There’s Nothing More Beautiful Than…
It takes just seeing and believing.
You are seen, Beautiful!
It’s time to receive and just be.
You are so beautiful…
Until next time…
It takes just seeing and believing.
You are seen, Beautiful!
It’s time to receive and just be.
You are so beautiful…
Until next time…
Many of you have asked why and how I organized and developed the qualifying criteria for the board of directors of Blameless, my charitable nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Besides a calling, we may not always understand the ways of our Lord.
I sure didn’t understand the big picture seven years ago why, being a chaplain, the Lord was asking me to work with the youth ministry at Bridgeway Christian Church along with pursuing my degrees. Thankfully I was obedient working with FUEL.
While working with the sophomore girls, I met this beautiful beloved whom I bonded to instantly named Miss Chloe Long. She had just come back to youth group that evening after a long absence. The Lord asked me to pull her aside and see if she would share her story with me. We connected.
Precious Chloe and I get each other. We are mirror images. We’re embracing our imperfections and painful journeys as something that God has allowed in order to awaken and arouse the beautiful beloveds we are underneath all the layers of heartache and projected images. We’re no longer bound by this power controlling our lives, telling us we have to look, act or be a certain way in order to be seen, belong, loved and accepted.
We are prayerfully living and practicing each day recognizing that we do not have to conform or perform to others’ expectations in order to be loved. Accepting we will make mistakes as no one is perfect, we are walking out our faith and lives acknowledging the royal blood running through our veins as we are God’s treasured daughters that He loves and even designed in His likeness.
Oh, if we all would only quit running from our imperfections and embrace our uniqueness!
We’re choosing to embrace and celebrate who we are. We refuse to waste another precious minute going through life feeling like we’re all alone in our messes and that we rebuke the lies of the enemy telling us we don’t belong or are not good enough.
We believe you’re strong, authentic and courageous if you step out and share your life with others; that creates intimacy we all crave. Through every word shared and tear shed, you’re relinquishing the power it has over you and you’re helping others to do so also. Fear locks us in from the inside. You’re only weak if you hide behind your veils of shame and stay shackled to your thoughts in your cells of hell. We are loved just the way we are.
Be encouraged by reading Chloe’s unedited testimony and biography for Blameless. Be drawn into her rawness, her candor and transparency. You will see why this petite powerhouse is a valuable asset and integral force for Blameless and Forever Free Ministries and why she holds the officer position of secretary for the board of directors.
Her heart is not in serving for her own glory and magnification. She is a board member and team member because she’s advocating for the lives of precious children and the youth while running after God’s own heart. She wants to share what Jesus has done for her personally in order to help and build others up!
Chloe’s life and testimony is proof how God is constantly working behind the scenes preparing the way for our future challenges and life’s blessings.
When certain scenes of our stories are painful, our faith encourages us to walk with God through this frame knowing it’s just a part of a bigger picture ahead. Every day is but one frame of a million frames revealing a grander picture. This leading enables us to walk in power and freedom that could never have been imagined or realized. God is indeed omniscient.
Meet Miss Chloe Long…
Hello there! My name is Chloe Long and I am 21 years old. I am a lover of cats, pizza, movies, books, and most of all, helping others.
Now if you quickly scroll right now, you’re probably going to sigh and say this is too much to read and believe me I feel the same! Hahaha. So in a nutshell here’s my story: Lived in a Christian household but didn’t understand or recognize what God’s love meant for me till I was in my mid teens. God has helped me overcome anorexia, body dysmorphia, depression, anxiety, getting out of an abusive relationship, and is currently helping me with my family situation. He has helped me through speaking to me through mentors I’ve had over the years, including the wonderful Miss Tammy, friends, and even therapists, which inspired me to one day become a Child Psychologist, to be the help I need when I was younger. I have learned that God works on his own time and that makes me frustrated at times (a lot of the time actually), but I know it’s good thing because His way is always better than any other way I could possibly imagine. The Bible verse Isaiah 61:1-2 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,” has been placed on my heart to be a kind person to everyone no matter their status, race, beliefs, sexual orientation/gender identity, etc. and with it has brought me all of the various careers I have at this moment starting as a secretary for Blameless, a youth counselor at a foster home, a behavior technician for an ABA therapy company (helping children who have autism), and being a child care provider. I have a heart to help others and feel especially drawn towards youth and I can’t wait to see where God will take me next.
Now if that intrigued you to read a more in-depth testimony, keep reading. If you’re done, well let me just say that I welcome ya to our organization and hope that you’ll feel as drawn to helping others as we do!
Although I may be a very young woman in my 20s, it feels as though I’ve lived a very long life with everything God has done to bring me on this path of being called to help others.
I’ll admit that I have lived a very privileged life by being raised in a middle class suburb and never having to face any economic hardships of my own, so when I say that “growing up was tough,” I’m not considering the obvious privileges that I had. I say it because the unconditional love that’s needed in fulfilling healthy family relationships was lacking in my household.
Since my parents were considerably older than the parents of my friends, they raised me with lessons from when they were young, which brought up a bit of outdated values. A main one that unfortunately brought some damage onto me was that I (a young female) was put here to satisfy a man and that I would not be valued unless a man was by my side. I looked at myself and thought that I was worthless unless I had someone. It didn’t help that I was encouraged to lose weight since that would make me more desirable. A dark era occurred where I would try not to eat (purge if I did), eventually become so depressed that I would stay in bed for days, and never stop comparing myself to others; I was only 13. I eventually gained a boyfriend, but nothing good came of it. I was introduced to a whole new world of sexual gratification, but I knew deep down I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t comfortable with it either.
When I was sexually assaulted, that’s when thoughts of “this is what you deserve… this is your future…” plagued my mind and I felt trapped. It went on for three years because I was desperate to be valued; I thought this was my only option. My anorexia worsened and it got to a point that after my 15th birthday, I landed in the hospital because my organs were shutting down and I also had a pregnancy scare; not ideal for your 15th birthday I might add. It was there in that hospital bed, with an IV in both arms, that I started crying and wondering why did things get this far and feeling absolutely devastated that no matter how much I would message my boyfriend (at that time), he never once responded to me being in the hospital. I was furious, sorrowful, and numb all at once and I asked God why.
I remember eventually getting a gut feeling saying that now is the time to start over and that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t really know if God was truly real or not before then, but after that feeling, I knew what my new answer would be.
I was raised in a Christian household but I didn’t know what that meant till I was older, even after my hospital experience. I never knew that God loved me just the way I was until I was in my adolescence, despite going to church all of my life. It made me realize that saying you’re a Christian and living like a Christian were two very different things. After my time in the hospital, the more I went to youth groups, summer camps, and other fellowship activities, the more I was able to experience unconditional love. I thought recommitting to God every chance I could would keep my bases covered and that now that I no longer feel depressed or actually feel comfortable eating, nothing could go wrong, right?
A dear friend of mine started cutting herself about a few months after I was better (note how I did not say healed; I believe God is STILL healing me even though it’s been 5+ years. Everyday is a battle). I immediately thought to myself about the miracle healings Jesus had done in the Bible, so I called up the prayer team at my church and scheduled a meeting after my youth group ended so I could bring my friend and that she would be healed radically. I prayed everyday until then because I thought that THAT would do the trick. I brought her in, some people prayed over her, and presto! Nothing changed. Instead I felt embarrassed and angry that nothing had happened. Though it did not happen immediately, this experience humbled me into realizing and remembering that God works on his own time and no matter how much I could hope or pray, nothing can change God’s plan. What did happen however was a bitter season which included me falling out of the church and falling back into my depression. I knew I needed help.
I eventually headed into therapy, thanks to my father and his access to healthcare. My mother adamantly told me that mental illnesses don’t exist and that if I was actively experiencing something of that nature that it’s my fault and it’s because I wasn’t close enough to God. Despite my mother’s comments, I knew this was the right thing to do. Therapy definitely helped me. It helped me understand that it was okay to be angry sometimes, that it was okay to cry it all out, that it was okay to not be perfect or in my case to not fit into my mother’s standards.
About a year later I stopped going into therapy because I thought I was okay and could fight my own battles. Boy oh boy was I wrong. What ultimately kept destroying me was this lesson about understanding that God knows better than I do. That his time and plans for me often look quite differently from mine. Through my abusive relationship, through my eating disorder, through my dear friend’s experience, through those that God had called to come home with Him and pass away from this planet, and through my newest challenge of living with an alcoholic brother who physically assaulted me and my parents who have become increasingly distant from the church, God knows what he’s doing even though some days I really question if He does.
This has brought me back to therapy and has humbled me yet again. It’s okay to ask for help and I am proud to call myself a mess. I am a work in progress, I am loved, and I am called to love others.
Through it all, I have come to understand that putting my complete faith and trust in God will not result in a walk in the park, more often than not a very bumpy ride, but still having the comfort that I’m not alone and that God still manages to answer our prayers gives me the courage to keep hanging on. Maybe it might not be in the way that we want, but God does hear and does answer.
Until next time…
We’ve all experienced rejection! Rejection often hurts like hell! Rejection develops insecurities leading to impurities. Impurities lead into isolation. Isolation leads to depression. Some of us even wallow in rejection and remain hollow. Some bolt and revolt.
But when was the last time we stopped long enough to realize that maybe, just maybe, this rejection we’re encountering is nothing short of God redirecting our lives?
Has fought a thousand battles,
But is still standing…
Has cried a thousand tears. Probably closer to a million,
But is still smiling…
Has been broken and left unspoken…
Has been betrayed and left afraid…
Has been abandoned and left branded…
Has been orphaned and left without fortune…
Has been abused and bruised…
Has been rejected and redirected…
Still walks proud while wearing her crown…
Insists on being different…
Laughs loud reaching into the clouds…
Lives without fear and loves to cheer…
Loves without doubt…
This woman is beautiful…
This woman is humble and ready to rumble…
This woman is courageous and it’s often contagious…
This woman is a treasure at every measure…
Change takes Courage…
Courage over Comfort…
Courage breeds Confidence…
Confidence takes Chances…
Chances offer Celebrations…
Celebrations deliver Connection…
Connection contributes to Comfort!
Communities who connect, contribute and celebrate extend Comfort!
May we never forget that once upon a time what we once perceived as being rejected might very well have been God’s way for ushering change while grabbing us by the bit to redirect our stubborn fits!!!
Can I hear an Amen along with the ahem?
Take a moment, Treasured Beloved, to look into our Beautiful Jesus’ tear-stained face. In all your distress, He too was distressed. And in His Great Love and tender mercy, He redeemed you. Now that’s love worth receiving!
Until next time…
An adorable puppy was found left on the side of a Sacramento freeway with his skull bashed in. It was clear he had been abused.
It made news headlines.
People were knocking each other out to contribute financially for his needed care!
What kind of monster would smash the head in of a two-month-old puppy with a hammer?
Then again, what sick person would take a military-style weapon into an elementary school and start taking their aggression and deep hurts out by shooting and killing innocent children?
When more value is placed on the Animal Kingdom than Mankind, we need to revisit our priorities!
Combing through all these tangles and snags of deception is brutal. We’ve obviously viewed these tragedies blinded while they laid dormant awaiting a spark to ignite the wick of mania explosion.
We need what only a miraculous Divine intervention can offer now.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Romans 15:7).
I thought we united as a society where all lives matter! Was that just a trend and it fizzled?
If we appreciate and celebrate each others’ lives, then why are our pocketbooks overflowing when it comes to injured animals, but we become bankrupt and blind when it’s regarding our forsaken homeless?
Thank God He never forsakes us…
If we are accepted and celebrated, why is man’s best friend more valuable than a beloved that God created and designed in His own image?
I love animals and love to rescue. It’s beautiful so many people had compassionate hearts and donated money to give life to this puppy. But why are our pocketbooks or belongings sealed up tight when donations are solicited for homelessness?
Homeless people should be considered more valuable than a puppy. Homeless beloveds have the same needs as puppies; they need love, nurturing, guidance and patience to learn behaviors that will equip them with tools to make better decisions.
I know what it’s like to be rejected and orphaned by those who were supposed to nurture, love and protect while providing a loving environment to learn and grow from.
When you’ve been abandoned, you often make decisions and choices that are not in the best interest of anyone. Bad choices follow you around like the plague, waiting to kill, steal and destroy.
Every single one of the drops of blood Jesus shed had a name written in it!
Jesus died for us, our sins, and was resurrected to eternal life so He could take hopeless situations and flood them with His Love and hope. Beautiful Jesus takes our many broken pieces and turns them into peace.
These precious and homeless souls need to be shepherded to Him for healing. Jesus Is the reason in every season and has Risen!
As Vironika Tugaleva states, “I can’t change you and you can’t change me, but together we can work to change the world.”
Inspiring just ONE person ALREADY changed the world.
We all need affirmations and validation that will tear down the cement barriers surrounding our tattered and bleeding hearts in need of Jesus’ healing.
Changed lives change Cities!
Since the depth of our past reveals the height of our future (thank God I’m almost six feet tall), are our heads too far up our pasts to see that we are putting more value on animals than mankind?
God’s love is not based on performance. Jesus became Love. Before Jesus ever performed any miracle, He had the validation of God’s love speaking from Heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love…” (Matthew 17:5).
God does not validate like we do. We validate based on what people do for us and how they make us feel. If our actions validate and bring value to what that individual needs, they in turn love. God validates based on relationship and that relationship requires intimacy.
Every single one of those drops of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross was for me and for you. Each drop had our names on them.
We can be 100% certain, even if we don’t have any further direction for our lives, that being and becoming LOVE is always God’s will for us. Giving love away is easy, but it requires action. The only thing it costs is ourselves, our time and action.
That includes when there’s traffic…
When we’re waiting in long lines…
When the doctor is an hour behind…
When our in-loves (in-laws) are moving in…
When we feel we’re accepted and loved, our self-esteem and confidence is boosted and it helps us make better choices and decisions. We start trusting others. And where Love radiates, our Beautiful Jesus heals.
I know this personally, because though my father and mother abandoned me, the Lord received me graciously (Psalm 27:10) with new life.
It’s amazing what His Love does for us. The alchemy of transformation is nothing short of miraculous!
When Good Friday comes upon us and Easter, let’s be awakened to the beauty that every tear and drop of blood Jesus shed suffering His unconscionable crucifixion on the Cross had a name written in it as He Became Love Himself.
I don’t know about you, but my name was in one of those bloody droplets along with many homeless people’s names. Now that’s Love!
Until next time…
I sigh heavily being disarmed in the face of accountability. Crocodile tears stream down my cheeks. It’s hard to prioritize during change. My frustrations are better kept under lock and key, similar to my writings called Leftovers of Love and Insecure-Gram. These are posts written in their most vulnerable and rawest state, but have been concealed due to judgment. One hundred and ninety-five of them to be exact, awaiting the final editing when courage arises.
When I get a thought that lingers in my mind and starts to torment, making me uncomfortable, the old me would go smoke a cigarette and have a cocktail to diffuse whatever was taunting me. Now I just open my Bible or laptop and start typing.
What pours out of my heart unhindered is liberating. Most of the time, it’s full of rawness and pain. This complete exposure is hard to share because it ushers in judgment and ridicule from others instead of support while being transparent.
Why do we do that?
I’m still shackled with remnants of the funky flu, along with a compromised immune system. Oh, I may smile energetically while praising my Lord because that is where my heart and life resides, but it does not mean behind that joyful exterior is no suffering.
The pain I encounter every step of the way resembles more of an electrifying jolt striking every joint, nerve and blood vessel in my body.
The words that flow from my mouth are no longer eloquent. They are often jumbled and make absolutely no sense. I may laugh nervously because I’m scared about losing my capability to engage and function with vitality like I am accustomed to.
Frustration makes me want to run, hide and cry! I attempt to shrug it off like it’s nothing, honestly. Mainly exhaustion. Here my body is shutting down and I do not know how to slow down and practice self-compassion. Frowning and drowning in my tears is not a solution here when others are suffering.
I’m just trying to be the change I wish to see in the world.
This can be a heavy burden at times, especially when you don’t feel good.
Please pray for me…
Where is all of this coming from?
I have this passionate pursuit to make a difference in our world called leaving a legacy of love.
With epidemics of war, homelessness and disease, how does one start utilizing their depleted time in being a part of the solution, especially when we’re not healthy?
Do I spend time watching TV, checking social media or serving real life human needs?
I strive and thrive to be the hands and feet of God which makes me alive. That’s why I’m developing a nonprofit organization; to embrace God’s grace! Oftentimes this passion comes at a great cost and pain that I don’t share with the world.
Just because I don’t wail out relentless complaints does not mean I’m not hurting. It just means I’m applying that energy to making a difference and not focusing on my indiscretions and discouragements.
My heart has been heavy since my beautiful girlfriend knocked on my door unexpectedly with concerns. Her beautiful care package was filled with goodies and her precious time was invaluable in sharing her heart regarding my overwhelmed schedule.
Respecting and valuing my beliefs that life is about bringing love to others, whether it’s through time, service and/or relationships, this kindness and generosity extended spills over into all of our relationships when they’re chaperoned by our words and actions.
What a beautiful legacy than to have a life characterized by love and kindness!
Her words stung when confronting me about prioritizing and obedience. Not wanting to admit I’m suffering and slowing down is only exacerbating matters. All because of pride, perfectionism and deep love.
She shared, “I have been watching you. I do not understand why a woman who is ailing continues to present herself to a world in such a relentless manner while suffering more than those she is trying to love on and care for.”
Why would anyone give up the comforts of an accomplished life in order to live, love and serve those who have been rejected?
Please forgive me for my shallowness and deceit in leading you to believe that I live a pain-free life. I never meant to present myself with imagery that was anything but brutally honest. It’s just called walking through each day with F-A-I-T-H, knowing God has my back and that this shall soon pass!
I get this emotional and spiritual charge out of helping and loving others, especially the homeless and rejected. Talk about rejuvenation through release.
May I share something?
This is just a glimpse of what we encounter. This is our reality…
Let me introduce you to Gigi. Gigi is that beautiful heap of skin and bones consisting of 83 pounds laying underneath those two blankets in 27-degree weather. She’s literally laying on the freezing cold cement sidewalk in the worst possible area of Sacramento.
Once our worship music started, she came to life. Heaven opens those pearly gates once Stacia starts singing and we loudly proclaim God’s Love through time, engagement, comfort, food and prayers.
One life at a time…
Since Jesus refuses to relent, shouldn’t we?
Until next time…
Thank You For Being Beautiful You!
I was hungry and you fed me…
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink…
I was homeless and you gave me your room…
I was shivering and you gave me clothes…
I was sick and you stopped to visit…
I was in prison and you came to me…
All Because His Great Love Changes Everything!
Caring for the poor, the sick, the homeless, and the oppressed is the central tenet of our beautiful gospel and a sampling of the rippling effects of LOVE in Matthew 25:35-36.
We all crave it and need it to thrive and survive the grave!
Love is such a simple word, used often so frivolously, without knowing the costly meaning. Love isn’t a feeling. Oh sure, love does tap into our feel-good dopamine receptors while wrapping our bodies with excitement. But love moves us into selfless action.
This small act of love creates a ripple that doesn’t cripple. This rippling effect grows from the core of love that soars above like a dove. Higher and higher!
We may never see the effects from these tokens of love, but we will hear of their life. When we deposit tokens of love, kindness or even laughter into another, life begins anew and new growth breaks through.
Living with intention and purpose is synonymous with the cause and effect of Jesus’ beautiful words in John 15:12, “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.”
Every single one of our selfless acts of kindness, loving and cheerful thoughts ushers us into the presence of love. Where LOVE blooms, it looms!
When we have been touched by the love of God, our lives are equipped with an endless supply of golden tokens. Living under the umbrella of Love Himself radiates endless grace.
Each token of kindness deposited through love continues to grow and grow in size and touches others until you can no longer see its border.
Dropping tokens of love through praise and cheer into an overwhelmed and rude hostess, the rippling effect reaches others. Because this encouragement of love diffused her stressed-out nature, she was able to be present and loving towards her children after a hard day.
Her children, being filled with the comforts of love and contentment, sleep well. This blesses their teacher and other students with consolation and instruction that pours into others who are leaning towards destruction.
Smiling at the person who had cut us off earlier instead of exhibiting road rage with the typical extension of middle finger wage confuses the anxious offender.
Stunned and focused on our love reaction, they intuitively react the same; allowing another distressed driver space to escape.
Unbeknownst to us that car needing space was transporting a delirious woman in labor and preparing to give birth in the backseat.
That newborn baby’s life was extended by being delivered safely into a sterile E.R. environment instead of the filthy backseat barrel.
The umbilical cord tied around his neck, depriving him of oxygen, would have delivered death without the rippling effects of LOVE which gave him breath.
All Because of His Great Love…
Who knows what will become of that newborn (future loving president?) all because a simple act of kindness was received through the token of LOVE.
We’ll probably never know Love’s rippling effects that continue to grow and grow, nor the power delivered behind its borders, but being a part of it is transforming.
Love is the answer to all of our problems. We can never love enough. Love is kind. Love does not anger easily. Love forgives. It covers over all wrongs. When we reciprocate our love like God, it changes us and those in our sphere of influence. It causes us to do amazing, selfless acts that we would otherwise not do.
His Great Love changes everything…
Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40 MSG)
Weekly Challenge: Let’s open our hearts by initiating a tsunami of love that will reach beyond all borders. After all, love is in the air with Valentine’s Day.
Sojourning with Jesus, hearing his words of love whispered to our hearts, “Be Mine, Sunshine. I love you,” while getting drunk on God’s Love trumps champagne and chocolates, and deposits huge amounts of love into the overdrawn bank accounts of others.
When you’ve been embraced and loved through His amazing grace, you know it’s because His Great Love Changes Everything.
Enjoy the lyrics of Your Love Changes Everything while clicking on the song below.
Lord, you spoke those words.
You spoke so tenderly.
Now I choose to believe
You love me, you love me, you love me!
You’re taking me by the hand again,
Giving me strength to dance again
Cuz your love changes everything.
Your love changes everything!
When my heart is frail
And when I’m incomplete,
I will choose to receive
You love me, you love me, you love me!
Oh, you never fail
When I look at you.
You never fail,
And I trust in you.
And Lord, you never let go.
You never let go of me.
You never let go!
Until next time…
Henry David Thoreau
I walked into the high-rise building wearing my superhero attitude and high-heeled boots relishing sanguine expectations. “Enthusiasm can help you find the new doors, but it takes passion to open them. If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.”
Thank you, Roy T. Bennett, for blessing me with words to live by!
The panel started taking their seats as I was ushered to mine, center stage. Sitting before me in an interrogation manner was a panel of 13 peers. With laser-beam eyes penetrating straight through my heart and into my soul, I felt exposed and naked. Talk about uncomfortable. And I had nowhere to run and hide.
I had this overwhelming sense of dread. Similar to what the adulterous woman in the Bible must have felt who was literally caught in the act. Here she was being carried away and rushed towards judgment and death without the other participating party. She was in shock and thrown forcibly to the ground; bound to meet her demise being stoned to death by her peers (John 8:1-11).
Fear is dreadful!
I was surrounded by 13 chairs (yes, lucky 13) in a semi-circle manner. A few members of the panel were even outside of my peripheral vision.
Rule Number 1, always know where your enemy is.
My eyes quickly scanned the room for an emergency exit. That is one of the first things you’re taught in the academy. Naturally, this exit was too far to flee quickly.
Oh, vanity! That deceitful empowerment I get when wearing those high-heeled boots…
A graceful exit?
More like a bruised ego!
As I took a deep breath, my mind inquires how and why I’m here? I don’t need a job. Lord knows, I need sleep! Maybe a few donors and monetary partners for the nonprofit’s setup and homeless needs, but…
Suddenly, loud proclamations interrupt…
I’m creating an extraordinary life to make a difference in the world.
The sweat from my pits only enhances my nervous ditz as I try and take control of a heart rate that begins to frustrate!
“Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.”
Thank you, Steve Maraboli.
I looked up and forgot for a magical moment, you know those unforced rhythms of grace, that I was being scrutinized and examined by my peers.
Their silence was eerie. You could literally hear a pin drop.
Due to the lengthy silence, my heart had given way to shallow idling and a cottonmouth that would take a big-rig mechanic’s pliers to pry open.
They just sat there comatose, dead silent, while offering nothing but suggesting a super-size distress signal…
Between their laser-beam eyes looking up and down, a few nods of affirmation and a whole lot of rejection rolls of the eyes sizing me up, nothing was said.
Can I hear awkward?
Then it happened, after 4.33 bloody minutes (their timer) of the torturing silence, their blackout awakened. Out of nowhere, a helium-sucking voice muttered, “What’s your secret sauce?”
I lost it!
When I say “I cracked,” I am talking about an uncontrolled heckling mirroring a laughing hyena.
My children can vouch how I’ve had to hide under a table or two due to the uncontrolled release of toxins and stressors conducted through laughing. They may laugh, but it’s more of an embarrassment at my cost.
With my cheeks flaming with humiliation, the burn intensified from their piercing eyes and disgusted mannerisms. They found absolutely no humor in the aforementioned.
What’s a girl supposed to do now?
What is my focus?
Not happening right now.
What is my passion? My gifts?
Hot ooey-gooey molasses of shame coated my royal veins as thousands upon thousands of unwanted adornment, beads of sweat, bounced off and found their way dripping down my face.
Now that’s attractive!
Forget the pits of the ditz!
This river of sweat marshaled my anxiety right into hyperventilation.
Calling all angel armies to the rescue!
I’m trying to remember that I’m creating an extraordinary life to make a difference in the world. And that means it’s all about the journey, not the end result!
What’s my secret sauce?
My gift of enthusiasm is what breathes life and energy into my weary bones to accomplish great things that will glorify my Lord.
So this means when we have enthusiasm, the yoke carried from the weight of fear, rejection and doubt loses its power over our lives (Matthew 11:29-30), right?
I want to master the unforced rhythms of grace.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of secret sauce is “an element, quality, ability, or practice that makes something or someone successful or distinctive.”
Since my gift of “enthusiasm” fits the bill, remembering that enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: en + theos is God, which is literally God within us, but theos also means inspired, God-inspired.
When we put them together, it relates to God’s enthusiasm, the secret sauce, needed to create an extraordinary life that makes a difference.
That’s called a Legacy of Love!
Until next time…
Words filled with hate and torturing venom penetrate into the girl’s heart and soul. The beautiful beloved gasps for air as she digests and searches for comfort between her regurgitated fears and her tear-stained cheeks flaming with humiliation.
She ponders her worth and self-esteem after every assault and affair. “I’m not enough! I don’t belong here. I’m a failure. Why won’t he love me?”
I picked up and allowed bad behaviors to infect and direct my life while learning coping mechanisms that provided nothing besides locking myself up in my own self-constructed cell of hell. I employed protection from the hard hats; construction crews of fear. This crew of fear built barriers around my heart that further wrapped me in emotional isolation and insecurities.
My choices reflected my fears, not my hopes!
That was before I knew God…
I never understood self-love and what self-compassion entailed. I lived out learned behaviors that dictated even if both of my legs were broken (or back), I kept going. No healing going on here…
Fake it until you make it, baby!
The enemy uses whatever weakness and temptation he can to derail us. When insecurities are loud, we become easily depressed and discouraged. Talk about distraction at its finest.
We even desire to live out Nelson Mandela’s wisdom, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
But how do we live that out?
Sadly, a majority of my choices in the past reflected my fears and not my hopes. Had I only known that in order to be a woman, I had to learn to love myself first. And that required knowing who God said I was.
God teaches us magnificently who we are and how to love a man; and others, for that matter.
I grow weary of wearing other people’s insecurities. Don’t you?
Their insecurities don’t fit. They’re either too restrictive, too heavy, expose way too much or uncomfortable! They itch, they inflame, and they inject pain in each layer. Plus talk about heavy baggage!
Time to dress myself in confidence instead. Confidence fits. It’s lighter. Confidence compliments and enhances our beauty!
What a concept!
I love confidence… the way it feels… the comfort… the ease… and how it radiates and enhances who I am! It makes me feel…
“A girl becomes a woman when she learns to love herself more than she loves a man” does not mean that we teach our daughters and granddaughters to be selfish Brides of Frankenstein.
Isn’t that called a Bridezilla?
I’ll say it, sometimes the reflection scares the ugly right out of me…
If we learn to put the Lord first, we will be able to love ourselves and others. We will learn how to set boundaries through communication and confidence. We won’t be easily angered. We will be patient and kind. Not rude. We will keep no record of wrongs…
Do I hear forgiving?
We will also know to run to our Papa God when our love tanks are low in order to get fueled up.
You know, when PMS strikes or those hot flashes are no match for those crocodile tears and manic ricocheting daggers because of our lack of hormones and escalated emotional needs!!!
Embracing Jesus to fill up our love tanks, He reminds us of our worth and value. Then we’re able to love others and not be needy beloveds.
There’s nothing more frightening than a needy beloved!
Before Christ, I ran after unhealthy relationships. I was so busy allowing people to assault and abuse me, being controlled by their dangling of performance-based love and manipulation, I became an angry doormat instead of a confident beloved.
There was never any time or ROOM for healthy relationships. I was too busy covering up and sweeping other people’s junk underneath the rug instead of exposing it and walking away, while hiding underneath my veil of shame.
When you don’t know what real love is like, you become desperate for any sort of attention and affection, negative or otherwise! Love isn’t supposed to hurt! But… loving a girl who hasn’t learned to love herself first is one of the hardest things to do!
Human love is considered an intimate affair. Beautifully so. Song of Songs 8:6-7 relates love as strong as death and jealousy (passion) as intense as the grave.
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Being God’s treasured daughter affords self-love and self-compassion. Us girls need to learn to love ourselves first before we can possibly love another man. In order to love ourselves, we need to experience daily the love of our Father and that requires engaging in a relationship with Him. What a beautiful endearment!
Until next time…
Hi Beautiful! I pray you were able to tap into our amazing God of Encouragement and Endurance this past week while stamping other beloveds “approved” with joy. It’s that time again, it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays.
As I write this weekly challenge, my heart is heavily burdened. This is the result of another “be-careful-what-you-pray-for” as tears pour down my face hearing the testimonies of many homeless beloveds from this past weekend.
You see, I asked the Lord to give me His eyes to see what He sees and His ears to hear what only He knows. God’s answer:
Homelessness is real and more predominant than most people care or even dare to acknowledge.
Jesus’ words in John 3:17 are fixed to my heart, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
I’ve recently become honored to be a part of an amazing team that ministers every week to providing the homeless love through nutritious meals, rain or shine. Food is the vessel that draws the homeless beloveds in while providing nourishment for the heart, soul, body and mind.
We’re talking hundreds of homeless individuals receive hope, love, fellowship, HUGS and nourishment from amazing selfless beloveds that speak life and love into others and whom I’m honored to call my friends and team. This blessed nonprofit in Roseville, California, is called Blameless and Forever Free Ministries.
I have met, served and continue to be blessed by the homeless population. Yes, you read that right, the homeless continue to bless me! When I look them in their eyes, I see a reflection of who lives inside of me; Love Himself, Jesus Christ!
I can relate with many of these precious loved ones and their stories. I was a single mom working two jobs and know full well what it’s like to be a paycheck away from being homeless. Frightening! And fear paralyzes us to move forward. I understand their pain and their sense of loss and desperation. Talk about a shame-filled life without any hope.
There’s more love depicted in this photograph than sadly the supply of milk. These pets offer more love and comfort than one could illustrate. Without them, the emotional distress would be unconscionable.
There’s a reason many homeless beloveds have animals; it’s called unconditional love. It’s a source of stability and comfort that helps them facilitate hope. Plus the animals provide a source of heat. Do you know what it feels like to live in freezing conditions? It’s a silent killer.
This photograph illustrates the best of conditions in homeless suburbia. If I showed you skid row where they’re all lined up on the cold, dark cement sidewalks of Sacramento, hundreds with very few tents, huddled together for warmth and protection from the elements, it would, or should, break your heart!
A simple token of kindness can make a huge difference. We can do this by acknowledging the need of the homeless by donating time, blankets, socks, money, food, you name it.
What a blessing and honor to witness how a simple gesture of human kindness and love can heal wounds that otherwise would bleed out.
As Mother Teresa said, “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Weekly Challenge: I understand most of us can’t afford to feed a hundred people, but we can pitch in and help one homeless person. This weekly challenge is to donate time or monetary resources, preferably both ♥, to local Christian nonprofit organizations like Blameless and Forever Free Ministries. Blankets and socks are golden treasures right now.
Nonprofit organizations cater to more than just the physical needs of the homeless. They operate under the authority of the powerful words that offer healing that Jesus declared in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Together we’re beautiful and withdrawing or acting blind to others’ needs will not help solve any problem. I pray the Lord will open our eyes and hearts to the many beloveds who are homeless. After all, “the best vitamin for a Christian is to B-1.” Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:16).
Until next time…