Indwelling.

Indwelling.

Is there such a word? I was reading today in the Word how being in fellowship with friends and others and also God-we learn how to be built up, and grow. We make more room for growth by allowing for friendships; and sometimes those friendships have a God-nature, if you will that comforts.

That’s cool. It makes sense. I really didn’t have a desire for friendships much when I was younger. Like in my twenties. I pretty much isolated myself and spent time with my first husband a lot. Well… not really. After we became kind of estranged in our marriage, I spent a lot of time alone, actually. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I bonded with two girlfriends who were friends by nature of my struggle – we all had similar concerns, and bonded.

They were raising children and I kind of admired their children and how they mothered and loved their children as my own, so I became family, with them and helped them. It was nice, since I didn’t have children of my own, and I was considering that. That never really happened, having the children (for me), but I learned so much about mothering from them. So much about nurturing. And I learned about life with them, as we “did life together.” As we would fellowship together – we spent quite a bit of time together talking about life, cooking, playing, talking about God together, and eating together. Yes fellowshipping …was what I did with them. I was very interactive with the children – and watched them grow. This was over a period of eight to ten years or so.

Indwelling.

I never thought much until now, about how I grew because of them. My sisters… the depth of their character and their faith and friendship. Their capacity, and mine. How we held each other up in good faith and with prayer. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could go on and they would have this soothing, mothering nature that just knew I needed them and would comfort well. Their company and friendship, and their love. Possibly very conscious to them… that God was helping us and bonding us- yet I was just trying to survive.

I never thought about how God used them. To provide an indwelling. (A motivating force for me.)

So yes, there is such a word. I looked it up. Indwelling means: ‘to provide a motivating or guiding force ‘- “to possess (a person), as a moral principle …or as a motivating force.” That’s pretty deep. That an indwelling can work for us positively, or even negatively, depending upon whom we spend time with, and how often and how we allow them to influence us .

Yes… indwelling.

Indwelling forces. They are almost mysterious in several ways. I mean who thinks about them when they are happening?

Motivating us past circumstance, past situation, rising above shame and hurt; yet prevailing.

Who really tends to notice ‘how the bonding happens…’, when we are bonding, right?

I didn’t. Perhaps this is how and when I learned to receive from others. In the midst of my struggle. When I didn’t understand what life was offering me, and I didn’t want what it set before me.

Perhaps in God’s awesome Grace I received friends and was taught invaluable life lessons. Perhaps. Via friendships I survived. I yielded. I acquiesced.( I yielded without protesting.) Hmm…

Okay. So thank God for friendships then, and friendships now – and what I now offer – was not fully aware I was being then, even. By nature of how my relationships have formed today, thank you God, for allowing me to mentor and nurture women today,

I am indwelling.

Providing and being a motivating force and a guiding force for women, looking back and noticing what I need, what they need- and noticing what helped me to survive.

Yes. An indwelling.

Selah.

Question: Where does your indwelling come from?

Do you nurture & cultivate -it or ignore it?

Are aware even as to whether it exists?

Acceptance & Receiving.

This very well may be first writing in 2018 on Receiving. I suppose if I set a goal, then by the end of this year, both you and me shall learn immensely about my one word. (So my first goal is to truly see where this precious word leads me!)

I will say this, this evening I wasn’t even looking for the word and it sort of “popped up” on  the  screen ,  STARING AT ME as if I asked   the word to embrace me. Accept.

I wasnt sure…  what  wasn’t  I accepting? What  did I not desire to   receive?  Why was  this word  already of “Receiving” challenging me  so very soon into the new year?

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Seeing the word “receive” in this definition, the same word offered unto me “as acceptance”; gave me goosebumps! I  wasnt  ready… but my word said I was. So  why do I need  “consent to receive?”  I asked.  Consent is needing permission for  something to   happen.  Or needing  agreement in order for something to happen.   Here it is  20  days into  the  year and I  still havent  given myself  permission to   receive. 

And  so….  I  struggle with my writing and with my soul  to acknowledge  what’s been  hard to believe since  the end of December.  It’s time.   To  walk in.  To believe.  To  receive.

'Captured Moonbeam.'
‘Captured Moonbeam’ by You Are So Beautiful Photography

I  think I have been   looking for this  kind of  VALIDATION  for  such a long, long time.  And I am not sure  if I am  still there.  But  I shall keep  surrendering.  I  think its the  quickest way unto  Receiving.

Anything.

As if  receiving has a  door gate, and  I am the gatekeeper. 

Selah.

Receiving. My Word for 2018.

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Hey there, first week in January and I feeling like I’m on a roll, already! I’ve been doing a out of contemplating over the past two weeks an have found that being in the place of “Receiving “ has been very prosperous for me.

Let me be completely  transparent about why this word is so meaningful.

Well first of all, I realize I’ve been believing and walking beneath my own standard. A standard is something we set for ourselves- or something that has a certain level of authority , in our lives – “a  rule or principle established by ethics, morals customs as acceptable by an individual.

Anything that has authority in your life has rules and principles to follow. And yes .. these principles should establish me, fully. I haven’t been receiving.

Theres been quite a bit of lack in my life, and a few things I had been to fearful to walk out … so I didn’t give it my all. Truth is, I didn’t  believe I could have it. Had pretty much convinced myself  that I could “settle”. Settle for what?

LESS.

Yeah, and was comfortable with less, too. Or “just enough”. You know, we get comfy where we are, and we stop reaching. We forget we have goals and the goals we beloved in, become clouded over because we either stop believing or we lose sight of inspirational folk who help guide us there.

As long as I was comfortable, I was good. Then the little “more” angel came and sat on my shouldering whispering things like: “You can do that!”; “What are you waiting on?” “What are you doing?” “Try this instead…” or “Believe God for this..”

And I listened. Started opening up my soul for MORE.

Praying for more, trying more, reaching out for more that helps me to be BETTER.

And something shifted. Just like that. A mentor of mine told me:”You have a different confidence than you had last year.”

And I agreed. Then reflected. There are consistent tasks I was working out in my soul, and they are proving well for me. So this year, I’m all about Receiving. Take life one day at a time- with an expectation of “more”… on a consistent basis. Pushing myself past my limits, and smiling brightly at every turn.

I will tell you what they were next blog post. (Stay tuned.)

Awareness & Receiving.

It helps  to  live  and thrive in this life,  being  self aware.

When you’re self aware, no one can tell you what you will be vulnerable to. You are aware of it, and sometimes if you allow the vulnerability or perceived weaknesses to speak to your soul, you may just perceive that vulnerability as a strength, instead of a weakness .

For instance, I’m vulnerable to the fact that I am a sensitive person. I am one who doesn’t like people to take advantage of my emotions. Yet I’ve had this happen so many times. Yet in the instances where I’ve chosen to be vulnerable and self-aware and the same time,

I Rise.

I learn more, stretch more, GROW more, GLEAN more, and I learn to be okay with my shortcomings. My shortcomings become ways I can acknowledge there’s room for growth in my life. Where I used to be embarrassed and shamed for my shortcomings, I now I walk into them with my head held high, and I take risks that though my being vulnerable might be a risk, yet it can still be a good risk. A risk that may take me places I never imaged I’d go.

This reminds me of a time I was in South Africa , and it was late . I was with a friend of mine, and out in the middle of no where. I asked myself “how could I have gotten here!?” It felt dangerous; yet at the same time, I believed I would be safe. That’s simply called faith. My faith overrode my sense of awareness and my risk- taking. It held me in a place of safety. And because I believed I was safe, I received the fact that I was safe.

Sometimes my willingness to be vulnerable goes out on a limb . I don’t care much about the risks. I want to be risky. So sometimes the excitement of being risky is more exciting and self-challenge of sorts, in my life .

Why am I sharing about this risk- taking involved with our hearts?

Well, we become how we perceive things to be, and when we walk into a situation self-awareness; we often are better able to calculate what our responses will be. It may be fight or flight; or if we set our intentions ahead of time; we might know in advance what we should do. ; therefore we are less afraid, or we are more likely to  “bear up” against the obstacles and we must ask ourselves at those critical points: “So you know what can happen right?” And: “Are you willing to take that risk?

I ask myself sometimes: “So where’s your heart right now, and is this something worth enduring right now?” And if I know I’m not ready or it isn’t worth it , then the risk isn’t worth it, and so need to simply acquiesce or let it go.

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When I am self-aware, I calculate the risk. I step back. I think about what I should say. I don’t really care if people care about what I say, or how they’ll respond. It’s all about my intention. Where do I want to be in terms of my own personal self- transparency, and self-dignity? Are any of these values escaping me?

What shall help me to feel good about myself in the long run?

Sometimes that’s  the risk we take in the face of being impulsive . You don’t think about yourself, your  dignity.  and you definitely don’t think about anyone else. Or  those who may have consequence because of your actions.

I  guess that’s  what  they  call  “adulting”, these days.  I don’t mind adulting.  I  just need to be able to consider the risks.  That’s maturity. To me,  that’s what makes  life worth living.  If I can be accurate with my risk assessment ; with most things in life, I realize there are times when you  have to ‘live on the edge’, and times when it was  completely best not to. Reaching for dreams are necessary, and so is taking risks. And you learn immensely from those times you do.

Self – awareness has given me  discretion and  hope. Peace within, and  a self-resolve.  It just helps to know what to expect from yourself.  It can make you feel more mature with you actions and decision-making. .  So I will continue to work on  this part of myself.

This is me being aware.

This is me  receiving.

This is me  “taking possession” of myself.

In your patience, possess ye your souls. Luke 21:19

 

I Am Enough Because I Am Wise.

 I Am  Enough Because I Am Wise.

So what does it really mean to be wise?

Does being wise mean… to be humble?

Does it mean we should consult with someone else who has  good advice, can problem-solve, help us manage our lives better or may give good counsel?

Or does it mean simply having good sense In knowing how to respond?

Perhaps.

…Or maybe it means being still enough to take care of our lives  because we care enough about our lives to be safe, discerning and aware.
Perhaps where I am wisest is when I spend time in the presence of friends. I have wise friends. There is a scripture in the bible that says : “The is safety in a multitude of counselors.”
I love that scripture. It has resounded over the years with me. I have realized over time that perhaps the best  acumen, has come from experience as my  teacher. With my experiences, I have  gained such rewarding treatment and insight from friends who in my own personal struggles, when I needed such wisdom, – sowed complete love for me,  and their wise actions and advice, benefited me greatly as I endured my situation.  The intuition  and  inspiration was on an entirely different level and  completely humbling.   As a result, I have  compassion for  them an for others who have experienced similar situations. It led me to  write my book, Red Sea Situations.

I believe one of the most humbling  situations I experienced, was  a friend who helped me when I had no where else to go. She had always told me, because she knew I was going through a hard time no matter when or what time it was, whenever I needed a place to go, I could just stop by. One night i thought I was close to losing it, and i knew if I didn’t get out of the house,  I would .  So indeed, I  went over and it was about ten fifteen pm. When I arrived at her  door, her husband answered, he smiled, and  didn’t say a word. All  he said was: “She’s  is upstairs, go ahead on up.”  (Can I say I just admire a  man who allows his  wife’s friend to come over so late in the evening , so she can support her?)Clearly, I had been crying, and I slipped past him. When I go to the top of the stairs,  I heard her talking to her boys  in a very sacred moment, and she said , “Come on in,Jenn.” She was there with the two of them, they were about three and six years old, and  she was hugging on them in bed. She made space for me, and  welcomed me in me bed with them. We didn’t talk much that night, we just laid there in quiet and peace. Her boys smiling and  she interacting and mothering them, and I quietly watched them enjoy and love on one another. I never felt so welcomed. to this day, our bond is unbreakable.

Now, this has nothing to do with me, and my wisdom. However, my friend’s wisdom in this moment taught me how to be wise.

Her wisdom taught me how when I am at my lowest point to embrace someone in love and just acceptance, is the very best  action of love. For me, wisdom and love, really are not far  apart. In fact, they are cousins. I  also found out that I don’t have to know all the details, I just need to love on them.  There’s a time and a season for everything, and sometimes knowledge isn’t necessary. She didn’t know, and still doesn’t know what I was experiencing that evening, but what maters is that I  knew she was there, and that she loved me. To me, that’s agape love. The God-kind of love. From this one action, I have found that I can love people without words, in such an amazing way, and that it involves just seeing that their soul is so worthy of love. This type of ‘friend -awareness’ has allowed me to be the same kind of friend.

On a lighter note,

I am wise because I am clever.

Cleverness is not  a word I use very much n my vocabulary, yet I find very attractive. My husband is rather clever. It was attractive to me from the first day I met him. And his cleverness tends to rub off on me at times. Cleverness involves, quick wit, charm, and  wise words, and at times a bit of playfulness. Perhaps the playfulness is the most fun. Being clever involves finding  a certain resourcefulness from within. It’s understanding how to use integrity to teach someone by not reacting. It also involves  not  stooping to a level of  personal embarrassment or  ignorance  because someone else does. Not allowing their impulsivity, unkindness and lack of intellect, to move me with words. I think I learned how to be clever once I  decide din my mind I didn’t care what others thought about me. It was freeing.  I decided that once I had made up my mind, and it made sense and I had  filtered it through my wisest  friends, and they were in agreement, it was well. And no one’s opinions mattered. My clever quick wit would then pounce back on others when they had comments  or opinions about my  actions in which they did not agree. I admire folk who can take judgment and  crush it as soon as someone swings it at them, and  keeps on  walking without shame or resentment because they are confident they are in a good place.

I am wise because I am contemplative.
Contemplation is one of my favorite things to do. As an introvert, I tend to find myself when I contemplate. Whether it involves speaking to myself, my heart, and pondering the actions of my day I find rest in re-evaluation. If I don’t do re-evaluate, I become restless.
What is in this restless space? Unawareness? A lack of purpose? Dis-alignment? Is that why when I am not looking within, I falter?
I get nervous, my anxiety peaks, or I have a loss for words? I prefer contemplation in order to help me rest. I may not have even realized the extent to which I depend upon what I call : “finding center” Laraine Herring in the book: “Writing Begins With Breath: Embodying your Authentic Voice”, says after the basic needs of food air, water and shelter are met, most of our actions and behaviors stem from a need for love, compassion, understanding and emotional safety.” I find that interesting, because that means if this is true, most of what I seek, when I look within, is about finding self love.( Read about  my  self love and being enough in another story.)

I must say however; some of the most unwise persons have hurt me. have been unreasonable,  inattentive ungraceful and  ill-mannered people I know, because they lacked compassion.   Indeed, perhaps this scripture measures up when wisdom is most attractive: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

jennifer

Finding My Voice.

I found a certain ‘release in life’ when I found my voice.

What keeps us from saying things we really want to say? Well, oftentimes we may feel less than or we feel imperfect. We feel like no one really wants to hear what we have to say, anyway – so we don’t say it. Sometimes we are really afraid to say what we want so say also for fear of rejection or how others may challenge us. Sometimes we lose our voices because we wind up in situations where we seem to be drowning, and the best place to go is to “go numb.”
Well…let me say this… sometimes what we have to say may influence or help someone else to change the world.
Words are powerful. God framed the world with them. Take a moment to think about that: this world was actually framed with words! That’s pretty powerful to think – that the things which we admire and see daily – people, places, nature – (the Seven Wonders of the World)- animals, the sun and the clouds … were all formed with words!
I have always known I had a voice… but would rarely use it.

Let me explain: I grew up learning that you don’t tell everything, because others may find out then you will be embarrassed. And I had had enough embarrassment in life, not to want any more of it. I learned early on that when I spoke up, I may not be received, and so I would refrain… for a time. I also thought people might not believe me. Of course, this was deeply rooted in the messages I had received growing up. Not that any one person taught them to me… but I learned that great challenge would come with having an opinion. And at a certain time in my life, I avoided challenges.
Another piece of this dynamic is the ‘oppressive space’ that silence provides. Silence… I have learned just from living a while… kills one’s personality. For years, I quietly kept silent with my voice and it cost me years of suffering. It caused my personality to not flourish and several of my hopes and dreams to be put aside. Even though I sat silently, my spirit was not silent. I as able to find myself and my true identity, through my writing. I have been journaling now for maybe 31 years. Recently, I picked up a diary I wrote in when I was about nine years old. My passion was definitely evident in my writing! I was very surprised my voice and my passions were so profound!

I encourage you today; don’t let your dreams be hindered by silence. If you or your child has something to say: post it on a wall, a newspaper… (or the refrigerator). You can even create your own newsletter project with your child… for the word to see! Teach them to express their opinion, and if they don’t know how they feel about something .. challenge them to formulate an opinion. This a great time to influence them with your family values. It will stay with them a very long time. And it may even safe them from a lifetime of hurts and unfortunate consequences.
I remember how it felt when I was fifteen years old to be “Writer of the Week” in my ninth grade English class… I was acclaimed an “awesome writer”… I won a prize, my writing entry was posted in our school magazine, and my picture was up for a week in the Writer’s Hall of Fame. I felt famous! I doubt if that hadn’t happened, I would be sincerely aspiring to write a book today.

That is, until I learned that having a voice, meant that you could change someone’s mind, their attitude, and shift their thoughts, if you only spoke up about what you believed. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this until I was about 35 years old. I learned this in a very supportive, open-minded and promising environment that encouraged and nurtured my leadership. An organization called: (The National Coalition Building Institute.) In this same forum, I did not know I would also meet my future husband. And gladly so …, because he has helped continue to form and shape my identity and adult life.
Once this skill was taught to me… I flourished! I didn’t settle for less anymore, I realized some people felt the same way as me, just never had the courage to say it. I also realized that the youth I worked with in school as a school social worker – flourished as well, because their having an opinion and having that opinion validated, made them feel important. I have learned in working with children, that children need affirmation and validation. They need to be encouraged and told that what he have to say is important, and they need to think about how the words they say will affect others. Some of the children I helped encourage in my small groups with exercises on leadership – began to walk a little straighter, smile a bit more, and speak up and say what they felt and their futures began to look a bit brighter. This experience definitely increased their self esteem as well.

I suppose I wrote this today to encourage you to help you, or your children find their passion. I have worked with children who have pent up feelings, and have never learned to express or communicate how they feel. I tell you,…They are an accident waiting to happen.

Finding your voice can also help you and your children find resolve. ‘Resolve’ is an excellent feeling to have. It affirms our choices, makes us more confident, helps us to know and understand ourselves, and trust ourselves more.
What are you teaching your children today about speaking up and finding their voice?
They watch is. If your child gets angry, upset about something that happens with a friend, or even in school or with someone close to them… have them write it down, journal, communicate or draw a picture about it. Help them to express their feelings. At the heart of every passion is a feeling. Help them find something they really care about, study it, take a stance on it – and express how they feel – and then encourage others to think the same. And as a parent you can model this behavior so they learn how to express and deal with their feelings, as well. Seek to solve your own problems. Talk to your children about problem-solving, who you talk to when you feel down, and tell they why you share with the people you do. Children need help discerning who they can trust and how to share and express emotion. If they don’t learn from their parents, who will they learn from? Help them find a place where they can be encouraged to express their mind, thoughts and opinions in a safe non-threatening environment. Create a climate where they can find truth, and you can rest in it well, yourself.