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       

 

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Virtual reality

Faith
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Welcome to the Jungle Matrix

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Chances are my reality is not your reality.

Yes, I see “skies of blue and clouds of white” – especially living in Hawai’i – but, as of late, my wonderful world has drastically diverged into two distinct though directly-linked spheres: Non-physical and physical.

Of course, the two have always existed, well, at least since the non-physical spoke the physical into existence.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” ~Genesis 1:1-3, NKJV

As its eternal guide, the physical can’t help but follow the non-physical’s lead. Therefore, what I see with my two eyes is really a figment of my third eye’s vision.

But vision is tricky, isn’t it?

While – as Habakkuk heralds – vision can be plainly written, it is dang hard and downright exhausting to make vision plain to those who either can’t or won’t see things as you do.

Just ask Moses

and Joseph

and Noah

and me.

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This is how I define a visionary. This is also how I define myself.

I don’t remember when it all started, but I’ve long since felt ‘touched by an angel,’ even before Della Reese and Roma Downey premiered during primetime. Signs have always seemed to speak to me, more than “Merge,” “Stop” and “Yield”; instead, I hear them give more specific directions like:

“Move to Maui!”

“Quit your job!”

“Be a friggin’ BOSS!”

And though I can hear and see these and other signs quite clearly, it’s quite clear to me that not everyone shares my perspective–actually, hardly anyone. (Cue Harry Nilsson.)

Thank God it only takes the power of The One to make non-physical vision physical reality. (Cue Donald Lawrence.)

Nevertheless, a visionary holds a powerful position as well.

As the projector of God’s promise, a visionary is given the harrowing task of walking a fine line between multiple versions of reality. But I guess it’s only “harrowing” in one dimension; if I care more about others’ thoughts of my vision than the vision itself, then it’s a death-defying trip. In another dimension, however, being a visionary is a breeze–as long as I sway in God’s direction.

That’s not to say that seeing through the haze of physical 3-D ‘reality’ is always easy because it ain’t, believe me. But it does help when I attune my sixth sense to the non-physical signs that God sends me. It also helps – a lot – when I surrender my entire self to God, period.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.” ~Psalm 24:1-2, NKJV

Here’s how I see it: You and I belong to God, whether we acknowledge our relationship with Him or not. In addition to being All and creating all that there is, God created all of us in His Divine image; therefore, we are Divinely His.

Yet, to reap all of the benefits of belonging to God means to acknowledge Him, not just as our Divine Designer, but as our Father and ourselves as His children. Ideally, children obey their fathers and mothers, and show themselves worthy of receiving the gifts of their parents by heeding the instruction of their parents.

Though there does come a time when God’s vision for our lives supersedes our earthly parents’ sight, and we must choose the view in which we will direct our gaze. Even Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and the son of Mary and Joseph, saw the gap between His Father’s and His parents’ lines of vision. And because Jesus is the master visionary, He clearly chose the better view, even at the age of 12.

“And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” ~Luke 2:49-50, NKJV

Dang. Notwithstanding His parents’ misunderstanding, preteen-Jesus didn’t mince words, did He?

Well, as for 30-something-Stephanie, this is my current version of the vision that the Father gave me:

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No, my Father’s business doesn’t physically look like much, but trust me – and the Father – when I write that there’s more here non-physically than meets the eye.

Of course and understandably, like Mother Mary and Papa Joe, there are loving and caring people in my life who don’t understand the statement that I am making with this business. Unlike preteen-Jesus, however, I am not the Savior. So, I will save my rebuke and, instead, supply God’s reassurance to me and my fellow visionaries, as well as to those who fear for our lives love and care for us dearly:

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations.'” ~Jeremiah 1:4-5, NKJV

Dang. Not only does God’s knowledge of who we are pass all others’ understanding, but His non-physical vision of who He called us to be surpasses any and all limitations that we and others can physically perceive.

Therefore, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills” – and the mountains – and set my sights on what God has for me. Further, I will visualize my laptop and cup of tea non-physically as a slingshot and stone that will launch me in the direction of my vision. Finally, I’ll see you when I get there.

 

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Beauty becomes her–again

Beauty
beauty

The Master Shift

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd
There are a lot of beautiful women in this world, especially in Hawai’i, where I live. Yesterday, I went to the beach and as one can imagine – on a beach, in Hawai’i – there was a sea of beautiful women, as far as my eye could see. I saw beautiful women of all ages, hues, and shapes.
     As I sat and saw the beautiful women that danced and pranced in the spirit of Aloha before me, I also saw among them a beautiful friend that I had recently made, dancing and prancing in Aloha and all her glory. I continued to sit, admiring her beautiful spirit from afar.
      A part of me wanted to join her and also revel in the Aloha that filled the air, yet there was a larger part of me that did not. You see, I’m not what you call a “joiner”. I have personality traits, astrological configurations, habits, and hang-ups that make it so.
     On top of all of this, I was comfortable–in my beach chair, at least. I was not, however, wholly comfortable within myself. It’s a trip to be able to behold all the beauty that surrounds you and not count yourself among it. That’s what I did though; I had counted myself out of being one of the ‘beautiful ones’.
     Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I’m beautiful. (Sorry, Sammy Kershaw.) I look in the mirror on more occasions than I’m willing to admit here and declare a big ol’ “Damn, Girl! You look good!” Hey, some days, I just got it like that.
      And then there are days when I’m at a beach…in Hawai’i…surrounded by a sea of beautiful women, wherein if I do make one of my dynamic declarations of personal beauty earlier in the day, my dynamism seems to wane somewhere along the way. Alas, this is where I found myself yesterday. That is, until my aforementioned friend found me and pulled me out of my less-than-dynamic stupor.
     “You’re beautiful,” she announced without any prodding or provocation. “You really are, you need to know that.”
     I smiled and exhaled deeply.
     “Thank you for saying that,” I said, without an ounce of shame.
     “Would you like to dance?” she then asked. Her tender invitation was in great contrast to the thunderous sound of live drumming nearby.
      “I would actually,” I replied, taking her invitation and her hand as she led the way to where the beautiful – and brave – ones danced and pranced against the backdrop of a postcard-perfect scene.
     There, amidst the beauty that only seconds earlier I had been a spectator of, I had become an active participant. I was beautiful and I knew it, and I reveled in it among the beauty of others. And all it took was a friendly and gentle invitation to remember the beauty I had always possessed.
     Would you like to dance, Beautiful?
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