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… alter 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 an author of a book today. But I am.

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 (and or those you mentor), today about speaking up and finding their voice? They watch us. If your child or friend gets angry, upset about something that happens with a friend, or even in school or with someone close to them… encourage writing 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. As a parent we 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 truth can be found, and you can rest well, yourself.

Indwelling: The Special Nuances Friendships Make.

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 line, actually. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I bonded with two girlfriends who were friends by nature of my struggle and had similar concerns, as I.

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 how we “did life together “; ho wE fellowshipped together – a lot of time. spent together, talking about life, cooking, playing, talking about God together,, and eating together. Yes fellowshipping. Interactive with the children together- and watching 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. Their depth of character and their faith and friendship. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could go on and they had this soothing, mothering nature that just knew I needed them. Their company and friendship, their love. Possibly no retry conscious to them, this was; yet oblivious to me. 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 it can work for us positively, or even negatively, depending upon whom we spend time with, and how often and how we low 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?

Who tends to notice ‘how we bond’, when we are bonding, right? I didn’t. Perhaps this is how and when I learned to receive from others. In my struggle. When I didn’t understand what life was offering me, and I didn’t want whatnot set before me. Perhaps in Gods 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 thanks God. For friendships then, and friendships now – and what I offer now, and was not fully aware I was being then, even. By nature of how my relationships have formed today, thank you for allowing me to mentor and nurture women today,

I am indwelling.

Providing a motivating force and guiding force for women, looking back and noticing what I needed, and revived and what helped me to survive. That’s for the mentoring of me, so I could mentor today.

Yes. An indwelling.

Selah.

Question: Where does your indwelling come from? Do you nurture it or ignore it? Are you even aware as to whether it exists?

One Woman, Empowered.

I was out walking in sixty degree weather in December, and saw this view above. I decided to share here because I’m so happy living in a place where sixty and seventy degree weather happens in December.

It feels great. Yet I also miss the snow. Especially at Christmas. I’m a New York girl. So I grew up making snowmen, angels in the snow, playing with my dog and brothers in the snow, sledding, and you know, all the snow stuff!

I miss fun in the snow, but I’m also content being ‘adulting’ and living in a warmer environment. I believe weather helps my mood. A whole lot. And I remember the day I promised myself I would not be in NY much longer. I was scraping the ‘hardest ever’ ice off my windshield and about to curse- and I said “Never again!” This too shall pass… and it did. After traveling the world and seeing such beauty in other places and warmth, I decided it had to happen and happen, soon. So one more winter passed, and I was gone.

Being my own woman has changed my life. It’s been even more of a challenge, as I got married ( the second time) and figuring that out. Yet I’m grateful for the spaces in life that taught me how to do that. Yes, I may have learned the hard way, but what an adventure!

When i moved the first time, I even left my “then” boyfriend.. I wasn’t playing…..I was serious about making life changes. And I knew I wasn’t going to let anyone change that vision I had of being me. I contemplated long and hard that after living for someone else, previously…for about ten years of my life, and realized that chapter of my life was over. So I moved to DC. Washing DC was my place of loss and yet a place of giving birth. And ten months later I moved to Texas. I became a FREE woman, and …Loved every bit of it! Yeah, I followed a guy out there I loved, but I got my own place my own job, had just bought my own car.. and I was SET. If it didn’t work out , it would be because God didn’t want it to.

I don’t regret those changes.

They grew me up, matured me. Made me strong. And here I am. Happy. Still pursuing ME.

Selah.

I am Enough & I am Insightful.

Where does your insight come from? I’d venture to say mine comes from asking questions I’m naturally curious . I tend to ask questions to understand better.

My mom says I would in the past, come in the house from playing, ask her a question, then run right back outside.

That was me.

It’s because I’m always thinking.

Being insightful requires  that we be intuitive human beings. I believe innately we all have a desire to understand the hard things in life.

We use questions to help us think clearly. We consider…and then we make decisions. For a very long time, I did not make decisions. I chose not to. Because I was too afraid. I decided that if I made a decision someone would suffer, and  most likely that would be  someone I loved. And of course, it would be me, so I just didn’t. Yet not deciding , was deciding.

History: I was in a relationship where I wasn’t treated very well, and  I chose to stay. I did think of leaving …more than once. Yet I suffered.  I decided the day I made the decision to move on, that I would not be in a relationship again until I knew “who I was”, in that relationship. Because I had gone so long in this relationship without an identity. So long… and didn’t change anything about myself. How crucial it was, to own my soul.  Every time  I gave my soul away, I would give away a piece of myself. I decided that I would work on  changing myself, and start dreaming. I wrote down on a piece of paper all the things that were wrong.  It turns out , those things were the things that hurt me the most, and had begun to leave scars. So I needed to leave, in order to no longer be treated that way.

And so I did. The day I chose to leave, I believe my destiny began to be released. I began to “feel andbe ” happier in my everyday life.  I felt a  weight lift off of my chest. I began to smile more, and care less about the person who hurt me, and more about myself first; because for the first time I saw surprise in their eyes. They couldn’t predict my actions. And that was good stuff.  And that surprise to me was a sign I was doing something right. So, I  began to move along and do more out of the box – selfish,  yet self-loving acts.

Before I left  the relationship, I was really meditating on hearing my spirit more, and one of the  phrases I heard often was: “Take care of  the God in you.” The God in me, was loving, caring full of strength, love and full consideration of how to love others back in a righteous way, and that, I wanted to model for others, and for my children, one day as well.  I began to keep my ears keen for people who demonstrated the same kind of love for me, and  on the weekend of October 14th, 2005, I heard it. It as very keen, and it was  exactly what I was looking for. Although l really didn’t expect it so soon. A man I didn’t know very well, (yet considered a friend from a leadership event a year before) , began to speak to my heart. We talked  for hours that weekend. And it was as if every moment was absorbed  through my ears, into my skin, my intuition, and  straight into my heart. He spoke to my worth. That honorable and  distinguished man became my husband.  All of the junk  and the misconceptions and lies were washed out of my brain and my head was clear enough to hear it.

I decided that day, I would begin a new journey to loving me, because I knew once I began to truly love myself,   I would feel completely deserving o my own good. And even when opportunities presented, I would find them to grace my life with complete favor.

Insight involves  three beautiful life-changing  factors:

  1.  Intuition. Intuition  is described as :“the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”There are some issues we experience in life, we just know. We don’t know ‘how we know, but like my former pastor in Texas used to say:“We just know it in our knower.” I have collected  and meditated even, upon this thought over and over when I needed to make a the right decision, and  depending upon my “knower” was  always what held me upright and allowed me to keep my head up – without shame, in the end.
  2. Knowledge.Knowledge because it takes  the sifting of what we learn via our intuition, to help us move forwards without disgrace. and move forward with our heads held high in confidence we are moving in the right direction.
  3.  Understanding. Understanding is like to icing on the cake. Once you have  a good taste of it, it helps  sort of stays with you and gives you  that” forever-flavor’ in life.  If you have forever” flavor”, you have  wisdom. The Bible says ” The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” ESV. It also tells us  to even not rely on our own understanding. I have seen far too many rely on it, and fall back on shame. And often disgrace, for a lifetime.

When you don’t have these three awesome factors,  you  fall upon inexperience, naivete’  you become neglectful, it effects your reputations and you  become really insensitive towards others. I used to always pray for God to keep me humble, Sometimes I believe the results of those prayers today are embedded in my character,  with insight, because I  listened within, and I heard myself speak in my heart, as well as my soul.

I  prompt you today:

To LISTEN to yourself.  Remind yourself constantly of what you believe in, and then…  walk it out.

As long as it protects your thought life, your reputation, your spirit, and your life hold on to what you believe!

Question: 

When was the last time you listened to someone else before yourself, and how much did it cost you?