Just Me

I was born a fighter.  I’m sure God must have known what I’d endure over my lifetime and He just decided to build me to last.  I can remember the exact day life as I’d known it had changed.  I was in seventh grade and I just knew.  That morning, I woke up a confused, withdrawn, sad and very angry child.  That was all I could think to be at that time.  I had lots of questions but no one I trusted to answer them so I learned to be silent.  I let my attitude and anger speak for me.  I often heard people say, “what’s wrong with her”, yet no one asked me directly.

Adults are funny that way.  Instead of facing issues directly, they make excuses for why children behave a certain way or they choose to ignore it altogether.  Getting to the heart of the matter may shine light on their own insecurities so they teach children to be quiet and what children learn to do is suffer in silence. What we all end up with are generational curses that span decades.  Children who learn to be silent become adults who often suffer through abusive relationships, allow anger to fuel promiscuity, develop mental heath issues or other toxic, unhealthy problems.  The cycle continues until one brave soul decides to break the curse.

 

Very few people know my story.  For me, there has to be a need to share it.  I have to know that the person who hears it will benefit from it in some way.  Other than that, they are mere words spoken with no direction or path.  As I’ve gotten older and have had the opportunity to share my story, I usually hear one of two things, “how have you not lost your mind” and “you should write a book.”  I always laugh because there was a time when I thought I had “lost my mind.”  In order to cope with all that I had endured up to that point in my life, I simply became someone else.  Due to the fact that I’d lost my identity at such a young age, through my anger and frustration, I learned to be the person everyone expected me to be.  Yet, I never felt quite right.  I didn’t have balance.

I lived my life in this crazy limbo until I was twenty-eight years old.  I had the privilege to meet this great lady, whom I affectionately refer to as Shug, at a point when my anger and false persona was causing more grief than help.  She literally spoke life into me.  Over the course of about a year, she changed my life and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that I’m still riding today.  She gave me direction which is something I hadn’t had since I was about twelve years old.  She asked the hard questions, expected truthful answers, pressed and pushed until I was ready cut her out of my life forever.  I am thankful and grateful that she never quit.  Prior to Shug, I thought my anger made me a fighter.  She helped me to see that my true resilience, perseverance and innate ability to believe that there is more to me and my life than what people see or may perceive is what makes me a fighter.

It’s just in me to keep pushing.  I don’t quit.  When I look back over my life and reflect on all that I have lived through, the fires I’ve walked through and all those who told me I’d never amount to anything I think, “wow, look at that! If that didn’t stop me…nothing will.”  And I don’t quit!  Everyday is not my best day and I’m not always as positive as I should be.  I have my moments.  I cry, scream and if you catch me on a good day, I might even throw something.  However, I’ve learned not to stay in that place of anger because no one can get a level head when they are fueled with anger.  When my anger begins to subside, I pray, listen and plan.  (I’m learning to pray in my anger.  Not all the way there yet.)  I encourage myself and remind this girl that she is a fighter.

Through it all, I’ve always come out better than I went in.  Tension, challenges and struggles will produce growth if you don’t quit.

Planted but not buried…😊

 

Talk the Talk

Consider this…we can’t create an actual universe with our words, but we can use them to build up or destroy someone else’s world.

I came across this little nugget during my quiet time reading recently and almost immediately shared it on my Facebook page because I thought it was so simple but yet so true.  We have so much power in our words that life and the world would be a much better place if we knew how to use them in a positive way.

When I was younger, I like any other kid, loved watching television.  My favorite part was the commercials.  Back in the day almost every product/ad was promoted through a jingle.  The jingle would get stuck in your head and you’d be singing that thing for the rest of the week!  As I was growing, I had a plan to go off to college and get a degree that would help me to be able to make commercials.  Well, I did go to college and I got a degree but life led me down a different path.

Today, television is the last thing I want to sit down and watch.  I still enjoy a good commercial however, with news programs, tv series and made for tv movies taking such a dark and negative turn, I rarely turn on the television anymore.  If it were solely up to me, I’d toss out every television in the house.

I find it increasingly difficult to expend positive energy to my family and friends or even those I simply run into each day when we, this world, is surrounded in so much negativity.  I feel for my kids the most.  In this age of instant “Likes” and instant posts so that the world knows your every move, my kids are bombarded with instant comments about everything.  And I feel that this is desensitizing them to simple compassion.  It amazes me that everyone has an opinion about everything but what saddens me most is that even in the most positive postings, articles or news reports someone will find a way to turn it into a negative.  You can’t read a post or article about anything where someone hasn’t found a way to make a negative or hurtful comment.  My love gets so frustrated with me because I try to find a positive in all that I do and say.  I am by no means perfect and even though it is hard and often times challenging, I’d much rather find a way to show love and compassion to someone than to be mean and say something negative or hurtful.

What I feel we, as a society, are losing most is our ability to be compassionate.  1 Peter 4: 9-10 says “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  To me that simply means to love one another, to have compassion and respect for my fellow man (woman) and to be compassionate.

Every day, in every situation, find a way to share grace…:)

 

 

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.

 

Past, Present and Future

Normally, it takes me all of a few hours to write a post.  Once a topic, thought or interesting conversation comes to me, my juices start flowing and I just start writing.  However, I’ve been pouring over this post for about a week.  I knew what I wanted to convey but it was coming to me in weird pieces and I just couldn’t get the wording to make sense.  Anyhow, I’m going to give it to you the best I can and hopefully it will make some kind of sense 🙂

My mom used to say that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Of course as a child I had no idea what that meant but as I’ve gotten older I think I have a little bit of an idea as to what my mom’s sentiment might mean. As adults we live and hope that we can learn from our mistakes in order to do better.  However, what happens when we don’t learn from those mistakes? I guess this is how things can actually stay the same.

I got permission from my friend to tell this story because my mom’s little saying popped right into my head as she and I met for breakfast to talk over a week ago and I thought it was absolutely the perfect way to describe what she’s dealing with.  So, this friend has been married for over fifteen years.  She and her husband have three children all under ten years old.  Her husband, as far as I can tell and from what she says, is a cool dude.  Works hard, tries to spoil her as best he can and provides her with a pretty good life.  For the most part, she’s happy.  Unfortunately, she has a penchant for having male friends. Sometimes these friendships have been more than just friendships.

This has obviously caused a serious strain on her marriage which is what we were discussing over breakfast.  Although they have been to counseling, at her husband’s request, she has not made much progress in seeing how her “friendships” are effecting her marriage or what she needs to do in order to cut those ties.  I’ve known this girl for years.  I love her dearly but she’s as wrong as two left shoes and I had no problem telling her that.  In knowing her and talking to her that day, I could clearly see how situations she dealt with as a child are affecting her relationship with her husband and as long as she refuses to shed light on and talk about those issues she will never be free to be the wife her husband needs.

Her life and her story also puts in my mind generational curses and how they can impact so many lives for so many years.  If no one ever stands up to acknowledge what’s wrong in the family and talk about those family secrets they will inevitable eat away at the very fabric of all those involved.  Because I’ve known her so long, I know that this situation didn’t just start with her.  Her mother had the same exact issue in her marriage and story has it that her grandmother had the exact same issue in her marriage.

I almost can’t feel too bad for my girl though because as a grown woman she can make the decision to make a better choice so that this doesn’t continue to carry forth to impact her children.  Instead of being afraid of what may come out as a result of her talking about and dealing with the issues of her past, she can make a lifetime of difference for herself and her family by openly and honestly taking on that challenge.

 

Love yourself enough to take on the challenge… 🙂

 

 

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...😊

Finding My Way

Over the past few weeks I have had many great ideas to blog about. However, so much has happened over the past few weeks that I am not quite sure where to begin. When I first began this blog it was meant to be a place where my friends and I could gather to discuss books that we had chosen to read together, an online book study of sorts.  I think we may have gotten through one book together and then, as with life, we all got busy, schedules changed and we could no longer do what we set out to do. But since I’d already started the blog I didn’t want to just shut it down and as a natural-born writer I decided to use it as a place for simply sharing my thoughts, ideas and encouraging others based on my own experiences. The goal was to post at least once week, no less than three times a month. But as my life got busy I wasn’t able to post/blog as much as I would have liked.

My experiences in the past few weeks have been good, great, not so great and some just simply the worst.  As I sit here now thinking about it all I’m drawn to how I felt about each experience during and after.  Sometimes I was angry, sometimes I was hurt, at times I was confused, at times I was scared, and sometimes I was just plain numb. It’s funny that in the middle of it all I just wanted to say, “ok, life…you win. I quit.”   Then just sit on my bed never to move or leave the house again.  Of course, I couldn’t do that because in order to have a house to live in I had to have money.  I had to eat while I was in the house which meant I had to go to the grocery store and that meant I had to drive my car and therefore I needed gas.  All of which tied into the fact that I needed to take my behind to work.  In all of this I’ve learned one thing and that is change happens but we can never, never, ever give up.

To be perfectly honest, after looking over my life and the things that I’ve been through, the experiences that I’ve had, it used to bother me something terrible when someone would say to me “don’t give up, everything will work out, just keep pushing forward.”  I know that people, especially those who have been through some things in life, really feel that those words are encouraging and maybe to some people they are but in that moment, when you are dealing with real life, that real struggle, in the thick of things, in the middle of the drama, the madness, the chaos, the busy life, the crazy schedule, the differences of opinion…giving up is exactly what you feel like doing.  Just not wanting to be a part of the rat race period. Not wanting to deal with another issue, another problem, another setback nor another week of praying that the gas you have left in the tank will hold out until Friday, nothing.

However, what we don’t realize is that really the only way to give up or quit is to simply stop trying, to stop wanting better, to stop hoping, to stop praying, to stop wishing, to simply stop moving. And I think that as long as we get up each and every day, put one foot forward, move toward that front door, get in that car we know is ready to break down and head to that job we don’t like, by just moving we are essentially not giving up. Even though we don’t feel it and we may sometimes not think it, by simply moving along in our lives we are actually holding out hope that things will get better.  So instead of trying to find some cliche or some philosophical saying, I will just leave you with this…

Jeremiah 29:11 🙂

 

Summer Break

Summer Break

School has been out for a couple of weeks now.  Just as I do every summer, I planned a long laundry list of things I would like to get done.  I love my lists!  I make them for everything.  Mostly for helping me to not forget.  Having a busy life can prove to be quite the challenge when thoughts and ideas are constantly running through your mind.  Therefore, a pad of paper is always somewhere close to me.

The funny thing is, even with all of my lists, there are still somethings that just seem not to get done.  I had high hopes to accomplish a great deal this summer but I seemed to be focused more on having fun and enjoying my time off rather that looking at my summer list.  But, it’s all good!  I do not plan to beat myself up about the things I don’t finish.  For me, what’s most important is being healthy, enjoying my family and enjoying life.  Finding balance is always a challenge, summer break or not.

The key to this list thing is to never, ever give up.  No matter how many times you have to transfer one or two items from an old list to a new one, never give up! One of the things on my summer list that I did actually start was a summer bible study of The Armor of God series by Priscilla Shirer.  In this study I am learning that each and everyday we are all afforded the opportunity to grow and change.  For some that may be spiritually, for others it may be physically or mentally.  No matter what that growth or change may be, the only way it will happen is if we never give up.

Just like with my lists, I am fully aware that I may not be able to accomplish everything I have planned for my life in the time frame I set for myself.  However, what I am most aware of and what I believe is that all things happen in God’s timing and within his plan for my life.  Now that doesn’t mean I get to simply sit back and hope, that somehow, what I’d like to see and do with my life will just happen.  I have to be working toward my goals little by little and day by day.  Giving up will almost certainly guarantee that any hopes and dreams I have will not come to fruition.

So, let me leave you with this…enjoy your summer!  Try to make better choices in eating, drink lots of water, try to get in at least thirty minutes of exercise each day, rest, enjoy family and friends, and be happy!  Check in on your list of things to do from time to time but don’t be upset if you don’t get it all done in a day. Remember to pray, remember to smile and most of all just be you!

Loving Summer…:)