No More “Cookie-Cutters”

The need to fit in. The need for acceptance. The need to succeed according to man’s standards. The need to be like everyone except who God actually created you to be… ever been there? I sure have, and I must say, it is quite stressful, and VERY unnecessary! However, I found myself occupying that residence for almost 14 years.

Dating back to my childhood, I could always find a reason(s) to believe that I was not good enough. Whether rejection at school from friend groups and “cliques” that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, or being rated with low numbers on those silly “How Would You Rate Me? 1-10” notes that were passed around in middle school for the popular boys to judge. With every low rating (3’s and 4’s each time), my self-esteem began to plummet more and more, causing me to love myself less and less. Had I given the opinion of man too much power? Most Definitely!! But blinded by the desire for acceptance, attention, and validation at such an early age, it was hard to see the downward spiral that my identity and self-worth was actually taking.

Although still battling with self-acceptance at the time, it wasn’t until 2008, my 10th grade year in high school that I began to truly see what individuality looked like. This was the year that I switched schools to attend a well-known Performing Arts school in Chattanooga, TN. I can recall being very shocked at all of the brightly-colored rainbow pixie cuts, facial piercings, and interesting stylistic expressions. I was also taken aback to see what felt like a scene out of the movie “FAME” during lunch, when people would randomly breakout in rap-battles, cafeteria-wide sing-a-longs, and impromptu guitar/vocal jam sessions. While at first I felt like a fish out of water, knowing only 4 people at the school, I quickly began to appreciate what seemed to constantly ring through every hallway, classroom, and school assembly… Uniqueness.

Whether for the right or wrong reasons, there was a sense of confidence that filled the air of CCA. My peers knew they were gifted, and worked hard to perfect what they knew God had put in them. Even those who were not believers had a sense of appreciation to know that what was in them was far too great to waste on the opinions of others. They were not afraid to embrace their differences and could honestly give less of 2 measly cares about what anyone had to say about it. I can truly say that during my high school years, I learned a lot about embracing who God created me to be… but even still, it had not fully sunk in.

Fast-forward to college, I still sought validity through joining organizations, pledging a sorority, and seeking many different ways to find my identity. The truth is, no organization, person, place, or thing could point me in the right direction, because there is only ONE with that ability, and He is The One who created me, and has “every hair on my head numbered” (Luke 12:7). Although born and raised in the church, what I failed to grasped during this low point in my life was that Jesus Christ was The ONLY answer to my identity crisis, and until I found out what He says about me in His Holy Word, I’d never truly know who I was, or who I was created to be.

So my dear sister, while society wants us to look like them, and the world points us to so many “trends” and “enhancements” to achieve “The Look” that is currently in, let’s choose the exact opposite! Lets’s choose to be the unique individuals that God created us to be; from that witty laugh, to those fly-away hairs that won’t seem to lay down, no matter how much edge control or gel you slap on them! Sis, we are Beautiful, “Fearfully and Wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), and daughters of our Abba Father, The Most High God!

Let’s choose to wear a Daughter’s Crown and take on Abba’s perception of us, as we dig into His Word to find out The Truth of our identity in Jesus Christ!

God Bless ❤

A Father’s Wisdom

Anyone who knows me, knows that I truly love my dad SO much! I am probably the epitome of a “Daddy’s Girl”. Its has been that way since I was a little girl. Even at the age of 5, I can vividly recall sitting cramped up beside him in his recliner as we watched TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) for hours; praising, praying, and watching sermons. My dad is truly a daughter’s blessing.

However, once I hit my teenage years, this “Daddy’s Girl” started to change. I started “smelling myself” as the older church mothers would say, and grew into a bad, rebellious attitude, accompanied by a sassy mouth. During this time, I saw my dad as my enemy because of all the things “I wasn’t allowed to do”. While friends were going buck-wild on the weekends in high school, I was at the annual Friday Night church shut-in, followed by choir rehearsal the next morning. While the other kids could spend the night and hang with whomever they pleased, I had a select few that were “approved” by my parents. Looking back, I was pretty angry and frustrated with such strictness; but now that I am older, that anger has turned into deep, sincere gratitude from a heart that is appreciative beyond words!

The 24 year old Richarra understands now, what the 13 – 16 year old Richarra failed to understand… my dad’s purpose and heart behind his strict rules and teachings were to protect me from the mess, filth, and unnecessary trouble of this world. While I could have rebelled and messed up big time if I really wanted to, I didn’t because deep down that “daddy’s girl” still respected him enough to fear the consequences. His fatherly intentions for me were to lay out a wise foundation that when I grow old I would not depart from (as instructed in Proverbs 22:6). While going through it, I thought he was just being a “mean ol’ dad”, but now, I can testify that the wisdom he and my mom sought to instill in me through the Holy Spirit, has never left my side… In fact, I often still hear his wise teachings play over in my head during testing situations or times of decision making. While very hard to hear at the time, I know that it was in love and protection of my future.

Much like my earthly father seeks to protect me, so does our Heavenly Father seek to do so on a much grander scale! Sisters, our Abba Father God LOVES you and I so much that saw fit to send His ONLY son, Jesus Christ to die for our sin; a price that He did not owe! And through His death, burial, and resurrection, we are alive and redeemed through His gift of salvation! But we must understand that through salvation, and on this Christian walk, we must follow the guidelines and choose to do what is clearly outlined in His Holy Word (The Holy Bible). Our Father wants us to live our best life in Him, but in order to do so, we must obey His Word; knowing that His restrictions and Commandments are there for our best interest, and to ensure that we live in-step and in-tuned with the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” So in all things, it is His wisdom that will guide us on this journey, and as His daughters, it is His Will that we should seek. Our Abba Father God knows all, and in the counsel of His wisdom, we are safe.

God Bless! ❤