Are You Willing to Stand Out?

“You can’t stand out unless you are willing to be outstanding!” ~Bishop John A. Cherry II   

The message from my Pastor this past Sunday via live stream church service was about setting things in order in our lives. He stressed that in this current time we should not only be using our time to get things back on track in our everyday lives (that is of course if you entered into this Pandemic with things being off track—as I did) but he also spoke to the efforts we must consciously make to keep them moving forward and in the right direction to fulfill your purpose. A part of those efforts have to include being willing to stand out and a large reason as to why anyone stands out is by doing something worth noticing.

I desire a career that will give me a platform with the ability to use my words and other creative talents to make big and bold changes, not just within the literary world, but in the hearts of people in general. Yet I spend a lot of time trying to not be noticed, to not do anything that any one person can single me out for. I try to separate my personal from my professional, often times hoping the two will never meet but that is not because I don’t in fact desire to change this world in a big bold way. It is because I fear that I won’t change this world with any real significance and if I fail to be of good use to this world somehow, then I can’t be singled out for not fulfilling my purpose. As if God wouldn’t automatically know that I was too busy trying to hide my light instead of focusing on doing what He called me to do which would directly place me into the path with the most light.

I was asked once why I don’t share certain things that I do on my professional pages, onto my personal social media pages and I didn’t really have a good answer for them. I suppose I’m too afraid that I’ll fail and that way if you see the Author version of me fail it’s not like you saw the real me fail. If you see my magazine fail, it’s not like you saw me fail. There’s also the thing about me being apprehensive about asking people I know in my personal life to support my professional endeavors. It’s not by any means because I don’t want their support. It’s because I’m afraid I won’t get it anyway and if I don’t ask I don’t have to hear someone I know personally, someone who I might have thought was for me, and wanted me to succeed, blatantly refuse to be supportive of my art. I guess it would be a little hurtful and thus I don’t ask. However, I leave out all of those who would by doing that.

Now I can’t promise to change this practice overnight and suddenly merge the personal side of me with the professional, because we are in fact one in the same. I will acknowledge that I need to be a little more willing to share my light and not be afraid of the result, whatever that may be. I do want big things out of my life. I have a big, and bold legacy that I would like to leave behind for my daughter and any children she may have in the future. I also want to be someone who empowers others to live out their dreams, especially because I didn’t really have anyone to empower me to live out mine. But I can’t do any of that if I am too afraid to stand out. If I’m not willing to do anything outstanding, then how can I ever truly inspire others to be? So if you are dimming your light for the sake of someone else, don’t! Let your light shine bright and be the outstanding and amazing person that you were always meant to be. The world needs your light! Until next time… #BeBrave #BeBright #BeOutstanding

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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The Why Isn’t Always Our Business

In figuring out what your purpose is, what God wants you to do with the time that HE has given you here on this earth, sometimes it’s hard to know the reasons why. Not necessarily why HE gave you the overall purpose, but in terms of the steps that HE guides you through along the way in order to reach the overall goal, you tend to wonder why this step.

I discovered the Author Tube Community on YouTube a little more than a year and a half ago but I wasn’t really sure it was something that I was going to entertain being a part of. I watched other people’s channels and I loved watching how they navigated their writing careers and how their writing routines made them more productive and of course the writing advice they had to give but it was never going to go past me just watching a few channels here and there. At least that’s what I thought anyway.

I kept feeling pulled to that Author Tube community and since I didn’t really have a solid group of writer friends to interact with (just one or two people spread out) it seemed like a good way to get that fix I needed for having a sense of writing camaraderie with others. Even then, I had no plans on actually making a channel and putting videos up there, even though I had been told countless times before I discovered this authortube that I should for other creative purposes. I just wanted to watch, comment here and there, gain some knowledge and perspectives other than my own, and that was that.

Now I know this is going to sound weird but I truly felt like God was telling me that I needed to start an AuthorTube channel of my own, that I needed to put in some real effort towards the inevitable goal to making this a part of my platform. I didn’t understand it. After all, doesn’t God know that I have stage fright and how uncomfortable I am in front of people, even if they’re not physically there in front of me? Doesn’t God know that I break out in a panic just being behind a camera and knowing that someone somewhere is going to see this? I kept wondering why God would want me to embarrass myself on camera like that (because I stumble on my words when I’m nervous) and how that could possibly lead me to my purpose.

Well if I can remind you all here, for those who have been reading my blog for a while, that one of my main goals that I plan to do in the future is to develop an anti-bullying program, that of course will encompass a series of children’s and middle grade books centered on the topic and will also involve public presentations and seminars. That means some way or another I was going to have to end up getting comfortable speaking in public right? Okay so back to starting up this YouTube channel that I was extremely resistant to doing. I kept being led to do it and it sounds silly because it’s a YouTube channel right so why would God have that specific plan for me.

As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, I’m not saying that it was specifically about the YouTube channel per say, but rather it was about getting past those fears of being on camera, those panicky emotions about having people see and hear me and dreading the results. I think it was about the fact that God was trying to figure out how HE was going to start moving me in the direction to possibly speak in public if I couldn’t even manage to get around speaking on camera, with no one actually in front of me, just the knowledge of the fact that people would see it. So I was finally obedient and I did it and I’ve been on there for a little over a month now and my channel is growing, slowly, but it is growing and oddly enough, while I thought no one would actually care what I had to say, there are people there that really like my channel. I’ve even recently been placed on a couple of different authortubers list highlighting smaller channels that people should watch and I was delighted.

In just such a short time I am really starting to feel my confidence growing in getting behind the camera and while the panic is still there at times, it’s not quite as debilitating as it was that very first time I sat down to film. It’s done so much for me and my growing ease at speaking on camera already and I am grateful. I am thankful that I stopped asking God why HE wanted me to do something and instead I just did it.

Sometimes we just have to stop asking a whole bunch of questions that we’re really not ever going to know that answers to until we actually complete what was asked of us. It’s not our business to always know the why of it all. If you are being guided by God to do something (make sure it’s really by God first) don’t put your energy into a million and one questions, just do it. He asks that we trust in his guidance and have faith that he would never steer us wrong so just trust that the one who has given you your purpose is the best one to show you the way. Until next time… #BeOpen #BeWilling #BeinFaith

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Are You Headed In the Wrong Direction?

You are never going to get to the right place if you are headed in the wrong direction. It’s something my Pastor said in the message on Sunday’s live stream in talking about repairing the breaches in your life that are holding you back from accomplishing your goals and your purpose. Imagine you’re driving somewhere and you’re taking one route to get there but it’s in the complete opposite direction of your destination. How can you expect to end up in the place you need to be if you continue to stay on the wrong path, especially if you’re too proud to ask for directions.

We’re not going to get everything right, I think that’s obvious. But what hurts us most is when we’re unable to admit or acknowledge when we’ve gotten it wrong. In order to get all that we want out of this life, all that we’re placed here to do, there’s a level of sacrifice that is going to be necessary. I hear a lot of times people make declarations about clinging to their pride, their pride won’t let them ask for help (I definitely fall into this category), or their pride won’t allow them to ask for the right directions. If we can’t even sacrifice our pride to get to the place that we need to go then we’re not going to get very far.

Sometimes the person you need to go to most to help get you turned around and going in the right direction is God and I know the feeling of thinking that maybe you’re problems are too big for God’s help or even worse, thinking that you’ve asked for God’s help too much and thinking that he’ll grow tired of coming to your aide. I’ve come to realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth. What would be worse is having God to go to, knowing that you’re heading the wrong way, and because you’re too proud to go to him you continue going in the wrong direction. That not only hinders your journey and short changes the people who you were placed on this earth to be a blessing to, but it also underestimates the unconditional love God has for us and it undermines his purpose for your life.

Look we’re in crazy times right now and some of us will be in isolation for longer than others. This is the perfect time to correct the course you’re on if you were headed in the wrong direction. It’s the perfect time to go to HIM if you have been reluctant to go to HIM before. It’s the time to not worry about what you might have to give up in order to get where it is you need to go. None of us are perfect and none of us are without pride but is your pride really worth holding onto if you end up having nothing to show for it? Now is the time to turn things around. Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeOpen #BeofService

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Use This Time Wisely: A New Season is Coming

It has definitely been a crazy time for this world in the last several weeks, or is it months now (I’m losing track of time), and it’s safe to say a new normal is on the way. I will admit that I don’t follow the news of what’s going on minute by minute like a lot of people I know are doing. As a person who is prone to suffering serious heavy bouts of depression and who also has severe anxiety on top of that, anxiety which has drastically increased in the last 4 years (you know why), I just can’t feed my mind with the news on a constant loop. I stay informed, I get the notifications that are specific to my state, or the state my sister lives in (Oklahoma) and I may catch a Cuomo briefing here or there but I don’t watch the daily stats or that daily circus that happens on a grand stage. It’s not good for my mental health and I have to take care of that if I am going to survive this thing and come out better than I was when it started.

What I have tried to do is find the positive in all of this mess and I know there is nothing positive about anyone dying but there are lessons and things that you can take away from any tragic situation in order to make it all mean something. Back when the social distancing was implemented and we couldn’t got to church services anymore, for our very first live stream church service my Pastor said that he believed that this pandemic was going to be a reset for a lot of people and for a lot of communities. I think that he was right. I see a lot of people spending time with their families now, time that they claimed they didn’t have before. I see a whole lot of communities actually acting like a community and helping each other, helping out the small businesses in their communities, buying small items from people who are just starting their business because they want to be supportive.

I see people taking the time to be more kind and decent to their neighbors and actually asking the people around them are they okay, do they need anything from the store, do they just need someone to vent to so they can get their feelings out. There are also people going through financial hardships who are getting a major reset in terms of maybe they are having a debt that was interfering with their credit history forgiven, or maybe their getting a reprieve from the expectation of being evicted from their home and not having to deal with the possibility of being homeless while all of this is going on. I’ve also seen a lot of people taking the time get back on track spiritually and working on their relationship with God during this time.

I know that there are a lot of bad things that we can pluck out this pandemic that’s happening and we could allow ourselves to get stuck and dwell on them. But why do that? Why not allow ourselves to rest in the good that is coming out of this tragic situation. Again, as I stated earlier, I know that there’s nothing good about anyone dying, of course not. But doesn’t it make you want to make your life mean that much more. Doesn’t it make you want to treasure the time that you do have and do what you were placed on this earth to do. Whether you know what it is or not, we all have a purpose that God put you here for and if you weren’t sure what that purpose was before then now is as good a time as any to figure it out.

Don’t waste this time worrying about things that you simply can’t control. Of course you have to be cautious and make sure that you and your family are staying safe but don’t forget to cherish the quality time that you are getting with your loved ones and spend time on being productive and fulfilling your purpose as well. Also, last but certainly not least, don’t forget to take care of yourself both physically, and mentally. The time for a new season is shifting into place so, in every way you can, get ready! Until next time… #BeSafe #BeProductive #BeGrateful

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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From a Different Perspective

I have been working on my spiritual growth for the last few years now, trying to get more rooted in relying on God’s word and not worrying about things that I have no control over. This journey has not been an easy one, particularly because it is my innate instinct that when things go wrong I worry and panic relentlessly, almost bringing about additional health issues that are caused by the stress of worrying. One of the main things that I truly agonize about is what I am going to leave behind in this world as my legacy (aside from my daughter of course) because I just want to do good for other people. The problem is that I have been going through so many of my own struggles recently and I still haven’t gotten back on track and it’s so frustrating. It bothers me that I am still not in the position that I need to be in to be able to help other people.

Then I gained a new perspective on the struggles that I am going through and it clicked with a message my pastor has been preaching on lately. The gist of the message is that the struggles we sometimes go through are oftentimes God’s way of working on what needs to be fixed or repaired within us in order to get us ready to be used for the purpose that he has for us. Whatever I am going through is going to prepare me and strengthen me for the next level that God is getting ready for me to walk into. There is so much that I want to do in this world, not just for my child and the children I know but for other people’s children, for people less fortunate, for people in need of help that get overlooked so often.

I want to take some of the struggles that I’ve had over the last couple of years and help others with those same struggles but I have to first finish preparing myself to do that. So in seeing these struggles in a new light, as preparation, it makes me take a look specifically at the lessons to be gained from them and what each issue has to teach me. I don’t believe that God would allow me to go through anything that I can’t handle and armed with his guidance and his word I will get through these struggles and I will get myself into a firm position so that I can fulfill the purpose that I am here for which is helping others using my creative gifts. What lessons have your past struggles been able to teach you? Until next time… #BeOpen #BePrepared #BeinFaith

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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There May Not Be a Tomorrow

So unless you don’t own a television or have a Facebook account, or any other form of social media, then you have heard the devastating news that legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant and his beautiful talented daughter died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with two other teammates of hers, their parents, the pilot, and the assistant coach to the girls’ basketball team. The news was, to put it mildly, shocking and honestly when I first heard it I had to ask was this another one of those death hoax things going around on the internet. Sadly the news was true and surreal.

Any time someone dies it sends your mind into overdrive thinking so many different thoughts you can hardly keep them straight. However, in instances like this with someone of this stature, someone who seemed almost invincible, and who had such a huge impact on the lives of so many people that he had never even met, it just hits a bit differently. You look at the legacy of someone like him and you start to think about the inspiring words he has said and the amazing things that he has done and the things that he still had on his heart to do. You almost immediately can feel how big of a loss this is for his family, his friends, his fans, and the lives that he had yet to touch.

There are many things that can be said about Kobe Bryant, whether you were a fan of his or not, and that is that he had tremendous work ethic and his ambition was certainly something to strive for. He definitely lived his life to the fullest with purpose and with intention. For that very reason, while I’m sure there are many things that he wanted to do with his second act after retiring from basketball, I don’t think he left this earth with any regrets as to the legacy he was leaving behind because he never let any grass grow under his feet. He had a plan when he was younger about what he was going to do with his life and he committed to that plan and much the same way he planned out his basketball career at a young age, he had planned out his retirement as well and he made strides to accomplish those goals with every decision he made.

We all think that we have forever to do something on this earth with our lives. We have these massive plans for what we want to do years from now but the truth is that we don’t even know if we’ll get tomorrow, let alone years from now. We all have loved ones that we may not talk to on a regular basis or that we hold some kind of anger towards and are withholding forgiveness for some distant time in the future when we can forgive them at our leisure but what if that day doesn’t come.

We don’t know how much time any of us has on this earth and at any moment our time could be up. Don’t keep putting off until tomorrow the things that you want to accomplish in your life and more importantly don’t keep waiting to tell the people you love how you feel about them. It shouldn’t take moments like the death of someone who even after accomplishing so much still had such a promising future in order to get people to stop letting the grass grow under their feet (myself included) and putting things off until some tomorrow that may never come. You are here for a purpose so stop planning for a big future and start living today. Stop thinking people know how you feel and just tell them. Stop saying I’ll forgive them later and forgive them now. Until next time #BePresent #BeMindful #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Doing More than Just Enough

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

~Deuteronomy 5:33

So this Sunday’s message was about restoration of one’s soul, healing from all of the hurts in order to be in the position where God can use you for his greater purpose. One thing that the pastor mentioned was being obedient to God’s word and the direction that he gives you for your life. I don’t necessarily struggle with wanting to be obedient to God’s word. My struggle comes in the form of my inherent nature to question and second guess literally everything.

It’s not that I don’t trust whatever God would have me do. I guess the thing I tend to question most is whether or not the direction that I am hearing is from God or just subconsciously something I want to do myself. They say sometimes that the way you can tell the two apart is because when God instructs you it is usually going to be something you don’t want to do and something that will put you out of your comfort zone.

Another thing that I am working with that my pastor touched on was that we tend to obey the parts of God’s word that we want to and pretend not to hear the parts that we don’t agree with God about because we can’t see the bigger picture. We cherry pick the way we’re going to adhere to God’s will but that’s not what the Bible says that we are supposed to do. There is a difference between doing ALL and doing JUST ENOUGH.

When my pastor said that I had to rethink a lot of things regarding that statement because there are times when God will tell me to do something, or to ask someone for help with something and because of my doubts, or fears and anxiety, or because it might make me extremely uncomfortable, or even worse, because of my pride, I only half way do what he has told me to do. I convince myself that it’s okay because I’ve almost done everything God wanted me to do and I rationalize that he would understand because he knows me better than anyone right.

The thing is when we are asking God for ALL that he has in this life for us and we are walking in faith that he can do exceedingly and abundantly for our lives, we can’t then say well I’m just going to do half of what I was told to do. We are supposed to be doing God’s will, not ours, because his plans are always going to be better for us than the one’s we have for ourselves. It’s about having trust in God knowing what is best for us and not relying on our own interpretation of his word and his direction for us.  

The thing is that I hate being uncomfortable. I have a routine and a list for nearly everything. I don’t like surprises (unless they are good one’s of course lol) and I always question whether I’ve made the right decision or not, often times second guessing myself out of something good. A lot of the things that God instructs me to do, things regarding all of my dreams and the purpose I feel I was put here to achieve, are things that make me very uncomfortable and anxious and I try to skirt my way around them doing the parts that I feel okay with and leaving out the parts of the instruction that make me almost have a full blown panic attack. However, that is not what God said for me to do. He didn’t say do things halfway. I know that I don’t want just half of his blessings that he has for me. I can’t ask God to do all he can for me if I’m not willing to do all he asks of me. That means ALL, not JUST ENOUGH. Until next time… #BeObedient #BeFaithful #BeUncomfortable

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Time That Is Not Our Own

It’s a brand New Year, in a brand new decade and I don’t know about you guys but I have no more time to waste. I’ve been thinking a lot about the time that we spend doing things that do not lend themselves to the purpose that we are placed on this earth for, whatever that purpose may be for you. We let our presumed obligations and even our loving hearts guilt us into giving time to things that will not eventually bear fruit and often leaves us with unfinished goals.

I use to believe that to think of myself first would be completely selfish and just not being a good servant of God and the purpose that he has for me. However, in having a recent conversation with a friend of mine, Ms. L., I remembered something very important. She reminded me that I am God’s child too. I mean it’s not that I don’t know that already but sometimes I forget that focusing on me doesn’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about others. Oftentimes we are more worried about tending to someone else’s needs (especially if you have children) and having compassion for what other people might want that we forget about what might be best for us.

When it comes to following our dreams and living out our purpose, we tend to put time into things, and often people, who take us away from what it is we are supposed to be focused on. We feel like we owe them that time, our time, when in reality, we don’t owe anyone else our time. In fact our time is not even ours to give away. The time that we have here on this earth is God’s time, in which he is entrusting us to accomplish certain goals and tasks, at certain intervals of our lives, for the betterment of an end result that is not even for us to see.

This is in no way me saying that other people don’t matter. In fact it is quite the opposite. Sometimes what we are supposed to be spending our time on will eventually better the lives of someone else who needs it. However, if we are not in the right place in our journey, at the precise time that we were designated to get there, then we will have missed that opportunity to be the blessing in someone else’s life that we were supposed to be, all because we devoted time to something else that was not even our mission to begin with.

We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if we can not devote time to things or people the way that we might have been able to when we weren’t sure what our purpose was. Time is precious and it’s not promised to anyone and we have to be careful with what we do with it because there are important things that need to be done while we are still here to do them. The time that you have been given is the time that God has given you in order to do with it what he wants you to do with it. We don’t owe that time to anyone else. So this year, let’s start placing the focus back on ourselves and let’s not waste anymore time that isn’t ours to waste in the first place. Until next time… #BeFocused #BeMindful #BeProductive

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Even If It’s Not Broken, It May Still Need to Be Fixed

What has God been able to teach you lately? That question was one that my pastor posed to us yesterday and it was a very thought provoking one. To put it in context, he was talking to us basically about getting out of the comfort zone of the things that we know and start walking in the path of the things that we don’t know. I love how the things that I had already been processing in my own mind for myself, when I hear them from another wiser and more experienced person it just makes that much more sense.

I am one of those old fashioned people who can’t really stand the drastic changes in technology and the way that we communicate today. I am much more “comfortable” doing things the way that I know how to do them and the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my personal favorite mantra. My pastor preached to us yesterday about learning how to evolve with things and being willing to gain new knowledge so that it could help us take the skills that God has blessed us with, that we have always had, and nurture them and grow them into something even better and bigger with the power to do more good within this world.

When I heard those words I thought about all of the limitations that I have been placing on myself and my dreams just from the shear inability to allow my mind to expand and let myself learn new methods of doing things that just might actually allow for growth and exposure to something better. It’s so odd for me because I consider myself such a student of life and a person who just loves learning overall but when it comes to doing things in a way that’s unsure I just stop there.

I suppose my writing career could be in a far different (and better) place right now if I had been more adaptable to change a long time ago. New can be scary for me, especially if I had gotten so used to doing things in a way that seemed to be working so well but the thing is sometimes you do things the same for so long that you can’t even see when they stop working. You’re too blinded by the familiar and you keep walking in what you know because it feels right to you.

When you finally realize how much you haven’t grown it can be a jolt to the system and one that can either cause you to crumble or to kick it into high gear and get moving in the right direction. I guess you could say I did some crumbling first. I suppose I just have to keep reminding myself of how good change can be when I start to regress and back away from something new. The fact of the matter is that what God wants me to do with the gifts he’s given me, what he wants me to pour into this world is far more important than my wanting to remain ‘comfortable’. I have work to do and I don’t get to complain about being uncomfortable!

Until next time… #BeUncomfortable #BeInFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Moving Away From the Comfort Zone I’m Stuck In

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. This year has been a very trying one so far and I have truly been struggling with a lot of things financially and with my writing. The things I’ve been going through lately have brought on another bout of depression and along with it a layer of anxiety as well. It has become a bit of a hindrance to my writing on many levels which is frustrating to say the least. The past two weeks in particular had left me in a place that I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen, I simply just had to pray about it, ask others around me that cared about me to pray for me, and leave it up to God.

My mother made a statement questioning why God would allow me to go through what I’m going through and why would this be happening right now and my only response was that HE has a reason for everything and honesty the situation was probably more of a result of all the times that I tried to do things my own way and not HIS way. In fact, I think that’s what this particular feeling of rock bottom left me with. I was trying to gain understanding as to what the reason was and I figured it out, or at least I believe I figured out what HE was trying to get me to understand.

I have all of these gifts and talents and plenty of ideas as to the ways to put them to use in order to provide the things that I need but I keep waiting for things to be perfect before making any moves to attempt any of those ideas. I have books that could have been published but for this reason or that I didn’t feel like it was perfect enough to put out there. I have an idea for a line of T-shirts that I have been told by multiple people would be a great idea and that they would love to get one when I put them out there but because I can’t get one thing perfect for them I won’t put them out there. I’ve been told and have had the feeling several times that it’s time to take this blog and my magazine to the next level and start a YouTube channel or Podcast but because I don’t consider myself camera friendly (mind you that’s my assessment, not others assessment of me) or because I have a fear that people won’t listen or that it won’t be helpful to others like I want it to be I haven’t even moved towards making that idea a reality.

All of these things that God has placed on my heart to do, quite frankly because they pull me out of my comfort zone, and I haven’t done them because I keep having this notion that they’re supposed to be perfect. I think that this most recent situation has made me realize I have to stop ignoring what I know I’m supposed to be doing and moving towards because it’s uncomfortable and because things won’t be able to be perfect because logically I know that nothing is ever going to be perfect and if I’m really honest with myself, some of the most beautifully constructed things are made beautiful by the imperfections that they possess.

Now I don’t enjoy rock bottom by any means, but I have to say that this experience has taught me something about myself and just reaffirmed my faith in God and the path that HE is getting ready to take me on. I’m not out of the woods just yet (in terms of the current situation) but I truly believe that I can see HIS footsteps much clearer now, guiding me out of troubled waters. Until the next time… #BeFearless #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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