Category Archives: Relationship

Is She or Isn’t She!

This is difficult to write simply because the very existence of this post goes against my innate private nature. There are very few people who I feel comfortable enough with to discuss something so personal.

This blog has been my space of  release and reflection, insight and introspection; as I have endeavored to be transparent with my journey through life. For the first time ever, I have decided to address an issue that has seemed to follow me from Texas to Georgia, and back again.

First, let me share a little background information with you. For as long as I can remember, I have been two things: an introvert and a tomboy. Although I didn’t learn the word introvert until I was older, it accurately describes my personality, my response to people, and my aversion for large social gatherings. Being a tomboy was something that I can remember being called since I was a little girl. This idea that I was more prone to “masculine” attributes and activities than to “feminine” ones was always very clear to me. If giving the choice of a basketball or a baby doll, I would choose the ball every time. Even now, although I love a good pair of heels and nice skirts, I am more likely to wear jeans or slacks to skirts and dresses.

As this was comfortable and innate for me, I never viewed this as being a problem. It was not until I was preparing to move to Atlanta in 2006, that I first encountered this lingering question, Is she or Isn’t she?

The first time, I ever remember encountering the question was when a fellow seminarian asked me blatantly; I was so blown away that I laughed. In retrospect, I respect this man who had the audacity to ask, because he was the first and only person to ever ask me directly. While this encounter was the first time I heard the question, it has not been the last. It has manifested itself in gossip conversations, secret suspicions, and anonymous inbox messages.

I am from a small town where everybody knows everybody’s business, and gossip/mess is spread as quickly as germs. Every private conversation that was about me always managed to get back to me. All of those secret conversations had a recurring theme. Is she? What’s her deal? Stay away from her, you know she’s. I think she is!!! So why am i addressing this now? Two reasons, the first is simply because I’m weary!!! I’m tired of having to explain myself to people who don’t even like me. Secondly, it’s because I’m determined to live an authentic life, and I have no reason to hide or feel shame.

So here goes….am I a lesbian? The answer is No. I want to love and be loved and spend my life with a God-fearing, loving man. I want to have children and grow old loving one man. That’s what I’ve wanted since I was a little girl playing basketball (lol, not dolls).

I don’t answer this because I’m afraid of people’s beliefs concerning homosexuality; I personally don’t care about who other people choose to love. I’m more interested in introducing them to the transformative power of Christ’s love. If you want to argue theologically, send me a message, but I can promise that my answer will be the same as Jesus’ when confronted with the woman who was caught in adultery. “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?””No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared.” (John 8:10-11 NIV).

Everybody won’t like this or agree with me, but I’m okay with that. I’m tired of being placed in a box because of so called established gender roles. I’m the same person in jeans and loafers as I am in a cute circle skirt and 6 inch heels. I’m Free now from people’s questions, opinions, accusations, speculations, gossip, mess and all of the negativity that goes along with that. I am who I am!!! Fully and completely, totally Diandra!!!

gossip

Make it plain!!!

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The Experience of Love – Howard Thurman

After a  two-year absence from my blog, I’ve decided to resume writing. I will begin the relaunch of this space with the words of one my favorite Theologians, Howard Thurman.

The Experience of Love

There is a steady anxiety that surrounds man’s experiences of love. Sometimes the radiance of love is so soft and gentle that the individual sees himself with all harsh lines wiped away and all limitations blended with his strengths in so happy a combination that strength seems to be everywhere and weakness is nowhere to be found. This is a part of the magic, the spell of love. Sometimes the radiance of love kindles old fires that have long since grown cold from the neglect of despair, or new fires are kindled by a hope born full-blown without beginning and without ending.  Sometimes the radiance of love blesses a life with a vision of its possibilities never before dreamed of or sought, stimulating new endeavor and summoning all latent powers to energize the life at its inmost core.

But there are other ways by which love works its perfect work. It may stab the spirit by calling forth a bitter, scathing self-judgment. The heights to which it calls may seem so high that all incentive is lost and the individual is stricken with an utter hopelessness and despair. It may throw in relief old and forgotten weaknesses to which one has made the adjustment of acceptance – but which now stir in their place to offer themselves as testimony of one’s unworthiness and to challenge the love with their embarrassing authenticity. It is at such times that one expects love to be dimmed under the mistaken notion that love is at long last based upon merit and worth.

Behold the miracle! Love has no awareness of merit and demerit; it has no scale by which its portion may be weighed or measured. It does not seek to balance giving and receiving. Love loves; this is its nature. But this does not mean that love is blind, naive, or pretentious. It does mean that love holds its object securely in its grasp, calling all that it sees by its true name but surrounding all with a wisdom born both of its passion and its understanding. Here is no traffic in sentimentality, no catering to weakness or to strength. Instead, there is robust vitality that quickens the roots of personality, creating an unfolding of the self that redefines, reshapes, and makes all things new. Such an experience is so fundamental in quality that an individual knows that what is happening to him can outlast all things without itself being dissipated or lost.

Whence comes this power which seems to be the point of referral for all experience and the essence of all meaning? No created thing, no single unit of life, can be the source of such fullness and completeness. For in the experience itself a man is caught and held by something so much more than he can ever think or be that there is but one word by which its meaning can be encompassed – God. Hence the Psalmist says that as long as the love of God shines on us undimmed, not only may no darkness obscure but also we may find our way to a point in other hearts beyond all weakness and all strength, beyond all that is good and beyond all that is evil. There is no thing outside ourselves, no circumstance, no condition, no vicissitude, that can ultimately separate us from the love of God and from the love of one another. And we pour out our gratitude to God that this is so!

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Trayvon Martin!!!!

I don’t typically use this space to discuss political or social issues, but this recent story has caught my attention. I plan to post a blog within the next couple of days to discuss this issue in a more in-depth way. Until then, please learn more and sign the petition!

The petition is found here: http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin#

Let Your Voice Be Heard and Make It Plain!

Big Girls Don’t Cry

I have been away from this space too long. This period of my life led to a long, severe bout of writer’s block that has made it nearly impossible to even think about blogging. I have attempted several times to share my experiences in this format, but every time I attempted to do so, I would find myself just staring at the computer screen. I had so much to say, but did not have the words to say what was in my heart and mind. I have previously discussed how important and therapeutic Writing is for me, and to not be able to do so has been very troubling. The last few months have been like riding on the most exhilarating and frightening roller coaster; filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. Let me start at the beginning…

I’ve indicated before that I am not overly emotional, nor am I one known to easily cry! To be more specific I viewed my tears as a form of weakness. I was always okay with the tears and emotions of others, but at some point I stopped allowing myself the same luxury. I am comfortable being a listening ear for people, and helping them to deal with life’s triumphs and trials; yet, it is not easy for me to allow people to help me process when I’m “going through.” Starting in April I begin to really struggle mentally and emotionally. H-Town sung, “Emotions make you cry sometimes!” My emotions made me not want to have any emotions. I reached a point where it hurt too much to feel, so I tried my best not to feel anything at all. I was pretty good at hiding my feelings from even those closest to me; I appeared to be so strong but on the inside I was weak.  I didn’t want to confide in my family, and I felt that my friends could not understand. I felt very alone!!!!

Life felt unfair! I had tried to live a life according to God’s will and commandments, yet it seemed very much in vain! What had living for Christ really brought me; what had I gained from doing it “RIGHT!?” Perpetually single and lonely, unfulfilled in ministry, jobless, hopeless, and unhappy; I was at my wit’s end! I was a minister who needed someone to minister to me; a counselor who needed someone to counsel me. I had been there for everyone else, and in my most desperate hour, I was seemingly ALONE! Where were the words of wisdom I had given, where was the person on the other end of the phone willing to listen to me vent! Countless hours spent being a beacon of light for other people, and now I was lost at sea! Lost in despair! Lost in failure! LOST! People implored me to just release it in tears, but that was not easy for me to do.

From April to early June, I secretly struggled! I pretended that everything was okay, but I was slowly losing myself. The breaking point was something that happened with my best friend. In retrospect, the situation seems small and not deserving of what happened. I won’t describe the whole situation because I would like to keep somethings personal and private. However, in the midst of our disagreement I felt that what I thought and felt did not matter to a person whom I thought should care. These feelings, added to what I had been going through, led to me ending our friendship and completely isolating myself.  The next few weeks were the hardest weeks of my life, as my life seemingly unraveled. Over the next 14 days, I cried 12 of them; I just couldn’t seem to make the tears stop. I felt that God was punishing me, I felt that my friends were punishing me, and most importantly I felt that I was punishing myself for not being perfect.

I wanted to give up on everything: church, ministry, relationships, and even life. I was not suicidal, but I was at the point where if death was near I was ready! I wanted to be free of this world, and its stress; and to finally be at peace with God! I strongly considered having myself committed to a mental institution, where I knew I could receive the help that I felt that I needed.

The lowest point also became the turning point for me! I went to a service one night and heard the worship team sing “He’s Able” by Voices of Unity! I sat in the audience, and it took everything within me not to scream! My heart and most of my head knew and believed that God was indeed able; but there was a small part of my brain that kept saying if God is able why am I still dealing with what I am dealing with. I didn’t have a response to that question…my seminary training and holy ghost sought to give explanations, yet that did not change the thoughts! I left service before the preacher got up to preach. As I traveled home, I asked myself ” What did I do to deserve this?” All I ever tried to do was to be myself, and be the best daughter, sister, friend, servant I could be! Yet those efforts seemed to be for naught. I was so TIRED! I didn’t know what else to say or do; I was done!

I decided to listen to Pastor Jason Nelson’s, “Place of Worship!” The song “I Shall Live,” started to play. As Pastor Nelson declared that he would live in spite of adversity and trouble, tears begin to fall from my eyes, and hope begin to bloom in my heart! There was no immediate change to my situation, instead each day was better. The tears stopped, and I was able to smile again. I was able to laugh and feel joy and peace. I promised myself that I would set clear boundaries in all relationships to ensure that I never reached this place again. Thankfully, after some time I was able to talk things through with my best friend, and we were able to begin to rebuild our relationship.

This situation was both a challenge and a learning experience for me. It challenged my faith, my beliefs about myself, and my mental and emotional fortitude. I learned to really take the time to care for myself, and that it is okay to do so. I also learned that real friends will tell you when you are wrong, and also forgive you when you make mistakes. Most importantly this lesson showed me that my tears do not suggest weakness. Instead, I learned that there is strength in being able to release these emotions in tears. Big Girls know that not only do they cry, but they embrace this ability because those who sow in tears, really do reap in Joy!

I want to thank: my parents; my twin sister, Deandra; my BFFF, Maranda; my friend and brother, Jamil; and my sister-friends, Cordelia and Renata. These people listened to me, prayed for me, corrected me, and showed me the meaning of real family and friends. Things are looking up in my life, and I’m grateful to know that God really is able!

I’m enjoying the journey and always striving to Make It Plain!

I’m Doing Me!

Happy New Year! I’M BACK!!! I’ve been away for well over a month, as I needed some time to regroup and refresh. I found myself in a new and unpleasant space during this past holiday season. I was drained: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! EMPTY!!! I was incapable of dealing with my own thoughts and emotions, so I was completely uninterested in coping with anyone else’s STUFF! On Thanksgiving, a day set aside to show gratitude for family and friends, I let my inner circle know that I needed a break from everybody, including them.  I indicated that I needed time away to discover what had led to this weariness. I’m grateful to them for their understanding and that they allowed me time to think, feel, breathe, and just BE!!

My time away allowed me to do some serious soul-searching, and deep introspection. I learned some things about myself and what I had allowed in my life, and I honestly didn’t like what I saw. I had to come to grips with the fact that I had placed my needs and wants on the back burner to care for other people. I was no longer participating in the activities that I enjoyed, and setting aside serious time for prayer, devotion, study, and writing. I could write more about what I discovered of myself, but I won’t belabor the point. Just know that I did not like all that was uncovered, and I had come to a crossroads. I could continue down this path that was leading to my demise, or I could redirect and refocus on the path that leads to destiny. I’m not dumb so I chose the latter option, and it has been one of the greatest decisions. I have had a renewed passion for God, ministry, writing, my family, my friends, and myself! I have resolved to be focused on doing things for myself, and not just for others. If I am able to meet the needs and desires of others, I will; and I’m going to do what is necessary to meet them for myself. Basically, I’m doing me this time around…Thanks Fantasia!

So stay tuned and always Make it Plain!

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve decided to take a mini-vacation from blogging to catch up on school work and things of that nature, but I wanted to pause briefly to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope in reading my blog you have sensed an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness. I have much to be thankful for and so I appreciate this day set aside to say Thank you! I also enjoy the wonderful food that I am guaranteed to enjoy on today lol. Although, I will be away from my family this Thanksgiving I am grateful for friends who have decided to share their families with me.

So as I prepare to celebrate and take a much needed rest, remember this: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Happy Thanksgiving and Make It Plain!

I Shall Live!

Tomorrow commences the 10 year Ministry celebration for my friend and brother, Pastor Jamil VanJuan Willis. Jamil and I met while we were both students at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Originally we were just passing acquaintances, and then we became the closest of friends. I am just so grateful that God thought enough of me to bring such a great man into my life and ministry. I have learned so much through my relationship with Jamil, and it is because of him that I met my BFFF, his wife, Maranda.

The celebration will include three nights of Dynamic Preaching from: Prophetess Francine Riley, Apostle Kobee Fitzgerald, and Pastor Jason Nelson! It concludes with a Late-Night Musical that will be simply bananas!!! The guest for the musical are: Shawn Bigby and Yielded Vessels, Elliott Ellerson, Destined 2 Praise, Hasan Green, Nicholas Stroud and These are They, and Maranda Curtis-Willis.

If you are anywhere in the surrounding areas, you need to make plans to be here! Check out the flyers, put the address in your GPS, and get HERE! You will be blessed, and your life will never be the same!

Pastor Jamil: I will quote the Psalmist, “You shall not die, but LIVE and declare the works of the Lord! Love you!