“My Poetry is Ministry”

Recently within the past couple of weeks, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to other creatives, specifically other poets. This caused me to experience a lack of expression because I was too caught up in what other people were doing. I found myself forcing words onto my paper rather than truly finding inspiration in my day-to-day, and I longed to please others rather than to write what I feel, and connect with others through that.

Most importantly, I forgot where my ultimate source of creativity comes from; I fixed my eyes on myself rather than on my Creator who blessed me with the gift of creativity.

After talking with Honey (my stepmom, for those who haven’t been reading my blog recently), I was inspired to write this poem. She said some wise things that I’ve incorporated here, one of which is the actual title of the poem – “My Poetry is Ministry.” I’m grateful to have such a godly woman of the Lord in my life to help steer me back on the right path when I feel like I’ve been lost.

So Honey, I dedicate this poem to you. Thank you for your prayers, and for always looking to the Lord so that you may speak His Word to others. 💛

“My Poetry is Ministry”

My poetry is ministry,

And I have treated it lately with such

Carelessness — scribbling down verses and words to try to impress rather than to

Try to connect.

My focus shifted towards selfish ways and it became more about filling a page and

I let comparison run rampant through my brain,

When what I truly needed was

My Father’s grace – the grace that bestowed this

Gift of words to me in the first place that

Birthed such beauty from ashes that I sat in —

Grieving a loss, questioning the purpose of my pen, trying to

Comprehend where I was headed, where my value lied.

My Father’s grace is the only thing that keeps my poetry alive it

Makes me feel like I don’t even have to try because it

Freely flows and

The inspiration is divine and

I know this to be true because

When I look back at what I’ve written when my heart is aligned,

There’s absolutely no way that it came from my own mind.

So, first things first —

My words are more than just sowed together scribbles that simply sound deep and that,

As my stepmother once told me,

“Could contain hell underneath,” no,

The bars I spit originate from the Most High and are

Spoken and written through me —

“A broken reed, a smoldering flame.”

Yes, my poetry is ministry so

Take my name out of the equation and see

Nothing

But my Father’s grace.

#MishyWrites 🦋🌿

“the frustration of a fan.” – Day 11 of #12DaysofChristmas

On the 11th day of Christmas, Mishy gave to us…

“the frustration of a fan.”

*DISCLAIMER / EXPLANATION: I understand that there’s a difference between a fan being appreciative, and a fan who’s a legit fanatic – who turns appreciation into obsession to the point of stalking, or any other invasion of a celebrity’s privacy. I do not condone the latter; every person, whether well-known or not, deserves respect and privacy. This poem is about being a respectful fan who doesn’t feel appreciated by the person they admire, despite their respectful love. I also understand that celebrities have duties, and are short on time, so they can’t thank EVERY SINGLE FAN of theirs. This poem is based off of a specific instance I experienced with ONE particular person I admired. Okay. Continue LOL.

I gave you my love and you took it for granted.

It may be odd to many of you that I feel so strongly about this but honestly, I’m hurt, and
I can’t stand it.
It hurt to see that I’d been accepted into what seemed to be an inner circle, but then removed when my love wasn’t “good” enough.
I’m sorry if you wanted more, but out of my own circumstances, that was all I had,
And tough luck getting anything “good” from me because I know I’m worth more than that.
I think it’s unfair how you pick favorites;
How you’re not even that famous yet, but choose only those who are the stereotypical
Pretty and gorgeous, no,
You should be thankful for every fan you have.
Every “I love you” said or emoji that’s read in your Instagram comments.
Because you touched a soul, you influenced someone’s mind,
And they’re willing to go above and beyond to say how much they appreciate you,
How much you mean to them,
And, if they can, spend a little time with you because
They know you’re special; they can feel it in their heart.
But all of that means nothing if you take their love for you and laugh
And pick apart how they showed it to you…

“That was it? Removed.”
“She keeps tweeting me, ugh. Blocked.”
“He keeps commenting heart-eyes on every pic, and bruh, I just wish that he would stop.”

So you, as the fan, as the admirer,
Are left in silence while everyone else who is
Pretty enough,
Forward enough,
Flirty enough,
Good enough
Gets noticed.

I don’t wanna ever be like that.
I don’t wanna roll my eyes at someone who can’t help but express how much they love who I am and what I do.
It’s people like that who are the reason I say this often, “I can’t do this without you.”
Without the love and support, where would I be?
Definitely not putting out my words for you to hear,
Or watching you watch me when I make it to the stage.

I learned something from this – you can’t be too greedy when it comes to appreciation.
As someone who’s looked up to, you can never know the frustration of a fan
Who doesn’t feel loved or appreciated back.

Be kind. Stay humble.

~ written on June 22, 2017 at 11:32pm

#MishyWrites #12DaysofPoetry

“…In Perfect Peace.”

When I was little, my sister and I had a hard time getting up in the morning, despite being sent to bed at 7pm, when the sun was still out (do I sound bitter about that? Hmm, maybe. I mean, nowadays, I might be more appreciative about a 7pm bedtime haha!). To help with our sluggishness in the morning, Honey, my stepmom would let us sit in her lap as she rocked us, and sang a song.

But not just any song, mind you…we were each assigned a different gospel song she would sing, and I think maybe she sang both to us if we needed the extra time. Truly, this maybe five minute window in our morning was one of my favorite times as a child. Sure, I would fall asleep again. I mean, who wouldn’t when they were being rocked and sung to?

Yet, even in my half-awake/half-asleep state, I clearly remember the lyrics to the song Honey sang to me every morning…

“You are my peace. You are my peace. You are my peace, and I worship Thee. You have delivered my soul, from the snare of the enemy. In the midst of my storm, You held and protected me. If I just keep my mind on Thee, You’ll keep me in perfect peace.”

That’s just one of the verses, but it’s the main one I can remember hearing Honey sing every weekday morning when I was growing up. As a child, I thought it was a beautiful song (and, of course, a beautiful time for me because I got a little more time to shut my eyes!). But I recently thought of that song because I was feeling very unstable in a lot of ways.

Physically I was still battling all the sicknesses I had contracted from work. Not to mention, I had just moved into a new home, and was still acclimating to the fact that this was my home now, and would be for the next year at least.

Spiritually I hadn’t touched my Bible in a while. I had been scrambling through a routine, waking up later than I usually had so I wasn’t getting my morning devotions in. At night, I wasn’t turning to the Bible either, and my prayer life seemed totally disconnected.

Mentally I was just as scrambled as I was spiritually. I had so many things to think about – finances, moving things, trying to sell things, buying things for the house – and even though all of my belongings were settled into the new house, I definitely hadn’t settled into everything yet.

Emotionally Honestly, I think emotionally I was okay, just because I felt like this was the only part of me that I could control. There were moments of frustration, for sure. But overall, I felt like since I couldn’t take control of myself in other aspects, the least I could do was hold myself together here.

It’s honestly a blessing that the Lord placed this song back into my heart and mind during this time. Immediately, I looked up the song on Google to see who originally sang it, and then found it on Spotify for me to listen to as I was getting ready for bed one night (I’m not sure if she’s the original artist, but I’m currently listening to Juanita Bynum’s version of “Peace”). And hearing the words again brought back my childhood, but most importantly reminded me where my peace comes from.

There’s a lot going on in the world right now – a lot of chaotic events, such as natural disasters, attacks, threats of attacks. And that doesn’t even include what’s happening in your personal life on the day-to-day. But I wanted to encourage you that there is true peace found in Christ Jesus. When there is nowhere else to run, when you feel like you’ve completely drained out all your options, even when you think you have it all together, you truly are not at rest, and you truly do not have peace unless it is peace that comes from God Almighty.

I listened to this song the rest of that night until bed, and again several times the next morning. And I now have that song on a separate playlist specifically for peace because, as a worrier and perfectionist (thank God not so much now as I used to be, but I’m not perfect), I need to remember Who my peace is, and why He is my peace – God has shown Himself faithful in my life over and over again. And because of Who He is, and all He has done, I strive to keep my mind on Him, and to worship Him.

So, thank you Honey for permeating my life with such Truth, even at such a young age in such a sweet way. If I ever have children, I long to do pass down the tradition of singing “Peace” over them.

To those who’d love to take a listen, here’s the song from Spotify…

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

Two Years Ago…

This morning, my newly downloaded Google photos app notified me that I should look back on this day, two years ago. Curious, I opened the notification to pictures of me, my sister, and my best friend Bria at Mojo Burrito and then at an Issues concert.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.

Two years ago today, it was a school night; a Thursday. I probably got someone to cover my library work shift so I could go to this concert. Before leaving town, the three of us got dinner at Mojo Burrito, then  made our way to Atlanta. I remember realizing we were going to be late to the concert, which meant it would probably be harder to try to find parking for the venue, and we might miss some good opening acts.

My usual self would be visibly frustrated, to the point in which my sister would attempt to calm me down, but only irritate me more, which would then cause Bria to truly calm me down. But I clearly remember making the conscious decision to just let everything play out instead of worrying and freaking out, which made the car ride down more enjoyable.

And when we got to the venue after sitting through some typical Atlanta traffic? A couple left their parking spot that was right across the street from the venue, and I was able to perfectly parallel park into it. When we got into the venue, we’d missed one or two opening acts, but we were still able to catch the main two bands we wanted to see (PVRIS and Issues), plus we got to meet Bad Seed Rising after the show too.

The night ended with a trip to McDonald’s for fries and a large sweet tea, what would become a regular post-concert snack for me. And once we got back to campus at like 2:30am, Bria and I were still awake enough to take a picture of us wearing our Issues shirts.

And I remember at the end of the night thinking and expressing to Bria how I’d just let go of the frustrations I was wanting to hold onto, and allowed God to move throughout the night, and He’d provided in so many awesome ways. He didn’t have to, but he did, and it was awesome to be a part of that amazing night.

Crazy how that was all two years ago; how I could remember all those details, and remember that that was probably one of the first nights I actively trusted God with a situation, and I watched Him provide. Two years later, and I would see so many more of these kinds of situations in my life, and I’m grateful for every single one of them, and how they’ve all shaped me, my faith, my perspective.

With me actively getting back to work with writing and whatnot, this was the type of reminder I needed: that I could let go of the fear, the worry, the frustration that this process has the potential to cause, and just have faith that God will work His way through every single detail.

Happy Saturday, luvvies, aka my favorite day of the week! Whatever you’ve got going on today, I pray that you’ll release any fears, worries, and frustrations; call on God; and watch Him work through your circumstances. He hears you. He knows your heart and your desires. Trust in Him.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

“Today I Affirm…” with Alex Elle: Day 3 – Joy Beyond Circumstances

Today I Affirm…

"my circumstances can shape my joy – both good and bad. It's all about how I look at things. Through it all, I am blessed beyond measure." – Alex Elle

Words: "Beyond," "Circumstance," "Joy"

Ooo, this is a particularly good topic to write about, especially this week. Since Monday, this week has been sort of "bleh." I normally try to stay in a positive mood despite what's going on around me, and it's not that anything extremely negative has happened to cause me to be in a sort of funk, but I've just been feeling a little down this week. Work has been a little harder; we're in the last summer session before the school year starts, so we've added numbers to classes, and teachers are trying to prepare for the transition into the school year. Meanwhile, I need to prepare for the transition from a floater to a teacher, something I'm a little intimidated about.

There are other smaller things in my life I'm unhappy with, but seeing those things in comparison to the big picture of where my life is right now, I question why there isn't more joy in my heart right now. Because despite the hard week, God has been opening doors I didn't think would ever open. He's proven Himself faithful in little things time and time again, and I have to remind myself that, even though my circumstances aren't where I want them to be right now, I don't have to sulk about it, or just accept that things are crappy. My hope and joy are found in the Lord, and He knows and sympathizes with where I am.

Some questions Alex Elle asked about this subject are…

How are you preparing for joy?

When I think of "preparing for joy," I think of the moments in which I am sitting alone in my room or in my car, about to face something or someone, or even about to work on the things I love, and I have to tell myself that, no matter what happens – good or bad – I have to remember to be joyful in the moment. Easier said than done, but that's what I have to do.

I don't think there are other steps I take in order to prepare for joy, but I feel like there needs to be more. Simply telling myself that doesn't mean I'll actually have joy when things don't go as I planned for them to. When I used to live on Tybee, I had all of these Bible verses and encouraging quotes on my wall, and I think picking one of those and physically having it with me as I go throughout my day to look at could help me to choose joy more often than not. That's also why memorizing Scripture is important too.

What is stopping you from going above and beyond?

Fear and worry are two things that come to mind. They always go hand-in-hand; I'm afraid something won't happen the way I want it to, so I end up worrying myself over it instead of taking action if it needs to be done.

Dwelling on my circumstances is another thing that stops me from embracing joy. I want to be able to use my negative situations to confirm that I can be a certain way, or get out of doing things I should be doing.

In what ways can you learn from your circumstance(s)?

Instead of seeing the negative aspects of a negative situation, I can focus on the positive things that are coming out of where I am. Sure, I may be tired from my job, but hey, I have a job, and some people struggle every day to find one. And my job is truly one of the best I've had because of who I work with and what we do.

In other ways, if I'm able to trace back a lesson through a past circumstance, I can take that and remind myself that there are always new things to be learned from all situations, and I can try to see how I can learn and grow within the current circumstance I'm in.

Wanting to have joy beyond circumstances is an easy idea to say and to want to execute, but actually having to do it takes a lot of effort. And I thank God that He is with me every step of the way to help me slow down or pause, and look at my situations with a positive and big-picture perspective. And I'm also thankful that, when I cannot find any way to have hope or joy, He is there willing to strengthen me, wanting me to rest in His joy.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

“Today I Affirm…” with Alex Elle: Day 2 – Hurt to Heal to Grow

Today I Affirm:

"being hurt will not stop me from healing and moving forward." – Alex Elle

Words: "Hurt," "Healing," "Forward"

The other day, I thought about some recent hurts that occurred in my life, and how, if I hadn't gone through those things, I'd be a completely different person in a completely different place right now.

Truly, I am only the writer I am today because of a deep hurt that happened to me a little over a year ago; it pained me so much that it caused me to have to look for other things to focus on instead of aching day after day over the situation. I chose my writing as that outlet. And since then, God has been faithful in showing me that, as long as I continue to focus on Him despite the hurts that happen in my life, so much good can come out of it.

Now, do I wish more hurting situations upon myself? Well, my initial answer would be "no." It's never fun to be hurt. I remember the days when I was still wallowing in my pain, unable to think about anything or anyone else. I knew it wasn't healthy for me; I asked God to take away the pain, but also told Him that if He needed to teach me something through this, that I longed to learn from Him. Looking back a year later at how I was feeling then, and where I am now, it all makes sense.

In Alex Elle's email, she states that "The hard part was choosing to heal. The tricky part was facing my hurt and intentionally deciding that it would not win." And I completely agree with that. It's too easy to feel sorry for yourself, especially if a wrong was done to you. You feel like you have permission to then be sad and mad as much as for as long as you want. Now, it's okay to feel sad and mad at a situation; however, it isn't okay to stay there.

There has to be a conscious decision of hurt to heal to grow. Acknowledge that, yes, I was hurt. But I am going to allow myself to heal from this hurt, and through the healing, I will grow and learn about myself more than I could have had the hurt not occurred.

Some questions Elle asked in the email were…

How will you grow?

I think for right now, I'm growing when it comes to my time and my writing. Although there are consistent factors to my schedule, there's always something new being added during the day – a hangout with a friend, a recording session, a phone call, a grocery run. So, I'm still trying to learn how to manage the time I do have within my day.

For writing, I think I'm always trying new things. I did like a month or month-and-a-half of fiction writing after not touching that genre in years just so I could step away from my spoken word for a bit. And as I continue to write more-so in spoken word, I'm learning my own groove and pace in the written and spoken aspects of my writing.

Of course, there are other things I'm growing in, such as cooking actual meals from scratch instead of using a box or can (not that there's anything wrong with that, I just felt like now was the time to break out of my shell) and taking care of my body physically by going to the gym and watching what I eat and how much water I drink. And spiritually, I'm constantly learning; I'm in need of so much grace, and God has been so gracious to me as I fumble through this life. I'm humbled that He's still willing to teach me.

What are your steps to healing?

I don't think I've ever thought about the steps of healing, even though I know it's a process.

My initial reaction to healing is seeing what the Word says about it, even if there is no direct answer to the situation I'm healing from, there is always some sort of comfort or encouragement in the Bible somewhere. From there, I think on what exactly I need to do to make the appropriate steps in my healing process – it could mean reaching out to people I trust and asking them for help, or it could mean spending more time alone to process things. It could be taking a break from things I'm used to doing, and delving into new activities.

So, in that way, I know there are steps that need to be taken, but I feel like those steps change depending on the circumstances.

As Elle said, healing is hard; I know I would rather complain about my situation than choose to grow from it. And even after choosing to heal and grow from a hurt, the process isn't easy, and it isn't short. But I definitely believe it is worth it.

Turning to God, and asking Him to heal me, I didn't know what I was getting myself into – weeks that turned into months of constantly questioning the place I was in, only to come back to the conclusion that I didn't have to know the answer but simply trust that He knew what He was doing. I didn't think my pain would turn me into this – a writer, a spoken-word artist, a creator/leader of a writing community.

It's humbling, and I'm extremely grateful

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

The Little Things, Part 2 – Lost & Found

Okay! So, this is what happened…

Provided For

Last Wednesday night, my stepdad texted me saying that one of our neighbors we used to live by when I was growing up was selling a Nikon camera with two lenses (one that shoots farther than the lens I had originally) that she'd bought from him. I was pretty excited, but also pretty nervous about how much money I'd have to spend.

The next morning, I get a text again from my stepdad, saying that the whole camera package was a great price – like, the price of what one lens would cost. I was thrilled, and immediately messaged our former neighbor, saying I'd purchase the camera and the lenses.

Honestly guys, I was crying like a baby in my dining room, thankful that God had provided an alternative camera for me to use, and that with one of the new lenses, I could possibly take pictures of the moon, something I'd been wanting to do for a while.

Well, things got even crazier after that…

Lost & Found

Yes, I mentioned this yesterday at the very beginning of my post, but I eventually found my cameras. Yes, the cameras I'd lost almost two months ago. The cameras I thought I'd left in a hotel room in Atlanta. The cameras I thought someone had stolen, and carelessly sold or used without thinking about who they actually belonged to.

Last Friday night, I came back to my friend Jessica's house really late, and was going to stay the night because the next morning we were going to Dollywood. I was in their guest bedroom when I saw a black camera bag that looked exactly like mine. Part of me was like, "Ehh, it's just Jessica's camera bag." But another part of me decided I should check.

And, lo and behold, there were my cameras. The bag, the charger, the cameras, everything. All safe and sound at my friend Jessica's house this entire time. I was honestly so shocked that they'd been found, I couldn't believe it. And I was overwhelmed with joy that God would give them back to me, even though at the beginning of losing them I was like a child, and threw fits about them being lost. And even though He'd already provided another camera and lenses for me to have.

He still let me have my cameras back. I was floored.

I'd gotten so used to living without them, that having them back was like getting them as gifts all over again. Only this time, I'd grown through the process of not having them; I learned so much about myself, and honestly, I am grateful that these things went missing for a while so that I could shift my priorities and learn the lessons I learned.

And today I received the camera and lenses from my neighbor, and here I am now with more cameras and lenses than I ever thought I'd have, and I'm overall just humbled and grateful for everything. I'm excited for the potential growth of my photography skills, and to be able to shoot with my stepdad again once I can get back home to my island.

I'm also excited to know that the Lord is still teaching me. The lessons and the way I learn the lessons may have been hard, but I'm thankful that He's still patient enough to work with me and my crazy self.

So yeah! That's what happened! Now I gotta go play around with these cameras; the world is waiting to be captured. And maybe I wasn't ready before, but I'm ready now.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨