Thursday, June 30, 2016

It's 6:19 pm in Chicago. I am sitting on my porch swing, not because I have time. Not because I want to... but because I locked my keys in the house. I was in such a rush that I simply walked right past them. Rush. Rush. Rush. Been that kinda day...that kinda week....that kinda month. I called my mentee who had a set of keys (and just so happens to live upstairs). She was as Target but willing to come back to the house...she'll get here in probably 30 minutes.

My first thought: "Amy, you're such an idiot!"
Second thought, "You have so much to do!"
Third thought, "Now you have to wait stupid."

God's thought: You NEED to slow down...even if I have to force you. I made today's weather perfect, it's your kind of weather- cool, breezy. It's quiet, peaceful... AND you have a porch swing. SIT DOWN Baby Girl. BREATHE Baby Girl. ENJOY this moment of nothing to do but sit."

My fourth thought (as I'm tearing now): "Thanks Daddy. I needed this desperately."
"I know Baby Girl...ya tu sabe nena."

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's 8:51 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing an emotional wreck trying to hold together everything I am feeling from my trip today to Statesville prison. Sitting in a non air-conditioned room with 12 inmates, most serving life sentences, sharing our lives together. The stories. The brilliance. The regret. The vulnerability. The knowledge. The voices of pain, the acceptance of their way of life. The resilience. Sitting with a young man who is serving 150 years to life and hearing his struggle of accepting the fact that he did the work of a college student...and to celebrate him together. To have the gentleman ask me how THEY can help me in my ministry to reach kids on the street. To see their heart and love for God in such a deep, real connection - more real than most Christians I know. The way they welcomed me into their community, even though I was a stranger...and they really listened to me, celebrated how God uses me. I was humbled to be in their presence. It felt more like church than most churches I've attended. That is what I long for. As I sit here with the church bells playing, God reminds me this Christian walk is much bigger than a building, a worship service and a well rehearsed sermon. It's community with others who don't need a stage or a title. It's a community seeking love, truth, forgiveness and a place to celebrate each others humanity and stories. I've always known this. It's my mission in life but today, I saw God. Today I was inspired. Today I saw God's creations not inmates. Today changed my heart...again.‪ #‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's 6:03 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing letting my freshly painted toes (pep plum colored) and wet curly hair air dry in this beautiful breeze. The hood feels strangely different...but a great strange. I think Sundays are my favorite days. It's reminiscent of my childhood... quiet, serene, peaceful. Everyone getting ready for work or school. Just a beautiful day in my neighborhood. Even despite the massacre in Orlando, the weekly massacres in Chicago that don't get the same attention, my soul feels contently blessed. Not many understand how you can grieve and mourn and still considered yourself blessed. God reminds me, with a sweet gentle breeze, life will always come with deep moments of sorrow and pain. The blessing is you're not alone. The blessing is you're here to experience all that life offers. In the breeze and the storm, I AM. On a day when I am in my head too much, your breezes are kisses to my forehead saying "Baby girl, be still and enjoy my love." "OK Daddy" I say in a baby voice as I close my eyes and shut down my brain. "OK Daddy."
 ‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Friday, June 10, 2016

JUNE 8, 2016

It's 9:05 pm in Chicago. I am sitting on my porch swing wrapped in my favorite red blanket my mom gave me years ago. It's cold outside and I forgot to wear socks but I don't want to leave my swing just yet. I'll deal with the cold. Warm them up later. I rushed to hear the church bells and just barely caught them. So many noises, I could barely hear it. When the bells stopped, so did the noise. But then another song started playing...the ice cream truck song - over and over, never ending. It was far away but now it's one street over making its way to me. In this moment, God reminds me, though it's not the song I wanted to hear, He still provides music to fill the air with joy...but also as a proclamation. Ice cream truck music plays, not to entertain us, but to let us know they're close by and their coming in our direction. We run inside to get our money, our taste buds go crazy and then we wait for it to get to us to satisfy our longing. I have a longing or two Lord. My taste buds are craving and I got my pocket change. I sit here waiting for my "ice cream"...waiting for you to satisfy my soul.  
#‎PorchSwingLife‬‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's 8:47 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing in the cool off the night. It's loud tonight. Police sirens nonstop. Tons of helicopters. My place of peace cannot seem to provide that for me tonight. I am in desperate need of peace. Of quiet. Of rest. I just left a vigil of the one year death date of a young man who died too soon to gang violence. The weight of my city, the violence is heavy. My soul has been wailing for weeks and it seems to take more strength to hold it together than to release the flood of emotions...the flood that has the potential to drown me. Sirens.Helicopters.Horns. Trains.Yelling. Waiting for the church bells. Waiting. I need to hear You OVER the noise. It is then that God reminds me, though the waiting can bring the most anxiety, it also brings the most power. Calming your soul is a practice...a discipline. Noise will always compete for your peace. You pressed to meet Me here...wait for it...waaaiiittt for it. Then I heard the bells and it was as if it was the only thing my soul heard. ‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬
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