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

Crowning Don’t Feel Good

When we’re in labor and the crowning takes place, we have done most of the work; it’s almost over. We get to see that fat boy or girl we’ve carried for 36-40 weeks. I felt the crowning with one of my babies, because the epidural was wearing off and boy does that hurt. In a game of Checkers, it doesn’t feel good for the opponent to have to crown you once you reach the other side of that board. “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. (Luke 23;34) We all know who said that. He wasn’t just saying it either. He had to wear that painful crown of thorns temporarily until He obtained His crown of victory. Psalms tells us that He crowns the humble with victory. (Psalms 149;4) But what I truly want to convey in this blog is how crowns of victory and crowns of life are actually ways of thinking; an acknowledgement that we just walk in. A walk with your head held high, a posture, a stance or a position. When I saw it as a rule or something Jesus was just telling me to do, so I can go to heaven or be pleasing in His sight. Shoot, I felt defeated all the time and didn’t even wanna go to heaven no mo. It is hard to forgive people when they know exactly what they are doing. I have learned that just like “forgive them for they know not what they do” is a stance. Guess what, “I’m gonna “try” to forgive them, because they know exactly what they are doing” is a stance. What happens with that is, as human beings, we completely change the dynamic of God’s word and the victory we are created to walk in is shaken and its no longer clear. “Church hurt“ they say is the worst hurt; because we go in with the mindset that they should be better than the world. However, I didn’t exactly walk in with my victory stance. Therefore, my lil world was shaken. I was harboring unforgiveness (my stance) against folk that I really thought I had forgiven, until I was tested by another human being that reminded me of their behavior. I’m not a vocal person, I don’t do confrontation well; so I held a lot in. Even in my prayers, honestly, I can’t remember ever asking God to help me forgive them; because to me they knew what they were doing. I married a man that was just as human as I was, but yet I couldn’t shake how I could be more perfect in God than He was. SMH! HaHaHa! I had a lot to learn about being a Woman of God and a wife. People are human just like we are, they had limits in their upbringing just like me, there is a level of dysfunction in every home. We truly, don’t know what we do. I say “we” considering myself. But, the victory is in knowing that I am still crowned royalty in God’s sight regardless of the mistakes I make. The crown may shift a little, but GLORY! God’ grace is sufficient. Since being out of church for over 6 years and being divorced for a little over two; I have really seen God’s word in a different way. I’ve even gone back to church for real for real and it’s so refreshing because my views have changed. Church has a different aroma. It’s that crown of victory, my new mindset, the new way of thinking.

I believe based on God’s word, the crowns symbolize our way of thinking. The crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head was how they saw Him, they were mocking Him as the King of the Jews. But, later, Hallelujah! He rose and was crowned with Glory to prove to them who He is.

Be encouraged! Stand up, stand still and know that He is God! As you emerge as a diamond, just know that the crown victory is waiting.

I love you, Carla Mashell Dulaney

But! I Don’t Wanna Wear That

The title of this blog has been ringing so loud in my head this week. It’s the sound of a 3 year old that has a mind of his/her own. They would rather put on shorts and a jacket, with boots or the shoes that light up and nothing is matching. As mama you don’t care what they want to wear, “you ain’t going nowhere with me looking like that”. I thought about the fearless attitude a three year old has and how they know exactly what they want at that age. They know who they are too, and some of them are hard to conform. As I think back, I was never that child. Never rebellious or should I say outright rebellious. I wanted to always please my mama and I was also scared of her too. But, as I reflect on that, I’ve carried that attitude throughout my life. I’ve started my reflecting on my 2019 and it has been a ride. A ride that I can say I am truly grateful for because my eyes are open and the Lord has made me aware of some things. One thing in particular is how I have allowed others to clothe me. If and when we don’t believe in ourselves and what we have been gifted to do; the most precious and loving people can believe so strongly in us and urge or inspire us to do what they believe we should do. Although they mean well; it is not what God has planned. I’ve had the dearest of people tell me how beautiful I am and how they just love my personality and my compassion for others and how they think I would just be so good at this or that. I spent time and money doing what the dearest and sweetest people thought I should do.

Recently, I took a job as an inside sales marketer knowing full well; I can’t lie or even assert myself to make a sale. I took the job first of all, because of a great salary. Secondly, I believed strongly what others believed and I convinced myself that I could be successful at this with a great smile, a beautiful heart and a bit of knowledge of the culture of this wonderful community. I quickly realized that money is not my motivation, helping people is. I realized that I can’t sell someone something if they don’t want to buy it. I have been “clothed” to encourage and uplift. I have been armored to smile and warm some hearts. I can do that free of charge.

Fear, insecurity, comparing ourselves to others is a great big trap. A never ending cycle, an entanglement. I use to look for compliments and validation. Now, I walk into a room with a green blouse on and some striped pants and get statements like “I would not have chosen that blouse with those pants”. Honestly y’all, I had two people to say that about my featured photo outfit. It was statements like that I would crumble into a million pieces over; but Hallelujah, I’m FREE. I would have looked at the statement as an offense, but I see it now as a reminder of how unique and creative I am. I’m almost certain the way I received from others was a reflection of all the stuff I’ve held in for many many years. It started first with how I saw myself; all I needed was another negative person to bear witness with what I was already thinking of myself. (I DON’T WANNA WEAR THAT)

I finally know what true confidence is and it is merely being “just fine” with who I am and what I have been gifted to do. Believing in ourselves weighs more than what others believe about us. Whatever I believe about me is the seed that is only nurtured and watered by others. So if I believe the worst about me, it just takes one sprinkle of water from a mean person to sprout or bud what will one day become a tree.

Don’t just believe in yourself, BELIEVE THE BEST ABOUT YOURSELF! Even if it means living life wearing what others wouldn’t have chosen.

I Love You,

Carla Mashell

Lift Yourself and Build Your Strength

I have been dealing with Sciatic Nerve Pain for over three weeks now and it has been an eye opening journey. Part of me tells me, “maybe you should get up off your tail and do more” or another part says, “sit your behind down somewhere because you’re always running”. It has been pretty hilarious and very painful I might add. I have never experienced this kind of pain before, even after having five children, the contractions were less than half the pain of this mess. I’ve been researching ways to take care of it without spending money, I don’t have, at a chiropractor or doctor’s office. I was tempted on several occasions to go to the emergency room; but I would talk myself out of it because of the medical bills I already have. I took some Aleve, didn’t help; so I just endured the pain. If it’s wasn’t going to work, I refused to subject the lining of my stomach to any damage. I did what most of us do and went to You Tube and Google. You Tube’s Brad and Bob offered some pretty good suggestions so I started stretching and I could feel some improvement. I realized how much more painful it was to sit than stand and fortunately I have the desk that raises at work; so standing helped a lot. So, I have been stretching everyday and dancing. I love dancing, that is my main motivation for working out.

But this morning, as I was stretching and dancing; I remembered how old I am. You’re probably thinking, what does age have to do with it? Well, I’ve been hearing how important it is to strengthen and build our muscle mass at this age. So I figured I better incorporate some weights slowly but surely and then I started to do some leg lifts and realized how freaking heavy my legs and thighs are. I was like, shoot if I lift both of my legs on a daily my strength could be phenomenal. (Laughing loudly at myself, thick thigh ahhhh). Then it really started to dawn on me, especially since I’m in a season of my life where the Lord has me reflecting on my whys behind my whats. My motives for why I did the things I did in the past. I was truly one that wanted my Father to be proud of me and I wanted to do everything in “my” power to please Him. Never taking the time to sit back and receive His grace. Also how I didn’t have to do anything to get Him to love and accept me. In this season, He has me reflecting on His second commandment (Mark 12;31) love your neighbor as you love yourself. The biggest part of giving to others was missing; as I would my self. I didn’t take time to strengthen me, I didn’t sit down long enough for Him to minister to me. I would sit at the table and eat and never savor. I would never digest my food, because I quickly wanted to give what He gave me to somebody else. Regurgitating and Bulimia are both unhealthy for us humans. I have had time to truly savor the acceptance and love my Daddy has for me. Dare to Be Daughtered was a campaign He gave me two years ago; but it was for me. It was a campaign for me to sit back and be daughtered and take time to lie in His bosom.

Lift “yourself” in His grace, His wisdom, and His love, but RELAX in knowing He made loving yourself a second commandment to loving Him with all of your heart and soul. I love you.

Hope Assaulted Faith

The more I think about the story of Lazarus, the more I am moved to share this revelation. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were so loved by the Lord Jesus, just as we are. Can you just feel His love flowing from the couple of words He’s used me to write so far? I can! I’m intrigued by the emphasis that John places on how much they were loved by Jesus. I’m sure it’s because he wants us to understand the concept of trust and faith. I use to hear often “love is what love does” and it makes me cringe because it’s been said by those in my past as a form of control. Maybe that’s why Mary and Martha were so upset at Jesus; not coming when they expected Him to come. “If you would have been here, our brother wouldn’t have died”. (John 11;21) I can hear them now, in today’s language. You love us, mmmmmmhmmmmm, but you didn’t come to heal our dear brother and we did all that fasting and praying. We done spoke in tongues till we ran out of languages. LOL!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, (Proverbs 13;12) it really does. Disappointment breaks your heart as a human being. I’m sure this is partly what they were feeling, and even embarrassment of what people were going to say and think. Again, they were the family that Jesus loved, he communed with them at their home. You know, equivalent to when people look at your life and just swear your so anointed and favored of God; and you shouldn’t have any issues. (My old way of thinking) Lord, I did all that singing, all that praying, all that service in church, all that giving; and my family still suffered and struggled. Things still died in my life that I thought were truly the will of God. But I’ve been encouraged today and I want to encourage you, it is all for God’s glory. I realized after today, man CANNOT get the glory. I don’t care how much they sowed in your life, it still CANNOT match God’s plan. I realize, I CAN’T get God’s glory; no matter how much compromising and sacrificing I did. I CANNOT match God’s 100% plan. However, keep sowing, keep loving, keep choosing peace despite what it looks like; because we are believers.

There are some things that have died in your life but in His timing, God will resurrect those blessings. PUSH past hope and believe with no reservations. Mary n nem stopped at hope, because Lazarus just didn’t seem to be getting better. And they were dead set on “expecting” Jesus to be there to heal him. When we get tired and weary from expectations, we stop at hope. And that’s where what we were believing for goes to sleep. Right now, shift your thinking, shift your fear to faith and listen for God to say “Lazarus come forth”. Faith surpasses hope; let patience have her perfect work that you may be entire wanting nothing. (John 1;4) We have to take our eyes off the situation and place our faith, spiritual eyes back on the Father, the one who has the power to resurrect any dead situation.

Shaunte “Don’t Need No” More

I am so devoted to nature and Trinity River Trails are one of Fort Worth’s most beautiful “free” entertainment attractions. I have my favorite spot that gives me the perfect view of the river and the trees provide me with the perfect balance of sun and shade. I believe the Creator arranged this spot at the river just for me. On this particular morning though, I wanted to see the sunrise. I got my lil stuff together, my book, my water and put on my walking gear. I got to the park and I started towards my spot and I spotted the young lady I saw the evening before. She was on that same bench but this time she was parting her hair as if she was getting ready for the day. I thought to myself, “she slept here”. I figured I would stop and start a conversation; because I have real questions about why so many people are “choosing” to live on the street. She was like the 140th person I saw the day before sleeping on the ground or in a tent. I work Downtown Fort Worth, so this day I happen to take Lancaster and this street is literally lined with sleeping bags and tents. I just looked and stared in awe of the laughter, mixed with despair; some of them just appeared to be so content. Then there were a few that I could tell were begging for drugs. I went to bed this evening with questions and fears of how this could be me. But, this morning I learned differently. We can have the most phenomenal, most authentic and faith filled relationship with God; but if we choose to live homeless, high, drunk or lost; that is just what it is “our choice”.

Again, I was curious and I needed to get an understanding first hand. So I stopped and introduced myself to Shaunte was her name. I had my McDonalds coffee and I didn’t want to be rude; so I offered her breakfast. I went and got her breakfast and she specified, no coffee; orange juice. Probably because she was parched from sleeping on the bench all night and waking up to a hot Texas morning. When I got back, she didn’t start on her biscuit right a way; but she did that orange juice. She actually tucked the hash browns and biscuit in her soiled Michael Kors bag. Shaunte had the bench lined with books and the Bible and my series questions started with: “Are you homeless?” “How did you end up here?” Her answer “ I was working for a temp agency and lost my job as a dishwasher”. I asked her if she had family and guess what she said? Shaunte said “she has children with apartments but she just doesn’t want to be a burden”. Say no more Shaunte has chosen the park bench over a nice cool apartment. She also said she hates the idea of telling adult children how to live their life. I could definitely relate to her on that one, I’m sure most of us can. Although I left still questioning her choice, what I learned most from this whole encounter is that, we can have so many intangible things in common leaving us with the tangible things to covet and compete over and some people strongly believing that they have to have “things” to be happy. No judgement; because sometimes I have to be reminded.

I asked Shaunte what she wanted from God; and I guess I really wanted to believe that she would say “a home”. But, she really could not answer the question. I want to believe that God gives houses; but I believe he gives spiritual gifts. We choose to go to work to keep shelter over our head; homeless people choose not to work but they still have shelter. It may be in tent, bridge or bench form in Shaunte’s case; but she still has faith, joy, peace and she believes in the love of God even without the things. She believes that God loves her and oooooweeeee that is more than the riches or wealth in this world.

Established As…But Now Is?

Whenever I hear the word established, I think of when something was created; started or birthed. It is something that cannot be undone, redone or taken away. When something or even someone is established you can only expect growth, evolution and ultimately an expiration; however, it or they will never be forgotten. I say evolve, because whatever has been established will change over time, we cannot expect anything to remain the same as long as it is alive and going through the process of people, environments, ethnicities, behaviors and influences. The featured photo appeared to be a sliding board that was designed before I was born, I remember the slides I use to slide on, they were heavy duty, iron or steel.

The United States was founded, according to history, in 1492 but established as an independent country July 4, 1776. The United States was said to be founded on one thing, but the influences of a different president every four to eight years, has evolved to being another. Make America Great Again? I’m sorry Donald Trump, you cannot undo what has already been done. You don’t have enough power nor money to make that happen. Let’s keep moving forward and give someone else a chance to put their two cents in for the next four years.

At this point in my life, I regret getting married, but I loved getting divorced. However, I can’t change getting married, I can’t redo it and I can not undo it. I have to move forward as an established “divorcee” now. As I started to change and evolve, I no longer wanted to be married to my then husband. I no longer just wanted to sit in front of the tv Saturday after Saturday, get fatter month after month, go to church Sunday after Sunday and continue hearing the same message over and over. I had evolved into a fat caterpillar after 12 years. Reminds me of that fat caterpillar from A Bug’s Life. He finally got his wings and they just popped out, no chrysalis or anything.

Carla Dulaney was established in 1974 but around 1994 I had to evolve into a mother of 5 children and a kept woman, that’s all I knew for 22 years. My babies are grown ups now, I don’t regret being established as a mommy in 1994, because of them I have evolved in to a work of art at 45. I am actually able to say that I am thankful for the preservation that the bondage to fear has contributed to my life today. I have released the anger and the unforgiveness I once held.

I have been instructed by the late Kate Spade, to “live colorfully”. And I sure will! It’s so many tints and shades to this abstract lady! Sisters and brothers don’t count anything a failure in your life. Count it a stroke of color in the art that is you. Keep going, keep painting, keep living, keep dancing, keep getting up; there are more blank areas on the canvas.

White mixed with red makes pink, so the mistake you made in the life you thought was gonna perfect actually made you a pink sky, it’s the view in someone else’s eye. Carla M. Dulaney

Well. Well. Well.

I woke up last Saturday morning and I heard the Lord say, ROAD TRIP! The first thing that came to my mind was Thelma and Louise. I said to myself “what is a road trip without my sister Reva and friends Monica and Tonja”. We were good for it, even if it was just across the bay or to New Orleans; we always had a crazy, heartfelt good time. I miss those ladies. The Lord said, I’m with you; it’s those moments he wants to get intimate with us and express some amazing things to us. I filled my bottle with water from the hydrant and added some ice, I knew it was gonna be a scorcher. Grabbed my walnuts and my debit card and started driving west. Right now, to me west is considered growth. I wasn’t exactly sure where my destination was going to be, I just drove. Passing so many places, nothing spoke to me until I saw a sign that said Mineral Wells, 30 miles. Those two words said, God spoken/supplied, before the foundation of the world, natural and that that still remains and is to come. I guess that is why I love nature so much, because I know the birds and trees; lakes and streams are all those things that God divided and spoke as it is written in Genesis. He spoke to our spirits and our spirits are also remaining as He spoke; but we must discover and connect. With that connection comes the benefits of peace, joy, faith, etc. (Galatians 5;22) The fruits of the Spirit. We cannot began to touch the surface of those things from an egotistical, “human only” place. The catastrophe in this world is a product of someone wanting to be someone other than our “spirit spoken” self or wanting the material possessions that others have. It’s tough though, because we have so much influence and beautiful man made and built things to compete over. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that WELL springing up from within us. I have been sent to remind you, wherever you feel lack, void or empty; your spirit that was God spoken says you are created in His image and His likeness. We have everything we need, tap into it and be filled from what flows only from the main source.

I am a current employee of the water department and I have learned all of these codes and tasks that our Field Operations department does. For a new property a TAP has to be set first before a meter is. That TAP is the primary source for water to flow from our lakes, streams and rivers through a person’s home. The TAP is like the thing that connects and prompts the flow. That is how it is for us, the spirit is like the water sources but we need FAITH to prompt the flow of what’s already in us. I love the story of the Samaritan Woman meeting Jesus at the well, He just reminded her as a once forsaken woman that she had inherited the gift of God before the foundation of the world. It wasn’t just about her religious practice of going to Jacob’s Well; in which she had become weary after visiting it repeatedly, and not finding what she was looking for until that day. Jesus had to remind her what was already in her. It just needed to be discovered by her FAITH.

As I pulled into the little town of Mineral Wells, it was so quiet and quaint and I didn’t know where to go from there. In less that 20 kilometers I turned down a street and saw a water bottle and the words “Tourist Information”. You want a visitor, to your town, to stop, put a sign up that says “Tourist Information”. Once I got in, these two beautifully spirited women greeted me so kindly. Guess what? They offered me a drink from their well source. I was like God, you’re so good! Well water? I had never had a drink of water from a well. It was so different and it had a different affect going down. They had different formulas of this “Crazy Water” is what they call it. The more minerals, the more healing properties and the stronger the taste. I bought me a gallon and I did get a good ole cleansing. I thought to myself, there is no need for a laxative; this would be a much healthier way to do a good cleanse. If you know what I mean.

My visit, my drive, my road trip with the Father help me realize that through bodies of water, drinking from a little town’s well source and listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit cannot be tampered with, taken away from and neither can be added to. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ONE as we are all ONE. The United States IS NOT the source of our unity as a people, we have been divided by fear that comes from the many in egotistical power. But, what they cannot contaminate is our spirits. Our faith, that TAP; that comes only from our Creator, THE SOURCE OF IT ALL!

Three women from different ethnic backgrounds sharing information and just God given courtesy.
My visit to Mineral Wells included stopping in to get tourist information and I discovered I was really there to drink from the “well” of what this town calls Crazy Water.
The beautiful work of young artists in the town. They have painted quite a few murals in the town to bring life back to Mineral Wells. Interesting how the Baker’s Hotel is in the background, there is a current project taking place to restore it.
The Mineral Wells State Park is ranked #5 as one of the world’s most beautiful State Parks.
Stopped in to The Kraze Boutique and learned that Golgotha is 7031 miles from Calvary where Jesus was crucified.

Retiring with Benefits

Retiring with Benefits

The older I get, the more and more I desire to just be stable; get somewhere and “sat” down for real for real. I admire any young adult that knows exactly what they want to do, occupational wise. Since being in Texas, I have changed jobs a couple of times and mainly because I was simply unhappy where I originally started. I quickly realized that these people, clearly, were not the former staff that I loved and absolutely loved me. Through this staff, I must say, they taught me how insecure I was. I went in quickly expecting to be liked, because hey; it’s me Carla Mashell! Get somewhere and sat down Ms. Carla, lol! My last set of interviews I made it crystal clear, “I am seeking job security and the desire to retire with benefits” (Periodt). I regretfully, tried to go back to that company, because that was my goal; but the Lord did not see fit to open that door.

I learned so much about myself in this transition, but the greatest lesson was how insecure I really am. It is truly a thorn in my flesh that keeps me hearing the voice of the Father. The thorn helps me identify His grace in the midst of my daily life. It is a constant reminder of how imperfect we really are. The woman I was last year wanted to judge every person that appeared to dislike me and that made me feel worse. Worse, why; because I know that it is not the heart of God. He is a God of no condemnation, and he receives me over and over again when I mess up; so why should I respond any differently to others. That is quite the benefit to the Christian walk. When we serve fully on a job, the benefits are great in the end. You sow a little seed every day you show up and do the work you were assigned to do. But, staying committed, despite the pressures from our insecurities or should I say thorns will render benefits.

Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower- Richard Rohr Immortal Diamond

Carla…..Dogs???

Yes, Carla and dogs are communicating here lately.  Ever since I can remember, I have been afraid of dogs.  There was one dog in the projects named “Killa”, that chased children ever so often.  I would hear the stories from others and how not to pass by this particular set of apartments, because its owner would let him loose to kill children.  Yes, that did it for me, I wasn’t going that way.  But of course, later on in my childhood, I had to get chased by somebody’s dog even if it wasn’t “Killa”.  That was the most frightening experience of my life, I was literally running for my life!  Thinking back on it, it was also the funniest thing ever too!  To top my fear of dogs, I was later tormented by dogs from then my abuser who knew of my fear of dogs.  But because fear was the main factor of why I stayed; that was another source of keeping me bound.  I had no say in another mouth to feed, another child to train and another child to clean up after.  But what I have come to realize at this point in my life, is that I tormented myself; because I was afraid of dogs.  When we are afraid of something, we will allow ourselves to be tormented by the fear.  The fear will keep us from fully enjoying life or an experience.  I refused to entertain the idea of getting a dog after I left that relationship.  The boys always wanted a dog; but Santerrica was afraid as I was.  Once I got married again and gained two daughters, one of them had a heart for animals.  Iman’s mom finally embraced the idea of her getting a dog and when she came for weekend visits, Bree was of course coming.  So that forced me to face my fear of dogs; but definitely now from a place of genuine love.  Bree is now a part of the whole family and even Santerrica loves her.

Fear has torment, but perfect love casts out fear!  I completely understand.  Since I have been on this journey at 44, it’s been all about facing fears and not allowing myself to be tormented by them.  Facing my fears have brought career changes, new friends and new experiences.  I am looking forward to even more!

LISTEN TO YOUR FEARS AND BE BOLD ENOUGH TO TELL THEM TO SHUT UP!            Carla Mashell