The Virtues of a [Not So] Virtuous Woman

My first anthology is NOW AVAILABLE for purchase on Amazon. The ebook is only $2.99! The paperback is now available for only $9.99. Please share with your friends and family. This collection has been a 4 year process but God said it was time to move forward and publish. Thank you for your support of this blog, and thank you for your support of this book. I Love You All!

Shifts

It always seem like right before your life shifts into a higher gear you get a flat tire. Not that you’re left stranded or no longer mobile, just inconvenienced. These instances are momentary hiccups that end up being more beneficial than you may think. You can take a breather, pray, think about what’s coming next, and prepare yourself all while your tire is being changed. I learned the hard way that while I was waiting for AAA to arrive I was magnifying my problem instead of magnifying God. He, in fact, used my “flat tire” to get me to sit down, to be still, and shut up. I’m grateful He did. Otherwise I’d still be running my mouth right as the gears were shifting and I was heading straight into blessings and purpose, probably passing it by or seeing it as a road block. Thankfully, because my tire was replaced and my vehicle was allowed to rest before the next shift, I feel more prepared. Progress is progress, even if only a foot at a time. Don’t look at flat tires as the end of your journey. Appreciate the time and reflect on how far you’ve come, and allow God to prepare you for the journey ahead. It’s going to be a long one, and what a wonderful ride it will be. 

Help

I wasn’t always like this you know,

Boldness, strength, and confidence

Were foreign concepts to a broken mind.

Plagued by sorrow, grief, and loss

I toiled every night against myself.

I needed help.

Not the kind of help where you lay on

Someone’s couch and tell them about your childhood and

They tell you how the dysfunctional relationship

You had with your mother is the root of all your problems.

Not the kind of help that comes in pill form and only

Seeks and destroys the remaining working parts of your mind.

Not the kind of help that’s served 12oz at a time.

I mean the kind of help where the only thing you can do

Is lay down at the altar and tell God how angry you are.

The kind of help where you scream at the top of your lungs,

Risking taking your last breath to explain why you

Changed your name to Mara.

I’m talking about the help that only comes once you’ve been

Depleted, exhausted from fighting back since birth,

When your body’s only ability is to finally be still.

The kind of help that starts when your cries stop,

Where you can no longer wail, just lay in silence.

The help that comes when you finally allow your body

To be vulnerable once again, forgetting  all the times

Your body was used as a disposal.

I’m talking about the help that comes when you have

No more strength in your bones and your tissues become rubber,

Malleable, able to shape, to reform, to mold.

The kind of help that comes when you are in His hands,

Allowing Him to become your master and sculptor.

Letting Him carve, shave off, deconstruct.

Working back in the strength that was lost,

Defining your edge to increase your boldness,

Giving you His word, to become your new confidence.

I’m talking about the help that was on the hill

Dying on the cross.

That hill is where I fix my eyes

The hill from which comes my help. 

Phat Girls *Unedited*

I always believed men didn’t like fat girls.

Well, not in public.

I soon found out that fat girls were only for

Escapades during the twilight hours

Where the rays of the moon light would hide their shame.

The fat folds of our skin, our curves were not for sunshine

Too much skin exposed, too raw, the many wounds left open

From insults’ past.

Once told I should lose weight to find a good man,

Hurtful, yet it made sense.

I was always left for a skinny girl,

Passed over for someone whose curves didn’t compete with the earths.

I began to believe that the men interested were only liars and cheats

Because there’s no such thing as liking girls with too much meat.

Oh, but there was one who said men didn’t care about that

He also refused to date me after months of sleeping together secretly.

So,

I work out, telling myself I’m doing it for my health

Only the moonlight says something else

I punish myself for getting fat, again.

See I was skinny before and that was when

I attracted the most men and I “felt” pretty.

Apparently now I can only have a pretty face.

My body it’s disgrace and I’m constantly aware of my double chin.

It’s no wonder I’m still single

Because after all, I’m only pretty for a fat girl.

A Testimony of Rejection

I often crush hard, even when every time I was humiliated. In 7th grade I found out that my first crush actually liked me, and we began “dating” until he got mad and called me a ni***r. Yes, he was. About a year or so later, we moved cities and there was an older boy with beautiful brown skin and a Spanish accent who lived in my new apartment complex. At that time, I was practicing Wicca, believing if only I could cast a spell on him he would love me. I did the entire ritual, sealing the envelope with a big red kiss created by some lipstick I found around the house. I walked over to his apartment and left the envelope. A few days later he was going around laughing, trying to guess whose lips made the print. He thought it was a joke. I was mortified. I avoided him, except to steal glances when I was at the pool. He moved sometime later without ever saying a word.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I had a strange yet passionate crush on the drum major of my marching band. He delightfully played the saxophone for the wind ensemble; I played mallet percussion so I was always standing and had perfect view. The months were drawing nearer to prom, and I got wind that he and his girlfriend had broken up. I wrote a letter on vibrant red paper, found out where our paths would cross and met him outside his class to hand him the letter. He took it, befuddled. When 6th period came, band class, he came up to me and told me he was still friends with his girlfriend and didn’t want to go to prom. Again, the humiliation turned me a newfound shade of red and I eagerly awaited graduation. My best friend from middle school went to prom with me, we had a blast even though I was severely depressed at that time.

I did what I knew best. I walked around the rest of the year in shame. Never making eye contact because I would walk the halls eyes glued to my favorite Stephen King novel. I learned from my experience that anytime I expressed my interest in a person it resulted in my humiliation. I began to truly believe I was unworthy of love. I even believed no one wanted to date me because I was fat. So, I starved myself, I did extreme workouts, becoming anorexic. When I began receiving male attention it only perpetuated the lie that I was too fat and too unlovable. The superficial relationships I had up to this point always resulted in lies or cheating; I wasn’t enough. Rejection doesn’t stem only from unrequited love, I soon discovered. It affects various areas of life. Work, talents, gifts, purpose, and all relationships can be gravely affected by rejection. Rejection is a powerful thing, but its cause is spiritual, a spirit that can be overcome and broken off.

At the ripe ol’ age of 28.97, I realize that the spirit of rejection had been plaguing my life, and I allowed it to. I welcomed it with wide open arms and a big giant frown. The devil loved to play and I had opened the playground for him, even after hours. My mental illness took most of the blame. Today, I have declared that the spirit of Rejection has itself been rejected. I have taken my rightful authority over it. I have replaced it with truth: I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God that truly loves me. He will never reject me. That has come to mean more than the acceptance of any person.

If you have ever struggled with rejection and it has gripped you into fear, there is a way out. Allow the Holy Spirit to move through you, take up your authority according to Luke 10:19 and trample it. Literally. Stomp your feet into the ground and declare that rejection is under your feet, in Jesus Name. Jump, scream, dance, cry, do whatever you need to do before your God to let the devil know his schemes are no longer effective, that God’s truth has replaced his lie. Then, believe it. Remind yourself every day that you are loved. Rejection is supposed to be redirection onto the path God laid out for you, but the devil perverted it. Even when circumstance is not in your favor, the spirit of rejection will not plague you. Trust your God and He will lead you along the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23).

The Quirks

You know, I always thought once I became saved that everything about me would change. It was mildly frightening. I thought I would lose my quirks, personality, character, the bad habits, and that I would be wiped clean and given a whole new persona. What I discovered was the opposite. Nothing about me changed; I was the same person, with a newly awakened spirit. My quirks, if anything, were amplified, my strange characteristics became stranger. I realized that the person I was always meant to be was always there, it just needed the Holy Spirit. Don’t get me wrong, some of those bad habits took time to go extinct, and not without hard labor (still working on a few). In fact, some of the things I tried to suppress about myself became more evident. I would love to sit here and say that somehow, I instantly became perfect, that my flaws, weird parts hidden in my personality, and private struggles would just vanish.

That’s not how this works

That now how any of this works.

In fact, the reason I was so eager to believe everything about me would change is because I hated myself. I thought I was a mistake. There were parts about myself that I had been taught to hate. So, you can only imagine my despair when parts I had tried to stamp out and smother were now being brought to the surface. I always tried to pretend I was hard, that I was unaffected by the woes of life, I rarely cried in front of others, but had my moments of weakness in secret. In fact, I often pretended that I didn’t care about anything just so I wouldn’t react. Didn’t matter if it was joy or sadness, and often anger was the only emotion I expressed. Today, I probably cry just about every day, not from sadness, but because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I’ve grown to welcome the tears as a body response to the move of God. My moments of joy now expressed in various ways that were once foreign. My once perceived weakness now became a strength, my sensitivity to Holy Spirit is being used for various prophetic and teaching assignments.

It took quite a bit of biblical study, googling, and asking my leaders questions to figure out this process of becoming a “new man in Christ.” Still things left to discover, but one thing I know is that the newness isn’t based on your personality. Being saved wipes your sins away, you’re forgiven in turn given a new chance a life, to do it with Christ. When you say yes to God, He shows you parts of you that He fearfully and wonderfully made. Each and every aspect of you was known by God first. What humans like to do is change themselves to comply with standards society set, which in fact are set up to steal identities.

Take back your identity. Embrace your quirks, and more so, embrace your “weaknesses,” because in them the strength of Christ is made perfect.

 

Secrets of the Introvert

I have been an introvert since forever, and by the grace of God I am learning to come out of my shell more and use my introversion as a strength. To be honest, for a long time my introversion was a thorn in my side. I desired a social life but the awkwardness I felt in social gatherings overwhelmed me to the point of anxiety (blame Social Anxiety Disorder if you want). I had my first anxiety attack in 6th grade at a school dance. But the devil is a Liar and I no longer have anxiety attacks. So, while I praise the Lord for my deliverance, I use my testimony to shine some light on the dark places introverts love to keep hidden. I’ve come up with a list of several things introverts like to do to avoid contact with people, some silly, some serious. Yes, I’m going to tell on myself and some of you other introverts out there. Sorry not sorry. Of course, there are exceptions to this. I know introverts that have extrovert tendencies, and I know extroverts that have introvert traits. This article is for those like myself, that hardly ever exhibit extrovert traits and it literally takes a miracle for them to break out of it. Now I couldn’t reveal everything, but here are a few:

#1: We want to have more friends.

Most introverts only have one or maybe two friends that they 93.988776% trust to tell everything to. However, we do want to make more friends because our one or two friends have other friends to spend time with, and sometimes we don’t want to be alone. Plus, networking is an awesome thing and connecting with people can connect you to opportunity. As an introvert, I know these things, yet dread the process. Social media is our biggest enabler. We spend hours on social media “connecting” to people that we hardly speak to in real life…because it makes us nervous.

#2: We ignore or avoid people we actually want to speak to.

If we must speak to someone about something that we don’t know well, it’s usually difficult to do. We will exhaust every other means and still dread when the day comes to speak in person or even on the phone. For example, I needed to talk to a minister that is also a Psychologist about education since I, too, am going into that field. It took several attempts but I finally mustered up the courage after church service one Sunday. My heart was racing and I was probably bright red. Knees weak, Palms were sweaty.

#3: We wear dark clothes because we don’t want to be noticed.

I LOVE BLACK CLOTHES. They’re slimming; and for the same reason that they are slimming I wear them to just not be noticed overall. It’s like a security blanket for adults. Why would I want to wear bright or bold colors if I plan to stay unnoticed in the shadows? Counterproductive, duh. So, I would regularly wear black to hide. I still hide, but not as well since I added color to the mix.

#3b: We avoid social gatherings that require dressing up

Dressing up means looking fancy and such, and who wants to be fancy at a social event when you want to pretend you don’t exist?! Best believe I know how to dress up, but the process of doing so seems redundant since I’d typically be hiding in the back. Sometimes that also involves showing up late simply because it took us forever to actually decide if we were going. If it was required, we get there early so we can get the best seats (in the back) before anyone else comes to steal our joy.

#3c: We sneak out of places, events, gatherings quietly to avoid the “Goodbyes.”

I hate goodbyes. They’re awkward for unknown reasons, sometimes they are emotional. At church, for example, I used to just walk out and leave. Now I try to randomly wave and say, “bye guys,” and jet out the door. Progress. Some people I genuinely love so I’ll give them a personal goodbye. I see other people leave with a loud and noticeable “BYE EVERYONE!” and everyone turns and says bye and goes back to what they were doing. Why would I want to interrupt that? Lol. So, I creep.

#4: We tell ourselves we’re happy with Netflix at home on a Friday night.

Netflix and chill to an introvert literally means that we’re going to watch Netflix all night and eat junk food on our beds with no regard to time or the sensation of fullness. We scroll social media and look wantonly at all the people out in the streets and having fun and yada, yada, yada. We want to go out, but that involves getting dressed mentally and physically. Too large a task. Netflix doesn’t judge for my lack of clothing.

#5: We hate the spotlight because we fear embarrassment

Ah, the dreadful spotlight (or microphone, etc.) As a teacher, I find irony in the fact that I hate being in the spotlight but it’s required if I’m going to teach. This was why I needed deliverance. It’s difficult to make eye contact, so I look over everyone’s head which is an amazing feat in itself. I used to keep my eyes down. On anything that was down. It’s as if making eye contact with someone in the crowd would demolish the walls we built up.

#6: Our dating lives suffer

Refer to #2. We prefer online interactions because responses can be more thought out, and we feel more in control and less vulnerable. It’s also easier to show interest without the person on the other side seeing how awkward we are. Yet, since I’ve sworn off ALL online dating (see my article Love and Tinderness), the chances of meeting someone in person are slim, without the blood of Jesus. If we have any interest of someone we tend to avoid (especially avoid eye contact) or keep interactions short and sweet. It’s a defense mechanism because we fear rejection. If the person isn’t interested then we won’t care as much because we didn’t put in any effort. We almost always want them to make the first move.

#7: We act like fools when we are alone or with a trusted friend/partner but not around others

Even when everyone around is being goofy or playing games, we sit out. A purposefully little-known fact: I can imitate some accents, but ask me to do it in front of people the answer is NO. One things I always heard from my exes is that I was one of few women that could make them laugh. (But they were liars so who knows how true it is). Most of us also refuse to dance. Back in the day I used to get paid to dance (that’ll be another article) it’s certainly not going to happen now. I put my back into it too many times and now I got back problems.

#8: WE HATE TAKING GROUP PICTURES

Oh, but we love a selfie! I always look like a nervous wet dog in group photos. I avoided them at all cost. With encouragement from peers and Holy Spirit, I’ve been taking more pictures. You can point me out effortlessly, I usually have “help me,” written in my eyes.

Now of course these may not be true for every single introvert, but they’re true for me. They say to get help with something you first have to admit you have a problem. My antisocial introvert behavior has been in the way. So, I’ve taken a few steps to get that help. Of course, there are wonderful aspects of being an introvert. We are very selective about friends and who we talk to. We save money by staying home and switching to Geico. We don’t mind eating alone. Most enjoy and welcome solitude and in that solitude, find rest and rejuvenation (Praise the Lord). We are big thinkers, constantly evaluating ourselves and others, and in turn we are usually slow to speak. Before we converse with anyone we’ve probably had the conversation 93874 times in our head before it takes place. So, we’re almost always prepared, but the anxiety can still be burdensome.

I decided to write about these things so that it will become a footstool. I can use my “weakness” as a step to catapult me forward. I keep what I need and discard what God says to leave behind. The enemy can’t use things like this as a weapon if you’re using it as a footstool, it will not prosper. Through this reflection, I see that I have a way to go, I also know that since I have said “Yes,” to God, He is taking this and other parts of me and doing as He pleases. Although it’s uncomfortable and at times I want to reject it, I am reminded of the many men and women in the bible that went through dramatic transitions. I’m doing my best to welcome these changes.