stepping up.

“Imagine all the people who would have been affected if Esther never stepped up. Okay, now imagine all the people who will be affected if you never do.”

– from @shespeaksministries Instagram, written by @worthyofgrace
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‭⬇️Devo ✍🏼 @worthyofgrace . Esther a woman who was not born into royalty, but was chosen by God to be queen to save the Jewish people from annihilation. Her story is a lot like ours, once an orphan, but now chosen to do the work of her Heavenly Father. Esther is easy to relate to. When Mordecai (her cousin, but he also adopted her, and raised her), came to Esther one night and said, that Haman has order the death of the Jews – her people. Esther was saddened by this news, and Mordecai encouraged her to speak up for the voice-less. Sometimes, we sin by what we know to do, but yet, we do not do it. Speaking up for truth and justice in the midst of great fear had Esther dreading this assignment. It’s easy to want to back down, because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of can God really use me, fear that the whole plan will be utterly chaotic and ruined if you do it, so you back down. Well, despite all her fears, Esther called for a fast, and God responded with great favor for her and the Jews. Is God calling you to do something hard? To speak up, to step into your purpose, to pursue your Heavenly Father’s business? Remember Jesus always went about healing people and doing good – ACTS 10:38 (I love that about him)! . You were made for such a time as this! It’s time to step out you are worth it! You and God got this! #shespeaksfire . Esther 4:14:“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”” ‬

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My coworkers all decided to wear red, white, and blue to work today since tomorrow we’ll be off, and the Fourth of July is this Saturday. If you’re not aware: with the recent events surrounding racial tension, and the increase of racial awareness, most Black people have decided to celebrate Juneteenth instead of July 4th for Independence Day, declaring the Fourth of July a “white holiday.”

So, all week I’d debated on whether or not I should participate because I definitely wasn’t planning on celebrating the fourth, and I didn’t want to symbolize that I was with what I was wearing, but I also knew that, being the only Black woman in my workplace, I’d probably be making people feel uncomfortable, and questioning me as to why I didn’t dress in the said colors. And since I work in a preschool, I didn’t need or want parents complaining to my boss about what I was wearing either.

Because I decided this morning to wear my “I Can’t Breathe” shirt instead.

I had so many thoughts: Would someone say I was trying to be political by wearing it? Would my boss be angry with me? Is wearing this shirt inappropriate for work? But why would it be? Why am I questioning if I can wear this shirt when I’m able to wear almost anything to work and be 100% fine? (I knew the answer to the last question)

I resolved that, if my boss told me to take it off, I’d just take it off and just have a different shirt on, but I would not wear the color combos red, white, and blue to work today. I was honestly sort of nervous…so much so that I texted the co-teacher I’m working with this summer about it to get her thoughts…not her permission. She fully supported my decision, and even said she wouldn’t wear the designated colors too so I wouldn’t be alone.

As I prayed this morning and prepared my heart for the day, the quote above popped into my mind. I’d read it yesterday, and was touched at how powerful it was, and I was grateful that it could resonate with me this morning. (If you don’t know about the story of Esther, definitely check her out in the Bible. Such an amazing woman!) What if I wore the shirt and was able to start conversations with my co-workers about what was happening, not just in our city, but in our country as a whole? Granted, we’ve been back to work for weeks now…I honestly feel like some of them are avoiding the topic of racial tension because they don’t want to say the wrong things or offend me. But I’d rather them say something wrong and I be able to help them understand why than to not talk about it at all. Because the reality is, they work with ME…I, a Black woman, am going to be with them five days a week, and that right there is looking and being with racial tension – what to say, what not to say. To touch my hair or not to. To make comments about certain situations, or to just be silent. I see all of that stuff, and I take notes, and act accordingly.

If I chose to just give in and wear what everyone else was wearing, I felt like I’d just be giving up, and not speaking up. And while I shouldn’t be the only person that my co-workers go to for Black questions, I feel a responsibility as the only Black woman there to be the voice for the Black community that is rarely if not at all represented in that area.

The result?

I went to work, had a co-worker ask what my shirt said, I showed her, and she said, “Oh, okay!” Had a few other co-workers see my shirt and they silently kept it pushing.

Feeling like I had to explain myself (which I shouldn’t have to, but anyways…), I talked to the same co-worker who asked me what my shirt said about why I wasn’t wearing red, white, and blue, and she fully understood, and said she wasn’t offended, and didn’t know why others would be.

When my co-teacher came into work a little later without any red, white, or blue on, my boss asked her why she wasn’t wearing any, yet she didn’t ask me when she fully saw that I wasn’t wearing any either.

Apparently, she also made a comment out loud again about how one of the kids in our class looked cute wearing the patriotic colors, but my co-teacher (not me) wasn’t matching.

It sort of breaks my heart that no one really asked me more about my shirt, or tried to ask my opinion on what was happening, or even ask how I was doing (because since everything started in late May/early June, no one from my job has asked except my co-teacher) but it also doesn’t surprise me. I just wish people wouldn’t be afraid to have racial conversations that could possibly expose things they didn’t know weren’t okay to say, do, believe, etc. And maybe they are having those conversations outside of work, which is great! I’d just like to know that that information is being translated to EVERY area of their lives, NOT JUST to their black friends outside of work, or their black family members.

I will say that I’m extremely grateful for my co-teacher…she stepped up for me today, and I cannot thank her enough! It felt good to have someone stand with me in solidarity today. And even through these first few weeks of work, she’s been pro-active about asking me questions and talking about the racial events that are happening, and I believe it is not a coincidence, but a full-on blessing that we were assigned to be with each other this summer.

Just felt like I had to share that. There is SO much work to be done to undo all the racial injustice our country has held tightly to, and I’m grateful that the protests haven’t died down, and pray that the conversations everywhere don’t die down either. While my gesture of wearing a “I Can’t Breathe” shirt to work may seem small, it opened my eyes to just how deep the fear of being called out about my race is rooted in me. And in no way would I say that I’m ashamed to be Black! But I know that I myself need to shake out of being afraid to be a topic of conversation, or to have conversations with people I’m with on a daily basis, or with my friends or family.

I continue to pray that all my Black brothers and sisters would be able to step up wherever they are: in their friend circles, in their families (whether blood or in-laws), in their workplaces, etc. I pray for strength and courage. I pray for peace. And I pray that the spirit of racism would cower at the Holy Spirit, who favors no person because of their race or background, but lives within WHOEVER believes in Jesus Christ and His death, resurrection, and return.

BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS: What are some ways you’ve had to step up for yourself, either recently or in the past, in regards to your race? Where do you find the most support? Where do you find the most tension?

BLACK ALLIES: Have you been inspired by a Black friend, family member, co-worker, significant other, etc. who has stood up in the face of racism, or in just the isolation of being Black in a particular place or circumstance? How did you respond? Did you learn anything that you’ll take with you as the fight for racial equality and justice continues?

Mishy 🦋💙

weakness.

Strength. Weakness.

At the end of May, I did a Words with Women event based on these two things, discussing what it means to be “strong” or “weak” as a woman. The conversation was truly amazing…I loved hearing each woman’s perspective and thoughts on these themes. And it’s crazy how God will lead you to some topics, and then bring them back up as time goes on.

Last week, I thought about weakness.

It was my second week being back at work, y’all, and I was TIRED. My feet had been hurting from walking and standing around again after three months of resting them. I’d been getting back to my heavier workouts so almost each night, my body would ache from a previous workout I’d done. Not to mention, since going back to work, I’m now only getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night because that’s just when I’m able to manage hitting my bed after getting off work, working out, eating, showering, and spending a little time for myself through writing, reading, or playing the game (I recently got a Nintendo Switch with my boyfriend, so that’s been fun to play for the past week-and-a-half!).

But one morning last week, I was just feeling so weak. Like I wasn’t prepared to get through the day because my energy was spent…and it was only Tuesday!

Then I began to think about these verses in the Bible:

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“My Grace is sufficient for you…”

The context of these verses is that the writer Paul is discussing the “thorn in his flesh” that he’d prayed God would take away from him several times, but God replied with the verses above. While I’m not sure exactly what Paul’s “thorn in his flesh” was (2 Corinthians 12:7 leans towards a spiritual battle as he refers to a “messenger of Satan”) I know I can definitely relate to having “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” of my own, no matter what they may be!

But it is only through weakness that we can truly and fully become stronger, and that strength isn’t our own, but is solely through dependence on the Lord. We can’t sit in the comfortability of always being strong, wise, certain, or successful, and expect to learn, to mature, to grow, to become even stronger than we are now. There has to be a period of weakness. And through both times of strength and weakness, we have to lean into God.

Tula’s strength.

Those who follow me on social media know that Tula, my pink hibiscus plant, has finally bloomed after about a month of being barren. She would have buds form, and then they’d fall off. I was so crushed that she wasn’t blooming, and I even wrote a poem about this phase of her life cycle as a metaphor for the phase I was in with my poetry (which also seemed to be lacking). But after researching and experimenting (i.e., making my own insecticide to spray on her) she opened up a big, beautiful pink flower a couple of weekends ago, and surprisingly, it stayed around for about 2.5 days.

My yellow hibiscus plant (Reyna) has flowers that only last about one full day and start to shrivel and close back up. When I mentioned this difference to my boyfriend, he said that maybe after being dormant for so long and fighting off those pests, she came back stronger. Tula has become yet another metaphor for my life, and maybe even for your life too!

We all go through phases of weakness, and it looks different for each person. The phase could be long or short; it could deal with different aspects of life. It could be something you really have to persist through, or something that takes one moment of getting over. In any case, we must be able to withstand the phase to become stronger. But, how do we do that?

embrace it!

It is good to actively do something about your weakness! The first step should be to go to God for wisdom on which steps to take, and He will graciously show you the things you need to do. It could be setting boundaries, doing more in an area, getting help, admitting weakness to someone close to you, etc. In this, I believe that we truly need to embrace the weakness, and understand that it is not our own power that will carry us through.

A lot of times people will cry out to God only when they’re at the end of their rope: when they’ve tried any and everything to improve their situation. When really, as soon as we realize the weakness we’re in, that’s when we have to understand that it is an opportunity for God’s strength to shine through us. He may be allowing you to go through something so that your testimony of that time will point back to Him!

So, as you go through your daily life, and as you encounter different times in which you feel weak, remind yourself that it is a time in which you can really see God work in you and through you! Don’t be so quick to beg Him to take it away, but allow Him to teach you through the weakness, and to show you just how powerful He is!

Mishy 🦋💛

intentions.

It’s June 1st, which means for me, a new color for the month (even though I’m a little behind on the #BrownSkinGirlProject, it doesn’t hurt to have a few more brown girls on my feed, especially in the times we’re in right now).

Today wasn’t just a change of color for my social media though; it was a change of color in my spirit. With everything going on in the world, we all still each have our own personal battles we deal with, and honestly, mine have been pretty heavy and consistent. You may think, What? You don’t seem like it… but it’s true. I may not portray on social media my internal struggles, but I still have them.

And as I cleaned my entire apartment (I’m talking…from bathroom to bedroom, the bed sheets and kitchen towels, the counters and inside the fridge…DEEP CLEANING), my spirit just kept bringing up this word and phrase: “intentions”, “set your intentions.”

Now, of course, we all have goals and plans, and of course, many of those goals and plans went straight out the window from March to even now. We’re entering the second half of 2020, and there are a lot of unknowns still. A lot of heartbreak. A lot of changes and movements happening. And underneath this all is an overarching theme of healing…we’re all still trying to heal from things, whether it’s COVID-19 related, racism related, or something else personal going on in your life.

I looked up the definition of “intention,” and Oxford Languages via Google not only gave the “aim” or “plan” definition, it also provided this one:

“the healing process of a wound”

How ironic is that? Or maybe it’s not ironic at all; the Holy Spirit set that word on my heart for a reason or two. And I aim to write down every intention I have for this last half of the year, and to pray on each one and work towards those things coming into fruition, and healing after so much negativity, pain, and hurt.

I refuse to settle in this place I’ve been in.

Last month as I was mentally preparing for June, I was thinking about what words were brought to mind when the color yellow is seen. Of course, we think of the obvious ones: bright, joyful, exciting, inspiring, bold, confident. And now, the word I have for yellow is intention. The beautiful thing about this is that this isn’t just another project or set of posts for my feed, but it’s something personal I’m setting my mind to doing; I’m actively choosing to engage in this healing process of the wounds I’ve been digging my fingers in for way too long.

As my sis Cydney would say, I was manifesting my own downfall. And today, it’s time for that to end in ALL AREAS of my life.

Today, I cleaned my room. I prayed for God to clean my spirit. I cleaned my mind. I am abounding in my intentions.

What are some intentions that you have set for the last half of 2020? How are you healing with everything going on in our world? What steps can you take in your healing process?

Mishy 🦋💛

tired but grateful.

You may have already heard their names…Sean Reed and Ahmaud Arbery. More names to add to the murdered black males list. And while anything I write may not be different than anything else you’ve read or seen today, I feel the need to write about it on my blog because honestly, I’m so tired of being angry at things like this, sad at things like this, tired of all of this.

I’m tired of incidents like this having to be spammed all over social media before the news or the authorities talk about it, and before murderers are arrested. I’m tired of having more names become hashtags to get people’s attention. I’m tired of parents, siblings, significant others, children, and friends having to put the face and name of someone they love on a t-shirt, in a casket, and on a gravestone.

I’m tired of having fearful thoughts in my head sometimes when my boyfriend walks or drives to the corner store or gas station near my apartment, because I never know what could happen between here and there. I’m tired of being fearful for any of my fellow black friends, male or female, when they’re leaving from a party or event by themselves (and that’s even after walking with them to their car, and telling them to text me when they’ve made it home safe).

And I know I’m not the only one who’s tired of these things.

It’s during times like these that I’m grateful that my hope is not in this world, or in the people who are in this world. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak up, or try to hold people accountable for their actions, but I trust that God will deal with it accordingly, either now or when Christ returns. And the latter may not satisfy some who want to see justice now, but the unfortunate reality is that sometimes we may not see it all the way through in our lifetime.

I would love to see the slaughter of black people actually taken seriously before my lifetime is over. Shoot, I’d love for the slaughter of black people to NOT HAPPEN before my lifetime is over! I pray this to be so, and trust that God’s timing is better than mine. And I continue to put my hope in Him, and not the systems or those running them, since clearly, they have failed time and time again.

I pray that we all keep fighting for justice though; that our righteous anger wouldn’t burn out, that we would never hesitate to speak up or act in whatever way we can when murder occurs. That we keep fighting for actual equality to happen every single day. And that we love on the ones we have in our lives right now, near or far.

Mishy 🦋🤎

more than the major.

Where my Bible reading people at?!

Y’all, I’ve been going through this plan to read the entire Bible in a year (which isn’t going to happen in a year because I’m SO MANY DAYS behind, but it’s all good!), and I’ve reached one of the parts in the Bible maybe many of us skip over…and you know what parts I’m talking about!

The endless lists of names…
The measurements of items for the building of the Tabernacle, the designs of the priests clothing, etc…
The Old Testament laws that are HELLA specific…

Honestly, reading all that stuff got me looking at my Bible like…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always steered clear of these parts of the Bible, and it’s because honestly, reading about all of that is just boring. Let’s admit it: it’s hard to read about the specifics of the Tabernacle of God when you know Jesus came thousands of years later to die on the Cross, and completely get rid of the purpose of the Temple all together! I know it’s in there to show us the importance of what it was like for people pre-Jesus’ death to be close to God; to show exactly what it took to have the presence of God descend onto earth because that’s how He wanted it to be, it seems. But I know there aren’t too many Bible studies these days on the book of Leviticus. Or Numbers. Or even the last half of Exodus; we go through the “meat” of Moses’ story, and then stop there, skip to the next famous Bible story there is.

why is that though?

Why do we skip all the “______ the son of ______ who was the son of _______” parts of the Bible? Why do we skip reading about the numbers of people who were in those tribes back then? I can think of a reason why I personally do…

We as people connect with STORIES more than anything!

Stories about one person or a group of people are just more interesting. We can connect with someone’s story. And when you’re growing up in a Christian household, some of the first things you learn as a kid are the specific people and their stories that are highlighted in the Bible. Yeah, you right: there aren’t too many children’s Bible books about how the Temple was built. Or VeggieTales movies, for that matter.

That’s understandable because children’s attention spans can only be held for so long, that we need to tell them major stories to get them to listen, to get them to understand. The problem is though, that we sometimes take those major stories into adulthood, and only focus on those things when it comes to our faith. And maybe that’s how it was supposed to be…or maybe we’re supposed to read those parts of the Bible that aren’t as interesting, and learn what we can from there as well!

things I think we should learn from these parts

History

The details that are in the Bible show an amount of history that will lead up to the major stories we read and know. How will we know the lineage of David which will lead to the lineage of Jesus if we don’t know the people who came before them? It also gives us a sense of time with generations being named one after the other.

And too, I think about understanding the size of Israel. I wonder how big they were compared to the other nations surrounding them at the time, and I can’t help but feel like maybe, if they were one of the smallest, the victories in battle would be all the more miraculous with God on their side.

Obedience

It also shows the people’s obedience to God. Like, God told them exactly how to make his Temple. Down to the measurements, down to the “minor” details, and the people didn’t complain and say, “Really, God? You really want us to be that specific?” They just did it, without hesitation (at least, from the writer’s point of view they didn’t complain). The laws, of course, had to be written down because there were SO MANY, surely, it would be difficult to forget! But they were written to keep the Israelites accountable; even if they were to forget, it would be on a hard copy somewhere for them to see for themselves!

Not to mention, at the end of Exodus where I read today, it talked about how the Israelites had to watch the cloud the Lord put over the tent to see if they had to stay where they were, or pick up and leave. Talk about waiting on the Lord! Full on obedience here as they watched the cloud ascend and descend.

Contrast

And, as I mentioned before, we’re able to contrast the amazing Grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice by seeing what we don’t have to do anymore. We don’t have to go into the inner place of a tent where the tabernacle is located. We don’t have to wait for the cloud to ascend and descend (although, I’ll admit, sometimes when I got to make a decision, I’d love if God could physically show me a cloud of where I gotta stay, and then let it disappear when I gots to go!). We don’t have to go and kill the best of our livestock for the sacrifice…we don’t even have to own livestock.

But we can be grateful for all of that because Jesus paid the price for us once and for all on the Cross. So, we can see the contrast between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and how it affects us as Christians.

I encourage those who do read the Bible to take more than the major parts into consideration. To read through as best as you can (trust me, my mind starts wandering when things start to get repetitive in those verses!), and analyze what you can learn from those passages. What is God teaching you?

What are you favorite parts to read in the Bible? Do you have a favorite person or story? What’s your least favorite part or book of the Bible? How can you read through it and gain wisdom and knowledge from such a part?

Mishy 🦋🤍

timing and choices.

Happy Monday, luvvies.

For those who live in my city of Chattanooga, TN, overnight we went through tornadoes going through parts of our city, taking away homes, vehicles, but most importantly the people we love and cherish. If things were far from “normal” with all the coronavirus/quarantine stuff going on, normalcy just became non-existent to many who now can’t even follow the stay at home order because their home is unavailable to them.

Someone close to me was affected, although not as drastically as some, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the vulnerability and fragility of the human life becomes way more evident. I’ve seen so many social media posts and conversations about how God is really trying to get our attention with the timing of everything going on, and I couldn’t agree more, if I’m honest.

With everyone busy with other things: work, school, personal agendas, relationships, etc., it’s too easy for those of us who believe in God and Jesus to put Him on the back burner. And I place myself in this category as well; when I was going through my normal routine pre-corona, I did my daily devotions, but it was hard for my mind to truly sit and focus sometimes when I had so many other things on my mind.

Now, with so many of those things taken away, it makes it easier for me to really sit and focus on what God’s Word is trying to say to me when I read it. It makes me more prayerful because I’m not thinking about the routine things, but I’m thinking about people and their situations during this time more. I feel more selfless now than I did before.

Now, with the timing of the tornado hitting now, it’s sort of a win/lose. On one hand, it’s nice that some of those who’ve lost their homes or cars do not need to worry about trying to get to work while they’re trying to figure out what to do, since the virus has shut down almost every business there is, minus groceries/food places. On the other hand, these things are still losses. And I can’t imagine the depth of sorrow that is hovering over those who’ve unexpectedly lost someone they love due to this natural disaster. First, they fear coronavirus possibly doing this, and then an unexpected event such as this takes a person they love away instead. I am truly praying for everyone affected by this tragedy.

Yet while we can sit here and debate on whether it was “good timing” or not, I know that everything that has happened so far has been in God’s timing. And while we can sit here and speculate what God is trying to tell us in these times, I pray we simply trust Him and ask Him what He’s trying to show us personally with everything going on.

Because the thing about the time we have is this: we have choices. We can choose to spend more time in God’s Word, or ignore it. We can choose to be more prayerful or not. We can choose to trust Him, or to run to something else to numb the pain and the questions of the these times. We had these choices when things were “normal” too, but we just felt like everything else was more important, or we felt rushed with our schedules to do anything about it.

Now, with all of us being more mindful with the time we have, the choices we make are even more deliberate. So, let us deliberately take the time to understand what our priorities are, what we’ll spend our time doing. And let us sincerely and deliberately take the time to pray for those who are dealing with both the tornado aftermath and the coronavirus, and lend a helping hand if we can.

Mishy 🦋🤍

“Purpose”

Earlier this week, I was talking to my boyfriend about some books and poets that initially inspired, and continued to motivate me to write poetry.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur showed me what poetry could look and sound like. It also helped heal wounds that I had been trying to move past. Reyna Biddy’s I Love My Love expressed some of the same feelings I’d felt during that healing process. And my all-time favorite poet Arielle Estoria, along with Sarah Wallick, motivated me in my call to write poetry for myself and others with several poems in their book Write Bloody, Spill Pretty.

I’ve found that, as I’ve continued to think about what to write about, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics – like blogging. Blogging is where sharing my writing publicly began. Before that, it was sitting in my room and reading, praying, and meditating to figure out what to write about. And pulling those books back out this week, and just looking through them, reading the poems that really hit home for me, reminded me of my purpose to write.

And I think creatives just need that sometimes – to go back to the origins of where we began to be inspired. It doesn’t mean that we must go back to the exact level of how we created, but it’s a humbling and rejuvenating experience to remember where you came from, and what started it all.

So, I wrote this poem specifically to myself titled “Purpose,” to remind myself why I keep going on writing poetry.

And before or after you read my poem, ask yourself these questions:

What is your purpose?
Why do you do the things you do?
What/who inspires and motivates you?”


“Purpose”

Don’t forget why you began this.
You didn’t have many solid plans moving forward, but

You had a head full of ideas and you
Daydreamed of days in which your purpose was clear.
Through pain and questions, you were led to a thing you never desired to use;
A way of writing that you initially despised, but several poems later,
You found healing there,
And you sought to bring the same
Sympathy, Empathy, and Hope to others.
You longed to have the
Heartbroken be whole again,
The hopeless see Light despite the darkness that surrounded them,
The vagabonds given a place to rest their heads, hearts, and souls.
And through all this you’d
Point to the One Who is the
True Provider of all Comfort,
Who always sees how you and others hurt and
Longs to draw near to them as they draw near to Him.
Presenting True Hope is your purpose,
So,
Don’t forget why you began this.

I gotta keep going.
Mishy
🦋

Real Thoughts from Yet Another Poet Tryna “Make It”

So yeah, you might’ve noticed by now that I’m a poet.

Not just another poet…but another poet tryna make it.

The phrase “make it” means different things to different people. To some, it means being well-known/famous/popular. To others it means making a ton of money. Or it can mean that they’ve achieved a particular goal that they’ve specifically set for themselves that has nothing to do with money or fame.

If you want to know what “making it” means for me, it’s this: yes, I would love to be well-known for my poetry. I would love to see copies of my poetry books on book shelves in bookstores, or even seeing the cover while scrolling through books on Amazon. I would also love to make poetry my main source of income instead of working for someone else, like I’m doing right now. But ultimately, “making it” in poetry means this to me – that I connect with someone with my words. That any and everything that I’ve gone through and written poetry about touches someone’s heart, and they’re able to read my work and say, “Yes…I felt that. She gets me. She knows.”

And not only that, but I would love for people to talk to me about faith, and how I incorporate that into my poetry. Because it is a HUGE part of who I am. Do I have it all figured out? Definitely not…but I think that’s the beauty of some of my work as well. It’s less concrete, and more real; because I can’t express how many times I’ve questioned God in poem form. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed poetically, and still not come to solid conclusions about things in this life. But I do know that He is good, that He is loving, that He isn’t afraid to come at me head-on with my questions and queries. And I want people to understand that too.

I feel like “God” and “Christianity” are terms in the society I live in that are cause for eye rolling, and immediate shutdown of conversations. And it breaks my heart that people (including myself) are more comfortable avoiding the topic than delving into it, and boldly asking questions. Not everyone is timid to have these conversations, and although I myself have tried to avoid those brave people for asking questions, I am now realizing that I would rather talk about things than for me to hide in shame or fear of judgment. So I long for my poetry to bridge that gap; to help me start the conversations, so that I can continue them, whether in interviews, conversations at meet and greets, etc.

That is what “making it” means to me. Maybe that means I’ll still have to work a part-time job while doing poetry, or maybe it means I won’t be extremely well-known, just locally known, and if that’s the case, then that’s okay. But if I can connect with people poetically…wow. That’s the biggest blessing, honestly.

So with that being said, you’ve probably also noticed that there are LOT of poets releasing their work these days. From Rupi Kaur to Reyna Biddy to Cleo Wade to r.h. sin and everyone in between, which is amazing. The world needs more poets to write and speak the truths that we sometimes find hard to communicate ourselves, and I am inspired by all the poets I named, and then some.

But honestly…it can be hella intimidating and discouraging sometimes. Do I think that poets need to come together to support and encourage each other in the craft? Absolutely! And I’ve witnessed and been a part of a community of poets that does so, and I’m grateful and blessed for that.

There are times though, when I get discouraged because there are SO MANY poets coming out with stuff that I feel like sometimes what I have to say is irrelevant. I know that every writer and poet has different experiences, and expresses them in different styles and words, but I still wonder if what I write can even connect with anyone anymore. This kind of thinking not only discourages me, but it also causes me to be a little unmotivated. Like, why should I even try if there are already so many amazing poets out there? What difference will my words make in the world anyway?

Of course, this kind of thinking isn’t limited to just poets – I mean, you see how many musicians, painters, mixed media artists, DJs, etc. are out there. Being a creative is a competitive field, and unfortunately, not everyone makes it where they want to be. And that’s something that just scares me – being one of those that doesn’t accomplish the goals and dreams I have for myself. And if that happens, I do have faith that God has a better and bigger plan for me, even though I don’t know what it is. Will it still hurt if I don’t “make it” per my definition? Of course it will!

I’m not writing this post for sympathy; meaning, once you read this, I don’t expect you to send me a message assuring me that my words are relevant, that there’s a place for me in the poetry world, etc. Because I’m just revealing a feeling I sometimes get as a creative, specifically as a poet. Even though this is a negative perspective, there can be positives about seeing other poets succeed – it makes me think that if they can make it through all the different outlets they used (tumblr, SoundCloud, Instagram, publishing a book, etc.), then truly, I am capable of doing the same!

All-in-all, I’m not here for the numbers; sure, it would be amazing to see how many people could be impacted by what I write and speak, but my main goals with my writing are that people can see the lacing of Love in the Gospel through my words; that they can connect with the emotions, feelings, and situations that I write about; and that one day, I am able to look in the eyes of every single person who is touched by my poetry, and hug most of them (all of them if possible) so tight because hugs are important to me, and I want to be able to do that to thank them in person for even sticking with me, ya know? These are things I dream about when I write.

So, after thinking on these things, these dreams (and after being encouraged by one of my big sisters to write down my serious goals for myself), and after being confirmed several times in this gift that God has given me, I know for a fact that my words mean something; that they’re valuable, and that they are relevant. And maybe they’ll only be relevant to one person, or for one season, and that’s okay. If that is all the Lord gives to me, I will be grateful for it.

I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep speaking.

Because, yes…I’m another poet tryna make it. And I believe that I will, indeed, make it in some way.

Mishy

No Matter What

This morning, I was reminded of God’s love, which might sound extremely cliche and boring to some Christian readers. But the first words I read out of the current devotion book I’m reading (100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs) were, “God loves to love you.”

And even though we preach, teach, and claim to believe that God truly loves His children, I find myself hard to grasp that sometimes. I find it hard to see His love as unconditional because there is so much in this world that is conditional, and love sometimes seems to be one of those things (search my spoken word poem I posted titled “in Love” to read more of my thoughts/beliefs on the differences between the love of this world, how Christians should love, and God’s love).

The devotion continued on with some powerful sentences like…

“Our God, the One Who is breathing life into your life, is full of love for you – no matter what you have done or where you have been.”

“Consider the fact that in God’s eyes, through Jesus, you are holy, chose, dearly loved – wow.”

I read these sentences and the rest of the devotion, and I thought to myself, Do I ever live as if I’m loved like this? And honestly, most of the time I don’t. I feel like I usually base my love level off of what I’ve done today – did I get my to-do list for the day done? Did I work on these specific things? Did I open my Bible or pray at all today? It’s unfortunate that I think God’s love level changes based off of my actions, when that is completely unbiblical.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (ESV)

His love has nothing to do with what I’ve done, and EVERYTHING to do with what Jesus did – died on the Cross, completely sinless, so that those who believe in Him could have eternal life with the Father. And yet, I struggle daily thinking that He’s still somehow holding His love on a scale of my accomplishments and failures.

More and more this morning, this message was revealed to me, as a song that used to be my favorite when I was growing up played through my speakers as my playlist was on shuffle. “What If” by Jadon Lavik discusses this same topic as he sings and asks God, “What if I climbed that mountain? What if I swam to that shore? What if every battle was victorious, then would You love me more?” and “What if I ignored the hand that fed me? What if I forgot to confess? What if I stumbled down that mountain, then would you love me less?”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we get to do what we want; just because God loves us no matter what we do, it doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want, like disobey Him and His Word. As a Christian, I still have an obligation to express my love and adoration to Him by following Him and His Word.

With all of these thoughts in mind, I am grateful for the reminder that God’s love is unconditional, never changes, no matter what. I want to strive to live my life in such a way, knowing that the God of all things loves someone like me who messes up at times, who forgets that He’s even there sometimes, who bases His love on a totally messed up scale that doesn’t even exist.

Along with all this, I’ve decided to join this social media challenge on Instagram called #deeplyrootedchallenge, in which each person takes paint chips from the store, and writes down a truth, some encouragement, a belief, etc., and shares it on social media. And because of what the Lord has been speaking to me today, this is what I wrote on mine…

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#MishyWrites

“One Word”

Yesterday, my church started a new series called, “Discover Your One Word,” and as we study the Bible, everyone in church is actively praying, seeking, and listening for the Lord to reveal one word in their life that they are to focus on for the year.

I wish I could relay all of the points of my pastor’s sermon yesterday about goals, visions, resolutions, hearing vs. listening to God because everything he taught yesterday was so extremely vital and important to following Jesus, even if you aren’t trying to figure out your one word for the year.

Being challenged together with the church to ask, seek, and listen to the Lord for one word is exciting and a little intimidating, if I’m honest. There’s always the question of “What if God doesn’t give me my word, but gives everyone else theirs?” or “What if I choose a word, and it’s what I personally want to work on this year, and not what God is calling me to?” But I believe that, as long as I am actively pursuing, seeking, and asking the Lord to reveal to me my one word, He will do so in His timing.

But I just wanted to share a few of the words that came to my mind yesterday during and after church that are things I can definitely work on this year, but am unsure if they are exactly my “one word”…

“Time”

Time is always something that people want to figure out in their lives – how much time to give to specific activities, when time can be carved out for self-care, spending more time with family or friends. When I thought of the word “time” yesterday, I thought about being present. I feel like my mind is always thinking about the next thing instead of actually thinking of where I am / what I’m doing in the moment. I’m already planning for tomorrow instead of living today. So, I could definitely do better at being present in this way.

But I also thought about being present with where my life is – working as a preschool teacher; having the friends and connections I have right now; having my writing, blogging, and other projects currently where they are. It can be a little frustrating to think about where I am right now because I’m not where I ultimately want to be.

Currently, I’m reading the book of Esther and, although this phrase is such a cliche in the Christian realm, the phrase “for such a time as this” kept coming to me, and making me think that maybe I am where I am in my life “for such a time as this” – for a specific reason, a specific purpose. The reason / purpose doesn’t have to be huge like it was in Esther’s life (to those unfamiliar with the story, the Lord allowed her to be queen to give her the opportunity to save her people from annihilation), but maybe I am where I am to learn a specific lesson, or to help a specific person, or simply to be content with where I am, and serve the Lord right where I am.

Thinking this way doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pursue the things I want to, but it does mean I don’t have to be frustrated with where my life is right now.

“Pride” or “Humility”

As I sat in my seat at church, the Lord brought these words to my mind.

Lately, I’ve been told that I’m really good at certain things, be it writing, dancing, singing, etc. And I truly appreciate the compliments – they really are a part of what keeps me going. However, I just felt the Holy Spirit telling me to “be careful.” Because yes, maybe I am good at all those things, but I don’t want them to go back to the glorification of myself. Because I’m not the one who made me a good writer or dancer, or a lovely singer; the Lord is the One Who created me, and gave me the talents and gifts that I have. And I feel like lately, I haven’t really thanked Him for that; I’ve simply been taking the compliments, and moving on to boost my ego.

What I’m not saying is that I should deny the compliments to act humble, but that when I receive a compliment, I should give thanks to God right then and there, to remind me that I am only who I am, and I can only do what I do because of Who He is, and who He created me to be.

“Fix your eyes” —–> “Focus”

My pastor said this phrase near the end of church, and it made me think that I should write it on a notecard, and tape it to my bedroom door so that I can see it right before I step outside to interact with anything or anyone. Because it’s a reminder for me to check myself: what am I focusing on before I walk out of my door? What do I plan to focus on throughout my day?

In order for me to really tune in to what God wants to reveal to me, I need to focus on Him. There are way too many outside distractions, especially during this time of year. My pastor mentioned that people are so focused on what their outside looks like right now – their health, their finances, their relationships – that they’re not fixing their eyes on what their inside is like. They’re not focused on Christ, and what He would have them to work towards. And if I’m honest, part of me has been focused on God, but a whole lot of me has not. So maybe “focus” will be my word this year.

 

No matter what my word is (even if it’s not any of the ones I just wrote about), I am excited to see what God is going to reveal and do throughout this year with my word, and I’m also excited to have the accountability of my church family to guide me through this. I’ll have to keep you all updated as to what my one word is / how it came about / when God revealed it to me!

#MishyWrites