The Importance of Sisterhood

I was very lucky to find a great friend early in life.  She is usually the first person I call when anything happens in my life.  Currently, we live on opposite sides of the country, she’s in California and I’m in Florida.  We met at church when we were about nine or ten years old.  We are the same age, our birthday’s are on the same day, different months (she’s in December, I’m in September), and we were born at the same hospital.  To say that we were meant to be is an understatement for us.  I only get to see her once a year but for us nothing has changed except a plane ride.

Over the years I’ve tried to form bonds with other girls/women but the friendships never seemed to connect well.  I think it’s mostly because of me though.  I’ve had some really bad friendships with some who claimed to be a friend but ended up doing or saying something that caused me to not trust them and to pull away.  I learned to keep my circle of friends very small.  Basically, it was just my friend Swayla and my sister.

Recently, I’ve come to understand that creating a sisterhood can be very important in a women’s life.  A sisterhood, community of women, can help to strengthen one other when a safe place can be created that allows women to openly and honestly share with one another.  Two weeks ago I was invited to a gathering at coworker’s house.  While she and I do talk periodically by phone, we don’t hang out or meet up regularly.  I am not one to attend too many get-togethers because I don’t want to open myself up to false friendships.  However, I wanted to support my coworker who was hosting because I find her to be very kind and genuine.

Surprisingly, I had a very nice time.  What stood out to me most that afternoon was the story my coworker told about a group of women she recently began working out with.  At a stressful point in her life, my coworker decided that she wanted to start working out to clear her mind and relieve stress.  After some research, she came across this group of women who met to work out together.  In this group, they not only support one another during work outs but have created a sisterhood to support one another inside and outside of the gym.  They support each others goals, hold one another accountable and regularly meet up to personally check in.

Through her story I learned three important aspect of building trusting, lasting friendships.

First, to find a friend, one must show themselves as a friend.

Second, connect with like-minded people.

Third, don’t be afraid to share your story because God didn’t intent for us to walk this journey alone.

As I have continued to read Craving Connection, I have learned what it means to be a friend and also how silence about my pain and struggles can sometimes push me into isolation and make me fearful of letting others in.  While I am not suggesting that you go out and blab your business to everyone in order to find friends but start small.  Look around the outer ring of your current circle of friends.  See if there is one or two women you could possible have a deeper connection with.  Invite them to lunch or coffee and hang out.  The more you are around them the more you may feel comfortable and this may help you to open up more.  Some friendships may simply be general and pleasant from a distance and that’s ok.  The overall goal is to not isolate yourself to the point where you are not reaching out or growing to your full potential.  Work on developing relationships that will stretch, support and encourage you.

 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

 

 

Granting Grace

After nearly thirteen years together sometimes he just works my last nerve!  Last night I was frustrated to no end with my Love so I decided to leave the house to get some air.  I needed to go to Wal-Mart anyway but then I figured since Chick-fil-a was right next to Wal-Mart I deserved a cookies & cream milkshake…heaven on earth!

At the light while waiting to pull out of my subdivision, still fuming, I was going over the events of the past few minutes.  Even though I was in the car by myself and no one would have known, I was silently praying to God to help control my anger as to not start cursing that man out verbally or in the quiet corners of my mind.  

Sitting my anger at that light I clearly heard God say, “grant him grace.”  Ugh!!! God has been doing that a lot lately.  Just jumping into my thoughts, reminding me that in order to complete my circle not only do I have speak my faith, I also have to act my faith.

Grace is one of those words we hear so often that we tend to brush it aside when we are frustrated or angry.  In general, we all know what grace means but in all things Christ-like we have a choice in whether or not we use it.

Like I said, I know generally what grace means but I decided to look it up anyway so that I could make sure it was really grace God wanted me to extend in this current situation with my Love. (Won’t we try to find a way not to do what God tells us to do?  The flesh is weak!)

By definition, grace is the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

In reading the definition, it was the word unmerited that stood out the most so, I looked it up too.

Unmerited – not adequately earned or deserved.

I meditated over that word for quite sometime before I started this post.  No one and I mean no one, not even I, deserve grace.  If I were totally honest I know without a doubt that I sometimes say, do, think and act in ways that anger or frustrate God yet, even though I did absolutely nothing to earn or deserve it, I EXPECT God to grant me grace.  To forgive me, bless me and love me no matter what.  So who am I to not give to others what God so lovingly and freely gives to me each and every moment of my life?

I had the most enlightening drive to Wal-Mart! I also enjoyed my milkshake but then went home with a better attitude, helped my son with an online exam, hugged my Love and peacefully went to sleep.

Learning how to listen so that I can listen to learn.

 

Refreshed

It took a little while but this morning I was able to complete my 90-Day study of Awaken by Priscilla Shirer.  I love the format in which this book is written.  Each day begins with a scripture and then a short discussion followed by time to write down your thoughts.  If you are looking for a short daily devotional with high impact, I would definitely recommend this book.

On Monday, when I realized that I was almost done with Awaken, I stopped at my local Lifeway Christian bookstore to find my next bible study jewel.  I had no idea what I wanted to read/study next so I browsed the shelves for about an hour trying to find a book I was hoping would speak to my mind, spirit and soul.  I thumbed through all of the authors I am familiar with but nothing felt quite right.  I then turned my attention to authors I had not read before.  Low and behold I came across a book titled Craving Connection by (in)courage.  (in)courage, I have since come to know, was founded by Dayspring as an online community for women to share stories about their every day lives with God.

I purchased this little gem and brought it home.  I am looking forward to cracking it open in the morning and taking the next step toward building an even closer, deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.

On to greater heights...😊

Just the Highlights

I am so very glad that I journal almost every day, put darn near everything I do in my calendar and capture the most important moments on digital image.  In this particular instance it will make giving the highlights of my 2017 year that much easier.

Leading into 2017 my focus was saving money in hopes of purchasing my first home.  Then came the business of house hunting.  But in between that lofty goal I…

Visited Washington D. C. and the African American History Museum

Completed a couple of 5K’s

Bought a new car

Served my first term as President of Soroptimist International of Tampa

Spent lots of time on the beach

Completed a bunch of School District trainings

Attended a District II Training in Ft. Lauderdale for Soroptimist

Attended more high school football games than I can count

Hosted a One Day Conerence for teen girls

Saw my old apartment building being torn down

Visited my boy and grand-boy in North Carolina

Helped my friend with her wedding business

Saw my God-Childen on their visit to Orlando from California

Took part in a protest

Celebrated my sister’s twenty years on the job

Weathered Hurricane Irma

Watched one of our schools burn down

Visited Mt. Dora

Read 14 books

Had breakfast, lunch and coffee dates with my friends and family

Got my church on…not every Sunday but frequently

Through all that I spent time reflecting on life in general, family relationships, friendships, my career, my love life, my future.  And here’s what I learned…

If it makes me happy…I’ll keep doing it

Read more…my goal this year is 24 books

Make my morning quiet time a priority

The only person I can change is me

Keep up with community service projects

The truth will most definitely set you free

Dream Big and Dream Often

Your character says a lot about you

Forgive

God’s plan for my life is meant for me; everybody can’t go

As long as I am a teacher, I will need multiple sources of income in order to survive

Work toward my goals a little every day

Here’s to 2018… 🙂

It’s Her Birthday

Today is a very special day for me. It’s my momma’s birthday! She would have turned sixty-six on today.  I lost my momma in June of 2015.  Even now, it’s still very hard for me to believe she’s no longer with us.  Grateful that she’s no longer in pain but so sad she had to go.

The months of November and December were her favorite.  She loved cooking so Thanksgiving and Christmas gave her the opportunity to go all out.  Feeding us and making a plate for anyone who stopped by gave her so much joy.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of both my parents but I think of them most often during this time of year.

Time is not always on our side and everything can’t wait.  There is one thing I can be whole about when it comes to losing my parents and that is we had no unfinished business at the time of their deaths.  I can mourn and be sad without guilt or feeling as if I should have said something or done something prior to losing them.

Be authentic. Love your family, love your friends.  If you have something to say…say it.  If you know you were wrong…humble yourself and apologize.  If someone hurt you, tell them and clear the air.  Remember…forgiveness is for you.  You walking around in hurt and anger is only further hurting you.

Missing my momma…

 

Life Is Like A Boat!

Jonah 1:15 – Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.

I read this passage during my quiet time this morning and it got me to thinking! Jonah boarded this boat headed in the total opposite direction that God told him to go, right?  Jonah was running and yet the other guys on the boat had no idea what Jonah he was up to.  What should have been a normal, easy trip to Tarshish turned wild as the sea began raging.  The other sailors weren’t certain but they had a feeling something wasn’t right and that maybe someone was in trouble with God, but who?

As they began tossing their cargo and trying to figure out how to calm the raging sea, Jonah said nothing.  In fact, Jonah was sleeping like a baby.  It wasn’t until the sailors woke him and told him to pray that Jonah became aware of just how dangerous a situation they all were in.  When they sat down to cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah, they asked, “what should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”  Jonah’s reply, “pick me up, and toss me overboard.”  They didn’t what to and they tried to go back to land but the raging sea only grew worse.  Finally, after praying, they threw Jonah over and the sea grew calm.

How many people do you have riding in your boat that’s causing the sea of your life to rage? We so often spend time trying to figure out why things in our lives are “raging” and why situations just won’t go right.  At times like this, yes, it’s great to look within ourselves to make any necessary corrections but we also need to take a closer look at the people in and around our lives. Just as God was calling to Jonah and the crew on the boat inadvertently got caught up in his correction, we, too, can sometimes get caught up in God’s correction of others.

Our sea of life could be raging because of a relationship, friendship or acquaintance.  We may not be able to cast lots but we can pray for God’s direction and ask him for clear eyes to see if those in our lives are right for us.  Then to calm our sea, we just may have to throw some people overboard.

Keep calm and trust God…:)

Throwing Up Hands

Remember those times when you’ve gone to the store and the item you wanted to buy (socks, perfume, underwear, sheets) comes all neatly tucked in a package? But, you wanted to see it up close.  Touch it.  Hold it up to see how it looked.  Ever so gently, you open the package, careful not to tear it.  You take the item out thinking you were going to remember how it came out so you could fold it back and replace it in the package just as you found it.  With your smooth operation, no one would be able to tell the difference.

Then there is just one problem…after you’ve examined the item, try as you might, it just won’t fold up and fit back inside the package.  You get one side in and just when you think you’ve got it…the other side pops out!  After a while of struggling, you throw your hands up in defeat, toss the item and its package on the shelf and walk away.

Isn’t it funny how life some times works that way too?  You are doing your thing, living your life and all seems well until an issue or problem pulls you out of your neat little package.  You try several different options to try to get your peace of mind back and the situation under control but nothing seems to work.  You work out one thing and something on the other side pops out.  When all is said and done, the only thing you want to do is throw your hands up in the air and walk away. If you are anything like me, you like to wrestle with a situation until it is fixed.  I do not like to quit.  When something in my life isn’t working all I want to do is dig in and fix it.  But then, I am gently reminded that I don’t have to wrestle and that I can throw my hands up and walk away.  I can do this because my faith in God allows me to trust that without my help, pushing, wrestling and Ms. Fix-It attitude, He can work things out for me.

My Love once told me about a saying his grandfather had.  His grandfather would say, “there’s no point in you and God being up at night worrying about something. He’s going to be up anyway so give it to him and get your rest.”

Give it to God…:)