Tag Archives: God

I Am Not My Hair!

Today is my birthday!!! I’m excited about being a year older, and infinitely wiser.

As usual, my birthday has led to great moments of introspection. This led to me reflecting on my hair journey, and my own voyage into self-awareness and fulfillment.

My issues with self-esteem have already been talked about in a previous post! Yet that struggle was tied to my struggle with my hair. I was never a girl who cared about my physical appearance, mostly because I didn’t think I was beautiful. I couldn’t put on makeup, couldn’t do my hair, and honestly, didn’t care to do either. I was more comfortable playing basketball or reading a book.

IMG_0462

I would often tell my Mom, as early as high school, that I would love to cut all my hair off! I never felt comfortable in my own skin, or with my hair.

IMG_0459

The struggle continued from high school, all the way through undergrad. When I first moved to Atlanta to pursue my Masters degree, I saw all these beautiful Black women embracing their natural hair. I was inspired to do the same, as I was embracing my own inner beauty. So I did the BIG CHOP, and begin the natural hair journey!!

IMG_0465

IMG_0464

IMG_0461

While I was more free, there was still the part of me that didn’t see myself as attractive or beautiful. I was too!! Too black, too fat, too quiet, too boyish; just too!!! I discovered that no matter how I chose to wear my hair, until I dealt with the internal dialogue I would never see the real me.

It didn’t happen overnight, matter of fact it took a long time. It happened gradually, day by day I begin to change my language. I was beautiful, I was pretty, I was smart, I was created in the image of God! My language changed, my mind changed, what I saw in the mirror changed.

Eventually, I reached the point where I kept saying I want to cut my hair, and so with the encouragement of my twin and my BFFF taking me to the salon, I cut my hair again. In the chair that day, I finally made the decision that I had wanted to make way back in high school.

IMG_0463
This decision was not a rebellion, instead it was the final embracing of who I’ve always wanted to be. A woman free of the stereotypical standards of beauty. My hair doesn’t define me, instead it’s a reflection of my freedom to be my true myself. As I finally decided to free myself of my hair, I freed myself of negative thinking.

I encourage everyone to be free to be who God created you to be. I am, and I’m loving it!! I am free, Praise the Lord, I’m free!!!

India.Arie said it best, “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations. I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am a soul that lives within.

Happy Birthday to me!!!

IMG_0453

Advertisements

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!

‘Tis So Sweet

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at His Word; just to rest upon His promise, and to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

I have decided to once again share one of my favorite hymns; this one seems especially fitting considering the place I find myself in presently. It has been posited that many of the greatest songs of encouragement were born out of pain and personal tragedy; Tis So Sweet is one such song.

It was written by Louisa Stead in 1882, after a very tragic event. While not much is known about Mrs. Stead, historians have been able to discover that Louisa married her husband in 1875 and to their union was born a daughter, Lily. One day the family decided to enjoy a day at the beach on Long Island, New York. While enjoying their family time they heard cries of help and spotted a  boy who was drowning. Mr. Stead jumped into the water to attempt to rescue this boy. Unfortunately, both the boy and Mr. Stead drowned. The words of this hymn were written over the course of Louisa’s struggle with God after this tragedy.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!

I can easily admit that I have not always found it easy to trust anyone, including God! I haven’t always been able to see God’s active hand in my life, which caused me to doubt that all things were working together for my good! Being able to trust God when you are  not able to trace God, is often easier said than done! I’ve seemingly done everything that I was “supposed” to have done, said all of the right things; yet, things still seem to be falling apart all around me. I recall the words of the hymn writer, “Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease; just from Jesus simply taking life and rest, and joy and peace.” I don’t have to search for peace, joy, happiness, or love in anyone else; I simply must trust the God who gives peace that surpasses all understanding.

Despite my situations and circumstances, and in spite of the mistakes that I’ve made, I will continue to trust God. Even when others have meant to do me harm, or wanted to see me fail; God has always meant it for my good! So I now can freely sing: I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; and I know that Thou art with me, will be with me to the end.

Make It Plain

Favor

…reigns on my life! Simple lyrics taken from a song written by Pastor John P. Kee, and sung by LeJuene Thompson, are now blessing my life so immensely. People who know me are aware that I am not overly emotional, nor am I one known to easily cry! Yet, every time I hear this song and even as I sit to write this blog, I become overwhelmed with feelings of gratefulness. I realize that people may not understand why this particular subject brings me joy, but let me see if I can explain this to you!

Often people who know my story (I promise one day I will share), automatically assume that I have never done things that I regret. Yet, when I look back at the times when I almost let go; what if he hadn’t taken NO for an answer! When I reminisce on one October night when a man didn’t stop at the red light, and completely totaled my car. I remember hearing the witness say, “I’ve already called the police because I knew that the person in this car was dead.” When I consider all the things I do that I know I should not do, and all the things I say that tear others down. When I think about all the times that I caved to the pressures of others even when I knew I should have been the example, and yet God has never allowed my life to be fodder for the evening news! I recognize the awesome Favor of God that continues to rule over my life.

In light of the things that I have said, and even some of the things that I could not say I recognize that some may see this as unfair. Actually, I totally agree with you! I do not know why God has chosen my life to be favored, yet I am so thankful! It is for this reason that I try now, in all I say or do, to honor God! You can call me deep, if you so desire, but I know that it was God who rescued me out of that horrible pit.

So, I echo the words of this song: “When my life rejected destiny your favor came and rescued me! I thank God always for FAVOR!