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Who Holds The Chaplain? (Part IV) - Waiting To Exhale

Welcome to a series of reflections on my experience as a chaplain-in-training thus far. Each post will contain a brief written reflection paired with a 10-min vLog. I hope you enjoy. 
View:
Who Holds The Chaplain (Part I)
Who Holds The Chaplain (Part II)
Who Holds The Chaplain (Part III).

I'm exhausted- mentally, physically, emotionally. 2018 has been one hell of a year- I've been working and writing and wrestling and writing about my wrestling  non-stop since January. While I'm sad that this chaplaincy internship is coming to an end, I'm axiously Waiting To Exhale.

Who Holds The Chaplain? (Part III) - I'm Triggered 😰

Welcome to a series of reflections on my experience as a chaplain-in-training thus far. Each post will contain a brief written reflection paired with a 10-min vLog. I hope you enjoy. 
View:
Who Holds The Chaplain (Part I)
Who Holds The Chaplain (Part II)


Sometimes, chaplaincy can be triggering. I'm not just talking about the serious stuff, like seeing people die and that reminding you of a loved one who has passed. I'm not just talking about being reminded of your own health issues. It's triggering on a more intimate level, pushing up stuff that you didn't really think was that complicated until you came face-to-face with a situation that reminded you of your insecurities. YIKES! Watch the video for more!

How My Mom Made Me A Preacher

When I was a kid, I used to travel with my mom to Toastmasters conferences. I went to Baton Rouge, Lafeyette, Atlanta, DC, Florida, down the street from the house, up the street from her job, everywhere. I heard some of the world's greatest speakers. I sat in many executive meetings (because my mom didn't wanna leave me in hotel rooms by myself...she watches too much Law and Order) and I behaved quietly, pretending to doodle but really eavesdropping on conversations regarding new judging procedures and managing  leadership conflict (yes, grown people cat-fightπŸ™€). I was present for speaking competitions that my mother judged, training seminars that my mother presented, and galas that I attended with my mother as her young, but show-stealingly adorable, date.πŸ‘§πŸ½
And of course, my mother took Toastmasters home with her. Whenever I had to speak in church or prepare a speech for class, she mentored me. She made sure I had a bomb πŸ’£acronym (she's obsessed with corny acronyms)…

Who Holds The Chaplain? (Part II) - Saying "Goodbye"

Welcome to a series of reflections on my experience as a chaplain-in-training thus far. Each post will contain a brief written reflection paired with a 10-min vLog. I hope you enjoy. 
View Who Holds The Chaplain (Part I) here.

One of the things about chaplaincy that I'm learning to deal with is saying "goodbye"-- Goodbye to patients. Goodbye to families. Goodbye to those who are transitioning from this life. Good to the families of those who are transitioning from this life. Goodbye to those who are (thankfully) going home or to a less critical facility. Goodbye.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've built relationships with some folks who I've had to say goodbye to. Mostly good goodbyes. I recently said "goodbye" to Ms. Jane*, my home-girl in her fifties who I spent a lot of time with, having in-room bible studies and just all-around great conversation. She left over a week ago to go to a physical rehab facility--one step closer to home. I'm happy f…

A Sound Mind

I woke up around 5:30 am this morning, heartbroken for an ex-colleague who is struggling severely with his mental health and addiction. He is/was a literal genius, gifted so graciously and adventageously anointed. To witness his downward spiral via social media, broadcast for all the world to see, literally shook me outta my sleep.
Life is hard πŸ˜” and every once in a while, something reminds me to not take a sound mind for granted. I've had my battles--
my ups and downs--
my good days and my bad days.
I've struggled with depression and anxiety, accompanied by over/under eating. I don't know drugs, but I've been acquainted with alcohol.
I know heartbreak and heartache a little too well.
I know disappointment hidden behind a fake smile.
I know career successes met with personal failures.
I know what's it's like to feel alone even in a crowd.
Life is hard!
When I was a kid, I used to always hear people in church talking about "Thank God for a sound mind,"…

Who Holds The Chaplain? - A Five-Part Series

Welcome to a series of reflections on my experience as a chaplain-in-training thus far. Each post will contain a brief written reflection paired with a 10-min vlog. I hope you enjoy. 

Being a chaplain is lonely. 😢 I can't say I'm surprised. Ministry, in general, has proven to be lonely. Many people have left my life as I've embarked on this unscripted journey--as I've embraced this totally mind-blowing NEW thing God is doing in my life. I've had to quit some things along the way. I've had to part with some identities that I once held dear. I've cried many tears. I've been angry with God. 😏
I'm not surprised that even amidst loving what I do (or learning to love it), loneliness creeps in like weeds in a garden. Like spiders spin their invisible webs that trap us when we least expect it, grief sneaks up on me in the midnight hour; I find myself tossing and turning, wrestling with the day's work that I thought I'd left behind at the hospital/…

A New Journey

I'm beginning a journey tomorrow.
I'm excited and anxious--
Scared and fearless.I'm reconnecting with a part of me that's been drowning in things that don't aid my growth.I hope to find clarity, better health, and a new purpose that uncovers a joy that I've been dying to get in touch with.Stay tuned.

Hey Stalkers!

I was talking to a person I (used to) know--this estranged acquaintance of mine--who said that they have friends who screenshot segments from my blog and social media postings and send them to this person. I thought, "hmmm, I wonder who the mole is?" But also, I wonder who has that kind of time to (not) follow someone on social media but to stalk them and pull pieces from their writings, out of context, and send them to someone who clearly has a fractured relationship with me. Like, with that kind of time, I could sleep an extra hour or two every day! But I digress.

I welcome all to my very public blog and social media pages. I don't share anything that I don't wanna share. In fact, I keep much of my life very private, for my safety and sanity. I write my story because it's healing--because it's freeing. I open the world to some of the most intimate moments of my life because I know that vulnerability is contagious--that transformation is not to be hoarded b…

Be The Bigger Person

I'm embracing this new season of my life by being the bigger person. I know. I know. It's asking alot of some of you but there's something about following your heart, even when you know you won't get anything in return, that makes "being the bigger person" worth while. I know I may not get a response, but I'm gonna wish that person well anyway. I know I'll never see the fruit of my labors, but I'm going to give all I have anyway. Being the bigger person means releasing immaturity and pettiness. It means, pulling up your big person pants and offering something to someone who can't or won't offer you anything in return.Today, I was the bigger person. Last week, I was the bigger person. I will continue to be the bigger person because that's who I am. Nothing or no one will stop me from spreading love in this world. I'm grateful for the insight and for the ability to give. I'm grateful for the abundance. Mostly, I'm grateful fo…

Stop Telling Preachers What To Preach!

I'm tired of people telling preachers what they SHOULD be talking about on Sunday morning. You don't know their community or what that community needs.
Sometimes people need healing before they can even begin to make space for whatever the latest news story is.
I feel like communities of color have a whole different preaching ethic, and rightly so! We live bad news daily. Sometimes we want to come into the house of God and be made whole BEFORE we can attack the political and economic dysfunction.
Watch more of my rant here:



I Refuse to Sing the Blues

I don't have a song for you today
All I feel is black and blue
Only pain and sorrow came this way

I don't have a song for you
I don't even know my name
All I hear are minor chords
All I feel is somber tunes
But I --

I refuse to sing the blues

I refuse to write another song about the troubles of my day
I refuse to vent, so maybe I'll just scat my blues away
It'll give me the words to say...

I refuse to be angry
I will turn my day around
I will sing until my withered soul arises from the ground

Not inspired. I'm just tired.

And I don't have a song for you
But I found a song me
And it's come to set me free

I refuse to sing the blues

Love Poem #2

You make me wanna write poetry--

A love song...
Or jazz...
Your gaze is like bent harmonies  Making my fingers have Seizures on the keys
my voices contorts into beautifully distorted melodies

I'm Not Responsible For Your Insecurities

I was in a "Bible study" of sorts today, and the leader was describing a situation in which a person was accusing her of speaking too much about being a same-gender loving pastor. She said she was taken aback at first and took careful consideration of the comment. After interrogating this analysis of her "over-sharing," she decided that the person's feelings and assessment of her wasn't her problem. She was not responsible for the other person's insecurities regarding her sexuality, faith and position, and their insecurities regarding the way she chooses to share that information.I started thinking a lot about my life over the past 2 years--saying "yes" to seminary, then saying "yes" to preaching, and finally saying"yes" to my call to be a pastor. I've dealt with a lot of folk's insecurities throughout this process of leaning into my God-assignment and stepping more deeply and firmly into myself. I tiptoed around th…

Embrace Your Evolution

Today, I learned that God's plans for us aren't final--that sometimes life/humans get in the way, and even God has to start all over again with the planning.
We may hear God speaking to us about something very specific that God has planned for us and years later, be questioning whether what was spoken was really God or some made up voice in our heads. Usually, we're interrogating that when we feel betrayed by what we thought was a God-plan that didn't come to fruition, or when we feel that God has been silent for too long and the plan hasn't manifested the way we thought it should've. We start to think we've misunderstood God.
But perhaps, God is rearranging some things--that God is adjusting God's plan for our lives so that it can stay true to the ways in which we've evolved since the plan was spoken. Perhaps, God is staying true to the ways people and the universe have evolved. Perhaps, the original plan no longer fits.
This was a most freeing r…

Summer Sundays

I'm realizing that I need to have plans of some kind on Sundays, even if it means reserving that day for ordering in so I don't have to cook. Just something to get excited about after church, like a special dessert or a good (non-academic) book. I love ministry (well...sort of, lol). I like church. I like serving. I like teaching. Ministry, however, needs to be accompanied by some sort of fellowship or exciting treat or it's like you're giving and giving without being refilled.Today, I binge-watched ER again. The adrenaline of that show helps wear me out, which helps kick my insomnia. Also, watching TV after church instead of napping keeps me from being up at all hours of the night. I digress, I look forward to summer Sundays and filling my post-church schedule with meaningful activities.

Forcing Rest

I am Radiant and Unfading

Yesterday, two people told me that I looked "radiant." I couldn't help but think about the scripture that I preached from in November: Wisdom 6:12-16
One of the lines says that Wisdom is "radiant and unfading."

When reading this text through the lens of my life experience, I immediately sought comfort in wisdom--in myself--in identifying myself as her. We are all wisdom.

The black woman’s wisdom runs deep
Deeply Buried in the bloody soil of this nation—
from pushing white babies through Central Park in expensive strollers
to writing dissertations that the academy don’t wanna publish.
From knowing just how much baking powder goes in the cake without measuring
to braiding your daughter’s hair with your eyes closed,
This Wisdom—this black woman’s wisdom runs deep.
It is ingrained in the fabric of the nation.
She is radiant and unfading—the text says--
Another translation says that “she is brilliant, she never fades.”

Today, I feel brilliant! 

Today, I was awarded …

Bible Study

I LOVE leading Bible study. I love that I don't have to perform,
that it's dialogical, that no matter how much I prep or plan, I can never FULLY prepare for it because it takes on a life beyond my preparation and that is so darn beautiful.Most of all, I love that I learn too.There articles I wouldn't have read--commentaries I would've skipped over--that I hadn't had the opportunity to teach bible study. Souch of my knowledge about the Bible and doctrine has been garnered through prepping for worship leading (and deciding which songs fit the theology of the space or not) and leading theological and biblical (not the same thing) conversations. I feel like I've learned more by doing than by schooling. Of course, seminary has taught me where to look for certain info and what to look for. I'm excited about the future of my ministry. I don't know what exactly it'll look like but I'm believing God for a mind-blowing experience.

Affirmation

Ever so often, we need a dose of affirmation to remind us that we are on the right path(s).Today, I received several doses of affirmation that confirmed my ministerial journey as well as my artistic pursuits. I'm determined to live every breath of life fully, leaning into the various parts of myself, letting the water of my gifts seep into the crevices of my being, filling me up infinitely.Today was the first day that I was excited about the immediate future. I look forward to the ways God will continue to blow my mind as I press forward with dignity and determination.I know that my shortcomings don't determine my worthiness--that God still sees the value in me, amidst my faults and my faithlessness. I look forward now, more than ever, to saying,"Here I am, God. Send me!"Send me forth to be a vessel of Hope in a world full of hopelessness. Send me forth to be a voice of Change in places of stagnation.Send me forth to be a carrier of Love in loveless corners.Here I am…

Shake Shack

Today, I had a fast food burger for the first time in years! I had a serious craving for Shake Shack or Chick Fil-A. I saw the Shake Shack first as I scurried through Penn Station to get to an appointment.At 12:38am this morning, I submitted my final paper of the semester. I'm having mixed emotions. I already ate my feelings this morning, so that's out of the way. Now, I'm in bed--not hungry, not tired (enough), and trying to figure out how to occupy my mind in a healthy way until it's blown again next week at the start of my chaplaincy internship.Many of us really don't know how to rest. I spent the whole semester praying for this moment--the moment when I could finally rest my brain and my body, my spirit and my soul. Now that it's arrived, I feel strange. My to-do list is blank today. I'm learning to leave it like that when I can. One day, I'll look back on this boredom and wrestlessness and wish I had appreciated it more.

1 Page Away From Freedom

I'm struggling through the last page of my final paper of the semester. It has been a LONG semester, and if you've been following me since I started blogging daily on January 8th, 2018, you know how intense this year has been.

I'm not crying. I'm not complaining. I'm anticipation freedom.

One of the things I hope to accomplish tomorrow is spending stress-free time with God. So much of my brain-space has been clouded by looming deadlines and final projects and my time with God has been muddled. I want to wake up tomorrow and not lament about what's due tomorrow or next week or next month. I look forward to laying in bed and praying, or hopping out of bed to have a praise and worship session that doesn't have to be cut short by a 15-page paper hanging over my head. I look forward to going to a restaurant to celebrate my accomplishments and NOT bringing my laptop or some required book for class, but bring a book to do some leisurely reading or a notebook to j…

Sick-n-Shut In

Whenever I'm sick, I think about how lonely this world is for those who don't have people to care for them. I have wonderful friends who have dropped everything to attend to me when I've been in need. I live away from "family" so that's not an immediate option. Yet, I still feel the loneliness, as a single person with no children.I feel like I need a few kids to order around when I'm sick lol -- to go to the grocery store for me or to heat up a frozen meal so I can stay in bed. That'll be years from now, though. I'd take a strapping gentleman, however. Ha! Until then, I'll take care of myself, as usual.

Down with the Flu

I missed posting yesterday
Because I was tryna be superwoman
And failed!What I thought was a little cold
Turned out to be the flu.
I'm down and out.
But not defeated.

I Can't Be Superwoman Today

I woke up this morning with a sore throat.
I'm about 15 pages from being done with this semester.
It's been a painful journey.
My paper will be late.
I've already made peace with that.
I can't be Superwoman--
Not today.  Not tomorrow. Not yesterday.
Maybe in a few months,  I'll put on my breastplate and reclaim my throne.
I feel silenced. 
I wish I could tell the world what broke me--
Who broke me--
Why I'm struggling to meet deadlines--
Why my body is shutting down.
But I won't, because brokenness won't become me.
Just because I can't be Superwoman today,
doesn't mean I can't be whole tomorrow.
And so, I press on.

Bourbon 4 Ice Cream

I had a doctor's appointment today. Well...it was more than that...but basically, I have to seriously cut down my alcohol intake because my ulcers are at risk for perferating. So tonight, instead of having my daily glass of wine or swig of bourbon, I washed down my stressful day with a half pint of double chocolate Talenti (I don't even like chocolate like that...unless it's a man πŸ˜‹) and a half pint of carribean coconut Talenti (ok ok, I went a lil overboard, but I didn't eat dinner so...it's fine πŸ’πŸ½‍♀️).This will be a strange journey for me. Pray my strength in the Lord. But for real, I'm trading my bourbon for ice cream, at least for now. I'm excited...maybe once school is over and I stop stress eating, I'll wash down my day with a green juice instead. Who knows?

Steady My Stumbling

I stumbled into this ministry thing.I just started walking straight months ago, and with the determination that fueled my steady trod came the perseverance needed to weather an unforeseen storm.It seems as if as soon as I got the confidence to stand tall in my call, a hurricane swept through and destroyed the vegetation that was nurturing me.But I have not starved. I have not gone hungry. I have not gone thirsty. I may only eat once a day, but I eat. I am fed. I am full. My cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy have carried me. I need for nothing, despite my wants. So, I say, "here I am, God!" Like the great prophet, "Use me. Send me!" Steady my stumbling and temper my trod. I'm jumping in.

Can You Love Me On A Saturday?

I know you can love me on a Friday--
when I'm dying
and you need to get
one last superlative out
before I slip away.
I know you show your love through grief,
with flowers at my feet,
as you mourn my coming absence
from your life--
as you think about
all the ways I've served you
that will be no longer.
(They say your foes return as friends
when what they thought would kill you
fails.)

I know you can love me on a Sunday--
when I've resurrected,
returning as something
more beautiful than before.
I know you can love me then--
when there is a blessed assurance, a foretaste of glory divine.
But can you love me on a Saturday?
Can you love me in the sunken place?
Can you love me in between  the all-to-familiar crucifixion and the all-to-praised resurrection?
Could you love me when  the flowers at my decomposing feet have died-- when Sunday hasn't come-- when Sunday never comes?
Could you love me then?-- After the fall and before the rise? After the light within has die…

Failing...

I missed posting yesterday...again!I'm trying to be gentle with myself and not fall apart when I feel like I'm failing at life. I spent the day with friends after church, but had to cut the evening short when I started sensing a fever coming on.Take care of yourselves, folks. Life is short. Be kind to your mind. Be sweet to your soul. You deserve to live and live fully--a life full of health and strength.

Full

God always finds a way to fill me up when I'm empty.I've suffered tremendous losses in this season of my life, but somehow, even in the despair, my cup runneth over.I'm full tonight. I spent the evening with wonderful women of color who are on a journey in ministry. There's nothing like being around people who, despite the differences, get you and support you. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share with them and to be empowered by the space that has been provided for us to grow with each other.So full. So nourished. So grateful.#Grateful

Let the World Deal with Itself

I've always been so consumed with my passions--with how to take what I've encountered in this world and use it to create something beautiful that could better this world.But today, I'm exhausted. My body hurts and my brain is about to explode.Sometimes, you gotta get in bed at 7pm and let the world deal with itself. You gotta be gentle with your passions and not let all that youve consumed comsume you.

Grace in the Storm

I was so swamped last night that I forgot to blog. 😧😧😧😧😧

My bad, my few faithful followers.

It's the end of the semester and the sun is out and I'm behind on school work because #life. However, I'm doing well this week. Life is so strange and peculiar and overwhelming all at the same time. I'm learning to gentle with myself--to not be so critical of my shortcomings. I was reviewing a few papers that I received back from professors this week and I was appalled at my writing. It was just...all over the place. I managed to interrogate interesting topics and engage with the course materials, but my theses were misplaced and the quality of my writing is not what it could've been. I started to beat myself up about it--it has truly been a long and hard semester and I was mad at myself for letting the caliber of my work fall. But then I remembered something--

I MADE IT!
I made it!
I actually made it to the end (well, almost...still got 2 long papers left😩)

I was inve…

Black Woman

Black woman
         Black woman
Black woman

Why you gotta be so strong, huh?

What is it about your make up
Your makeup
          Your make up

That makes you care so much
That makes you love so deep
Your black people?

Black woman
          Black woman
Black.

     Black.

           Woman.

Why you gotta go to war, huh?

Why you gotta wave the flag?
What is it about your swag
That speaks power in the midst of defeat?--

That undermines toxic masculinity,
Even when it’s your brother?

With your body
You turn a pew into a pulpit--
A kitchen into a bible study--

Because your call for justice was never selfish.
It was never exclusive.
There is no cognitive dissonance in your
          proclamation of freedom.

     Black Woman
Black Woman

          Woman

               Woman

                    Woman


What is it about the way you
stir that cake batter in the basement
that saves our souls
long before the Black preacher man ever could?

Black Woman

       Black Woman


What is it about the way you li…

There's Still An Ounce of Joy

Tonight 
I fought back tears 
as someone affirmed a joy 
that I didn't even know was inside of me. 

I'm so grateful that, 
amidst the sorrows and the unsettling turbulence of this year, 
an ounce of joy 
was able to ooze from behind 
sometimes forced and painful smiles--
that my joy overcame my sorrows 
and was able to meet someone where they were. 

I remain confident in knowing 
that I have seen and will continue to see 
the goodness of the Lord 
in the land of the living.


A Reflection on Caring for Black Men

I posted a video that I didn't really like upon watching it. I took it down. I plan on writing a much more sustainable reflection on this matter as soon as the semester is over. It has become the core of my thesis research and I'm excited about unpacking the ways in which black women can care for black men and people in a way that is not damaging or deadly.
Thank you for you patience.

I'm hungry

I had this idea that making a crockpot dish affectionately called "Kitchen Sink Chicken" would be symbolic of what it's like to build and sustain community--using all the resources in "the fridge"--all the resources that the community has to offer--to feed and nourish each other. However, as I get deeper into this journey, I'm realizing how naive and superficial that can be at times. As a leader in ministry (clergy or otherwise), this road can be very lonely. You can invest a lot of energy in building a community that you will inevitably be left on the outside of. In my ministerial experiences, we build community with the expectation of always being able to be an integral part of the social life of that community; yet, I'm learning more and more, that as the community grows and the responsibility of being a minister deepens, the ability to participate in the social life of the community that feeds and nourishes diminishes. It's almost as if you'…

I am bold. I am beautiful. I am courageous.

Finding Love after Sexual Assault

Disclaimer: For mature audiences only
I was sexually assaulted on a first date when I was 24. The events of that evening landed me in Harlem Hospital at 2 am with a concussion and a bruise on my forehead (among other things). During the hours in which I took up residence in a private emergency room, I was coached by a nurse on how to proceed--to take legal action immediately or to not take legal action...to complete a rape kit or to not complete a rape kit. It was overwhelming. I also had to take 17 pills, mostly anti-viral meds. It was intense. There was a moment when I looked up to the ceiling and silently bemoaned. "Really God?" I said, as the quick air from a painful chuckle slipped through my lips. I felt like I was in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. I felt defeated. I felt stupid. I felt isolated. And all because I said, "yes." The details of what transpired that evening are not important to this post. What is important, however, is how the lingering trau…

Water Weight

Today was rough. I cried real hard tears. I felt like I shed 10 lbs of water weight--the hurt, the bottled-up pain, the heartache came right off. I mean, it's still there but, I let it drip for the first time in months. I let the waterfall run it's natural course. It hurts but I feel lighter.I keep wanting to make sense of this season of my life. I keep wanting to wake up from this nightmare. I keep wanting to fight the tears and that fighting has inevitably drowned me. This water weight has caused such congestion in my life. Today I got to release that.I'm looking forward to the shedding of more weight this weekend. I don't know how, but I believe God will make a way for my breakthrough.In bed early tonight. Cheers.

Be Encouraged

Encouragement for the final stretch of the semester:Today, I sobbed in Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary.
I'm not ashamed.
I am emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.
I share because:It's okay to be overwhelmed.
It's okay to breakdown.
It's okay to recognize your burn out.
It's okay to wanna throw your laptop across the library (Not if you broke tho😢)
The release is necessary.Take care of yourselves.
Air hug someone.
Tell them to keep pushing. Be encouraged.

She Is Not Broken

I wish I could tell
every woman who's holding
bottled-up tears
to stop apologizing for her emotions.We are human. And we are whole.
We are woman. And we are not broken
because we cry so heavy
or laugh so loud.We are not broken
because we have emotions--
because we dare to express our
emotions--
Because we've made the choice
to feel.I wish I could tell
every woman who's silencing her wail
and putting makeup on her weariness
to let it out!--
to scream to the top of her lungs
and let the world know that
She is not broken,
like a cracked porcelain doll,
but that she is BOLD!I am not broken,
I'm bold!I am not broken,
I'm bold!I am a not broken!I
Am
Bold!

Let It Go

It's Not Me, It's You

When people continually misinterpret your loving actions for hurtful actions, you have to take a step back, breathe, and realize that you are not speaking the same language, and that it's not all your fault.I recently wished someone well, told them I loved them and that I was praying for them. They told me that I was basically telling them to "f**k off." Huh?
Where'd ya get that from.That's been happening a lot lately. When misinterpretation happens, I always evaluate myself first. But I'm tired of beating myself up over the fact that my spirit-language unnerves you. I will no longer punch myself for being able to be the bigger person, yet having that misconstrued as aggressive behavior or hostile language. At some point, we have to take a deep breath, step back, and say, "it's not me, it's you."

I Will Live

I can't keep letting people kill me.Every wound, every fracture, and every puncture feels like the end.At some point, we have to take responsibility for the ways in which we allow some people to injure us, over and over and over and over again. We deserve better. We deserve more.Tonight, I've decided that amidst the tears and the wailing and the palpitations and the bruising, I WILL LIVE. I will live. I deserve to live.

Am I Your Youth Pastor? ☠️

I'm figuring out what works for me in ministry and what doesn't-- what I'm called to and what I'm not (at the moment). People are so quick to throw the "Under 35" crop of ministers into Children's or Youth ministry. They want us to be Youth Pastors sooooo bad. Let me tell y'all something: Youth ministry is a very specific calling, okay!

You got to know that it's where God is calling you because it's a very specific and intricate line of work. You are caring for the souls of 3-year olds on up. The wide age range is taxing and forces you to embrace a plethora of modes of explicating the theology of whatever place you're working in. It is not for the faint of heart and you will not be in worship service much (at many churches). You'll need to develop a spiritual life outside of Sunday mornings because the work is too demanding for you to actually be able to worship during that time.
I'm at a place on my (short) ministerial career whe…

Ministry Things...

I. I sometimes feel as if I've mistepped--as if I've offended someone or embarrassed myself. I'm constantly working through that as someone new to ministry, but also as someone who has a strong idea of what they desire and the will to stand my ground. II. I try my best to be open to the newness of this divine assignment and all that it comes with; yet, I'm also trying to embrace all the parts of myself that I've laid aside for this calling.III. I'm trying to figure out a way to live all of my dreams. I feel like I'm failing at this. It is painful. IV. I wonder, often, if I'm making the right decisions in my personal life--if I'm being intentional enough about my desires and if I'm honoring my body's visceral reactions to things that bring me joy and things that cause distress. I feel as if I have a grip on this, professional, but am struggling with this on a more intimate level.V. In terms of preaching, I'm trying to embrace this newfoun…

Hey Mama!

Hey mama, πŸ‘ΈπŸΎ
I want to scream so loud for you πŸ—£️
'Cause I'm so proud of you, πŸ€—
Let me tell you what I'm about to do
I know I act a fool, πŸ™„  but
I promise you I'm almost done with school 🀞🏾
I appreciate what you allowed for me,
I just want you to be proud of me 😘

I'm Under...

Drowning. Behind. Under. Help!

When the Lilies Are Gone

Excerpt from  "When the Lilies Are Gone" :: a sermon given by Mia M. McClain at Fort Washington Collegiate Church, NYC, on April 15, 2018. 

It appears that we are all coming down from the Easter high—the exuberance that surrounds celebrating the one on whom many of us center our faith. I know I am. Whew! Holy Week almost took me out. I didn’t recover until last Sunday. LOL


But we’ve come down from the wonderful high of Resurrection Sunday— ·Your seer sucker suits are in the dry cleaners now.  ·You've weaned your children off of peeps and jelly beans and chocolate eggs. ·Many your lilies have survived thus far—maybe not (if you're a poor plant owner,        like me, your lilies are probably on their way out.)
But what happens when the lilies are gone? When the beautiful fabric that once draped this sanctuary has been taken down?  When the warmth of Spring is upon us, and our worship takes a backseat to other activities?
What happens when the lilies are gone? When our siblings…

Love Is Complicated

I was watching a trailer for the new season of Black Love [OWN] and I was reacquainted with the reality that love is complicated. We keep trying to un-complicate it. We keep trying to make it fit into a neat box that is one-size fits all, but that's simply not how it works. I've been thinking a lot about this lately--about how love makes us confront who we are, daily. Love provides us a mirror that shows us everything that is beautiful and ugly about ourselves. Love is hard--loving oneself is hard; thus, loving others adds complexity to that difficulty. 
I want to hold space in this year of life for the complexities of love--for the gut-turning and heart-wrenching unexpectedness of love. I want to be surprised by love--by how it can stretch you and expand the realm of what you thought was possible--emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Even amidst the disappointments that come along with loving others--because humans are imperfect--I want to embrace a grace that can accom…