April’s 6 Grateful Things List

April Grateful Things List

Hey there! Welcome to the April edition of “My 6 Grateful Things List!” In this vlog, I mentioned M. Simone Boyd’s post: “The Problem with Ignoring the Still Small Voice”. Please listen to her wise words.

Also, my blogger buddy, Emelda, and I will be hosting our very first Twitter chat on Wednesday, April 27th at 8pm EST!  If you’re on Twitter, feel free to tweet it up with us. We want women to share their challenges in making time for their creative interests. Please check out the following flyer and my vlog for more details. Blessings, y’all!

Twitter Chat

 

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Blog Series: Dear Little Sis, G’s Letter

My first letter is to my second cousin, G! When I first started to write, I didn’t know what to say; but then I was overcome by a multitude of words.  If you haven’t checked out the Introduction to the Series, please read here! Blessings, afrotasticlady

Blog Series_ Dear Little Sis G's Letter

Dear Little Sis, G:

I was a teenager when you were a baby. You were cute and chunky. I hadn’t had many experiences with babies in the family, so I was excited about your existence. I watched you transition into a young child to a preteen and then to a teenager. I have always had family members comment on how much I have changed, and how I have become a young woman. Now, I am repeating those same thoughts about you.

You, my second cousin, are sixteen years old. You have developed into an intelligent, gifted, and beautiful individual. You are much more interested in church and God than I was at your age. I was a sweet, quiet girl who yearned to be a rebel. I wanted to escape the rules of church. I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend, but I wanted one desperately. Desperation forced me to have an older boyfriend for about a month. Fortunately, God had my back before things got out of control, and I broke up with the guy.

I also believed I had some street cred, because I knew the lyrics to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and I screamed out songs from Jay-Z’s The Black Album. I lied to my parents to go to a party or two and to hang out at a club. I actually lied a lot. And I know that things could have been worst, but I didn’t ask the same questions about God that you ask now. I didn’t want to belong to God.

Yet, you wake up each Sunday morning to attend Sunday School. You and JS eloquently pray before we begin our lessons. You actively participate in the morning service through giving a few dollars towards offering or playing your flute with the praise and worship team.

Little sis, hold onto that wonder! Your faith reflects the childlike faith that Jesus tells each of us to have. And please keep asking deep theological questions. You ask questions that make me feel like I should have went to theology school. Though, I value your curiosity and your work towards understanding God’s Word.

Little sis, I am not as wise as the older women in our church, but I do have some advice that I would like to share with you.

Identity: You are beautiful. I am not just saying these words, because you are my cousin. The Bible states plainly that “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139: 13-14). TV and magazines will deceive you. They will tell you that you have to be a certain weight and skin color to be considered beautiful. They will set certain fashion styles as the standard. But you can void out those lies by reading what God says about you.

Dating/Love: When you are older and become interested in dating, please guard your heart. I will admit that I never liked reading this advice or having someone say these words to me. It sounded like “Christianese.” But it’s beneficial to reel your feelings in if you have already planned your wedding and honeymoon with a guy who has not even asked you to be his girlfriend.

I’m not saying that you should have a heart of stone. I don’t advise you to act like you don’t like a guy when you really do. What I am advising is for you to be aware of how intense your feelings are and to pray to God for clarity. I am even a fan of asking the guy for clarity. Some folks may disagree with me, but there’s nothing wrong with asking a guy, “what’s going on?” Confusion is not fun and it’s very unnecessary. So, do a DTR (define the relationship) chat if you have to. You are worthy of consistency and commitment from a guy. You are worthy of being with a guy who loves Christ and will encourage you to expand your relationship with Him.

Creativity: You love music. You learned how to play the piano and the flute. You joyfully talk about music soundtracks and your wish to enter a music making career. I adore that you are a creative. I imagine that your brain is filled with chords and music notes. Please don’t get deterred from that love. God has placed that love within you! He has gifted you to play. If you have the opportunity to attend a music school or enter into a music program when you go to college, I pray that you do it. Unfortunately, there is a weird notion in the world that you can’t make money off of your creativity. That your talents have to move to the back. You’ve probably heard your grandpa, mom, or someone else quote this verse: “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before men” (Proverbs 18:16). It’s true though.

Little sis, you may end up conducting a world famous orchestra or managing the music score of a Hollywood movie. God can put you in those spaces.

Little sis, you are unique and a go-getter! Since I am cheesy as you say, I want you to read the words of  another go-getter:

“Don’t block your blessings. Don’t let doubt stop you from getting where you want to be.” -Jennifer Hudson

Love,

Monica aka afrotasticlady

 

An Introduction to the Blog Series: Dear Little Sis

An Introduction to Blog Series_ Dear Little Sis

Growing up, I desired to have a little sister. The thirteen plus year age gap between my siblings and I felt overwhelming. Of course, I loved my siblings but their lives were different. While I played with Barbies and watched Nickelodeon, they went to work or raised their own children. Fortunately, I do remember hangouts with my sister Wanda, before illness struck her body.

Currently, I view three teenage girls at my church as my “little sisters.” In the morning, I teach Sunday School to two of them. I make the theme relatable to them by plugging in “hip” lingo or an animated YouTube video into the lesson. Since I am not fond of lecturing, I ask many questions. I ask the girls to define words and to tell me who God is. We talk about big topics such as sin, repentance, and obeying God’s will for our lives. These girls chew on these Biblical truths and respond to me as though they are ministers-in-training.

When service starts, the third teenager joins us. All three girls sit behind me and they engage me in their antics. Sometimes, they poke or punch my arm. When I look back, they point fingers at each other.  I also hear the usual question, “Monica, do you have a pen?” They never seem to have a pen, but I let them borrow it.

After the service, they continue to mess with me. They repeatedly say “hi.” I grin and block out their voices.

Sisters are annoying yet sweet to each other.

These girls probably don’t know it, but they are my sweet sisters. I want them to pursue what they love. Whether it is playing the piano or the violin, I pray that they embrace their talents.

I hope that they continue to serve God, even when it’s not the most popular route to be on.

In April and May, I will be writing letters to my “little sisters.” I am thankful to writer/blogger/creative, Lindsey Andrews, who has an empowering series of letters  for girls and young women on her blog!  Lindsey shares wonderful tips on self-love and identity. I was captured by her advice and felt led to share encouragement for my girls.

If you were to write a letter to one of your “little sisters,” what would you say? I would love to hear your answers, and I hope you are able to join me on this upcoming series!

 

*Participated in the following linkup!

Open Mic Monday

Guest Blog Post: My Daily Weights

(Hey friends! This guest blog post is by an anonymous source, but I wanted to share her experiences with depression as a Christian. In the Christian community, it can be challenging to talk about mental health. Some Christians feel guilt and shame when they are plagued by depression or anxiety.  They may feel that they are failing God or themselves. Yet, I do not believe anyone should feel that level of shame.  A Christian should feel free to ask for help. He/she can cry to God in prayer and even go to a counselor.  Vulnerability is vital as the roots/causes of the pain must be revealed.  Thus, the work of healing can commence.  Please read the honest thoughts of this sister’s battle. -afrotasticlady)

My Daily Weights

Everyday I wake up, I’m free. I’m breathing in and out regularly.  I’m feeling every inch of my outstretched limbs. My head is clear. My heart is full. For seconds, minutes, and sometimes even hours it’s like this. It’s peace. It’s bliss. Then, a weight gets piled on. One at a time, more and more weights get added to it. Soon, I’m hunched over. My mind is clouded , breath caught in my chest , heart racing. Nothing has to happen, yet it’s like it all happens at once. Everything. All of it. The sadness, anxiety, self-doubt, hatred, anger all of it right there. I don’t ask for it. I don’t want it. I beg it to leave. I plead and bargain asking for just a few more seconds of peace. But it’s never relenting. It doesn’t give up. It seems the more I scream, the further it sinks its claws into me. And I am stuck. Trapped. There’s no tunnel out. There’s no light shining. Just me pushing air out, sucking air in, putting one foot in front of the other as the weights keep piling on. And all I can do is bide my time and wait until the next morning. Wait to start all over again. -Anonymous