Category Archives: Receiving

Developing An Identity is Like Making HUGE Spiderwebs.

Spiderwebs
A Brighter Light. by JennRene Owens

Sometimes finding our selves is like making a spider web. It’s intricate, detailed, contemplative and sometimes involves a lot of work.

I think I began this journey quite honestly, at a young age. Maybe even before age eleven. Eleven was when my life changed. My Dad decided to live differently. To become a man and dare to love and trust his family. I became an aunt, (of two) in 1978, that summer I turned eleven. It’s the year o began being an example for the next generation. And at eleven my father came home a new man. He stopped drinking. And I stopped crying myself to bed every night living in fear of what might happen.
Eleven is the number of inheritance.
Ironic? (Nah.)

We have hallmarks of our identity: the first time as a young lady you get your period; the first time your graduate; the first time you get a real boyfriend; the first time you get your own apartment; or marry someone , or have a baby and become a parent…
But what about when you first ‚Äúdo the work?‚ÄĚ( What work? – yet they say actions speak louder than words, right?)

Doing the work looks like becoming emotionally , mentally, and physically responsible. Sometimes it means creating emotional safety, in order that you cultivate safe relationships, with the people surrounding you, as well.
What does that look like? Developing trusting relationships, being forgiving and having forgiving friendships; and tolerating and loving on folk we don‚Äôt even like. It involves being spiritually mature about things, because it is ¬†the right thing to do. Choosing to being honest in accepting ¬†others and being open enough to hear the truth about ourselves and tell others the truth, choosing to speak the truth, in love. I used to have the hardest time dealing with conflict. Then I took a few courses and learned about the skills I needed and began to practice them. To my surprise, they worked!‚ėļÔłŹ

And the journey to my road of personal growth and development began. I must admit, it’s taken years to pull the layers off. Yet my age has helped me develop into someone “ I “ can trust. And if I can trust me, and my actions, that’s true empowerment. But I will l never let anyone treat this soul negatively again. Stomp all over this mind, this will and emotions til they die again. No, not I.

This woman arose again.

She figured out when she left this country, touched the hearts of youth and  led   them to dream again, she had purpose.

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She found out when she traveled over 8,115 miles to chase her dream and GOT THERE, she was on to something. That life and purpose was worth pursuing and she through these actions could BECOME ALIVE.

And help others to keep living too.

When she looked in the eyes of those young people, heard their pain and hurt, and complete desperation, see he youth follow her around as she was hope; when saw them living without parents and brothers lost in other countries saying:”I‚Äôll come back for you‚ÄĚ– trying to make a living to help them survive- but never return‚Ķ these 13 & 18 year-old youth – thriving in their communities, despite the threat of their peers committing suicide daily; and seeing THIS woman come from another land and tell the miracle of her journey, and how God really DOES fulfill our dreams‚Ķ and believe her‚Ķ.

It was time to LIVE.

And build that ‚Äúweb‚ÄĚ. That meaningful large, connection that harnesses hope, no matter how far you are apart in the world, and speak the same language that helps people believe, past themselves. Webs that carry weight, identity, purpose and ingenuity, strength and capacity. Webs that offer hope, healing and love.

This trip to Africa changed my life , and purposed me further into my destiny and my identity. I went home and began establishing my business. It had gone international, and I was beginning to share that I had spent time with youth and encouraged and mentored them through my business: OtherSide Enterprises, LLC. ( See Africa video here.)

And so Identity wins. It speaks loudly, and saves lives, it rids desperation and offers us hope, it fuels our purpose and ‚Äúmakes our name great.‚ÄĚ

( Genesis 12:2 )

‚ÄúAnd I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.‚ÄĚ

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 ‚Äúdid 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?

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 Р“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‚Äôt give it my all. Truth is, I didn‚Äôt ¬†believe I could have it. Had pretty much convinced myself ¬†that I could ‚Äúsettle‚ÄĚ. Settle for what?

LESS.

Yeah, and was comfortable with less, too. Or ‚Äújust enough‚ÄĚ. 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 ‚Äúmore‚ÄĚ angel came and sat on my shouldering whispering things like: ‚ÄúYou can do that!‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúWhat are you waiting on?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWhat are you doing?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTry this instead…‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúBelieve God for this..‚ÄĚ

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:‚ÄĚYou have a different confidence than you had last year.‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôm all about Receiving. Take life one day at a time- with an expectation of ‚Äúmore‚ÄĚ… 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.)

4 Reasons Not To Live with Regret.

So… I remember a time in my life when I was really ¬†indecisive.

I remember I was trying to please others so much, I forgot about myself.¬† In that process, I ¬†made ¬†a lot of¬†decisions that ¬†didn’t give much regard to my life, or ¬†emotional safety. What I wanted out of life, was on the back burner.¬† I basically lived for the enjoyment and delight of someone else, because I thought that was how you ¬†show you love ¬†someone.¬†I was so wrong. I had love all confused.¬†And¬†because¬†of that, I had so much inner conflict, insecurity and so much ¬†doubt inside of myself. Discord was often in my¬†relationships¬† and I just had no peace with anyone, so I stayed away from people, mostly. As long as they were not talking¬†about¬†my life, then I was okay with them. I¬†didn’t¬†want¬†anyone¬†telling me what to do and if they offered without my asking, ¬†then I was ready to run from them, even thoseclose to me, and who mean a lot to me.

When you don’t have peace inside, everything you do or don’t do, ¬†feels like a mistake. You second guess yourself all the time, and you cannot trust your instincts. And when you ignore your instincts, man… you are in¬†T-R-O-U-B-L-E!¬† I operated in this way so often, I¬†didn’t¬†know who I was , or whether I was coming or going. That means¬†I was lost. After a while, I became so hopeless, ¬†I just lost hope altogether. I was just existing. I apologized for everything, ¬† I had many qualms with people ¬†and the places where I was in life. I carried resentments and as a result, I ¬†was ¬†just plain miserable. I was annoyed to the point ¬†that accepting annoyance was how I lived. But I was so blind to this fact, I simply endured it. It became the norm. I was living with regret. When I looked up ¬†the word regret I ¬†found in the thesaurus these words: ”¬† to prey¬†on¬†the¬†mind…have¬†a¬†weight¬†on¬†the¬†mind;¬†leave¬†an¬†aching¬†void.” That’s what regrets feels like. Sorrow, ¬†pain, hurt – all the time, and ¬†guilt.

Growing up in an¬†alcoholic¬†family, I realized this was the norm for me,¬†( living with¬†annoyances)¬†which is why I¬†didn’t¬†recognize it when it occurred in a daily basis in my life and relationships.¬†(I know, crazy… right?)¬†But we ¬†do this, because we tend to go with what’s familiar and yet become so comfortable with it, we consider it to be ¬†normal?¬†¬†How does this happen? You recognize you were¬†annoyed¬†and miserable, yet every single day you find comfort with it? I think deep down inside I knew I was miserable, but I¬†didn’t¬†want to admit it.¬† I was living with a denial and a numbness that honestly, felt very good,¬†because¬†if I¬†didn’t¬†have to acknowledge it, then ¬†I¬†thought¬†¬†it was not bothering me. But then, after 11 years of depression, it finally caught up ¬†with me. I was at my wits end.My mental health took a toll on me and I knew I had to change something.

One day my spirit cried out to God, and revealed¬†I was ¬†living with sorrow. I had much so much REGRET about the ¬†situations I¬†found¬†myself in life, the ¬†decisions I had made and ¬†I was suffering from so much sorrow. I was ¬†sad about my life ¬†and I felt trapped. I felt responsible for things I wasn’t even responsible for. The adults in my life blamed me and I took on their issues and their grief to the point, I had no resolve, no contentment and no harmony in my life. It took a lot to admit I was sad. I was really depressed¬†and I had¬†chosen¬†to live like that for ¬†several years. Living in regret.

I remember one morning I spent the entire¬†morning¬†with God in prayer on my back porch.¬† I was angry, bitter and I was hurting. I was also very¬†stubborn¬†and God used a lot of my¬†grief¬†to help me to¬†recognize¬† some of the things I held on to were because of pride. I remember ¬†crying out to God with so much pain and ¬†telling God I was ¬†‘fed up’ and I wanted a new life, and new hope, and a new way of being and doing. As I sat there, ¬†I had a vision in my head of the ¬†image of the woman in the ¬†Bible with whom they ¬†cast stones . (John 8) ¬† These people brought her to Jesus to be condemned. Jesus response ¬†to her accusers was¬†to write on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote. But her accusers¬†all left after Jesus ¬†wrote on the ground. He then said : “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” ¬†I envisioned Jesus as I sat on my porch¬†(with my eyes closed); ¬†write in the ground for me.¬† As He ¬†wrote, He basically¬†wrote some things ¬†that only I saw, of course.¬† But what he wrote reminded me of what He desired for me to have.His promises.¬† I saw that He had much greater intention¬†for me to have good, in my life. I believe it was like that with her accusers, as well. What was important was not what He wrote, but what He said and¬†how what he said, made me feel. ¬†I didn’t feel sorrowful any longer, I was no longer troubled, I was no longer hurting and burdened deeply with regret, and ¬†I ¬†became decisive.¬†I knew instantly that I deserved more, I wanted more and ¬†that I could have more; and I made the decision to do it.

¬†John 8:7, 10,11 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”¬†When they heard it, they¬†began¬†to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center¬†of the court.¬†Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‚ÄúWoman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?‚Ä̬†She said, ‚ÄúNo one, Lord.‚ÄĚ And Jesus said, ‚ÄúI do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.‚ÄĚ NASB

Jesus dealt with this woman with such tenderness and grace, that she was¬†in awe.¬† All the accusers surrounding her also ¬†were also surprised, but they must have understood, because they left too. If we condemn ourselves, with LIVE WITH REGRET.¬† My¬†relationship¬†with God has taught me I am not worthy of punishment for the ¬†decisions I have made.That’s why he died for us. Once I repent, ask God for help, receive it, then move on. then ¬†comes release. Just like it did for the woman in John 8.¬†This is very important. It’s necessary for living with a clear conscious.

That day on my back porch, I contended with Jesus, in my soul . But I learned three things after my wrangling with God:

1. I had to let go of my past.

2., I¬†couldn’t¬†live in the condemnation,¬†because¬†if I did, I would accept the guilt and regret from my past.

3. I learned I had to move on,¬†because¬†¬†HE¬†didn’t¬†condemn me, and so I had to stop¬†condemning¬†myself.

4. I had to forgive myself.

When you cannot forgive yourself, you don’t remember to be kind, nurturing and self-loving. You forget to ¬†forgive yourself. It took years for me to¬†forgive¬†myself for ¬†things in my past, even after I made a decision to live a better life and leave those things behind I knew I was worth more, I knew I deserved more, but it¬†didn’t¬†make me leave the situation or change anything. Here’s what made ¬†the difference:¬†accepting ¬†God’s forgiveness and allowing His love for me to redeem me.¬†¬†For me, this was what unraveled ¬†the love confusion.¬†I learned that if I ¬†accepted God’s love¬†first¬† and ¬†allowed this¬†to be my¬†foundation¬†for loving others and BEING LOVED… then I would be alright.¬† Once I was certain God has¬†forgiven¬†me and wanted more for me, I began to ¬†move towards freedom, and I never looked back. I fond resolve. But I have to¬†give God my regrets.¬†

People are often amazed by how much peace I seem to have.¬† Let me tell you, I am not perfect. I still struggle, even. And although I have peace , now…¬† It took a very long time to get here. After I ¬†got through the muck and the mess of my own regrets, I was able to stand again on my own two feet. ¬† Of¬†course,¬†¬†some of the way, God carried me to be honest.¬†But I made it to the other side.¬†Now that I am here, it ‘s pertinent I tell the story of how I made it here, so others could be set free as well.

Amen & Selah.reflection

Relief. In The Woods.

I ¬†went to the woods the other day and I think I found my word for next year. It was so freeing. I woke up in a very odd mood, one that wasn’t welcomed. But then, my girlfriend called and she asked did ¬†want to walk. Because my leg was hurting, I could have easily said no. And that leg… it really ¬† was getting on my nerves because this ¬† summer would have been so much better without the injury.

So I asked myself… ‚Äú So you ¬†want to walk?‚ÄĚ Going to the woods releases something in me I ¬†have never felt before. Empowerment.

What about you?

I guess you can see here what I did …‚ėļÔłŹ

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR RELEASE?