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Weapons Of Warfare

The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

Bye Felecia..

This entire time, I thought it was me, but I’ve come to realize it was you… How could I ever blame myself for everything, when all I have ever done is react to what it is that you have been doing. Always blaming myself, denying myself, judging, comparing, hating myself, and it’s been you this entire time.

It’s always been you…

Bubbling up beneath the surface of everything. Whether it was guilt for having  a simple human emotion, or deciding to do nothing because there are limits on my ability, my greatness, my purpose, my reason for even being. You’re always there inserting your opinions, strategies and your manipulation to get me to do what it is that you think I should do. Sneakily and underhandedly manipulating everything about me to position me right where you want me. Destroying, annihilating, and causing irreparable damage to the relationships and the people I once loved and held so dear. Causing a blindness and a darkness so deep, and so empty that the only thing to do was to dwell inside of it. Create a life, and a purpose, and a way of being inside this darkness because it has become home now..

Potential and purpose do not exist when I am with you. I exist to carry out your plans and your plans alone. And to think, I’ve always considered myself the selfish one. But what I see now is the label of selfish is designed to keep my hands tied. To confuse the thoughts and the actions that selflessness resonates from with doubt about the origin and intent of the deed. If you program me to believe that I am selfish, I will in return be selfish. Or, I will stifle the willingness, and the heart I have for helping others. There is no helping others with you. We serve one another’s purposes. You manipulate me. I feed into you. I give you life. And the life that could be saved, dies with silence you enforce upon me.

I don’t think you’ve ever considered the notion that I give you life. Without your schemes and mind games, manipulation, puppetry if you will – without those ploys of deception being successful, you have no life. Not with me anyway. You cannot carry out your plot against me and anyone else you are using me against, without me. I give you life. And this is where I do give you some credit. Because you are only fulfilling your purpose in being. You are doing what you are told. But the thing is, I know who sent you.. The only thing I am in the dark about with you is.. the way in which you will show up. And even then if I am honest, you are quite predictable. Every now and then you switch things up. Try something new if you will, something different that will have me enthralled and tangled up in my feelings about what It is you’ve done now – Allowing me to lose sight of you in the midst of the drama, the heartache, the despair and the depression. I stay low. I stay defeated. I stay blind.  But there are a few truths about you that I am very clear on. I am aware that regardless of how you show up, you will show up. And the more that I ignore you, get along without you, the more I discredit you, and the more that I expose you for what you’ve been doing, the more you come. The harder you come. The craftier, more creative and intense you get. I expect that from you.  Because you have a pattern. No matter how you switch things up, you

a l w a y s have a pattern.

I know you have limits. I know you are absolutely without a doubt going to try. You’re an overachiever like that. Or insane. You do know that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome don’t you? Anyway, back to the limits. You have limits. You push them, but you have them. Because I know for a fact that the One who sent you, has already told you what you cannot do. You may seek to, but you cannot kill me, you cannot destroy. You may defeat me, but you cannot extinguish my life. And yet, insert crafty, clever, repetitive desire to do it anyway. The interesting thing about our relationship is, no matter how much of me you may have, or think you have, you’ll never completely have me. There’s always someone drawing me away from you and back to them. There’s always something that is eventually going to swoop in and shine a light on all this darkness you and I have been in. There’s always hope that today is my last day with you. It’s a guarantee.

That’s why you are so afraid to let me go. Because as I stated before, I give you life. Once I am gone, you no longer can run the roughshod ploys, plots, or plans against me. Once I am free of you, you become exposed for everything that you been divisively doing all this time. Not only are you exposed, but the situations that you tore to pieces, the hearts that you broke, the damage that you caused – everything I am sure you were so proud of because you felt like it gave you a foot hold into this heart and this world.. I can get it all back. It’s only temporary! Everything you work so hard on to destroy to ensure blind stagnancy, I can get back.. And anything that isn’t worth taking back anymore, I can receive better! I can receive more, exceedingly, abundantly more than what you took from me. Somethings aren’t worth being restored, they are simply made new. My mind. You had it. You did a number on it. You wore it out. I don’t want it back in that condition, you can have that mind, because apart from you –there’s someone that promises me a renewed mind. That heart you broke, that you clouded with misjudgment, hate, turned to stone, and soiled. Yeah – I’m about to get a brand new clean one. So you more a less did me a favor… you took something that was already damaged, ripped to shreds and laid it to rest so that I could make room for a brand spanking, squeaky clean fresh new one. Even comes with new heart scent air freshener inside. And It will be as if you never stepped foot there.

Oh? You mad or nah? You big mad or little mad?  I know you’re upset, and you will be so jealous of this clean heart that I am getting, that you’re going to try and destroy it too. Point out it’s flaws, I can hear you now. “You’re not supposed to feel like that in this brand new heart. If you really got you a new clean one, why would those feelings show up here.. maybe it’s not as clean as you thought. Maybe you didn’t really start over and nothing has changed.. I think you got played because everything in this heart is lookin’ real familiar right now..”

I hear you.. and you’re still wrong. I expect that from you. Before you would ALWAYS make me doubt the things contrary to your plans that flat out call you a liar. Everything looking moral, upright and in line with the light..you always come in and make me feel like I made it up in my mind… But now, I know that’s what you do, because you’re a hater. Point blank Period.

 

You have hidden me from myself far too long. You have made it so difficult for me to see beyond my imperfections that I have begun to loath the person that I am. You tried to start some kind of internal struggle or war for that matter, between who’s really in there, and what kind of person they are. You have exceeded expectations in this area, I have to say. You have made it difficult to not only receive compliments, well wishes, and positive thoughts, you have made it difficult to love and be loved in return. But! I get it. It is very difficult to manipulate a person that thinks highly of themselves based on who and where they came from. If I were to believe that I was created in the image of the One who knew me before I was a minute speck of DNA or dust, or a thought.. it might be impossible to tell me otherwise. If I believe that I am an heir to the throne of the King of Kings and The Lord of Lords, I might not have time to entertain you …always tryin’ to remind me of something I was or some old stuff I used to do. Always in my ear trying to convince me that because those things happened or that they exist, that they are on record and I can never stray from what is written. If I believed that every indiscretion, not so awesome, embarrassing, shameful, regretful, hideous thing about myself was placed as far away as the East is from the West – that I can walk around before other people like it never happened, even if they stood right there with me.. you might not be able to touch me. I might not even give you the time of day. You’re like   bad door to door sales man trying to sell me some bootleg, rundown, out of date version of what I already have…trying to convince me that what’s old and familiar, classic even is more reliable and trustworthy than all this “brand new” being made over stuff. No shade, but no one is checking for the huge out of date, tacky, out of style, floor model tv when they’ve got plasma screens that look like you can walk up and touch someone hanging on the walls with no wires showing at that… You’re really starting to beat a dead horse with all of that. There’s nothing about that me back that has anything to do with who or what I am right now. The past doesn’t dictate what is to come, it doesn’t hold me hostage, it doesn’t mean I can’t change or be changed for that matter… it just was. That’s it. It was. It’s not today. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not 10 years from now. It just was. Let it go.

I know you’re trying to do that. I know you don’t want me to believe all things that He says about me. I get it. Because if I believed like He said I should, I could do even greater works than He did.. right now. Don’t even need to wait, don’t even need permission. I’m supposed to! So I get it. You don’t want what I think of myself to mirror what the Creator thinks of me, because I might just feel confident and endowed enough to tell someone else they’re not what they think of themselves either. Pretty soon, I’m going to believe it about me, then I’m gonna  tell someone else, she’s gonna tell another person and before you know it.. There will be an entire army of us. Standing there. Believing in our purpose. Believing that we are called. That we are Holy. That we are righteous. That we are capable of destroying you….

So. I think I’ve been cordial up unto this point. We can do this one of one ways. You’re gonna go. You’ve overstayed your welcome, and frankly you’re a poor guest. You are no longer welcome here. There. Anywhere, In my heart, in my mind, in my finances, in my house, on my job, in my family, in my relationships, in my neighborhood, in my city, or in my country. Pretty much..you are banned from anything that has anything to do with me. And since I’m kinda connected to The Body of Christ, we’re kind of a big deal.. which kinda makes errybody of limits to you. Unfortunately for you, I am going to have to share my experience with everyone else. Kind of like the neighborhood watch, or best practices if you will. If I can tell them what to look for, If I can tell them how you get down, if I can point out some of your tricks, some of your silent but almost..not quite because you can’t..deadly plans… Than they can call you out before you even show up! So when you do show up, you’re expected. And we’ll wait for you. Be right there… Ready.

It’s all about being ready, and armed, and focused, and discerning. And that’s where you will find us. In the full armor of God. Waiting…

Wish I could say it’s been great, but I can’t so….

 

Deuces.

The Fear Laced Life.

The fear laced life.

My life is laced with fear. Everyday. Intricately woven into the details of my everyday life and activities like a fine thread; noticed when focused on, and irrelevant when the mind is preoccupied. Fear. Everything I do is designed not to combat or overcome that fear, but to not feel the terror of experiencing the realizations of my fears. My superficial fears, my valid fears, and my made up fears all constantly running in the background like a process on an app that makes the program run.

Just like the apps on our phones, certain processes have to run in the background to make your apps work together, recall information, and give you the ability to access them quickly as you desire them. This is how you can press the home key and see every app window that is currently running, but not open. Such is my fear, running in the background, powering the various apps in my life. For example, work.  I don’t love working. I just don’t. But I work to be financially stable, to be fiscally responsible, and to make my ends meet. However, the field I am in is probably not the God given career I should be in. Will I ask God to reveal that to me and give me the courage to leap into the field He has chosen for me? Nope. Because I know what that field has to offer me and the money is less than I currently make. But because I fear financially instability, I work and work and push in a job that is neither satisfying, nor glorifying God. Fear. This fear powers my work app.

Fear of getting down to the heart of the matter and confronting things that have been burdening me all of my life. Fear of what it feels like to really experience the pain and emotions of those realizations. This powers my Sum to do app. Always going, doing, ripping and running here, there, and everywhere as a means of distraction. Convincing myself I am bored or complacent when it is pure avoidance. This fear powers my calendar and daily task app. Which conveniently runs with my work app.

Fear of inadequacy. My life is not enough. I am not enough, there is so much more to be gained. There’s better out there and this is what it looks like. I don’t measure up, I’m not a good mate because my relationship goals don’t match theirs, I can’t give a man what they can. My butt isn’t big like hers and she has lots of likes so that must be what they like, and I can’t afford a weave like hers with a mortgage like mine, and I need a waist trainer to get small like her and get likes from them.  But I am doing better than my peers from high school. The kids they had as teens are almost teens themselves, and she still don’t know who her baby daddy is. In fact, she had three more daddy less kids – and I can’t believe she still wearing them clothes from 12th grade, like seriously? This fear powers my social media apps – Facebook, Instagram, you know the things that occupy my time getting my mind of my circumstances by comparing them to everyone else’s and leaving a gaping hole in the satisfaction of my own life. Yet giving me false hope that as long as I am better than someone, I’m not too far off from someone that’s better than me.

These fears are running in the background of my life, and probably yours too. And just like my phone, when too many apps are running in the forefront, but especially in the background, they drain the battery. You may have closed all the apps and the windows but the processes are still running in the background, and before you know it, your battery has gone from 83% to 45% in a matter of an hour. Fear. Fear that you are allowing to fuel your life and its many aspects is draining your battery. You think you’re starting at 100%, but quickly as the apps continue to run, and the processes continue to work behind the scenes, energy from your battery is quietly drained. That fear is sucking the energy right out of your life, your will to live and live life abundantly. Fear is killing your battery.

But just like your phone there’s one way to shut the fear down- There’s a task manager. The task manager of our phones displays all the behind the scenes apps and processes that are installed, running, and disabled. You open that task manager and find yourself amazed at what apps are running that you didn’t even know about. It also shows you how much of the battery and memory that apps are taking up. There you have the option to end the processes, override the app and shut them down. We have a task manager ourselves – in our lives- God is our task manager. He knows exactly what fears we have, where they came from, and how they are currently operating in our lives.

He knows you won’t completely cut that man out of your life because he is your fall back plan. That you think nobody else wants you or is willing to put up with all that comes with you and your baggage so you keep him around for a safety net. God knows he ain’t good for you, never going to be good for you and has someone else for you to be with but your fear of being alone keeps you tethered to this miserable situation.

He knows that you run around sleeping with every woman that will give you the time of day to quiet that voice that tells you, you aren’t a man if you’re not knocking women down left and right. He knows you are afraid of commitment and responsibility because you don’t know how to handle it because you had no one to teach you how to be a man. He knows you won’t take care of your kids because you don’t know how and you don’t want to be your father so you just stay away.

He knows that you’re ornery, and hateful because you’re not comfortable accepting love because you’ve never had anyone to show you that kind of love and kindness, to make you feel loved, and wanted like you matter.

 Just like the task manager on your phone, if you go to Him and talk to Him about it, He can show you clear as day what you’re afraid of, what you’re running from, and hiding from. He knows what percent our battery is on and what we need to do to save our energy. He has the power to the shut the fear down, terminate the processes, and preserve what energy we have left.

All it takes is to open the task manager, and let it do what it’s designed to do. Just like taking our fears to God. God is designed to bring peace in the midst of the storm, to comfort the suffering, and to ease the troubled mind.  Instead, we try the small fixes that we think will eliminate our fears, when they really just mask them and make them bearable. We spend our lives ducking the realization of our fears, rather than submit them to the One with the powers to shut them down. We won’t address them head on or even ask God to renew our hope and faith and cast out our fears. We talk around them with Him like he doesn’t already know, or not at all. That’s like darkening our screens on our phones trying to save a couple percent of battery. Then we power off the wi-fi because we think it’s taking up most of the battery since all the programs are seemingly closed. In our minds we are doing everything we can to save the battery until we can get back to the charger – yet the battery continues to drain. But in Christ we don’t have to wait, we don’t have to scramble to save our battery life, and do different things in our own strength to try and preserve our power. We have God. God is the ultimate task manager willing to end every fear, every distraction, every preconceived notion we have about facing our fears, if only we would allow Him. If only we could worry about our hearts and our mind space as much as we worry about preserving the lives of the battery on our phone. Always looking to plug in, re-charge so it’s easily at our disposal when and how often we need it to be. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we looked to God to silence fears and charge our batteries –  to calm our fears, soothe all of our doubts, and be concerned about that which concerns us? If we ran to God like we run to an outlet to be refilled, recharged and supplied with the energy needed to make it through the rest of the day.

There will be a time, just like with our phones that the batteries that fuel our lives, the strength we have to move throughout the day, to endure, to face, and to stand in the face of situations will begin to drain. It is a guarantee.

Caught In Between The Two.

Why does getting involved in a person’s situation automatically equate to trying to save or fix a person? Who said this, and what is the notion behind the thought? Has it become so customary to ignore what others are going through and press toward our own mark that we are expected to turn a blind eye to the actual lives of other people? So much so, that when you get involved or try to help, you’re automatically considered to be doing too much? That you are constantly reminded that you can’t “fix” anybody and you can’t save the world, and certainly you can’t save them all… How did we get here, and how did I get trapped in between the two?

I feel an immeasurable amount of guilt every time my heart says go, because I hear in my ears, “you can’t fix her..” When in reality, I believe I am quite clear that I can’t fix anybody. I don’t have what it takes to even fix myself, so how dare I believe or even think that I can fix another human being. I whole heartedly believe that only God is in the fixing business… of course he doesn’t quite use the word ‘fix’ to describe what it is that only He can do. He heals, He Restores, He brings and gives life, He does all of those things.. But I’ve never once heard the Bible say He fixed anything.

Never the less, I am always caught between the two.

I don’t know what it means to want better and more for someone else more so than you do for yourself. I don’t know that it’s normal, or that I should even care that it is. Maybe it’s one of those things that if I pour myself out to be used by God, He will in turn come and take care of all my business. So, does it matter that I want people to do and be things that I can’t even imagine about myself? As long as God’s people are being ministered to, experiencing the love of Christ and are being helped, does it really matter? I can’t quite explain the feeling that I have but it is so immediate and so overwhelming that it makes me emotional when I can’t do. I know it’s easier to do in the name of The Lord than it is to wait on The Lord.. But I often wonder, doesn’t this thing that I have come from The Lord?

You may not know me, but I certainly no me and one of my less flattering characteristics is my innate ability to be selfish. I am an only child, so it’s quite easy for me! And even in all my growth, I see subtle signs of selfishness in most of the things that I do. Even down to when I am having contemplative thought processes to myself or just have a lot on my mind. There are days my thoughts are so consuming that I can walk right past you, not speak and not think twice about it. Selfish. Rude. Some days I have to check the motives in my heart because they don’t always feel like they’re in the right place. Selfish. Sometimes I just don’t feel like being bothered, and I don’t rejoice with those that are rejoicing. Shoot. Sometimes I’m down right envious, and it takes me a minute to get to the rejoicing part. And more often than not, I spend so much time comparing this, this, and this about me with that, that, that of someone else, I can hardly see anything amazing going on inside of me. Knowing all of these things about myself, I then wonder where the desire to be involved, help, or push someone else to a better situation comes from. It must come from God because nothing inside of me is that good or that selfless to do so. Impossible!

You’re probably thinking like me, as I just stated that sometimes I have to check my motives and it is quite possible that serving others could be a way to exalt myself – especially on the days that I am feeling less than excited about who and what I am or have become. I could totally see that, and I would think the same thing. But more often than not, it doesn’t even matter to me. The premise is this. I’m so used to not receiving or not allowing myself to receive, that it doesn’t even matter anymore what or how much if anything I do for anyone because I never expect anything in return, let alone anything in-kind. That’s not the important thing to me.

The most important thing to me is growth. Because if I could fix something for someone else, they could easily break it again. However, when a person is growing and changing, more often than not; they’re more likely to continue pressing forward. That’s not to say they won’t go back. I mean, we all sing the song, but we’ve all found ourselves going back at some point in our lives. It is what it is. But I just think it’s important to stretch beyond what we are comfortable with and push for some of the things we thought we’d never have because we’re too afraid to try. I always think to myself, how can anyone ever get a leg up or move forward if they’re never given the opportunity to start? For some people, it takes a lot of assistance to start..but once they realize they are capable of doing it themselves with the love and encouragement of someone that believes in them even more than they believe in themselves, progress is sure to be made. Change happens. Everyone is capable of change and living a better life. But it requires moving forward, past, and through the fear it takes to get to the other side. People have a lot of baggage. There are lots of things that prevent us from moving forward, but it takes time to work through some of that stuff. And sometimes, you need someone to walk with you through some of that stuff.

Granted. We’re all super busy and have a lot going on in our own lives. And we let the enemy trick us into believing that we aren’t equipped to help someone else because of our own messes. But that’s not how God works. Actually, I see God all up in the entire process. Which brings me back to my question, is it the world and jaded people saying we can’t fix someone else.. or is just a misunderstanding. Fix you, no.. not interested in that. Love you in a way that allows you to accept and love yourself the way Christ loves you – absolutely. It boggles my mind the things people are dealing with these days. There’s always someone going through, struggling with more than what we are and yet we are so wrapped up in our own stuff and way of being that it’s almost shocking when someone does care about us. When someone loves us despite our mess. When someone goes above and beyond just because they love us, care about us, want better for us. I’m almost positive this is the Love that Christ shows the Church. I could be wrong, but love like that doesn’t just exist amongst man without Christ as the catalyst. We’re too selfish in our nature to lay aside the weights and burdens that cause us to sin, to truly love another person the way Christ did – without Christ being involved.

I don’t know. I could be wrong.

Caught in between the two.

I Do.

She.

Forgive me if I push too hard. If I push too much. If what you’re saying doesn’t settle in my mind as enough or the answer or the truth. Forgive me, because I have a vision in mind. And while I cannot see all that it has to offer, it has more than this. It has more than right here. It has more than either of us can ever imagine. And I want it, I want it so bad that I’d do anything to get to it. To see it. To witness it. To even see it in passing one day….should our roads ever take us
down different paths, distant from one another.

I can’t say what she looks like, or if she even looks any different than she does today. But everything about her is different. Her smile is genuine and there’s never a need to portray a false ideal because she’s genuinely happy. And not the kind of happy that the world can give, but the happy that causes a smirk across the face even when there isn’t anything wonderful going on. The kind of smile that reminds you that the less than amazing moments are just moments and they too shall pass. The kind of smile that comes from peace that cannot be given nor can it be taken. The kind of peace that gently reminds even in the toughest most unbearable moments, that this is not always. This is not forever. This is right now and it may not be tomorrow. The kind of peace that throws up its hands and surrenders to the natural ebb and flow of things because it recognizes though it cannot change the circumstances, what is for her will be, and what is not for her will flee and again, everything is going to be alright. The kind of peace that agrees that it if it’s not alright, then it’s not over.

More so than looking confident, she exudes a controlling staunch pride in the decisions and choices that she makes. Decisions are made and there is no looking to the left or to the right, but forward to what God will do with the fruit of those choices, or the lessons that will come as a result. There is an eager satisfaction in declaring and choosing and being satisfied in doing so. She is not reactionary, but takes precautions as her thoughts are well laid out. She moves on an if..then scale, in that if this doesn’t go as well, as planned, as I like, then…. And on to the next. She has a million reasons for doing what she does, and deciding what not to do. It’s the way she prefers it, It’s what she wants, it’s the way she likes it, just because… and she doesn’t need to justify a single one of them. She can explain them if she chooses, but she never feels pressured or obligated because her decisions, are just that.. and she makes them as she so chooses. Understanding the past and how it works as she does, there’s never a reason to fret replaying and running backwards in her mind. Though she may wish to do things a bit different, she cannot regret the decision because the consequences, the growth and the learning that will come from it –though unpleasant, and maybe even horrifying, she must dive head first to get to the other side, and she’s willing, and eager, yet treads cautiously, prayerfully, with wisdom and discernment in her stride.

She is enough. She’s just enough for her and in her mind, that means she’s more than enough for you. She quickly recalls all that she is and all that she has to offer. Everything she brings to the table, all the great things that are factory settings – designed, ordained, purposefully configured in The Master’s image. Knowing and believing that every single solitary detail, down to the single strand of hair that just won’t act right was strategically placed, formed, fashioned, hand crafted into place by The Creator of The Universe. Every addition to her story, every chapter, every page was written by The One..and even her handwriting in the margins that has changed and tweaked the story over time don’t bother her.. As she believes that no matter what additions she has made along the margins, the end is already written –intuitively crafted by the Author and Finisher of her faith; a story no man can undo, no character can change, and no line can be erased.

She is intelligent, and witty, profound, and wise. She correlates instances, happenings, occurrences, and experiences and allow them to shape her ideals and her heart. Her perspective is unique, different from most, and confounding to some. She is astute, perceptive, intuitive, and clever. The sequential themes, thoughts, metaphors and soliloquies are strategically placed and given for a purpose greater than her own. She walks softly, yet carrying a big stick. Each and every thought, emotion, choice of reason that plays over and over in her mind as she plays with the idea of conveying, sharing, explaining – designed to enlighten, enhance, free the enslaved, drastically change perspectives and open blinded eyes. Utterances of many stolen moments of internal monologue she ever so carefully crafts into sentences, words, prayers, and thought provoking questions. Knowing her weapons are not carnal and the power of a tongue tamed by The One that give it power to call forth life or speak about death –she chooses wisely.

She is changing, morphing, growing, and stretching into the unknown. She has yet to see this side of her life and has no preconceived notions of what awaits her as she steps toward foreign territory. She is not weary in her well-doing as she is sure that whatever should await her on the other side, she is stepping onto a firm foundation laid by The Chief Cornerstone. She is reluctant yet eager, and anxious with excitement for what is next. She concentrates on the opportunity that is to come rather than her shortcomings that have passed. She awaits each new day even when the previous didn’t seem like it was worth it. She’s always stretching for what is ahead as she recognizes she’s already lived the past. She commands the day, and awakens the power manufactured inside of her to lead the day as she faithfully follows. She is not weary as she puts her number one resource to bed when it is necessary. She is prepared. She comes to battle ready to engage, using what He has given her to not win the battle, but to endure, to try, and to triumph as she recalls the victory that has already been given. She takes time to minister to her own soul without explanation or expectation. She is hyper vigilant in her needs as she recognizes the call placed upon her requires she be a step or two ahead. She plays her position, and she plays it well – never underestimating or counting out herself or the team. She does what’s best, and she does what is right. She is brave. Brave enough to not only make, but to stand by the unpopular decision. She has convictions and she stands tall on them. Not looking for, wanting, or even flirting with the idea of acceptance or approval. She is approved of. She is enough. She is powerful. She is worth it. She’s been approved. She’s has always been enough. She has always been powerful and she will always be worth it. Because He said so.

She makes sound decisions and moves down her path with grace and poise. She’s rarely ever found out of character as she’s lived through enough to hold her head proud. This differs from falsely portraying that which she is not. She is she. Fully. All the time. 100%. She owes no apologies for whom she is. How she is. What she does. Or how she does it. She believes, therefore she acts. She’s learned from her past and her mistakes, she has surrendered the pen back to the author of the story. She walks as He writes, she stops when He punctuates and she breathes when He creates pause. She is tough, she is resilient, and she is strong. She is built to outwit, outlast, and outplay. She is strong enough to take her stand and remain standing as others walk away….

Sandra Bland

Soo.. While in Ohio for the Fourth of July weekend, My Bestfriend and myself were stopped by a white police officer for no other reason than being black. He made up the absolute most ridiculous traffic infraction to pull me over, which still doesn’t make sense to me. Car full of children, Late night, maybe almost or after 1 a.m. When he stopped us, he asked for my license as well as April’s who was the passenger at the time. So we’re both trying to figure out why you would need to see her license unless you suspected that we could possibly have warrants or other criminal infractions that could be used to detain us. Not sure if it was a combination of the car we were driving and the color of our skin, but it absolutely blows my mind to think that Sandra bland could have been us. Had we given into the anxiety, frustration, and anger that occurs when you are approached by a white police officer knowing you haven’t committed a crime, or even small traffic violation..our tone of voice, or unwillingness to comply with the infringement on our rights could have ended our lives.. to think that’s even possible in 2015 is absolutely mind blowing… I thank God for Grace & Mercy. Had it not been for Him, this could have been our fate as well…

All Hell broke loose on CNN when a media guest and former NYPD detective Harry Houck went at it about Sandra Bland’s murder in a Texas jail. The two
COUNTERCURRENTNEWS.COM

Atomic Bombs.

What if the difference in experiencing peace, justice, change, healing, deliverance, and freedom lies in y o u r prayers? What if the release of all these things is contingent upon those God has called his own – opening up their mouths and calling on the power of God in prayer? What if the cure for cancer is waiting on you? What if I told you another black life that matters doesn’t have to be lost if you just open your mouth? What if the direction of the lives of your loved ones could completely change course if you would just p r a y? What if I told you that simply parting your lips and beckoning a God that waits for you to call on Him and draw of His strength could change the very nature of this world?

…Really starting to think that things don’t change because we don’t really believe in the Power of God to change it…. Prayer changes all things, not just things that concern us, not just when our family is sick and our bills are late… Crazy to think that God has given us a weapon equivalent to an atomic bomb… and we

d o n t use it……

Media.

Its hard to keep up with everything that is going on and keep my 📱‪#‎chargedUp‬ 🔌🔋..however, I would never kill a lion, but absolutely will murder a bug 🐜, and I don’t have beef with anyone but definitely have 16 bars 🎶🎼🎤of straight disrespect🚨 for the bills on my table that keep coming ‪#‎backtoback‬ and if nothing else seems to matter, ‪#‎BlackLionsMatter‬…apparently one must be a lion for there to be justifiable outrage over unlawful murder via 🔫….

Dear Younger Self..

Dear Ashley,

You are unsure about who you are, and are constantly searching for a principle, or belief to stand on that gives you purpose, power, and something to validate your worth. The truth is, that you have no idea who you are and you’re not supposed to have all of that figured out right now. However, there have been so many voices pouring in, tearing out, and destroying your innocent foundation; it will be y e a r s before you even get close to being real. Other kids get the opportunity to be shaped, and molded into whom they are supposed to be by positive experiences and loving words that sit well on the inside and make you think to yourself, “this really is me.” However, that does not exist for you. And as much as it hurts to tell you this, it never will. It won’t be until you find Jesus that you even begin to open your mind to the possibility that all the words that have been used to describe you, all the labels that you have adjusted to fit, don’t belong to you. They were never yours, but you never had anyone paying close enough attention to notice the lies about yourself that were being sewn, and by the time anyone could recognize that you had watered these lies to reap a plush garden of false confidence, obnoxious arrogance that avoids criticism and pain; you were too far gone.

You are at a place in your life that even if there were someone to pour into your life and change your mind about who you are, they wouldn’t be able to help you. Every day you shape yourself into what you think is acceptable, and who you think you should be. You are about to spend your life trying to disprove the things that have been said about you with a flippant attitude, doing and saying only what you want to do. Your perspective, perception, and opinions are harsh, arrogant, and judgmental and you will be known as the black sheep, outspoken, blunt girl. I need you to know that while people are seemingly accepting of this, it is only to spare themselves of your wrath. You are so angry, and that anger just covers up the kind of hurt that runs back to the beginning. I do know this. You are going to spend so much time believing that you raised yourself this way, and that you are responsible for this. The truth of the matter is, you needed someone and no one was there for you. There were a lot of people in your life, a lot of adults and influences standing around, but none of them were paying attention. No one took the time to instruct your heart, to guide your thoughts, and show you a path that you could follow that would one day lead to your true self. Even though you don’t see it this way, you will spend a large chunk of your life struggling with this. There was no one there to protect you, but in your own way you have decided it’s your obligation to protect everyone else. Please hear me when I say this: it is not your responsibility to protect the people that did not protect you. Your truth is your truth, and down playing, hiding it, or being ashamed of it does not work. All of the things that you hide, the feelings that you have, the experiences that you are ashamed of; hiding and ignoring them doesn’t keep things together, it simply tears you apart while everyone else continues to live.

And just to address the people that didn’t care enough about you… those people have issues! And they are not yours. You are an innocent victim to the crazy of some crazy folk. As 15 years your senior, I want you to know that though I wish things were different for you now, you are a ‘G’ for enduring what you did. And your heart is in the right place for surely, however you are a child and should stay in a child’s place. And for the record, the way that your babysitter treats you- yeah that’s not normal, that’s not “just how she is”.. she has been abusing you for years. Yeah, I know you like to down play that part, but if we call a thing a thing, she’s been verbally and emotionally abusing you since you were five years old. And while you know you have a smart mouth and can work a nerve, you do not and did not deserve to be treated that way. Yes, having her as the person that watches you after school is beneficial to your mother, but it’s not your responsibility to be treated like that because your mom couldn’t or can’t find somewhere else affordable for you to be after school. Honestly, it’s not worth the pain and if you would give your mom a chance to fix it, you will find out that contrary to your beliefs, she would choose you over the struggle that would be to come if you just spoke up. And while there is just way too much to cover in this letter, let me say this about her: It is not okay for a white woman to call you her “little black child,” among her white grandchildren, it is not okay for her to make you feel bad about your home life and relationship with your mother, it is not okay for her to take her frustrations out on you, it is not okay for her to make you wear a bib at the dinner table because she feels you are a messy eater, it is not okay for her to embarrass you by making you eat out of a sectioned children’s plate because she doesn’t like that you don’t like your food to touch, and it is not okay for her to put you on a diet, or on a scale and constantly critique your weight, and it was absolutely not okay for her to allow her children or grandchildren to harm you, and that day she slapped you and called you a bitch was absolutely unacceptable behavior. No matter how grown you think you are, you are a child!! And you have the right to be treated with respect despite your age. All of these things are not okay. Do not continue on as if this is normal, this is not normal! I Couldn’t admonish you more, say something. Anything.

Even though you appear to be resilient, and tough on the outside; you are broken and in shambles on the inside. You have a lot of fear of losing the comfortable things, the things that you consider to be stable in your life. Truth is Ash, even the things that you are holding onto for stability, are broken. They are just markers of your day to day life posing as some semblance of stable normality. These things are false. And while I wish I could tell you not be afraid, some very scary things have already happened to you. Things you never dreamt would come to pass. It’s hard not to feel afraid of what is to come next. You are so damaged from the losses that you have experienced thus far, you are living in fear of the next shoe to drop and which carpet will be pulled out from under you next. Because your fears are valid, I admonish you to just feel them. Don’t spend so much time trying to avoid the fears that you exist through terrible times numb. Truth is, you’re not numb. You feel everything even when you convince yourself you are unbothered. Oh baby, you are more than unbothered. You are coming apart at the seams.

Because tomorrow is not promised, and you cannot change the past, there are some very important things I must tell you that could change the course of your entire life. See, you are about to spend a good ten to twelve years harboring a hate in your heart that is absolutely going to do nothing but destroy you. So let me say this first, the feelings you have toward your father do absolutely nothing but keep you angry. And as I write this to you, I wish I had more concrete facts to share with you about why things happened the way they did. This is the ONLY thing I could come up with. And while it may not be enough for you in this moment, it will deliver you when you get there. The facts of this matter are this: Some people cannot play the roles that they signed up for. They simply are unequipped for the responsibility, and because of this there will be casualties and what feels like fatalities, but we will all be stronger for it in the end. The only thing that I have learned about your father is that he is not equipped to be a father. And I can hear you now going off about exactly who’s fault that is because you are right, you did not choose to be here, and you didn’t choose him for your mother. You are absolutely right! However, he cannot emulate, mimic, or follow in the footsteps of something he never had. People need examples to follow, and unfortunately your father did not have that. See, ironically enough, your Grandfather left your Grandmother and your father without his dad. It was one of, if not the most devastating things to happen in his life. Sound familiar? Following this broken relationship, your dad was extremely hurt but, more angry than anything. That night you heard he and your mom speaking about the shambles that there marriage was in, and you walked through room and he said “ that’s the best thing I ever did, and I did the same thing to her that he did to me..” He really meant that. You are the best thing that he ever did. And while He will absolutely never say this to you, you are the greatest accomplishment of his life. He would say because you’re a good kid, and you stay out of trouble. I want you to know that you are the greatest accomplishment of his life, because he didn’t destroy you. His actions hurt you, broke you, stole your family and completely altered the course of your life. Yes. These things happened. However, you can’t see it now, but you will survive all of these things. It didn’t drive you nearly as crazy as it seems like it is now, and as dark and dreary as the space in your heart feels, it will draw you to a light that will change your life and what you believe your heart is really capable of.

And while I have you, you have to cut your mother some slack. I’m not sure if you watched too much Cosby show or full house when you were younger, but you have some very concrete ideas about what family looks like, and what roles a person is supposed to play. You have developed a life ruining expectation known as the “supposed to be’s,” And by now you have already come to the harsh realization that your mother is not a super hero. She isn’t. And I know you found that out in a very devastating way. But Ash, no one is a super hero. She could be your personal hero if you like, but she’s human just like everyone else. You really haven’t had that many examples, of an up close and personal view of what love is, and what it looks like. However, your momma loves your daddy. And when they separated, it really broke your mom. Understand that all of these things took her by surprise just as they did you. Your expectations of her are outlandish and impossible to live up to. I’ll grant you grace in that, you have no idea what it truly means to love another person other than yourself. But what you are feeling and your behavior towards her is absolutely unacceptable. So for this matter, you need to get your life! As devastated as you think you are, you need to take the time to put yourself in her shoes and consider how she must feel. And as hard as it is for you to see her like this, she’s a big girl. It is absolutely not your responsibility to be strong for her as she goes through the dissolution of her marriage. That is her marriage and she should grieve it as such. And you should grieve it as well. However, stopping your process and trying to be strong for her too is only damaging you. Where you see your mom today, she won’t be always. She’s going to work through it, and seemingly be okay and move on. But by the time she’s there, you will have spent so much time in secrecy, and hiding that your world will be so convoluted, you won’t even have a clue what is real and what is fake.

Ash, your convoluted world of secrets and lies are killing you. They are holding your life hostage. And I know you’re only doing what you think you have to do to live with the person you think you are, and the things that you’ve been through, but it’s just not worth it. When you’re hurt, be hurt, and when you’re ashamed, be ashamed. Live your truth and feel how you feel. I can’t stress that enough. Feel how you feel. It’s going to save your life when you’re older. Seriously. You are about to spend so much time trying to survive, that you will not live. You will not thrive, you will exist with moments of extremely rewarding happiness, and once in a lifetime experiences strewn in the midst. This is what your life is becoming. Oh, one other very important thing I need to tell you. Being devastated, upset, hurt, and or broken does not make you weak. Your mother is not weak because she feels the way that she does. She’s human, she’s hurt, and rightfully so. So instead of running with the notion that emotions make you weak and that you must be strong to survive, not to be cliché..but try a little tenderness. And that day that Mrs. Avery pulls you into her classroom and asks you what’s wrong, you better tell her! She’s genuinely concerned about you, and the fact that you are two steps passed the edge, and the other side isn’t looking too good for you. When she gets angry because you won’t tell her what’s going on, know that that’s what you’ve been looking for the entire time. Someone to care. And not because you’ve done anything for attention, not because you are desperately seeking someone to, but because she just really cares about you. The person. The person that she sees you to be. Speak up girl!! This could be your out!!

Judging by the tone of this letter, you might think that I agree with you in that there is so much stuff wrong with you. But! I want you to know that underneath all of that, there is so much that is right with you, and I don’t want you to ever lose that!! For instance, you love to make people feel loved, and special, and you love folks down to the core – for everything they are, and even more for the things they are not. You do things for people, that you wish people would do or would’ve done for you because you know how happy, special, and cherished it makes a person feel. I can’t even say to this day that you are wrong or right for this. I know you get a special joy out of doing this for people, because in the back of your mind that’s your version of receiving it. It’s like, if you can’t receive it, what better way to get close to it than be the giver of it. Please don’t lose this quality. Even after all you’ve endured and put yourself through, you have such a big heart. Your motives will always be questioned, and people will try to make you feel bad about your disposition by putting alternate meanings, and implications on your love for others, and the way that you show it. You can’t see it now, and I’m telling you now, a lot of people won’t even try to understand it. But, you love the way Jesus loves. It’s unconventional, it doesn’t make sense to everyone, and people just don’t get it. But the best thing about it is, that the one it is designed for, understands it. It’s not about everyone else’s opinions of you, or what it is that you do, or even why you do it. Jesus had people to criticize Him every single time He did something or was with someone they didn’t think He should be with, or treat as such. Do not be dismayed. Your way of loving, your way of caring for people, your way of uplifting is ministry. And even as I share this with you now, I’m not sure when it will click like that for you in your mind, but do not be disheartened or turned around be the opinions of others. Truth of the matter is, every person that has mocked or spoken ill towards the way that you love and your personal ministry, simply wishes that they had someone in their life to love and support them the way that you do. Pray for those people. They don’t have to agree, and you don’t need their permission to exercise your heart in the way that God has called you to.

Speaking of Him, I know that you have recently gotten reacquainted with Him. I admonish you to stay right there with Him! While you haven’t been able to wrap your mind around all of your experiences and your life thus far, He’s holding it and you in the palm of His hand. Every single experience, feeling, circumstance, even happenstance has been a part of His plan. I admonish you to believe this. However, whether you believe it or not, it’s the truth. You can either choose to hold on to this fact and allow it to give your life meaning, and great expectation.. or you can put the pieces together later when they are revealed to you through future experiences in your life. It will be a long time before you even play with the idea of believing this, but God has a plan for your life Ashley. And make no mistake about it, the enemy has been after you, your life, and the plan since you took your first breath of air. And I know it is extremely hard for you to have faith in the end result when you can’t see passed the middle. But know this, all of the trials, experiences and attempts on your life – they wouldn’t exist if there were no great purpose for your existence. Personally speaking, I think you must be destined to do great and amazing things. Can’t tell you what they are, but there is some serious opposition to you being alive, and in your right mind from the powers and rulers of darkness. If it says nothing else to you, let it say this – There is a power and force to be reckoned with when it comes to your life. However, you will only experience minuscule pieces of this power until you completely yield yourself to Christ. And if you hear anything that I’ve said about what is to come, and what advice I can give you.. It is to yield. Surrender, Quit, Stop, Drop, and Roll. Tap Out, Raise your white flag, and call a fat lady to sing. You have to die to yourself. And you have to give it – A L L of it to Jesus. And while you think you are in the midst or have come out of some very trying and difficult times, I can tell you now that nothing else compares to the difficulty you will face in letting go and giving it all to God. Nothing. Wish I could say it’s going to be easy, but that would be a lie. It will be the hardest thing you ever do in your life, and takes time. Many will tell you where you’re supposed to be in your walk, what you’re supposed to be living like, doing, etc. The only thing I want you to judge your walk by is the unadulterated word of God, and the current date 365 days ago. Every day you are presently granted is 365 days more than you thought you might see. Have you changed? Are you different? Are you closer in your walk than you were then? Are the chains falling off? Are you freer than you were a year ago? Are you still thirsty? Are you thirstier? These are the criteria for assessing your walk. Not what someone tells you, preaches at you, or forces to you feel you should be. This is time spent with your Father. Only He and you can decide its course. Rest in that. Take comfort in that. It’s all that truly matters.

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