I realize one of the greatest fears I carried was not the fear of others or external stimuli. The thing I feared most was the Me I had not come to know and experience. [insert your name] choose to no longer fear your unBorn self and embrace the You God is seeking to deliver into NOW. The birth canal is tight and yes life is the most delicate when we are being born BUT your being knows how to be born if you just surrender to your higher self. [insert your name] come forth anew without resistance The Lord has need of Thee!
Believe it or not my first public experience with Spirit was not through prayer or preaching. I was overcome by Spirit at the age of 13/14 as I led, "Brand New Life" in the W.H. Randy Youth Choir at PBC in Lanett, Al. I was all the way behind. Singing connected me and grounded me to my Mother, Ophelia Billingsley. The most vivid memory I have of her is one from early childhood maybe 3-5 years old. I was in the tub for my bath and she started singing Sam Cooks "Bring it Home"--'If you ever, ever change your mind/about leaving/leaving me behind/bring it to me/bring me your sweet lovin/ bring it on home to me/' This must have been our bath time ritual because I chimed in with harmony "yeah..yeaah." Then my Dad, who was in the kitchen, started with the verse, and without prompt, just reading my Mothers smile, I came in with my little girl voice that carried my grown woman ase' 'yeah..yeah.''
On 9.16.1999 at the age of 16, I was told my Mother was dead. She would be buried a few days later. The ride in the limo was horrible. They played some sad music. I was hot. Short of breath. No one comforted me. No pastoral care. I walked out of the funeral...dazed. Of all things to contend with amongst all my current contentious things, I was burying my Mother. Everything about that day is a blur. Except when I buried the part of myself that grounded me in her: My Creative Voice who is heard best through music/poetry/and lyrics.
On 5.24.1996 at the age of 12, I wrote in my journal that God wanted me to teach people (young and old) about God. And I listed the gifts that I could use for that purpose in this order:
2. Able to talk to people
3. Able to write songs off the top of my head
4.Act very well
5. this space is blank...I was wise even then...leaving room for growth!
Prior to her death, somewhere between the ages of 9-12, I heard a song within myself and I wrote it for my Mother and I sung it to her. She looked at me and said," Niecieann you wrote that song for me? That's real good."
On 5.28.2013 I returned to my Mother's grave that I once visited obsessively for several months following her death. I had not been to the site in years... so long that I had to look for her tombstone. White flowers from my alter in hand, a bottle of water on deck, and with my first born, who I did not birth but I'm deliverin', by my side; I went to the place where I last left the center of me--my Untamed Creative Spirit. I requested that she rise with the power of her death, burial, and resurrection in her hands!.
On 5.28.2013 I poured water and sprinkled white flowers atop the resting place of my Mother's body. I acknowledged Mother Earth’s refusal to imprison Energy; thus, my Mother’s Soul was and will always be with me and my household. I thanked my Mother for loving me enough to release me when she identified herself as incapable of taking care of me. I blessed her womb which in turn released mine.
Now after 13 years and some months in the grave, I rise without any part of myself repressed. None of my voice silenced. All of my ofa ase is here/ I am here...all of me/fully present/and ready!.
Ophelia's Only Daughter
This is about birthing and mothering and making love
peace blessings to you!
He said, “But you don’t have the same hair (super sad face)"
You are right…I do not have the same hair. In fact, the head that once rocked long flowing healthy self-produced hair is damn near bald—by choice not circumstance but choice. Not external influence or interpersonal control but choice. Herein lays the phenomenon about which I would like you to join with us—me, my ancestors in The Cloud of Witnesses, my spirit guides, my elders—please join us and rejoice. You see Hubby you loved me to this place—the place where I choose radical change without hesitation. This place wherein I am confident and I show all of me regardless of aesthetic imperfections. You and I and Our Love for Me is bringing forth HER—the she I was intended to be but life and abuse breached me.
And now at 30 I return to my born self.
The one who cried out of Ophelia’s womb damn near bald but not broken at all. Damn near bald but so in touch with herself and her internal Divine that she was commissioned to bring light into the world.
I know Baby she’s coming so quickly that it is hard to adjust as the insecure,timid, fearful, depressed one you married got up just a year ago resurrected with all of her power in her hands. And now she stands before you damn near bald—lacking the same hair and those same issues.
But I do have me. I have the one who cried out of Ophelia’s womb damn near bald but not broken at all. Damn near bald but whole nothing missing. Damn near bald but I’m so in touch with myself and my internal Divine that in all ways and at all times I am fulfilling my commission to bring forth light by giving birth to myself. Let me be born…let me be born and expressed vividly.”
I shared this written word with him
He responded: “You are liberating yourself and I appreciate that but the hair will take some getting used to.”
#this is why I love this man like I do!!!!!!!!
This is my final journal entry in a journal that spans 3 years of my life. This birthing cycle is complete and I commence my next phase as I entered into this world—damn near bald but not broken at all!
through Love-in Light-for Life,
Ophelia’s Only Daughter
New Year's Revival at Fresh Wind Christian Church January 24, 2013
Text: Mark 1: 35-45
Title: God Is Doing A New Thing & YOU ARE IT!
I have sat in silence and meditation reflecting both on [...] words of wisdom and my journey in ministry. In short, I have discovered one of my own personal struggles is with the concept and construct of “readiness” cemented within me. Since childhood, I have been intentional about my preparation. I have been diligent in both my academic and ministerial pursuits because I wanted to be “ready” for the doctoral process and “ready” for the pastorate. Somewhere along my journey, preparation morphed into a cell and "ready” became a prison.
In my waking hours and my sleep, I constantly find questions and concerns to support my “need” to continue growing and maturing without actually functioning in either of those roles. There comes a time when one has to step out of the boat and trust that one’s intentions born of love, courage, and self-awareness will sustain you—even in chaotic conditions.
I suppose I have been in the temple admiring God’s adornments, counting the wings of the angels, harmonizing their song, coughing in response to the smoke, and answering the Divine inquiry: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us” (Isaiah 6:8) with “You know God, I am willing just reveal the texts I should read; and I have some questions about logistics and demographics; and do not forget I stutter sometimes; and I have not had the opportunity to experience this stuff; I’ve read about it but beyond that…”
The desire to minimize the possibility of mistakes is unrealistic at best and a byproduct of my long identified struggle with perfectionism. I am thankful that Spirit remains committed to breaking up fallow ground within me that I have hallowed indiscriminately. Now I construct “ready” as a fluid evolutionary cycle. As I am always becoming—I am always being made ready.
On Monday, for the first time ever in my life, I said to God, “I am ready! Send Me!”
How do you image relationships? If you close your eyes and envision yourself connected to your intimate life partners such as family, spouse, and friends, what connects you? What “thing” joins you to them? Do you see something abstract and more conceptual based like “love?” Do you see something physical like a bridge or the branches of a tree? Do you see colors or hear sounds? What metaphor connects you to others?
I wonder how many of us see chains…
On September 10, 2012, I reflected on the numerous changes occurring simultaneously in my life. One area of drastic change was in my relationships. When envisioning how I am or how I was connected to someone, the first inanimate object that I saw was (dramatic pause) a chain.
A chain is neutral; however, a connotation of chains is bondage. Chains constrict and restrict movement. Chains do not allow for fluidity. Chains require stagnation or, at best, limited movement if the chain is to be maintained without breakage. This image is apropos for someone whose childhood consisted of damage and brokenness to the self and soul. Hmmmm…chains correlates to a place where I once existed. Not where I am NOW.
The Spirit offered a new image: energy. I should envision light flowing from me to others and vice versa. This is healthier because energy does not restrict. Energy converts; therefore, it is not static. Energy cannot be destroyed only re-appropriated.
The energy flow between self and others will change. The change of flow is both normal and necessary. The way relational energy flows is contingent upon the season of life individuals are living into. In its purest form, energy is simply and profoundly neutral and full of power! Energy as a “negative” force or a “positive” force is a result of an individual’s intention.
When I consider the shift in energy between myself and others, I no longer categorize the difference in relational intimacy as a “loss” or “miscarriage of love.” I receive the movement as a necessary alteration for personal growth in wisdom, maturity, and character. I am responsible for the energy I produce. I am also accountable for the ways I choose to process or not process the energy directed to me from others. For example, in a recent discussion someone responded to my ideas in an off putting manner. I continued to share as if the breach in conversation did not happen. When I concluded my remarks, a companion felt impressed to make me conscious of the person’s intent, “She just insulted you! What she said was kind of like trying to throw off!” My response, “Honey, it’s only an insult if I internalize it that way!”
As a child and young adult, I did not have the tools to defend myself against negativity. I would internalize everything like a sponge. I did not make a conscious choice concerning the words, actions, and energy directed to me from others. I simply digested the trauma and the drama because I did not know any better. But time is filled with swift transitions ya’ll! And before someone else’s “stuff” takes root within me, I analyze, evaluate; and then I decided to receive it or not!
This practice is not limited to that which we would identify as “negative.” There are some “positive” presentations that we should pass on as well: “I think you are the best person for [fill in the blank]”—an affirming proposition but may not necessarily be your assignment. Or “Girl, you did that! “— An offering of affirmation but you know you were not fully present in preparation or presentation!
Your internal landscape is more precious than you will ever know! Be conscious and careful of what you allow to take root!
through Love-in Light-for Life,