My Empowered Black Girl Magic Self

My Empowered Black Girl Magic Self

On the grand stage of media, current events, and social media, I feel the frustration, anger, discrimination, and marginalization of being an African American and being a woman.

Having police called on African Americans who are living their own lives .

Women of color gone missing and no one is making a big deal about it.

Victims of sexual assault being ostracized for speaking their truth. 

The lack of criminal justice for minorities.–particularily unarmed African Americans shot by police officers.

The gender pay gap between men and women

The list goes on and on.

If you think that I am just complaining with violins and making excuses, I’m not. I am speaking from my perspective and based on the shoes I walk in every day. If you think I am lying, then you are part of the problem and in denial. Rub your eyes, clean your glasses, and look into the world we live in.

Some days I am so powerless of because the world’s rhetoric and attitude. It does give me anxiety. It makes me feel worthless. The words people say, post, and act on is so unbecoming…especially “Christians.” It’s like I am a walking target wherever I go.  I am not safe in my skin as a woman and as an African American.

But God…

Image result for fearfully and wonderfully made

God says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)  So even though I may feel worthless or powerless, God reminds me who I am and whose I am.  God made me uniquely as an African American woman “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.-Isaiah 43:11

God called me to be Bianca. Though the world may say all it says, God calls me redeemed, wanted, and valued. That goes to every person on this Earth. You are redeemed in Christ. It does not matter if the world does not like you. God makes you worthy.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.-Ephesians 2:10

God did not create me to be nothing. God created me for His purpose. I am skilled with gifts and talents for good. Though man may disqualify me, God established me, Bianca, to work, to provide input to humanity, to serve others, and to have a voice. All the things God creates in me, He uniquely made you for the same reason and purpose. You are somebody. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.-1 Peter 2:9

God never said white people are God’s chosen people. God does not say anything about a race being superior to anyone. No race has dominion over an entire people…that’s God arena. When I accepted Christ into my heart, I became His. God said, “You are chosen. You are mine.” With that, there is an eternal victory I have. Jesus paid that price to cover my faults and failures. Thus, I have a place in heaven with Him.

So I empowered by my physical features and gender because God made me uniquely. I am the Princess of a King. I have a voice. God did not create me to be silent but to work and hustle for His glory. I am not perfect but I am redeemed by the Savior of the Universe.

No man can cut down who God promotes.

There is no door God opens that man can shut.

So I use my God-created self to be awesome. Yes, I still get weird looks for being an outspoken woman or for being black, or being too ethnic. But it’s whatever. If God likes it, then imma be Bianca. I am empowered black girl magic.

And that’s it.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Allegiance to the Cross

Allegiance to the Cross

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The Cross is powerful. It breaks the chains of sin and gives power to all people who believe. It restores. It redeems. It wins every time. 

But lately, some people pledge their allegiance and entire being on other things: the flag, the national anthem, a political party, or a person who is not Jesus.

I am not saying not to be thankful for the blessings of life and living in America but America is not heaven. None of the temporary titles will serve an eternal purpose. Admission to heaven does not require a color, party, or denomination. 

I’m not saying that you can’t be passionate about the things of this world. There are things that I am passionate about too. But what I am saying is don’t let the troubles of this world cloud the eternal things.

There is no human, institution, or solution able to solve the troubles of the world. So don’t get so worked up about the current news that it drives you crazy. God is the one who will restore humanity at the appointed time.

So the bickering and “taking extreme measures” to show allegiance to a temporary political view, person, or issue is futile in the grand scheme of things.

This life is fleeting. All these things will pass away but the Lord’s Word and Will reigns.

So rethink your allegiance.

Blissfully,

Bianca

The Silver Lining to the Current Presidency

The Silver Lining to the Current Presidency

I know what you may be thinking: And what may that be, Bianca?

The silver lining is I see who people really are.

I feel like prior to this era, people’s prejudice would show it’s ugly head every now and then. I had faith in people. I thought the best in people especially Christians.

But once the current president ran, I started to see where people stood and people’s tolerances. I really started to see who people really were.

Maya Angelou says “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Usually people’s first reactions is really how they feel.

When the current president would say or do something unbecoming, the people that I thought would be outraged would make excuses or be silent.

What? I thought you were better than that.

Then, I would see how people really thought through their social media. The racist propaganda against Obama and promotion of the current president’s rhetoric. The mean-hearted comments. The videos displaying hate. The articles of angry rhetoric and division. The “us” against “them” attitude.

I’m not saying everyone should think the same. We can have disagreements but it should not turn into name-calling and empty, divisive rhetoric. 

Now, I am guarded when I encounter people. I watch people’s actions much more than the words they say.

What you talk and how you walk matters to me.

A backtrack from what you say originally speaks louder to me.

Yes, no one is perfect. But sometimes the evidence can be overwhelming.

I love and befriend from a distance. I try to take the high road towards ignorance. I post God’s Word because it cannot be disputed. I try to live as an ambassador for Christ in a lost and dying world.

I will not be perfect but I try to be who I say I am.  To live what I preach.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Watch Your Mouth!

Watch Your Mouth!

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Watch what you say and how you say it.

You can’t burn your pipe on both ends and expect respect for one side and not be criticized for the other side.

These days, there are some people who have really confused me. I don’t know which person to believe.

For Christians, the world is watching our words. Believe that. That does not mean we cannot stand on our Biblical values. The Bible says to stand firm and let nothing move us as long as God is the center of what we believe.

Just filter what you say. I don’t always post what is on my mind. I think about my audience. I think about if what I am saying is uplifting, edifying, or encouraging. Am I saying words for my own self-benefit and ego or for others? Does what I say reflect Jesus or reflect my own pride and ego?

Yes, no one is perfect. I mess up. I am preaching to myself. I have watch my mouth too. 

The best thing I can do and you can do is: If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Think before you post. Check your sources. 

This is not Bianca’s words. Read what God says about my words and your words.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.- Proverbs 12:18, 25

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.-Proverbs 15:1, 4

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.- Proverbs 16: 24

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.-Proverbs 18:21

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.-Ephesians 4:29

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.-Colossians 4:5-6

 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.- 1 Peter 3:15-16

So remember to watch your mouth, please.

Blissfully,

Bianca

When #blackgirlmagic gets backtracked

When #blackgirlmagic gets backtracked

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A picture is worth a thousand words. And this picture hits home all too well.

I did not watch the match but I saw the exchange of a professional female athlete and official in a video.

Then seeing this…another unfair and racist depiction of an African American female.

To be a passionate, confident black woman is hard.

We have been portrayed as ratchet, mean, hood, angry, out of line, or savage when we show the slightest bit of assertiveness in a situation of conflict.

No, I’m not going to be violent but I want to be heard.

Personally, I have had to hold my tongue too many times out of fear that I would come off as “the angry, black woman” that makes everyone uncomfortable. That’s just my experience.

Being upset or angry is a natural human emotion…but only for some.

You can only keep your cool for so long. You can only hold your emotions for so long.

Anger does not mean violence. Being assertive should not mean that you are a b@#^&. Being black and a woman does not mean I am not allowed to feel.

As an African American, we have had to endure in silence for too long.

So what if we are passionate. If a white person can be angry, passionate, and upset, why can’t black people? We have emotions too.

But the stigma has to stop.

This cartoon is offensive. Serena is a passionate, talented, assertive #blackgirlmagic who was assertive but not a baby with a tantrum. She still displayed sportsmanship to Osaka and kept it moving. But, the system needs to change. She was just bringing light to injustices in the sports world.

We, as African American women, want to be heard and we will tell it like it is. Like it or not, we are strong and resilient. We are tough but soft. We are smart and driven. We are about that hustle. So no need to call us angry or hood. We are about taking ownership of our lives and our stories. 

We are more than the angry black woman. We are so much more.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Mental Health As A Christian

Mental Health As A Christian

Mental health is real and it does not discriminate.

My Own Struggles

In my own life, I have dealt with depression and anxiety. Before, I always thought that Christians are supposed to be happy. God is in our life so everything is fine. Even when things get bad, Christians don’t fall into that pit of despair. Mental health is for crazy, unkept, people who are in strait jackets in mental institutions.

In my prior thinking, this was my thought process as a teen and young adult even though  I was depressed and did not want to admit it.

Depression is not the same XYZ formula. It comes in different ways in different forms.

I lived putting up a happy, Christian, church-face mask to the world. I was happy on the outside but depressed and crumbling on the inside. I buried my burdens and insecurities deep within and dug myself into a pit of despair. I felt worthless and alone. Even though I could dig my way out, I would go back to digging deeper and deeper in despair.

As a teen, after church, I would try to sleep the day away. Not much of an appetite. I lost weight. I would pretend everything was ok.  But I would not admit that I was depressed.

There were boiling points in my life where my depression was seen and I had to face myself. Whether I was confronted by my family, friends, or mentors, my struggles were revealed and I could not hide it. I was found out.

The “Remedy”

Pray it away…just pray about it and you will be fine.

Well I would do that but then I would still feel depressed. I was still in my pit. I was still hiding from people. I would fake it till I made it. Just pretend everything was fine…(but I wasn’t).

Like I said, I did not want to seem “crazy” cause Christians weren’t supposed to be that way. Wrong thought process…

How I Do Function

Yes, I still pray but I pray differently. I pray for relief and comfort, some reassurance from God. I still read the Bible for counsel, relief, and comfort. I still seek Godly counsel and fellowship with other believers.

I had to learn to talk about my problems. Talking it out helps. Easier said than done but still it helps. I have received counsel from my pastor. During law school, I did see a counselor to talk out my stresses and insecurities. I would try to talk it out with my family (not easy but I get brave enough to talk to them).

List positive affirmations to myself. When I post scripture or encouragements on social media or when I blog, it’s therapy for me. I remind myself:  Bianca, you are not perfect and you don’t need to be. You are not a disappointment. There are good things in your life. Count the blessings you have. I know they exist in your life. Don’t forget that.

Sometimes I have had to remove myself from situations or people because that can cause stress. In my sophomore year of college, I had a major meltdown because I was overly stressed, depressed, and just failing. As a result, I took a semester off, went to a junior college, and lived at home until my junior year. I had to take a step back and clear my mind. I was not in a healthy place spiritually, emotionally, or academically.

Some sort of medical help may be necessary. I had a chemical imbalance so I needed to take something to balance me. Nothing to be ashamed of. I function like a human.

An outlet can be therapy. I started painting to help me. It is a wonderful escape to be active and make something beautiful in the process.

I am in no way saying this is easy. I do not have it figured out. I have to fight to love myself and value myself enough to face each day. I know I have tools and resources to keep going but sometimes I am not fine.

It’s ok to seek help. It’s ok to feel bad. But try to find an outlet. You are not alone in this world. Know that it’s ok to seek help…even Christians too.

I believe Jesus knows that we hurt and He hurts for us. I believe Jesus has gifted individuals with the ability to counsel and encourage in life situations. Jesus is the ultimate Counselor but He calls people to be His hands and feet. God created medicine for a reason and some people need it. God made resources for a reason.

Biblical Outlet

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.-1 Corinthians 10:13

There is a way to endure with Jesus. There have been dark moments where all I had was myself and I could have hurt myself, but there was a still small voice telling me to hold on. When I could not sleep, I felt someone wrap their arms around me. When in my despair,  I felt angels surrounding me. Something was in the room but I did not know what. Nothing scary but I know it’s God.

Sometimes I function and survive because I am holding on the hem of Jesus’s garment. Even if it is a thread, I know I can never go wrong with turning to Jesus.

My Go-To Psalm is Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Hold on to Jesus. He won’t let you go. Even in the darkness moments, He is there. You may not feel like He is but He is. Even if you don’t love Jesus or believe in Jesus, He is still watching over you. He still wants you.

To Close

There is no perfect solution. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all human. As Christians, we are still human. We all fall short. God is the Ultimate Counselor and Sustainer. And God created ways to be at peace.  I still struggle my insecurities but fight each day the best I can. It’s ok to not be ok. Remember this:

You are not alone.

Hold on.

You will make it.

I believe and have faith in you. 

Blissfully,

Bianca

As A Woman In the Local Church

As A Woman In the Local Church

I did not see in the Bible that women are second class citizens in the body of Christ.

So then, why it is such a power trip?

I have been in churches where women serve as sisters with their brothers in Christ. I have been in churches where the “rules” are archaic. It’s like a woman serving outside her duties (i.e. women’s ministry and children) is destroying the headship of man (ugh…give me a break).

I don’t think it is. Women are more than teaching children and women, having tea together, sitting pretty and silent while the “man” does God’s work. We have other skills. We may not be gifted in everything but we are gifted in some things.

Biblical Women of Service 

Not just the Proverbs 31 woman…There are women in the early church who were in involved. Here are some:

Phoebe: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.-Romans 16:1-2

Priscilla and Aquila: Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus.  In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.-Romans 16:3-4

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.  He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.-Acts 18:24-26

Mary (not mother of Jesus): Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. -Romans 16:7

Junia: Greet Andronicus (husband)  and Junia (wife), my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.-Romans 16:8

Active. Teaching People. Preaching. Prisoners. Hard Workers. Risk-takers for the Gospel.

No delicacy there. These women were sisters for the kingdom respected by their brothers serving alongside them.

Spiritual Gifts And Roles

I know what you are thinking: 1 Timothy 2:8-12

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.  I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

I used to hate this verse because some Christian men would twist this verse to say women should not preach but be quiet and submit. A woman who does not follow through is not of God. I have to remember that God’s Words are not to hinder and belittle but are for a greater purpose. But look at the verse again through The Message version Bible:

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.

Work and pray with humility. Doing something beautiful for God and being beautiful doing it. Not to overstep for power but be obedient to God’s word. God may call us to have a quiet spirit, to be wise, and to discern. But God may call us to something greater. It all depends on Him. We don’t always need to talk but don’t always need to be silent if God gives us a Word to share.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.-2 Corinthians 12:4-11

Different strokes for different folks. God made each of us with distinct gifts. Not every man is not meant to be a preacher. Not every woman is meant to do women’s ministry and teach children.  I am not discounting women who are called to women’s ministry and children’s ministry. You all do great work for the Kingdom but not every woman is gifted in that. Respect our talents no matter what our gifts are. There is no male role or female role. God gives each gift from the same source and for the same reason. There are some people in the Church who are not called to certain gifts. Nothing is man-designed but God-ordained.

Christian Men…Not All but Some 

A vivid memory I had was in a Sunday school class where the male teacher said “Feminism is a sin. A sin of the world to disrespect men and their authority”

Ummm…excuse me. I bravely took him on. And yup..I got weird looks from our group. 

I was raised to respect and be respected. My dad is one of the rare ones. He wanted his  daughters to be strong women of God who were smart, well-spoken, educated, and respectful to authority. I never heard my dad say “Women can’t do that. You are better silent. That’s what men do.” My dad was comfortable as a Man of God to value his skills and  the skills of his wife  to serve in her God-given capacities. The same goes for his son and daughters.

My dad encourages me with these words: “You are a human being and a helper but you are not to be abused and mistreated.”

On the opposite end, I have encountered “Christian men” who are sexists, who believe women should be silent and do as they are told, who feel disrespected when a woman stands up to them, and who twist the Bible to demean and degrade women. There were moments in my life where I did not want to marry Christian men. I did not want to be disrespected a marriage. I even wanted to give up on Church because I did not fit into the archaic sexism.

But I reminded of Galatians 2:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no superior gender but a Superior Savior we all follow. My brother in Christ should respect me as his sister in Christ. Working to be lights in the world and winning others for Christ. There is an equality in the body of Christ even though we are different.

So that is what I do. I respect my brother but I deserve respect too.

For Example

My mom, not a women’s ministry-nursery lady, but God has given her the gift of medical knowledge and care to many. Not to be biased (but I am), my mom is a dynamite woman. She is strong, kind, and warm. She is well-spoken and bold. She is also wise and meek.  She is a light to all she meets. She is respectful. No sticking it to man but she demands respect.

To Close

I can’t fix every Christian man to respect me the way God sees me. There will be men who are archaic, insecure dinosaurs who treat women as second class citizens. And there is some who are my brothers who I work alongside for the Kingdom. It can’t be helped (all are sinners).

But here is some encouragement for both parties:

To my Christian sisters, know who you are and whose you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose. You are not second but first. God has gifted you with talents and abilities for His glory. We don’t all need to be the same. God will call us to be meek or speak but we are not lesser than.

To my Christian brothers, respect us. We are all striving for the same goal: To bring glory and honor to God. Sharpen us, encourage us, challenge us but don’t look down on us. We are His workmanship too.

So that’s all I got.

Blissfully,

Bianca