Martin

Humanness

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Note: The following was originally published on January 18, 2015, via my now-defunct personal website, StephanieRochelleRedd.com. Four years later, I still count this piece – and my process of finding peace with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s humanness  – all joy.

I learned that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an adulterer when I was 15 years old. If my memory serves me correctly, I was watching a documentary about him at home when I heard the narrator casually mention the tidbit; something about the FBI recording his phone calls and threatening to expose his conversations with random women – about random sexual rendezvous – to the masses.

I immediately went into a catatonic state. I can recall sitting there, staring through the television while the documentary continued, not hearing another word that was being said.

What the…? I mouthed silently.

I could then feel myself begin to panic. My heartbeat quickened and I felt and heard its thumping pulse in my ears.

“What the…” I finally uttered aloud.

As the reality of what I had heard started to mesh with the reality of that present moment, my panic steadily morphed into outrage, with the target of my outrage placed squarely on Martin.

I was way more incensed by his infidelities than the FBI’s. I already had suspicions about the FBI’s dubious nature. But in all of the 15 years that I had lived up to that point and in all of the conversations, speeches, sermons, books, essays, movies and lesson plans I heard, watched and read regarding Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I never had any suspicions about him, least of which, regarding his dubious extramarital-affair nature.

Somebody was going to have to tell me something. And at that time, my 15-year-old self looked to my World History teacher to be that somebody.

“It’s true,” he said solemnly.

He wore the look of a father who had just told his beloved, naive daughter that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were all just mere figments of corporate imagination. In return, I wore the look of a daughter whose beloved and naive world had just been shattered into a million jagged pieces.

“That’s the danger of putting people on pedestals,” he continued slowly. “We’re only humans. He was only human.”

He was not human! He was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! I wanted to protest.

However, my brain had already signaled my mouth to close and would not give it the signal to open again. My teacher and I exchanged sad glances once more before I turned and teetered back to my desk, collapsing in my chair. I just sat there, dazed and quietly dumbfounded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s deafening humanness.

In the 16 years since my stark revelation that Martin “was only human,” I’ve been able to contain my righteous indignation about his ‘shalling’ of the seventh commandment–contain it, not forget it. Often, I’ve noticed that when someone would mention his name in my presence with the same super-human air that I, too, had granted him long ago, I would find my eyebrows slightly furrowed and my arms loosely crossed.

He was only human, I would say to the person telepathically, trying to balance reason with the remnants of my disillusionment.

But then when I got word of the release of the movie “Selma,” I could feel my container of indignation cracking under 16 years worth of teeming cynical pressure.

Is this movie going to paint him as super-human? I asked myself rhetorically. Will it give him wings like Red Bull and set up, yet, another generation of youth to believe in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- fairy?

Though I originally assumed the answer to these questions to be “yes,” I won’t truly know if I don’t go see the movie, which (((breathing deeply))) is what I intend to do…tomorrow.

Yes, I could go on and on and moan and groan about how disappointed I felt – and feel – about the reality of Martin’s humanness. But in reality, his humanness is what makes his story that much more real and accessible to other humans who also have a penchant for dreaming and a predilection for scheming. (That would be me.) So, I say:

Cheers to you, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on fulfilling your legendary personal legend. And props to you, Martin, for keeping it real.

*Stevie Wonder voice* Happy Bearthday to you💚

Whole in One

Worthiness

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

I don’t need to watch the hit HBO series Insecure to know what insecurity looks, sounds and feels like–I have front row seats for “The Stephanie Rochelle Redd Show” all day, every day. That’s not to say that I spend every second of the day dissecting and reflecting on my character defects and comparative ‘drawbacks’. Nonetheless, I do spend enough time to know better.

I know better than the tales of unworthiness that I tell myself. I know better than the judgments about my beauty and body that I feed myself. I know better than to terrorize myself with my terrific imagination and terrifying what-if scenarios. I know, I know, I know.

Though, in the immortal words of G.I. Joe, “Knowing is half the battle”. What, then, is the other half? Believing. *Journey voice* “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…” (She took the red-eye plane going to Maaaauuuuiiiiii.)

The journey from knowing to believing is not for the faint of heart, my friends. The twists. (Ooh!) The turns. (Aah!) The heartbreaking/ego-shattering/limited belief-collapsing travails – and triumphs – that shake us to our very core. (@#$%^&*!) Yet, it’s in these core-shaken places where we are forced, again and again, to confront our inner-knowing of who we truly are.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” ~Genesis 1:27-28, NKJV

Thus, when my humanity – toward myself – is severely tested and I feel twisted, turned and torn, it is then that my Divinity within arises and the God in me is reborn. (Hallelujah!) At the times when I see myself as least valuable and most unlovable, God, through the Holy Spirit, reminds me of my value in Him and of His love for me.

As I allow myself to feel the warmth of God’s love and receive His superior validation, I then steadily recall the truth that my true self is not lacking in any way, despite what my human self may do, think and say. What’s more, in the Spirit, flesh and in truth, I am one whole being.

So, this I know as true–again. But how do I believe it–for real? Well, as I’m learning, it’s really a matter of believing God.

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” ~Genesis 1:31, NKJV

See, I’ve found that if I take people’s word for my worth, then my value in myself will drop just as soon as they drop me. Even if I try to invest my worth entirely in myself, my stock will still waver due to the volatile nature of my personal insecurities exchange. But(!) when I invest all of who I am in the One who made me, knows me and calls me His own, then – and only then – am I truly secure.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29:11-13, NKJV

Facebook-icon th If your estimation of your worth is off balance and you could use a new perspective to see just how valuable you truly are, then click the links to find and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. Treasure, that is what you are!

 

Mercury Retrograde makes room

Restoration

Things fall together. (2)

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

I don’t know about you, but Mercury Retrograde has been gunning for me. Energies clashing, emotions raging, previous friends becoming present foes. Alas, welcome to the real Star Wars.

And yet, everything’s alright. How can that be, you ask? Well, because…

“He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the Lord is His name.” ~Amos 5:8, NKJV

Folks, everything is alright because everything, including Mercury Retrograde, is within God’s jurisdiction. Therefore, everything that you and I are warring against on our present star-crossed voyages is also happening under His watchful eye and, more than that, by His wise command.

In the past, I used to really freak out when things in my life would fall apart. I’d moan, “My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?” (I also used to have a bit of a savior-complex.) At any rate, I can still recall the day when life had finally broken the last straw and left me broke, wailing and gnashing my teeth – midday – in the middle of a decently-populated bank lobby. You see, I had put so much trust in my money that when it ran out – and into the red – my trust and my good sense ran with it.

As a Taurus, it makes astrological sense for me to put my trust in earthly things. But as a child of God, I am learning to yield the astrological to the Supernatural and surrender my trust to Him who created both the earthly and celestial realms.

My trust in God didn’t come easy though. (Remember, I’m still a Taurus.) I found that I needed to know more about God and His character in order to really take Him at His word. Hence, I’ve been reading His Word.

For the past few days, I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah, and talk about Mercury Retrograde! What God vowed to unleash on the children of Israel was nothing short of a catastrophe of cosmic proportions. Nonetheless, God gave His catastrophic command to “pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict,” to ultimately “watch over them to build and to plant”. In other words: In order for new things to grow, old things must be uprooted. (Hallelujah, somebody!)

So, when catastrophic energies, emotions and earthly things make you want to holler during this Mercury Retrograde season, shout to the Lord instead and thank Him for clearing out the old in your life in preparation for the new.

Facebook-iconth If Mercury Retrograde is pushing you close to the edge, don’t lose hope or your head, and click on the links to fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram instead. God will keep you from going under.

 

Jesus, take the will

Humility
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Do you know the song by The Beatles, “Let it Be”? I love the melody but hate the message. That is, my ego hates the message. What my ego loves is not letting things be and manipulating things instead.

I came face-to-face with this ugly truth – yet again – yesterday. The situation was innocent, I was innocent, or so I thought. All I wanted to do was make things more organized and convenient–for myself. So, I took it upon myself to take someone else’s idea of organization and reorganize it to fit my needs.

I didn’t think anything of it until my actions were mirrored back to me – within minutes – by that same someone reorganizing something that I organized. And then it happened: Within seconds, a light bulb formed above my head and shed light on the master lesson I had received from the Master Teacher.

*Charlie Brown voice* Good grief!

What I grieved was knowing that I was the one who started the karmic loop of reorganized noise. What I – and my ego – grieved most was making a direct amends for my originally willful actions because it meant acknowledging that I was wrong and that the other person responded within their rights.

As a recovering perfectionist, I prided myself on being right approximately 99 percent of the time. (Now, it’s more like 90 percent.) In any case, my overwhelming sense of pride can overpower my willingness to fully account for my wrongs.

King Hezekiah of Judah was another person who was mostly right but whose pride in his near-perfection actually seems legitimate, considering that God legitimized it.

“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.” ~2 Chronicles 29:1-2, NKJV

King David was God’s benchmark for royal and righteous servanthood. So, the fact that He saw Hezekiah’s actions in the same light as David’s shows just how legit Hezekiah was.

The Bible shows that Hezekiah ordered the cleansing of the temple, which had been defiled by the generations before, and restored worship within it, which is what it was intended for. He also kept the Passover and made significant reforms that refined Judah into the crowning jewel of God’s eye.

But between Hezekiah’s regal reforms and lasting legacy lies the hiccup of hesitant humility. (Ah, the mark of a true perfectionist, recovering or otherwise.)

“In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the Lord; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” ~2 Chronicles 33:24-26, NKJV

Hmm. The Spirit is indeed willing, but the ego is weak.

Much like Hezekiah, I, too, suffer from a weak ego that tries to act strong until God confronts it with my undeniable wrongs. And then…I go to pieces. When I finally do fess up, my frenemy-ego then finds all of my faults and tries to act strong against me!

Yet, while the ego is fickle, God is consistent in His desire to reach us by any ego-deflating means necessary. His point is not to cause us psychological harm but to give us emotional support through teaching us to love one another from a place of mutuality rather than hierarchy.

“…For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” ~Romans 3:22-23, NKJV

So, the next time you and I sin and fall short of perfection, we – with our egos – can fall onto “[God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” knowing that if we humble ourselves before Him, He will catch us every time.

Facebook-icon thIf you could use a Spirit-boost and an ego-check, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. We all need somebody to lean on!

Three books are better in one!

Books

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Fear would have us believe that our flaws are our curses when, in faith, they are the foundation of our callings by which we can bless others and, ultimately, ourselves.

That written, I can’t tell you how many days and nights I cried, how many heavy breaths I sighed, and how many times I berated my brain and heart and beat myself up for being a “Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl”.

English, algebra and social studies–A, A, A.
Dating, relationships and self-love–F, F, F.

I was so F’ing tired of flunking life’s classes on love that I didn’t know what to do. Until one night – prompted by my and a guy’s discourse, which would’ve surely led to me failing another love-course – something within me clicked and I heard myself say:

“You know what? I’m going to write a book. And I’m going to call it, Just Because He Says You’re Beautiful…”

True story.

That was six years ago. Little did I know that that book was just Part 1 of my story. In the time since then, I’ve learned a lot more, which is not to say that I’ve learned it all–hence, Parts 2 and 3.

More Heart-Dumb mistakes? Check.
More excruciating heartache? Check.
More lessons to teach the masses and myself? Double check.

The Apostle Paul was another person who made a lot of mistakes. He caused and suffered his share of disheartening experiences. What’s more, he wrote several books’ worth of lessons to share with the masses. Moreover, Paul shared a personal lesson about the proverbial “thorn” in his side.

“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” ~2 Corinthians 12:8, NKJV

What was the Lord’s prescription for Paul’s pain, you ask?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV

Ouch.

At first glance, God’s response to Paul may appear more on the side of tough than love. But with a second look, we see that God’s grace not only soothed Paul’s pain, but saved him from his own self-righteousness so that he could rest assured on the righteousness of God–the only One whose righteousness has been cross-tested and Christ-approved.

And guess what? God’s grace and Self-sacrificial righteousness can soothe our thorny issues too. (Even if those “issues” can be transcribed into multiple volumes.)

So, by the grace of God and the goodness of His righteousness, I offer you the ‘thorn in my flesh’ in the form of this book. It contains prickly points I wish I had known sooner, practiced more recently and pray I won’t repeat–again.

Being perfect is one thing; being “perfected” by the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is another.

While our thorns may be tenacious and our flaws a fact, I believe in the power of prayer, surrender and the name of Jesus to break every chain over our lives. Thus, I don’t mind being a Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl as long as God says that I am “The Head” Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl and not the tail. (Amen, somebody.)

So, go tell somebody – on the mountain, in the valley or at the summer school nearest you – that there’s hope for the hopeless romantic and help for Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb girls and women everywhere.

Click here to learn more and purchase a copy of Parts 1-3: Things Every Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Should Know. Live! Love! Learn!

Failure is practice for success

Faith

If God calls you to do the impossible... (2)

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

In my world, believing is seeing. In other words, I see what is and what is not visible. So, in addition to reading between the lines, I see between them as well. Along the lines of sight-reading my way through life, I’ve performed some pretty tricky numbers that, at the time, appeared to require more skill than I could muster.

For instance, in 2013, I read Spirit’s notes that I should move to Maui, Hawai’i. At the time, I lived in Austin, Texas, and had a job, apartment, car and all the other trappings of adulthood (i.e. bills). As I saw it, I was trapped between an untouchable fantasy and very tangible realities.

But, while I was focused on the responsibilities of ‘reality,’ Spirit showed me that I had a real responsibility to myself–to march to the beat of my own drum and not die with my music still inside. So, I listened to Spirit and my inner-drum beat, and marched toward Maui in July 2014. And by September of that same year, I fled Hawai’i – broke and broken – back to the mainland.

What was THAT about?

Was I wrong in my reading of Spirit’s Hawaiian melody? Or, did Spirit mislead me with the wrong notes? Well, with almost three years of residency on Maui now under my belt, I can see that neither one was the case. I was, in fact, in the right place at the right time to have the exact experiences that I needed to prepare me for my future Hawaii Life. Of course, at that present time, my experiences looked a lot more like failure than preparation.  

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:28, NKJV

I may have fled Hawai’i with a sour taste in my mouth, but not before I learned to cut sugarcane with a machete (“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…”). I may have fled Hawai’i with my dreams dashed, but not before I was able to endure the nightmare of spending the night in a public bathroom (The Pursuit of Happyness-style). I may have fled Hawai’i broke and broken, but not before I was able to squeeze a book out of my escapade (Good Erotica for Good Girls—check it out).

What HGTV won’t tell you, but I will, is that it takes a warrior to actually live the Hawaii Life. And while I may not descend from King Kamehameha, I am a child of the King, who also knighted me as a rebel with a uniquely noble cause. Therefore, my failure to make Maui my home in 2014 was merely a test-run to test me and my warrior within.

Truth is, though, my battle is already won. Before the foundations of the world were set, I was pronounced a winner in Christ Jesus, who, with the Father and Spirit, devised a Divine plan to save me from any real defeat. So, even when I’m down, I’m not out. And even when I’m left bitter, disillusioned and penniless, I’m still winning. Though God’s plan for me includes countless cliffhangers – much to my parents’ chagrin – I know that if I keep hanging on I will win, simply, because I’ve already won through Christ.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13, NKJV       

 

Facebook-icon th If you are hanging in there but are holding on by a thread, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. There is no failure in God!

    

     

 

 

 

 

Can’t buy me wisdom

Inner-knowing

 

Don't ever discount your intuition. It's too valuable. (2)

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

My apologies, diamonds. Sorry, dogs. Your days as girls’ and man’s respective best friends are over…at least, for those of us who desire a higher quality and pedigree of partnership.

In this ephemeral, microwavable society, it makes sense that we want loyalty that actually lasts. But with people being people, many people have bought into the ideas of having to either buy loyalty through lifetime-guarantees of goods or command it from animals who are trained to be “good boys” and “good girls”.

Now, before you give me the Care Bear Stare, I am a happy consumer with a heart. I just prefer to consume companionship that is freely given and that can see the goodness of my heart without the immediate expectation of a ‘treat’. (Hello, somebody.)

Q: So, where does that leave me?

A: I have a standing date with a free Bible every morning, and I experience the sweet companionship of the Holy Spirit every second, minute and hour of the day.

As a result of all of this holy quality-time, my relationship with God is one that I have grown to love and cherish. The more I learn about Him, the more I want to learn about Him. So, of course, the Bible is a key component in our courtship. And for the past few days, King Solomon has been at the forefront of our conversations.

As the third king of Israel, Solomon holds the distinction of being the wisest person–ever. Hence, it stands to reason that I reason from Solomon’s understanding in my pursuit of better understanding God.

“Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.” ~ Proverbs 4:6-9, NKJV

First of all, I love how Solomon likens wisdom to a person with purpose and prestige as opposed to a prized possession. Secondly, I love that Solomon assigns wisdom’s personhood a feminine identity. Sure, there are plenty of boats and cars named after women, but Solomon notes that wisdom is a driving force of life, as women truly are.

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting to everlasting. From the beginning, before there was ever an earth…When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned the sea its limit, so the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.” ~Proverbs 8:22-23, 27-31, NKJV

Well.

It seems that God and wisdom are a match made in heaven–literally. And as their earthling-offspring, we can certainly revel in their ethereal romance if we attune our ethereal ears to wisdom’s Divinely Feminine frequency and act on her messages with faith in God the Father.

“The way of the Lord is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.” ~Proverbs 10:29, NKJV

So, maybe we’ve never experienced afternoon showers of fire and brimstone, but you and I have surely been burned by our choices to take routes that differ from those suggested by our internal GPS. If you’re as hardheaded and Heart-Dumb as I can be, then you too saw the “Wrong Way,” “Do Not Enter” and “Dead End” signs on your ignorant journeys and blissfully passed them by as well.

“Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” ~Proverbs 12:1, NKJV

Yes, Solomon called us stupid. Yet, as we continue reading his sagacious soliloquy, we can also see that Solomon is calling us Higher–to “a higher quality and pedigree of [life] partnership,” if you will. I don’t know about you, but I want to go Higher. Commodities are pretty and pets are cute, but I want to partner with life on a Heavenly level wherein wisdom is my constant companion and my faith in God my confidant.

Facebook-iconth If you too want to experience a Higher relationship with wisdom and faith, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. I’m goin’ up yonder!