Tell the Untold Stories

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” – Zora Neale Hurston

During the 75th Golden Globes Awards this year, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. de Mille award for outstanding achievement in entertainment, the first black woman to receive the award. Her riveting and powerful speech about the #metoo movement created by activist Tarana Burke, a black woman, went viral, in part because of what many called its “presidential” timbre. But, there was another reason Ms. Winfrey’s speech caught wind – she told the story of Recy Taylor. Continue reading

Reclaiming the Narrative: Single Motherhood

This is first of a series of blog posts that will discuss the reclaiming the narrative of single motherhood. Bookmark the blog or sign up for email notifications here.

A big part of my life’s work has been talking about the challenges, misconceptions, and hopes of single mothers. During my last year in seminary, I wrote a paper that explored single motherhood and the ways both church and society has misunderstood the nuances and varying experiences of single mothers. While it’s way too in-depth to go into in a blog post (there was conversation about eugenics, Christian ethics, and the Church) what was birthed out of that research was a need to re-imagine and re-frame the narrative of what it means to be a single mom. Continue reading

The Path

If you know anything about parking at Emory University, you know it can be quite the task to park on or around campus — especially if you’re a commuter student and don’t have a parking pass!

Sometimes I park along the street where Barnes & Noble is to save on my commuter parking swipes in the deck or when my visit on campus will be short. Today I parked in my “Oh thank you Jesus I found a spot!” location on the street. I usually follow the sidewalk around the corner and up the hill to campus, but today I noticed a few students walking through a lightly wooded area on a makeshift path that heavy laden feet have created.

I hopped out my car, followed the path that I saw them on, and actually cut through my usual route closer to Candler. I thought to myself, “Well look at Gawd!”

Here’s the thing: sometimes you don’t know the path to your destination exists until you see someone else walking it first. Sometimes we don’t understand why our lives go a certain direction but know that the path you take to success will lead other people to their destined path as well. We’ll all get there after while, won’t we? 

Share this simple lesson with someone you know who’s looking for their path, too!

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

What’s in it for Me?

Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

I rocks with Peter. He was a hot head, cursed regularly, a passionate fellow. He was overly confident in himself and impulsive. And in Matthew 19:27, Peter asks the Messiah, King of Kings, Jesus Christ of Nazareth the one who was, is, and is to come “what’s in it for me?” Brazen, isn’t he?

In chapter 19, Jesus is talking to the people about divorce, blesses the children to come to him, and challenges a rich man to give away all of his possessions and follow Him. After seeing the man refuse to give up his stuff and follow Jesus, and after hearing Jesus tell them that a rich person cannot enter the Kingdom of God, Peter asks the question that I think we all want to know: what’s in it for those of us who have given up all we possess for Christ?

Have you ever wondered that? You’ve probably left jobs or relationships or downsized  your home or brought in a roommate to become better situated to do God’s work. You may have found yourself penniless, distraught, abandoned by friends or family in your pursuit of God’s perfect will for your life. You may have been faced with a debilitating disease that showed its destructive head at the very moment you thought you were on your way to fulfilling God’s call for your life.

Sometimes these things happen and we have to wonder if what we’re doing for His sake is worth it all. Sometimes we want to be as bold as Peter and just ask God, “what’s in it for me?”

Jesus answers Peter: “…and everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

Look at what Jesus points out: houses and property (our material possessions: money, clothes, homes, cars, comfort) family (those closest to us sometimes are the first to get “lost” in our pursuit of God) — property and relationships, two of the most essential components to our lives today! Jesus says that those who are called to give up these temporal things will be rewarded a hundred fold! This puts me in the mind of our brother Job who lost everything he owned — houses, land, cattle, money, family, and even his health (Job chapters 1-2)  — only to have it restored in a greater portion than before (Job 42)!

There is a greater reason for the sacrifices you’re making in your walk of faith. It’s not for “no reason” and no matter how many folks say, “it don’t take all that”, know that everything you “lose” in this walk will be restored to you IN THIS LIFE TIME. Jesus told us so! He’s not going to let you lose anything for His sake and not restore it back to you — He’s better than the stock market! Give your investor a$100, you might get some back or you might lose it all! Jesus promises us a 100 fold return on any and everything we give up for Him. No one can offer a better deal, trust me!

Don’t get consumed with these temporal things that society says is essential to have. It’s just stuff — and what we give up for Him pales in comparison to what He gave up… and is still giving up for us!

So, what’s in it for you? For me? Everything. Everything to gain and nothing to lose.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Paralyzing Fear

It’s been a minute since I’ve sat down to write a blog; with the busyness of Seminary, motherhood, reading, writing, and [no arithmetic], I’ve had little time to do anything else. I’ve also been waiting for the new things I’ve learned about God and the bible to settle in a bit before I hit you guys with anything. Bear with me!

However, today is a day to write.

I was going through Instagram today and I saw a photo posted by one of my most favorite people, Myleik Teele. If you don’t know her, she’s the brain child behind CurlBox. Yes, she’s that woman. Anyway, she posted a picture of her dainty, well manicured hands on the steering wheel of a Porsche. The caption said:

Last July, my mentor/sister @tremedia handed me the keys to her car and said, “Drive it. Stop living in fear.”

The post went on to say: “I was always afraid to have more because I didn’t feel like I needed/deserved it. She’d always tell me: ‘Myleik… you are a phenomenal woman. You deserve everything and more.’ I fooled around and believed her.”

Fear is paralyzing. It keeps you stagnant. Fear puts your feet into cement blocks so you cannot move. It renders you helpless to help yourself and will drive you to pull away from the very purpose for which you are called.

Fear will cause you to believe that what you have been destined to do/have/be is only reserved for someone not as [insert flaw/short coming here]. Fear will cause you to shy away from opportunities to grow, stretch, and shape yourself into the person you see in your head. It is, my friends, the ultimate paralyzer.

The verb “paralyze” means to “cause a person or part of the body to become partly or wholly incapable of movement.” It also means, “to render someone unable to think or act normally, especially through panic or fear.

Wow. So, paralyzing fear not only can keep your physical body from moving forward, but it can cause you to be unable think or act normally. (I read normal to = what you were created to do/have/be).

This means that what you are trying to accomplish right now — in any capacity — is and should be normal for you. It was why you were created. A telephone is not afraid of being a telephone. It makes and receives calls because that’s what it was created to do. It does not shut down, run away, or hide it’s capabilities because of the fear of being itself. It simply does what it was created to do. No fear.

What I’ve come to realize is that my fear is deeply rooted in what Myleik’s fear was: that I am not deserving or do not need what it is I desire. There are more deserving people. There are greater causes for which I could rally to help others achieve their dreams. I am too this, or too that, or not enough. We tell ourselves these lies for so long until they become ingrained in everything we do and say. Sometimes, we need a shake, a wake up call to let us know that we deserve everything and more… and be foolish enough to believe it.

What do you have to lose? How often are we afraid of failure when we’ve done nothing to even approach the thing of which we are afraid of failing.

I don’t know who this is for or who it will help, however, I challenge all of us to look deeply into the reasons behind our fears; conjure them up, stare them in the face (because you may be the very thing that you’re afraid of!) Acknowledge them. Then, do something totally opposite of what you’re afraid of. It can be something small; take baby steps.

Get free of fear. It is nothing but a dirty liar.

On the fearless chase,

Alisha L.