“In order to be free you must first be stripped.” For in being stripped you learn what it truly means to be free.” ~Shonda V.
It’s been awhile since I last blogged. Towards the end of last year I became very busy with adding the finishing touches to my play. I am producing my first full-length play which will debut later this year. The play is called FaMILLy and it deals with a family’s battle to overcome mental illness. I am delighted to be doing this play…
When I started blogging in May 2013 I was very insecure in my writing ability. I felt that God wanted me to get back to writing which is why I committed to writing a weekly blog. My goal was to share my own journey as a Christian in an effort to encourage others. I did this by telling fictional stories which then led to some biblical perspective to provide Godly insight to worldly situations.
I aptly titled the blog Stripped because I wanted more than anything to feel I could use my my inner self to expose my outer self before God and those who would elect to read my blog. In my obedience to writing this blog God led me to write FaMILLy which is based on real-life events between my father and me. FaMILLy is a huge project that is taking much of my time and focus. I wouldn’t have it any other way though…in addition to writing I am taking my first Spanish class after several years to prepare for my missions trip to El Salvador in July.
Today’s posting will be my last posting. I will forever be Stripped because that’s all I know how to be now. Stripped last year was something I embodied more so on the inside than I did on the outside. Last year I was a closeted writer and dreamer. I didn’t share my plans with anyone, or post them on social media because I didn’t believe in me.
Stripped enabled me to get back into the groove of writing and helped to build my confidence as a writer at the same. It also helped me build a social media presence as I am now actively on both Facebook and Twitter. My goal on both FB and Twitter is to continue to spread the gospel.
I am free. And I live my life in freedom. I am walking in my calling as a prophet, preacher, writer, and artist. I don’t need anyone to affirm me, and most of all I don’t worry about telling people NO! I am living my life and loving it. I AM STRIPPED which means that I AM FREE.
Thank you to those who have followed this blog and took the time to read any of my postings. I have met some amazing people from starting this blog and it has been quite the journey. Please feel free to follow me on FB, my name is Shonda Von or on Twitter @livearts365 if you’d like to receive my postings and/or tweets.
Last week was a very pivotal week for me. I took charge of my life by making the decision to step down from a major leadership role. I did this based on what God revealed to me; for I understand that in life there are seasons for everything. Overall, my stepping down has been met with some resistance which is painful.
I am the type of person who loves to please people, especially those who are over me rather it’s my parents, clergy, and/or supervisors. Yet the choices I have been making here lately don’t directly involve what any of those three groups of people understand or approve. Rather the choices I have made concerning my life have been God approved recently.
If I wait until people understand my choices then I’ll be stagnant forever. I know the call upon my life. I accept it. I believe it. It’s up to me to fulfill it.
Today I was reading Psalm 116 and it blessed me tremendously. Vv. 3-4 says in the NIV, “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.” “Then I called on the name of the Lord: Lord, save me!” Vv. 14 and 18 says in the NIV, “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
And that’s when it hit me that in operating under the call upon my life I am vowing to God to fulfill that which he has purposed me to do. According to Merriam-Webster, a vow is a serious promise to do something or to behave in a certain way. It’s a solemn promise or assertion; one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition.
So there it is God…I vow to fulfill what you’ve created me to accomplish. I vow to use every gift you’ve given unto me to bless people all around this world. I vow to trust you in this season and forevermore…putting no person above you. I vow to offer you the best of my time, talent, and treasure.
Separate vows to my husband will be exchanged in the near future, but right now in the secret place I vow to serve you. I vow to praise you Lord. I vow to be eternally yours…forever and ever. Amen.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” -Marilyn Monroe
Time, Talents, Treasures
Yesterday’s sermon was entitled “The Advantage of Godliness,” and it was preached beautifully by Apostle John C. Harvey at Serenity Christian Church. What really stuck out at me about this message was its ending where T3 was mentioned.
Apostle noted that our time is one of the most valuable things we can offer someone because it’s the one thing we cannot get back. I couldn’t agree with him more. In his closing words, he encouraged us to make the most of our time, talents, and treasures. He went on to say that we have to use these things according to the Lord’s will.
I want to encourage you, yes you…to live out God’s desires for your life. Take the time to know what God desires for your life and then get in position. Psalm 37:4-5 in the NIV says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; and trust in him and he will do this.” Obey these scriptures and make the most of your T3.
I am delighted about my T3…especially as we’re weeks away from approaching the New Year. I fully plan to make the most of my time, talents, and treasures for 2014 lord-willing. What this means is that I have already carefully begun to consider, plan and/or strategize how all 3 will be spent/used.
What I don’t plan to do is spend time doing things later to ask myself or gripe about my time being wasted. Sometimes I am guilty of doing things that are good, but the question isn’t whether or not they’re good or bad, the question is if God wants me to be doing those things at that time?
2014 will not be a year for me being busy just for the sake of being busy, be it church or personally related. Being busy accomplishing the Lord’s will is different. I want to model this difference in the choices I make. My time is already being planned to be spend time on things I know God is leading me to fulfill in my new season; such as learning and becoming fluent in Spanish, taking a missions trip to El Salvador, starting a block club, raising awareness on mental health, and producing my first full-length play.
My talents will be spent in writing for the edification of God’s Kingdom and artistically, producing a play, as well as fluently speaking another language.
My treasures will be spent in praise and prayer. Sowing financially into my church home/God’s Kingdom, and my community.
I will not limit the other ways God intends to use my T3. Planning is always good, but I am open to how he desires to move in my life. This may mean that some changes are made to my life, as I know it at the moment. I couldn’t be more optimistic…new seasons and new beginnings require change. A mentor once said to me, “A boat cannot move forward without making waves.”
I believe God honors us being accountable to one another, but we’re first accountable to him. If you can’t honestly communicate where you are and what you can give to God, don’t for a second believe you can do it with people. God will gently and patiently correct you; people may try to rip you to shreds though. “Let your “Yes” be a yes, and your “No” be a no, or you will be condemned…” James 5:12 NIV.
In approaching 2014, I am not afraid to say no, or even resign from certain roles if that is what’s necessary to fulfill God desires for my life. Only you know how God desires for you to use your T3. Share it with those who need to know. Share, don’t justify. You can explain things until you’re blue in the face but if someone isn’t in agreement or doesn’t understand, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to explain it over and over.
And remember, “In order to get what you’ve never had, you have to do what you’ve never done.” I didn’t create this quote, but I believe it. Do you? Are you ready to do something strangely different than you’ve ever done it to get what you’ve never had?
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30
A Tribute to Extraordinary Men of the Bible
My Husband, My Abram/Abraham…Faithful and obedient servant of God is he. How you make listening to God your highest priority I’ll never know. By his voice He directs your every move and you move according to His instruction. Together we’ll birth a generation that will most certainly be as countless as the stars that blanket the dark sky. For surely the Lord is birthing a new and a mighty thing from our union that will require us to travel to uncharted lands; and you will be our guide, you shall lead the way. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham for God has made you the father of many nations which makes me the mother of many nations since we are One.
Read Genesis chapters 12 & 17 if you desire to learn more about the life of Abraham.
My Husband, My Joseph…Trustworthy and hardworking is he. Despite hardships you manage to stay strong. The temptress comes but you resist her charms for beauty is fleeting and you have only eyes for me. Men may lock you away, but no one can stop you from dreaming or interpreting dreams. My husband the dreamer…oh yes and what fine dreams has he. Every promise that God has made concerning you is coming to pass. Though there be a famine in the land ours is a life of abundance. We know not lack for God, in honor of your faithfulness, has blessed us to no limit and restored our family in the process.
Read Genesis chapters 37, 39, 40, 41 & 45 if you desire to learn more about the life of Joseph.
My Husband, My Moses…Seasoned and wise is he. A leader of his people, who lets not his age, speech, nor his past stop him from being used for God’s intended purposes. Though older than I, he loves with a love unmatched on this side of heaven. He spends time with the Lord in the secret place and emerges with a glow that could only come from the Sovereign one. When he lies with me, we shine as One for his light illuminates us both, thus brightening the world around us.
Read the book of Exodus if you desire to learn more about the life of Moses.
My Husband, My Joshua…Warrior is he. Strong and courageous is he. He’s God chosen one to lead the people into battle. He was born to lead his people into the Promised Land. It’s his birthright. Together we march side by side, helping to bring that wall down. “We’re entering into this new land,” he assures me as he notices that I am becoming tired and discouraged. I squeeze his hand tightly and we continue to march and worship…march and worship…march and worship. “Hadassah,” (ha/DAHS/sah) he says to me on the seventh day. “Yes my love,” I respond. “I need you to shout as loud as you can because this wall is about to come down.” And it does. The wall has come down! He draws me close to him, holds my waist firmly, looks me deeply in the eyes, and says, “See Hadassah, I told you there’s nothing our joint worship can’t destroy.”
Read Joshua chapters 1& 5 if you desire to learn more about Joshua.
My Husband, My Samson…Set apart at birth. Your mother was given very strict orders in caring for you to help seal your destiny. And as a result, amazing in courage and strength are you. Men envy your strength and women plot to be used for your downfall. But God saw fit to bless you with a mighty woman. A praying woman whose faith would protect you amidst the lust and deception awaiting you from Satan’s nymphs; that you might become yoked to one woman and be eternally faithful to only her. Though you once stood blinded and captured; now you stand with eyes like a blazing fire, set free by God’s love and a passionate love for your one true love…a wife that only heaven could make.
Read Judges chapters 13, 14, & 16 if you desire to learn more about the life of Samson.
My Husband, My Boaz…Provider is he. My hurt was healed in a foreign land because you welcomed me. You gave me plenty when all I knew was lack. How can I thank you…all the native women in this land desired you, but Mother Wisdom groomed me for you. My Husband, My Beau…inseparable we’ll be. You lead the business and I’ll help you manage the day-to-day functions. We’ll work together and be history’s most dynamic husband and wife duo. For the world will never understand the way in which we work because what they consider work, we’ll consider operating under the call to which the Sovereign Lord holds us accountable. Ours will be a work done by the Spirit. Theirs will be a work done merely by flesh, for it requires no relationship with the Father or the Son to accomplish.
Read the book of Ruth if you desire to learn more about the life of Ruth.
My Husband, My David…Ruddy and handsome is he. Ruler and conqueror are his middle and last name. Short in stature, but mighty in battle. You’ve been selected for service by God not because of your good looks, but because of your heart. In fact, you’re a man after God’s own heart. A wandering eye had he that is until he met me…his Bathsheba. I am his Jonathan. Me… a woman with a faith so mean, a face so radiant, and legs so thick, he had no choice but to kneel before the Lord and beg to be my husband. My King is he. Praise dancer is he. We share intimacy from the dance called life, and from our bloodline will come a son of wisdom the world has never known nor will know after his death.
Read the book of 1 Samuel chapters 16 & 20, 2 Samuel chapter 20, and 1 Kings 3 if you desire to learn more about David.
My Husband, My Job…Prosperous and faithful is he. Your one of the few on who God can brag! Those closes to you desire to see you fall, and to hear you curse the name of God, but you refuse. Satan tests you simply because God allows it. God knows He can trust you, for your loyalty to Him outweighs any riches you’ve ever received. Bold were you to question the Almighty, but he answered you, and set you straight on who’s really running thangs! After the storm, he blessed you with a new everything…including me. A wife sent to be your virtuous helpmate in all situations forevermore.
Read the book of Job if you desire to learn more about the life of Job.
My Husband, My Saul/Paul…Persecutor was he. Cold and malicious was he. Until the transformation that took place on that road…oh how Christ convicted you. Called you out and made you blind at the same time. It took you being laid on your back for you to reverence the Lord. This is where your final name change occurs; no longer would men and women know you by your birth name but by your chosen name. My Paul, crucified for the things of Christ, it is your life’s mission to travel sharing the Good News. You know who Christ is and what he did for you, and it’s become your passion to share this message of truth with all in your reach. Once bound by the chains of this world, now you stand as an Ambassador for Christ in chains. The world stands blessed by your Apostleship and your gift of evangelism. As your wife, teach me to declare the gospel as fearlessly as you do…together we live for Christ and together we’ll die for Christ. For what is life if we’re not sharing Him…aren’t we dead already? Let’s die to things of this world yet remain alive in the things of Christ.
Read the book of Acts, 1Corinthians 4 &9, and Ephesians 6 if you desire to learn more about Paul.
I was inspired to write this prayer because I know what the Lord has promised me and who he’s promised to me as my husband. Sometimes you can see things that don’t line up with God’s promise, but that’s when your prayers matter the most! I have no excuse for doubting the Lord at times though, because as a seer he shares many things with me.
What I’ve made the mistake of doing is sharing those promises/visions with certain people who have then disregarded what God promised me. Who is man to disregard anything God reveals to us or promises us? I have truly learned this year that when sharing anything concerning promises God has made to me or in executing the gift of being a seer, I am to be discerning in what I share and with who it’s being shared. I’ve had clergy, close friends and/or acquaintances dismiss what God has promised me. As though that’s not what God meant, but if I say I trust God…then that’s really all there is to it.
Believe God for the things he’s promised to you. Believe Him with an Abraham like faith, for even when Abraham knocked Hagar up and she bore him a son, did the Lord still not make good on the promise that Sarah would also bear him a son?
Trust God and pray against unbelief and doubt at all times! You’re closer than you think to the manifestation of the promises of God…
“Better to die an original than to live as a copy.” -Anonymous
90’s Throwback Jam!
My gurl Left Eye is probably making some crazy music in Heaven…Enjoi
It comes a point in life when I believe we all reach the point of no return…perhaps everyone doesn’t reach this point, but I definitely feel I have, or that I’m pretty damn close to reaching it…I’ve written something that I won’t take back…something that’s soon to be made public…
I maybe hated for it, but when my story helps someone else it’ll all be worth it. Despite what my blood is going to try and come forward to say, I’m doin this because it’s time to walk in truth. They will believe what they choose to believe, and quite frankly I can’t dwell on it.
In 50 cent’s song “Wanksta,” he drops a line that is so smooth and catchy to me. He says, “Me I’m no mobsta, me I’m no gangsta, me I’m no hitman, me I’m just me.” “Me I’m Just Me…” I freakin love that phrase! As I turn a year older tomorrow, I’ve begun to ask myself if “Me I’m Just Me?” Most people don’t know the real Jasmine. They know the Jasmine at work or the Jasmine at church, but not the real me.
Over the years, I’ve done a pretty good job of masking who I really am for fear of being rejected, especially within the body of Christ. I’ve managed to take on characteristics of people I know and admire, and try to put my own uniqueness to it, as a way of blending. It’s simply not working anymore as God is leading me to walk in a place of truth. So who am I really?
I’m a Detroit Bred chick with many loves. I love to dance. One day, I dream to compete in a salsa/Latin dancing competition. There is something very sexy and passionate about these dances to me. When I’m at home cleaning up, I tend to get my salsa on or my Beyonce. I love to sing, and speaking of Beyonce I have been known to mimic her dance moves, in the privacy of my own home, of course. I love to write, hence why I started this blog and why I plan to someday make a living from it. I love to watch movies. I love vampire movies. They were a very big part of my childhood, particularly Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula which are classics in my opinion. I have learned that in recent months I can no longer handle Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it’s a little too out there for me now. I grew up with these movies, and with the exception of Dracula, I still love the other two immensely. I love Haagen Diaz’s Caramel Cone ice cream, it’s delish!!!! I love all types of music. Madonna is a favorite artist of mine! I was too geeked when I learned about the TLC movie because it brought back fond memories of my childhood, and my love for the group’s music.
I am not ashamed of the things I love. I’ll say that again, I am not ashamed of the things I love. They don’t define me and they don’t consume me, on most days, if I’m going to be honest. I feel as though I have become super churched, like I mean super churched. When I was in the world I was all the way in, I didn’t know what balance or moderation meant. It was nothing for me to bump Lil Kim’s “Shut Up B%*$#!” daily with the windows in my car being down and screaming it from the top of my lungs. I thought it was cool, I thought it made me appear to be gangsta…
That’s not me anymore, but there was a side of Jasmine who was a little more daring and fearless than the Jasmine who has formed over the last few years. I’ve all but shunned my past existence, and in many ways I needed to flee from my old life, but on the inside that Jasmine who use to do karaoke and choreography routines to Britney Spears “I’m A Slave For You,” is dying to come back.
The spontaneity and freedom she had in just being herself, her naturally loud, and sometimes ghetto self is coming back. I thank God I can share this and not worry about what people will say or think. I just don’t care anymore. It won’t stop me from finding a throwback Tupac classic and bumpin it all throughout my house if that’s what I’m in the mood to do.
I believe that as long as I do things in moderation I’ll be fine. Christ knows that He’s at the head of my life. You may not know that, but in many ways you don’t need to…He knows. I make sure I puts in time with Him, and even though I sometimes feel he be breathin all down my neck (smile Jesus) I know that in this time of singleness He desires greater intimacy with me.
So that’s it for this week’s folks. No scriptures. No theology. This week I’m on a whole notha vibe…”Me I’m Just Me.” And to my peeps that enjoi throwback music please enjoi TLC’s “Hat 2 Da Back,” video, and if you can’t because you’re too holy now, it’s cool. I understand…but as for me, I’m gonna do my thang!!! I’m gonna stop being so serious and lighten up…If God is pleased with me, who cares who isn’t. Time to let go. I’ve got a life to live.
ME I’M JUST ME.