Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Tag: God

What I Know For Sure

Birthday Reflections & Ish Like That …

So … #ThisIs38

A few years ago I was included in the “What I Know For Sure” section of O Magazine and I shared perspective on not being defined by the roles we lead (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but prioritizing and nourishing your individual spirit and soul in order to be the best you can for everyone else (and I’m paraphrasing in case some of yall are still holding on to your copies). As I learned recently at #Blogalicious9, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hallelujah and moment of silence for that little piece of wisdom …

Today is my born day (one time for #ScorpioSeason) and I can’t help but consider what I know for sure at this point in life. Seems that I’ve recently been involved in lots of deep conversation with girlfriends, my Hubby Honey, my Mama, my Boss and others about the lessons I’ve learned and the level of “sureness” I feel cloaked in these days. More important, it wasn’t a magical occurrence that just happened to me. My “sureness” is the result of intent. I’m living my life like its golden and operating within a level of freedom that I don’t think I’d ever experienced before now. I made the choice to be happy, to believe in myself and to throw a (metaphorical, and at times, tangible) middle finger to distractions. I’m living a life that I’m proud of and truth defined by me and only me. I. Am. So. Free.

As I celebrate this 38th *ahem* year of my life, here’s what I know for sure:

  • I no longer require any form of external validation to inspire or empower my internal thoughts, beliefs or ideas. For years, naturally, I sought approval from my friends, needed my lover(s) to assure me that I’m pretty, needed my managers to validate my smart thinking and my family to champion my tireless role as protector and provider. The expectation and necessity of the validation was so subtle that it took me a long time to pinpoint it was there. It drove me to seemingly inconsequential insecurity that metastasized into anger and resentment when I didn’t receive it. I finally decided I don’t need it. It was a cross too heavy to bear. Removing the focus from receiving my validation externally and empowering that positive energy inside has been likely one of my greatest rites of passage as a woman. Doing so has created this powerful level of self-awareness, self-love and self-confidence. It’s been one of my wisest intentional moves.

  • I’ve created healthy boundaries (for the most part) in my personal and professional relationships. For example, my loved ones (which include my Hubby Honey, Parents, Siblings, Girlfriends and extended family) are my lifeblood. In this life, it has been a privilege, and at times, a burden to serve them. It’s cost me peace of mind more often than I can reasonably quantify and I realized that it is 100 percent MY FAULT. We show people how to treat us, and too often, we operate within our familiar roles at unsustainable levels. Your loved ones don’t intend to overstep or abuse your over-commitment, but it happens. And it was happening to me. A LOT. So, I took a step back about three years ago and began to redefine my role, my expectations, my preferred level of commitment and the healthy level of reciprocity I needed within my familiar relationships. Doing so has freed me to support my loved ones absent of guilt, resentment, fear or worry. And, if someone doesn’t agree with my level of interaction or commitment, I leave that as a cross for them to bear. Cause as my Nik Nak taught me long ago – “What you eat don’t make me sh*t”. Word.

  • My heart is big. My tongue is sharp. My patience is thin. I’m extremely passionate (a true Scorpio). And, I’m funny as hell. I used to be reticent to say that about myself because it felt obnoxious to speak it, but no more. *picks up megaphone* I’M FUNNY AS HELL! Maybe not stand-up comedian funny, but I’ve been known to draw a crowd and bring down the house. #realtalk … my inner spirit is doing THIS most of the time …

Moving on …

  • I have a new found spiritual connection to my sexuality and pride in my body image that has skyrocketed my confidence. It’s not JUST about my looks (though your girl is killing it these days with this snatched waistline and size back to what I was in high school *hair flip*), but rather my internal confidence, keen self-awareness, my energy and this connection to a sense of … “knowing” about myself. My Grandma Mable used to say to me, “One day you just gone know what you know.” I never really understood that until now. Today, I own my confidence without shame, fear, ego or vanity. It’s my truth. It’s just as real as breathing.

  • I love being a woman, and more specifically, a black woman. There’s the fun stuff about being a girl like dressing up, makeup, all things shiny and sparkly, etc. But being a black woman comes with this Herculean strength, unicorn-level magic, enviable sense of wit, epic ability to clap back and shade and multidimensional talent. I am every woman and I BAWSE up in every gawt damn aspect of my life. Boardroom, bedroom, kitchen. I cooks, Baby. While my awareness to this perspective has been slow, my pride and ownership of it is SO here and SO real for me right now. I believe its actual tangible energy that even others feel when they are with me. I’m beaming in the skin I’m in. And loving every minute.

  • My relationship with God is real and tangible. It used to feel mythical. Perhaps because it was the product of the articulation of other people’s experience with Him. Today, we have our own vibe. My Jesus is trill! He MUST be because He created me and I stay on level trill at ALL times. I can feel Him … tangibly feel Him, hear Him and sense Him in all that I do. It’s pretty incredible. There’s not a moment I’m not mindful of Him, chatting in my mind with Him and hearing His response. I’ve tapped in and He’s reciprocated in the most beautiful fashion. It’s provided a much-needed compass as I carry two of my most important roles: Wife and Mom. And it’s endeared me to Him in such a personal way. #IluhGod #youdontluhGod #whatswrongwithyou

So … here I am! Big, bad and bold AF (said in my Ike Turner “What’s Love Got to do With It” voice – LOL). Loving myself and every aspect of my journey. I regret nothing. I’m present in every moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. And with that comes a continual birth of my being … which I am SO here for.

#ThisIs38

And many mooooooooooooooooooooooooore 🙂

Love You. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

Aints and Saints

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Photo Credit: Alana Dae Photography

I’m going to say something that will be wildly unpopular with “Aints” (otherwise known as Saints that are Christian in title only) and likely give pause to Saints (or true Christians). It’s my opinion. Like it or not, it’s how I feel.

It bothers me when “Christians” use biblical principle to depress and condemn. It further bothers me when The Word of God is used as a weapon. Unfortunately, this behavior runs rampant in the black church (although clearly present across the board). It’s crazy that Black people are so critical and harsh given the freedoms and respect we continue to lobby for. Not too long ago, it was unlawful to marry us if you were of a different race and it was also considered vile to use the same water fountain or eat from the same table. Yet after all of these years, we’ll use God to hurl the nastiest condemnation and draw the harshest lines between “us” (saints) and “them” (sinners). That, my friends, is irony.

The God I know and serve is love. His guiding principles are love, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and redemption. You can live a life of reckless abandon and debauchery. If with your last breath you repent and invite Him into your heart, He will take you in and wash it clean. No questions asked. Just like that. It’s all He requires. Just one moment, of all the moments, He gives you in a lifetime. That’s how much He loves us. That’s how much He’s rooting for us to win.

I was recently ordained as a minister for the sole purpose of presiding over the wedding ceremony of my best friend. As I researched scripture in preparation for the ceremony, the Holy Spirit lead me to search how many times the word “love” appears in His Word. It is actually one of the most cited words in the Bible appearing on average 478 times (depending on the version). The only words that appear more are His name (God, The Father, Jesus) and “heart”. Why is this important? What does that tell me? That even though He gives the responsibility of following and adhering to the rule of his Word, He moves, decides, responds and even rebukes in … love. Our greatest responsibility is to exalt / honor Him and to LOVE.

Now, why has all of this bubbled up for me? Where am I going with all of this? Recently I watched the words shared by Kim Burrell condemning homosexuality and I have witnessed some of the fall out. And while I believe her to be an extremely gifted musical artist, and no doubt a woman of God and believer, she was dead wrong to go “there”. Why hypocritically condemn behavior or a lifestyle that you clearly turn a blind eye to when it plays a “mean keyboard” or directs your choir or stands proudly in your pulpit setting the tone for worship? Why judge behavior rooted in a struggle that you will NEVER understand? Why be so incredibly insensitive and disrespectful? I’m disappointed in her … as a fan and Christian woman. In fact, I’d be happy if the church took it’s hands off homosexuality altogether. I can’t imagine the shame a gay person must feel when they come to church looking to receive God’s peace and be embraced by His love and saving grace, only to be greeted by harsh conviction, biased condemnation and hate. That’s not God. That’s man’s interpretation of God. And it’s wrong.

Let me be clear: Hate speech is still hate speech even when it’s masked by biblical principle. Just because you use the Word to justify your hatred doesn’t mean you aren’t perpetuating a very real, disgusting and dangerous bias. And furthermore, you should check the spirit that’s guiding you to do so. I can assure you it’s not of God.

Rule of thumb: If an action is challenging to perform consistently (i.e. unconditional love, inclusion, acceptance), and you feel resistant to it, there’s a pretty good chance God is in there somewhere. Imagine all of the things He witnesses in every moment of every day and He still choses to love us. Can you imagine? Every rape, every murder, every lie and every heartbreak. He sees it all. And still, He only requires one moment to acknowledge Him … just … one. And in that split second He’ll scoop you up and never look back at one foul thing you’ve ever done. No greater love …

Are you capable of doing the same? Are you capable of loving like that? Well, I’d like to challenge you. Start there. Use your energy to love with wild abandon and do so unconditionally. You’ll win more hearts for Christ that way and you’ll certainly have a much healthier spirit and soul.

Love you. Mean it. No matter who you are and how you chose to live your life. When I make it to the gates and He audits my choices, I’ll stand proud that I practiced love above all.

@AskThePRGirl

Prayers For Newtown

Newtown

I traveled on Wednesday and Thursday of this week so I was a bit behind in posting this week’s blog.  On Friday morning, I awoke to … what could only be described as a real-life nightmare.  Details were few and facts were even fewer, but what was clear was that a madman walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and shot several children and faculty. I was stunned to silence.  I literally couldn’t move.  I immediately cried.  I couldn’t conceive of why something like this would happen.  My entire body felt like I was carrying a 200-pound weight.

Those who know me know that Hubby and I have a son.  He is the most important thing in this world to us.  The thought of someone senselessly taking his life and leaving very little reason why scares me to my core.  I always say to my husband, “You can’t predict crazy”.  We can lobby for gun control and a dozen other issues to help minimize horrors like Newtown, but what we can’t predict crazy.  Who knew that Adam Lanza was that close to the edge and would not only harm his family, but innocent children?  There was no way to predict that Manhattan nanny Yoselyn Ortega would get up that morning and stab six-year-old Lucia Krim and two-year-old Leo Krim.  Ortega showed no signs of that level of insanity.  She’s worked for the Krim family for quite some time.  Who knew that a simple midnight feature of The Dark Knight would turn into a literal nightmare?  So … I ask you … how do we live in a world that can display such horrendous evil at a moment’s notice with few clues to forecast the impending doom?  How do we send our kids to school everyday with peace that they will be safe?  How do we go to work sure that the person working next to us hasn’t somehow slipped from reality and plans to harm anyone who crosses his/her path?

How?

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

For me, it all comes back to the God I love and faithfully serve.  It saddens me that after the horror of Newtown people would immediately say, “There is no God” and “If God existed, something like this would NEVER happen.”  Are you kidding me?!  Don’t you know that God sees all that happens to us EVERY day?  He sees the woman being raped at this very moment.  He sees the child being neglected by his/her parents.  He sees the woman lying to her husband.  He loves us all the same and places no more value to one life over any other.  I can’t say why God allows these things to happen, but I do know that I trust Him.  When He does allow evil to clearly shows itself, it’s a moment to survey your life and ask yourself:

  • Am I living an honorable life?
  • Am I kind to others?
  • Am I treating people the way I want to be treated?
  • Am I being selfless?
  • Have I done something kind for someone else lately?
  • Have I shown my family/kids/husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend that I’m not too busy to show them they’re incredibly important to me?
  • Have I taken time to stop trying to get ahead at work to be the shining example that I charge others to be?
  • Am I a liar?
  • Do I cheat?
  • Do I feel entitled? If so, why?
  • Do I value human life?

These are by no mean ALL of the questions you should ask yourself, but it’s a good start for that mandatory self check-in we should all have every once and a while.  We can’t predict crazy and there’s no way to know if you’ll be put in harms way.  In high school two friends of mine were killed within weeks of each other.  One while traveling back from a sports competition and the other was shot execution style while working at a restaurant during spring break.  It broke my heart. But, one thing the school counselors said to me while helping us through our grief was, “Are you living a life worthy of living?”  I had no idea what she meant at the time, but today I know.  If each of us charges ourselves with “living a worthy life” and does a self check-in every once and a while then perhaps we can begin to mitigate the “crazy” that tends to pop up and leave us all speechless.  Just maybe …

Listen.  We don’t live in a Godless world.  If you believe that and my saying otherwise offends you, then feel free to unsubscribe from my blog.  I am a God-fearing woman who has seen His merciful hand in my life too many times to count.  I know that it makes Him incredibly happy when I make good choices and it grieves Him when I don’t.  We, humans, like to place weight or a value system to wrongdoing, but I’ll let you in on a little secret (that shouldn’t really be a secret): It doesn’t matter whether you lie, steal, cheat or kill, it ALL grieves God the same.  He’s given us free will in hopes that we will always make the right choice.

I can’t begin to imagine the grief that the people of Newtown are feeling.  I would give anything to take that pain away from the parents who lost their babies in that senseless massacre.  I am praying for you all and will continue to pray until God clears my spirit to move on.  There are no words that I could say that wouldn’t feel hollow at this point.  So … instead I’ll pray.  My heart is with you.  My thoughts are with you.  As a mother, my spirit grieves with you. And as a concerned citizen, I will vote and lobby to ensure this can’t happen again.

All my love, AskThePRGirl