Afrotasticlady Turns Three

Afrotasticlady Turns Three

Three years ago, I was mentally preparing to begin a Master of Social Work program. Even though I had been accepted into the program, I was afraid that I would not survive it. I wondered if I was smart enough and if I would fail at my coursework.

Three years ago, I created afrotasticlady.com. I have always possessed a grand love for writing, and I desired to have a space where I could express myself. I also desired to have a space where women of faith and women of color could be encouraged. A space where these women could read about God’s love and natural hair. A space where these women could learn about my personal joys and challenges in my journey and where they could reflect on their own lives.

It’s amazing how I stuck with graduate school and my blog. I could’ve quit school so many times. And I could’ve stopped writing in my space, because I hadn’t reached fame as a blogger. Yet, I persevered through the stress of school and graduated with an MSW. And while I am not a top name blogger, I realized in my blogging journey that I did not have to be. If I can encourage myself and other women, then I have achieved success. In this world, success tends to look like a gold trophy and acclaim. As a child of God, success is when I follow His ways. God’s ways are exploding with love, and I strive to share that love with others.

When a young or older woman stops by my blog, I pray that they experience God’s love and gratitude. I hope that they know that they can be themselves and that they do not have work to be someone else.

Yesterday was officially my third blogoversary. I thought about all the posts that I’ve written, and the family and friends that have encouraged me to write. Authentic family members and friends will point out your gifts and tell you not to waste them. They won’t allow envy to dictate their words or actions towards you.

I love that these same family members and friends told me that I would graduate from school. When I was exhausted and dragging myself to classes and internships, they prayed with and for me. When I finally graduated from school, they celebrated with me through their kind words in cards and spending quality time with me.

I tend to not like to write in clichés, but both journeys have come full circle. Now, I am a social worker and the founder of a three-year-old blog.

I am also an advocate of God’s love. And my aim will continue to be to encourage women to see their own beauty and to fulfill their God-given purposes!

Happy 3rd Blogoversary to afrotasticlady.com! 😊 Aye aye! #Yass!

Family/friends, thanks again for reading my words for the past three years! And for believing that my words are mighty!

Cape Cod

 

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Women, Let’s Be Kingdom Builders

Women, Let's Be Kingdom Builders!

(Hey, friends! In June, the church that I was born and raised in, had a Women’s Day service. Annually they have this service, and there is always a specific theme. This year’s theme was “Determined Women: For Such a Time As This,” and the accompanying scripture was Esther 4:14-16. One of the women elders asked me if I could write a piece for the service. I have always appreciated the sweet remarks that folks in this church have given me regarding my writing. They see my writing as a gift, and they always encourage me to keep writing. Thus, I was honored when she asked me to share a piece. I would like to share what I read with y’all! I pray that my women readers are encouraged by my words, and that it leads to introspection. Blessings!)

When I was 18 years old, my dad and I packed up his small car with my belongings and left Worcester for Amherst, Massachusetts. I’d decided to attend Umass Amherst so I could live far from my parents’ supervision and still come home on the weekends. As someone who had been born and raised in church, I desired to escape God and all His rules. At Umass, I could study and party. I could dance with strangers at parties and get drunk. I could truly “live.”

Yet, living without God is not living. It’s surviving; it’s hustling. It’s seeing what you can achieve and where you can go on your own.

In October 2004, my second month at Umass, I went to a Gospel concert on campus. One of my friends was in the Umass Gospel Choir, so I had to support her through my attendance. During the concert, I sensed that God was speaking to me. I was being encouraged to choose Him. After the concert, I returned to my dorm room and called my parents. I told them that I wanted to be saved and they prayed with me. Through God, I changed my lifestyle. I allowed the Bible and worship music to consume me. Despite the challenges that I have encountered in my life, I have remained committed to God.

Women, I share my testimony because I would like you to think about the moment you gave your heart to Christ. Close your eyes if you need to, but please recall your surroundings. Were you at home or church when you became saved? How old were you? Were you the only person in your immediate family that became saved or were you surrounded by God-fearing family members? Were you crying and rocking back and forth? Or were you still when you gave Him your heart?

Women, it’s integral that we remember the moment that we were saved so that we can encourage ourselves. We need to remember the circumstances that God delivered us from. We must understand that God doesn’t save us solely for our own benefit. Indeed, salvation leads us to eternal life with our Lord and Savior. We are also saved to be influencers and advocates of Jesus Christ. We are saved so that other individuals in our environments can receive the gift of salvation.

Our theme scripture for this Women’s Day service states:

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:14-16

Esther, a young Jewish woman, was appointed Queen for a purpose. King Xerxes was unaware of her Jewish identity. Mordecai, her relative, refused to bow to Haman, a royal official. Upon Mordecai’s actions, Haman was enraged and plotted to destroy the Jews. Mordecai sent word to Esther of this plot and persuaded her to think about her position in the palace. He said, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther’s God-given purpose was to rescue her people from destruction despite the consequences. She could risk her own life by approaching the king without an invitation to his court or she could remain idle in God’s purpose for her. Esther chose to advocate for the lives of her people. Through her faithfulness, her people were saved.

Women, which people around you need to be saved? Who needs an intercessor? And what will you sacrifice so those people can receive eternal life?

Perhaps, you will not be risking your life as Esther did. You may be risking popularity, time, or money. Younger women, you may be risking the attention of that cute guy who isn’t even a Christian. You may have to stand alone.

Women, no matter your age, your godly riskiness will yield a grand outcome. Your obedience to God will be honored by Him. And your obedience can cause others to reflect on their need for Jesus. By praying with someone or sharing your testimony, you are spreading God’s light.

Matthew 5:14-16 states:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Women, you were placed in that school, job or apartment building to fulfill God’s purpose! You were created for this time so that the people surrounding you could rise from their depression, their anxiety, and their chaos.

One of the songs that I have been singing during my prayer time is “Withholding Nothing” by William McDowell. I am struck by the simple yet powerful lyrics:

“I surrender all to You

Everything I give to You

Withholding nothing

Withholding nothing”

Women, I encourage you to examine your lives and what you are holding onto. If you are holding onto fame or other lusts of the flesh, I encourage you to surrender those things to God. I assure you that those things are worthless and that the lives of people around you possess more meaning. I pray that you follow Esther’s example and proclaim “If I perish, I perish.” If you lose your social status, please note that you are losing it for the causes of the Kingdom.

 

 

A Prayer of Love

Love

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

His love is different.  God’s love is different from the love that I receive from my parents, friends, or even church family. His love does not spit at me or reject me like humans have the ability to do.

I have to honest with you all. Sometimes, I have a difficult time accepting love from others, because I was teased a lot as a child. Sometimes, I question in my head when a friend says that they love me. I even find the words “I love you” to be strange words to say to my family and friends. Even though I feel the words, I don’t easily say the words. If I say  “I love you,” will something negative happen to me that will make those words useless? Will I be looked down upon or treated cruelly?

With God,  I am working on this destructive thought pattern. I am worthy of love and to be loved by others. And even if the love of others fails me, which will happen, because we humans are not perfect; I have the love of God.

In Amanda Cook’s song “Pieces,” she sings the following lines: “You don’t give your heart in pieces. You don’t hide yourself to tease us.” God’s love doesn’t play games. He generously gives us His love and tells us to bathe in it. To let His love take over. To let His love overcome anxiety, depression, a broken heart, a confused mind, or a battered body.

When I first graduated college, I spent a few years working in daycare centers. I worked with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Little, little children are interesting creatures to observe. They will play and then start fighting. They will share toys and then take toys away from each other.

God’s love doesn’t behave in the way that little children interact with each other. His love isn’t childish. He is not a toddler that will run over and swipe His love away. He’s doesn’t say to us, “Welp, I need my love back boo.”

He is our loving Father who sits in the room with us when we murmur prayers that are sprinkled with tears. He is our loving Father who sits with us when we are numb and watching joy-filled faces parade around us at church. He is our loving Father who scoops us up in the same way that our mama or daddy did when we cut our skin after a fall on a sidewalk.

I have been repeatedly listening to “Pieces,” because I need it to stick in my heart that God’s love defines my identity. The busyness of life and the hurtful words of other can make me forget about the enormity of His love. On the Cross, I imagine that Jesus took all of the insults that I have ever been called onto His body. That His worn body took every moment someone despised me. These words and moments are not mine, but God’s love is mine.

I want to conclude with a prayer for every woman who is reading this post:

Lord,

We pray that we will fully experience Your love! We pray that we will “let love happen” as Amanda Cook sings. We will let love happen when we feel insecure. We will let love happen when we feel like the gum on someone’s shoes. When we feel like we should just be forgotten. We pray that we will love others as You love us. We don’t want our love for each other to be ugly or crude. We desire that we love each other with a selfless love. But within it all, we pray that You teach us how to love ourselves. Because we need to know that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as Your word states. Thank You Father for how You love and care for us. In Jesus name, we pray! Amen!

 

*Participated in the following linkup!

Open Mic Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holding Onto His Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

In this blog, I write a lot about His love. God’s love. I am constantly learning about how much He loves me, and how much He wants me to authentically love others. Even though, I was raised in a Christian home, I still needed to discover this love on my own. In Fall 2004, I was in my first semester of college, and I decided it was time to turn up. I was little rebellious before I left for college, but I knew that being away from college would make turning up more accessible to me. I partied and got drunk a few times. Being drunk actually elevated me from my shy, nice girl status to cool kid. For the moment, I enjoyed hearing my peers’ compliments about my drunkenness. But the Bible is right when it states:

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22: 6

Perhaps, my partying, swearing, and drunkenness do not seem too “bad,” but I did not feel right. I believe that if I had continued to be a partier, it might have led to some other toxic choices.

But in October 2004, I went to a Gospel concert on campus that was hosted by a Christian student organization. I was surrounded by folks who were singing passionately about God. After the concert, I went to my dorm room and called my parents. I asked them to pray the prayer of salvation with me. They led me to Christ.

And I have been tightly holding onto God’s love for the last eleven years.

I wanted to share a video of my small rendition of “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan. Again, I am not a singer; I just like to sing. I blame it on several years of participation in school choruses.

How have you been impacted by God’s love?