BEAUTY FOR ASHES
BEAUTY FOR ASHES
A composition of truth that reveals life's
journeys and detours; the peaks and valleys explained in a way that everyone relates.
Excerpt from Beauty for Ashes
“The scars are a sign I survived.”
THE BIG C H O P
II Corinthians 5:17
I think this piece was the very first time that I dove head-first into word play and explored where I could go with things. The analogy is indicative of how other styles or ways of life were not for me, but God came in and transformed my life into something beautiful. It’s like a more illustrative way of describing my trade of ashes for God’s beauty. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus and the things that we once were are now old. That's the beauty of salvation.
My roots were straight. My ends were trimmed. My styles were versatile, but my hair was damaged.
My stylist suggested going natural; no more relaxers or unhealthy chemicals. No more hindrance.
When the new growth came I saw my natural state
and became uncomfortable. My hair wouldn't lay.
Mother nature became my worst enemy.
My hair would always swell from the sun’s heat, the rain, or humidity.
Humility was my shadow. My hair grew; after while it was time
for the big chop. Time
to cut the bondage; time to leave the split ends and foolery
leaving everything I’d ever known to be detached.
When the stylist, The Master
spun me around in that chair I had to admit
the new look took some getting used to.
And then, of course, there are the comments you’ll get the first time they see the new you.
But all those other styles were fads and trends:
that perm was never “Just for me,” the pressing comb only left me scarred, the glue from those quick weaves
never left me easy,
of the African braids
were too tight. They always disturbed my hair line.
But this big chop was just right.
Very similar to the day I gave my life to Christ.
Please allow me to equate.
Think of my former styles and looks as dead weight,
and just another bonus: with the chemicals of the sin
my former concepts had me twisted,
I was now able to be locked in and this new found confidence
is just what I needed to lead this life
in spite of what everything around me looks like.
I’ll tell you plainly. Christ was my stylist;
being natural allowed Him to save me from me and the big chop was the pruning I need for eternal life.
So, the discomfort and light afflictions
are of no comparison
to the eternal weight of His glory. He’s made being natural beautiful. My hair has a shine that no one can take away.
He has styled my hair so that it fits my face.
My transformation is nothing short of amazing.
“Soul Ties” was my first prophetic poem. I learned a lot about myself as well as my poetry through the process of writing it. The first thing I learned is how God can speak to me through my own lyrics. Something else that I learned is my writing is a testament, and in a lot of cases, begins with me. The poem became a roadmap to how I could become free. I wrote sayings and used word play that I did not understand at that moment. After everything was done I had 20/20 vision. I wrote the poem with the belief that everything was finalized. But when it came time to be tried I learned things were not as I thought. I began writing the poem in 2010; at that time, I wrote it “in myself” meaning I wrote from my heart, but not necessarily by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The second and final version was completed in 2011. In hindsight it seems as if the Holy Spirit gutted my first poem of the prideful and self-righteousness undertone and refurbished it with humility, truth, and redemption. There was a lot of stuff buried that had to be dug up and addressed. It was not easy. A lot of times, I wanted to revert to what I knew because continuing in what I knew seemed to be easier. Dealing with hurt can be challenging, but it’s worth it. To this day, I thank God for His grace in the process. I also thank Him for His deliverance. One more thing, my pastor has a book that discusses “the devil’s three hit men.” One of the concepts in the book is the 12 gates to the city. He uses symbolism to explain how the lack of guarding the gates to our souls can bring destruction. I use my pastor’s symbolism loosely within the poem. It’s more so to express how my former soul tie knew he had everything he needed for access to my soul. I called my pastor one day and asked if I could use the concept.
He gave me permission without hesitation and I appreciate that. Now to the poem.
I laid on my back and began to concentrate on the task standing before me;
prepared for the sinful entry
to a land that should be foreign; braced myself for the ins and outs; ignorin’ forewarnin’s
of consequences and baggage
that come from being unmarried and sexually active.
I was unsure of what the future held
and in that moment, I didn’t care
until the soul tie came.
Ignorant to the fact that mind, body, and soul would never be the same;
not dismissing the mental invasions
to do it again. This physical attraction in conjunction
with his lying tongue
was a diabolical concoction of lust for my destruction.
I was so sold because sex sells. Two different mindsets and opinions
his thoughts differed from my intentions
not to mention
he wanted it to be strictly physical which wasn’t my thing.
All my time. All my effort. All of me.
Only for him to come by later to let me down easy.
12 gates to the city; yes, he held the keys
and he knew it;
which is why he never hesitated to use ‘em.
When I submitted to seduction
I did more than just
relinquish the treasure below the waist line;
but rather the gift given to every human. The only gift that can only be given
So, I went to God
knowing that I could never re-stitch my hymen I prayed that He would break this soul tie.
I prayed that He would break the soul tie and throw it away;
releasing my heart from it’s comatose state,
erasing the brand that was meant to be permanent,
and giving the bond meant to be for my husband a second chance;
uprooting the stupid choices that I sinfully planted and tie HIMSELF to me.
And he did just that, but staying free wasn’t easy...
I had to cast down imaginations to reunite with my soul tie. I
had to disallow Satan to bind me in guilt, I
had to resist him so he’d flee,
I had to flee
youthful lust, I
had to see fornication for what it was
and make a decision, that it was
not for me. I had to overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb
and the word of my testimony.
Untitled [For a reason]
1 John 1:9
During a romantic relationship at NC Central, I was pregnant twice. I do not remember all of the details timewise, but I remember the fall and spring. The first one, I will never forget, it was pretty traumatic. I did not know that I was pregnant either time until it was too late. After the first one, I increased my smoking, drinking, and partying as a form of suppression. And then there was the second one. I was miserable. Those babies remained suppressed for several years until one day they resurfaced and I could not shake them. I could not press them or my experience in the bathroom that day back down in my mind. Although, by the time they resurfaced I was born again I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt, Depression, condemnation, and bitterness. The reasons for the miscarriages could not be pinpointed, but I always felt that: a) I knew better. So, had I not been in fornication to begin with, none of the above would have ever happened; b) had I not been so indulged in partying then I would have noticed changes and known that "something wasn't right." As time continued to progress I felt worse and worse. I did not want to witness to others. I had difficulty sharing poetry in front of others. I had difficulty enjoying God and His forgiveness. When everything surmounted to a point that I could no longer carry those things I became very tearful. That was towards the end of 2014. I began praying and seeking God. One night in the spring of 2015 I was visiting my parents. I was in my room asleep when the Lord woke me up at 2:09 a.m. I heard lyrics. I said to Him "that's dope, God. I'll write on that tomorrow." I went back to sleep and He woke me again with the same lyrics. This time, I knew immediately that this was something I needed to transcribe. I felt the gravity of that moment because God had N E V E R repeated lyrics for me to transcribe if I did not do it the first time. About 30% of this poem was written in this setting. As God continued to give me the lyrics it became a process of healing for me that I didn't realize I needed. The tears were relentless at one point. I cried as I wrote, I cried as I edited, I cried as I reviewed it, and I cried as I memorized this piece. I assumed that it was for my healing, but I had no idea of its depth. I praise God for it because it became another roadmap to freedom in this area of my life. I learned that we should be remorseful for our actions, but never condemned. It’s entitled "Untitled (For a Reason)" because for a long time that part of my life was a dark secret.
If there were some way that I could've constructed an iron cocoon for my belly to protect you I would've.
Yet the problem resided in what I consumed.
What I allowed into my body,
what I poured and smoked on a daily basis
until your presence was erased;
and then I tried to erase that you ever existed so substance abuse became something I did on a daily to take the pain away.
Numb to everyone around me.
Unable to love even me.
Because the assumption that consumptions may have killed you left me feeling guilty.
And the belief that my life that never really had a purpose to begin with would not be fulfilled left me feeling empty.
Confusion from questions in my broken heart like “if God entrusts parents with gifts called kids does that mean He took mine back because He couldn't trust me?”
I'll be honest, I dealt your simultaneous arrival and departure the wrong way; I tried to suppress you and for years I did...
but when you resurfaced...
I felt the literal meaning of something returning with a vengeance. I repented
with the understanding that all that I'd done up until that time had been forgiven
but in the back of my mind, it just seemed that that fetus
covered in blood was too much to be covered by the blood.
I thought of you. I kept count of the age you would've been;
switched up scenarios in my brain of how we’d be livin’
if your dad and I would've gotten married.
I know it sounds crazy but you were a sweet fantasy wrapped in a nightmare.
You haunted me. At night when my head met my pillow, I could still see you.
You were a mental picture of everything I identified with:
Hurt, shame, and guilt.
You were the spine to the skeletons in my closet.
Every time I tried to clean it out it seemed overwhelmin.’
So I took on this role like Hannah with a twist.
I wept bitterly before the Lord. The biggest difference
between she and me is she had her son and nursed him until she gave him back to the Lord.
I came to find that I could no longer nurse you. I could never forget you because that would be like forgetting a part of me,
but I could no longer hold on to you. I had to give you to the Lord immediately.
The tears blurred my eyes like holding on to you blurred lines. I couldn’t distinguish what was necessary;
what I was responsible for; blaming myself seemed the mature thing to do because I was accountable for my actions
but truth be told that hurt too badly.
I missed good friends’ baby showers because I couldn’t take the heat. Baby fever left me feeling sick.
I sought a chance to redeem myself but my redemption never came because I looked for it in my own strength.
Now this walk without you has been one that I have literally had to take step by step. The first one being that of forgiveness of myself
and embracing the forgiveness
that is fortified in Christ giving His life.
The I am that I am, who was before things ever were. Who knew of your conception and death before there was ever time.
It’s in His love for me that I find comfort, in Him that I find strength, In Him that I have the right to live in peace, by His Spirit that I can live with conviction yet never condemned.
Knowing that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God- no fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor effeminates, not thieves, or the covetous
as such were some of you and me but we are washed, and sanctified,
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
I take pleasure in His thoughts toward me;
in knowing that I've done some unspeakable things,
but by accepting His offer I am now counted worthy.
It’s because of this that I can bask in the freedom of the Son. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, and who the Son sets free, is free indeed.
Some time ago, I had the idea or “concept” as I commonly refer to my poetry topics, to write a poem. For whatever reason a piece I was trying to construct didn't work out. God gave me the concept of zombies. The conviction of growing with and in God began with me. "Walkin' Dead" depicts Christians who have repented of their sins, accepted Christ, but have not gone any further; some walk in carnality, some repeat what they heard as a form of seeming pious, others just continue in rituals; the scenarios vary from person to person but the message of the poem applies to every case: there is so much more to Christian living. In order for our spirits to thrive it's imperative that we commune with God; growth is the evidence that something is alive. Anything other than that is "existence."
It starts out with a few cases.
No state of emergency-possibly isolated
incidents. Once it’s realized there’s an epidemic
it’s classified and silenced while the general public
is misinformed that there’s no need for panic.
Ones who seek and speak truth are portrayed as crazy;
from fear of extreme treatment like quarantine
and confinement the symptoms are disguised
hidden and denied
until the mutation is exposed and little untreated symptoms can no longer be questionably diagnosed or ignored.
Now the brain and heart are reprogrammed by the viral attack of sin.
The little leavens have leavened lumps and there is an outbreak of Christians
feasting on the brains of others because there's no mind of Christ for themselves. One zombie infects the other. Death passing death until everyone they run with is dead.
This is why we have dead churches; dead praise and worship services; dead lots of auxiliaries filled with dead folk; pastors pastoring dead churches draining life from them; dead
devouring all others who have a little life left.
Lacking all compassion, no soul
no love for the blood of the lamb. Zombie hearts waxed cold.
Just like in the movies everybody’s at risk.
Every soul prone to die mutated by sin.
Missing extremities and limbs,
emotional wounds never mended,
seeds sown to stony ground, no ears to hear what the spirit is saying.’
Walking through life missing their purpose, dead inside for God knows how long but unable to convince them they aren’t living; lurkin’
in the darkness; enmity to the light; no end or beginning;
no hope, tunnel vision; no sort of spiritual brain activity from practicin’ rituals, religion
quickly laid for convenience.
The scariest thing is this scene
is the reality that this show doesn’t end
in 30 minutes. The camera crews don’t wrap up the film. [There are no] makeup artists to clean up the actors.
This is real life so far from fiction.
The cure is not genetic. It’s not locked away in a lab- no needles or shots to the head.
The cure is in the heart when we can admit our sins
as David did repenting and requesting to be purified and cleansed; renewed with a right spirit livin’ a life of repentance.
Shutting off all gates and entrances, guarded by cherubim
armed and ready to do whatever it takes to protect what God has deemed off limits.
And lastly, we as spiritual siblings
should embrace accountability [by] listening with our hearts and speaking
the truth in love. This my brothers and sisters
is how we defeat the epidemic
of Zombie Christians walkin’ dead.