Once a Yoke..Now a Crown

Is it just me or when we as women reach a certain age we cannot stand too much around our neck. I can’t stand to feel like I’m suffocating or getting too hot. Certain scarves are too bulky to wear as fashion or an accessory. I would gladly wear one if I know it’s only purpose is to keep me warm while I’m outside. But to wear one as an accessory to my outfit, I am over it just thinking about it. The turquoise and orange came from a young lady that was a student at Phillips Preparatory School as a thank you. But, I just could never find anything to wear with it and it was so bulky around my neck; so it stayed in my winter box until Thursday, May 7, 2020. The cheetah print scarf came from my bonus daughter Iman, she had great style too and I use to beg for her stuff all of the time. The red and white scarf came from my cousin as a birthday present one year and I also kept trying to wear it, but I could never really find the right thing to wear with it. My sweet cousin Keysha (Lord rest her soul) had a very unique taste and style, but she always wore beautiful things. When I decided to wear this scarf and pair it with my natural puff, it had already been decided that it was “scarf week” by me and my sweet guy friend. The day I wore Keysha’s scarf I got a powerful revelation from Daddy “what use to be a yoke around your neck, now has become a crown upon your head”. I wasn’t for sure what it meant just yet, but before the week was out, I would soon find out.

I didn’t realize that wearing a scarf everyday this week was going to take me wetting my hair each morning and applying Shea Moisture Mousse and the Ecostyle Gel. This quickly opened my eyes to how much work goes into maintaining the natural. But, its absolutely worth it, seeing how what I use to take for granted has now become something I really can appreciate. I was getting my hair washed and pressed every two weeks up until I was 16 years old and just watching the girls in high school rock the stacks, I just had to have it. I got my perm and my short in the top and long in the back from Doretha and it took a long time for my hair to get trained to stack. By a year’s time I was cutting and perming and stacking by myself. Now I’ve come full circle and back to the natural and I see so clearly how amazing the journey is. “Girl you got some beautiful hair”, I tell myself. I have a new appreciation for what came naturally through my heritage as a Grayson/Dulaney. (Heir). But here’s the thing, we get second chances to embrace what we once failed to see before. I was taught tough love by my mama, but I didn’t really see it because I thought she was just mean to me. When I had children, I began to understand her love better. It was difficult at times to be a friend because I always had a wall up, I always had fear and mistrust for people. I’ve only allowed certain people in, but they didn’t even get in all the way. I’ve always had relationships that had conditions and that were based in fear, but to be awarded the chance again; I am absolutely taken. I met the most admirable man two years ago and we have been friends since. He has never changed towards me. Unconditional love is just what it is and I never really got the concept until being alone with God, truly, after the divorce. I didn’t realize that a man could really love a woman unconditionally, because I didn’t love my husband unconditionally. (Yes, I’m being transparent) Experiencing God’s unconditional love took me considering myself, messing up a few times and repenting of my own crap in order to extend grace to others.

All the trying and failing I did to be accepted by God was a yoke around my neck that I was fighting so hard to get off. But all I had to do was stand and be crowned by what was already mine as an heir to His love, grace and favor. True happiness and peace comes from acknowledging that it is already done, because we are heirs to whatever the Kingdom of God has. Matthew 6:33; seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. And it doesn’t take a lifetime either; one choice, one day and an absolute acknowledgement of that truth; and every yoke, blinders and chains will be broken.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

She Is Her & Her Is She

It’s Earth Day, it’s my Born Day, it’s been a blessed day! A day of reflecting on how much life means to me and how far life has brought me. At 19, it felt like I hitchhiked and jumped in the car with a stranger, not for sure where she was taking me; and me not knowing where I wanted to go. It has been a long, bumpy, chaotic ride but I’ve asked her to drop me off in Texas and I will take it from here. Finally, knowing exactly where I want to be and where I want to go. I started my “bearthday” with tears in my eyes because my sister posted the pic of me wearing the white dress and that made me realize how different I am. I had to get past the disgusted feeling, to be honest, because everything about that picture reminded me of the life I left and how I don’t want to ever see it again. I don’t want the short hair, I despise the big booty, I was absolutely disgusted with the make up; but my way of thinking then is what hurt the most. I even texted my sister and asked her why she chose that picture and she said “because it was the only fabulous one I had in my phone, all of the others were of us in lounge and dress down wear, I thought you shined in that pic”. I love my sister and I am so glad she thought enough to post the most beautiful picture of me that I may shine on my birthday. I kept pondering and my spirit told me “you wouldn’t be her without her”. All the butt and weight I bore was me carrying other peoples issues and trying to be a saviour to everybody else. I wasn’t able to balance it all, so it just sat there. The day I decided I was done with a marriage that was unfruitful, going to church was unfruitful, I was completely over Mobile, Al. Immediately with a mind shift came a booty shift. I was DONE! I cannot be anything else to anybody else until I become it to myself. So I decided that I would start eating, happy!

Yesterday, my spirit served me notice, she is why you are her. So do not despise the big booty, do not despise the short hair; embrace them both. The seeds that were planted on the grounds of my heart at the time, I’ve started to see little sprouts coming up here and there. Where I thought I was unfruitful is actually blessing my transformation today. If I would not have experienced an unfruitful marriage, I wouldn’t be mindful today of what I deserve from a marriage. I refuse to settle for that which is not in line with the great plans that God has for me. My decisions in the white dress, were my decisions and I have to own those. This actually calls for a group hug.

There is so much color in my life today, because of those bad choices. I have on my vest of many colors that my Father has cloaked me with. I am a grandmother of 4 and I can drive to Alabama anytime “I want to” in order to be with them. I love that Texas is home now and I know that, because the minute I see the Sweet Home Alabama Sign, I say to myself “just Alabama”, not sweet and not home. The drive doesn’t even seem very long anymore, because I know where I’m going and I know my purpose when I get there. I use to count the hours spent in each state I passed through and now in the drive my attention is drawn to each little town.

The rest of this life’s journey won’t seem very long either, because when we know where we’re going and we know where we want to be, you can enjoy every “state“ you’re in because we’re learning along the way.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Get Up, Everybody Get Up

In the famous words of Salt n Pepa, “I think the sound will make you, word up I swear you got to, get up, everybody get up”! The sound of Peace, when you could care less about what people think anymore. The sound of joy, when what use to hold you hostage no longer can. Jesus Got Up from the sound of love for me and you and victory over the sin of this world. Happy Resurrection Sunday Sisters and Brothers. Get up, don’t let nobody hold you hostage to what you did yesterday. Tell guilt that there is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ. Serve shame notice, Jesus has already set me free and my faith in Him shall not make me ashamed. I know it’s easier said than done, but I was in church for so long and this truth never registered until now. I was so blinded and consumed with trying to be sure that others were happy with me. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear the truth of God’s word, when your mind is set on your own issues and how unworthy some people have made you feel. A shift has to take place in our lives or in our minds in order to receive what the Spirit of God is saying. I am thankful sometimes for the calendar of man, because it helps to shift our mindsets. Even in this pandemic, there has been a shift. If you are a new visitor to our blog, just know; I have come to offer you hope! You do not have to stay where you were before all of this began let alone 5 or 10 years ago.

Resurrection Sunday and COVID19 is a great pair to shift your thinking. Right now, the blood that was shed; has washed away all of the issues you believe have separated you from God’s love and acceptance. Just believe it, and it’s done! He already knows what you did, He already knows what you said and He is not ashamed you. Regardless to what man has said to you, you are an heir to God’s forgiving heart and His love. The journey has just begun, and you’re going to make mistakes along the way; but don’t let it separate you from the Love of God! Stay in there, by faith, stay in there! You have been crowned with victory, you are an heir! Get up and stay up!

It’s funny how I started out with the rap trio, Salt n Pepa and the one and only Spin. But they wouldn’t be the trio without Spinderella. The Holy Trinity would not be one without the other. The Father, our creator who sent His Son Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost which brings the sound from the inside of us. The sound that keeps us connected. If Salt n Pepa had no sound, that song would not have made you “Get Up”.

Love Always, Carla Mashell Dulaney

Covid19 but Covered316

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3;16

As the world shares this same pandemic experience; one thing that we still share is love. The spirit of Love is everlasting. Essential workers are steadily operating in the spirit of love and compassion. Families of the elderly are showing appreciation to those on the frontline from a place of love. Nurses and doctors are risking their lives from a perspective of love. Believers all over the world are still praying and we are praying for the unbelievers that they will be saved.

I do not expect anything in return when I do what God has put in me to do. It just comes naturally for us to care and have compassion for those we care for. It has been phenomenal the outpouring of love that we get from families that are not able to visit with their mothers and fathers face to face. But, LOVE, has moved many families and facilities to create ways to still express the spirit of Love. It is a beautiful thing to see a mother give her child a birthday party by having a motorcade. Even greater to see us having worship service via Zoom or Facebook Live. Love is truly in the air, floating above Covid19.

When I received this beautiful gift as appreciation for doing only what I know to do, it really blessed me. I was so touched. I thought to myself, this is different. Flowers, you just have to put in water and they live beautifully for a moment; but this is a plant, one that will need some attention to live longer. I wanted to be sure to contribute to its long life; so therefore I studied on how to keep these baby succulents alive and well. I want to contribute to the production of more succulents, so prayerfully I will see the manifestation of that; Lord knows I’ve never had a green thumb. In case I don’t do a good job, the spirit in which this little plant was given will live beyond me and those who gifted it to me. Life is so precious and Love is everlasting. Our lives have been shaken, but we are experiencing God’s love through one another for such a time as this. I believe God is pleased!

I see it like this, God is Love whether an atheist chooses to believe in Him or not. I believe that even the atheist is experiencing God’s love right now. Knowledge is power but acknowledgement is a much greater power! 3;16 says who ever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. I would much rather see and experience love than not.

If you have not received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and have not experienced His love; just believe and you shall be saved.

Love Always, Carla Mashell Dulaney

Boaz? Blessing?

Being single has been bitter sweet for me. I love rolling over in my bed, and no one else is over there. I love going into my bedroom and there is a walk in closet with just my clothes, arranged the way that I want them. I love that the only dead skin in my sheets, belong to me. However, it gets rather lonely at times, because I am use to a person being in my life. If you’re wondering, yes, I have dated and dating has taught me a lot about myself and why for so long I’ve settled. I’ve settled because, I never knew what I WANTED. I just assumed that it was all in God’s hands. Big mistake! God is so good, and yes His plans are to prosper us and give us hope and a future. However, Jeremiah 29;11 is a principal and the heart of God. My motto and declaration through this journey has been, “Choose Happy”. And that is exactly what God has granted all of us, the choice. Choices happen everyday, throughout our lives; marriage, relationships, religion, spirituality and careers. Choosing happy is so broad and I have never been specific when it came to my life. And dating has taught me to be specific. Don’t just assume that God has it all figured out for you. Why? Because, this journey comes with decisions and sometimes we make the wrong ones that teach us to make the right ones. I love that God has made ALL things to work together for our good. Even our bad choices, Oh How I Love Jesus!

Sisters and Brothers, if you’re not specific with the Father in your prayers, anything will show up and you’ll settle for it. And I awakened to the fact that I didn’t know who I was, because I didn’t know what to pray for. So it definitely starts with knowing your worth. That’s also a broad statement. Something that is just often said and never really defined. Yes, we are all worthy of happiness and peace. But, have you ever really sat and thought about what that means to you specifically. Worthy to me is: If Jesus says for a man to love His wife like Christ loved the church, I believe that. Meaning a man will lay down his life for me despite how he feels. He won’t let his pride deprive me of his best. I believe that perfect love casts out fear. So to me that means, my next husband will not be afraid that if he gives me his all; I’ll take advantage of him. God has granted us grace through Jesus Christ and my next husband will fully understand that.

In closing, I confess, I positioned myself to just date with no desire whatsoever to anticipate marriage; because I love rolling over in my bed and nobody is over there. (Lol) But I also know that with dating, for me; the woman of God in me desires to be loved and committed to. Because, I AM WORTHY! I am an amazing woman with God and it is time for me to stand positioned in that fact. Positioned that I am enough and I ain’t gotta fix up nothing to be loved. I want the Blessing of God, not just the Boaz. The minute Ruth decided that Naomi’s God shall be her God; the blessing came on her at that very moment. (Ruth 1) So when Boaz met her, he saw the blessing. (Ruth 2;8) Boaz was able to identify the blessing, not the fact that she was a Moabite; but because he was blessed he recognized the blessing. I stand blessed without a husband currently and that’s because I acknowledge it. (More power in acknowledgement) And the one that finds me, will already have the blessing on him. We will be two blessed people, BLESSED. But right now, I am enjoying my SAVAGELY SINGLE SELF!

Don’t just know your worth, KNOW YOUR WORTH. What are your core values, what do you want specifically from this journey of life. You are gifted and you are already blessed, stand and acknowledge it.

Love Always, Carla Mashell Dulaney

Need to Be….I Already Am

Hate is an ugly word, and there is much passion behind it; but it’s a human emotion formed by prejudice and judgement. Rejection is so painful, another human emotion that is fashioned over time and as a result of prejudice and judgement. I believe they hold a smell that you can almost taste. And when rejected, we can hear the voices of those that we have experienced betrayal or rejection from. Love and acceptance are spiritual elements inspired by faith. I remember asking God; why is it that I cannot feel your acceptance and love the way I feel this rejection? My conversation went something like this: “Lord, rejection is a gut punching, terrible and almost hell experience. Lord I know your presence, I hear your voice. I know you are faithful. But why, is this pain so intense. Lord, I want to experience what you call love and acceptance. This acceptance that you gave the Samaritan Woman, who was clearly seeking it through religion, men and other human beings.“ I illustrate her because, she was once forsaken. She said to Jesus at the well, “Jews have no dealings with us Samaritans”. John stated, “it was absolutely necessary for Jesus to go through Samaria”, so you know how important it was for Jesus end this cycle for this woman.

First of all, who you are seeking acceptance from is not capable because they are human. Put no confidence in man. Whenever we operate from our human place, there will be judgement of our peers, there will be prejudice and there will be a force that wants to keep us divided. Religion is divided. Races are divided. Reputations are divided. We are constantly trying to find our place to fit. Don’t get me wrong, as earthly beings, it is what it is. But where are we operating from?

My spirit said to me: “If you are waiting to feel and experience love you will be waiting a long time”. Acceptance is NOT a feeling. Love is NOT a feeling. Human desires never get satisfied. They want more and more. They are just like cravings for sugar, salty snacks and alcohol and drugs when we want to just feel better. (I know this is not a food and healthy eating blog). However, this is what keeps our bodies full of inflammation. Some of us are not fat, we are just bloated. Bloated with what we think we need. A good flush with water will do the trick. A good flush with a word from the spirit, will do the trick. But, it is definitely a lifestyle change, not a diet. We crave what we think we don’t have because we feel inadequate or like we just need it. Getting to a place of trusting that we already have it is a process. “Need to Be…..I Am”; the dots in between represent the process. With a lifestyle change, it merely becomes a daily reminder. Because we are still human, living day to day with temptations that pull on our cravings. I am certain the Samaritan Woman still had to put in practice what she learned from Jesus. She went and told the men, “come see a man who told me all I ever did”. She started to testify to her temptations. She told the men about I AM. You are loved sisters and brothers. You are accepted, sisters and brothers. The minute that place in you feels inadequate, tell it about I AM.

Let My Church Say….Amen

They say that “church hurt” is the worst hurt. I beg to differ after “forsaking“ the assembling of myself for about six years. I went to church off and on, the whole time battling with the thoughts of how God is going to be so mad at me to how much of a great relationship He and I have in or out of church. Some days, I just did not feel like being a professional Christian. Many times I wanted to call in sick, but I couldn’t lie to God, because I know He is a healer. But the battle was not with the church and the folk in it, the battle was within myself. I remember being told that people look for my smile, they look for my face when they come to church or sometimes I may be the only bible a person may see. In hindsight, I remember how that stroked my ego, because I was so insecure and just desired to be the best Christian ever. I had the audacity to think that it’s impossible to mess up being a Christian. The whole time I was messing up; living a lie within myself and trying to make it look good to others. I was working harder than God to keep myself and my children, instead of resting and relying on His grace. It’s still a struggle at times, I just have to be reminded. Reminded that; no fruit came from my fear of what people were going to think if I admitted that I wasn’t perfect. No fruit from being afraid to say no because I was seeking acceptance from others. I look back and I am absolutely disgusted at that woman, because apart from God, I can do nothing. Humans are human just like me and they struggle too and have zero power with God. However, I don’t live resenting the woman I knew over six years ago, in fact she is a ghost in this rebuilt temple. I assumed that deliverance meant I wouldn’t have to see insecurity again or even hear her voice, but let me tell ya, she is the thorn in my flesh.

When we really want change in our lives, we have to be aware that dying to ourselves come with withdrawals. Chills and the shakes are around the corner when you’re tested with who you once were. It feels like you’re dying and technically and spiritually we really are. But it does not feel good to discipline ourselves to choose to do the opposite of what we were use to. It is not easy breaking old patterns, we have to consistently give the ”new us“ a louder voice and demand the silence of the “old us”. I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I use to be addicted to the approval of people. When it’s time to say no to someone I think I need the approval of; oooooo Jesus, I feel like I’m about to croak. When I want so bad to start a new job because the folks on the present one is repeating the same behavior I’m use to seeing, I have to tell that old Carla to get somewhere and hush. She is no longer running the show. I have to keep her in check. However, and the truth is, she ain’t going nowhere. Her voice may get weaker, but she ain’t going nowhere. I am done running from folks I don’t want to be mad with me, and I am done allowing people to walk over me. I use to think it was humility and that God honored, what I understand now as fear, but when I was choosing to submit to people over Him, it IS sin against Him. It was downright fear of man, and God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of Love, Power and of a Sound Mind. (2Tim1:7) I have to be reminded and that one helps me to confront what needs to be confronted. I hated confronting people, because I always shake and cry so I stayed away from it. My words were never clear, so I just avoided it. Guess what y’all? I did it this week. It took it a whole lot, but I did it. My words were shaken at first, but I didn’t cry and I got my message across clear and concise. I told that old Carla, “Carla Mashell got this”! It wasn’t about brownie points (ego) nor trying to prove how I ain’t finna let nobody keep messin wit me (fear for real). The motive was getting an understanding; coming to an agreement. I can already see the fruit of a pure motive, fruit of peace and how I personally can contribute to doing better at my job.

I’ve been studying the book of Haggai and the rebuilding of the temple. It was super clear that the old temple was important and had some purpose in supporting the project of rebuilding. God kept saying “consider your ways”. We aren’t just to look at what we use to do and how we use to be and despise it, but it should be embraced. Who you once were, what you once did is going to support the purpose of you being raised up bearing much fruit for the kingdom. The old ghost of Carla has some importance to Carla Mashell’s future. She and I just have to meet on a daily basis, with grace as the mediator, and come to a clear and concise understanding. I just have to let her know that today, she ain’t running the show, thank you lil girl for reminding of who I use to be and how I can’t be that anymore. She reminds me not to forget where I came from. Just as Paul and the Holy Spirit were conversing about the buffeting that comes from the devil; the thorn in the flesh, God’s grace is sufficient.

Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the law, but fulfill it. He meant; to bring an understanding, that our motives for whatever we do will be pure and without fear and reserve. My church consists of haters (myself), my church consists of dream killers (myself) and my church got instigators (myself). But I got to call on the mediator who can offer grace when this church goes array. As long as He is in the pulpit as the Shepherd, this church gone be alright, we gone make it. All of us in this temple called Carla Mashell, say amen.

Sisters and Brothers, the enemy doesn’t start on the outside of you. The enemy begins on the inside. All of those who you thought were fighting against you are actually in you. Let Grace be the mediator, for you first that you may extend it to others. He has forgiven you, if you’ve asked. Now forgive yourself so forgiveness can be extended. Praying for much fruit in our lives, In Jesus Name Amen.

Love Always, Carla Mashell