A good chunk of our time and an even greater portion of most women’s budgets is applied to our appearance. Hair, makeup, brows/lashes, nails, and clothing are just a few of the expenses that we contribute to. While there is nothing wrong with this, we also need to step away from the mirror and look at what it doesn’t show. Yes, sometimes a heart check is in order.
Proverbs 4:23 warns us to guard our hearts: “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life”. The passage that I share below is based on this verse. As you read it examine your own heart, for your well-being and very life depends on the condition of your heart.
Little black dress, caressing your hips
You keep them stuttering
Wait a minute, let’s bring the heart into it
Do you have a heart condition?
Not the kind that shows up on an echocardiogram,
But the kind that can’t be seen:
Bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, envy, jealousy, manipulation,
Just to name a few, conditions that not only harm you,
But have the power to destroy others too
Prayer in its simplest form is a conversation between yourself and God. However, many women find it intimidating to pray. What is it about prayer that makes some of us feel so ill at ease? For some, it’s determining the appropriate posture, others struggle with what to say and/or how to say it, and many women wonder just how long their prayer should be. If prayer has served as a source of intimidation for you, it is my prayer that this post will help to put your mind at ease.
Posturing for Prayer
Let’s begin with posture. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or kneeling is insignificant. Praying in a position that is comfortable for you, is what is important. This is key because you want to be able to focus on your conversation with God and not on pain resulting from being in an uncomfortable position. So, sit, stand, or kneel, whatever works for you. We have been conditioned to pray with our eyes closed and for me personally it helps me to block everything out and focus, but if you prefer to keep your eyes open then do so
What to Say/How to Say/How Long to Say
Many erroneously believe that their prayer must be formal, filled with thees and thous or “big” words. God is not impressed with our vocabulary or lack thereof, formality, or marathon prayers. Matthew 6:7(NLT) confirms this: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words”. What He does what is honesty and sincerity; Simply talk to Him in your normal voice and tone openly.
Prayer need not be an act that causes you to feel intimidated or awkward. Close your eyes or leave them open, take a deep breath, and let your words flow out. Talk to your heavenly Father as you would to your best friend and when you’re done don’t forget to take the time to listen for any words He may have for you.
I am a strong proponent of not living in the past, but it is good to visit there sometimes. So I paid it a visit today. I took a stroll down the proverbial memory lane, with music as my guide. Memories of when my husband and I first started dating, our wedding, and other highlights of our time together, brought both smiles and tears(happy ones). I sung in and out of tune, reminisced, and got that “old feeling” back. That feeling I had when I first fell in love with him resurfaced. Not that it had gone anywhere, but sometimes it gets buried under the complexities of “life”. No, can’t live there, but it felt really good visiting.
I’ve had this quote from Joel Osteen in the back of my mind since last week: “Don’t be pitiful when you can be powerful”. I posted it on my Facebook page on Tuesday and it has had a grip on me since.
Pitiful or powerful? You mean we can choose? Yes!!! In spite of any situation or circumstance that we are going through, we can choose to not allow it to pull us down and keep us in the abyss of pity, but instead to get up and stand strong in spite of…. Is it just that simple? Again the answer is yes.
The first and most important step is to make up in our mind that we want to be powerful and not pitiful. Then we strive to walk in this choice daily, by making decisions and taking actions that align with it.
What does this look like in action? You lose a job: Instead of panicking and going into depressed mode, you look at it as an opportunity to explore and obtain a new career. Facing the end of a relationship: Don’t allow the negative energy of anger and sadness to overtake you, instead turn it into something positive. Use this as a time to reflect and grow as an individual, take a class, find a new hobby, spend some time with people you may have neglected during your relationship. Death: We all know that it’s inevitable and often without warning, but that doesn’t stop the pain and grief that it brings. How can we turn the grief from pity to power? One way is to find a way to honor the lost loved one. This can be as simple as choosing to live a good life. Other suggestions include: becoming a donor to or volunteer at their favorite charitable organization, establishing a scholarship in their name, or doing something that they wanted to do, but never had the chance to. Find something that you know would make them smile at you from heaven.
The next time life throws you a curve ball, as it will, don’t let it knock you down, catch it and stand strong in your power.
I was both intrigued and challenged by the concept of a Life Purpose/Mission Statement. This notion was presented to me via a training exercise sponsored by Happy Black Woman. While it is common practice to have a mission statement for a business or corporation, I had never considered a personal life mission statement. It made me sit back and really reflect on the questions of “who are you? what is important to you? what do you stand for?”
This reflection resulted in my life purpose/ mission statement which I am proud to share with you below.
God is the head and center of my life. I humbly submit to Him and my life evolves from Him and revolves around service to and for Him. Faith, family, love, and forgiveness are the foundations my life is built upon. Each day I make effort to “die a little more to self” so that I can become more like Christ, who completely died for me. I am committed to life long learning in and outside of the classroom. I am equally committed to teaching both in and outside of the classroom. My gifts and ministries include writing, helping, encouraging, and teaching. My mission is to serve the Lord within my home, church, and community and be the best me, the me that God created me to be.
What is your mission?
When I looked at my youngest daughter’s hair two years ago, when I decided to put a relaxer in it, all I saw was thick hair that was hard to manage (especially for someone lacking in hairstyling skills like myself).
Today when I took out her crochet braids (she is now 9 months relaxer free), I saw thick, beautiful, curly hair. The same locs that were there two years ago, adorned her head today. But I couldn’t see them then. All I could see was hours of washing, conditioning, detangling, and bumbling and stumbling my way through styling it.
As I marveled at her lovely mane, I received a revelation about how this “hairy situation” applies to life. Sometimes we look at a person and all we can see is a mess. But, what we fail to realize is that hidden underneath that “mess” is something beautiful. Because God doesn’t make mess, we can be assured that there is buried treasure within. So let us make effort to see beyond what we think we see and know.
Just like jeans, careers are not one size fits all. Searching for that perfect fit can be a daunting task for both the jeans and the career. Sometimes you have to go to every store in the mall and try on every brand, looking for that pair that fits you just right. That pair that accentuates your curves, but doesn’t cut off your circulation. The Goldilocks of jeans-not too loose, not too tight, but just right. The process can be frustrating, but the excitement and satisfaction you feel when you finally find them and the confidence you exude when you wear them, is worthwhile. Likewise, when you find that “perfect fit” career, the joy that it brings far outweighs the pains of the search and discovery.
On a personal note, I am still in search of that pair of jeans, but I am turning a passion of mine that was just a hobby into a new career and it fits perfectly.
I love every single inch of it
Though it is not perfect and sometimes there is more of it than there used to be
It is mine and I embrace it
There are scars, each with its own story
When I fail to get enough sleep there are dark circles
Sometimes I cover them with makeup, other times I wear them proudly
Although unwanted, they are still a part of me
As I have gotten older the one mole that I had in my youth has multiplied into a family of moles
I embrace them, they add character
Sometimes my eyebrows are perfectly arched, other times I embrace my natural brow and let the hair grow thick and wild
Pimples used to freak me out, sending me on missions to get rid of them or looking for ways to hide them
Now I accept them as just another slight imperfection
Flaws, scars, blemishes, and all, I love every single inch of this skin I’m in
After the wedding ceremony, the reception, and the honeymoon are over, then comes marriage. Many months and sometimes years of preparation go into planning the perfect wedding ceremony. More often that not, this same prepping does not go into the actual marriage. Many fail to look past the dress, flowers, rings, reception food and music, as a result they are disappointed when the “happily ever after” is replaced by the reality of marriage. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it has its ugly moments as well. It is a merger of two into one and sometimes the merger seems like a hostile takeover. When uniting 2 people, 2 minds, 2 hearts, 2 souls, the sailing isn’t always smooth. There will be wild waves and tossing of the sea. If you’re not steadfast and fully committed your boat may very well sink.
I am not a marriage expert, but on today I celebrate 15 years of marriage. A marriage that has endured and weathered some of the most turbulent storms, yet one that is without regret and one that I would do all over again. I entered my marriage very much aware of the fact that it would be work. Marrying a service member and becoming an “instant mom”, I knew overtime would be required. Fifteen years in and I’m not ready to retire yet.
A falsehood about marriage that I am glad that I learned early is that it is 50-50. Fifty percent of anything is half of it, so if I am giving 50% of myself in my marriage I am only giving half of me. Half hearted effort usually results in failure. If you give 100% and your spouse does the same, you both receive the best of one another.
Enter marriage with your eyes wide open: realize that there will be storms and be prepared to endure them, know that it is work and be ready to give 100%, and most importantly (and what I believe has made the biggest difference) submit your marriage to God.
This one’s for the ladies who proudly wear that big “S” on their chests…… The superwomen. The ones who are always taking care of others, putting the needs of others before their own; the early morning risers, the late night toilers, the supporters, encouragers, the “you can lean on me” women, call on me at anytime and I’ll be there type of females, the “I got six jobs and I don’t get tired” crew. We take pride in being everything to everybody, but in doing so we often forget to take care of ourselves. That TLC that we spread to others, often misses us. So ladies, keep doing what you do best; however, let’s remember to take that cape off every now and then. Give yourself some of that same love that you so generously share with others.