Hello World

How often have you dimmed your light as to not blind others? How often have you sat at the back of the class when you knew you were capable of being at the front. How often have you allowed someone to belittle your dreams, your talents, your blessings? How often have you apologized for being…Great! Well, no more! 

I can attest to living a mundane, no-frills and thrills life. I settled for mediocre and chose to live life on other people’s terms. A life filled with man-made boundaries and a limited view of what and who God created me to be. I chose to please people and only rose to the occasion of human expectations. But at what expense? 

God meant so much more for our lives. And it’s time we claim it…come out of hiding. Speak up and make the declaration that you will no longer stand idly by and allow the gifts that God has clearly given you be squandered. Don’t be like the seed scattered on the wayside and never grow roots. 

Find your voice…no longer be silenced by the naysayers, doubts, fears, and insecurities. Greatness is in you, and its dying to come out. It has been lying dormant for quite some time. Now get ready to make an appearance. Steal the show, be in the spotlight. 

To apologize for who God made me to be….all of me? Emotion filled me?  Sometimes impulsive, reactionary me? Why? God knit me together in my mother’s womb, numbers the hairs on my head and I will no longer apologize for the workmanship of His hands. The good and the bad.  It was all designed to be used for His glory. 

So watch out world. Greatness has stepped on the scene. Flashing lights, sirens blazing and an HBCU band leading the way. Greatness is not coming quiet. Been that way for years. Greatness will be making a grand entrance. You can choose to join her or move, get out the way. She is not hosting a no child left behind program. 

This is the last call for alcohol at the club, this is the last zone being called to board a flight, this is the benediction being read at the end of service. 

Lights are on, flight is leaving, Sunday dinner is about to be served. 

Tracks are clear and the train is leaving the station. This is a movement. Join me!

Loving. Living. Growing.

~Forever Trina

Love to Hate

You always take from me but rarely give back
You subtract but never add
You divide but never multiply
You run out on me
And often not on my side
Here one moment, gone the next.
You’re a four-letter word I can’t escape
You got me going in circles
You offer quantity…sometimes
But quality…a hit or miss
Productive interactions…depends on the day
Positive…debateable
You are so draining!

But why then do I still need you? Well..it’s simple…

I need you to help me grow
I need you to help me heal
I need you to help me feel
I need you to help me love
I need you to help me experience peace
I need you to help me experience joy
I need you to help teach life lessons
I need you to help build character
I need you to help find my purpose
I need you to help find what excites me
I need you to help find my passion
And most of all, I need you because without you, there would be no Me.

So, TIME, though we are often at odds, you’re the best gift I can receive. Thank you!

Loving. Living. Growing.

~Forever Trina

Identity – Part 2

In Part 1 of Identity, I started off with the lyrics to Nina Simone’s song, Blackbird. A pretty depressing song but filled with so much insight into Nina’s identity and the allegory of her world at the time. There are so many themes represented and I’m ready to dive back in and see what more we can learn about self-identity. So here we go…


The “right” or “Christianese” answer to where we should find our identity is in The One…the one who knew you before you were even born. Who took the time to form your innermost being, shaping your delicate insides and intricate outsides, making you mysteriously complex (Psalm 139:13-18, TPT). Ensuring everything you have, you need, and what you don’t have, you don’t need. God knows every detail about you…the pretty and not so pretty and still loves you. God is like the poster child for finding identity.

But why then do we still tend to look to other people to validate what has already been validated. Or identify with what has already been identified and love what has already been loved. God calls us to look higher but instead, we continue to look lower. In that quest to find something…feel something… anything, we tend to look everywhere but up. Sex, relationships, career have been heavy hitters in my life. It took facing fears, embracing weaknesses, addressing the issue behind the issue to finally begin walking in true freedom and self-identity…God-identity.

Life has a way of bringing you to your knees. So after exhausting all your resources, look up. God is often found in the messiness of life, but with that…identity and freedom.

Loving. Living. Growing.

~ Forever Trina

Identity – Part 1

Why you wanna fly, Blackbird?
You ain’t ever gonna fly
No place big enough for holding
All the tears you’re gonna cry
Cause your mama’s name was “Lonely”
And your daddy’s name was “Pain”
And they call you “Little Sorrow”
Cause you’ll never love again
So why you wanna fly, Blackbird?
You ain’t ever gonna fly
You ain’t got no one to hold you
You ain’t got no one to care
If you’d only understand, dear
Nobody wants you anywhere
So why you wanna fly, Blackbird?
You ain’t ever gonna fly

Blackbird – Nina Simone


Dang Nina! This is the most depressing song ever…but I’ve been there…and not too far removed…

I first heard this song in the movie, “Beyond the Lights”. The main character was essentially searching for identity and it took her hitting rock bottom, her life spiraling out of control and the threat of losing it all to finally find her true identity. Identity that could not be found in fame or fortune or other people, but had to be discovered and revealed from within.

Sometimes it takes facing that thing you’ve been running from for so long, to finally find what you truly need…and that’s freedom.

Freedom and identity are synonymous to me. Because it’s only when you find your true identity that you find true freedom.

But where are you looking? Who do you identify with? Seek your identity from? Your validation? Is it other people or The One…

People? The One? But what does this mean?

You’ll have to check back next week for the answers. In the meantime keep…

Loving. Living. Growing.

~Forever Trina

Fine As Wine

Photo by: @elizabethashleyco
“She’s like a fine wine, she gets better with time.”

That’s how I would describe these last 39 years of life…beautifully designed and fine as wine. 

But no one truly knows the process it takes to get that sweet, savory taste that resides inside…beyond appearances, beyond accolades and recognition, beyond all that the eye can see and the heart can feel. Buried deep…in darkness…only to be made known at the appointed time. Oh, the process.

See, I’ve been crushed and even a little bit bruised and kinda, sorta “forced” to embrace the process.  And though this was very challenging at times…most of the time…it was very necessary for growth, maturity and self-worth to take place. So knowing what I know and having been through what I’ve been through, I am now allowing…

”perseverance to finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”

James 1:4 (NIV)

I’m not perfect at it but I do know that if I jump out the process too soon, I’ll never discover what I could’ve been and what I’m truly worth. And that risk far outweighs the temporary discomfort.

So ladies, allow the squeezing and the shaking and the pressing to work as designed and over time you will see the beauty that springs forth is far greater than anything you could ever imagine. 

Loving. Living. Growing. 

~ Forever Trina 


“I don’t think the way you think.  The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
Isaiah 55:8 (MSG)

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

50 Self Care Ideas


I have a friend who harps on self-care.  I honestly don’t think we ever get through an entire conversation without those two words being mentioned at least once.  So what is self-care?

Self-care can be defined as….

“…any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.”  wikipedia.com

“care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.” dictionary.com

“care for oneself” merriam-webster.com

But if you ask me, self-care is some good old-fashioned and much needed “me” time.  

Define it as you will, it should include some type of mental, physical or spiritual rejuvenation.  

Why is it important?

There is a Bible scripture that says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”  Matthew 5:13 NIV

Well, the same goes for us as women.  If we lose our savor, lose our shine or our glow due to the hustle and bustle and the daily demands of life, what good are we to anyone?  We become more susceptible to the tricks of the enemy and can even become more emotional which could cause us to lose direction, focus and purpose. Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages) mentions a love tank; well let’s talk about our self-love tank. Just like a car needs fuel to drive we need fuel to live….effectively, that is.  It’s time we stop driving on fumes and take the time to fill up.  

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

Click here for the full list of self-care ideas!

 

Brought to You by the Letter E


Today I woke up like…it’s Monday…again. Now there are two ways you can look at that. You can say, hey, I’m alive to see another Monday so no matter what challenge may have come my way between this Monday and last Monday, it obviously didn’t kill me. I’m still breathing, and as a girlfriend of mine would say, I’m still kicking. Or you can say, it’s Monday and I got 5 long days to go. You choose. Sadly, most of us probably choose the latter. At least I did. But as I lay in bed trying hard not to open both my eyes because once I do, it’s a wrap and any sleep left in me is officially ruined, I heard the word “evidence”. My first thought was, what? evidence? I really need to stop watching Law & Order: SVU marathons before I go to sleep. But shortly after, “Remember to Rejoice” popped in my head from Sunday’s sermon and then “evidence” again. I’m like, what? Now mind you, I still have one eye open and one eye closed. I am determined to hold on to the last little bit of sleep in me. But of course, I lose that battle. I pretty much always do when my opponent is the Lord. He was trying to speak and I was trying to sleep. So the next thing I hear are the lyrics “The evidence is all around, that the spirit of the Lord is here” (Elevation Worship, Here as in Heaven). Then the scripture, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). God was trying to 1) get me out of bed and 2) get me to look around at the evidence of His faithfulness. Not necessarily physical evidence but His presence in my life. Him leading and guiding me, opening and even closing some doors. Although things may not be perfect in my life and there are things I still desire and so many unknowns, I can’t deny His presence and Him continually calling me to go higher and deeper in Him. All the unexpected turns in my life were for his glory and my good. I see that now.

So what did I do next? I remembered and then rejoiced for seeing another Monday by getting up with a renewed perspective.

This was the longest wake-up call ever but it also led to a very productive workday.

What evidence of His faithfulness has He placed right in front of you? Open your eyes, look and remember to rejoice.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

The Answer


Not too long ago I had this unsettling feeling that lasted about a week. I couldn’t seem to find my groove, my fire, my “umpth”. Now some of that could’ve been attributed to me just getting back from vacation. I was out of town for a week and had an awesome time but how many of you know, sometimes you need a vacation from vacation. That’s exactly where I was…trying to transition back to reality. If only I had a few more days before I had to “adult” again. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. Your bills, rent mortgage, utilities…they don’t take an “adult” break. They’re coming no matter what you decide to do or don’t do.

So I kept it moving, but I was literally just going through the motions. Not engaged at work…or life really. I had a few emotional breakdowns which were not uncommon but this week was different. There was a deep emotional desire or thirst that I couldn’t seem to quench. So by Thursday, I was like enough is enough. You need to get it together, you can’t continue like this. It’s not normal, it’s not healthy…boss up, put your big girl panties on, do whatever you need to do to reconnect to yourself, to life, to God.

God? Maybe that was it. When was the last time you spoke to God? And not just spoke to Him but spent time with Him? Where you were talking to Him and listening to Him.

That’s the missing puzzle piece, the bridge…the path to a calming in my spirit.

So at lunch, I went to my car and went into thanksgiving mode. Just started thanking God for life, health, strength, my job, friends, family, awesome relationships. Everything! I ended with a bold declaration that I was going back into the office focused and re-engaged. Yeah…that didn’t happen. I told my friend later that day about this. I said God didn’t come through for me…in a joking way of course. I gotta say that because some of you might think I lost my faith or hope or something. No, it was still very much there.  I wouldn’t have been in the car making those declarations if it wasn’t. But I digress.

My girlfriend was like, nah, He was there, He came through, you didn’t. Or at least that’s what I think I heard her say. Funny thing is, I was reading an article earlier that day about doing your part. The promise was already made and declared but we need to activate it.  But how do you do that?

So fast forward to the next morning. I spoke to my friend briefly, texted another and then began my day. But this time, with a praise in my heart. “Praise Jehovah” was the song of choice that morning. I just started praising, releasing and ultimately reconnected to myself, to my life, to my God.

I activated His power by simply praising Him. For who He is, what He’s done, what He’s doing and what He will do. For His continual presence in my life, in the good and the bad, when I understood and even when I didn’t.

I was home…I was back!

Back to life…back to reality…that’s for my 80’s babies!

But seriously, join me in activating His power in your life. There’s nothing like it. Don’t think about “that thing”. Don’t list your needs. List all that He is. Your provider, your healer, your joy, your strength, your peace…the great I AM. Whatever you’ve needed, He was that. And watch the atmosphere change, your posture change and His presence consume and take over you. Don’t ever forsake thanksgiving and praise. It’s the answer you need and have been looking for.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” Psalm 100:4

Controlling Comfort


So I was talking to a friend and the word “control” came up. She was walking me through an interaction she had with another friend and ended with, “that’s not controlling…is it”?

I’m typically of the adage, if I have to ask myself the question, the answer or response is likely the very thing I’m asking.

But this is my girl so of course my first thought is, “nah girl, that’s not controlling”. Eventually we moved on from this topic but for some reason the thought seemed to linger. So since I couldn’t shake it, I decided to explore it a little further. This was actually not the first time a friend had asked me, “am I controlling?”.

My response to the question the previous time was, “you’re helpful…you simply like to help people”.

Now some would probably say, that was a very “PC” response but I felt it was very honest. But despite my honesty,  it still led to yet another question…

When does a feeling of being helpful move to a feeling of being controlling?

Good question…so here’s what I found to be true…

If the recipient of this unsolicited “help” becomes rebellious, bitter or resentful, you’ve probably crossed that line. This can be seen more often than not with kids. You know, those kids that went off to college and went “buck wild”? Yes, that is still a word…but I digress. These kids despised the way in which they were brought up. With the rules and controls and pressure inflicted on them, it was only a matter of time…they were a ticking timebomb…a soda that you shake and as soon as you open it, the contents come spewing out…they couldn’t wait to be released. This is human nature. But not God’s nature.

We’ll come back to that thought. But before we do, let’s talk about another possible result of control.

Becoming someone’s crutch. Yes, the distant cousin of rebellion. In this case, the child never leaves home and can never keep a job for that matter. But why should they have to? You’ve made it very easy and comfortable for them. Their actions or lack thereof have no consequences…in their eyes. You are their fallback plan. They never fall or never fail because you’re right there to catch them, save them. But they also never learn, grow or mature. You stunted it.

So, I’m sure you would agree that these are both equally undesirable results of something that started off so innocent. I mean, our motives were pure and so was our heart. So how could something so pure end with something so not?

God.

Now I’m not suggesting that God was the result of it but perhaps the absence of God was.

This can be a very touchy subject simply because we all like to think we consult God and include God in everything. But do we really? I’ll let you sit with that thought for a minute…

In the meantime, let’s talk about how the previous scenarios play out in our everyday adult lives…

The same exact way.

The above scenarios aren’t too far fetched from what we may experience as young professionals, devoted husbands or wives, loving friends, and family.

But God. He can make the difference.

But if we know that, why is it still so hard to relinquish control?

Our sinful nature…the natural propensity of our flesh to go left versus right.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” Romans 7:19-20 NIV

So definitely nothing to beat yourself up about but definitely something to be aware of.

This was classic Trina. I lived a very unaware dating life. I often felt I needed to help God out. Yes, the man that made the moon and the stars needed my help with finding me a suitable mate. So what happened with that? A lot of falls, a lot of bruises, a lot of scars.

Now some things just come with life.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

But others were self-inflicted.

My fear of being alone led me to some pretty isolated places. My fear of failure resulted in me failing, my fear of letting go resulted in me falling. Where God intended me to soar, I was barely even walking.

But like a parent, God was always right there to pick me up, dust me off and comfort me so I could try again. But this time, not so much in my own strength but in His.

Instead of finding comfort in controlling my plan I began finding comfort in God’s uncontrollable, unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable plan.

Open your hand…open that tightly clenched fist and allow God to deposit the strength needed to find comfort in being uncomfortable. This and this alone allows you to live a truly free and unrestricted life. This allows God’s power to operate in it’s fullnesss in your life and finally relinquishing your control for His.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

Gut Check


Have you ever been gut checked by God?

Gut checked??? What, pray tell, does that mean, Trina?

Glad you asked…

According to the Oxford dictionary, a gut check is “An evaluation or test of a person’s resolve, commitment, or priorities, typically with respect to a particular course of action”.

Put in simpler terms and for the purposes of this blog post, it’s when God “calls you out” or He “reads” you as the women on The Real Housewives of Atlanta would say.

And it’s not an obvious on a bullhorn type of call out. It’s an undercover, sneaky type of read. It’s one where God asks a rhetorical question. You know, like the one he asked Adam and Eve when they were in the garden. Really God? You know them two fools were naked. So why ask a question you clearly already know the answer to? Very good question. Now we’re getting somewhere, now we’re on the right path. Exactly where God intended us to be.

God is trying to get us to the point where our question lines up with his question and our response lines up with His response.

God created the heavens and the earth, He knows your rising and falling….He’s with you in the valley and on the mountaintop.  Do you really think He would ask a question that He already knows the answer to without a purpose? He’s trying to open your eyes to the possible error in your ways or misguided preconceptions or thoughts about whatever the situation to bring about correction, redemption and ultimately relationship.

He is a gentleman and seeks to have a relationship with us and is not afraid to ask the obvious question to get the not so obvious answer.

He did it with the woman at the well and with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.

And He does it with us today.  He asks simple questions that lead back to Him.

So in what ways is God leading you back to Him? What situations, good or bad have you saying, “hmmm…”?

For me, it’s been in several areas.

One was something as simple as a thirty-minute weekly prayer call.  Can you believe I was thinking this frequency was too much and that it should be dropped down to every other week?

Really? You can’t take thirty minutes out of your week to join a call that is uplifting to you and to others? This is likely the only time you’ve set aside for Me all week…ouch! God’s truth can pack a punch.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrew 4:12

God’s word can comfort you but also bring about correction. He’s been as equally forthcoming in the areas of my finances and relationships too.

He spares no expense when it comes to growing and maturing His children. It’s like My way or….My way when it comes to God.  Yeah, He doesn’t give you too many options when it comes to that.  I mean, you can do it your way but you’ll find that’s a road better left untraveled.

So check your commitment….check your priorities.

Do you have a heart for God? Prove it…stop talking about it and just be about it. It’s time out for all the lip service.  Doing what’s “right” in the eyes of others.  Saying all the right things…posting all the right things but in the eyes of the One who truly matters and makes the difference, failing miserably.

Let’s make it a point to make God a priority this week, this month and the rest of this year.  And then sit back and watch how things begin to shift.  You know, things like…attitudes…emotions…relationships. Yours and those of others.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina