Welcome to Day 25 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 25

To The Person One Who Has My Heart

Dear Jesus,

I joyfully remember the day I gave you my heart and sadly the day I took it back; or so I thought.

I let so many things come between us. Tired of being passionately on fire for you while being called a fanatic by some family and a couple of friends made me choose them over you. I eventually became embarrassed about my insatiable hunger for you after Tondelayo died. Always being teased about my faith and lonely when my best friends didn’t want to go to Christian events was a bit much for someone in their late teens. Friends were either God fearing but non religious, non believers who greatly respected my faith but not interested or believers who didn’t want to cultivate a relationship with you beyond Sunday morning service, Saturday Sabbath or Midweek Mass. It was lonely at times and though you said you’d never leave me nor forsake me; I could only see them…and I never saw you.

I remember the night a few years later that I was trying to go to a Sunday night concert at the late Rev. Timothy Wright’s Church that my friend now Minister, Tyrone Pittman told me about. Tyrone had begun making cassette tapes for me and I learned about a lot of gospel artists through him. From the Rickey Grundy Chorale to countless others, he kept me in the loop. Well, unfortunately Tyrone couldn’t go that night and I couldn’t find ANYONE to go to the concert. I was so frustrated that night rushing out the house only to be thwarted by my well meaning, powerful woman of God grandmother: Grandma Dora. She kept trying to help while fussing with my hair and clothes. I would move one way and she’d try to adjust a strand of hair out of place in other direction. I’d speed walk to the left and she would yank my slip to the right. She loved you Lord and I loved her but she was not my age, you know what I mean?

And that’s when I heard you say, “I’ll go with you“. And I sighed heavily and angrily blurted out, “I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO!!” A gasp of air shook my lungs. I immediately regretted my words but weariness and young adult pride tied my tongue as I flew drove through the streets of Brooklyn. I was in a hurry to get to your house God; all while ignoring you.

Fast forward to the many giving and taking of my heart pivotal moments in my life. To the many sins and transgressions I sometimes intentionally did because of a false sense of entitlement. Sinning like it was my turn, you know? Like, how come they can do it and I can’t.

Lord Jesus, I’m so glad you’re not like me. I’m so glad you went to the concert with me anyway that night. I’m so glad you were already there when I got there. I’m so glad you were and still are patient with me. I’m so glad for your mercy and your grace. I’m eternally grateful that you know all about me and still want me.

And just in case someone else comes across this letter, I’m so glad…you knew that they would.

Love,

Ericka

*****************************************

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Google Images – the late Lester Kern. No copyright infringement intended.

img_7565

 

 

Season 1 Episode 2

Show Description

Welcome to the “Inspiration With E” Radio Show with Ericka Arthur! “Inspired to inspire and healed to do the same”, is the self proclamation that fuels “E”. Each show she strives to encourage others while sharing different genres of great music, interviewing amazing guests and raising awareness about matters close to her heart! During this episode “E” Interviews Guest Co-Host – Veteran, Minister and Entrepreneur Min. Sean Mungin; Indie Artist and founder of God Be Big; Keturah Duncan, Singer and Mom raising Autism Awareness; Precious Bruton and Rev. Dionne Boissiere; Chaplain of the Church Center for the United Nations  Call-in 323-693-3043 and press “1” to stream LIVE with “E” and her guests ON AIR! Presented by: GRINDHARD RADIO  https://authenticiteespeaks.com/
++Interviews begin at 5:10
 
Thank you for your support! Please feel free to comment, like on Facebook and share!
REPLAY: iTunes Podcast, BlogTalk Radio, Stitcher, TuneIn. SEARCH “GrindHard Radio” then “Inspiration With E”!
Blessings!💫e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show

IG | FB @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @EAInspiration

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Photo Credits are property of original owners. No copyright infringement intended.


GOD IS NOT A CRUEL GOD

“He will remember when men forget”. I believe those are the lyrics. I don’t know. Can’t remember. Thought it was an old Rickey Grundy Chorale song but I’m drawing a blank. Anyway I was leaving an encouraging message for my household a few minutes ago in our family group chat via text. Ah the perks of modern technology and drawbacks of working overnights.

The 4 of us; my husband of almost 20 years and our now two young teens have been through quite a bit in the last few years. Pain; though a sign of life, no matter the form or intensity, will either stunt one’s growth or propel it. I believe we’ve experienced both facets of the spectrum. “But God is not a cruel God” is what I ended the voice text with. No matter what we have been through, God has a plan tailor made for us.

God is not a cruel God.

There are some things we say because we believe it and then there are other things we say because we want to believe it. I didn’t say, “God is not a cruel God”.  I mean I said it but I didn’t say it. That was a supernatural declaration that came from the depths of my spirit filtered by yawns and a frustration that my break was ending. I didn’t say it but I knew Who did.

Nope. Not gonna type a laundry list about what we’ve been through. Not gonna drop the names or details of every offender and in what order. Not gonna mention the people who have disappeared off our radar that only resurface if my spouse or I post something they don’t care for and they feel the need to make an (in their eyes) politically correct, spiritually smug unsolicited pseudo rebuke/correction/comment.

Why won’t I provide the gory details? Because it doesn’t matter.

See…what the filtered photos and perfectly orchestrated content on social media at times omit, is that everyone is going through something. Whether they tell you about it or not. Yep. EVERYONE. You tell someone about your 2 blisters and I promise you their 12 bunions got ya beat. Stay focused. Dismiss distractions. Reduce complaining. Allow God to heal the confusion, resentment and bitterness overtaking you. Please.

It’s only hurting you..not them.

Look, you have hurt others too! None of us are exempt, no matter how hard we try, from causing or experiencing pain! Whether it was intentional or not! So be reasonable…pick and choose your battles. Oh and here’s a freebie: everyone that doesn’t keep in touch or doesn’t respond to your texts, calls, emails or hints that only dogs can hear is a horrible person. Did it ever dawn on you that they too are inundated with life and trials of their own? So STOP. There is no sense in forever comparing scars, bumps and bruises when we can spend our time, energy and every ounce of our being encouraging, inspiring and reminding others that they’re not alone. Easier said than done…I know…but may I submit, so worth a valiant effort.

By the wayyou’re not alone Beloved. So if you need someone to talk to, I have a few *hotlines listed below.

In the meantime let’s pray:

God I choose to believe You. No matter the circumstance. No matter who comes and goes. No matter who stays because they haven’t figured out how to leave yet. No matter what the news broadcasts or newspapers withhold. Thank you for knowing all about me and still wanting me. How awesome are you oh God!

I pray for the one reading this right now. Bring comfort and remind them healing comes in many forms. It may be in laughter or in volunteering. Show them how to cope Lord. We have so many questions and yet so few answers Lord. Thank you in advance for peace, provision, healing, restoration and strategy Father. You are not a cruel God and it will all make sense one day.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

*National Suicide Hotline (US)
Click here for International Suicide Hotline Numbers
Crisis Text Line (US) If you don’t feel like talking and rather text someone: Text “START” to 741-741
Live Through This Inspiring stories of actual Suicide Attempt Survivors 
The Trevor Project -For Gay & questioning youth

 

Thank you for your support! Please feel free to comment, like on Facebook and share!
REPLAY: iTunes Podcast, BlogTalk Radio, Stitcher, TuneIn. SEARCH “GrindHard Radio” then “Inspiration With E”!
Blessings!💫e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show

IG | FB @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @EAInspiration

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Photo via Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended. 


I’VE BEEN THINKIN’

I’ve been thinkin’. Licensed but my collar has been adjusted and my pulpit has changed. 

I’ve been thinkin’ about influence. What it looks like, what it’s looked like, what it can look like…what it should look like. 

I’ve been thinkin’ about the sacred text of old that describes the mundane being granted access to the majestic; an ocular demonstration of being entrusted with the king’s ear. Speak Esther. Speak Daniel. Speak Joseph. 

I’ve been thinkin’…if I were to shut down all of my social media pages today, what would my voice sound like in the earth realm?

I’ve been thinkin’…”The Kings heart is in the Lord’s hands and HE turns it whichever way HE chooses”. I’ve been thinkin’…”I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” as it lies mute at the feet of the religious, archaic, powerless, well rehearsed, poorly versed, noisy, incestuous stagnant. 

GOD I’ve been thinkin’. What are YOU thinKING?

AND from “one dust ball to another (thank you Bishop Keith Reed Sr.)… 

What. Are. you. Thinking?

Day 48 of 2017


Muhammad Ali Archive Photos: No copyright infringement intended

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Nope. Can’t say that I remember. I couldn’t tell you where any of my stickers from previous elections were hiding (if kept); nor have I ever been inclined to take a picture of one. Nonetheless this keepsake is from the recent United States 2016 presidential election. What I do remember is the first election where I was finally old enough to vote! It resulted in the first (and last to date) African-American mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, being elected. I have changed so much since that day; but one thing that has remained the same is my unwavering decision to vote – no matter what.

I don’t talk politics. Well usually. I have participated in every election since that first privilege to do so. I remember being excited about having a choice to sound my voice. Kudos to my mother, a young working widow, raising two children in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. One of the strongest women I know, she incessantly stressed the importance of learning how to drive and being registered to vote. So thanks to Mommy; voting (and being a “lead foot” New York driver) is not an option, no matter what.

Things here in the United States have been extremely tense and violent while blatant racism is at an all time high. It’s a hostile climate that we often talk to our children about; especially as people of color now living in the southern region. As a family of faith, there was a time my husband and I would alternate leading family morning devotionals with the children before they left for school. Now morning prayer has replaced the lengthy diatribe that would often cause us to lose track of time because the conversations were so rich and quite frankly: we like each other.

Fast forward to the current state of our nation and its undeniable affect on religious believers both publicly and privately. These times are pulling on every spiritual deposit that has ever been made into my life as well as in the lives of those in my household. Yet Sundays are still described as one of the most segregated days of the week. It is rare for congregations to be diverse, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic. Most schools and places of worship tend to reflect one ethnic group, simply based on the demographics of the neighborhood. However the Body of Christ, looks completely different than the local church. There are several who are either not aware of the difference between the local church and the Body of Christ or they have turned a deaf ear and blind eye to what Heaven will look like. 

POST ELECTION PRAISE: This Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

I know that there are many heated debates and discussions about the issues at hand. I also know that at the end of the day God is love but we are not seeing very much of that in this hour. One of the beautiful things about love with pure motives is it’s healing properties. The idea of those with polarizing views being able to have civil, vital dialogue without vicious, hateful racist venom being spewed may seem out of reach to many but not to God…no matter what.

The sad reality is there are many who don’t know how to “do church” outside of the four walls of the church therefore reinforcing great division amongst believers about many matters, including this most recent election. Being kind and respectful to one another in one’s place of worship, on one’s preferred day of worship; does not necessarily translate to extending love to those who may look and think differently. But it should…no matter what.

Where the world may have once looked to the church, both local and universal, for answers; it smirks at its smug toxicity with great disdain. There are also several people who have been greatly damaged, offended or violated by religious entities and so religion and spirituality in and of itself is already a major turn off. It is important for those of us who still believe to remember that this is not a dress rehearsal! From the haughty demeanor of those who are in church 24 hours a day/7 days a week to the embittered hearts of those who are “C.M.E.” attendees (Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter). From those who attend services out of obligation, though the flame has long diminished; to those on fire for God, abstaining from formal gatherings in traditional settings. This is it. This is real life. The real deal. This is not your cute children’s church play, cloistered bake sales, jazz vesper or annual holiday bazaar. We are daily interacting with and walking by people, who are in real pain. Those who are depressed, scared, suicidal and angry. Dousing the inferno of the prevailing ugliness of racism with racism and religious segregation, as one who claims God as the source of their love, is not love.

I believe very strongly that change must come; and as a lover of diversity and the beautiful mosaic of cultures in God’s creation, I’m sickened by the climate we are raising our children in. It is extremely reminiscent of too many of history’s atrocities to name; that ancestors have fought to eradicate. I know the last days are upon us, there is no doubt in my mind but until our last breaths are drawn, believers must deal with the darkness in their own hearts before ever being fully entrusted with the sacred salve so desperately needed to heal the hearts of others.

Post election praise must first start at home before its oil can soothe the wounds of the walking wounded. This is not a dress rehearsal. It’s an invitation to the real world and to life unscripted. You were built for such a time as this and are needed because its happening nowno matter what.

 

 

Because of Him,

e

 

Follow me on Twitter @authenticitee and on Instagram for love poetry @authenticiteespeaks

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Photo Credits Ericka Arthur for authenticitee speaks

THEIR UNMUTED SOUND

The saints were quiet 

when I needed to 

hear them the most. 

Judgement preceded discernment. 

Prayers an illusion.

Their presence – ghost. 

But it was those who 

rarely or never darkened 

church doors whose

faith was strong. 

They’re the ones 

who came looking for 

me, when I shouted

“present” during attendance 

discerning I was gone.

 Resuscitated by strangers 

looking for the familiar 

only to see new faces. 

My Authenticitee began to Speak, 

pain had pushed me 

into uncharted spaces. 

I’ve been both 

legalistic and liberal

Smoke’s clearing – 

balance now found

May I NEVER forget 

what it felt like

to be ignored 

so I can forever 

be an interceding 

voice for the voiceless – 

their unmuted sound. 

iWrite 9.4.16 @authenticiteespeaks 
Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com
IG | @authenticiteespeaks
Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
 

Background photo Pinterest – No copyright infringement intended. 


LOVE

I say that word a lot.

I was taking a gander at Webster’s definition:

love

ləv/

noun

1.

an intense feeling of deep affection.

2. a person or thing that one loves.

verb

1. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).

And then I read the Biblical definition as recorded in 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NASB):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE. 

Love is stressing me out

Ought not be, right? But it is. I’m an extremely affectionate, passionate, God fearing woman, so I kept reading the Biblical list. Like Santa; I even checked it twice. Found out I was one who’d been both naughty and nice. 

I’m in the mood to fight for LOVE

LOVE. 

The word is overused so much that very few have even looked up the definition. It’s just…a given. Love to them basically equals something they really like. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. There’s no reflection on the ridiculously overlooked component to real love: SACRIFICE!

None. 

I write love poetry constantly. I write about it all…

My content is tastefully done and demonstrates a range of emotions. At times broken vernacular is used and others, the King’s English. It all depends on what I’m feeling at the time. I’d give the content I share, a PG-13 rating with an occasional NC-17 streak. By choice, I do not use profanity, sexually explicit photos or post pieces that would be classified as Erotica. However I find it very interesting that the prudish and “saints” (in this context the reference is applied to “church folk” with short term memory loss of their lives before their God encounter), are uncomfortable with publicly admitting they read and even screenshot my poetry on Instagram. 

Fascinating.

Especially considering the top reasons for divorce among Christians according to studies are:

1. Ongoing adultery/pornography 

2. Lack of communication

3. Drug or alcohol addictions/abuse

4. Physical/emotional abuse

5. Sexual problems


I liken those living vicariously through my transparency to the religious folk of Jesus’ day who couldn’t be seen talking to Him but would go to Him alone at night for help, advice and deliverance (John 3). 

Love. 

There’s nothing new under the sun and true healing ONLY comes from being honest about what’s hurting. 

To be continued. 

e

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com
IG | @authenticiteespeaks
Twitter | @authenticitee
Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Photo Credits Ericka Arthur for authenticitee speaks

  

We gotta do betta than shooting our wounded as #Believers. Really feeling some type of way ’bout now. As a #SuicidePrevention #Advocate I cannot tell you how many times I’ve talked to people #cutting themselves DURING our conversation or people struggling with #depression and #suicidal thoughts due to being damaged by mean, fork tongued, two faced religious people in their #communities of #faith. 

We have a responsibility as #humans to not coddle or enable but simply humbly REMEMBER what it felt like to not have all our **** together.

Real talk. Listen, this account is NOT designed for crisis intervention as it is not manned 24/7 but if you or a loved one need to talk to someone PLEASE call 1-800-273-TALK or Text “START” to 741-741

#YouAreNotAlone #YouMatter #MentalHealth #crisisintervention #Church #Hurt #Healing
Peace💞e
#Inspiration #Encouragement #Love #Mankind #Travel #Quotes #WritersOfInstagram #Healing #God #Faith #Help #PayItForward #Prayers #Women #SelfHelp
*ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY PERSONAL IG ACCOUNT TODAY*

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credit: Ericka Arthur for authenticitee

  
When does it end? You know…bullying? Peer pressure, though often associated with teenagers is a life long issue many deal with. A peer is simply someone who’s on your level. Peer pressure among adults, is often well masked and just looks a wee bit different. It’s what makes us buy cars we can’t afford, and houses that are not homes, in neighborhoods we don’t like; to impress people we can’t stand. 

   
We compare everything. Our kids, shoes, financial status, sins and addictions. Why?

There’s a great Twitter Account called *Stop Suicide* (@Stand_Up_To_It) that gives followers a chance to share how long they’ve been clean.  This particular day, their tweets touched my heart deeply. In the screenshot above, the first person had been clean 196 days while the second person, just 4 hours. The second person was who I could relate to the most.

See, though I can’t relate to drug and/or alchohol addiction and substance abuse is not my personal journey; I can relate to the inability to quit doing a bad thing and start doing a good thing. As I scroll down my timeline, noticing my fluctuating weight forever captured; my double chin and ill fitted apparel tell all my business. After all, even most of the seven deadly sins can go undetected to the natural eye.

  

Gluttony however, along with emotional eating, lack of temperance, lack of exercise and using overeating as a stress buster is hard to hide. My old pastor used to say, “confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation”; but we all have something that we’re dealing with, I thought. 

  
There have been days I’ve started a spiritual fast at 6 AM and ended it while saying grace over my breakfast, on the same day. The person who had been clean for 4 hours was already doing so much better than me on many a day. Many

So no, yours may not be drugs. It may be an addiction to coffee, gambling, chocolate, chocolate men or biting your nails. It may be sex, trying to end that affair, cursing, abusing others, stealing, eating ice, eating chalk, plagiarism, lying or cutting yourself. No matter the addiction, no matter how clean, life has a way of leveling the playing field.

You may be married to, roommates/friends with or the parents of someone who cannot hide their addiction as well as you do yours; but be gentle. Be kind and most of all…beware. Remember, most of our “I would never do that!” moments in life are preceded and often trumped by our, “I can’t believe I did that!” moments.   

Listen….

I love you. You’re going to be ok. We both are.

4 hours & counting,

💘e

  

~You are cordially invited to subscribe and share~

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo credits: public domain, noted on photos, unknown, Nashvilleparent.com, Whatchristianswanttoknow.com

  
GOD REMIND ME

Every time I feel a little down

You send sunshine my way

I kept looking down the street for my smile 

Then found a note from You 

Asking me to stay 

I wandered and wandered away on purpose 

I did not want to feel Your invisible touch 

Instead I kept looking to man 

But he’s limping and 

Loving me on a crutch

Remind me what it feels like

To be loved, complete and free

Remind me what it feels like 

To be loved by You 

Just because I’m me

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Photo Credit: Ericka Arthur for authenticitee