Fearless: Whole, Inspiring and Brave

 

A dear friend of mine, Amber, lives by the motto "Do It Afraid." These 3 words are enough to give the devil and his minions a run for their money. We often allow fear to paralyze us from moving forward and seeing our lives as God does. Whole. Inspiring. Brave.


What does it mean for you to be fearless? Is being fearless the absence of fear? Or is being fearless doing whatever "it" is while you are hesitant or afraid. I recently took a huge leap of faith and when I jumped in I was scared out of my mind. An opportunity that I'd prayed and fasted for over a period of years... dare I say the last decade, presented itself. I cried, tried to find a way out of it, and reasoned that it wasn't the blessing it appeared to be. Nevertheless, I moved forward and kept my eyes on Jesus. I don't regret it. Three loaded but simple guidelines to follow when afraid are

1. Stop and Ask God for help! 

2. Meditate on God's promises. The Bible is a weapon against the enemy and a balm for our souls (Read Isaiah 44:1-2; James 1:2-4; Joshua 1:9; Psalms 121:1-2; Ephesians 6:10-12;)

3. Listen and keep an eye out for God and His answer to your prayer for help. Expect God to show up in an amazing way!  Every single day is loaded with opportunity to encounter God more profoundly than the last.

I hope that you're encouraged and that today is more amazing than yesterday!  

Be Inspired Again! 

Jazz

Be Inspired to Worship

 

As I write this I'm full of emotion. I've had a tremendous surge of Gods presence and revelation. Then in the next breath my community has lost a dear friend and Spelman sister. I'm processing the grief, but I'm also reminded of the importance of being in God's presence. It's not me running away from the reality. It's me jumping into the arms of God because I don't understand how to process the ebs and flows of life. The sadness. The disbelief. This song talks about choosing to worship, surrender and stand in awe of God. Read the lyrics, watch the video, tune into Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/track/1ed3wNCecRIp6SugyR0w2J). Dive in and tell me your thoughts.

 

So Will I

By Hillsong United

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of lightAnd as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will IGod of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voiceAnd as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will IIf the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion timesGod of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to dieAnd as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will ILike You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

Songwriters: Joel Houston / Benjamin Hastings / Michael FatkinSo Will I lyrics © Capitol Christian Music GroupFeedbackShow lessVideos

Dear Daughter,

My dearest. My beautiful one. You were our prayer before the planets were set in orbit. We talked about how we would make you the perfect shade and height. We talked about the tears you'd shed and how we would use them to show you that we loved you. We talked about the other hummingbirds that we would send your way as demonstrations of our affection toward you. We took into consideration love, loss, death and life. We knew what your pain and joy would be. We knew that there would be a serpent bent towards destroying our harmony. This love we have for you is so strong that it shines through the deepest heartache and confusion. From the perching Hummingbird to the love and presence it's sent to remind you of... we are here. We always have been and always will be.

 

With Deepest Affection, 

Hummingbird

Be Inspired Again is In Bloom: The Seed

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Before a flower becomes an integral part of a brides bouquet or a jewel in a field it is a seed. Before our lives burst with life seeds are planted. Some are solicited and others aren't. Some seeds are smaller and seem more significant than others. Some seeds survive and others don't. It's up to us to decide what we do and do not water and fertilize. We can choose to invest in the God ideas or the fear projected by our flesh. God is speaking and spewing seeds into your life.

“My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.”

Colossians2:6-7MSG

Dear Hummingbird

Keep your eyes on God.  

There is an invisible enemy bent towards thwarting you from all that God has for you. He will do any and everything to destroy, or get you to destroy, what you've been given and trusted with. An amazing attribute of God is how He takes the ashes, defies the science of our logic and creates beauty from the perils of life... both the "large" and "small". If we are distracted we can miss an aurora borealis or sorts. Once we take our eyes off of God we miss the tapestries of beauty he is weaving in plain sight. We sense unintended anxiety, confusion and spend time trying to concoct a solution when everything we need is saturated in the act of locking our spiritual eyes onto Jesus'.

Read His Word.

Pause and pray.

Go and pray. 

Tell the thoughts they don't belong to you. 

Smile. 

Cry. 

Recall His faithfulness. 

Worship. 

Be Quiet. 

Shout it from the rooftops. 

Take the day off. 

Get back to Work. 

Believe Again. 

Whatever you do do not take your eyes off of Him.

With 💙,

J

Now Playing: "The Garden" by Kari Jobe

Be Present

I have to start off by saying "thank you!" Thank you for welcoming me back so warmly and allowing me to share in the journey of your lives from 7,973 miles away. I am sure the time leading up to your graduation has and will be filled with wisdom, gifts, excitement and maybe even fear of the unknown. I would like for you to know that what you are feeling has been felt before. It has been survived before and because of that you will be stronger than before. Please don’t ever forget that you deserve the best. Not only because you will be a graduate of OWLAG, but because it is your right as a young woman.  Sometimes the “best” may not be the most luxurious option and it may stretch the limits of your humility, but it will be safest for you spiritually and physically.

My hearts prayer is that you never forget that you are loved. I flew down to celebrate with you and regardless of whether I get to sit and spend time with each of you individually I hope that you see the value in your presence. One of the fundamental principles I live by is that from time to time the best thing for us to do in life is to show up and be present. It may be through a phone call, a surprise visit, or giving a listening ear. So, my little sisters, don’t forget to "be present" and "show up" as you journey through this next season of life. This blog is not much, but it is my way of "showing up."  You will be happy to know that you and your OWLAG sisters inspired me to start blogging and helped fuel my dream of creating "Be Inspired Again." You are lovely and this is how I know that you are equipped to walk through the joy's and challenges that are ahead of you. 

Be Inspired. Again.

With Love and Gratitude,

Sis Jazz

Embrace Your Inner Lioness

I wrote this piece and it was originally featured on the online source "ReSpoken Magazine." Check out their online magazine for other inspiring and empowering articles.

I wrote this piece and it was originally featured on the online source "ReSpoken Magazine." Check out their online magazine for other inspiring and empowering articles.

Do you remember being a child and learning that only male lions have the large brown mane? I do, and I was so disappointed. I also remember writing her off as weaker, because she didn’t have the crown of hair that resembles a blow dried Afro.  As an adult I have come to learn the contrary. The lioness is confident, resilient fierce and majestic. One of my favorite speakers, Lisa Bevere, has triggered my obsession with “embracing my inner lioness.” I once heard Lisa discuss how the lioness uses the same teeth and paws to kill prey, and nurture her babies. Lioness’ hunt together and provide for their pride. Isn’t that amazing?

 

The same way I viewed the lioness is the exact same way we see ourselves and other women. Without the manicured mane and nails or latest trends it is our nature to write other people and ourselves off as less than. Instead of not judging a book by its cover, lets think about not judging the lioness by her mane. Let’s embrace all of the facets of our womanhood, no matter what society and our culture may tell us. Here are a few ways to embrace your inner lioness.

 

1.     Tell yourself that you’re stunning and answer, “I know.” Instead of waiting for validation from others, validate yourself. I realize that some of us may not believe it 100%, but with every self proclaimed call and response you’re building yourself up.

2.     Don’t let fear and failure stop you. The lioness is indeed strong and ferocious, but she does not succeed at every attempt to catch prey. Imagine the decline in the lion population if they gave up after an Impala managed to escape the hunting pack. After we don’t succeed at something we must regroup and go for it again. There are people that need you to keep going. Your pride is counting on you.

3.     Build Community. The lioness is cute and all, but she wouldn’t be as majestic on her own. She needs her pride and so do you. Find value in keeping a group of people around you that believe in what you’re doing and know what you are capable of. It can be family, a friend, co-workers or business partner. There is power in numbers and you’ll thank yourself.

The next time someone says “you fight like a girl” tell him or her that you know and give them a nice growl. I’m joking about the growl…maybe, but remember that your femininity is synonymous with strength, gentleness, fierceness and compassion. The same mouth that sings lullabies and cheers on her counter parts is the same one that you use to rebuke and speak up for what you believe in.  Hold your head up, embrace your power and show the world what resilient and beautiful strength really looks like from the inside out.

 

With Love,

Jazzy

Grab your Boots, Fatigues, Weapon, and Lipstick

A few months ago I had the incredibly humbling experience of attending and serving at the Hillsong Conference in New York City. I've attended our conferences before and I've always left with an empowering sense of "floating on air" & "God is so in love with me". This year, however... The experience and encounters with God didn't translate as soft and delicate inclinations as they have in the past.  

When my pastor, Carl Lentz, hit the platform I felt a major wave of CONVICTION, not guilt, confront my spirit. With widened eyes and a heart fully awake I knew in that moment that this wouldn't be like past conference experiences. In this particular session Pastor Carl explained that we don't have to pray for boldness to share our faith. We just need to do it. Get out there and do it. It felt like my heart stopped.

Was I ACTUALLY equipped to do all of the bold declaring of God's glory that I felt responsible for. Could I ACTUALLY share my faith anywhere, everywhere, and in everything? Were my excuses ACTUALLY full of rotten, processed, leftover Bologna?  Yes. Yes they were. This meant that I had/have the ability to take action right away. 

As the conference sessions rolled on,  I made an attempt to take in every moment and hear every word with a steady and opened heart. Going into Conference I knew that God wanted to speak to me about surrender and to help me understand the depths of the term in regards to our relationship with Him.

Prior to Conference I had a Luke chapter 5:1-10 (NLT) moment.  It reads:

1One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
5“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

(Emphasis My Own)

Before the conference I was ready to pull in one of my "nets," wash it out, place it in an airtight Zip-Loc bag and toss it under my bed with suitcases around it. I was D.O.N.E. with the idea of hoping and waiting for this particular net to be full of "fish". I concluded that I do not need the future contents of this "net" and life would be fine,  peachy keen, "A" okay.  I concluded that being I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T ('do you know what that means’, ha!) of this particular "catch" was the life for me. 

Low and behold this was the very thing God used to show me just how deep His love is. There is a massive amount of strength and nobility that comes along with waiting on God’s timing.  Instead of retreating, as I normally do, God was pushing me to "believe again" with a new boldness and renewed faith. Surrendering in this instance looks like believing God even when it may hurt. It is putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) and digging into the trenches of my emotions and personal will to gut out my flesh.

On the last night of Conference I was worshiping and as clear as day the Holy Spirit reminded me of the story of Abraham and how he had to wait YEARS, before God's promise of Isaac came to pass (Genesis 12-22; Romans 4:18-19). Am I any different than Abraham?  Do I not have to surrender to God's way of doing things on his timetable?  In the moments that followed, Pastor Steve Furtick proceeded to speak about Abraham. God had prepared my heart and spirit for what He was about to teach. My jaw dropped when I heard what he was saying and I knew that God was calling for my full attention.

 

"Maybe it's not buried... it's planted" - Steven Furtick

 

Steve proceeded to teach how the most insignificant things are where we are called to be the most faithful. When we "plant" seeds of faith whether it's turning down every guy who comes into your life because he was not lined up with who you knew God wanted you to be with or moving to New York City against your 'better judgment' and budget, we must keep them in the soil and make sure the sacrifices progress naturally. Surviving the soil is critical. Post Hillsong Conference I am reminded that we have to be steadfast and finish out what God has given us. God is definitely doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19), but He will also finish out the good works that He has started in us (Philippians 1:6). Don't abort your mission. Listen to what instructions God is giving you about your “net.”

 

"If God has not given you anything new, be faithful with what is in your hand." -Bobbi Houston.

 

 After any period of concentrated amounts of the studying the Word, worshipping and fellowshipping in God's presence one of the fears can be losing what we have gained and not being able to hold onto that experience. We must trust that if we are truly bent towards diving deeper into God's presence and having His Kingdom Come, the experience and knowledge gained will absorbed into our spirits. The Holy Spirit will call it to your memory when it's needed and it doesn't hurt to meditate on it.

This isn't a season of comfortable faith for me. So, if you sense the same calling then grab your heavy duty boots, fatigue print v-neck, your Bible and your favorite lipstick (or chap stick) and get to work. 

Be Filled. Again.

J

 

Put On The Armor. Again.

Vintage Jazz circa 1991

Vintage Jazz circa 1991

 

 This is the first of what I'll refer to as "Vintage Inspiration." Posts from my previous blog that still inspire me. I'm hoping and praying that they do the same for you.

ENJOY! 

-------------------- 

February 23, 2016

Originally Titled " One Teeny Tiny Opening For One Teeny Tiny Thought" 

On my way home the Lord reminded me that the enemy will do any and everything he can to make us forget who we are in him and thus distracting us. We get confused, flustered, overwhelmed and our dreams become warped in the enemies lies. When in reality we ARE sons and daughters of the King. We have been renewed by the transforming of our minds (Romans 12:2). We have our feet fitted with the Gospel of peace and joy (Ephesians 6:15), not anxiety and sadness. We have access to the yoke of God and don’t have to carry our own, so there's no need to feel overwhelmed. We have the power to break out of the patterns the enemy may have us running in. For all of us he knows what distracts and ushers us into a place where we may feel distant from God. He can’t take the power from us, but he may lead us into forgetting that we are powerful in Jesus.

 

This past month or so I have been “attacked” or bombarded with heavy anxiety about relationships, forgiveness, my identity in Christ and self worth, my faith. While I am grateful for the tons of amazing things that have been happening, I allowed my mind to meditate on the medium sized red dot of awfulness on the canvas of my life instead of the white space that has been left untouched and fruitful. It took me to a mental space that I don't know I've ever been in. It was almost impossible for me to worship with this built up anger I had. THIS is when I knew that something had to give. After a train ride with one of my dear friends and sisters I was reminded that this is NOT what it appears to be. It's not a battle of flesh and blood, or these issues that are trivial in comparison to eternity. It is in fact the father of lies and his stooges that we are up against (Ephesians 6:12). And yes, it really is that deep. When we don’t see how deeply rooted some of these issues are and come to terms with the deep roots, we target the fruit of those lies with prayer and fasting instead of the root of it. Satan, Damian, Lucifer. Whatever he’s going by these days, he has a hand in it, we water it and allow it to grow, but all he needs is one teeny tiny opening for one teeny tiny thought. All the while, we have more than enough strength, backup, support and power to serve him and his demons a cease a desist ordinance. But if we can be distracted they’ve got us.

 

On my walk home tonight I got a glimpse and reminder of who we are in Christ and the power that comes with that. Every single thought has to be taken captive. His attacks have become more advanced than what I (and some of you) have experienced before, because God is using us for even greater glory in this season and it's a transition into dreams that are going to bring people closer to Jesus.

 

All it takes is one teeny tiny decision to trust God and His Humungous Awesomeness. Well, maybe it’s not a teeny tiny decision, but it’s just the beginning of great things in Christ.

 

Remember

You are beautiful. Psalm 139:14

You are loved. Zephaniah 3:17

You are Victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:57

You are above and not beneath. Deuteronomy 28:13

Put on your armor. Again. Ephesians 6

 

With Love,

J

Humming Birds

I walked to the window and there it was. A hummingbird. Hovering. I had only seen them in pictures  and this made the day even more exciting. I did not know if I should run to try and get my camera or if it would fly away once I yelled for someone in the house to come. I decided to run and get either my camera or a witness, I can't remember, and when I returned it was gone.

It was the moment God's voice got louder. The moment I learned the value of taking it all in. Each and every moment like a savory piece of cotton candy.

Several months earlier I applied to my dream school, Spelman College. After spending summers in Atlanta with my aunt and realizing that all of the fabulous women I met were Spelman women, I knew that's where I needed to be. At my high school graduation I still hadn't heard back from Spelman/s admissions office, but I was confident. This was clearly the place for me. Some time later I received a "wait list" letter and I was devastated. It was like all of my hopes and dreams were flushed down the toilet. All of the faith and convincing other people was in vain. My younger brother in an effort to help me get some chill, reminded me that it wasn't a no and that I needed to relax. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. 

Months went by and I turned down offers for family to help me apply for other schools. I decided Again and Again and Again to believe that I would be at Spelman. I had the money (another mind blowing story) and the support from my family, I just needed that acceptance letter. I prayed and fasted. Waited, replied to people that I was going to Spelman and it was always my 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.

One day while sitting at Olive Garden with my mom, I received a phone call from a woman who has since been like a guardian angel. She asked me if I was sitting down and continued to congratulate me. It was an emotion I can't begin to describe. It was a mile stone in my faith journey and I've been trusting God for any and everything ever since.

The day I saw that first hummingbird I was moving into my dorm room at Spelman. It was the day my dream was coming true and my decision to be inspired to believe again made life seem surreal. I knew that the beauty of that first moment with a humming bird was symbolic for my first moments on that college campus. God was making each moment more beautiful than the last and each experience with His Glory more penetrating than before.

I've had so many experiences with hummingbirds since then, but I will share them in due time. Today, remember to believe again.

Lynette

Welcome

You may or may not know that about 3 years ago I started a blog to chronicle my journey to South Africa. Once I returned back to the States I kept writing, sharing, and people kept reading. It has turned into a beautiful journey of inspiring people and sharing what God puts on my heart and uses to inspire me and those closest to me.

For some reason I started signing my personal prayers and journal entries "Be Inspired. Again." It has since  become the theme of my life. As an artist in New York I find myself drained and time and time again finding inspiration to persevere through the mundane auditions, job interviews, crowded trains and ridiculously long Trader Joe's lines. I want to help you do the same. When you need a little pick me up, stop on by for an extra push. Let's talk again soon!

Be Inspired. Again.

Jazz