I Am Onion

6 Oct

great

I’m here. In Atlanta Leadership College. And I absolutely love it. It feels good to be here, it feels right. But it feels even more amazing that I get to rush my fingers across this keyboard and tell you just a snippet of what I’ve experienced.

I miss blogging.

Orientation week was a rough one for me. I met all the staff for the school, met a few of the staff at my church (because I knew pretty much everyone else) and met all of the ladies in the school and went to the Capitol youth service. Very overwhelming for someone who is naturally an introvert. By the second week (last week) it wasn’t as overwhelming. We started getting into the groove of things and it’s not that horrible.

After hugging and shaking hands with staff members at the meet and greet over donuts and coffee, we all began to part ways. I wanted to get my hands on a cup of coffee before heading into orientation, so I walked over to one of the tables and started making myself a cup. I said “hello” to the husband of wonderful woman in the church and he said hello back with a confused look on his face. Once he realized who I was, we talked about me being at ALC and how he already thought I had done the program, given my age, and that I was on staff. I clarified that I was not on staff with the church but I had always wanted to be and he said that he would love to have me there. That, ladies and gents, made me smile. He began to ask me why I never bothered to work at the church and I simply told him that I had applied several times before, but I never got an interview. He then asked me what I had been doing in the mean time  and I told him that I was involved with Celebrate Recovery for the past couple of years and that I was on the prayer team at Fusion and occasionally volunteered for events. This man nodded at my words, stirring his coffee and when I was done, he responded.

“Let me give you some advice. If you want to be here, don’t play the background. Don’t do all these little things behind the curtains. Get out there and show yourself and be excellent at it. Don’t be afraid to be great.

If my face were ice, it would have been melted off the bones by his words. I kept what he said in my heart and it wasn’t until last night during my time with the first year girls that I really unpacked them.

Being great. What does that even look like in my life? I had no clue because I realized that the things that I could be great in, I fled from. I fled from doing music in college because I couldn’t sight-read. I fled from ministering to people in the streets because I didn’t think my words would be enough. I fled from trying out for the dance team at Fusion because I felt that I couldn’t dance as well as most of the girls that were probably there. I fled from making good grades in school because I didn’t think I was smart,  so I didn’t bother to try in high school or in college. And this past Friday, I feared auditioning for the worship team for ALC, so I spent the majority of my time listening to all my new friends audition outside of the doors.

Insecurities and self-doubt lied to me and told me that I couldn’t and shouldn’t do it because there were people who were way better than me and that I can’t make a fool of myself and do what I desired. And I listened. And I missed out. So I’ve been playing the background, letting everyone step out ahead of me. I became content in it because I believed that being in the shadows was where I belonged. And over the summer, before starting school, I heard God tell me to not get comfortable being in the background, and my dear friends, that scared me. But now, it makes sense. And last night, I cried thinking back on the years where I feared stepping out to sing and dance and speak because I felt so small and not gifted enough.

I think this is why I am here. Or at least one of the reasons why I am here. This is only the third week and God is already peeling off the things that I’ve allowed to cover me, to reveal who he has created me to be. I can’t lie to you right now, I’m slightly afraid but excited. For a while now, I’ve only wanted to live my life in excellence for God and myself and now that I know what’s been holding me back all this time I’m curious as to what the future will hold now. But God is so in it and I thank him for opening my eyes to more things.

Let the peeling continue!

 

Going away with Him…

20 Sep

It’s after 6am. I’m pretty much too wide awake to try going back to sleep. In just a few short hours I’ll be starting my life as a first year student at Atlanta Leadership College.

I’m a Chipotle burrito full of emotions right now. On top of being excited for what God has in store for me, I’m pretty nervous. The swarm of mixed feelings didn’t come until about two weeks ago while I was on a retreat in Destin with some friends. It started with an issue from the past and ended with me on the floor in the living room seeing the word “vulnerable” in my mind. Very bold and loud.

It was then that I knew what the smallest fraction of this new season was going to be about.

Vulnerability. The very word itself makes me want to sink into the couch I’m on and hide. Who really wants to be vulnerable? Hiding seems so much more natural. But then again hiding means living in a false reality of life. It’s funny how for the past few years, I thought I was being transparent and vulnerable since I opened up about my past issues. But that’s really only scratching the surface. I can tell you about the storms I’ve been through and how loving God has been to me to help me through it, but I can’t open myself up to hear the truth about me to change into the person God has for me. I don’t want to feel that pain, I just want to simply hold on to the feelings that have kept me bondage for the past several years. Why? As negative as they are, they are so comfortable, familiar. To let go of them and open myself up to something new scares the snot out of me.

But I want to step into that new realm of positive things. Love, passion, authenticity. Freedom.

Those can’t be obtained by doing what I’ve been doing. So why not put myself in place where I’m away from the norm and go through a shedding process. I’m going to try my best to post my experience on here and may even answer questions if there are any.

Please keep me in your prayers through this season. I know that it’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. Also pray that I learn how to be interact with people better than I have been, that take a step out of my comfort zone… and then another step towards where God needs to go.

I love you guys, thanks for reading!

HERE WE GO!

Covered

30 Aug

You know you’ve been out of touch with the blogging world when you notice all the changes… *le sigh*

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog but tonight I just couldn’t shake off the words that have been freshly pressed on my heart.

So many things have happened since the last post. I got accepted into a leadership program and have been scrounging for monthly supporters just to get a room (still haven’t gotten it, but I’m almost there), I’ve been tested and tried but still overwhelmingly covered with love and support by people who I intentionally surround myself with. And I’m back at Ross… Yes. I know. I swore I’d never do back to that place again after quitting back in May, but that $8,100 tuition is no joke. I’ve also done some creating on the side but it’s not all good.

Fusion is currently in a new series called “Storms” and this past Wednesday Pastor David talked on “self-made storms”; those bad times in life that we actually create. I couldn’t run and hide from those words like I would have wanted to, knowing good and well I’m always creating my own problems. Very few people know that I was in a “friendship” of sorts with a certain male that has the ability to put me in a sour mood. We say we want to hang out, we plan a day and what we may or may not do and we run with it. Or least I do. The sad thing is, he flakes out every time. As one of my friends said it’s a “hit or miss with ______” and I realized that it wasn’t anything personal, that’s just who he is and what he does.

Today, we were supposed to hang and as always I sat in my room feeling hopeful, thinking that this time it would be different. But it wasn’t. I texted him, asking what time would be cool for us to meet up and as usual he never responded back. I sat in my living room feeling stupid and at the last-minute trying to find something to do to fill up the time slots I had created for me and him. No one was able to hang with me today. As usual, I took it kind of personal and felt a little rejected by everyone. And with the cabin fever creeping quickly, I NEEDED to leave the house or else. I quickly grabbed my keys and purse, sent my brother a text saying where I was going and drove 30 minutes to a well-known bakery within my church family. I did my usual sulking in the car, blocking out God because I knew I was going to hear what I had been ignoring all along. When I got to the bakery I bought a huge brownie and an amazing chocolate chip cookie this side of heaven. I nibbled away at my emotions and my walls slowly came down. Shortly after, I drove another 30 minutes to a bubble tea joint and decided to sit there with my journal for a bit.

Writing has always brought me back in line with God and today’s date with Jesus wasn’t any different. I scribbled down my feelings and came to a lot of conclusions about myself as a young woman.
First, I realized that I only wanted to hang with this guy because of the simple fact that I liked him. A lot. I figured that something in me was different to where he would actually want to make an effort and change. We both aren’t on the same paths but I figured “I’m the exception. I can change him” Secondly, since befriending him I had compromised, in my head several things that I swore I would never compromise on. And thirdly, those inward compromises brought out the outward set backs that not everyone knew about. I think part of me already knew what was happening every time that I spoke with him. But because I’m stubborn and think that I know better than God, I tried to choke them out and move on.

That doesn’t work. Take it from someone who knows from experience.

Spending an hour talking to God inwardly I spent the drive home talking and singing to God outwardly.

I realized that me talking to this man only took me out of God’s covering. Ever since my mom took a class on the book of Ruth, and explained to me how us single woman are single mostly because God hasn’t revealed us yet to the right person, I have envisioned myself as a woman under Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. But then those times, where I unveil myself at the wrong timing, trying to do things my way, everything becomes a train wreck; inwardly and outwardly. I prayed and sang to God for him to cover me (again) and this time, don’t let me show myself until he gave me the okay. I understand now that I play a terrible God. And with me going into ALC in 22 days, I don’t have time to set myself back any further than I already need to be. I need to create boundaries for myself as well as surround myself with people who, as Pastor David calls them, my storm watchers. I’m great at reaching out for help after the damage is already done, not before it comes and I want to work on being truly accountable for everything that I struggle/d with.

As for the guy, I permanently removed him from my life. As much as I want to give him piece of my mind about everything, I have to keep remembering that I’m to blame.

So here I go, back under God’s covering, allowing him to work in me what I can’t do without him.

God bless and happy reading!

 

#ALClife

24 Jul

If you haven’t the heard the wonderful life changing news, I’ll be attending Atlanta Leadership College this coming September until May. I’m beyond excited for this new chapter in my life and can’t wait to see where God takes me during and after the program!

If you don’t know what Atlanta Leadership College is, it’s basically a nine month program away from your everyday life just to get closer and grow in your relationship with God. You can choose to do 3 years of the program and even get a degree and start doing what you were called to do afterwards. Although I haven’t planned that far ahead in my life, I’m excited for my first year attending this program. In all honesty, I would have never picked this for myself. I actually fought God for a solid two years because I thought that I was above the “gap year” that most recent graduates experience. But God showed me different and the peace that showered me after obeying Him and applying to the school is unexplainable. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do. I know that doors will be opened, new friendships will be made and my love for Him will be deeper and more tangible. And that is something that I’ve been craving for a long time.

One of the things that God is already showing me now is that he provides. I have had numerous moments in prayer and conversation with people I love reassuring me that he loves me and will be faithful in his provision for the school. It costs $7,100 to stay the whole 9 months of this school, covering my books, where I will be staying, retreats and food stipend. My monthly payment plan is $550 a month. What I’m praying for and believing God for is people to make one time donations or be a monthly supporter while I’m in ALC. So if I were to have 25 people donate $22 dollars every month, I’m covered. If I’m not able to make a payment, I get sent home and I can’t go back.

What do I need from you? Yes, I do need your financial support to start and finish this school year. I also need your prayers. I need believers near and far to spiritually cover me and believe that God will not only show himself faithful but also that what I learn while I’m away will forever change me to better my future.

I will also like to send out emails to update you on how I’m doing in school and all the experiences that I encounter. If you would like an email, send me your email address and I will add you onto the list.

I can’t wait to see where this all goes and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. Also, thank you for your support, it is greatly appreciated and I pray God blesses you in whatever support you can give. I love you all! Let’s watch God move!

 

-Brittney Noelle <3

to send financial support click here.

And if you would like to receive an email update, shoot me a message on my Facebook

Chapter 3

4 Jun

Chapter 3
Cohen lost track of the time staring at the blank document on his laptop screen. The office of the newspaper was now only occupied with his existence, and he was fine with that. His cell phone had been ringing off and on all morning of one night stand encounters making him annoyed with his self.
Cohen reached for the stress ball on his desk and squeezed it though it did nothing to make the flashing on his phone stop notifying him. He remembered back in the days where women didn’t flock to him for attention, not really noticing him at all. It wasn’t until he graduated high school that the opposite sex began to notice him. He took it as a sign that the shells of awkwardness had invisibly fallen off of his person and he was what women found attractive. He began to see women more that he was used to, first starting with a soft heart until it was broken by someone who he had fallen for. After her, he didn’t care anymore and started playing the game that most men did. There wasn’t a month that had gone by that he wasn’t having someone in his living space to roll around with for the night, only to kick them out in the early morning sun light. It was easy not to care after having experienced a heart-break and it made it easier to not care when a women showed her feelings. He had become a man of so few emotions over the course of time, until he was introduced to Schuyler.
Turning the ball in his hands, tossing it up in the air he came to the realization that he was attracted to her. But she obviously didn’t feel the same way; how her dark eyes dared Cohen to pay any type of attention to her mad it perfectly clear that her guard was sky-high. The only time that her wall began to shift was when she threw up with him present. Cohen began to wonder how Schuyler was doing since he left Carey’s house that night. He surprised at himself for the concern he was experiencing for her, but he experienced a vulnerable moment when he mentioned a potential pregnancy for her horizon.
Cohen turned to his laptop and moved his finger on the mouse pad to wake up the screen, typed up the website he was looking for and made a few choice clicks before he could change his mind. He was sure he was going to regret this later but it was the least he could do. Quickly he grabbed his things and walked out the empty office, bouncing the ball as he went.


The deliciousness of Carey’s homemade muffins had done nothing to ease Schuyler’s worries. In between bites, she looked at the tiny window of the pregnancy test that had already decided her fate and her heart began to twist in knots. The familiarity of fear brought back those same tears that came when the two lines appeared.
The choices that invisibly lay before her consumed her thoughts. She refused abortion, even though she didn’t want the child, but ending a life seemed cruel when someone ruined hers. There was always adoption; plenty of adults aspired to become parents, she could easily give up the child and wipe her hands of the situation.
Or she could keep it.
Though she had little to no experience with kids, she occasionally dreamed of having a family of her own; the husband, the kids, the white picket fence and maybe an animal or two. But not like this. This wasn’t supposed to happen to her. Keeping the baby meant supporting it and she could now barely take care of herself.
“I’m only good at one thing and one thing only,” she mumbled to herself. She nibbled on the last of the muffins, glanced at the test and ran her fingers through her now straightened hair in frustration.
Trust me
The small comforting voice rested her weary thoughts for a moment, not scaring her like it did before. After escaping, she convinced herself that the voice was her sign that she was crazy and it was okay by her. She took deep breaths and was on the verge of closing her eyes until the bell rang. Thinking that is was a salesman; Schuyler didn’t get up from her seat. The doorbell sounded again forcing Schuyler to get off the couch and make her way to the door. In the side window of the door she spotted the familiar face of Cohen and he saw her too, waving.
“What do you want?” she shouted, not opening the door. A look of bewilderment shown on his face and she saw he held a rectangular box in his hand.
“Wanna open the door to find out?” he shouted back.
“Carey is at the bakery, come back later.”
“I’m not here to see Carey. I’m here to see you.”
Schuyler rolled her eyes and opens the door just enough to fit her head through.
“Occasion?”
“You were sick, so..”
“You though that I needed sympathy from you?” she asks coolly.
“What? No, I was hoping it would make you feel better.”
“I’ll be fine, thank you.” She quickly retreated into the house and tried closing the door, but Cohen stuck his foot out.
“Take them,” he said.
“I don’t want them.”
Cohen sighed heavily and shaking his head, “Are you always this stubborn?”
Schuyler glared at him before opening the door and stepping out, “I don’t take things from people who I know want something in return.”
“Oh really? Well maybe it’s time you take something with no strings attached. Take the damn fruit, please.”
She shoved it back with a little more force than intended, making it fall to the ground. They both went to reach for it only for Schuyler to get the brut of Cohen’s head against hers.
“Ah!” she yelped in pain, trying to stand up quickly. Seeing she was going to lose balance, Cohen grabbed her arm and pushed her through the door, and guides her to the couch in the living room. Making sure was lying down, Cohen walked into the kitchen and found a bag of frozen peas in the freezer.
“Here,” he said placing the bag on her head, “you’re going to have an ugly bump for a day or so, but it shouldn’t be too bad.”
“You don’t need a bag?” she mumbled.
“Thick skull, barely felt a thing,” he jokingly knocked on the back of his head and leaned back against the couch.
“Lucky.”
He watched her close her eyes, holding the bag still on her head. His eyes trailed from the top her straightened hair to the sweats she wore until something caught his eyes. Slowly he pinched the object between his index and thumb and brought it to his eye level. The little window on the stick showed two vibrant lines.
“What do two lines mean?” he asked waving the stick like a flag. Schuyler shot up quickly and snatched it out of his hands.
“No one told you to look!”
“No one said I couldn’t, you left it here on the couch for the world to see.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to look,” she slapped the bag and the test on the coffee table in disgust.
“You still didn’t answer my question.”
“I don’t have to.”
“True.”
“You don’t seem like the type of guy who cares about a stupid pregnancy test.”
“That doesn’t make me the kind of guy that doesn’t care at all. I’m not completely heartless,” he said with a smirked at his little lie.
“You’re a man, med don’t care at all.”
Cohen could hear a bit of anger and pain in her voice but it didn’t stop the anger that was beginning to creep through his being.
“And bringing you a gift means that I don’t care?” Cohen looked at her in amazement.
Schuyler turned to look back at him, hesitating before saying the next few words, “What do you want from me?”
“I don’t want anything,” He couldn’t help but shake his head in frustration, “You can’t possibly believe that every guy has different motives when they give you something. Not all guys are like your last.”
“In my experience, that’s all I know.” Her voice caught in her throat, forcing her to look away before he could see a tear fall. Cohen held back a response this time and reached for the box lying on the table. Opening it, he revealed chocolate covered strawberries and cherries and slid it across the table for her to grab one. She looked at the treats suspiciously without making a move to pick one. Cohen plucked a strawberry and bit into it in swift movement, hoping that his actions would prompt her to do the same.
After a long moment of silence, Schuyler turned to him. Her eyes spoke of pain that he never witnessed with women and like a dam breaking, all of the past weekend adventures flooded his thoughts. Something in him shifted to something somewhat familiar.
“It means positive,” she spoke just above a whisper as her hands picked up the test off the table, holding it gingerly in one hand and grabbing for a cherry with the next. Cohen simply nodded in response and they ate in silence until it was empty. After the last chocolate cherry treat, he came to the conclusion that maybe he could be just friends with this reserved women. In his mind, he created a new game to play.

Don’t fall for her, he thought to himself.

Watching Twilight: A Twilight Hater’s Journey

25 May

raisethecatalyst:

If you need to come to laugh at how bad it was to be obsessed with this series, here you go. This makes me not want to make the same mistake twice.

Originally posted on :

Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t like Twilight. I don’t like that it exists. I don’t like that it was a book. I don’t like that it was a movie. And I really don’t like that there were four books and five (!!!) movies.

An old girlfriend tried to make me read the first book, but after reading the first three lines of the first page of the first book, I threw it down in disgust and avoided it ever since…until now.

I wouldn’t say I’m a glutton for punishment, but when it comes to creating content from crazy ideas, I don’t mind living on the edge and taking one for the team. And so here we are.

Read the rest of my commentary while watching Twilight at Bedlam Magazine here.

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Honorable Mention

24 May

If you were brought up in a church that had a song naming off all of the books in the bible, you have probably heard the book “Nehemiah”. We know that’s it’s before Esther and after 1 & 2 Kings. But do we ever actually take the time to read it? I know I didn’t. I’m on this new thing lately where God is pressing me to read the books of the bible that not many people really mention, so when my favorite devotional site dropped the news on doing a two-part study on this book, I was overjoyed.

There was one little snippet that I felt the need to share with you, I pray that it opens your eyes as much as it’s opened mine. Here we go:

“Next to them the men from Tekoa made repairs. However, the nobles wouldn’t lower themselves to work under supervisors” – Nehemiah 3:5

Here’s a little back story: The first few chapters of the book of Nehemiah is about a man named….well, Nehemiah, who is grieved because the walls of his city have been destroyed. Here he is, a simple cup-bearer for the king and his heart is grieved to help restore his home. In the first chapter, the king allows Nehemiah to leave and help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When he gets there, he assigns all of these men to help build certain parts of the wall, which is where I’m taking you to this evening. The verse that I just shared with you above has been throwing me off since I listened to it in the car. It simply states that these nobles, men that of high stature, of leadership, refuse to help rebuild this wall under the supervision of someone “beneath” them.

Got it? Okay, hold that in your mind for a second.

“Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest.” – Nehemiah 3:20

If you see where I’m going with this, you are awesome and deserve a gold sticker. If not, it’s totally okay. You’ll get your sticker either way, but let me explain what I see.

What is zeal? Dictionary definition:

fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration

So in a nut shell, this man Baruch son of Zabbai is working on this wall because this is probably more than just an assignment to him. It’s something he’s beyond passionate about. This is his home, these are his people and if these walls continue to stay down, everything he knows could be gone in a short amount of time. We don’t know what he does for a living, the bible doesn’t go beyond whose son he belongs to, but this man is working his bum off with authentic devotion. He’s probably a nobody, but Nehemiah or whoever wrote this book of the bible thought it worth mentioning his attitude towards his work on this wall. And he also thought it enough to mention how these nobles were working or not working.

You see where I’m getting at? The nobles just got schooled by one man and they don’t even know it! Their focus was off; too much into their title instead of the betterment of the people. Are you like that? Am I like that? Yes, we probably are, at least I know I can be. Is that something that we should be proud of? Of course not.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”

 – Colossians 3:23

My conclusion to all of this is simple: if you are a leader, whether in the work place, home or church you must realize that your title does not exclude you from being told what to do. It does not exclude you from getting your hands dirty, but it does require you to set a better example. You shouldn’t think so highly of yourself like the nobles did and if you do, it’s time to change that. What you do sets the standard of those watching you and if there is someone watching you, how you act will most likely be repeated towards you. And if you are a simple person, what most would think as a “nobody”, and you work on things with passion no matter how low the task, keep it up. Don’t think that it’s all for nothing, because God sees your heart and he’s proud of you. The blessings that he has for those that work with zeal are coming their way. Just don’t slow down.

Let’s be people (believers of Christ or not) that work with an undying passion, title or not.

 

 

 

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