This not personal. But only God can change a person.

They say broken crayons still color. True. But their life span of colorful works is shorter than a full crayon.

How do broken people love broken people? In the bits and pieces they have available to do so.

In the parts that’s acceptable to them because they have yet to accept themselves. So that’s still limited.

Why do people feel so comfortable operating in limitations. Instead of fullness and wholeness. How do people focus on anyone else when they will always fall short of the glory of God so they are forever a work in progress.

I’m sorry there are too many things I look forward to working on within myself before I can ever say what you should do, when you should do it, and how.

How do you know what God told me to do? Do you know how to read hearts? If so help me please. My kind hearted nature tends to have me believing others are kind and loving until they try to suck the soul out of me.

The devil is busy. And he walks around in sheep’s clothing. Like that illuminating and disguising thing he is, quick to pretend he is light.

Don’t you see him, wondering out loud why so and so did this to him, all the while he’s gossiping, and turning you against your brother or sister. Because if the devil was really operating under Gods cloak he would take his problems with so and so to so and so, not to their sister or brother that they desperately need because obviously broken colors still color, just not to their full potential.

And no. Spirit of offense. which is really the spirit of pride. I’m not calling anyone the devil. I am calling the devil out of the people he got a hold of. Every sin opens the door to him. Greed, fornication, (same sex, or opposite) lying, envy, you know the list. It goes on and on. And no. There is no condemnation for our sins, but sin always has a consequence. And sometimes its giving the devil a foothold to our doorsteps.

You ever wonder why some people are always in the depths of despair? We all go through struggles and trials. But when you’ve got Jesus on your side, the one who will never leave you nor forsake you, things seem to be a little bit brighter, full of hope and faith.

Maybe those people keep inviting the devil in by their behavior and actions.

If you resist the devil he will flee.

Like that old gossiping devil.

Someone came up to me telling me all about who this person has dated and how she turned everyone against her. I listened. This was the second person coming to me to warn me about her. I shut her down though. I love her I said. I don’t want to hear this.

But when I got around the person who was mentioned I couldn’t seem to shut that demon of gossip down so fast and caught myself indulging some details I shouldn’t have.

I called the person I spoke of without her being there and apologized without going into too many details. But all of a sudden there was a shift in the environment that had once been comfortable for me.

That old gossiping demon was at it again. He was using someone who obviously keeps opening the door to him.

Resist the devil and he will flee.

I know there are some brave women that I look up to and admire. They take accountability, without placing too much blame on themselves, berating self, and they look to find ways to change from the inside out.

I wanted so bad to be one of those women four years ago so I began asking God to show me who I was and what was it inside of me that was displeasing to him.

The heart is wicked. Who can know it? the psalmist penned.

You don’t even know your own heart.

Bet you didn’t know that jealousy was hiding down there until someone did what you wanted to do and you began wondering why it wasn’t you.

Bet you didn’t know that greed was there until you were presented with something you always wanted and had the opportunity to share with others but you didn’t, for fear you couldn’t get as much as you wanted to get.

Oh the list.

I asked though. I dare you. You big bad and bold enough to help everyone else figure themselves out. Ask God to show you your heart.

I’ve noticed here in my place, I can clean every room to shiny perfection. But my bedroom door needed to stay closed, for a couple of days. Why is it I can do everything for others but can’t work on my personal stuff?

Oh but no. Not anymore. I walked into my space the other day and started unpacking and putting things into proper perspective. Everything must have a place.

So I put them in those places.

And my space was clean. I then went on to my daughters room. Then the kitchen, living and dining areas, lastly the bathroom.

I had to take care of me and my stuff before I could go to the next level. I then had the experience to know that what I did in my room was effective for my daughters, and what wasn’t so useful.

Just like life.

If your closet is nasty and dirty please don’t try to put glass cleaner on my windows. Because since you’re not used to cleaning you might use the wrong product, smear them up and now we have a bigger problem than we had before.

So.

If I work on self. I can see clearly what troubles someone else. Once I get delivered I can see something in the next person that reminds me of what I came from, and being a faith witness like those in Hebrews 11, I am no longer just talking about people. Now I know the specifics in which to pray about.

No shade. Petty posts tickle me, but I choose to speak life. Like the bus I drive. I want to make sure everyone reaches their destination. Smile on face and lips closed, even when I get called out my name, because I’ve been delivered from anger and rage that had my vision so blinded all I would see is red.

See. I choose better. I choose people who choose to be better. and isn’t it nice to know that someone is choosy. Not just accepting what is happening but willing to put forth effort to add or replace.

Yes. I can cut people off. Some people like Judas sell you out for a couple of coins. Those coins are whatever they received in return. My pastor preaches people are seasons, reasons and lifetimes. I get to choose my lifetimes because they get to choose me. They show they want me in their lives by the effort they put into doing the things that show I’m appreciated, and the things they avoid doing because I am very vocal on telling a person to their face. When I get an opportunity to do so.

But who can I fault? I haven’t been in the shoes of anyone else to know why they behave the way they do. All I know is that they are still in the fight trying to be better today than they were yesterday. Even if they are only doing it in their mind.

So. Love. On purpose and out loud. It doesn’t have to be up close and personal, but kindness. A smile. A kind word. It really doesn’t take much. It all depends on what you have to give.

And that dear people depends on what’s in your heart.

So what’s in yours?

Safety in numbers

I almost forgot who I was.

I am Radiance J. But the great I Am had to remind me of who He created me to be.

So. Here it is today I am going through my contacts. One of the women who was a kind older figure of wisdom in my teenage years upon first arriving in Boston, Massachusetts number was popping out at me.

I call.

She answers, and we have a nice chat. I am reminded that I have been a lovable person all my life. Just sometimes situations cause us to mourn and grieve and we can’t be ourselves in a pit of pain.

Anyway, I am thankful.

One of the gems of wisdom that always stood out to me was what she told a group of us young ladies after one came into our department telling us something strange, wild and crazy.

The young woman was tired of her child’s father, who just so happened to have Haitian lineage, cheating on her. This woman who was always giving me wisdom happened to be born in Haiti, so what the young woman shared did not surprise the older woman.

The young lady said that the mans mother told her if she did something in particular, I won’t repeat, to his food he would never be able to leave her.

The older woman agreed. Yes. She began slowly, that will work. However, the relationship will get volatile, you all will hate each other but won’t be able to leave each other. The only way would be through death. One of y’all killing the other.

I never found out if the young woman did it or not. I didn’t care to hear about such things.

I didn’t believe in such, black dark practices at the time. But I kept being exposed to people who practiced.

I always seemed to make friends with my exes, exes. I’m a friendly person and I didn’t have, insecure or jealous tendencies at the time. It must still be that way, because my first loves’ ex is a friend on my social media, and my daughter’s sister’s mom was just recently calling me to vent about our childrens’ father before she decided to take him back. Such is life. I’ve been known to give good advice for those who want a better life.

Anyway I digress. My exes ex. I was probably 22 or 23 at the time. I was living a wild and reckless life. Swerving around Boston’s winding roads and hilly streets, lit up like the fourth of July. But this young lady became my friend.

Her family was not from America. The lived in the West Indies before they moved here and she told me her mother did dark practices against people who did her wrong.

She was a hair dresser.

I still didn’t believe in such things, but since I was away from what I felt was a covering in my religion I never got too close to the girls mom out of fear.

Its sad to believe that people are doing these things out here. They hide in ordinary places, usually getting close to people on a one on one basis to develop a sense of trust. That’s why I have always been careful about who did my hair. It seems like those women hid in beauty shops a lot. Or maybe just in their kitchens doing hair on that one on one basis.

I fought a witch once. God won.

No she didn’t have warts, and a long green face. She was a fairly attractive young lady, or she could appear to be. She was a kitchen beautician. And she wanted to maintain control and manipulation over a man who loved me.

So she got hold of my hair in a melee, of sorts. She knew I wasn’t going to sit in her stylist chair. And after that a lot of unfortunate things began happening to me. My body wasn’t healing in an area the doctor couldn’t explain. I couldn’t get a job. All my life I had always had two and three jobs at once. Now I couldn’t find one. And then. Inside I felt an urge to fast. For a set amount of days. And I did. I didn’t know church. I didn’t know fasting. I didn’t know warfare prayer. But I was desperate. This was in 2011. The year before I would walk away from everything I knew as truth and trust God to reveal himself to me.

I now realize God led me to a spiritual warfare website where I was then taught how to war in prayer against what was happening. I asked though. I wanted to know how to ask God to fix it.

Faith without works is dead. The weapons of my warfare is not carnal, (fleshly). For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but powers, dark forces in the heavenlies.

Anyway. Things started happening I couldn’t explain. The issue with my health was gone on day two, immediately. My daughter’s father was getting in touch with me to mend our broken situation. Now mind you this is after a melee where I ended up knowing what the halls of the county jail look like because of his lies against me. And he had lost his job as a result of my petty, get you back, attitude. Third, the woman they said was doing the black magic against me, her house burned down. And lastly, I got my CDL to began a new life for my daughter and I.

I was driving big bodies. No more broke days. Things were looking brighter.

All I know is my life changed. Because of prayer and fasting.

This was before I even knew what prayer and fasting was.

But faith that God was real. And being willing to listen. To the same voice that had been revealing all the bad stuff to me all my life, and leading me in the direction of exposing lies even in bad relationships, and in finding truth about the world.

I don’t know much.

I do know that men don’t be on a course of loving God, get in a relationship and things change. And they are in a volatile relationship with someone whose heavy weights keep them from loving God the way they use to and its not spiritual.

All I know is that a young woman can’t have fire and zeal for God, let the wrong person play in her head and now she can barely get out of bed to accomplish her assignments. It has to be spiritual.

I know God has a real enemy. Which makes the ones that follow his lead have one too.

God commanded his people not to do some things because he knows that sometimes its easy to follow those who get their results instantaneously as opposed to being patient and waiting on God. So he gave them Deuteronomy 18:9-12
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire,who practices divination or sorcery,interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

Then He reminded them again.
Leviticus 18:3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

I knew a young woman who would go to psychics to get money spells. I wasn’t saved yet, but I just knew God. And I would tell her that sometimes to receive what God has for us we must go through trials. She said she preferred her own ungodly method, that made her miserable all the time, because she didn’t want to wait on God. She really didn’t want to go through trials.

I’ve learned these days to love people from a distance. Especially those who love practices God says are detestable to Him. Like the above mentioned things and Proverbs 6:16.

Nothing personal. I’ve just learned to love Jesus more than anything. So I don’t mind exposing the devils dark practices he uses to pull Gods people away from Him.

So.

That’s my spiel for the night. If you feel like you know someone involved with these dark practices run. Then fast, then pray and find a good bible based church to get close to whomever God is going to put in your life to help you fight this war the enemy of our faith has out on every soul in mankind wanting them to have his hell bound fate as well.

Not everyone looking as if they should be trusted, should be. People take a pretty face and stylish behaviors and become as the devil illuminating himself masquerading as an angel of light. See I am thankful for having been exposed to so many things while in the world. I see what it is. But better than most I can see what it ain’t.

So. If your life is going in a place you can’t understand. Or if you dont understand why you’re in a rut you can invite Jesus into your life.

Simply repenting for your sins. Acknowledging that Jesus died on the cross for yours and my sins. That you accept him as Lord and Savior over your life, and that you want to give your life to Him from this day forth. And things will change. Shift. Get ready.

I would never have imagined my life would ever take a turn for the better. Not the days I was taking too many pills and having charcoal given to me so I could get them out. Or when the acts of violence were happening against me, repeatedly. Losing my mom. Losing my friends and family. Then the war with the witch. I was like will this life ever get better?

Yes! Since I’ve accepted Jesus it has. I am thankful! I hope you find all that you’ve been looking for. It hasn’t all been easy. This walk with Jesus. But life has always been challenging. Now I just have someone who will always be by my side leading me to my best life, because He came so I could have abundant life!!!

Yes Lord. I am so thankful I said yes!

I hope you do as well!

Relationship

Yesterday I had the urge for some home cooked food.
Cabbage, corn bread, candied yams, baked macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken.
People kept on saying I looked as if I couldn’t cook, so I almost believed them. Then I tasted my cooking. Not like it tasted when I was cooking regularly, but, my baby the picky eater ate and enjoyed.
Anyway. I needed to run to the store. It was cold yesterday. I didn’t want to have my baby on the bus, so when I see the sister God has given me walking into church, I let sis know the game plan. My daughter was asking to stay anyway. Sis agreed to keep my bouncing daughter who wanted to stay in church another service while I get dinner started. And I was off.
Fortunately for me I no longer live in a food desert. Food deserts in Chicago are marked by areas that have no grocery stores, but have corner stores and fast food restaurants and that is how the residents usually find ways to nourish their bodies. But without fresh sources of food that is nearly impossible.
Anyway. In a 1.5 mile radius, walking distance for me, there are three Jewel-Oscos, two Whole Foods, two Targets, one Mariano’s, and a Trader Joe’s.
Boo. I got options. Now!
And here I am wondering why I am passing all the stores to get to this one Jewel that keeps popping up in my mind.
And I pass up the fast moving line to get into the slow moving line. Lord! What am I here for. And then I see. One of my daughters trusted babysitters. Smiling. Coming from behind the register to show me love, and I smile. God has a way of doing things when we walk in obedience.
That’s how I met the sister that was keeping my baby at church with her while I made the store run.
Sitting next to a complete stranger, I felt a tug and urge in my spirit to make sure she got to the place she needed to be. That’s been me. Why I drive the bus now, God knew He could trust me back then to get people to their destination, drop them off and keep on moving!
Being a faithful steward over few, yields rewards, like ruler over many.
You’ll never know a persons story until they tell it all.
Anyway. I made sure my sis made it to her destination back then, and she became a blessing to me later, and yet later still.
I could remember starting a new job. A year after we met initially. All the way in Niles, IL. At this time I was living on Chicago Ave, and Austin. If I had to be at work at 6 something, I was out the house walking from Chicago Ave to Lake st, at 2/3am to catch the Madison nightowl bus. From there I could walk to sis house, drop my baby off for her long day, and hop on the bus, a train and another bus.
Mothers do what we have to when we choose not to allow toxic relationships rule our lives.
I did anyway.
Anyway.
Yesterday I told sis that I didn’t want to get her to her destination back then. I didn’t know her. She was a stranger. But I was walking in faith, obedience to a God move, because I knew when He was working in my life. I had already saw the results of listening, and they always were good moves to make.
But it was about relationship.
I had no relationship with this young woman. Too quiet, for my then rowdy nature. Nah. Not really. I just didn’t know her.
Relationship.
I think now to my relationship with the Savior of my soul. Jesus Christ. The Son of God. Who lives in heaven, creating all things as God, and walked the earth as man. Seeing people in a way the Father never would see us, with human emotions, so going to the Father, through the Son as mediator, allows God to understand us better because the Son was once one of us.
Old testament Father God, dealt with his chosen people a lot differently, now that we walk alongside twins Mercy and Grace. Thanks to Jesus. For the perfect sacrifice. For the death on the cross. A perfect sacrifice for imperfect humanity, to redeem our sins.
I once walked the fine line of religiosity. In a religion, whose theology is off, and rhetoric is continuous.
And as much as my spirit wanted to do right, but my flesh couldn’t make the grade, I knew it had to be an easier way.
I didn’t know Jesus.
I knew bible verses. I knew rules. I knew religion.
I did not know Jesus.
I didn’t know his heart. I had a Sadducee and Pharisee mentality. Cruelly looking down on others for their differences. But it was all the people with differences who followed Jesus.
Not having anything to do with people who were unlike me, berating and belittling them like Apostle Paul, because I felt I had the right religion, and they were part of Babylon the great, false religion.
That’s not Jesus’ heart. Not for people. Creator walking with creation, of course his heart with Human emotion went out to those who were hurting, because we have an enemy who, like he did Job, seeks to see us hurt and in pain and turmoil, so we can turn our backs to God.
But Jesus. Opened the door so we can get back close to our Father. So there would be no more need to go through people. No need to see a high priest, a brother, an elder for our sins.

Prayer. Works. And when I ask my Father in prayer to forgive me, he does. Throwing it in a sea of forgetfulness. Not placing my sins on a card to be transferred from state to state, congregation to congregation so my sins will forever follow me via man who has a hard time containing their judgments.

This is the word of God. Not my opinion. Opinions are overrated. Save them for people who care and not many do these days. But word of God.
Study to show thyself approved. Not scriptures to quote before man. Or words to boast of in front of people.
We have one judge. He will return. And his questions and examination is the only one that will matter.
But its about relationship.
Before I had a touch from God on my life I wanted to do my own thing. I didn’t want to drive people I didn’t know places. I wanted to go to stores that were close and convenient for me. I kept my hair , nails and lashes on point, with clothes fly-i-i-i-y, so I didn’t associate with people who weren’t on my level. I did me. Quoting scripture like I had it together, negating that one simple commandment, that comes after love God with all your heart.
Loving my neighbor as myself.
But relationship.
In relationship with Jesus, wanting to have his heart for people. Wanting to love the unlovable. Wanting to encourage those who others shun. Wanting to listen to those others say are crazy, but sometimes people just want to be heard and tell their story.
Sometimes people are sent to us so we can do a work for them from God, because to whom much is given much is required.
Maybe that’s why many are called and few are chosen. Because after people hear the call, they can’t imagine God asking them to make sure a young woman gets a ride to her destination. They are expecting something grandiose. But if we don’t despise the days of humble beginnings, we have an opportunity to make it to greatness!!
I recited a poem for my church’s thanksgiving service. And after I bared my soul in a piece, feeling rather awkward about telling my story in front of a majority, where I had not always felt comfort, it was my sisters smiling face of encouragement that walked with me down a street not really talking about, but just being a source of encouragement.
You never know who God will use to push, motivate and encourage you if you always pushing people away because they don’t fit your mold.
But relationship.
Only God knows the heart, only God knows the plans for our lives.
Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
No need to pay attention to what comes to distract us all around us. Gods plan. Is the only plan that matters.
And that comes with relationship.
Do you know how to gain, and maintain a relationship with Jesus?
Ask and the door shall be opened!

on marrying mistakes

I’ll never forget the first guy my mother let me date. With my, in my mind from what I could remember, untouched self. And he had a hard time dealing with that. So. Me taking matters into my own hand, I went to Chicago. I got into behaviors I had never known because of poor decisions, and the coercing of someone who I thought had my best interests at heart. Seeing as I had been around her family my whole life, even taking care of her family member. No. I had never had a drink (except for that wine cooler my best friend and I shared when we were 15), a smoke, a cigarette, (we were smoking black and milds) or had even had sex.

I was 18.

Anyway. All that was out the window by the time I came back to Boston. Four months before my 19th birthday.

And the guy I left was hurt. After all he had always told me, some women you sleep with and some women you marry. And he wanted to marry me.

He couldn’t believe I had lost my jewels, my cookies, my nooks, and my crannies.

So he went and got someone pregnant.

I explained to him then you don’t have to marry someone because of circumstances. Marry someone because you love them.

If you want to know why so many loveless marriages exist. Why people are cheating and disregarding their mates feelings? Because they married for circumstances. Some marry for financial help. Some marry to hide a shame or being a parent without a mate.

I wouldn’t do it.

My daughters father was willing. Proposing on a hospital bed sad because I was the only one willing to look out for him in a tough spot as bad as I had been treated throughout my pregnancy.

My aunt told me to wait though. Wait until he was healthy and unbroken.

He had a dream though. One where I was leaving him and he couldn’t run after me to get me. He said he woke up with tears in his eyes. It felt so real.

It happened. I made a choice. He wasn’t able to come after us. And I walked away.

His family calls all his children bad. He was bad, they said. A four year old little boy who once pulled a knife on his sister. The same little boy who got kicked out of all his daycares.

I saw it in my daughter.

As a toddler she would fight anyone and everyone. My grandmother and grandfather included.

We are still a work in progress. Prayer works!!!

But now this little girl tells me her favorite place to be is in Jesus house. She said she won’t love anyone more than God, not even me!

Changes.

But if she had grown up in a house of fighting, screaming, and toxic behaviors, would she be the same girl?

I doubt it.

I believe I would have been so bound by my connection and covenant to someone who had no good intentions towards me that I would have stayed in my spiritually dead state. Maybe even going back to the religion of my youth and staying there, because of not being willing to break away from everything I knew and everything that had been comfortable to me. I mean the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. And if you can’t let go of a person who mistreats you, emotionally, physically, and verbally abuses you, its hard to let go of the ideas one has grown comfortable with about what’s right about life, love and even religion.

I’ll never forget what I told my friend those sixteen years ago. Maybe, if you leave someone you don’t love but care for your child you can be a better parent outside the bad relationship than you can be in it.

He made the choice to stay.

He now lives like he is single.

Maybe I didn’t even know back then that I was advocating for his wife. Because a woman who has to live with a cheating spouse ages, and goes through the terrible trauma of being embittered towards all she encounters, and not trusting anyone enough to even let someone who has love to share come and love the hurting places.

But I didn’t know her.

All I know is bible.

When Abraham got Hagar pregnant he didn’t marry her. He sent her away. She became a threat to his promise.

Abraham didn’t marry his mistake.

So why do we?

I have had this silly notion or idea that even though friends hurt me, because of our history, or the things they did for me I should allow them to remain my friend. When it was a mistake to allow them in my world so close in the first place without seeing who they truly were. I was ready to marry my mistake. Because my mistake was in thinking they had anything but the ill intentions they had for me.

Nope I let people go. If you call yourself my friend, but you dog me out behind my back, or do hurtful things to me and then you start being nice, that’s no better than a DV (domestic violence) relationship. Where he hurts me then comes back with a trinket to buy my forgiveness, and my love.

Sorry. I been a go getter. Since my Jeezy listening days. “Trap all day play all night, this is the life of a go getta” days.

Legitimately. Working two and three job days. You can’t buy me.

So no. You can’t stay.

So why would I marry my mistake. So caught up in the negativity of the mistake that I miss out on the promise God has for me.

I’m not for advocating that men don’t marry the women they get pregnant if they love those women. But if the interaction was a mistake out of lust, and not trusting God, then that’s a decision one must pray about to make sure God is with them in.

Children are never a mistake they are a blessing, and they deserve to grow up in healthy environments and experience loving interactions amongst the adults in that house.

But this goes further than this. What about your ideas about religion, or the bible, or God? If you’re committed and married to an idea about who God the Father is and who Jesus is and who the Holy Spirit is, how can a heart be open to truly knowing for certain? If you don’t have the peace of God and you are praying to him repeatedly. Or you need love and kindness. Or joy, or mildness or self control, any of the fruitages of His Holy Spirit, it may be time to ask Him who He is and to reveal himself to you!

But you have to have a humble heart not holding onto what you think you know, but having a teachable spirit for God to come through and show you.

You don’t have to marry or be committed to your mistake.

We even hold onto the opinions of others based one another’s interaction. Married to a mistake of not getting to know the person on our own. Married to the mistake of not stopping the gossiper in their tracks. Married to the mistake of leaning on our own understanding when the bible tells us not to lean on our own understanding but in everything we do seek Him.

Married to the mistake of thinking that God won’t show us what we need to know and thinking a person is blessed when they act holy in worship, but dogging others out behind their backs.

I have been told, warned really, to be careful of the dog who carries the bone.

But I let go. I have been blessed with the spirit of cutting things, or people off that don’t act kindly towards my daughter or myself.

Yes.

God has someone and somethings that are amazing for you in life. His promises are real. But how will you receive his promises if you are willing to marry your mistakes?

 

unSpoiled. rotten.

I am looking to be relatable to.

An only child. Who grew up in a cult-like religion. Who was trained in the art of verbal combat. Who was homeschooled for highschool. And for elementary there were too many children in the same cult-like religion for me to be close to the others. Who had been trained to attack and condemn others who didn’t believe as I believed.

I am different.

My cousin told me my granddad got a lot of dough.

I’m 34. At this age I’ve had five cars and not one of them have I bought with my own money. I don’t think before this apartment I moved in have I had an apartment I haven’t called my granddad up for at least $500. Or mostly grandma who’d grab her purse to run to the boat to win some money to send me.

When I moved to Boston at 17, I would come back to Chicago to visit three or four times a year. I didn’t always have money after coach bags, gold rings, fur coats and way too many shoes to get a plane ticket. Someone would help me.

Grandma, granddad.

When I was a child I never walked out their door without at least $50 in my pocket. And in my late teens, I learned to ask my grandma for my turn up money. My friends learned early. If they take me to grandmas they could turn up off me.

So they spoiled me too.

If they let me have my way, I would pay so everyone could play.

And the guys. All of them either street dudes, or a dude willing to let me push him to get him to make the type of money that would afford my designer bag fetish, or nails and hair did. Or paying some bill.

A gift of gab allowing me the ability to keep my goodies tucked away. Because a spoiled woman like myself only dealt with men I desired. Or really the dude all the other women had an eye for, so I could feel like I had the upper hand.

I never used my gift of words to glorify God after leaving the religion of my youth. It was always to keep a dude so I wouldn’t have to navigate the streets of the world alone, especially if the religion had put me on the block list and nobody could talk to me.

Spoiled girls/ rotten women don’t like to be ignored.

Money always came so easily. Once it was gone it would always come back. So did the cockiness of one who never knew what struggle looked like.

Spoiled. Rotten.

I never realized it though. I’ve heard the talk. But never believed it. Not knowing how to relate. And being able to get the people I want to love me, to love me freely, makes it difficult to relate  to people.

but its not about me anymore. I want to live to make Jesus name famous!

And I have a couple talents I’m no longer interested in burying.

Maybe the person who was just trying to look out for me by telling my personal business to her trusted confidant I shouldn’t have went off on.

Or the man who was in transition of walking away from the streets into a new life I shouldn’t have been cursing out. For not doing what I wanted him to do, move faster for my feelings of inadequacies to be squashed about being a single mother.

Maybe my friends shouldn’t have been only been my friend, while I stayed ignoring their needs and feelings.

I should care for thankless, unappreciative, complaining people.

That’s who I used to be if I didn’t get my way.

Sometimes its not them, it’s you.

These days, I try to not be that person anymore. Ole Rae-Rae. Attention and spotlight on me. Only when I got that liquid courage in me. Otherwise I didn’t want any eyes on me.  Don’t get me on a dance floor. Back when I was using fake ids or rather  someone’s real ID that we said was me and confidence and and an ‘I wish buddy would’ attitude had me floating across dance floors got me a coveted spot next to the DJ in his booth. Laughing at the glaring women who saw me next to light skin and long braids and wanted to be part of the on my momma crew.

I was used to being hated. So I made it worth their while.

I had no fear. I needed no back up. And I had never even had a fight with anyone outside my family.

Oh but realizations hit.

We live a life where people are hurting. People need love and compassion, and a life free from division.

We need each other.

I am thankful for being humbled. For my lack days. For struggle which produces strength.

For compassion.

For focus.

For sisterhood.

Not focusing on men. Even though for new years I want home cooked food, and my spoiled behind can call the last guy I dated and he cook it for me.

Cook today, love me later.

I got work to do for God and I don’t want to be distracted anymore by these physical things life tries to push up on us.

Not material things. Marriage is a ministry I’m not ready to take on right now. Maybe down the road. Not the turn up life.

So. Its not you, its me was one of the lines I’d give them before I walked away. If I gave a line at all.

Its probably been me. If I haven’t deleted somebody acting crazy with me it’s because I know how I used to be. And those traits used to come out.

But change. For the glory of God.

Honesty.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and be honest with self. How many can really say, sometimes its me? And then be the change they want to see.

What change do you really want to be?

 

Popularity Contests anyone?

I walk through my garage and people know my name and I’ve never even seen them before.

We have this humble position of taking people to their destination. Almost like chauffers. Sometimes that’s how people treat us.

But that pay though.

Therefore in order for some who struggle with humility, they take their money and get super fly. Never look like what you’re going through right?

It was me for a minute. Lashes, nails, weave. That’s me though. Always has been. But my priorities are changing. I want something more.

Anyway I been looking rough. And I joked about it with one of my coworkers. He said that outside stuff only goes so far. Because it faded and all you’re left with is conversation. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

Anyway.

I’ve learned to be me. Staying in my lane. Sometimes I drive a 60ft bus and I don’t want to because I feel bigger vehicles deserve more lane. But that big bus fits between the lines of one lane if I take my time. If I work with the skill I have been trained with.

I can stay in my own lane.

It doesn’t matter about who likes it. Its for who its for. Sometimes only 20 people get on my 60ft bus. That’s because those are the people going in my direction. Those people need me to get them to their destination.

And I do it like its filled to capacity and they are obstructing the view out my front door.

Jesus had many followers when he was passing out the food, healing, and telling them what they wanted to hear. But when it came time to doing what he was sent to do people got little.

They like the popularity. But not so much the purpose.

My daughter asked me today who is her neighbor.

I gave her the account of the good Samaritan.

I broke it down like how you would speak to a five year old.

This account which is found in Luke 10 tells us by way of Jesus’ parable who our neighbors are.

I explained there was a man who got beat up and left for dead, on the side of the road. But a man passed him. The priest. The man of God. But he walked right past this man. Like he walked to the other side of the street to avoid even seeing the problem.

See anyone can talk about God but if he is not helping those in need how is he doing what Jesus asked us to do?

Then. The levite. The Levite’s were those who brought the sacrifices of men to the altar. They worshipped. He walked right past too. So I told my daughter, if a person can dance with their feet, sing with their lips and love God buy walk right past hurting people that’s not a neighbor.

I told her about the Samaritan. Samaritans weren’t accepted by Jewish customs. But this man saw a man hurting near death and took him to the help he needed.

A neighbor. Like sometimes its the person who doesn’t look like, act like, or is acceptable to the community that will help one out in need.

That’s who I love as myself. That’s who I can treat the way I treat me. Gifts and love. Smiles and concern.

I can’t help that as a bus operator I’ve been trained to notice everything. I just so happened to see you praise God with your hand lifted while everyone was watching. Then talk about that person exposing their heart to God with their crew behind that persons back.

I’m not a man easily duped and manipulated like perfect Adam was by perfect Eve. I’m a woman who knows the manipulative tactics of women. Because I once was her, who just so happened to be trained to see bicycles, taxi’s, ubers, lyfts, pedestrians, red lights in the distance, flashing hands in the distance, distracted motorists. To get my passengers to safe destinations. Who also has the help of the Holy Spirit.

I can’t brag on myself. But God in me is bad in a good way. Or cold according to this Chicago slang.

Yes. I know my lane.

The man standing outside of CVS, high on something he wouldn’t tell me what. Gave me a dollar. But through his words I knew he had a call. The devil don’t knock down people who don’t have purpose. But I gave him an invite to my church.

The woman being wooed by the Jehovah’s witnesses. I can tell her the truth of Jesus not being an angel. Or the paradise Paul saw in the third heaven.

Or the young woman who thinks a man who hurts her loved her. Or thinks that she needs to share her cookies to get that man to stay. Who didn’t understand how her assignment as a woman is to help, how powerful must a woman be to help a man. But when she finishes with God using me to speak to her she knows her worth.

She shows her man. He appreciates her more for it.

That’s my lane. My purpose is connected to my experiences. My life. My pain.

I’ve lost an uncle to Chicago street violence. Which in turn made my grandmother give up on life. Which in turn caused my mother to stop living after losing her mom.

But my life’s experiences have been the lack of power as a woman. And women are valuable. I live to live to uplift my neighborly sisters.

So I do. Not those who talk. But those who do.

Its never been a popularity contest. Jesus was quite unpopular at the end of it all. And not even received amongst his hometown. Don’t worry about who likes, or why they don’t like. Its about ministry. Its about people knowing Jesus. And if you live to make Jesus name famous, some people will not like, follow or accept.

But we do for the glory of God.

Will you continue to be, and do?

 

 

Look at the skyline of my city

Buildings stand tall and lights so pretty

But you can never imagine it so gritty

Hustlers and pimps use words so witty

Sheisters take oh yeah they did me

In…

 

And then it goes on and on as my poems tend to. Or my blogs. Verbose and wordy is what spending a life of reading more books than talking to people gets you.

I lived my life as a sidekick before I unleashed my inner super hero.

I wanted to get mad right before the new year, seeing the fur coats of the person whose son robbed me of mine and the rest of my material belongings but I just walked away. Oh well. One day I’ll wear fur again maybe I won’t want to by then.

The sheisters.

I kept shutting down the friend of my married ex who lied to me for a year not telling me he was married until the day before my mother’s funeral. So I lost my momma and best friend all in a short span of time. He’s so remorseful the friend says. Well I don’t want to hear it anymore. Just because you forgive people don’t mean they have to stay in your life. Judas never did get back to Jesus in life. And he was remorseful enough to take the money back to where he got it.

Hustlers and pimps with witty words. Lies.

Being dragged through the hood by the girlfriend of the one man I expected to hold me down like I held him down. Charges. Pressed? Is this the county jail I’m walking through? A day After the melee? My nursing baby had to drink formula for my overnight stay away.

The gritty city.

Three years ago i thought I lost my family, friends, life, man. Not to mention the degree I was pursuing. In the school that paid me a good stipend every summer I did research, and during the semesters.

Researching. Information.

I should’ve done my research on the people who got over on me.

It was my fault.

But there is no blame. Just accountability.

But those first lines. I wrote the vision. I made it plain. And God gave me. An apartment with a view of my city.

And then I did. After the eviction from my apartment three years ago a couple of months before I wrote the poem I went to the shelter and met a lady. She and her son told me some things. His message was that he saw us on the stage at our church. I couldn’t imagine how and what for. I knew it had to be part of the dance ministry.

I spent hours in the club, juking, twerking, popping, laughing, dutty whining, west Indian whine gyal whine, taking the attention from those who post up and be cute. People love people who living and having fun. And if I was out I was dancing and having fun!

That’s it right God?

He had another plan. Sing these songs . so i wrote a few. Can’t be verbose in writing poetry and not make a few verses hooks and choruses.

And then I went into the studio. And then I said forget that. My voice is too weak from packs of Newport’s 100 I smoke almost daily.

But before I forgot about it I sang for a childhood friend. The same man who used to ride my back as a baby, terrorize me with all his pets as a child, tease me and call me radiation and radon. Then as adults got high in bathrooms together, listening to Lil Wayne while sipping lean together, even stayed in the same place together scrounging pennies to get turkey rolls and rice making gravy together. Playing Soul Calibur together. And only ever being homies. His words. “You’re like a boy with boobs, Rae.”

But this man had never heard me sing.

And he said he couldnt believe I had been hiding my voice all my life.

I had been hiding me all my life. My poetry, my voice, my personality. I settled for a quiet existence only coming out my shell for the people who knew me.

Or the dance floor with a little liquor in my system.

But last year. I sang songs for God. Still in the background. Did a spoken word piece for my church’s thanksgiving service. I put all the substances away and learned to get high in the presence of God under His wings. And had more female friends putting tomboy behavior on the back burner.

I’m just saying, I stepped out my comfort zone.

Fighting the good fight like a good soldier. But my memories are like my battle scars. It would take a trilogy to tell all the tales of what I’ve overcome.

Lord give me the strength to finish what I’ve started. I love my quiet existence. Turn up every once and a while. But quietly learning and researching.

So today I got a purple heart. Remember I said yesterday I was going to be high under Gods wings. And I got a purple heart with wings reminding me to stay covered under his wings. But I did my research on purple hearts.

Purple hearts are awarded to those in the military who are wounded in battle. Every scar that was designed to debilitate me. Wounded me. Hurt me. And here I am being reminded in prayer this morning, that I didn’t lose anything. And my purple heart in recognition for my wounds. And to stay under Gods wings.

Yes!

Again, no stooping like a pigeon. I have almost forgotten these things only remembering when I write as a testimony of what God is able to pull someone from!

Now I soar. I used to say like an eagle. But now I want to soar like a hawk. With keen vision. Like spiritual eyes to see the things I’ve been missing all my life. With a broad wing span able to expand so much. Like my thoughts, and abilities.

There have been so many blessings for me stepping out my comfort zone.

What will you get for stepping out of yours?

Happy New Year World: Running races, but staying away from rat packs

A rat ran across my path yesterday on my way to New Year’s Eve service at church.

Here I am walking from my new place and taking the path that’s usually open. But this evening it had been closed. I had to climb and squeeze through the gate but before I did that the rat ran across my path.

I used to be afraid of rats. But my approach these days is like a hawk.

Hawks may give a fierce yell and attack with their hands for prey, like rats, but can be quiet and gentle creatures. Flying high to observe everything. Swooping down on rats.

Yeah. Stay high. Like a hawk, who was designed to destroy rats.

Rats have been designed for their purpose. Eating what others won’t. Social creatures who live in colonies. They have an inate fear of anything new. They stay intuned with their environment. And fitting in places many other things cannot.

Oh those rats!

Sometimes in life it feels like we’re in a rat race. A rat pack. Doing whatever one can to fit in.

Eating whatever. Not literally. Sometimes people leave scraps of information behind. Information that we’d do well to discard. Not carrying it back to the colony. Because the new addition to the colony is a threat, the goal is to get the person to leave because like rats who lose a fight in the colony the social stress that comes along causes that one to leave.

Did you know God is like a recycling bin. If you take the trash of information that people who may be hurting have left behind He can and will turn that information into a healing salve for the parties involved. If, in a rat like mentality, you take the trash back to the colony y’all all eat the trash. Continuing in a rat like mentality, continue to nest in your colonies of thought. And most rats burrow in small nasty spaces. Being known to destroy crops, the good harvest that others have planted.

My connections, God has blessed me with were just speaking about staying high. On another page. Blessing God with our words, not destroying others with them. Not running to take the trash and filth of words that don’t promote unity to people who need to stay on one accord.

I have had many crops of friendships eaten by people with rat like mindsets, eager to take the venting of a hurt filled rant back to someone I once connected with. Instead of being the mediator and taking it to God for Him to heal the hurt. So even when I apologize for my wrong doing, those with rat like behavior continue to bring the trash into the colony never quite allowing for the mentality and behavior to change.

But I serve a God.

Joel 2:24,25a And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25a And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…

And the rats too?

Making connections only to be destroyed by someone in their own misery and bitterness to keep others apart. From being like the body that needs one another to effectively move the cross and work within the body of Christ to help people come to know God. Yes. You can praise Him real good but can you help others get to Him?

I can praise Him really real, but will I pick up my cross to help others get to him?

Not alone. We need one another.

So thankful I no longer look for pretty friends. We look fierce and important walking into clubs with all eyes on us. But I no longer live that life anyway. Those pretty faces keep one blinded. Look for the heart. And out of the heart the mouth speaks.

And words that cause divisions are the worst anti-Christ behaviors!

Proverbs 6:16, 19b These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 19b and he that soweth discord among brethren.

I no longer fall for sorrowful woefilled stories of those whose hearts I don’t know because I have seen God give me peace in awful circumstances! And if you don’t know peace you might not know God, so I step back and ask Him to do His job.

Prayerfully. High under his wings. Like a hawk. With my other hawks. Not stooping like a pigeon. Or worse yet, scurrying like a rat. Not rat races. Not part of a pack. God had chosen and set apart. After all He is the Master Exterminator!

Thank you Jesus!

So whose side will you stand on for 2016?