it is the place where you find your faith and the source of your faith so that you are able to continue.

Be encouraged in your Lion’s Den. Be even more the encourager when you come out of the Lion’s Den….for you will come out of it. Continue to be expectant of God’s love for you, for me, for us.

Ever hopeful,

A.Michelle!

Letting go….

It is okay. To let go of what you wanted to happen. There is so much more when you do.

I ask that you not lose focus in wanting to want….all will happen in ways greater than you wished.

When the most difficult is happening deal with your now, do not push away; it all is preparing you for your future.

My wish is that we remain hopeful in disappointment, heartbreak and in our sacrifices,…you are so worthy and deserving and if “they”, if none see that, if none recognize your You

Well my dear you push forward ever so expectantly. Your strength has guided you this far and frankly you cannot be stopped. I believe in you. I believe in us….we who despite it all Hope.

Let go so that more comes. Be ever so proud of how far you have come.

 There’s more.

A.Michelle!

Choose You!

When my writing reveals more vulnerability than I want to say, my soulfulness caters to my surroundings I cave. I stop writing. My creativity is blocked.  This is the third draft to this post; I began writing it a few days ago.  The walls I have had to build to steady, right my way and block the negativity of others chisels away bit by bit. As a mother, I do it alone. There are greater blessings I am learning in being a single mother. The role is a joy more that it is a hardship. I smile more than I hold on to what ifs. As a teacher, there are days children break my heart yet there are more days when I know the difference in what they see, what they do begins with me. There are no small winnings when teaching for that I am humbled. It is the season of spring, Lent and Resurrection Sunday….new beginnings, time for newness, time for changes.

This year one of my intentions is to be more open when developing new friendships. Sounds easy enough. What I know: many things I will not entertain, life is just too short. In addition, personal experiences have led me to slot a number of issues as unnecessary.  I do not understand the point of going through unavoidable drama. I refuse to entertain it. We know we “see” crazy before full-blown crazy hits.

It is ironic that these past few weeks a few good friends have communicated issues in their relationships, seeking my opinion. I am careful not to advise. Cautious in not stating my opinion. I listen, with care. Sunday, in conversation with someone and she feels comfortable enough to share this information concerning her dating wants and issues.  I am open-minded. I do not expound on the matter with negativity. She is 38 to 40 years of age, attractive, confident, Black, a single parent, employed and believes in Christ. Her: “My dating is brief and the sex is always awful. On a first date, this guy picked me up and immediately pulled out a condom once I got in the car. Can you believe that? I still went out with him. It was not worth my time. I got me an ace in the hole. He is my best friend, still. We use to date. I know all about his girlfriends. He is my best friend. Our chemistry is off the chain.”  Me: “Why are you two not together?” Her: “I’m not into women.” Me, naive: “I know you aren’t. Why are you and him not together?” Her: “I’m not into women.” My confusion shows.  Her: “In order to be with him you have to agree to have sex with another woman in front of him. He tells all his girlfriends this from the beginning. They agree to get in then when its time that say no.  Once they disagree to his initial requirement he calls me.”  I am shocked and whisper, “Lord Jesus.” She laughs and goes on to say, “That’s my buddy though. My very best friend. I still see him when I need my fix.” Inwardly, my mind is whirling from all the body fluids just passed around. (Mental vomit.) I did not give any advice. She did not ask. I did not ask any more questions. What I noticed, she was happy when speaking of him. This arrangement, and him, however the prerequisites are this is her comfort zone. Her want. Her happy.

In my opinion, there is no way her thoughts are connecting with being who she wants to be. Her statement disappointments me greatly, “He’s my best friend.” How? Why? Why settle? Why conform for someone on a part time basis? Their “best friend-sex-ship” has lasted over ten years. I question her requirements on intimacy, privacy and the meaning of best friend. Our population does the excessive for something that has been around since creation. Sex, the pleasure principle! #ego

The heart is fragile. If our experiences mold, strengthen and at times temporarily break us; why entertain activities that will lead to the demise of who you are and who you want to be?  We all are “being” something, someone; we are in a process of pursuit. The pursuit of prosperity, of bliss, of peace, of affluence, of joy….seeking our own happy.

The early stage of a relationship represents “let’s try and see where this goes”, and opportunities to reveal one’s hope in what they want. Simple.  I will admit at the first sign of conflict, I am the first to say, “We do not have to do this.”  In all truthfulness, we do not. We choose to remain in the early stage believing we can “fix” or change the person of interest. By experience, we know so much more yet we are willing to overlook tangible signs and push forward idealizing our self-definition of change and hope.  We should be able to grow, increase from knowledge. Self should never fade. When in doubt never run so far left field that no one recognizes you, not even you.

Love and hope enhance, they should not break you. We are unable to fix people. Our parents, Life can be our greatest teachers. Continue to embrace common sense and core values.

My thoughts, my five cents when it comes to embracing something new:

  • Do not enter an arrangement that will devalue you in any friendship or relationship.
  • Communicate effectively and with authentic honesty.
  • Do not mislead. Do not allow yourself to be misled. Do not purposely deceive. State your intentions, your wants, and your discomforts.
  • Do not settle. Settling undercuts your self-worth deeply and with precise thoroughness.

I try my best daily to see the bigger picture in every aspect of my life. My hope, my want is to be in love, to be loved happily and with consistency.  Outside of self, my focus is my tribe. No matter how old they get we are a package deal. No matter how long it may seem remain hopeful. Seek more than momentary pleasure. Fight for and expect more. You define what your more is. One great thing about more, it changes and grows you. Choose you.

“Instead of holding onto broken dreams hold onto Love.” Alicia Keys.

Take care of you,

A.Michelle!

 Singleness: 1,026 days and not settling

Broken Relationships

Dysfunctional moments have the possibility to lead to decisions that will set us on paths unintended. How we treat each other, love each other is one of the greatest gifts we give. It is priceless. Yet, everyone one of us has someone we will not talk to nor deal with due to personal and private issues.

Healing begins when we are able to let go. Letting go of the guilt, the anger, the remorse as well as the mindful playbacks of what ifs. Concerns about what could have been are mere distractions that can keep you unfocused on what is ahead. Apologize if the desire is there but prepare yourself—your readiness, your act of kindness has the potential of non- reciprocation.

Life gives so many challenges. The opportunities of having more are multi in number. Continue doing what is right. When we take the necessary steps often times that is when the unpredictable happens. Our hearts mend with the intent to move forward.

If we allow it, Life will cater to our pain—to the perceptions we have of others and ourselves. Friendships stale, our versions of love and being love can deteriorate. We bury our emotions; we skip over life lessons and expect resounding forgiveness from those our actions destroy.

What I love about forgiveness is the two-way of it. Forgiveness removes the fault lines, those consequences of failed hope without a trace of residue. Do not push away, do not shut down on the things that matter the most. Matters of the heart are genuine steps to all you wish for; remain expectant in God’s better. Think of it this way….broken relationships are broken at times for new growth. Brokenness is not an ongoing exit for guilt, shame, arguments and doubt. Move forward.

Love as our Creator commands. Forgiveness is counterintuitive to love. Forgive because it betters you. Let God do the rest. I worry less when I trust God more. My heart has taken its share of bruises; my soul wounds have been many yet trust God I do. This time of my life, this winter season has been the warmest ever.

 You have what you want in this life; make it work!

Happy kisses,

A. Michelle!

 

Something New, Teaching.

Last week I began teaching teenagers in our public school system. I was so scared, still am. At times, I still believe this something new is all going too fast. This something new has affected all facets of my life. My life is changing. Things are different. I am different…softer in my approach or retaliation to others. There is so much training on what not to do that it is easy to lose focus on how we are to be….with children. They are children, little people trying to figure It out too—so many of them without any help.

Teaching is not a role new to me. It was never a desire of mine to teach. My parents told me I was good at it. As teens, we believe parents tell us what we can do because they love us. However, teaching requires a great sense of responsibility and that I did not want. When the thought of teaching Sunday School became more than just a thought I fought against it with so many belittling reasons. I am not good enough. Who am I? Why me? I am not smart enough. The greatest one, if I teach I truly have to live what I am teaching. Lol! Every night of training, I had to push myself to go into class and each night as I was leaving I cried the whole way home. Three years later, the butterflies are still there but the love I have for learning and being able to influence others toward God’s love quietens the fluttering.

When I started this job, every morning as I traveled toward school, I prayed for strength and protection. Every afternoon, while leaving I thanked God for strength and protection. Whew, I made it! While driving home I reflected on each day and I smiled. I wanted more. I am still smiling now. They grabbed my heart. Those children, other people’s kids grabbed my heart. They have given me the greatest hope and that is of finding ways to influence their lives. Yes, they are at times loud, sneaky, disrespectful, and cautious and closed off. Yet, for those few, there are more who just want you to listen, encourage, show concern, and hear them.

Oh these little minions are easy peasy versus warring with God about my personal preferences. Finding my way and living out my life well that is the hard part. Becoming a better person while in a difficult transition requires brutal self-honesty. Learning to love where God has you requires dependency, trust, faith, forgiveness, hope, determination…..and so much more.

My something new reminds me how God loves on purpose. A former colleague and a great female leader emailed me when she knew I was teaching: “Doing something you have passion for is the true key to success!!!” She is right. Be encouraged.

Always be ever expecting in God’s better.

Writer-Mom-Child Advocate-Blogger-Teacher,

~A.Michelle

Crossroads, where I am.

Phewwy. Yuck. I do not enjoy being here at the moment, in this space. At the Crossroads. At the Crossroads, no, no, no. New Crossroads, a little better for a title I think as I am writing the posted blog. If we pause and truly think about it we all are at a crossroads. We each have to make daily decisions that will impact our tomorrows or with some personal duress, someone else’s. As we try to live in the moment we are also planning, processing, progressing for tomorrow. I know God is intentional. I know that anything we go through and will go through has not taken Him by surprise. Oh, but can I have a physical, touch it, know it plan, Jesus??! Oh, then the scripture of Faith is dropped into my hearing, my spirit.
My heartbeat in these new crossroads has a rhythmically odd thumpty-thump-oh-my-pause pace. I am uncomfortable in this season of my life. I don’t quite understand it. I am dumbfounded and unable to encourage others. Daily, I would send affirmations via personal email and Facebook to friends and family. My give back from God; a morning aspiration for the past five years. It would seem after all I have done, been through and all that I have tried and am trying to do I should be able to do what I want, get what I want without question. Without this unbelievable stretch of stillness in time. “Be still and Know”….and still I whine, stomp my foot and pull at His shirttail “But God, do you hear me?”
I am advised to “sit” and hear God. Listen to Him. Pray for the next right move. Yet, I assure you I’ve always tried my best to do that. After twenty-five years of growing up in the country—where we had to travel to another city or town for groceries; where lights and the television were shut off during a storm; where a whooping came like the summer rain, unexpected—sitting still, listening to God is what I would know best.
I don’t say this to those who encourage me because I would come off sarcastically inept and insensitive. “Have any of my decisions been made without Him?” Whether I was obedient or not, I still made the decision with God in my mind. I did what I wanted knowing God would reprimand me one way or the other. As faithful as He is this free will He gives is the ultimate Aha. Conscious, that Holy Spirit “uh-uh” isn’t funny.
I have been given the greatest of opportunities: to be home. I take the Little Ones to school. I’m home when the Little Ones get home from school. I am able to write for hours at a time with no interruptions. I am able to help with homework. I am able to do my assigned homework and give my all instead of rushing to complete a 6 page essay on a one hour lunch break. (Grad student. The geekiest fun is a pressured deadline.) I have time to study and enjoy my Bible lessons in order to teach Sunday School. I have Time. Time to fulfill the dreams and opportunities I have always wanted without stress.
The children are great successes in school. My GPA would make you smile and say proudly, “Well, will you look-a-here.” Yet, here I am stressing, not sleeping, worrying, and crying. I have Time! And I am the most frustrated organized, got-to-have-a-reason-right now, obedient, hopeful, why-me-Lord woman in all the Earth. (That’s my personal opinion.) Oh, I forgot educated. Big sigh.
My Life! My own individualized because God loves me scratch pad has just been erased. I can’t see. I don’t know! If I knew I could do. I can plan. I can “Michelle” my way. Oh, how I want to “Michelle” my way through this. Oh well. God knows best. He does. I believe that. I know that. I have witnessed it over and over again. New career. New Pastor. New Crossroads, that’s where I am….on the other side of God knows best.

Walking by Faith trying to See around.

Me,

A. Michelle.