Transitioning With Grace

Those who walk in pride He is able to humble. Daniel 4:37 

This year has been a humbling experience full of revelation and clarity about myself. Within the past year I have moved to a new location, started a new position, made new friends, and adjusted to changes in my spiritual and personal life. I consider all of this a part of the evolution of me. Life is about transition and growth. The manner in which we leave one season and enter a new one says a lot about our character and our obedience to God's instruction. 

Sometimes adjusting to change is not so easy. We can suffer from loneliness, feeling lost, or even depression. In attempt to soothe these feelings we may find ourselves seeking the wrong outlets. We look for love in all of the wrong places or we Y.O.L.O. a little too hard and find ourselves in a NO NO situation. But when we learn to transition with grace, the changes in our lives can be positive experiences rather than ones of regret or disappointment.

God will often take us somewhere new to gut out our desire for something that He wants us to move on from. That's not saying that whatever that something is never should have been in our lives, it just may be time to start anew. For example, maybe God revealed to you years ago that your current job is not your career. But He didn't open the door just yet for your exit. Then, after a transition He suddenly provides the perfect opening for a way out. This was all in tune with God's perfect orchestration of what we call "your life."

We have to be able to release the pressure to figure everything out on our own. This also means tuning out the distractions. When you make life changes, the people in your life will want to know when, where, why, what, and how. But honestly it is not any of their business. Your life is between you and God. Now of course if you are married, your spouse should be involved in your major decisions but for the rest of us single grown folk, you don't have to answer to anyone but God. You don't need opinions distracting your vision or your destiny.

"Stop asking people for their opinion. Believe in your own ability. Take a step. Make a decision. Own the outcome!" --Dr. Taunya A. Lowe "Wanna Start a Riot? Change"

Learn to pray without ceasing, fast, seek God's presence daily. I bolded presence because many of us say routine prayers every day. But do we spend time in worship and in environments where God will show up and reveal to us the answers that we need in order to make decisions? It is so easy to fall off task when it comes to our prayer life and our time spent with our Father. I am very guilty of this. That is why, as with any relationship, it is important to make an effort and block off time just for Him. You want to know why you don't have the answers to your toughest questions? What does your prayer life look like?

I have a group of supporters that introduced me to a unique style of prayer that is helping me gradually enhance my communication with the Almighty. We call it tea time. I will actually heat water on the stove and make tea for me and God (using the stove rather than the microwave requires me to spend more time chit chatting with Him rather than rushing our sweet conversation). Then I sit in His lap or at His feet right in my very own living room and talk to Him aloud like a child would their earthly Dad. I thank Him for being so good, I worship Him for who He is, I praise Him for what He's done, and I ask of Him what I need or what I see others need. I also find that while driving in the car He will just show up and I will spend that time praising and thanking Him. When you feel the urge to shout, shout! Never hold back your praise.

Transitions are necessary for our growth. Otherwise we would be stagnant, lifeless individuals with no purpose. We have to evolve. We have to change. We have to improve. God reveals more to us about ourselves and our purpose on earth as we deepen our relationship with Him. Use your transitional periods to understand your calling. Whatever that may be, know that we all were called to bless others so seek ways to do so. God will show you amazing things through your giving. In everything embrace change. It is the most exciting, invigorating stage of your life!



-Renée Nicole
@disclosednative
IG: ms_disclosednative           

FALL HAIR TRENDS: THE CUT LIFE!


When most of us think of Fall season, we automatically think of adding layers to our wardrobe or the most stylish bootie to pair with our boyfriend jeans. Not this girl, I'm thinking cut and color! Why not have that same enthusiasm about your hair?  Who doesn't appreciate a fresh start?  If you aren't a daring diva then you can start small with a cute saucy angled bob or a pixie cut with a pop of color to give it a little sass!

Angled bob: Simple but still adds a little spice to your look.

Every girl loves color but you have to be attentive to which color best complements your skin tone.  You don't want to look like the walking dead. And of course the type of cut depends on the shape of your face. Check out a couple cut and color combos that I think will heighten every diva for the Fall occasion!

Simple blonde, brown, auburn mixtures are great for olive skin tones.
Layers are perfect for pear-shaped faces.

Red Orange (Autumn): Complements all skin tones whether pale,
caramel or brown. This ultra short cut fits slender frames. 

Blonde Bombshell! My absolute favorite color ever!
This shape is ideal for oval and heart-shaped faces. 

Pumpkin Spice: Great for light skin tones with gold undertones.
Texture such as these full curls are best for fuller faces.

What's your look for Fall?! Are you fearless enough to chop it off?!

Madelyn Monroe
@disclosednative
IG: fearless_femme
IG: iamtonia

Wrap Up Summer in Fall Fashion


While I much rather the warmer months, I am a true blue fan of fall if for nothing else but the fashion. Light jackets, plaid button ups, scarves, and boots give my wardrobe life that I can't resist. Layers upon layers with enough sunshine for shades can add spice and complexity to any outfit.

Take a peek at some of my fave fall looks below. What styles do you love most in fall? What new trends do you plan on dabbling in?

Saturday Chic

Layers!!!! A blazer overlapping a sweater overlapping a plaid button up paired with cut-up jeans, a pair of pumps, and a bold accessory.


Casual Friday

My favorite part of fall is dusting off the good old knee-high boots. I love mixing my Vince Camuto's with some skinnies, a tank, oversized cardigan and a colorful scarf. Hey, fall doesn't have to be all beige, black, and nude. Add a pop of peach or turquoise to adorn your neck with pizazz.

Monday in the Office

There are still some hot days left. Stay true to the sunshine with a spicy skirt, bangles, and bejeweled necklace. Add a burgundy blazer for the nighttime low temps and to blend into the dark skies. 

Sunday Funday

Who said bell-bottoms went out in the 70's? These bad boys or a wide-legged jean with booties and a small satchel are so perfect for Sunday brunch.


-Renée Nicole
@disclosednative
IG: ms_disclosednative           

Mid-Week Inspiration: Authentic Discipleship

Are you an authentic disciple? This is the study that we dove into at last night’s bible study at my church. The pastor defined discipleship as being more like God and less like man. One of the easiest mistakes to make as a Christian is to compare yourself to other Christians. There is only one perfect example of how we should live and we can find that in the scriptures when Jesus walked the earth. 

“Immaturity copies men. Maturity learns to copy God.” It is acceptable to have mentors and those we seek for godly wisdom due to their maturity in their walk. However, there is no perfect model on this earth of how we should conduct ourselves as Christians. We should simply strive to be more and more like God each day.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt 5:48
“…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13
Now we all know that none of us will ever be perfect. There will not be a time on this earth where we will be one in the faith and knowledge of Jesus. BUT we should strive to be. Every day that we wake up we should ask God, “Make me more like you. Aid me in glorifying you today. Allow me to bless others and walk confidently in you as Jesus did.” Our aim should be for perfection in that we want to be as close to Christ as humanly possible.
I often mention a song by Kirk Franklin called "The Last Jesus." The  song says, “If I say I love Jesus, but you can’t see my Jesus, my words are empty if they can’t see Jesus in me.” It continues to say “because I may be the only Jesus they see.” Wow! Imagine that. God may be putting you in the space of unbelievers to represent Him. There may even be believers who are not strong in their faith simply because they have not been exposed to believers like YOU. It is our job in these instances to use our knowledge and our faith to sow a seed in these individuals that will lead them to the Kingdom; whether it be by sharing spiritual wisdom or simply by being consistently friendly, greeting with a smile, a hug, and a pleasant “hello.” We don’t always realize the impact of our daily behavior.
Authentic discipleship is leading others to God. That is why we are placed here on this earth. We are not to say, “Hey follow me, I’m perfect. Just do what I do.” No, that would lead some people to doom. But we should be exemplary in that others can model their prayers, their daily walk, and their interaction with others to us. When people run to us with a crisis, we can let them know that we are merely people so we do not have all of the answers, but we know how to guide them in finding God. Man should not be our first outlet. We should always seek God first and then if He directs us to a particular individual for guidance, we will know that the knowledge we receive is from Him and not flesh.
Practice your faith every day. Live a life that will result in a “Well done” from God. He does not expect you to be perfect but He wants you to be a good example. He wants you to take the messages He has instilled in you, apply them to your life, but not stop there. Take these lessons and bless others with them. Be an authentic disciple; not posing as Jesus but striving to be just like Him.
-Renée Nicole
@disclosednative
IG: ms_disclosednative           
  


Ray Rice: Consequences That We Must Face


If you’ve ever known a friend, sister, mother or even yourself to be hit by a man I can’t imagine how you could make light of the actions that Ray Rice took against his then fiancé, Janay Palmer. Even if you don't know anyone in that situation, I still cannot fathom excusing this horrible mistake. There is nothing that an unarmed woman can do to provoke the type of behavior that Rice displayed in that elevator. Not only did he knock this woman (whom he so called loves) out cold, but he dragged her revealing her undergarments, and then  nudged her with his foot to move her out of the way.

Some argue that this is simply a man caught in a dark moment who should not be punished so severely that his job be terminated. While I believe that we as people have no room to judge him because we are not God, I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens made the right decision. If Rice went unpunished by an employer of the status of the NFL, it makes his actions appear acceptable. If there were a tape of me punching a four-year-old child unconscious there would be an uproar of how much of a disgraceful, despicable woman I am. Why, because I am stronger than a four-year-old and the child would have no defense against me. People would say that I should be locked up under the jail. How is this any different from an NFL player, a grown man who clocks a defenseless woman? I don’t care how big and bad women may think they are, unless they spend countless hours in the gym pumping iron and throwing back protein drinks with a side of steroids, they are not beating a grown man in a fist fight; especially not a grown man that drags 300lb linemen by his calves on a regular basis.

Another argument that I hear is that we still support Chris Brown and others who were in the same predicament as Rice. I, personally was just as disgusted with Brown in his antics. I love his talent and there’s nothing I can do to stop that but I don’t support what he did. And much like what Rice is facing now, Brown’s career was drastically affected by his actions. All of his endorsements were pulled, he was banned from awards shows and other public appearances, and he will always have to deal with the questions that come with what happened the weekend of the 2009 Grammy’s. He had to face punishment for his actions, just like we do in our lives, in order to learn that his behavior was wrong (now whether he’s learned his lesson is up for question).

Much like many of us have with Chris Brown, I am not saying that we cannot move on from Rice’s bad decision. I am not saying that we can never support him again and wish for his future success. But he had to endure punishment. With celebrity comes responsibility and you can choose to agree with that or not but it’s the truth. When you sign up to be a public figure, you sign up to be an automatic role model. I don’t want our sons, brothers, cousins, etc. following the lead of Ray Rice. This may be one dark moment that surfaced but most men that hit women don’t just do it once. 

As far as Janay Rice, her decision to stay with him is her own. We don’t know what she’s going through mentally, physically, emotionally but to even discuss her in this is unnecessary. All we can do is pray for her protection and a healthy relationship between she and her husband. That’s not getting in their business, our prayers have power and we should always pray for others’ well being, not just those that we know personally.

My only hope is for us to be able to support and pray for others in their weakest moments while not trying to excuse them of God’s punishment for their wrongdoing. We all have to face consequences when we make terrible mistakes. This may be God’s wake up call to Rice. He may need to be hit in the area where he has the most confidence in order to become a better man. He may be able to use this to build a platform for all men that suffer the illness of domestic abuse. He may change lives.




-Renée Nicole
@disclosednative
IG: ms_disclosednative           

 
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