Bahiyah Affirmations


I do not write Bahiyah Affirmations because I believe I am a phenomenal writer—NOT. I am truly an Editorial Director. I love to see the project come together, just as planned or not. I do not share my heart because I've happened upon some new philosophy that will shake and or change your world—NOT! My sole purpose in life is to know God.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Welcome to Bahiyah Affirmations 2005! What a blessing to welcome so many new readers!

There are many of you who have never received Bahiyah Affirmations 2005! This is simply my personal space; a place where I share my heart — that inner place most of us choose not to reveal to the world. Most times I'd rather not, however, I share out of obedience and responsibility -- obedience to God and my responsibility and promise to uplift sistah-friends—part of my purpose and the essence of Bahiyah Woman Magazine.

So often sistahs make it appear easy on the daily—on the surface it's never let them see us sweat, however, in private—well that's another story. There are many challenges and struggles we face as sisters and brothers and unfortunately, we often face them alone. They become private nightmares. No sistah-friend should be alone — not in challenge, not in joy — there is Bahiyah (bye-hee-yah, meaning beautiful in Swahili) in living.

Serene Bridgett Hollingsworth
Editorial Director & Publisher
Bahiyah Woman Magazine

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Welcome to the Bahiyah Affirmations Blog!

Old Things

By Serene Bridgett Hollingsworth

It was New Year's Day and I'd made it through yet another year, amazingly. I knew this to be true because I'd watched the countdown on Channel 7 just hours earlier. It was a new year for sure, however, everything looked the same. I felt the same. Nothing about me was different.

My home was still and quiet yet. It hadn't been disrupted by the chaos of morning happenings—bill collectors and doorbells. The girls were visiting their father's—father for the weekend. Well, all but my little princess (that one I'll save for another affirmation). My new comforter lay disheveled across my bed barely keeping my feet and toes warm. "I hate that." I could see the glimmer of morning peeking through my drawn shades. Hmmm, come to think of it those 'old' shades were always drawn. These same dull shades, which adorned my bedroom windows when I bought (actually, still buying) this house. As a matter of fact, the walls and ceiling were the same boring matte beige and eggshell white that had welcomed me into my new abode almost five years ago. The carpeting was the same 'old' canary blue with the exception of the two-foot by three-foot corner I'd removed when I was on a mission to expose my beautiful hardwood floors, however, the job was never completed. Hmmm. Even the arrangement of my bedroom furniture hadn't changed. But it was a new year! I heard them say it at midnight. My digital clock revealed it. All these 'old' things were my 'old' things and I sighed as my head ate my 'old' pillow, and some of my 'old' friends sighed with me.

I took a long and slow deliberate 360-degree look around my 'old' bedroom. It was quite cramped. See, I share quarters with my soon to be five year old daughter Biancha-Milan. This little princess not only sleeps in my bed but for a better lounging experience I brought her bed into my already very small and cramped 'old' bedroom just in case she one day decided to sleep in it. But truthfully sistah-friends I've grown quite fond of her knees in my 'old' back, elbows in my sides, pokes in the eyes, and the smiles in her sleep.

We often give our enemies the means
for our own destruction.
(Sixth Century BC)

I didn't really want to focus on any of this 'old' stuff, but it was there. My eyes and heart were fixated on them. So I lay there staring at that eggshell white ceiling, and one by one I began to name them all. Yes, I began to call all of them by name. Those friends of mine I'd invited to dinner so long ago, well—I realized that I'd allowed them to become permanent residents in my home and they were not even paying rent. These friends, I mean enemies had to go all of them, if I was ever going to see the "newness" of this New Year. So one by one I named them: anger, guilt, shame, guilt, shame, guilt, shame, and guilt, and shame and! Well, sistah-friends the list could go on, but I think you get the picture. I called them aloud and named them off in the order they'd entered my world sometime ago. I felt like that Black blessed brother Adam must have felt in the Garden of Eden as he named each species after its kind one by one. What power and sense of purpose he must have felt. However, these friends of mine, I mean enemies had stolen from me on more than one occasion, and I'd idly sat by and watched with not so much as a blink of the eye as each of them stole violently my peace, joy, love, power, purpose, family, and finances. I'd listened to their lies and even entertained some of their friends who quickly enticed me to attend their parties of pity and despair and let me just say when I did I was clean—dressed perfectly a 10! I even dated a few of them—"It's not all about you" was their only cry and I believed many of their lies. I wanted to be a good host, and as such, I believed I owed my friends some hospitality. So they became quite comfortable in my space—in my head and in my bed. So I lay there with my eyes fixated on the ceiling, and I said NO MORE God! No more!


This was no New Year's resolution sistah-friends. This was an exercise in freedom. Yes, freedom. Freedom to become unashamedly me. Yes, finally freedom to simply become—aha freedom to come into being. You see, I'd never had this party, this coming out if you will. I'd never known liberty—the liberty my gospel proclaims is mine, the liberty to let go of 'old' things. Behold all things are new. How was it that I'd sat in church pews all of these years without this freedom? How is it brothers and sistah-friends that we move through life year after year looking at the same 'old' eggshell ceiling, matte beige walls, same uncommitted relationships, unhealthy lifestyles, listening to the same 'old' lies, bound, stuck, unable to move forward—unable to breathe? I was exhausted. Whew!

As I stared at that 'old' ceiling listing my enemies by name, my voice getting louder and louder, my eyes filled with tears--something that has become quite common of late. Oh the taste of salt as it swirls like the Nile down my caramel face from the corners of Eden and Havilah and gently enters my perfectly formed lips and there sistah-friends I tasted for the first time 'becoming' the realization of me—freedom; the potential of me; cleansing; the newness of me; the strength in me; the frailty in me; the beauty of my softness; my creative voice; the nurturing hand; the imperfect; the kind; the generous; the resourceful me; the sensuous; the sexy; yes, that would be the sexy Christian me (or perhaps we Christians are no longer sexy?); the sometimes silly; quite often shy; and yes the beautiful me. "There I said it." I am all of these things and more. She is well sistah-friends. She is well. She lives! She lives and breathes in you and me.

Initially, I must admit I didn't feel very different at all. Nothing had physically changed. The color of the walls hadn't changed. That ceiling was still eggshell white and the walls were still boring matte beige. I didn't see an angel nor did I hear an audible voice speak to me. But there was a certain beautiful energy, if you will that resonated within my spirit. There was a stirring inside of my heart that made me smile. The day didn't seem quite as heavy and let me tell you I'd already planned a day and it was packed full with opportunities for emotional overload and upheaval. But somehow it didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered now or in that moment quite as much as becoming—the beauty sistah-friends is, I didn't need definitions and there were no boundaries. My passions, potential, and vision were free to explore and move about the cabin. Yes, me the one those enemies had buried alive was free. I asked God questions and expected answers. I made some choices and though difficult I could be firm in my decision to move forward. I forgave myself, and I told those 'old' friends (enemies) GOODBYE! Though they pleaded to stay, I rose from my 'old' bed and bid them farewell. Yes, I got up, rejoiced in my freedom, and released my self-imposed slavery. I put on some new clothes and I inhaled new air and expelled new and creative thoughts into my new place of being. I was becoming. Oh to experience the exercise of becoming sistah-friends.

I wasn't sure how or where to begin on this quest of becoming; however, I knew the possibilities were endless. Sistah-friends on New Year's Day I realized that the art of becoming is not something we're taught at home or in school. Life either gently or rudely places us there. Our mission: to accept freedom. In the hurriedness of living, trying to make it, and the occasional stressin' we forget about the ability and need to renew our spirits and ourselves—freedom. It's easy to get comfortable in those 'old' clothes and with those 'old' thoughts—running with those same 'old' tired friends, I mean enemies, of our spirit. We tell ourselves the same 'old' lies and find ourselves in the same 'old' places of unhappiness and misery.

The most important thing in the world is our liberation—freedom in Christ. When we are truly free to become—grow, change, take responsibility, make mistakes, and aspire--eggshell white begins to take the form of a master artist's canvas. We sistah-friends can position our lives to receive our purpose and move forth with power and vision with the ever presence of God's Holy Spirit. Each day we can begin anew as His tender mercies are new every morning. Nothing ever becomes old when we are free—free to believe in ourselves.

Each day our lives can become a work of fine art that we display triumphantly before others and if the color appears a little matte remember sistah-friends our painter's brush has full potential and the unlimited possibility to produce another fine masterpiece with the careful and relaxed stroke of the hand.

You've seen it written in many affirmations—I always end: until next week sistah-friends...let your cup overflow. I realized in sharing this sentiment that I'd not yet experienced its power. An overflow is a pouring out. It means I am going to get wet and you are going to get wet. To experience an overflow in our lives, we must first free ourselves and allow the rush and cleansing of the water—His spirit--to enter our own. Minus liberty there is no overflow—minus overflow we do not touch one another. So sistah-friends as we press to our bosom our new liberty to become, let us also in our becoming freely overflow experiencing God's best for us and through us in 2005!

Until next week sistah-friends . . . let your cup overflow.

Remember to order your copy of Bahiyah Woman Magazine's 2006 Annual Collector's print edition today. Only a limited supply will be available...Bahiyah Woman Magazine.

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