Tag Archive | author

The Problem With Stereotypes

About a month ago I took a poetry workshop downtown. I love how my city offers these free opportunities to learn and grow in writing and I find it interesting that I have a gift of writing poetry. I never thought of myself as a poet. I never thought of myself as a writer either…

At the workshop I made note, it was a diverse group. A mixture of blacks and whites, young and old. Then the facilitator came. She was late and entered with her body mostly hidden behind an occupied stroller. She was dressed in jeans and an old Tee and I was surprised she was the teacher. There was a young man in the group who seemed to be “off” and I figured he had a mental illness. There was another woman in the group, older, black and talkative. She told a lot of jokes and seemed (in my opinion) a little “off” as well. I made a conscious decision to be open and receive because I know from experience God can use anyone. We shared our writings and our hearts and the man who I thought was “off” was actually pretty “on”. Turns out he had a syndrome that caused him to seem different but he was intelligent and articulate and his poem revealed the gift that he is to the world. The woman who was talkative brought me to tears with her heartfelt letter to the Lord and I feel myself tearing up right now at the memory.

And our instructor, who appeared to be uneducated (in my opinion) was very knowledgeable and skilled in her craft.

I recognized the Father showing me my own stereotypes in this group and how inaccurate they can be.

I too was being stereotyped. I was dressed in a collared shirt and showed up with my mac computer while everyone else had pen and paper. The instructor made comments about my preferences and social life. I knew that she thought I was “middle class” and did not really know my story. On paper I’m sure it would look the way she assumed…

I recently met a man who challenged more of my thinking. In this climate of racial tension and social injustice I thought those who would be most aware (or “woke”) and sympathetic to these issues would need to share the same color of my own skin. Certainly they would not come from “privileged families”. But then I met him and he did have that background but had a heart to help urban communities heal and transform. We spent 2 hours talking about such things and I realized I had misjudged him.

In my career I have always been favored. I have always been “seen” and valued for who I am eternally. But then I wasn’t. I was met with the stereotype and a picture was painted of me that couldn’t be further from the truth. I learned a valuable lesson that day, when someone doesn’t know you they can easily misjudge you.

The problem with stereotypes is that they keep us from getting to know the true identity of someone. We like to categorize and put people in boxes because it makes us feel more comfortable, but sometimes those boxes limit us in expanding our mindset and views. We miss out on opportunities to learn and evolve as a result of interacting with someone who is different.

It’s easy to fall into using stereotypes. It’s kind of our default. But the Father has intentionally made us all diverse because He is diverse. And I believe the only was to truly see Him is when we all express our diversity.

I look forward to that day of seeing every tribe and every tongue worship together the One Eternal Being who created them. It will surely be a sight to see.

Revelations7:9

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

In other news, congratulations to my best friend who recently got engaged!!! More to come on that front😊😉. #newseasons…

SHALOM

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Jesus Started With Twelve


Last night I had my second speaking engagement and it went so well!  The whole process of me receiving this opportunity was so unexpected that I can’t help but see God’s hand in it.  While I was unemployed last year I worked filing individual tax returns during the tax season.  One day a client came in to sign off on his paperwork.  He was not my client but my coworker’s client, however because my coworker was unavailable I handled the sign off.  Although this should have been a simple task, things did not run so smoothly.  There were a few errors that needed fixing and I had to speak with management to correct them.  This caused a few trips to the back room, getting on the phone with management and working feverishly to fix the issue.  I was so worried the client would think I was the cause of the error and that I was unprofessional.  Instead he was laid back and very pleasant.  He made small talk and asked me what I did professionally in the off season.  Well, since I was unemployed I didn’t want to mention that aspect of my life so instead I said off handedly, “Oh, I’m a local author”, to which his eyes lit up!  Turns out he was a higher up at a local library and they featured local authors in the library!  He asked for my book but I had just sold out at my first speaking engagement (thank You Lord).  Instead I took his card and agreed to contact his assistant.  Fast forward one year later and I found myself walking into a library that has my picture in the lobby on an easel along with 3 other stellar individuals, a shelf with a row of my book so that readers could “check it out” and a podium and mic set up on stage.  Oh yea and a parking spot that said “Reserved for speaker”.  “Wow!” I thought.  “Where is God taking us?!”  (I was referring to both myself and my mom who was faithfully by my side.)  Mom had mentioned she was praying for the event and hoped for a large crowd.  While we definitely had a good group, it was not the large crowd she desired.  I know to her and others there were just a few individuals present but to my eyes the room was full.  It was full of His glory, His purpose and maybe even a few angels.


Last night I met a guest who shared some personal challenges he was having in this season.  I knew that even if no one else showed up, I was there for him.  The evening was such a blessing as I got to share my testimony of the pain I faced and how God met me in that pain.  I then shared on what I’ve been learning in becoming a healthy single and looking for a healthy dating relationship.  I was so encouraged and inspired by this open door that I sailed home that night on a cloud and woke up this morning with a smile😊.


4 years ago I started this little blog not knowing it would eventually lead to me becoming a published author.  Now a business is developing and income is being received.  Speaking engagements are being booked and skype calls are being made and I am just trying to keep up.  It truly is exceedingly abundantly more than I could have thought of.  So even if there are just a few present, those few matter to God.  I firmly believe that if we are faithful over a few He will make us rulers over much.  He will give the increase.  All we have to do is be faithful and keep moving forward.  Even Christ Himself practiced this protocol.  Because He was faithful with just 12 the gospel has now spread to most of the world over thousands of years.

And He only lived until the age of 33.

Imagine what He could do through you in your lifetime!

SHALOM

Great News 😊

Yesterday something fantastic happened.  I got asked to be a regular contributor for a blog I highly esteem.  I have followed this blog for YEARS and in all honesty I felt their writers were “out of my league”.  They were (in my opinion) the cool kids of writing.  I actually was very nervous about the guest blog post I submitted and kept doubting that they would accept it.  Well, not only did they accept it but raved about it and offered me a spot on their team!  Amazing.

There have been SO MANY things like that that have happened this year.  This past weekend I had a FABULOUS time being me.  Hanging with new friends, dancing, enjoying good music and company.  Not to mention selling my book!  Sometimes God’s favor and blessings can be OVERWHELMING.

My roomie and I have been saying that a lot as we take joy in our new cat (he is quite the character) and marvel at God’s hand.  There are so many things happening I am just trying to keep up with Him.  Selah.

Friend, if you are in a rough season I just want to encourage you.  It is just a season.  And He is still God.  No matter what.

In other news I just took the next step in publishing my new book!  More details to come on that note!

Here are a few pics from the fabulousness of this season:


SHALOM 

Busy Yet Waiting

It’s funny how you walk with God long enough and you start to notice patterns in your life.  Lots of my patterns have to do with waiting.  Often there will be a period of stretching, pressing, waiting and then a release.  In this season there are some new things happening.  The roommate is fully moved in and I have to marvel at how seamless that transition was.  One day she wasn’t there and then all of a sudden she was.  After 3 years.  That situation shows me how much He cares for us.  He knew I needed a period of recovery and He knew just how long that recovery period should be.

Other new stuff…open door after open door continue to lead the path before me with my book.  I’m excited to be a vendor this week at a popular poetry event happening.  God has given me so much favor, I simply don’t deserve it.  He’s been stirring up a desire in me to build my business.  I’ve been working, working, working, and I’m intrigued by what the final outcome will be.  There are so many resources coming to me.  I am surrounded by go getters and make-it-happeners.  No one in my inner circle is standing still.  I like those seasons.

But even in the busyness there is still down time.  There is still quiet.  I still feel stretched in some ways.  I’m still waiting in some ways.

I’m waiting to hear His voice again.  The way I used to.  I’m waiting to start a family, though I told my mom this weekend there won’t be any grandkids if I’m waiting in a few more years.  She and I have a differing of opinion on when it is too late to have children…

For now, my books are my babies.  I am pregnant with purpose and I don’t say that to be super spiritual.  It is simply a fact.  I feel much like Paul, poured out like a drink offering.  I know the sacrifices made were for the written word.  The projects I’m working on.  The people my story will help.

The roomie and I will have our first roommate outing tonight.  I look forward to it.

I look forward to each day these days.  To be home with a cup of tea and my laptop at my finger tips.  Everything is cozy and comforting and that helps the hurt I am still in recovery from.

Fun photo shoot 😉


SHALOM

 

Being Asked the Question

“So are you seeing anyone?”, she asks as we sit across from one another in her marvolously decorated dining room and finish up supper. When I walked in I was instantly impressed and a little taken aback by the amazing interior design work that graced each space. She then let on that she herself was an interior designer (amongst many things) and her home was her own expression of that gift.

“No I’m not. And actually God has been doing such a work in me these 2 years in that very area”, I respond. I proceed to tell her about my last relationship. All the red flags I ignored and how I was willing to settle (hell bent on settling actually because that was where I was at).  I talked about God’s lack of peace, Him calling me to a fast that helped me let it go and the immense revelation He flooded me with.  Never before had I received such revelation.  She interjected here and there with her own insights from her own story. An older woman in the faith, a mother of 3, she had been once divorced and now re-married.  “You should always have peace when it’s God”, she said, and I agreed.  

She knew me when.  When I was dealing with my first heartbreak. When I was a 22 year old mess, lacking identity and purpose and value. She is a witness to the work He has done.

And she smiles at that work.

I spent a good while sharing my story. The same story I will share in my upcoming book (which I hope to be released this fall). I surprise myself at the details I’m giving as I had no idea we would spend so much time talking about me. I wanted to hear about her–after all, she was the one married! And we did talk about her, but there is power in my own story.  There is glory He gets when I share on His Word being manifested in my life.  So I shared.

And I keep sharing.  The very next day I’m asked the same question (although worded slightly different) by a very unassuming individual. He is someone I’ve only spoken to occassionally and would have no obligation to explain my love life to. But I explain it because it gave me opportunity to share the gospel. I simply cannot explain my single status without explaining the story of Christ–they are intertwined.  There is no natural reason why I am single.  It is simply God’s clear intention for me to be matched with a certain individual of whom I have yet to meet.

I talked to my associate for 2 hours and we were both surprised at the depth of the conversation. It is rare that one goes deep with an associate.  I guess we are no longer associates…

I can think of 2 other occassions within the last week where I have been asked about my singleness.  And each time the response emanating from my lips is laced with wisdom and eternal truth.  It is the truth of the Holy Spirit.  It is wisdom one only gets from walking with Elohim.

Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

When we walk with the Source of life He leads us on the path of life.  That path is tailor made for us and compliments our gifts, talents, purpose and calling.  We have freedom of choice, but when we choose Him, we benefit by becoming who He originally designed us to be.

I can see now singleness looks good on me. Not because of singleness per se, but because it represents wholeness. It represents an alotted time for me to heal and learn my true identity.

I am still learning.  But I can say that now when I’m asked the question, I don’t dread the answer so much.  Especially when it gives God glory.

I’m getting comfortable in my own skin and singleness has helped me to do that.

Some highlights from this season…

hangin with the bestie!

me & my god daughter

my new mentee!!

SHALOM!

Walking in Purpose

Last week I was so honored to be a vendor at a major poetry event. Janette ikz, Ezekiel, Jackie and Preston graced the stage with their presence and rocked the mic as they are so well known to do. Their style of gritty transparency and truth and God’s unconditional love is what makes their lyrics so powerful. Not only did I get to see their performance but my vendor status allowed me access to a time of Q&A with the artists as well as a pic with them on stage.    

They took pics with every single VIP audience member. I was so blessed b/c I had no clue that this was all included in their performance. If not for my friend hosting the event I would not have even thought about selling my book there, let alone paying extra for a VIP ticket. Yet it was so worth the extra funds. I really felt VIP sitting in just the 2nd row, and getting to ask the poets my question about their ministry. It was definitely a sacrifice as I had to leave work an hour early, drive 45 minutes across town and stay an hour after the show to sell books after a 3 hour performance. But again, it was so worth it.   

Imagine my elation when one of my fellow blog readers was also at the event and stopped by my table to say hello! I was so blessed and am looking forward to connecting more with her. I knew that God had called me to this event but had no idea how significant it would be. I sold a few books, was poured into spiritually, encouraged in my faith and was able to encourage others in theirs. I just love the manifest presence and refreshing of the Lord. I had received a message just the night before. An opportunity to be distracted and detour from this path of faith but in His grace (and encouragement from my support group) I stayed focus. I ended the evening in awe, winding down with tea and looking at pics from the evening. I texted back and forth with friends about the night and was so comforted by the Father’s love and devotion. There is no feeling like having purpose and finally, I am seeing purpose in this season. It did not look at all the way I thought it would. I wanted it to look in accordance with my culture’s perspective and similar to that of my peers. But I am unique and God is dealing with me uniquely. Finally I see. There is purpose. And I am awakening to it. And walking in it.  

SHALOM

Thoughts on Being a Writer

This weekend I spent time catching up with a good friend. She is a wife, mother of 4, works and is studying to be a nurse. Talk about a full plate! Our lives could not be more different and I think part of the gift of our friendship is the pleasure we take in that difference. She is definitely someone I consider a “cheerleader” in my life and I’m always reminded of the Lord’s blessings when talking with her. I caught her up on my trip to Haiti and she oo’d and ahh’d over my pics just as I had hoped. We ate at one of our favorite spots and because it was the first day of fall I indulged in pumpkin pancakes, completely ruining my 2 mile run that morning.  
We played a game of back and forth, filling each other in on our lives, trying oh so hard to stretch the 2 hours we had together. This was her only free Saturday for the next few months and she needed to get back to her hubby. I was so blessed she shared her time with little old me and of course had to capture the moment with a pic.    
After a quick stop at the store to pick up a few items we lingered at my car soaking up our last bits of conversation. I shared about my journey in emotional healing and how much my writing has played into that. To which she replied that my journey in healing was inspiring her in her own. I was shocked. I never think about how my actions and me just living my life is influencing those around me. I only feel my own weaknesses and the difficulty to push forward. She only sees the progress. That, again, is why I like talking to her. So often I feel I am behind or struggling and then God uses others to help me see the success and the fruit. She called me a “writer” and chastised me for downplaying my writing. I explained I don’t think of myself as a “writer” b/c it wasn’t a calling or title I was chasing after. I pursued business and therefore that was the way I assumed God would use me. Writing was birthed out of the standstill in my career. It was fruit from the waiting. But I kept her words in mind and then when another person called me a “writer” shortly thereafter I had to turn that word over in my mind a few times. Am I a writer? Doesn’t it sound silly for a published author to ask such a question? But I must ask it because there is somewhere in my heart that I have not thought of myself that way. And if I have not then that means I am not fully seeing myself as I truly am.  

She and I parted ways and I went back to my fabulously full existence in this season and she went back to the grind of family, work, and school. My day was full of conversations like these with friends and family and it was so evident to me how God was bringing forth wholeness. After experiencing so many broken, unhealthy relationships ending in trauma it gets hard to believe I could have anything different. So often I feel the losses. But in the midst of those losses is the gain. The restoration. The overflow.

I have had such peace and joy since realizing I need His grace. I have been able to let go of the burden of unknowingly trying to earn my calling. I’m awakening to the truth that any gift He gives is undeserved and that is in fact the purpose of a gift. So how could I possibly work for His blessings? I can’t. He just gives them b/c of who He is.  

It’s not about me.

SHALOM