There is an identity crisis in the Body of Christ; too many becoming carbon copies of what already exists. Our mission is to empower those we encounter to unearth their original God-given design, realize all of their potential and gifts, and to walk worthy of that calling to the end that the name of Jesus Christ can be glorified in the Earth and His Kingdom expanded.
Stop joking about it. Stop making excuses for it. Stop blaming the MANY victims for it. Stop saying “Well white men get away with it.” (Really y’all?) Stop trying to figure out ANY WAY to NOT blame Robert Sylvester Kelly for these HEINOUS, DISGUSTING ACTS against teenage girls. Cause truth be told… That “fast-ass” girl you keep referring to…
She learned to be ‘fast’ from somewhere. Probably from that uncle/aunt/father/mother/brother/step-father/step-mother/cousin/neighbor y’all don’t talk about.
It takes US (victims of sexual abuse/child molestation) years to heal from trauma and to stop blaming ourselves. Shoot, I’m not sure we ever completely give up blaming ourselves. So every time one of you “It couldn’t have been me”, “These girls were stupid”, “Why do they stay?” “They were fast anyway”, “I still like the music (THAT’S TALKING ABOUT MOLESTING YOUNG GIRLS), “They were paid off” people start posting and DEFENDING his trifling sick ass, what you’re really saying is… “Candace, you’re dumb.” “Candace, you wanted it.” “Candace, why did you stay?” “Candace, why did you let it happen?” “Candace, you must have been fast.” And if I ever publicly outed my molesters, I’d hear “Well why now? Why did you wait so long? You’re probably lying.”
And I’m trying not to take it (your comments) personally…but it IS personal. Because there is no difference between ME and any of those girls up on that screen. I have been young and dumb. Naive. Gullible. Attention-seeking. Star-struck. Needy. Over-powered by an adult decision-maker in my life.
I am she. She is me.
You’ll make excuses FOR R. Kelly since he was sexually molested, but then blame the girls who were molested? The HYPOCRISY! We (the community) age black girls so fast. We make them adults before they’re adults. I don’t care if her breasts (or in my case hips/butt) announce her to be “grown”. SHE’S NOT. Her mind isn’t. Just tell the truth, you don’t care about her mind cause that ain’t the part you’re trying to deal with. And some of you can’t come against R. Kelly cause your appetite leans in the same direction (or it has before). And some of you blame the victims because you still haven’t dealt with your own sexual trauma. You’re still blaming yourself. Truth be told, some of you blame those girls because you think you’re better than those girls. You were taught that your worth and value is directly connected to how many sexual partners you’ve had and how early you engaged in sex.
Beyond the men who don’t value those girls… Sis, you don’t either. They deserved what they got huh?
It’s the same school of thought telling me to cover up in the presence of my male family members instead of questioning why my male FAMILY members would be looking at my teenage body.
We completely bypass the power dynamics involved in molestation/abuse. It’s not just about sex, it’s about control. It’s as mentally damaging as it is physically; probably more so. R. Kelly KNOWS (cause this ish is STILL going on) EXACTLY what he is doing and who he is targeting. The mental abuse and ‘TRAINING’ as he calls it is calculated and thorough.
One young lady on the video said, “It was consensual, but it was consensual by intimidation. I felt like I couldn’t say no.”
Adolescents are mentally unstable. I’m not saying that as a joke. I’m saying that as a scientific fact. The actual brain of a teenager is STILL DEVELOPING. The part that affects reasoning & decision making isn’t fully developed until well into adulthood.
But because she’s got hips, a big butt, a smile and makes poor decisions; she’s grown?! She’s FAST?! She’s READY?! (as your boy Robert put it).
You can’t rightly deal with R. Kelly because you haven’t rightly dealt with yourself. And some of you just don’t want to stop listening to a pedophile’s music. And if that’s you. Cool. But just shut up & stop trying to twist and jump through all these hoops to make this man “okay”. He’s not. He’s sick. Deal with it. And while you’re at it…deal with you too.
Happy Birthday to ME!
No, I’m not 35. I’m 36 today. What just passed was my 35th year.
#Thriveat35 was my mantra for the year. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t post it everywhere. I told only a few friends, half-heartedly because frankly…. I didn’t know what it really meant & what it would look like.
Could I really #Thriveat35?
Now that my 35th year is drawing to a close, I would say that I did indeed #Thriveat35
What did that look like? What does it look like to #Thriveat35? TBH, it looked like a big ole crazy, scary, season-ending, mind-boggling, jumping off cliffs, sloppy, broke-*** mess!
Here’s what I learned in this 35th year (in no particular order).
I wanted the New Beginning but avoided the Ending. The two are connected.
PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING.
Say yes to things that scare the CRAP out of me.
Sisterhood group chats are essentially the “hype man” that every good rapper needs; they repeat all the good parts for emphasis. Don’t begrudge your role as “hype man” for you will need one soon.
Success lies in habits.
There is no formula. They’re lying if they say there is.
Early rising is life-giving & life-saving.
The Bible be right. For real.
Making the bed helps me focus throughout the day.
Healthy partnership is essential for…so many things.
I could be wrong. That is completely okay.
Marrying my husband? #OneoftheBestDecisionsIveEverMade
Addendum to the above: Only marry #ThriveEnablers
Rooting for (or clapping) at someone else’s trouble shows what’s really in my heart.
The sound my feet make walking away from things not meant for me is music.
There is a peace in not having it all figured out.
Sometimes self-care is getting my ish done.
I cannot serve both God & Money.
I cannot serve both God & my Ego.
I cannot serve both God & my insecurities (which is essentially my Ego)
I cannot serve both God and YOU as Ruler in my life.
God is speaking. I’m the one with the hearing problem.
Kindness matters. So much.
Being kind to myself matters even more.
Love TRULY COVERS a multitude of sins.
Learn other people’s lessons too.
God IS and always has been waiting for me.
I’m my own competition, I’m competing with myself.
I’m not late. I’m not behind.
My voice matters & has POWER.
Decisions have consequences. Sometimes God graced me that I didn’t feel the full effects. Sometimes He graced me to feel it in as much fullness as I could take. Both are GRACE.
Discovery of my “whys” has been the best part of the year.
My brain is expensive.
35 has been a most enlightening year. I’ve learned so much about myself, what makes me tick & what I’m capable of. The best thing I’ve learned is…
35. Candace, accept your magic.
It’s so much easier to pick out every flaw. Those, I’m already intimately acquainted with. I wanted to meet my magic. And, I did.
I’m interested to see what 36 has for me. I have so many projects in the works. Projects that make me excited. Stories that need to be told. Creativity, that is a direct result of me discovering my “whys”.
I don’t have a cute hashtag for 36. Yet. Leave your suggestions in the comments below along with anything you’ve learned this past year.
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 KJV
Soundtrack for this blog is brought to you by B. Reith ft. PJ Morton – For Once in my Life.
He was in his late 20’s, early 30’s. To be honest, he might have been older. I was 16 or 17. He and I worked at a summer camp together. I was a junior counselor. He used to come see me all the time, bring me presents, tell me how beautiful I was. I remember loving the attention at the time. He was a gentleman. He asked me for my number & we used to talk on the phone. I remember we use to talk about our age gap & him saying that it didn’t matter. I also remember him saying that he told his mom about me, but we never felt comfortable telling my mom about him.
I wonder why.
I remember by summer’s end, I had a box FULL of presents (some hand-made) from him. I don’t remember how or why it ended. I can’t even remember his name. TBH, I haven’t thought about him in years. But when I saw a friend’s post on FB with the #MeToo hashtag (those who’ve been through sexual abuse & harassment) those memories just started flooding back. My friend talked about being younger & being pursued by an older man in her apartment complex. She too felt flattered-at the time.
I don’t think up until reading her story did I realize that wait…MAYBE this “pursuit” was problematic. Even in those memories flooding back, I tried to talk myself out it being a problem. I mean, I WAS 16 after all. I wasn’t 13.
And see, this is the problem.
We are always making an excuse & blaming OURSELVES. He wasn’t 16. He was a FULL GROWN adult, pursuing a teenager; asking her to keep it from her parents. THIS IS NOT OKAY!
I remember thinking (at the time) that I’d always been mature for my age; I was used to hanging with older women and that I could handle being in a relationship with this older man (although I truly had no idea what that actually meant).
Growing up, I’ve always had a “body”. Big hips, big butt, small waist, cute face. I started filling out probably around 10 & I’ve spent most of my life with others (family, church folks, etc) policing my body while a lot of men I came in contact with thought it was their personal playground.
1) Getting on the school bus in elementary school & some young boy grabbed my butt. I told a teacher. Don’t remember anything happening to the boy.
2) At church, during the welcome one of the security guards hugged me & palmed my assets & squeezed. I was so shocked, I just hurried back to my seat. My face was so aghast, I was asked by leaders what happened. I told them. The gentleman was never reprimanded and continued to serve on the “security ministry.”
3) At church, again, I was reprimanded by a fellow minister (loudly, in the parking lot in front of others) about how I needed to cover up my butt and wear a bigger size because “you know how you look.”
4. I use to get “tushy rubs” from a family member when I was kid.
5. After being molested (by a different person than the one above) as a young person, years later I came to find out that I was thought to be in a relationship with my abuser. Part of that conversation included the following statement “Remember, I use to get you to try and cover up.”
I could go on, but I don’t need to.
To some reading these stories, they are probably all too familiar. Up and down my FB timeline, I see my friends, mentors, acquaintances saying, “Me too.” For some of us, this is the first time we’ve said it out loud to anyone. Even now, it still shocks me how many of us have gone through these experiences; and how many of us are still blamed for these experiences.
We don’t need you to blame us.
We’ve blamed ourselves enough.
Do you know how many times I believed that being molested was my fault because I didn’t stop it sooner? That it was my fault because I had a physical response? That I must have wanted it? That I encouraged him?
Do you know when that man grabbed my butt in church, I thought I must have imagined it?
That when the boy grabbed my butt on the school bus, that it must be me because “boys will be boys?”
And when I’ve been reprimanded by other women about how I dress, it makes me feel like again, it must be ME that’s ASKING for all this unwanted attention.
And before some of you start on the “biblical modesty” train, please know that A. I’m not even talking about modesty B. Modesty does & should cover more things than your ARSE.
And, TBH some of you use modesty as an excuse to keep blaming the victim instead of dealing with the REAL issue of these abusers out here. THAT is another blog for another time.
I use to think I was okay; that the molestation was behind me & that it must not have affected me much. I also use to think that because I wasn’t physically penetrated, that maybe my soul wasn’t pierced.
The older I get, I realize how much the abuse and these experiences have taken their toll. How jumpy I am in relationships, how weird I get when I’m touched in a particular way, even by my husband. How secretive I can be about my own feelings & emotions; as though they don’t matter or aren’t valid-because for a long time, they didn’t & weren’t. How dear & burdensome escapism is in my life because it used to be all I had to get me through. How greatly its impacted me having a healthy sex life. How scared I am to have children; not only because I worry about it happening to them but because I’m worried that my own pain & fear will rob them of opportunities to have fun, meet new people & be in spaces when I’m not there. I’m worried about what it will mean for my husband and I; will I wake up every time he leaves our bed, wondering where he’s going?
So when you tell me to cover up, please know that you aren’t just talking about how a suit-jacket needs to fall on my body, you’re telling me to paper over my pain. You’re telling me that if I hadn’t done something, then something wouldn’t have been done to me.
If only Bathsheba hadn’t been bathing on the roof, then David wouldn’t have seen her. We always leave out the part that David wasn’t even supposed to be home in the first place. That she was another man’s wife. THAT DAVID SHOULDN’T HAVE PURSUED HER! David had issues. Major ones. Stop blaming Bathsheba and HOLD DAVID ACCOUNTABLE. And no matter how GIFTED David was, it doesn’t excuse his behavior; not to me and not to God. Some of ya’ll need to read your bible…ALL OF IT.
When your first inclination is to blame the victim, ask yourself, WHY? WHY do we teach our daughters to cover up & be safe and not teach our sons that girls’ & women’s bodies aren’t play-equipment? Why do we only worry about molestation & rape re: our daughters as though young boys & men don’t also need our protection? Why do we make excuses for young people when we see them exhibiting inappropriate behavior? Why do we call young girls’ fast? When we see a 6-yr old touching another child in an inappropriate way, why do we automatically call them “nasty” and not ask where they might have learned that? Why does a developed body signal an open invitation to touch? Why are excuses made for pedophilia until it’s YOUR son/daughter? WHY ARE WE STILL STEPPING IN THE NAME OF LOVE while R. Kelly SHAMELESSLY picks off our young queens one by one? Yeah, I said it. Fight me.
Listen, I have more questions than answers. I’m just here to say “Bruh, you’re not alone.” “Sis, you’re not alone.” Keeping quiet about your pain isn’t serving anyone; especially you. Trust me. There are stories I haven’t told, people who don’t know. I’m working on shedding light, bit by bit. AND, I’m going to see someone because #PRAYERWORKS & #SODOESTHERAPY. I want to be whole for my husband, whole for my future kids but MOST OF ALL, I want to be WHOLE FOR ME!
Here’s what I’ve learned this year, #ubu4Him won’t work until I can get real about the ME on the inside that needs to be healed. I can’t be who I need to be for HIM until I go back & get His original design.
One day, I hope to see those same people on my timeline say “This terrible thing happened to me, but today I am more healed than I was yesterday & the day before…” And I can prayerfully respond…
P.S. This blog is dedicated to 6 specific girlfriends I’ve had in my lifetime. The first 3 were in high school and were there for my breakdown, helped me pack clothes, get out of my circumstance, huddled around me, let me stay in their home & protected my secret at school & since. The latter 3 I met in college & pretty recently got on a conference call on their lunch breaks, talked me out of blaming myself, continue to pray me through (even today) & have created safe space for me to land when I needed to. You know who you are & I love you. 😘
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3
Soundtrack for this blog is brought to you by Who Will Cry for the Little Girl- Schawayna Raie
I told ya’ll that 2017 was fittin’ to be LIT, but I certainly didn’t expect some of this ish.
I’m currently writing to you all from my couch. I am not off. I am currently jobless. I was at my company for 14 years, and in 6 months, it all came to an end. It wasn’t all bitter, but it was still an end. I haven’t gotten another job yet (at least not a steady one). While all of this was going on, I was eerily calm. I wasn’t nervous about not having a job.
I also knew that this year, God was really going to be opening doors for ubu4him. Not because this year is special, but because I had planned to be different this year. I had planned to not squander opportunities and to hustle a little harder. Because I’d planned to invest in MYSELF; in my own God-breathed vision instead of working hard for another’s.
WELL, the beginning of the year started off great (as it often does for me). I was writing, I was hustling, I was networking. Things were moving right along.
THEN, it hit.
That feeling. That tired, worn out, I don’t feel like doing anything feeling. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to network. I didn’t want to revamp any more of my website. I didn’t want to create any more databases. I didn’t want to listen to any more business podcasts. I didn’t want to set up my LLC. I just got OVERWHELMED with the sheer enormity of it all.
I envy people who have this 2nd, 3rd or 4th drive that kicks in when life gets this way. Some people (at least from my view) are able to burrow through how they’re feeling and just PUSH to get things done. I tend to retreat & escape. Whatever I’m doing comes to a full stop and then I find something to take my mind away from all that I’m doing.
I said to myself “I’m taking the month off.”
Then one month turned into two into three…and here we are…August 2017 and I feel like I’m hitting the restart button…AGAIN.
Some days I am just sick of myself. WHY AM I THIS WAY?! WHY CAN’T I JUST KEEP IT TOGETHER?!
And let’s not mince words. I’ve been unemployed since June. THIS would be the time to go FULL hustle into my dreams. Why not? I have the time! Can’t use that as an excuse anymore.
But I didn’t & I haven’t. So in only the way that the Lord Jesus can… He sent folks into my life to get me together.
I have a group of girlfriends that I’ve had since college. The Holy Spirit loves nothing more (it seems) than to tell on us to each other. We’ve been dreaming/rebuking/praying/speaking to each other since we were in our early 20’s.
So maybe 2 months ago, my friend hit me up RANDOMLY with the following text
“Are you considering giving up on something? I had a dream last night. You were telling me you were getting an abortion.” (The fact that she knew not to take that dream literally should tell you the level of discernment).
ME: COME ON MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (The fact that I knew EXACTLY what the deal was should tell you how the Holy Ghost was already in my ear!) Yeah, I guess that’s an accurate description. Anytime the Lord has spoken to me specifically about my purpose it’s been in the form of “birthing.” So yeah, not currently on ubu4him like I should be…the writing, the prophetic…I just stalled.”
She goes on to tell me that I wanted to have this abortion at the “Y”. She said to me that I wasn’t thinking this all the way through and that I just didn’t want to be pregnant and she asked me why.
I told her that I felt like maybe my pregnancy just wasn’t that serious. That maybe I had been indoctrinated with all this super hype Christian stuff, but maybe, ultimately, it just wasn’t that deep. She told me that it was indeed very serious and I really needed to think it through. She told me it was my decision, but that it would follow me the rest of my life. It would never go away. It would affect everyone I had a relationship with. You will always have it in the back of your mind, you’ll always grieve it and you will always think about what if you hadn’t.
My final text to her on the subject was “The Holy Spirit does too much.”
Isn’t the Holy Spirit ignorant to me? You see how he doesn’t care about my feelings?!
I just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore.
Truer words were never spoken.
God has ALWAYS connected my purpose with me being pregnant. And here I am about to abort this baby. Maybe a decade ago, another friend of mine (same group) had a dream about my baby being stillborn. BUT THIS? This time it’s on me. This was me making a conscious choice to kill what was growing on the inside of me.
Pregnancy is inconvenient. It can be painful. Your body is expanding and if this is your first baby, you have no idea what to expect. It’s so scary. And it’s not that you don’t want the baby. You want the joy of the baby but can you endure the uncertainty of pregnancy?
I am an expert at getting in my own way. And why? I am SO SCARED that I’m going to found out to be fraudulent; that what I’m carrying isn’t that great. That I’m not that great.
It doesn’t matter how many people tell me how awesome I am, how awesome my ministry is and will be, how many dreams, visions & prophetic words come down the pike, I HAVE TO BELIEVE IT FOR MYSELF in order to bring this baby to full-term.
In the Holy Spirit’s final effort to get me writing (and doing all the other stuff I need to be doing) another friend hit me up to ask me if I was writing. I told her no. I was honest with her about how scared I was about not being able to hack it in this Entrepreneurial life. How I was being told from various sources that I wasn’t going back into a 9-5 life and the thought terrified me. I was worried about my lack of discipline & stick-to-itiveness. You know you need those when you run your own business.
She mentioned something called Imposter Syndrome. It’s where you have all the talent, all the ability, all the knowledge, all the skill, but you don’t THINK you do, so you don’t think you deserve the promotion, the opportunity, the chance that you’ve worked for, or are aiming for.
At the core, I don’t believe I deserve success. I don’t believe I could keep up with being successful on my own. I don’t believe I have the skills necessary for success; I don’t have the knowledge. I just took a freelance position as a social media marketing manager. I almost didn’t take it because I didn’t BELIEVE I could do it. MIND YOU, I did it for my last job and trained someone else in it too! WHY do I always talk myself out of opportunity?
Everyone sees my gifts, all I see are my flaws. Does anyone else out there feel like that? Am I alone?
I don’t have any answers at this time. My current remedy is a 4 step process. . .
1) Do things that scare me
2) Redeem my time
3) Believe more of what GOD says about me (He’s the more credible source on me)
4) Take on more opportunities that scare me.
I have no idea on how to attack this issue any other way than to #DoItAfraid
So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Soundtrack for this blog is brought to you by Hello Fear-Kirk Franklin
Let me just say this. I have been looking forward to this Lenten Season for quite some time; more than I ever have in my life as a Christian. I didn’t always celebrate Lent. As an adult Christian, it was basically seen as a time to give up certain foods or to take on the dreaded curse of the Daniel Fast.
Lawd. Daniel’s Fast. I have broken that fast more times than I care to recount.
However this year, instead of reaching for the stars and trying cut out everything (Meat, Dairy, TV, Social Media, Sugar & every other good thing!) I took some time out to evaluate what if anything I could give up. I also took some time to think about what I could expect from God during this Lenten season! 2017 so far has been LIT for me. Not because everything is as I think it should be, but because I am in tip-toe expectation of what God is about to do in the Earth through me. I just feel like God is about to break open the heavens on my behalf and for His Glory. Excited just doesn’t even cover it right now.
So last night, I spent time with one of closest friends & creative accountability partner; dreaming big, planning our next steps and bouncing ideas off of each other. I had my “first day of Lent” all planned out.
Wednesdays tend to be long days for me at my job. Right now, I’m on the 9-7 shift. So because I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to step foot out of my business, I decided to get up early, run all errands for the day before I got to work. I would get my coffee (no I did NOT give up coffee for Lent; judge yourself!) and have some devotional time at my desk before I started my work day.
If you’re not following along at “Keeping up with Candace” on my site, I felt like God has been pulling me in the direction of the book of Hebrews. So I decided I’d focus in on that book for my Lenten study. I took weeks researching Bible studies and plans. I settled on one and I was ready to GO! #YayFortheFirstDayofLent
Welp. I woke up late. The train was early. I missed my connection. They didn’t have the latte I wanted because they ran out of the butterscotch. I cussed in my head. The replacement they made for me wasn’t sufficient. I went to grab breakfast from Dunkin to soothe my grief. I ordered and ate a biscuit. A biscuit. On the first day of Lent when I wasn’t eating BREAD. I forgot. Ugh. I didn’t have my quiet time. My work day was crazy busy. I was worn out. I dropped tears at my desk from sheer exhaustion & anxiety. I went to Wawa for “lunch” at 4:15pm. I ordered soup. Do I want a crusty buttered role with that?
Sounds so good. No devil, you won’t me…again!
Look, they still have those UTZ chips I love. They’re 2 for $2.00. I gave up junk food for Lent.
Suffice to say this day did NOT go as planned or intentioned. It was a rough day. Not at ALL what I wanted my first day of Lent to be like.
And yet…My friends told me to take some deep breaths…talked me off the ledge. There’s grace there. One of my brothers from another mother came to see me today. I always enjoy our convos.There’s some more grace.
I had very kind customers all day. Grace.
I’m on my way home after a very long day to a quiet & empty house (at least for a few hours). Grace.
The best part is the grace I have to start over tomorrow. Tomorrow is another opportunity to experience more grace in whatever area I need it in.
His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Whatever that weakness is; even the misguided need to be perfect. Waking up late & not spending time with Dad. Blowing my top at Starbucks. Lack of patience with my staff. Unforgiveness; for myself and others.
HELLO MARCH! GOD & I still have BIG plans for you! 🙂
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
The soundtrack for this post is provided by Ayiesha Wood’s “Days”.
“When are you going to have a baby?”
“Well, what are you waiting on?”
“How old are you? You’re not getting any younger!”
“You know your eggs don’t act right after 35.”
“You’re in your 30’s, not your 20’s.”
These are all questions/statements I’ve fielded since the day I came home from my honeymoon. Some people mentioned a baby before I even walked down the aisle. At first, I just laughed it off. People are always ready for NEXT. No big deal.
But after awhile, it started to make me angry. WHY do people feel the need to bring up my lack of child? Why are people SO INTERESTED in the fact that I don’t have a child? Do people say this kind of stuff to my husband? Are they clocking his age, his sperm count, his ability to produce life?
AND WHY? WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHY is it any of your business?! HOW does this affect your life?!
And before some of you get in your feelings, I get that some people are just off-handily mentioning it. They/you mean no harm. They/you are excited (in advance) for us. Please know, I get it. But here’s why it STILL has to stop and you STILL can’t ask some of these questions.
A couple I know have been married for almost a decade. She and her husband have been trying to conceive for the entirety of their marriage. I have been privy to their struggles as a close friend. She (and I’m sure he) have fielded those same annoying (and because of their secret struggles) HEARTBREAKING questions. People didn’t know that behind closed doors, she and her husband were trying (unsuccessfully up to that point) to conceive. Those asking were completely unaware of the Dr. appointments, the failed attempts, and the strain it was causing for them personally and in their marriage.
Can you imagine what it was like for them to hear “What’s taking ya’ll so long?” “Ya’ll have been married long enough.” “What’s the holdup?”
We are not always privy to people’s personal struggles. We don’t know what folks are dealing with. And pregnancy specifically is such a personal decision! Despite what you may think, it is not always easy for people to conceive.
JUST BECAUSE THAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S EVERYONE ELSE’S JOURNEY!
Just because you and your boo pumped pelvises 2 times and conceived, that doesn’t mean it’s that easy for other people.
Just because your pregnancy was 9-10 months of harmony because you prayed and God stopped the nausea, THAT MAY NOT BE EVERYBODY’S TESTIMONY!
Just because you choose to have a natural childbirth, that doesn’t mean someone else’s choice to get ALL the drugs is wrong. AND VISE VERSA!
Just because your child came out and latched on to your breast immediately, for some, that was NOT the case. Stop shaming folks for using formula!
We HAVE to stop glorifying this fallacy that there is only ONE way to do life; your way.
And let me take it step further. Let’s stop doing this with EVERYTHING! All 👏The👏Things👏!
If ONE MORE PERSON says ONE MORE THING to ANY of my friends who are unmarried about why they are still single, I’m going to start blacking eyes & snatching wigs!
As my friend once said when someone asked her last name…
“Why? You know someone who’s trying to change it?!”
If you’ve been blessed in an area, that does NOT make you an automatic expert on the subject. That doesn’t mean it is now YOUR job to tell everybody you encounter how they TOO can get over.
Some folks ain’t trying to get over.
Yeah, sit with that for a minute.
Some people don’t want children. Some people don’t want to be married. Some people don’t want to buy a house. Some people are perfectly content being stay-at-home moms OR DADS. Some people are perfectly fine balancing work & family. Some people are JUST FINE BEING WHOEVER THEY CURRENTLY ARE!
And if they aren’t, (unless you are led of the Holy Spirit or invited; most of you are neither) let God deal with it. He’s big enough. He’s grand enough. He has ALL the information. YOU are on the other hand, don’t.
On a personal note, you REALLY have no idea why I don’t have a child right now. You don’t know if I have been trying to conceive since the honeymoon and have had a miscarriage every month since October 2015. You don’t know if hubby and I don’t want kids. You don’t know if we’re currently trying and just haven’t been successful. Maybe we’re not financially viable enough to have kids! Unless you got $20,000 in starter funds on it…
AND AND….stop assuming there is something wrong with the woman. MAYBE IT’S THE MAN! You asking me about my eggs when it could be his swimmers!
Just hush. HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSH!
If you’re Peninnah, and Elkanah was able to impregnate you RIGHT away, don’t try to play Hannah cause she’s still barren. Cause real talk, when Hannah finally DID conceive, her baby was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament! (Samuel) Her wait was worth it.
And Sarah, if God promised you something and you’ve been waiting so long that you almost don’t want it anymore, please don’t forfeit it to Hagar trying to make it happen on your own. It doesn’t work out well. Trust me. (another blog coming on THIS story). And Hagar, don’t be walking around like a peacock, thinking you’re special. Cause Sarah eventually put your arse out to wander in the desert. I mean, God took care of you cause He’s good like that. But, don’t play yourself!
Eliphaz, Bildad & Zopher…DO NOT step to Job like you know why he’s been afflicted with trouble unless YOU KNOW WHY HE’S BEEN AFFLICTED WITH TROUBLE! You ain’t got the answers SWAY!
And Peter! Oh, precious nosy Peter. Asking Jesus, who’s going to betray him? Always checking for John talking about “Lord what about him?” Jesus was like “Aye, if it’s my will that he remain with me until I come back, how does that concern you? You just keep following me.”
In 2017, let’s all work on being more sensitive & wise in speaking on perceived gaps in other people’s lives. Seriously.
Carrying the weight of other people’s expectations can be dangerously heavy.
And frankly, you wouldn’t want to carry them either because they’re too heavy for you too.
“…and to aspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Berean SB
The soundtrack for this blog is provided by Jonathan McReynold’s “Pressure.”
I have so much to apologize to you for, I don’t quite know where to start. I’ve not been a good friend to you. I thought I was, but looking back through the years, I haven’t. I committed atrocious crimes against you; thinking I was helping. In anger, I’ve called you names. Sometimes I said I was joking when I called you these names, but I only did it so someone else didn’t say it first. I thought you’d be able to take it better from me. I’ve called you stupid. At first, I don’t think you believed me, but over time I kept saying it to you. I’d say it in different ways so I wouldn’t overtly hurt you, but… I was calling you stupid. I said, “Well, you don’t have your degree.” I let other people say it to you too. But because you started to believe it, I stopped protecting you from it. I let you feel the full weight. I let it oppress you. I allowed you to believe because you didn’t finish school that you lacked intelligence & worth; that you didn’t measure up to others. I don’t think I realized what an anchor I was putting around your neck. It made you stop seeking. You’ve always loved learning but I made you feel too dumb to understand concepts on your own. You stopped reading to learn; you only read to escape. Instead of challenging you on it, I let the lie take root, set up shop and live in the cracks & crevices of your mind. Every time you misspelled a word, it reinforced how dumb you were and I let you believe it. I let you think that you were incapable. What’s really sad is I let it happen with relative ease & secrecy. On the outside, you seemed okay. You tried to intelligently speak on various topics and you even taught workshops to others. But on the inside, you felt worthless. You lived in fear that every day someone would find out the truth~ that you were masquerading as someone smart.
So I slowly started quieting you; after all, I didn’t want anyone to embarrass you in public. I thought I was helping you. There would be small moments of victory for you. Someone we respected would say something nice to you or about you; you could dine on that for weeks. But, alternatively, their silence could kill you. I allowed your esteem to get so low. I let every label that others put on you to define you.
College drop-out. Minister. Best Friend. Daughter. Big Butt Girl. Diva. Christian. Manager. Leader. Youth Pastor. Teacher. Introvert. Wife.
It started to overwhelm you, but I wouldn’t listen. I just told you to keep on…being. No matter that with every label you were struggling more & more with who you actually were. I heard you crying out. I gave you 20 minutes during Sunday Service to get it out of your system. I thought that was enough. I reminded you that there are people who you needed to be there for. There are people with “real” problems. I told you to suck it up. So you tucked those feelings away with the other ones and I locked the box to make sure they didn’t get out. I fixed your lips into a smile, slipped a pair of jeans over your ever expanding body, bought you a new pair of shoes and told you to keep it moving.
Can I just say, I’m really sorry about the whole weight gain thing? You hate working out and you love food (especially when we’re unhappy) so I just let it happen. The worst part were all those names I called you while you stood naked in the mirror. I hated you when I saw you in the mirror. I stopped you from taking pics. I was convinced no one wanted to see your sloppy fat self. I kept buying you new clothes but apparently, you can’t fix what’s broken on the inside with fixes for the outside. You didn’t feel sexy and I convinced you that you weren’t beautiful either. So when you weren’t satisfied sexually, I convinced you it was wholly your fault. “You’re too fat to be confident & sexy.” Making you feel this way just made you eat more. And because I’ve told you your whole life that you lack discipline, I made you believe there was nothing you could do about it. Of course, you felt ugly. I certainly didn’t try to convince you otherwise. When other people asked if you were pregnant or didn’t recognize you because of weight gain, I let you internalize that.
I really haven’t been so good to you. I never let you deal with the ramifications of your sexual abuse. I told you that you were fine and you believed me. You helped others deal with their horrible scenarios, but your own? You tucked it away. I convinced you that you only had minimal effects, but I was wrong. They loomed large and reared their heads more as you got older. It’s starting to erupt within you. I tried to quiet the screaming as I did before. I don’t need you putting your stuff out there, but you won’t be quieted anymore.
You won’t (can’t) stop screaming. It’s LOUD.
I realized that I only ever talk to you about what’s wrong with you. I hardly ever tell you the good. I never speak life to you. I get so angry when other people treat you like crap but well… I do too. Maybe that’s why you let them do it and say it because… I’ve already done it and said it. I don’t even let the good things people say about you to stick. It’s easier to manipulate you if only believe the bad stuff. I’m really sorry about that; controlling you with low self-esteem. It makes it easier to help you be lazy & unproductive.
For awhile, that was okay. It was easy. I’m all about easy. But lately, easy has been severely unsatisfying. The easy life I helped you build, sucks. At one point you had purpose & passion & confidence. I remember who you were before the abuse wrecked your moral compass & sense of worth. I remember that person who wasn’t cynical; who believed good things (even about herself). Is it too late to get her back? Is it too late to dig up God’s original design for you? I know I told you it was too late to dream again~ to figure out purpose again, but I was wrong. I am so sorry I aided & a bedded in your demise. I really thought I was keeping you safe. When you shouted “I DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE!”, I put a bag over your head and suffocated you. It was only because I didn’t want you to get hurt. You couldn’t breathe; I was killing you. I thought I was helping.
Then one day, I couldn’t breathe either. I was gasping for air & I couldn’t gain control.
I realized that what I was doing to you, I was doing to me.
I could no longer control the perception & I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to act like you were free. I wanted you to be free. The best part was the freer you became, the freer I became. I want to love you for the very first time. It takes courage & faith, but the pair is all I’ve got. I don’t even have a lot of it; just a bit. I’ve got a little bit a courage, faith as a mustard seed and a promise to treat you better.
Maybe I can change our lives again.
This time, for the better.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
-Psalm 139:13-16 ESV
The soundtrack for this blog is provided by Kirk Franklin’s “Declaration! This is it!”
Yep. I did it. I took something that is pop-culturally relevant and I’m about to use it for my own purposes to illustrate a biblical truth. Yes, the mere fact of Beyonce’s picture being up there will probably drive more traffic to my site. I don’t feel no ways about it either. You don’t like it… #BYE
Now for the rest of you. Hello!
I promise I was watching the Superbowl like the rest of you…mouths agape as I saw this ICON (feel anyway you want to about Bey, she is an ICON of this generation) take the field with all those subtle and not AT ALL subtle illustrations of Black, Woman empowerment! I then also saw the onslaught of foolishness from EVERYBODY (Hive-included-YES I SAID IT!) and I was over it before I could even begin. UGH with the Formation already! GEEZ, ya’ll mad or naw?!
So, it surprised ME more than anything that when I was about to tweet a thought about the #BOC (Body of Christ for the unenlightened); as I was typing out the thought, before I could catch myself, my hands flew across the keyboard, “We need to get in #Formation.”
I’m sorry, Qhwhat you say there Jesus? Come again?
I deleted it IMMEDIATELY because…
I HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEE when the #BOC turn EVERYTHING culturally relevant into a SERMON, A POST, A SONG… And I’ve said so too…so you know my next thought… #FearofJudgementfromthePentecostalPeanutGallery
Ya’ll won’t be looking at ME like… Well like Beyonce’ in the below pic.
But then, I hear the Holy Spirit so clearly and all that joker does is float a picture of my last blog post across my mind. #FearBeLyingYall
Word? You Right.
Okay so here I go.
Soooooooooooo let me start with this good question…
What does Formation even mean? Not in the Beyonce context. Let’s try the Webster context. (Remember him? Some ya’ll of ya’ll need to meet him for yourself. But I digress!)
Let’s tackle the second one. The structure or arrangement of something. Synonyms are “arrangement, positioning, alignment, order.”
If I could preach a sermon about the #BOC, main issues would be
“We can’t get in position, buck against arrangements of any kind, don’t want to be in alignment and SO OUT OF ORDER!”
Why would you say that is?
I would say it’s because we can’t conquer Definition #1 #Formation
Since I won’t define a word with its own word, Let’s say it like this:
“The act or process of being developed or shaped.”
You’re about to be mad. It’s okay. You’re in good company on this blog.
WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do we so STRENUOUSLY avoid being developed?! WHY do we run for the hills every time God is trying to process us?!
We go to church each week, some of us twice or thrice and we don’t leave changed.
We sing our songs, we lead our solos, we serve diligently, we preach, we teach, but we are the same.
The same fearful, jealous, petty, passive-aggressive, non-confrontational, depressed, weary, joy-less, mean-spirited, bitter, self & others loathing, oppressed people we were when we came in the doors! First of all, in my humble opinion, it’s because we refuse to confront our emotional issues. I’m currently reading a FANTASTIC book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
He speaks to not being able to deal with emotional scars and our oft-ignored feelings; shoving them aside and essentially pouring “Christianity” over them.
But what I would also speak to is that we not only won’t confront our own selves, we rebuff anyone else who God might be sending our way to help get us together.
Everyone isn’t hating on you.
Let me say this in all truth. I have been the type of person who wasn’t open enough to hear if God was using someone to illustrate a particular truth in my life. Not because I thought I was so fabulous; more so because I was scared that I had been found out. I was so busy being scared to let people know how jacked I really was that whenever anyone would point out a particular flaw, I would either deflect, deny or get defensive. But where did ANY of that ever get me? I’ll tell you where.
Exhausted. (Wearing that mask all the time is tiring)
Playing the Blame Game (It’s YOU, it’s not ME)
Constantly having to talk about other people so no one ever shined the light this way.
Afraid of being found out.
Which brings me back to Isolation.
There is NOTHING the devil loves more than to get us isolated.
We actually ARE made for community.
That whole scripture about “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…” – Hebrews 10:25
Yeah, He meant that thing. But not so He could brow beat you into going into a building, but because He knows there is strength there.
Do you think God needs anyone? (Yes we could go theologically deep on that question, but let’s just keep it simple, shall we?)
He doesn’t. But He chose to reveal himself in 3 distinct forms. “Let US make man in OUR image.” -Genesis 1:26
He chooses to use US to do His work & will in the Earth. Despite how nuts we are.
So when you refuse to allow yourself one of the divine privileges of community, how do you think that makes God feel?
Ask yourself, When is the last time you were able to sit and let someone speak into your life in truth and honesty and you didn’t have to go
I’m not talking a “Prophetic Utterance” in the way we’re conditioned to think of it.
When is the last time you let a friend/your husband/your wife/bay/co-worker (that you may not even like) say something to you that ya’ll BOTH knew you didn’t want to hear?
Are you the type of person that is open to criticism of your person? Not your work…Not your project…Not even who you’re dating. YOUR PERSON! (Cause truth be told, if we let God deal with the untouched aspects of our person, we’d probably get delivered in the area of the fools we keep allowing into our spaces #JustSaying)
Can you declare #OpenSeason for the Purpose of #LifeGettingSeason ?
Can someone tell you, “You’re wrong.” Can someone say “That comment was unnecessary” Can someone call out jealousy, pride, a critical spirit, prejudice or even un-biblical behavior in you?
I say this.
There is NO WAY the Body of Christ can get in #FORMATION if we can’t even get our own selves in #Formation
If you’re Dancer #3, HOW are we going to ROCK OUT at the Super Bowl if your right arm keeps going LIMP when we need it OUTSTRETCHED & FISTED towards the SKY?!
But you want to get mad when the Choreographer sends one of the other dancers over to help you get arm up? #GetYourLife
We have to be willing to let God do the work in us. Yes, it does take a level of maturity. It takes tackling fear head on. It takes safe spaces and sometimes NOT safe spaces.
And for those of you reading this thinking “YES! Here’s my opportunity to let loose on so-and-so.” No boo boo. Not at all. Please don’t do that.
When a surgeon goes into cut, he or she goes in carefully, skillfully and for the purpose of cutting the bad before it infects the good. He or she doesn’t go in HACKING away hoping to hit something for the sheer enjoyment of it. The enjoyment should come in the bettering of the patient; not the glee of getting to cut.
COME ON JESUS! I think God just delivered ME in that last paragraph! YAAAAAAAAAAS!
And for those who have something to say to someone…
Walk in authority & love. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.
I say that to myself more than anyone else. I have almost ruined friendships by being afraid to be honest. But you can also ruin a friendship by being too afraid (or too prideful) to be confronted too.
So if you’re not a member of the “Bey-hive” the word is still the same to you.
It’s STILL time to get in #Formation
We can’t do that moving every time God is ready to “cut”
We can’t do that being scared to be authentic.
We can’t do that being jealous of sister-girl cause she got to be in the front behind Bey (or lead the dance ministry or called to preach or had the baby first or got the contract you wanted or whatever your issue is)
We can’t do that criticizing who’s next to us in #Formation cause they mis-stepped during the performance.
We can’t do that constantly battling those who are themselves embattled.
Get in #FORMATION
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Soundtrack for this blog is brought to you by I Am God by Kirk Franklin feat. Toby Mac
So it’s been awhile since I’ve been on my own blog. Not written on it. It’s been
MONTHS since I even LOOKED at the thing. SMH I’m a hot mess. Ya’ll keep me in prayer, hear? Now I could give a cockamamie excuse as to why or I could give you a completely plausible one (ie: I got married last year, YAY ME!) but they would both be complete lies. I’ll just tell you the deal. I got scared & I was lazy.
I’m a GREAT starter, but I tend to really struggle with finishing stuff. Not only that, there was a great deal going on in the world for 2015; the #BlackLivesMatter movement being one. And while I have opined on my personal Facebook, I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit was pressing me to talk about that on this blog. And honestly, I felt weird about that. How am I supposed to talk about something so COMPLETELY off topic of what is going on in my immediate sphere? And really if I’m honest I was more concerned about people judging me for that. I was scared.
And then, writing takes time! No really, it’s time consuming; especially the way I do it. I agonize over every detail. I worry over every sentence. I’m trying to work on that. Even before I started writing this, I spent hours re-designing my blog. HOURS. I wasn’t even supposed to re-design my blog. I was just supposed to write. But, you know, the devil is busy. No really, because I could have sat here and kept re-designing because that would have kept me from doing what I came here to do; which is to write!
Writing scares me. A friend of mine said to me one time (paraphrased) that the reason I re-write or don’t write is that I’m scared that people will misinterpret or misunderstand what I say. #TrueStatement I don’t even like to share how I feel about things OUT LOUD because I’m always worried someone will disagree with me & pick me apart and tell me how STUPID I am to believe…WHATEVER it is I believe. And a lot of times what I believe is counter to the culture. Not just world-culture, but sometimes church-culture too. And it’s hard these days to STAND in not just MY truth, but in God’s truth.
So when I name my site uBu4Him, you have no idea how God is making that truth real in my own life. I started a website & a blog around this idea but I wouldn’t let it truly penetrate because of FEAR.
Can I tell you how much fear gets on my d*mn nerves?! No really. It’s SOOOOO annoying! Like, it’s the most debilitating, thee most hindering, the most possessive of enemies. I cannot tell you how long I have been fighting with fear. Well, let’s be honest. I haven’t always fought it. Most times, I just let it hold on to me and stop me. When Fear & Laziness get together, it’s HORRIBLE! Can you imagine having to battle those two simultaneously? And let me tell you how those two love to feed each other. Fear stops me from finishing and allows me to be lazy, then laziness steeps and allows me to be even scared to start again.
Fear be LYING yall.
Fear tells me I can’t post on this blog, cause it isn’t designed perfectly. Wait until it’s perfect.
Fear tells me this blog isn’t deep enough so I should stop writing.
Fear tells me my voice isn’t necessary in the blogosphere because really…who wants to listen to ME? What do I have to say that hasn’t been said?
Fear tells me to STOP.
Fear tells me it’s not good enough.
Fear tells me I’M not good enough.
Fear tells me I shouldn’t say that. Don’t say it like that. Don’t say it at all. Just don’t.
FEAR BE LYING YA’LL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here I am, AGAIN. I’m making a commitment to writing this blog. AGAIN. I’m making a committment to being myself on this blog. AGAIN. I’m committed to letting Christ speak through me without worrying myself that you won’t be okay with it.
I just don’t want to drag fear into this year; and I sure don’t want it dragging me. And what I’ve realized as I’m finishing this post…Is that I started this blog with great intentions; but they were misdirected. I started this blog to “help” somebody. Here’s what I know. This blog is here to help ME. It’s here to help me cultivate writing on a regular basis. It’s here to help me hear God speak to ME even as I’m writing. It’s hear to help ME become more of MYSELF in Christ. It’s here to FREE me from FEAR & LAZINESS.
I have made a commitment for 2016 to write on this blog AT LEAST once a month. I’m up at 1AM because I am DETERMINED that on February 1, there will be a blog post. No, my blog isn’t perfected. There are a lot of things that will change. But I’m just going to DO IT AFRAID.
Unperfected. A little late. But it’s done.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 ESV
Soundtrack for this blog is brought to you by India Arie-Strength, Courage & Wisdom.