Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Write Healing: Unlocking Our Family Patterns

Hey #JustWrite!! Happy 2023!! Wow, it is day 15 of the new year and so much has already happened that has brought forth many conversations. I say that in a general sense because the conversations I speak of could be from different areas: dreams, goals, losses, or gains. One conversation that keeps coming up is the journey of healing.  The concept of healing looks different to many people. Some people find healing through talk therapy and creative projects, while others find many coping mechanisms to help, some good and some that are damaging. When it comes to healing, most of us don't consider the generational patterns within our family that lead to a lot of things we suffer from within our present reality. Within my own healing journey, throughout the pandemic, and most recently during the holidays, I noticed certain patterns resurfacing again which prompted me to really sit down and think about how my early years and what I saw were affected by my family lineage and the unhealed trauma that was passed down to myself and my siblings. One pattern I noticed in my family is that many of us tend to only see ourselves in the lens of what was presented to us. We tend to say, "I don't want to be like my mother or father yet we still take on the dysfunctional characteristics of our parents because the unhealed part of us believes that since it was shown to us without any correction, the behavior must be correct. And then there is the excuse, "my mother did it this way; my father did it this way", which goes further back to generations and generations. The difference between most of us during this time and those who came before us is that we are willing to fully examine and dissect those traumas and fully pursue total healing through healthy means. Sadly, many of us have succumb to the unending trauma either physically, mentally, or spiritually. 

This month's book club read is "Unlocking Your Family Patterns," by authors Dr. Henry Cloud, Dave Carder, Dr. John Townsend, and Dr. Earl Henslin. It is a book that combines much wisdom through clinical, biblical, and practical methods based on the authors' thorough research and counsel. The book is divided into the following 3 parts: 

Part 1. Dysfunction in Families of the Bible

Part 2. Contributing Factors in Family Dysfunction

Part 3. Family Health: How to Do It Right When You Learned It Wrong

Most of us growing up felt that just because we didn't have the same experiences as Johnny or Susie, our home life was not dysfunctional. The disheartening truth is that we all come from dysfunctional families. The only difference is that some families hide their dysfunction better than others. Some of us were able to push through the dysfunction and live productive, imperfect lives while our peers struggled to have a normal day because the dysfunction was at a magnitude that it was second nature.  This selection shows that even in the Bible, no one was exempt from dysfunction especially since the days of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man. This dysfunction has shown us time and time again of how much we must rely on God and His Word, in addition to healthy practices to guide us through the healing process that will help rebuild families. 

Families are able to overcome and recover by the following six steps: 

1. Be proactive and not reactive.

2. Be prepared for healing to take time. Don't rush the process.

3. Learn new information and relearn how to have healthy relationships

4. Persevere and remain determined to be healed.

5. Dump and release the shame; get rid of what doesn't work for us. 

6. Develop and commit to one's spirituality; "Abide in Christ" (John 15:5). We must fully submit to Him and allow healing to take place.

Join the conversation on Tuesday, January 31 as we understand healing from the perspective of, if God can bring David, Isaac, and Jesus through their families dysfunction, then He can bring us to a greater end from our family dysfunctions. 

Let's get free in 2023!!

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Write Gifts: In His Spirit

 Hey #JustWrite!! It's that time again where we say good bye to the end of the year and prepare for the new year. Of course before we do that, we prepare to be with loved ones and live in the moment of giving tangible gifts for those who choose to. We all know that during this time, we also reflect on the greatest gift to mankind, the birth of Jesus Christ, born in a manger, presented with the tangible gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Most don't know but these gifts gave us insight into the identity of Christ. The gold represented the Kingship of Jesus (Daniel 7:13-14): “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Simply put, Jesus reigns above all earthly rulers. He is to be worshipped.

The frankincense represents the deity of Jesus- extraordinary as a fully man and fully God. Colossians 2:9-10 says: "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority."

The gift of myrrh represents Jesus' death. Myrrh was commonly used to embalm bodies and this particular gift was a foreshadowing of Jesus' death. John 19:38-40 speaks on this gift and the big picture: Jesus came to the earth as a babe so that we would be saved. As a man, He bore our sins and died so we could have eternal life. His life, death, and resurrection encompasses the gift of the Gospel which we as believers are blessed to give to the world through our daily interactions.

This month's book club read is, "Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today" by James Goll, a selection that details how the Holy Spirit leads and guides us. The nine most known gifts are also discussed with many examples of how each gift was used within the Bible and how they apply to present day situations. 1 Corinthians  12:8-10 lists these gifts as the following:

Word of wisdom
Word of knowledge
Gifts of healings
Distinguishing between spirits
Interpretation of tongues

In addition to the book and devotion guide, there is also a website for Mr.Goll's ministry, God Encounters Ministries that provides more resources, articles, and classes. The Releasing Spiritual Gifts class is a 12 lesson class featured online that will walk you through the steps of being in the fullness of one's gifts. Join Just Write on Tuesday, December 27 for the final discussion of 2022. In exchange of a physical gift for a loved one during the holidays, this book selection is a great gift to share. 

Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season and our gifts always make room for us according to God's plan and Holy Spirit guiding us all.

See you all in 2023!!

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Write Collaborations: Relationships Matter

 Hey #JustWrite!! We are in November!! Can you believe it? We are one month away from closing out 2022 and what a year it has been. Despite the highs and lows of this year, many of us can attest that we are thankful for the solid relationships we have whether personal or professional. It is through those relationships that many of us have been able to grace many stages, sit at many tables, and speak to many audiences. I heard some powerful statements recently, some I realized I had heard before and others I was amazed to hear: "Relationships matter." "Learn to add value to someone else's life/company." "Who you know gets you in the door, but who you are keeps you in the room." The last statement I heard was very profound as we have to understand our character when we are presented with opportunities. This month's book club read is the selection, "Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time" by author, Keith Ferrazi. The book is an amazing guide on how to network and manage important relationships that can help further one's aspirations.

The book presents 3 lessons on networking:

1. "Relationships aren’t like cake, they’re like muscles." Like exercise, you must stay consistent so you can grow.
2. "You must build your network long before you need it." Be intentional with connecting with others and seeing how each party can bring value to each other before the needs arise. Stay ready so you don't have to get ready.
3. "How you spend time with people is much more important than how much time you spend with them."  Yes, networking is definitely all about the concept of quality over quantity. Choose wisely. 

Join us on Tuesday, November 29 for a discussion on relationships and how they are necessary for long-term success. Remember, great relationships are not only beneficial for business but life in general. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Write Generosity: Transformation through Giving

Hey #JustWrite!! After last month's discussion on giving and blessings, the conversation continues with this month's book club read, "I Like Giving: The Transforming Power of a Generous Life' by author, Brad Formsma. The choice to live a generous life brings forth change within a person which leads to a change within the world. It is a beautiful notion to have the intention to give without it feeling like an obligation. Many of us are aware of what needs to change but may not have the desire to put forth the action. This book provides a guide on how to create a lifestyle of giving with the following tips and topics:

• Giving—something you get to do, not something you’ve got to do.
• How to raise kids with a sensitivity to others’ needs.
• You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference.
• Practical ideas for giving to people around you every day.

The main focus is to remember that it is all about experiencing the joy of giving and that we all have something significant to give. Despite what the media may show or tell you, giving goes beyond the materialism and monetary examples. Giving can be in the form of a listening ear, an embrace, or a person's time. As believers, we know the greatest act of giving was Christ's selfless love of dying on the cross to save us from our sins. 

In what ways will you show up this week, this month, and the rest of the year in giving? Whatever choice you decide to make, do it from a place of intentionality and willingness and not grudgingly. Be on the lookout for this month's book club discussion on October 25 at 6pm. 

Remember, we are coming upon the season of giving in the next two months, may we all find joy and peace in the ways we give.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Write Standard of Giving: Exploring Double Blessings


Hey #JustWrite!! We've FALLin into another month and we will be discussing the book, "Double Blessings." by author Mark Batterson. Batterson expresses that God doesn't give us increase so we can appear to be on a pedestal and elevate ourselves. What God gives us is for the act of giving. "God doesn't bless us to raise our standard of living. God blesses us to raise our standard of giving, and that's where true joy is found. " "We flip the blessing by blessing others in the way God has blessed us." It's like the difference between happiness and joy. Most of us seek to be happy but never consider the beauty of joy. Happiness is fleeting and circumstantial while true joy comes from a place of an everlasting peace despite the outlook.  So what does the Bible say about a double blessing? Isaiah 61:7 states,  “For your shame YOU SHALL HAVE DOUBLE; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall POSSESS THE DOUBLE: everlasting joy shall be unto them.” A recent encounter brought this full circle as I made a split decision at the last minute to change up my daily routine. In the midst, I struck up a conversation where I was speaking in general about what's been happening in the city. I was even asked if I attended a particular school in the area which led to another topic. As I was speaking, a unique connection was formed where the other person inquired if I knew of any positions within the area of interest. I proceeded to do some research and came across a role that was perfect and specific to the desired job. Another connection happened where we realized we knew the same person from my hometown. It all stemmed from recognizing an area code. The person proceeds to tells me that the day we met was a blessing and how it was God that allowed our paths to cross based off the fact we both decided to change up our day. Furthermore, we both agreed that blessings aren't always financial. Blessings come in the form of the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Blessings also come in the form of good health, strength, sound mind, compassion, etc. 

Remember, the greatest blessing from God was as follows: "As far as God was concerned, the greatest blessing he could give man was deliverance from the grip of sin through the ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the angel said to Joseph concerning Mary's unborn child: "You shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21) The double blessing is we as believers get to share this blessing with others. Join us Tuesday, September 27 at 6pm for our monthly discussion. "We are blessed to bless."

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley 

Monday, August 15, 2022

The Write Phenomenon: Our Potential Through the Eyes of Jesus

Hey #JustWrite!! This month's book club read is a timely selection as we are in the month of "new beginnings." The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything by author Erwin Raphael McManus is a book that explores the spiritual and intellectual phenomenon of Jesus through the lens of power, empathy, meaning, beauty, and truth. When we think of geniuses, we think of those individuals that have influenced the masses within the disciplines of science, art, technology, and math. Geniuses tend to go outside of the box, beyond the expected, cultivating the art of being a disruptor within society. In other words, geniuses are interruptions in the world. We know that Jesus was not only an influential figure in history, but He was also very controversial all the way back to His birth. There isn't anyone in history whose birth was conceived by the Holy spirit to His mother without physical contact. In addition to His unique conception, Jesus also was controversial throughout His life from understanding His assignment, performing many miracles, and His crucifixion that changed the trajectory of our lives. Despite what the world says, He is the only person to have lived, died, and remains alive today. How genius of our Heavenly father to orchestrate such an event in HIStory. 

 The following are three quotes to ponder as we prepare for this month's discussion: 

1. "Our job is not to change people; our job is to connect people to Jesus, and it's Jesus' job to change people." Yes. We are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior) that serves to convict, prune, and transform the hearts of those who hear, submit, and abide.

2. "If we keep asking the wrong questions, we are just going to get better wrong answers. The solution to lack of community isn't to give up on the community." Yes, despite what others are saying and doing, we have to show up in love and for a common unity.

3. "I know it sounds crazy, but as soon as Christians start telling non-Christians how to live their lives, we've lost the Christian faith." Yes, our job is to speak in His truth and love with prayer, allowing God to get the glory for the work that is happening through the person and for the person. We are not God.

Join us on Tuesday, August 30 at 6pm as Kimberly Thompson and co-host Wanda Gilliard discuss more in depth "the man who changed everything." We look forward to seeing you.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Write Support: Black Mental Health and Emotional Wellness Part 2

Hey #JustWrite!! We are in the 3rd Quarter of 2022. Can you believe it? The month of July is a time of rest for many of us and an opportunity to take those final summer vacations as we stated in the previous blog about bucket lists. This month the conversation of mental health continues with our previous book club read, The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health by author Dr. Rheeda Walker. The previous book club conversation about black mental health occurred in October 2021. This was during the time World Mental Health Day was observed. For those who are not aware, the month of July is when awareness is brought "to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States." It's only befitting that we bring the conversation back to the forefront this month. So what prevents black mental health awareness? The following are the top 10 barriers that have prevented black mental health:

1. High Costs

2. Familial Shame

3. Cultural Shame (an extension of familial shame)

4. Lack of Diversity in Health Care

5. Poor competency among non-black clinicians (lack of understanding that culture, race, and ethnicity play a role in mental health)

6. Whiteness as a Foundation to Mental Health

7.  Distrust of Medical Industry

8.  Difficulty Navigating the Process

9. Emotional Hesitation

10. Negative Past Experiences

As we know, these barriers in addition to other factors (systemic racism) continue to add to the huge rate of depression and suicide. In Dr. Walker's book, she takes readers on a historical exploration of this crisis and offers a much needed road map for guidance and healing. Here are some quotes from the book: 

“Scientists can say with confidence that racism is bad for Black mental health."

“Be careful about how you hide yourself from people who care. Your hiding could set up a life-or-death situation whereby you are in need and there is no one left to help.”

“You need so much more than mental health or “well-being” in this era of discrimination, invisibility, and psychological warfare. You need an impermeable web of protection for your mind.”

“If you (or someone you care about) cannot take on as much as someone else, that does not make you either weak or crazy. You just have to prepare differently and live your life unapologetically for you.”

“An African proverb says, “When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

Join the conversation on July 26th at 6pm as we continue to explore the notions that continue to plague the black community as it relates to mental health. As stated in our previous blog, "It's still time to heal and experience a freedom, holistically, mentally, and spiritually. Be free, unapologetically."

Let us all continue to walk boldly in our healing journey. Remember, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalms 147:3

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley