A Word on Holy Saturday: The Death of a Dream

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Woman in Despair by Michelina Sarao

Today is known as Holy Saturday for many Christians, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a part of Holy Week, the seven days marking Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his Last Supper with his disciples, his betrayal by his disciples, his arrest, torture, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. For lack of a better phrase, it’s a helluva week.

Whenever I think about the reality of the disciples and those who followed Jesus during his life, I wonder how this week impacted them in real time. Even though Jesus alluded to things that were to come and their religious history pointed to a messianic figure who would suffer and die, I honestly get the feeling that they didn’t believe it all. They followed him because he inspired hope. Jesus empowered them to believe that anything was possible; that life could be different – full of love, relationships and connections that looked like nothing they had experienced before.

Jesus was a purveyor of hope and the people who loved him put their hope above any reality of what was or what pain was lurking right around the proverbial corner.  Continue reading

A Word on Names

I was infatuated with falling in love when I was younger. I was more than a bit boy crazy and I could imagine the beginning, middle and happily ever after of every relationship. It was intense. When I decided that a boy would fall in love with me, they had very little chance of outsmarting my plan. I chased them down and became irresistible.

I would see a guy before the bell for first period would ring. Once my target was identified, the infatuation would start with daydreaming. I could lose time thinking about their cuteness. I would barely pay attention in class because I would try to figure out how to catch his eye or slip him a note, unbeknownst to the teacher.

I would open my notebook and pretend to take notes. Instead I would be doodling my name and my crush’s name. The adrenaline that would pump through me as I considered if their last name “matched” my first was electric! It had to sound right to be a good fit.

Mrs. Rozella X

Mrs. X

Mr. and Mrs. X

Dr. and Mrs. X

After making sure our names matched and sounded perfect together, my imagination would take me off into the future. The perfect wedding, with the princess dress. The large wedding party with all of my best girlfriends perfectly in the most AMAZING bridesmaid’s dresses. I would make sure that my friends met his friends and that they looked heavenly together as they glided down the aisle during the ceremony. There may even be a love match or two. I was a benevolent friend in my dreams. After the wedding, we would have a reception that would go into the wee hours of the morning followed by a honeymoon filled with breathtaking sex and adventures. We would return home deeper in love and ready to conquer the world! See Exhibit A: Continue reading

A Word on Falling in Love

Below is a picture of me in Cape Town, South Africa last week. You may not know it, but the smile that’s on my face is for the person behind the camera, for the man that has infiltrated my heart.

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I’m falling in love and it sucks. How can something simultaneously be so beautiful and so brutal? Glennon Doyle Melton coined the perfect phrase for this reality – brutiful.

I’ve been divorced for six years. I’ve engaged a few different men over the course of this time but if I’m honest (which I’m learning is non-negotiable), I haven’t been in love with any of them. I’ve loved some of them but I’ve not been IN love. I’m glad that over the course of my 35 years I’ve learned the difference. I love everyone. I truly do. I love anyone who shares a piece of themselves with me; with anyone who is vulnerable, raw and authentic. It’s the way that I’m wired. I can’t help it. Continue reading

At a Loss for Words

I woke up this morning, Thursday, July 7, 2016 at a loss for words. I’m a writer and a public thinker. I contribute to public discourse by providing commentary on events and happenings. I tend to do this using a theological lens and I rely heavily on my Christian faith to make sense of and peace with things as they unfold. Many times this takes place on my Facebook page, but I also write longer pieces and publish blogs on Embracing My Shadow and The Salt Collective. Today, however, I had no words…

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A Word on Walking Away

walking-away

Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from someone – an intimate partner or a family member or a friend – because they did not serve you, care for you or respect you in ways that you needed them to?

Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from a way of being, from a reality that you wanted for yourself but wasn’t what God wanted for you?

Do you remember the first time you chose unhappiness over happiness because you thought that duty and obedience meant being miserable rather than experiencing a life of joy and freedom? The first time you bought the lie that suffering and sacrifice should be a norm for your life?

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. – Robert Tew

When was the last time you walked away from that which no longer served you, grew you or made you happy? Continue reading

A Word on Presence


I struggle with being in the moment. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be somewhere I’m not or know something I’ve yet to learn. I was never satisfied in the moment and this led me to constantly seek out new moments without paying attention to the life that was unfolding around me. I often missed signs and messages because I was so focused on what was to come instead of what was…

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A Word on Value

One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value.”

There’s an image that always comes to mind with this quote. It’s winter in Chicago. The ground is frozen and the winds are fierce. I’m walking from the train station home and I encounter many people walking their dogs. These pets have on coats and booties to protect their paws from the icy ground. In the same moment I pass by a person experiencing homelessness who is huddled under blankets, with newspapers stuffed in their coat to provide insulation against the bitter cold. Here is an image that greatly troubles me and reply grieves my spirit – the pet that is provided care and the human who is ignored. 

Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…

I’ve been thinking a lot about value recently – value as defined as the amount of meaning we give to something on someone; how we understand and demonstrate one’s worth and importance. I’ve always struggled with feeling valued, with wondering if I am good enough to be worth it – to be worth loving or worth spending time with or worth committing to. This is something I continue to work on, but there are days and moments when I wonder about my worth. 

I often say that the things you hear people talk about most often are the things people struggle with on a regular basis. Well, I consistently talk about self worth and self love, two things that I am desperately trying to figure out. While I intellectually believe that I am a child of God and that this identity supercedes any other identity, my heart wonders why this designation isn’t enough; why I still seek value from things and people who are external to me. 

And this is the rub – I cannot control those things and people that are external. Any attempt I make to seek meaning from that which is outside of myself will continually end in disappointment. We cannot seek that which can only be given by the Creator from those who did not create us. My work, my relationship, my friends or my family can give me the sense of meaning, worth and identity that I do believe is given to me by God.

On some days this is easier said than believed. I’m realizing that my actions towards myself have to continue to point back to my belief that I have been created in the image of the Divine and my worth is not based on anything or anyone else. It’s not based on anything I do or say or don’t do or say. It’s based on who God is and the fact that God breathed life into me and gifted me to show up in the world as a participant in God’s plan of restoration. 

I’m still struggling with how this knowledge translates into belief and action. I want people to see what I do and say, “Rozella is a woman who values herself, honors the Divine within and loves all whom she encounters.” I’m not quite there yet but I’m  working on it. 

Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…