Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Inconvenience of Love


     It never fails.

     Actions speak so much louder than words.

     About 4 years ago, I was visiting some friends of mine in Redding, California. It was the kind of trip that dreams are made of. 

     At least my dreams...

    Spending our days at coffee shops, restaurants, and parks--simply experiencing the city. 

    Staying up all night eating pancakes and strawberries. 

     Late night conversations about the supernatural, Jesus, and our potential dating lives.

     In turn, my friends in Redding introduced me to more of their tribe. And right then and there, in a mere moment, my family got bigger. 

     I knew within the first 5 minutes of meeting these new people that I would be yoked with them for a lifetime. 

     It's true what they say, when you know, you just know.

     And that's exactly what happened.

     These were the kind of people you read about in novels from the 1800s (Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, etc.)  Fierce yet kind. Pious yet incredibly relatable and full of laughter. Vulnerable yet strong. Passionate and loving with such high hopes and vision for a legacy beyond themselves.

     I fell in love.


     And then I came back to Los Angeles.

     Well, what does one do with such a spark?

     Does a flame immediately set a blaze with such given momentum? With such affirmation expressed by all parties involved.


     True, a foundation for kinship had been miraculous laid like a trap set before us in a forest -unsuspecting to all of us. But what does one do to maintain such connection?

     And herein lies the work and the doing of love. 

     Otherwise known as the inconvenience of love

     Truth be told, I'm a bit rubbish at relationships. Ask any one of my best friends.

     I hate talking on the phone. I rarely check my voicemail. And I usually get to properly see them once or twice a month because of my tendency to have an ever increasing full plate of a schedule. 

     These amazing friendship warriors have weathered some of life's biggest storms and greatest victories with me, and yet, I rarely find myself in a position of truly inconveniencing myself on a continual basis.  There may be moments when I utterly give myself away, but the consistency of these instances is lacking in my life.

     Because who likes to be inconvenienced?

     Furthermore, it takes a special breed of human to have the grace to reside and rest in my inner circle, otherwise known as: My ride-or-die clique.

     And those in my inner circle...believe so strongly they've been chosen to be there they rest assured and feel secure ---knowing that my heart to communicate is there, even though we may not see each other for months at a time. (Note: No one in my inner circle is there by accident---it's because I have chosen them--just as they have chosen me.) 

     But yet, the work and doing of love still matters and still must be done. 

     But the thing is, I LOVE and adore quality time with people. But getting to that place of rest with the amount of people I keep relationship with at times can be overwhelming.

     But I'm learning that the gift of such extraordinary friendships becomes an opportunity to lean in on the grace of God, lest I become so performance driven, even in my relationships that I do things void of love and integrity

     And yet, the work and the doing of love still must persist.

     God has been reminding me that we truly gain our lives by giving it away.

     The more we try to hoard our time, our finances, our love -- there will never seem to be enough.

     But as soon as we learn to share these things, we become like a river of living water. Receiving and giving with such a spirit of rest, grace, and freedom that those characteristics become more and more apart of our interactions with people. And we partake more and more in the rest, grace, and freedom we share with others.

     In the sacrifice of our convenience, something begins to break open in us. 

     We actually position ourselves for more---more love, more joy, more peace, more of those beautiful moments we wish our lives were full of.

     Wherein, one might think you are setting yourself up for a disadvantage when choosing to inconvenience yourself.

     But no. It's the exact opposite. You are positioning yourself for the more.

     So what happened with my new spark of a family in Redding?

     I gained a sister. 

     She on several different occasions has driven 9 hours to be with me, to come for rest, to sing songs with my youth group, to pray destiny over me.

     I've never known anyone quite like her.

     She, also like me is a very, very busy lady. 

     Yet she is so intentional about her friendship with me. And she knows she has the space and freedom to do so in our friendship. 

     I've learned and seen the fruit of a life of love through her own life.

     She, above many, has taught me about the beauty of being inconvenienced by love.

     I honestly did nothing to gain such love, she gave it freely.

     And I'm simply blessed to be such a recipient.

     And as I look back on some special moments in my life, I'm reminded that many of my biggest and most cherished blessings have come through the act of sacrifice and inconvenience.

     I think God sets up love in such a way that it becomes true in us.  Because love at its core is selfless.

     And yet, mesmerized by the Hollywood culture of our time through the novelty of romance films (of which I love, by the way), we lose sight that love isn't haphazard and although involves us and intoxicates us, is never just about us and our singular lives.

     Romance and love becomes complete in the sharing and in the giving away. In the often inconvenient parts of love.

     But until we get that through our thick hearts, we will continually find ourselves going around the same mountain over and over again as it pertains to the people we attract and the relationships we have.

     But rest assured. Love is patient. And Love is kind. And if you have to go around the mountain again just one more time. Love will be there right by your side.

     Yet, if you're ready to move beyond such weighty and lofty mountain climbs and ready to pass your test with love, it simply starts with an open and willing heart.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"The important thing is this: 
To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

- Charles Du Bos

Sunday, August 17, 2014



     In this season of life, it's very hard to believe that good and beautiful things still unfold. With the state of the world and the pain that is being echoed worldwide, it's a bit overwhelming.

     And in the midst of all of this, our hearts cry for something stable, something true, something eternal, and something just plain good.

     I want to be honest with you, I've been getting rattled in this season.

     My emotions have been a bit erratic.

     And there's a longing in my heart.

     In the last week or so, I've met an array of people through my adventures. And almost everyone one of these precious strangers asked me without fail, "Do you have any children?"

     The first time I was asked, it simply felt endearing.

     Oh. Who me? I'm much too young...wait, have I just forgotten my age? Yes. Why yes I have.

     And by the time the 5th person randomly asked me, "Do you have any children?" I was honestly almost in tears. Which was probably awkward for them, especially since it was our first meeting.

     But there it was laid out before me:

     The condition of my heart.

     Our hearts will tell us what's really going on with us, if we simply listen and pay attention.

     And this is such important work.

     To listen and pay attention to our hearts.

     Sidenote: Our bodies often know when we are heartsick even before our own brains have a chance to play catch up. I was feeling more aggro and short tempered with people for no apparent reason. Well actually, a yet to be apparent reason. It being,  I myself wasn't happy with the state of things and was frustrated with myself first and foremost. Feeling like I had done something wrong all these years to land in this state of singlehood in my 30s.

     But I felt that God was allowing this tension to rise up in my heart for a reason.

     I had been running so fast this summer, with that project and this project that I didn't have time to think.

     Didn't have time to truly process that I missed a man and family that I didn't yet have.

     And didn't have time to truly forgive myself for not being "perfect enough" for a 2014 date. I mean, all I asked for was ONE real live date people!

     Sorry. I had moment.

     But as you know, often we are our own worst critics. I had a list of resentments and reasons in my mind why no men of any age who I found interesting (on a variety of levels) dared to pursue me romantically and take me out for some great Mediterranean / Thai / Italian / Soul food.

     The list of reasons I conjured up was bad people. I'm not gonna lie.

     Curious to know...

     Fine. I'll share my previous Top 3 Reasons Why Patrice is Still Single:

1. I'm not attractive enough 
2. I'm too adolescent and inexperienced in so much of the ways of the world, especially of how men and women truly connect, love, and become.  
3. I'm just not enough, period.

     Now, I share that, not for you to necessarily stroke my ego or for you to worry about me.

     No, no, no.

     I share that mental list because I know that I know, I'm not the only one feeding herself these thoughts.

     However, as these criticisms rose up in my heart to try and defend my current state of singleness, God's peace began to address each point on my list in some very specific ways.

1. You are and forever will be beautiful, Patrice. (Feel free to insert your name over mine) 
2. You have been filled with the all the knowledge you need for the journey--romantic or otherwise, because you are connected to Me (God).  
3. You, Patrice, are always, always enough.

     Now God was gaining more access to my heart and pouring in His truth, like water over a desert.

     Because doubt had come in like a drought.

     But when we start to believe God's words over us, the watering begins...

     And all God ever asks us to do is to simply believe.

     Yeahhhhh, I know. The easiest-hardest thing we could ever do.
     To believe for and in something beyond ourselves and out of our control.

     It's like pure crazy talk.

      And I begin to laugh-cry.

     This journey has been something else.

     Here I am, helping other people find love and even get married, only to find my butt still sitting on the sideline bench.

     If someone says that doesn't effect your psyche. I would kindly like to tell you:


     But in the midst of such juxtaposition--of believing and breathing in love for others, only for it to seem so allusive like water through my own hands--God is so intentional about renewing my heart's strength.

     Trust me. It's much needed right now.

     And with that, I've been forced to dust off those things that were always important to me.

     But at the same time I'm afraid to expose them to the light of day.

     I'm scared.

     I'm scared that once I dust these beautiful things off, they'll actually happen.

     Yes, wonderful indeed.

     But I can't remember a time in my life where great blessing didn't come with a thunderbolt of bittersweetness.

     Whether a strategic friendship is born in my life, inevitably an already established and rich friendship transitions or ends in some profound way. And so on and so forth.

     I'm painfully aware that true and lasting beauty often comes with a price. (i.e. The butterfly tearing open a cocoon, a seed breaking open to bring forth an oak tree, birth pains of a woman to bring forth a child...)

     As God begins to bring the many promises to pass that we've waited for, I can't help but think, what will go missing? The unnecessaries of previous life seasons?

     Or what will be added?

     I don't quite know.

     But what I do know, is that God is asking me to dust off my dreams once again.

     Funny, I hadn't even realized dust had gotten on them.

     But as God helps me dust these things off, and even in the midst of all that's happening in the world, He tells me over and over again:

     "I'm stable. I'm true. I'm eternal. And I'm still just plain good."

Wisdom's Knocking:

 "But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
shall change and renew their strength and power;
they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God]
as eagles [mount up to the sun];
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint or become tired."

--Isaiah 40:31
(Amplified Bible Version)

Monday, August 04, 2014



     After waiting so long for a promise, waiting on your good thing to arrive, we can get a little weary.

     And just because God has said "Not Yet", doesn't mean He said, "Not Ever..."

     But in the free fall of trust, we can begin to doubt ourselves, lose hope, or simply stop believing altogether.

     And honestly, that's one of the reason's I started writing this blog.

     I wanted to intentionally remind myself every week of the promises of God over my life, to build myself up in the hope and expectation I know He sings over me, and hopefully do the same for some others that are out there on the journey as well.

     So each year, I have a song. Like a song that sums up where my heart is and is going towards for the duration of the year ahead. I usually know what this song is by the early months of year. But this year -- 2014 was very different.

     There was no song that truly moved me or spoke to me. And so I simply forgot about having a song for the year...and went about my business.

     And then the 8th month of this year hit...

     Saturday, August 2, 2014, the song, "Magic" by Coldplay was played for me by a friend of mine. And within the first 5 seconds, my spirit just knew.

     This. Is. My. Song.

     This song is my multi-layered anthem and declaration for 2014: I'll choose God every time. I'll choose His timing, His love, His ways, over everything. Time and time again.

     I've been bruised, so awfully disappointed, tired, so confused, and frustrated over the years through the waiting and the learning, but God--I still choose you.

     Yes, I still believe in the goodness of God and His love. And I believe that love is always worth the risk. Yes, I do.

     Subsequently, you dear reader, knowing my very personal journey of romance will appreciate this song also being dedicated to that lucky blessed man who will have the honor and privilege of being my future husband.


Wisdom's Knocking:

"Magic" - Coldplay

Call it magic
Call it true
Call it magic
When I'm with you
And I just got broken
Broken into two
Still I call it magic
When I'm next to you

And I don't, and I don't and I don't, and I don't
No, I don't, 
It's true 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't 
No, I don't, 
It's true 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you

Ooooh ooh ooh

Call it magic 
Cut me into two 
And with all your magic 
I disappear from view 
And I can't get over
Can't get over you 
Still I call it magic 
You're such a precious jewel

And I don't, and I don't and I don't, and I don't 
No, I don't, 
It's true 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't 
No, I don't, 
It's true 
I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you

Wanna fall 
I fall so far 
I wanna fall 
I fall so hard 
And I call it magic 
And I call it true 
I call it magic

Ooooh ooh ooh 
Ooooh ooh ooh 
Ooooh ooh ooh 
Ooooh ooh ooh

And if you were to ask me 
After all that we've been through 
Still believe in magic 
Oh yes I do 
Oh yes I do 
Yes I do 
Oh yes I do 
Of course I do

"Magic" - Coldplay Video Link:

"Magic" - Coldplay Audio: