A Woman’s Worth

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So It has been a long awhile since I have written an entry.  Actually, I have made several attempts to start an entry on various topics that crossed my mind in the past…let me think… 8 months.  All attempts were valid but I have decided to start, complete and publish this entry because this subject matter has been a constant theme for the past 8 months.

My last entry dealt with applying for jobs while teaching art during my summer vacation.  A somewhat bittersweet season that pushed me to cling to God and ask for guidance on a daily basis.  In this quest, I did receive revelation via a dream.  I had a dream I was talking to Hispanic young women, teenagers, and I only remember the words I told them in the dream, “You must know your worth.” or something along those lines.  In the dream, the girls simply listened and had the utmost respect for me.  When I woke up, I felt empowered that I had this task to take on and then, of course, I asked, “Why was I only talking to Hispanic young women.”  It simply goes to show that God gives you information little by little because by the end of the summer I had received a job at a high school, teaching theater and dance, along with being the drill team dance assistant director at a high school that was predominantly Hispanic.

The position took some getting used to.  Especially coming from working at a catholic school in The Heights, and then a magnet school nestled in the lush South Hampton neighborhood.  Then on top of that, having a private school education majority of my life… well, I experienced public school education during my middle school years, which gave some street cred but not a whole lot since the school resided in West University.

So I accepted the position and in the first couple of months, I had to “man-up” and be quite stern with my students.  I was given this advice from a fellow educator who works in the infamous Aldine school district.  It proved to work because it is now spring semester and those once troubled students are now participating, wanting to do better.  And there is an overall sense of respect in all my classes.  No longer do have that one student that changes the whole dynamic, in fact, that one student has now become interested in pursuing theater.  Somehow this overall peace in my classroom is present.  Now, I give no credit to me just me putting my foot down but simply to God.  Since my first day of school, I have been praying over every desk in my classroom.  I do a walk through every morning with my hands extended on the desks, praying my students are able to release any pain and/ or anger in the process of participating in my class.  I guess I was aware at some point in my life that the arts has the power to heal, but it has become quite clear now that I am now the facilitator of this emotional release.

I remember when I first got the position.  When I had the interview with the principal I knew I needed to be there.  The school was nowhere near the utopian school with involved parents or students that did above and beyond but I knew my presence was needed in this moment. I knew I needed to share the arts with THESE students.  I remember the week before school officially started, professional development week
for the teachers, as I was introducing myself to the teachers, and getting my classroom together I had a smile on my face but was suppressing the very fact that I was super nervous and felt… well, inadequate.  I knew God had planned this … this was the next step towards the bigger picture.  I held in a lot of what I was feeling. I was “Faking it, until I made it.” Now, of course, when you hold stuff in they are bound to come out eventually…  well mine came out in tears while in church. The perfect place, right?! I went to church and I don’t particularly remember the sermon but near the end the pastor wanted to do a special prayer over the teachers. The teachers had to stand up while the others had their hands extended towards the teachers in the church. Right when Pastor Jeremy recited the first line of the prayer, tears started to roll down my face, and all that frustration I was holding onto flowed out. This was my emotional release.

I am now in the thick of it.  The school year is about to come to an end and I survived dance competition season!  My theater students are pretty comfortable in expressing themselves, of course in an appropriate manner, and have gotten to know the girls pretty well on the drill team.  The teacher role has certainly crossed over to mentor role.  And yes that “worth” lecture has come up in some various conversations with my students… especially my female students. Yet, more than ever I have even seen that “worth” lecture crossover to my circle of friends and family, and even strangers on my path.  This bringing up of women, in general, has become a trend in my life … I am starting to have more clarity on how to go about it now.

Throughout my life, I have allowed my light to get dim in certain areas of my life.  In comparing myself to others, in looking for men to give me value, and simply not adhering to God’s guidance.  I have been so caught up in seeking outside myself for value and instead of seeking Him to know my value.  At this point in my life, successfully being single for a whole year I now know where my value lies.  I now have boundaries and have shed some “fleshy” attributes of myself.  Of course, this process calls me to pray to Him on the daily to stay on course.  I am not a finished product but I do see a change and that makes me smile… chin up and chest out :)

 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

Psalm 119:9-16 MSG

 

Light, Salt, and…Sand

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This whole summer, particularly this month has been filled with filling out applications and going on interviews.  The interviews have been a blessing, but the rejections have been eye-openers.  The rejections have led to me to ask God constantly, “so what do you want me to do again?”  Surprisingly, the rejections have not put me in a low state…I mean I do have my moments but they don’t last for days.  I’ll speak or cry out my frustrations, then within an hour or so move on to the next application… or wait till the next day…. or next week…Which is exactly what I did the week before my trip to San Diego. On that Monday, a few days before I went on my trip, I had an interview at a school that I really wanted…. well, actually I had two interviews with the same school I really wanted on the same day to first meet with the Fine Arts coordinator and then a second interview with the principal.  I felt good about it and was hoping to get a call right before I left for my trip that Thursday,  so I could enjoy my trip and be at ease….  but my wishes were not met and had to go on my trip with uncertainty.

I had planned on working my teacher modules and fill out job applications while I was on my trip just to stay afloat and be ready for whatever came my way when I came back… but that didn’t happen… in fact, I didn’t think about anything while I was away.  My days were spent on three different beaches, taking a morning hike along the mountain landscape, and feeling the cool breeze while relaxing in an outdoor hot tub.  I got sucked into that Cali vibe all the way! I didn’t have a set plan or anything…I was flexible… I was calm…I was at peace… I was on some type of high that lasted the entire the trip. I thanked God under my breath at every minute …I thanked Him for the beach, the deep sleep, the food, the funds to get away… Everything!!!  I was okay when I was away.  The interviews, the applications, the emails that I needed to send… the emails and calls I was trying to avoid were all a distant memory.

On the last full day of the trip, I went to my friend’s church, EastLake.  The church reminded me of the church I go here in Houston, Hope City.  It had that same laid-back vibe and ambiance. The service opened up with praise and worship and the groups of singers were young and sang songs that I hear of KSBJ… “Ever Be” was one of them… I love that song.  The familiarity of it all brought on more peace within me.  As I sang the best I could… I’m not the best singer.  I think I’m an Alto but can’t always hit those low notes… I dip into soprano at times… or whatever… I had stopped singing when one of the singers took over one of the songs.  I can’t recall the name of the song but it was a beautiful song partly due to the fact the singer had an amazing voice… along the lines of Fiona Apple and Adele…deep, raspy, and soulful and yes, she was white.  Anyways, not only did her voice get my attention but her shirt got my attention.  It read, in gold letters: “Light and Salt.” The scripture came to my mind… I loosely remembered the verse… you are the salt of the earth, the light to the world…  let your light shine… I held on to that message.

The next day I went back to work, teaching art, and somehow held on to my Cali state of mind. Throughout the day nothing bothered me.  I hadn’t heard from that school I really wanted but did get an email from another school for an interview.  I was cool with it.  I was so chill that day,  even when I got my favorite Mexican shirt dirty, I didn’t react I simply washed it out with soap and water at the classroom sink, taking my time while  a group of students waited for me to be done.  I didn’t care…I got through the day and had decided to head home after work to rest for a bit and then headed to the gym to take a class…. I was fine… Feeling good…

Well, sad to say that “feeling good” thing didn’t last long… the next day, the day of that other interview something hit…. this something hit after the interview, Thank God… it was the realization that I had no idea what was happening.  Right now every day seems like a surprise… which can be cool … but my controlling side is not too keen with that.  Every day I am doing what I can and waiting on God to His thing.  I try something and then ask for His direction… I go with what LITTLE details He gives me.  My dreams give me little vignettes, clues of what is ahead…and  I keep seeing the numbers: 11, 22, 33, 44…333…4444…777…. lots of 7s and 4s.  I googled this phenomenon and it all points to being on the right track and God, Jesus, and the angels support and are providing guidance.  Well, the numbers do give me that extra encouragement but this uncertainty has got me…well it’s got me calling on God more often… I feel like my last entry was about this.  A daily call for assistance… daily bread…

A close friend of mind told me that I am officially a month old of 33 years old… my resurrection year… a call to His will as come to the forefront … and I’m a little nervous but excited at the same time…kind of.

 

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

 

 

Take The Lead!

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Now more than ever I feel like God wants me to step out.  No longer in the background, as if to say, “All that was needed to be taught, healed has been done and you are now ready to be fully in the world.”  Of course, I will always be a work in progress but the realization of who I am as come into view.  I spent a huge part of my life running away, or rather taking control of what I thought I was, but now I’m in full surrender.  I’m so in full surrender that I am actually applying to be a certified teacher.  I feel like God is pushing me to do this.  He gave me a short gig to give me a glimpse of what he has called me to do… in this moment, at least.  Around this time last year I had applied to be a dance teacher and while in the interview I was not fully committed.  I was not fully in it.  Although I got pretty far into the interview, second round, I did not get the job because it was obvious that I was not committed to making this a career.  I knew it was a part of me but it was not all of me…yet when it was all over I missed those moments of creating dance lessons, putting together a performance, watching the children perform…I missed it all.  I knew having these feelings were a clue into what God had called me to do.

Throughout this month I have been praying really hard to just get a new job! I apply for jobs every day… praying something will come through.  I have been asking God to take over and open up an opportunity that will give me clarity… opportunities that will add on to the foundation that has been planted within me.  I’ve mainly applied to Theater/ Dance positions… I started applying in May and now, at the end of June I’m starting to hear from a few schools… all for theater jobs.  I just came back from one interview. I talked to the principal and she showed the classroom and stage… and I left feeling … well, it was nice to get interview mode… ease some nervousness for the upcoming interviews I have scheduled.

Now, working in a school can be… well, somewhat stifling for “the freed artist” but maybe this new position will open up something within me… I’m simply trusting in this guidance.  I guess there is a certified teacher in me that I need to let flourish… certification would be nice to add to my expertise… although a resume filled with degrees.. certifications means nothing in God’s eyes… He has the power to open doors that a fancy resume couldn’t!  Who know’s maybe God will open up a door that I have not even applied for… until then I’m in teacher interview mode… putting my best foot forward.

But yeah, aside from the interviewing I have spent a quite a bit of time writing a new play… somewhat autobiographical… don’t want to give too many details but along the lines of generation curses… and I’m trying to go big with this one…. musical theater like… Broadway?!  Watching the Tony’s got me a little inspired :)

 

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 NIV

 

Simply Trust and Believe…

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The school year is officially over and summer is here.  I have some opportunities teaching dance to keep me occupied throughout the summer and have scheduled a trip to the west coast for some rest and relaxation at the beach.  Although the summer has just started I already feel like it’s going to go by so fast… yet, I am hoping it slows down a bit so I can figure out what’s next in my life.  These past few months I have definitely felt a shift within me that’s yearning for a change. I had this same feeling a few months before I moved back home from New York… everything appeared to be the same but my inner being seemed to be moving elsewhere, not wanting to stay where I was.  I have this same feeling now.  This shift to make a change was confirmed in a dream I had about a week or so ago… I was in different locations, almost a step by step of my past to the present and then the future…the end result was… well, it was not where I am at in this present moment.  I knew the place, the location, but how to get there wasn’t quite clear … I was only shown where to go.

So after I had the dream I came across this documentary HOLY GHOST.  The film was pretty much curated by the holy spirit.  The director had no script, storyboard, no plans really on how to go about the film… he was simply in full surrender to wherever the Holy Spirit led him to.  The crew ended up traveling across the world, to a Muslim mosque in Morocco, Mormon territory in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Hindu shrines in India speaking of and praising Jesus Christ through song without any violence erupting… they were accepted, protected the entire trek.  Their tactics were quite different to what is usually seen on street corners, people holding signs speaking harshly into a microphone about damnation, and the urgency to repent…instead they walked the streets peacefully, being led to certain individuals in a gentle manner offering healing to any ailments they may have had. All the individuals they approached were open to receiving healing… and the crew of pastors/ believers simply laid their hands on them and prayed boldly in Jesus’ name…truly believing… the holy spirit was working through them… They were truly using His power. Also, aside from that, what kept them on course were promptings/ visions of landmarks that they were to visit… and somehow the very people they helped led them to these very landmarks.   They simply allowed the spirit to lead them without questioning or even figuring out on their own on how to get these landmarks… they truly put their trust in God.

The film made me think of moments in the past in which I was led by The Holy Spirt.  I had received a vision,a dream… I mean there was even a time I was lost in New York and heard a gentle voice lead me to which subway car to get on, and which exit stairway to walk out of and then I was led to a friend that actually needed some encouragement en route to where I needed to go.  I have had other experiences like that but at this moment, I do feel like the Holy Spirit is far from me… or maybe my old way of being in control is getting in the way to allowing to be led.  The dream excited me a bit, but really pushed me to know how and when this will all going to come about…anxious… impatient, really.  I want it all to transpire fairly soon but it’s only causing frustration from within.  As this month is ending, I am telling myself to trust and truly believe that the Holy Ghost will lead me… I don’t need to worry or make plans on how to have what He has shown me… I have done that before and it did not end so well…the Lord will lead me to the right people/ places to bring about my destiny.  Simply trust and believe….. my mantra :)

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The pic above is me in my new car… definitely an intercession of the Holy Spirit… confirmation that The Holy Spirit will come through and is listening.  In my old car I kept saying “I just want a reliable car”  and “a SUV would be nice!”  Now, in my own thinking I would’ve had to wait and save money but God made it happen way quicker…. okay, I got it… simply trust and believe… it’s coming sooner than you know it!

 

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’  Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Geneis 18:13-14 (NLT)

 

 

 

Let It Go…For Real, For Real

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April is proving to be the month to re-focus. This month has called me to really look within and realize who I am… again. During the first months of this year, I felt like I was doing a lot purging of the old… clearing out what was holding me back, in a sense. This revelation came pretty clear when I had a major accident near the end of March… right before I finished my March entry in which I was anticipating the new. Thank God… yes, it was all Him… I was left with no broken bones, just some tenderness here and there … but after a few days of rest, long walks around the neighborhood and a free AMAZING massage I was up to par and ready to accept The New fully.

I remember how it all happened…It was a normal day. I went to work, gym after and then stopped by HEB to pick up a few things… a dozen eggs and green beans (part of the meal plan) and then I was on my way home.  So, before you go into the subdivision there is a long two-way street that leads into it….It was a rainy day, so I was going close to 30 miles per hour on this road.  As I was just a few lights away from home, a car in the opposite lane decides to do a last minute turn towards the cross street right in front of me. I hit the brakes but the streets were slick and I couldn’t make a complete stop, so I swerved towards the opposite lane to avoid a head-on collision with the car that turned in front of me….I ended up hitting a car in the opposite lane. I hit their left light, no major damage. Yet, my car was totaled. A father and his son were in the vehicle I hit.  The three of us walked out of our cars  just fine….a bit confused, but no major injuries. I explained to them what happened… even asked if they saw the car that turned in front of me, but the father could not recall, just still in shock on what just happened. After I saw that they were okay,  I called 911.  While I was on the phone answering the necessary questions I noticed the dad touching his head and could hear the little boy saying that his chest was hurting.  I hated that I had some fault in their pain…guilt ran all through me…these feelings stayed with me as I was talking to the person on the opposite end.  As I hung up the phone and looked at the scene I had caused, I followed the protocol by answering the necessary questions to more authorities that came on to the scene within minutes….I still was concerned about them….looking back at every chance that I could…. but then somehow as I was surrounded by policemen, EMS workers, Tow drivers… the little boy swooped up right beside me with a huge smile and showed me his toy… I looked down and cracked a slight smile…. calm within the storm.

After all the surreal-ness of the situation dissipated, I realized my chest was hurting like crazy, I could barely move my right hip, and my knees were throbbing with pain. Traffic, police cars, ambulances, flashing lights… and all the while I remember holding my bible for some reason. I didn’t know how I got it but my sister had noticed that I had it in tow. I guess it was confirmation that this was All God.  My dad and sister came on the scene and they were able to take me to an urgent care facility… avoiding the HUGE fee from an ambulance. Through it all, I stayed pretty calm… to my surprise. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t yelling…. I was cool as a cucumber… is that the saying? Anyways, I guess somehow I knew this was all going to work out. While I was in the backseat, I saw my car being dragged off by a tow truck … and I had this feeling, this knowing, that this was the end of the old. I got that car when I first moved back to Houston. I experienced a lot of soul-searching in that car. I was lost, confused, heartbroken, full of doubt, even depressed…a bit toxic and negative, but somehow it brought me closer to Him…it brought me closer to where He wanted to be, and what He wanted me to be.

My new car isn’t exactly New New… but it is a nice upgrade in make, model, year and size!  I few scratches here and there but I think the scratches actually are good for me….keeps me grounded.

Since the accident, promptings to re-focus and fully surrender to His plan have taken precedence in my life. I still have some small slip ups (negative thinking) but they seem to be only temporary… realizing that there is something bigger than myself at work.

I have also realized that I personally can’t help everyone that comes along my path… personal interactions to heal need to be… well, there’s only so much I can do. I am learning that my life doesn’t call me to give up on my own personal well-being to help someone but the very gifts that God has blessed me with can initiate transformation within others…a step towards Him.  I am learning to give myself time frames … not necessarily avoiding personal interactions with people, but not investing long periods of time in trying to help them…especially when I am still broken myself. I am learning to find balance from within in order to reach more through my gifts… gifts, that I am still honing and cultivating… Gifts that are still being revealed within me.

 

Now I’m sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us.  For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed.

Romans 8:18-19

 

Oh, and on the day I returned back to school while doing my morning duty in the cafeteria, a kindergartner came up to me and gave me this sticker File_000

Confirmation that the old has passed away.

 

That New New

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I decided to put a pic of my new cousin to commemorate newness…the theme of the entry.  The beginning of this year has been a push to remove all that is old, long overdue in my life.  I needed to let go of past hurts… old habits… and past roles that I thought I needed to be.  The meal plan helped with this process.  I was shedding away pounds as I was shedding away dead weight spiritually that needed to be cleared out.   The process was hard… spent quite a few times in prayer in tears but knew this was the only way to make room for more clarity, wisdom and simply… “THAT NEW NEW.”

In fact, I even listened to Hope City’s podcast on Detox throughout the month of March… and even took a break from Facebook and whatever else that could attract more clutter.  I wanted to break away from old routines of trying to help everyone that crossed my path… going to the extremes of letting my joy fall to the wayside as I helped them… I am learning now about boundaries… to love from a distance… to be consistent in prayer and allow God to work on those that I can not fully help.  I realized that was my MO for most of my life… constantly running with people that had good hearts but had a lot negativity around them.  I aware that this was happening, but my overwhelming desire to be there for them, to comfort the, seemed to take over my own sense of joy, peace, and overall balance in my life.  I worried about them… I prayed for them more than I prayed for myself…these people were my friends, so I would even put my own happiness on hold to ensure that their happiness was intact.  I was giving them all of my energy, good energy, alleviating some weight off them but then taking on their weight.  This came clear to me this month….near the end of March right before Easter.  It was the revelation of revelations.

My dreams have even started to make sense… I have these new dreams… but then dreams I had a long time ago are starting to make sense.  I am starting to recall.. or maybe God is calling me to recall…. what He showed me years ago…as if to show me that they are starting to bloom soon.  Like years back… I had a dream that I was walking on a college campus and there was so much darkness,  it was a cloudy day and people were just angry… then out of nowhere, I lift my hands up and rays of light comes out of them.. this strong light takes up all of my energy and strength….then all of a sudden I fall into someone’s arms… JESUS…with eyes closed, breathing heavily…then slowly I opened my eyes, which were full of tears and saw a beautiful sunny day.. people smiling and getting along.  I had shared this dream before in one of my blog entries, but now I have more clarity… working with young people may be my calling.  Also, awhile back I had a dream that I was watching this stage transform.  First, it was a small stage with homemade stage scenery for a play… then the small stage got bigger and bigger, transforming into a much more extravagant stage with high-ceiling, bright scenery… and somehow I knew I was directing a play on this HUGE stage.   When I had the dream I didn’t quite understand it.  It all started to come together when I had a dream sometime last week… I was getting costumes lined up backstage.  I was also wearing a gold bikini top and shorts… which definitely symbolizes the bikini competition my sister and I are prepping for… so maybe all this preparation (the process) was molding me to work with children on the stage.  The dreams and the random theater projects that just came up out of the blue (God) were all for me to see that I could do this…even if I thought I was not quite qualified to take this on.

Even writing for the stage has been placed in my heart.  I wrote a play when I first moved back to Houston.. and this past week started to write another…. not sure what it’s about but the theme lies in identity.

This newfound calling has always been present in my life now that I think about it.  Writers and plays… I mean in all the plays I have acted in the writer of the play has always been present in the rehearsal process… which is pretty rare.  The writer was present to direct and produce the entire project.  I witnessed the whole role of creating and then producing your own work….all to show me that I had the potential to do the very same thing.  Even in New York, I met a writer that I kept “bumping” into that was getting his Masters at Juilliard.  The random interactions led him to invite me to see one of his plays at Juilliard and then his other play at the Lincoln Center…. he now writes for TV shows.  He was maybe a glimpse of what I had the potential of doing one day.  I even got to meet Ishmael Reed by performing in one of his plays in New York…another successful playwright.  AND, my roommate in New York was a playwright…hmmm.

In middle school, my dad signed me up for a creative writing class, which I had no interest in taking, but left it on schedule anyways, and I ended up enjoying the class.  It was then that I realized that writing brought peace within me…my therapy.  Another sign is this blog.  This was not at all my idea…my friend’s boyfriend, who is now my friend, decided to build this blog for me.  Not sure if he thought I had this interesting life but something, or rather The Holy Spirit,  thought this may be a way for me to realize my calling.  I am actually connecting all these dots as I am writing this right now.  Oh, and just last year, a friend of mine, who happens to be good friends with the Locke family, invited me to attend a reading of Attica’s Locke’s new book… who happens to be one of the writers of Empire.  I’m not a fan of the series but I respect that a writer from Houston made it to Hollywood with a successful tv series… hmmm…

AND… since I’ve been back home all the guys I’ve dated have been… what?  WRITERS!!!

AND Funny, with all this revelation… I realized that I turn 33 this year.  Resurrection Year!!!

Well, I guess the detox cleared out all that junk that distracted me from my calling… it’s time to get to work!!!

 

 Imagine there’s a wedding going on. Is that the time to tell the guests to ignore the bridegroom and fast?  Sure, there’s a time for fasting—when the bridegroom has been taken away. Look, nobody tears up a new garment to make a patch for an old garment. If he did, the new patch would shrink and rip the old, and the old garment would be worse off than before. And nobody takes freshly squeezed juice and puts it into old, stiff wineskins. If he did, the fresh wine would make the old skins burst open, and both the wine and the wineskins would be ruined.  New demands new—new wine for new wineskins.

Luke 5:34-38 (The Voice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Discipline

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In the days leading up to Lent until now, I definitely feel like I am in the wilderness.  I feel like I am being tested in every area of my life right now… will I go back to old behaviors or will I step back and look at the bigger picture, and make the choice to move from a more spiritually mature place? The test is Self-Control and the he questions are as follows: Will you let go of the need to be in control?  Will you trust me?  Will you control your emotions? Is there another option other than anger and fear?  Can you uphold peace, even when you don’t understand what’s going on?  Will you have faith? Will you come to Me?

So yeah in the physical, and in the spiritual (in my dreams) I am being hit with situations that are causing me to answer these questions… by the way, I know the answers to these questions are all YES…. I just need to release my first inclination to take control, but instead let go and allow the holy spirit to take over…. in essence it’s all about coming back to Him.  To bring every frustration, uncertainty, fear to Him… I am learning that in this process.  I have to admit, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in my prayer closet.  Shoes, clothes started to take precedence in that room… I would glance at the pictures and prayers every now and then but never made the time to sit and pray.  I also think for awhile everything seemed just fine so my need to sit in that prayer room didn’t seem worthwhile… I mean I still prayed.  I took daily walks in the neighborhood before work and talked to God then, but to be honest I was not truly expressive.  How would it look like if I just fell down to my knees and started crying in the middle of Rice Village?  I need to make time to be completely vulnerable to God… and this season seems to be the most appropriate time.

Lent: To abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.

Since this has been my test to pass, I have found some outlets to maintain self-control… writing.  This blog, along with journal writing has helped me flesh out what I am  really feeling… Working out allows me to release all the toxins in my body, which in turn leaves an effect on my mind… working with children….It’s no coincidence that God put me in the position to work in Special Education, in which I have to work with children that are emotionally disturbed.  In working with these children we have to find outlets to control their anger/ frustrations… take a walk, write, talk… maybe even dance.  Yet, I think the main outlet needs to be prayer… I need to be constant in this…being vulnerable in His presence always.

On top of all this reflection and tests… I am on this strict meal plan with my sister.  She is competing and I decided to go through the process with her… to add on to more self-control/ discipline.   It’s hard because I like to eat! I get cravings… ice cream on these really beautiful sunny days would be so nice …but NO! No dairy! I guess this would be the whole “fasting for 40 days and 40 nights” ….which may be even effect how I handle these tests…

I know these tests  are leading me to something good.   Its gets hard  sometimes, especially when I have to just wait and be still…  yet I know there is something beautiful in the works… a foundation to do His works in more dynamic ways.

 

 

The Spirit then led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine,hungry.  But He was also curiously stronger, when the tempter came to Jesus.

Devil: If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

Jesus (quoting Deuteronomy):  It is written, “Man does not live by bread alone. Rather, he lives on every word that comes from the mouth of the Eternal One.”

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, Jerusalem, and he had Jesus stand at the very highest point in the holy temple.

Devil:  If You are the Son of God, jump! And then we will see if You fulfill the Scripture that says,

    He will command His heavenly messengers concerning You,
        and the messengers will buoy You in their hands
    So that You will not crash, or fall, or even graze Your foot on a stone.

Jesus:  That is not the only thing Scripture says. It also says, “Do not put the Eternal One, your God, to the test.”

And still the devil subjected Jesus to a third test. He took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain, and he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor and glory, their power and pomp.

Devil:  If You bow down and worship me, I will give You all these kingdoms.

Jesus:  Get away from Me, Satan. I will not serve you. I will instead follow Scripture, which tells us to “worship the Eternal One, your God, and serve only Him.”

 Then the devil left Jesus. And heavenly messengers came and ministered to Him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (VOICE)

As we proceed

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I left 2015 with a huge dose of uncertainty and a dash of expectancy, particularly in the career realm.  I had experienced this amazing high by choreographing a dance piece and received such great feedback that I had this adrenaline to keep at it.. yet, I am back where I started.  In the Special Ed Resource room tutoring students in math and reading.  I am not bitter… well, maybe a little.  Why give me an opportunity where my creative talents are utilized only to go back to sitting in a chair?  Opportunities to teach dance again are coming up, which is good, but there are only temporary gigs… nothing permanent quite yet…

During the holiday break, my dad asked if I was going to be more aggressive in seeking jobs in the dance education  scene… and I was hesitant to say yes because for the past four.. five years I have been VERY aggressive in seeking jobs.  Spent hours at Starbucks applying for jobs… museum jobs mainly, in the education department, of course, but none ever responded.  I take that back, The Museum of Fine Arts did, I was in the second round for some position, but didn’t get it.  Other than that, none of the jobs ever got in touch with me.  I guess I could steer towards applying to dance jobs, which I have I done a little bit of, but I feel like God has something else in the works… which is cool with me.  I mean with all the jobs that I had applied for in the past few years,  God has provided positions nowhere near to what I applied for.   So, to answer my dad’s question of being more aggressive.. well, what’s the point when God seems to have His own agenda in mind… and to be honest He has proved to know what’s best.

And the only reason I applied to museum jobs was because I would like to build a new museum… so I was thinking I needed to attain more museum experience to take strides toward this long term goal. Yet, God saw it that I needed to gain some insight in other areas before I embark on the museum world.  He always put in places where I received favor… there was connection to a place, a person, the dots were being connected… I just needed to trust and take part in the experience… observe, listen, learn, and  then be used to His liking.

2016 is proving to be the year to work towards this long term goal… maybe because things have slowed down a bit so my focus goes back to this long term goal. The past four years I have worked on it here and there.  I wrote a narrative that explains the origin and how I would like to use the space, a 3 year business plan, researched grants and possible donors… all while having job positions that did not require me to work long hours or take my work home with me but positions that had me in constant contact with children…which provided me the inspiration to stay focused on the project.  God was showing me who would benefit from this museum.  The creative child, the emotionally disturbed child, the orphan, the quiet child, the shy child, the overlooked child…

So, I have these big plans, right… have all this work on paper and done research, but have no idea on how to begin.  How do I build an institution? What do I do leading up to its fruition?  These questions come up every now and then…I do get a little frustrated but I am learning, through prayer and bible study that worry will not bring on peace or any type of revelation.  I am learning to stay calm and balanced… and I have quite a few activities that help me maintain this: the gym (my therapy sessions), family/ friend gatherings (long conversations with my sister), and of course, my prayer time, which has definitely been extended due to this predicament… also a new friend has made it not so bad.  He has become a bit of “breather” for me… and in a lot a ways a healer.  Although, he calls me his healer, it is definitely not one-sided.  I mean, it’s weird but I thought I was healed in certain areas within me, specifically in dealing with past hurts but in our conversations the band-aids are being ripped off , in a sense, allowing the wound to heal out in the open… no longer keeping it concealed….Maybe this healing needs to happen before I take on this huge project…

 

Eternal One:  If you will listen closely to My voice—the voice of your God—and do what is right in My eyes, pay attention to My instructions, and keep all of My laws; then I will not bring on you any of the plagues that I did on the Egyptians, for I am the Eternal, your Healer.

Exodus 15:26 (VOICE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generational Blessing

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A week or ago, I decided to attend Lakewood church.  It was the Saturday before Christmas so I knew the sermon was going to focus on the season… Jesus being the reason.  I went alone because I was going to met up with a friend in the area later on that night and I just felt I needed to be there.  I had never gone to lakewood by myself, usually went with my sister but she had other plans with friends… I was hesitant to go because I was a little leery about going on my own.  The safety issue came up in my mind… parking at night in the area, walking in the garage alone… fear crept up a bit but then something came over: I can’t let fear stop me from going to church… So I proceeded to attend the service.  I got there early and was ushered to sit at the ground level, front and center near the stage.  I sat at the end of the aisle, easy access to the exit.  As I sat, I did a bit of people watching. Looked over at families deciding wear to sit…ushers guiding patrons to their seats, laughter and smiles… and even noticed someone in my row getting emotional, tears falling down…I just smiled and moved on to the next clan to watch.  I was fine with being on my alone, I needed some type of revelation… specifically on the upcoming year.  I had finished my temporary gig as a dance teacher and needed some type direction on what to do next.  I had a lot of anxiety at this point because I was unsure on what to focus on or what was in store for me.  These thoughts ran through my mind as I sat in my seat at Lakewood.. and then someone handed me a CD that read: GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS and said, “Merry Christmas.”  I smiled back as tears started to well up in my eyes.

When I moved back home to Houston, the plan of action was to heal.  The healing first started within myself but then transpired over my family.  When I first became aware of the generational curse I was scared and was in disbelief of the whole thing.  Yet, little by little God revealed to me that this was real I needed to take part in the healing process, even if it meant staying in my parents’ home and taking on the assistant role in my job positions.  It was the only way to gain wisdom… to allow others to lead me… to allow others to teach me… so I could be ready to allow HIM to lead and teach me.  While in this process, I started to clear out the clutter physically and received revelations in dreams and vivid visions that led me to clear up clutter spiritually. The most important thing I had to do while in the process was remain positive…even when I was bombarded with frustrations on where I was and where I wanted to be.  I was forced, or rather swayed towards trusting in Him.  These past four years have been nothing but tests.  Tests that measure my spiritual maturity.  Tests that stripped everything I thought I was and took me back home to the person I was called to be… and that meant to heal all that was hindering me from becoming the person HE created me to be.

Before the new year has ended, I have seen signs of healing that have caused me to live with expectancy… but I do have a huge dose of uncertainly… with a nice balance of peace… which may be where He wants me to be.

 

God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,

1 Peter 1:2-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

 

No, we’re not twins

Gradandsis

At the moment, I am at Whole Foods writing… I needed some time to breathe outside my parents’ house.  I had a moment of clarity on the ride up here though… my sister is pretty awesome.  I, of course, had some frustrations that lead me to seek an outlet outside my parent’s home and the first person I run to… before Jesus… is my sister.  She is at work but I have her work number in my cell when times like this arise when I need to let it all out.  I am learning that it is best to let out my frustrations and not keep it in… and my number one go-to person is my sister.  Although younger, she gets me… we are always playing on the same team.. and funny when I’m upset or frustrated about something she is stable enough to get me through it and when she is down and in tears I am poised to pull her out of it.. it’s crazy how that happens we are never both down in the dumps, one will always be ready to bring the other back to life.  One would think this has been our thing our whole life…yet, this bond has only lasted for the past four years.

When I graduated from high school, she was in elementary school on her way to middle school.  I was set to live in Austin for my college years.  I was the typical college student in Austin.  I was not this wild child in the streets, but had a nice balance of maintaining a good GPA and exploring sixth street.  My college was consumed with nights in the editing room working on film projects and hanging with some pretty eclectic folk the city had to offer, and didn’t include talking to my little sister on the phone. I don’t even think I had the desire to call her… which is so hard to admit now.  I had heard there was a situation while she was middle school in which my dad had to intervene and talk to the principle about her choice of friends… did I try to steer her into the right direction?… nope.   I think I said a few words about the situation to my parents but never directly had a heart to heart with her….I would come down for the holidays… the perfect time to connect with her but I was caught up in hanging out with friends and my older brother and his friends…not hanging out at home with my younger sister… initiating time with her was never an option… I was caught up in other interests… MY interests.  I’m actually tearing up as I am writing this.  Don’t get me wrong we were cool but it was very superficial… We didn’t know each other on that deeper level.  Maybe age had a lot to do with it… 8 years is nearly a decade.

After Austin, I head straight to NY…. we still don’t talk on the phone but I see her on the holidays and when she and mom come to The City to visit me… we are cool but it’s still not that deep.   I did look forward to seeing her when they would come to visit…I loved seeing her light lit up when she was in Times Square here and when she found the perfect Louis Vuitton knock-off of her choice.  I stay in NY for a few years….I am yearning for something more…some purpose in my life.  I decide to leave and head home back to Houston.  That first year back, I can’t really grab on what I am looking for but I know I need to be with my sister… so I attempt to strike conversation with my estranged sister.  There are no words.  I ask questions but only one word replies and silence.  How do I get through to her?  This becomes a challenging task for me after several attempts.   I then turn to Jesus/God to make this right… to have a REAL relationship with my sister.  In the process of praying and trying, we would have little tiffs here and there, not because we hated each other but simply because we didn’t know each other… how could I expect her to open up to me when she didn’t even know who I was… I didn’t even know who I was.  I spent the majority of her life running away from who I was… who I am… I was being influenced from everything outside myself…

Everyday was a challenge… especially when I had to get my head straight and then on top of that build our relationship.  Yet, it was when I stopped being in the world… in the scene… and looked at my sister I found Him. And in turn found myself.  I was looking everywhere else but all needed to do was be in her presence which then steered me to be in HIS presence.  Timing has it that God brought us together when we needed each other the most… in building our relationship we have both found purpose…. our inner-most conversations have brought on clarity and revelation.  WE bounce ideas off each other and gain courage to go at it.  She has become my rock (along with Jesus, of course) during this time of transition.  I am truly blessed to have such a beautiful, strong, inspiring sister.  Thank you Jesus!

 

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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