Living by Faith (Blog Series): Writer and Podcaster Tiffany T. Huff

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I met Tiffany during an Instagram chat last year, and I have been following along ever since. I am always inspired and filled with renewed faith after reading her posts or listening to her on Periscope. This dynamic woman of God drops no-nonsense gems, and encourages us to walk in authenticity and devotion to our Creator, while building a personal relationship. Grab a cup of tea, relax and get into this goodness!

Tiffany T. Huff Writer, Podcaster and Sacred Self-Care Visionary

Everyone of us must discover faith for ourselves. When did it move from religion to relationship for you? 

I grew up going to church with my family. When my parents divorced we went intermittently. When I was 13 I decided for myself to get baptized and then through high school and college I went to church intermittently. In my heart I could always feel God tugging, but I wasn’t ready to invest fully and consistently into the relationship. (Le sigh)

In 2007, I moved to North Carolina briefly and that is where I had my first personal, distinct encounter with God and when I actually learned He desired a relationship with me, and I began to willingly, and intentionally engage in relationship with Him.

Before sharing your journey of faith with readers, how do you prepare – prayer, meditation, worship music, etc.?

I have a morning ritual which helps set the tone for my day, and oftentimes before I pour out to anyone. Definitely prayer and meditation are part of this. Prayer for me is often inclusive of reading my devotional and the word. After prayer and meditation I journal and just empty out whatever God puts on my heart. In this time I often get what i call “divine downloads.”

These practices have really helped me to become more in tune with my own voice, the voice of God and the presence of the The Holy Spirit which in essence directs how I am able to serve others through my writing, coaching and other work.

How do you hear God speaking to you in daily life? 

I talk to God all day! Lol! And while He doesn’t always respond immediately I do hear from Him at various times of the day. Most often though, I hear from Him early in the morning – like before the sun comes up when I am in my morning practice of prayer and meditation or at night – when I am trying to go to sleep. He never ceases to amaze me with those late night – get out of the bed and talk to me invitations

What advice do you have for readers who want to deepen their relationship with God but feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it all? 

I advise others all the time to approach their relationship, getting to know God better as you would another relationship. Invite God to coffee and give him your undivided attention. Share with Him, allow Him into your deep dark – and light spaces, and create space for him to do the same. Sometimes, all it takes is the initiation of the conversation, letting God know you have the desire to get to know him better. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate event but I do think He deserves to be invited into a sacred space with you where He feels welcome and knows its just the two of you. He needs to know He is important and a priority.

Social Media: IG/Twitter/Periscope: @TheTiffanyHuff

Facebook – Read Write Love

Blog: WeReadWriteLove.com

Podcast: Reinventing You 

Living by Faith (Blog Series): Talking with Writer Kami Lingren 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I met Kami on Instagram, and instantly connected to the beauty of her words; we have become fast friends. The grace she flows in as she heals from a chronic illness is incredibly inspiring. Her social media feeds and blog are daily reminders to walk and live in gratitude for the beauty around us. She has such a heart for people, and cultivating community. I am sure you will enjoy the courageous honesty and depth she shares with us about her faith journey.

Kami Lingren, Writer and Blogger

Everyone of us must discover faith for ourselves. When did it move from religion to relationship for you?

As a child I always believed that God was my friend. I would talk to him all the time, about the silly things and about my dreams. I thought of him as kind and loving, but yet my ever-conservative Christian church’s theology would sometimes clash with this deeply spiritual connection I felt to him.

As a born planner, I was drawn to structure. So growing up in an environment littered with rules and expectations I found myself following along. First to respect the rules, and second because I thought that must be how you get closer to God. But the harder I tried to stay within the lines while also feeling pulled to be a compassionate and loving human, the more I struggled with anxiety over my faith. I felt I would never fully be “enough”.

Throughout these past few years of facing severe health challenges God’s felt more distant. The harder I tried to find him in the ways I had before, the further he would feel. So since my old ways of experiencing God and faith was causing more grief, shame and frustration than healing and comfort, I began giving myself space to wrestle. I started asking a lot of really hard, honest questions.

And in the midst of living the hell-on-earth experience it’s been as I’ve fought for healing – and very literally, my life – I’ve longed for something more. Something deeper. Something less by-the-book and more authentically connected to who I believe God is. And how I want to live in reflection of that.

For me, my relationship with God looks different than it ever has. And I’m okay with that. I’m still wrestling. Wrestling with what I believe about God and how this new faith journey will unfold for me. 

But what keeps me pressing onward is this realm of peace I’ve encountered in the unknown. Something that I never fully had in “I’ve figured this out” land. For now my heart holds on to an image of God and I hand-in-hand, him gently listening while together we move forward. And that is a journey – and relationship – I can comfortably embrace.

Photo Credit: Daiga Ellaby

Before sharing your journey of faith with readers, how do you prepare – prayer, meditation, worship music, etc.? How have these practices grown you in both your walk with God and the craft of writing?

I think one of the most effective ways I fill up before sharing my journey with readers is taking in nature. Whether that’s gazing at the hills while taking my dog out for a break or going for a drive with my husband, I try to soak in the moment. I take in the colors, the hills, the horizon and I try to quiet my mind.

Meditation is newer for me, but I’ve been trying to do it once daily. I love it so much! It’s incredibly soul-healing and calming. I now believe it’s something our bodies desperately need – and crave – if we’re really paying attention. It’s not easy to quiet the mind or be still when you’ve adopted an idea that being productive means you have to be active. (Ahem, hand raised.)

Photo Credit: Arkady Lifshits

My health challenges have stretched me a lot in this idea of resting versus resting well. So these practices encourage me to carve out time for restorative rest. The kind that leads to deeper healing, inspiration, and even connection with God.

How do you hear God speaking to you in daily life?

With how my spiritual journey has changed, I am recognizing God more – and more deeply – in the small things. In the beauty of a neighbor’s flowers. The playfulness of my dog. I feel his love in the embrace of my husband on a really hard health day. I hear him speaking to me in the kindness of a friend. I experience his goodness through words of truth or encouragement or the creativity of someone else.

And I see his words and character in action in advocacy for justice, attitudes of inclusion, hearts that embrace others that may be different than them. For me it’s become a practice of mine to look for him outside of the ordinary. In recognizing he is present in even what’s deemed ‘the mundane’ I’m discovering that he can be found/heard beyond our preconceived boundaries.

What advice do you have for readers who want to deepen their relationship with God but feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it all?

If I could, I’d love to sit down with you in some cozy chairs together at a coffee bar. We’d sip our drinks and I’d gently share these words with you: embrace grace in your journey, friend. In your seeking, give yourself space to be human. In your questioning, allow yourself to sit with any unknowns you encounter.

And for the moments you ever feel overwhelmed with doubt or frustration? Girl, give yourself permission to sit in the uncomfortable and recognize it’s all part of the process…of just about everything!

Our relationship with God isn’t going to look the same for any one of us and there is comfort in accepting the reality that that’s okay.

Keep up with Kami:

Blog: http://www.livinggraceblog.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kamilingren19

Twitter: http://twitter.com/livinggraceblog

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kamichristina

Why Activism & Creating Affirming Spaces for Women Moves Me

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Black Womyn Rising (May 2016)

Ever since elementary school, I have stood up against any perceived injustice. Not on a picket line, more subtly I suppose, as my early protesting involved befriending kids others made fun of or ignored.

On the weekends, Dad told my brother and I stories about his life, the years he spent in Hounduras before coming to the U.S. We learned about his childhood, both the simple beauty and abject poverty. Those expressive eyes held a tinge of sadness as he told us about wearing shoes only on Sundays, as they walked to church; they traveled to school barefoot.

I sat there, all of 6 or 7, fully absorbed, unable to push the sentences about hardship back, tears and anger welled within me. Of course he said, “don’t cry,” “I’m fine now, Meldy” (his nickname for me), and yet, as he hugged me tenderly, smelling of cologne and peppermint, I couldn’t shake the heaviness of it all.

Why did I have shoes and clothes and other children didn’t? It felt absurd, cruel and unfair, and I wanted to change something, however small. I always felt a deep desire to transform the world in my own way, bringing light and beauty.

All these years later, I finally feel I am walking into my purpose as an activist, organizer, and cultivator of affirming spaces for women. Sometimes God must remove the noise, distractions and barriers which are hindering us from growth.

Rocking a shirt given to me by my good friend Kayla (includes names of Black womyn and girls murdered or assaulted by police)

And I suppose this is how I have come to work with Black Womyn Rising, an intergenerational organizing collective  I helped found with several other sistas based in Baltimore. Our work is intersectional (meaning we seek to understand how various forms of oppression operate and  impact black womyn and girls), and rooted in transformative love and global sistahood.

We are deeply concerned with resisting all forms of oppression and actively creating affirming spaces for womyn of color.  In the spirit of Nina Simone and so many other foremamas, we uplift the beauty, complexity and the rich layers of blackness.

While social justice and activism are a deep part of my soul, so, too, is creativity. Writing, photographing, sketching, these outlets are oxygen for me. Last year I founded Women Creatives Chat, a community that lives online for now (working on planning some events) whose mission is to inspire, empower (through tips, resources and regular Instachats), and connect my fellow creatives with one another.

Since launching on Instagram late last year, it’s growing daily. And I feel blessed to follow and connect with women from all around the world who are creating and trusting their unique visions. You and I truly can have the life we seek and dream about it. It begins with clarity, which I believe is rooted in prayer, a personal relationship with God and radical self love.

Graphic designed by Emelda De Coteau Founder, Women Creatives Chat

 

Anyway, enough about me! What sets your heart on fire? What do you feel called to give to the world?  I want to hear all about it in the comments below, sweet friends.