My Blissful Art

My Blissful Art

Birthday Gift Pic
This was a joint birthday gift to my parents last month (yes, they have the same birthday). This was my first time doing two boards into one. The quote I used was: “What God has joined, let no man separate.” It was a special piece from yours truly. It was a labor of love and I may have had several panic moments but it worked out.
Nurses Quote
This was a birthday present to one of my dear college friends. She is a nurse and a fine one I might add. I found this quote on Pinterest: God found some of the strongest women and made them nurses. I used some of her favorite colors and made this for her. She loved it. It matches with her room.
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This is me doing abstract floral art. I kinda just went with my artistic soul. No plan. Played around with different colors and floral types. I think it turned out well
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Piece one.
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Piece 2

Blissfully,

Bianca

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…

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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

Empowered Even Though I Am Not A First-Time Bar Passer

Empowered Even Though I Am Not A First-Time Bar Passer

15 minutes. 

15 minutes is how long my mom gave me to sob and let my emotions out. She held me as I let out the worst cry of my life. I received the news that I did not pass the Bar. All the hard work, sleepless nights, studying, and sacrificing my social life and I fell short. I felt like a failure and the prayers and well wishes were in vain. I just cried. I could not believe it.

But after those several minutes, my mom said, “Now we are not going to pity ourselves. No more crying. You tried your best and it’s just not God’s timing. You tried. You’re still my favorite lawyer. You will be one.” 

What a mom…I know she is really great.

(P.S. I took a nap, my mom made me fried plantains, sweet potatoes fries, and gave me lots of hugs. I took a week-long break from social media to clear my mind and refocus.)

So life has been interesting. What I thought was the plan is not the case. It will be another several months to prepare for the exam. It will be awhile before I get another set of results. I will be in-between states again. I will not be sworn in yet. I will not have the attorney job I have dreamed of.

Sounds like a powerless situation.

But I choose not to pity myself. 

Jeremiah 29:11 states: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Even though the bad news hurts, it’s not to harm me. I had to remind myself if God did not want me to be an attorney, He would not have allowed me to live 6 hours away from home. He would not have allowed me to pass each semester of law school. He would not have allowed me to graduate law school. And many other obstacles I faced.

I do have a hope and a future. My season is temporary even though it feels like forever.

By Morgan Harper Nichols

I am not the only person who did not pass and I won’t be the last. This is a very hard exam. Florida is one of the hardest states to pass. My outcome from the Bar does not indicate my fitness or capacity as an attorney.

This does not stop me but empower me to fight.

Just because I did not pass does not mean I lost everything. I have wonderful parents who are still willing to help me and allow me to live with them. I have a wonderful support system and church family. I have my health. I have breath in my body. I still have a purpose.

So I will be empowered because God said I can do all things in Him, including passing the Bar and being the best attorney I can be. 

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I’m not saying that I am not upset, hurt, or feel inadequate. I am human. But I am saying  there is still hope for me.

I still have God’s power to make it.

And I will.

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

 

 

As A Single in the Local Church

As A Single in the Local Church

So I have been single for 28 years of my life.

From 0-18, I was a kid…no need for boyfriends. I was not allowed to date till I was 18.

From 18-25, I was single. I was in the Young College group. Safe security. There were single people, dating couples, even engaged couples. 

Then came 25-28, I am too old to be in the Young College group but too young for the Adult Singles….hmm…

I have been in local churches where there was a singles population and where I was single, professional party of one. 

There have been times where I felt invisible. I was not in a relationship. I was not married. I was not married with children. It’s like I was not exciting enough. It’s like the best questions I was asked was: “So what do you do these days?” 

Or when your friends talk about the kids carpooling, baby stories, wedding plans, “marriage moments,” breastfeeding tips, homeschooling ideas, and you’re like “I finished organizing my DVD collection.” and they say “Oh, that’s nice” and get back to their life talks….like that’s not exciting!!!

What’s up with that? I am exciting. I do stuff. I am not at home knitting in my tower waiting for my prince to come. 

Sometimes I feel like there is a disconnect with the Church and single people. We are just as valuable as the married people, the elderly people, the divorced people, the widowers, the college people, the children. Sometimes it feels like the Church wants me “to get married already” so I can be exciting.

Sometimes I feel “left out” or “alienated” for being single. There aren’t any singles programs at church, a thriving singles ministry, or even singles at the Church that I can relate to. I just have to be alone and accept that I may get the short-end.

There is not a solution to my frustration. Sometimes it’s just the way things are. Situations are what they are.

For any single Christian,it’s all about opportunity. Pray for the opportunities to feel included in the body of Christ. To be active. To be involved. To meet authentic people who pour into your life.

Inadequacy of relationship status is the Enemy’s way of telling lies that “you’re not good enough ,” “you’re alone because you are the problem,” “you can’t be a part of a church; you’re not married with kids,”These people won’t like you, you’re not married.” These are lies that I combat in my own life. Like I have to change churches because I may be the only person like me. Don’t think that. Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you confidence.

Yes, I do fellowship with all kinds of people. I am an extrovert at heart so I will talk to anyone with a pulse. God has shown me avenues to be involved with other Christian singles and other types of people. One of them being Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) where there are classes for men, women, and children from all walks of life in different stages of life. God has sent wonderful friends from all relationship statuses who love me and accept me as their single friend. God has opened doors where I can serve and be a part of the body of Christ.

So, pray for those avenues and people who can encourage and uplift you. God hears the single person too. We are assets to the body. Yes, it may feel uncomfortable but God likes that. Don’t complain when God opens those doors differently than you thought.  God answers prayers in the way He sees fit.  It’ll work out.

Single Christian, you will be alright. Hang on and stay strong.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Thank You Again

Thank You Again

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Growing a blog is not easy.

I am still learning the ins and outs.

But I write.

I write for my own therapy.

I write to encourage and inspire.

I do not know the outcome when I press “Publish.”

But I publish.

Readers, I thank you for the following:

For reading

For commenting

For allowing me to be on hiatus

For riding this journey with me

I love you all. 

Thank you.

Blissfully,

Bianca

A Gentle Reminder

A Gentle Reminder

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.-Galatians 2:20

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I am not my own. When I gave my life to Christ, I did not know the depth of the commitment I chose. As I got older, God has shown me how being a Christian is not a title  that makes me better than someone else. It means that I am living for Jesus. Christ is the one who guides my steps, who convicts me through the Holy Spirit, and who is the hope I live for.

In whatever I do, God is using me for a bigger purpose than myself. It goes the same for you. You never know how God can use you and me in a day. You may not see the benefits today or tomorrow. Years can pass before I hear that someone was impacted because of something I did. Sometimes I do not remember…lol. But heaven was watching and glad. So

As a Christ-follower, you are an ambassador of Christ. You are not just you. You have purpose to live for a higher calling. It will not be perfect and easy. You and I will not get it perfect. But God has called us to be His hands and feet. We are commanded to serve and love as God loves us.

So live for Him.

Blissfully,

Bianca