How To Rise Above It All . . .

Black woman sitting with eyes closed outdoors

I can’t help but think that in some place in the distant past, there was a woman who was just like me. Maybe she had the same cocoa colored skin, the same kink in her hair with flecks of gray, the same fullness in her lips and uneasiness in her eyes that hoped for a better tomorrow.

Maybe she worked on a cotton farm or was a cook in someone’s kitchen. Or maybe she was a domestic and made beds, and tended to other people’s children for a living, or was even a seamstress or maybe she couldn’t work outside the home at all.

I’m thinking maybe in the not too distant past she would daydream like me and stare out windows, big and small wanting the world to be safer for her sons and daughters. Thinking if she smiled enough, was kind enough, loved the Lord with all her heart that the world around her might – just might – change.

If I could tell her something, I would tell her that I know her heart ache. I understand her pain, and while the craziness of the world may appear to limit her abilities because of how she looks and who they think she is, that she’s unlimited in the will of God.

I’ve been on my knees in prayer a lot in the past two weeks, desperate for answers, wanting to understand why there’s so much chaos in the world but slowly I changed the conversation with God. I’m not asking why anymore; I can’t. My mother wanted to know why, my grandmother wanted to know why, my great grandmother wanted to know why.

I cannot ask why anymore.

I know now that to rise above the problems of this world my place is to fall on my knees in His presence. And when I rise, I do so with the full armor of God.

I came across this beautiful song that summed up perfectly where my heart longs to remain. It blessed me so, and I hope it blesses you too.

Touch The Sky – by Hillsong United


You are a redemptive story ….


“It’s been a long time since we’ve been alone,” my sister said to me as we got into her car. “Too long,” I agreed and fastened my seatbelt. Despite the grim reason for our road trip, our movements and demeanor were light.

We were headed to our hometown to pay our last respects to our biological father. I guess I frame it as “biological” because unfortunately, he was not a consistent presence in our lives. Our connection was at best was … biological. I’ve written about my life without him before. I wished for more, but it didn’t happen the way I hoped.

Join the conversation online #worthliving and follow @marydemuth on Twitter and Instagram

Join the conversation online #worthliving and follow @marydemuth on Twitter and Instagram

During the 2-hour ride, we caught up with each other’s lives, laughed a little and even found ourselves at one point listening to an audio book I started. I looked at my sister with great admiration. Next to me was a woman who was beautiful, resilient, and a creative soul with a family of her own. A far cry from the chubby little girl whom I played jump rope, chased seagulls and drank Pepsi in the hot Carolina sun with.

And then it happened.

The conversation we both managed to avoid from the onset of everything that happened.  We talked about what his death meant to us. More importantly, we talked about what his life meant to us. While we managed to make it to the ceremony and back home to our respective families, I felt that the conversation was far from over. I still had a need to explore my feelings about this. Around that time I received an email from the author Mary DeMuth who was developing a launch team for her newest book “Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love For You Makes You Worthy.”

Without thinking, I replied to her email and asked to sign up. I received an advanced copy of the book, and as I began reading, I found myself stuck on this sentence for days:

“I lived all those years of my childhood believing I was unworthy of protection, unworthy of affection, unworthy of attention, unworthy of applause, unworthy of nice things.”

– Mary DeMuth

Picture of Mary DeMuth's Book: Worth Living

Mary’s Book along with my FAVORITE mug.

I think I re-read that sentence well over a dozen times. Probably two dozen, if I’m completely honest. I highlighted the text. I rewrote it in my journal and stared at the words as if they were the beginning and end of everything for me. I never knew anyone else could feel that sense of worthlessness I did as a kid. There was always something in the back of my mind that made me believe I wasn’t worthy. It’s the thought by which I hinged everything and how I lived my life.

I revealed this to my dad in an intense conversation one day. I hesitantly explained that his lack of trying to be in my life made me feel like I wasn’t worth the effort — to which he responded with a weary, “I’m sorry, baby.”

But here’s my truth, I didn’t have the type of relationship I wanted with my dad on earth, but I have a heavenly Father, who took care of all of my needs. Every. Single. One. If I told you where I came from to how I live now … it’s only God. This I believe.

“Worth Living” helped me during this grieving period. The lies that we all believe about ourselves should be overshadowed by the ten truths she talks about in her book:

  • You are wildly loved.
  • You are more than a to-do list.
  • You are uncaged.
  • You are weakly strong.
  • You are secure.
  • You are beautiful.
  • You are chosen.
  • You are destined for impact
  • You are worth more than a paycheck.
  • You are a redemptive story.

My connection to Mary was a divine connection. I’m convinced of that. I wanted to endorse her book in this way because I believe with all my heart that God gives you what you need when you need it. Worth Living was a beautiful reminder to me that I am a redemptive story. I am worthy of God’s love, and so are you.

Mary’s also planning on hosting a conference this fall called, The Re-story Conference, go here to learn all about it.

Enjoying the hum …

Woman Writing BookCoffee Shop Concept

I’m flawed. I make mistakes. Like, all the time. All. The. Time.

For a while there, I couldn’t see past them which prevented me from doing the things I love — like writing. I would pour my heart into a piece I wrote only to later (at times much-much later) find a typo or a poorly phrased sentence, and it would discourage me, so I would stop writing. I took it too seriously and wouldn’t dare publish or share anything until I believed it to be perfect, and you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened for ten years. TEN YEARS! All in fear of being judged or talked about or having the topic of my discourse weighed in the court of public opinion. The sad realization is that I cannot recoup the time I lost in not doing the thing I love. The good news is there’s no time like the present to pick up where I left off and just push forward. I use to be in love with the final product, and it got me nowhere; now I’m in love with the process. Hitting the backspace, trying to find a better word, re-reading what I wrote to see if it conveys my thoughts. I changed my thinking, and now I freely write from the perspective of a person who is flawed. 

It’s the same rhythm that you find in baking bread and feeling the silkiness of the flour in your hands or painting and relishing the sound of the brush strokes against the canvas, or crunching numbers, surveying the whole spreadsheet and working through the details to reach an end. It can be found in gardening, reading elementary age children essays, making widgets at a factory, and even driving a city bus. The joy is not necessarily in the end rather it’s in the hum of it all. Do you enjoy the hum? Do you enjoy the hum enough to be imperfect at it?

Consider this: making mistakes is better than faking perfection any day of the week. The adage is true; perfection is the enemy of good, and I’ve learned that done is better than perfect. Are you waiting on perfect to make something happen in your life? The conditions will never be better than right here …right now. Do the thing. Make mistakes but above all else, enjoy the hum.

When letting go saves your life …

Bags falling from a passenger airplane

“I’m not sure how to let things go,” the voice on the other end of my phone said slowly. “I mean, I want to, but I’m not sure HOW.” I listened intently and nodded in agreement even though she couldn’t see me. There must be something in the air right now because I’ve discussed this topic with several people just this past week. We all know that we should “let go and let God” but how do we put that into practice. Even after this particular conversation ended, it was still on my mind. Last year, during one of my darkest hours I had this holy revelation where I realized every day we get up, we can decide to carry the burden of worry all on our own, or we give it to God. It’s a matter of choice, right? Barbara Cameron says “worrying is arrogant because God knows what He’s doing.” I chuckled when I found that. It was confirmation. So while I got it, I too was baffled about how to put it into practice. 

I’m a visual person and started meditating on this notion: how do you let it go? I asked that it be revealed to me in such a way that I not only get it, but I learn how to practice this. Immediately I saw the image of an airplane that had reached its weight capacity and this voice told me that I needed to lighten the load; otherwise, I’d crash. In haste, I opened the cabin door and started tossing out boxes and packages without looking. And for a moment, I stopped and worried about what would happen to the things I got rid of. Would it land in a deserted field? Or smash into a house below or even fatally injure someone?

I have an active imagination.

Here’s the thing: letting go, I mean REALLY letting go of something is difficult, and it’s hard. But it’s slowly killing us. Worry leads to more worry, which leads to stroking the flames of fear, and doubt and ultimately shame. So while we may want to concern ourselves with things out of our control we simply cannot. To the example, I cannot afford to worry about what happens to things after I push them off the airplane because I’m trying to save my life. I’m trying to stop the airplane from crashing.

Consider this for today: You cannot worry about what people think of you, that’s their business. You cannot worry about a situation that’s out of your control. You are fully equipped to decide. I hope you choose not to worry today.

Living in victory …

Purpose wooden sign with a forest background

If we believed everything our eyes see, we would think that the world is against us. Acknowledging and responding to perceived and real haters — those people and situations we believe aren’t for us— does nothing more than feed into the notion that we are not enough. It’s so easy to go down this path, after all, responding to Hater-Nation is now commonplace, and our social media responsibility is to let the world know that we are unbothered by them. If we continue down this path, if we consciously decide to live in this space, we’ll be forced to view the world through the lenses of regret and contempt and will eventually believe that no one is for us. 

So here’s the thing that we tend to forgot, we live in victory. You are already winning.

Look, I struggle with this too because somewhere along the way we’re taught to look for the bad and view everything with a critical eye. And in being in this state of mind, the level of indignation grows because we now think part of our purpose is to defy haters as validation that we are worthy.

Haters are NOT motivators.

You are already worthy.

It’s just that simple.

And because you have victory, know that winning does not come at the expense of someone else’s happiness. The universe does not work that way. There’s always a balance. There’s always enough. There are no shortages of blessings. Consider this for today: refuse to use haters to fuel your dreams, instead, look to Him as you fulfill your purpose.

Unlearning Superwoman . . .


“I’m proudly a superwoman,” my friend said to me as we sat down for coffee late last week. “Okay,” I said completely not convinced. She seemed tired and even admitted it; hence the coffee connection, she wanted to recharge somehow. My friend went on to explain how she was doing “this” and “that” and because of these accomplishments people have been asking her to take on more. “I’m in charge of the volunteer committee, that’s a big deal,” she continued holding her hands apart in the air to show the magnitude of responsibility. I took a sip of my coffee and listened patiently. Indeed, it seemed that she was taking on a lot and pleasing a lot of people but what I was hoping to hear was if these tasks brought HER joy if they were connected somehow and if they were honoring God in some way. They weren’t. Instead, I had in front of me a woman nearing exhaustion engaged in busy work.

I’m no one to pass judgment on how we conduct our lives but what I do know is that when we are about the business of doing what we’ve been called to do, there is divine order. And yes, we may grow weary in the process, but it will not require us to be a mythical unattainable version of ourselves. I pressed, and we got to the real reason she was taking on so much, she felt like if she kept busy, she wouldn’t have to deal with an issue unfolding in her life. We’ve all done it before. Many of us still do.

For today consider this: stop being trying to be superwoman, instead believe in the Almighty for supernatural blessings. He gives us what we need when we need it; just call on Him. RTMS1

What Happens When You See The Light…


I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her. ~ Kaci Dane

It’s official. I’ve decided not to change a thing about myself this year. That may sound a bit arrogant, but I promise you it’s not, it comes from a good place.

An I-am-enough-kind-of-place.

A so-many-of-us-heard-about-it-but-didn’t-dare-to-venture-there-kind-of-place.

There is indeed a lighted path for living. It’s not the elusive unicorn or unattainable pot of gold at the end of the rainbow kind of stuff, but there really is a light.

It’s true what they say when you get it, you get it.

I got it.

If you were to ask me a few years ago about New Year resolutions, I could rattle off a list with ease.

I chuckle a little thinking about it because it took me a while to realize that my life was not a series of things to get done; rather my life ebbs and flows. I had to figure out how to remain open to new possibilities while keeping fear and doubt in check. So I dug deep and determined that for me to allow anything good to happen in my life, I first had to love myself.

That was no small feat.

At that point, I had spent 20 some-odd years of my life trying to fit in and then the better part of my 30s struggling to find my identity as a mom and wife.

I decided to take the One Word 365 Challenge; it’s where you opt out on New Year resolutions and instead choose one word to describe your year. In 2014, my word was self-acceptance; I learned that self-acceptance is something we have to choose every day.

cece harbo-2

Each day you get up, you decide. It took me 365 days to scratch the surface. I’m still practicing self-acceptance. (Psalm 139:14)

Then in 2015, I decided that my word would be resilient because I needed stick-to-it-ness. I needed to hone my ability to bounce back from adversities. If you Googled the phrase “throw in the towel” my face would be in the caption.


I felt when things went going awry they did so for a reason. So I would quit. I needed things to be perfect; after all, it was a reflection of me. It was easier just to start over or pick something else which piqued my interest. Elizabeth Gilbert shares a quote in Big Magic from Rebecca Solnit who says, “ So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else, because the perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible, and the fun.”

Ugh! It’s true. Perfection kills everything! Everything.

I made a declaration in front of about 100 women this past November that I was done with waiting on perfect. It’s too hard. It’s exhausting. And frankly, I have a life to live. In letting go of perfect, this past year was the first time in a long time I had the grit to see something through, tears and all, and it was amazing.

Amazing. (Psalm 46: 5)

For 2016, I choose the word worthy. It seems like worthy ties together everything I’ve learned, unlearned and relearned, went through … about to grow through. Worthy is directly tied to self-love, accepting of love from others, and having the ability to give love freely without sacrificing anything. No guilt. No shame. No more emotional hoarding. No regrets. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

So about the whole light thingy, once your see it, it’s now your divine assignment to capture it’s essence so that you can allow it to shine through you. Then, YOU become a light in the world. How do you capture the essence of light you say? You live each day with intention, with passion, with purpose … all while operating in faith.

What say you? Have you seen the light? A flicker? A flash? Or are you standing in the sun? And if you were to take the One Word 365 Challenge, what word would you use to describe your 2016?

Happy New Year!