Day 12: Clarity

One of the things that I’ve often mentioned is that I’m grateful for clarity. I’m grateful that when I turned 40 I gained clarity. I started really listening to my inner voice. Focusing on what I wanted and needed. Being honest about what situations really were and just accepted that I was going to be fine because my faith was bigger than my fear allowed me to see clearly.

I cut out things and people that weren’t good for me. I no longer feel the need to offer an excuse about what I will and won’t do. My sanity matters more to me than those that feel inconvenienced by my truth. I just wished that I had gotten to this point earlier in life. Wow! It would have saved me years. But, life is funny like that. You don’t get what you need until God decides you need it.

But, I leave you with this piece of advice. Listen to your inner voice. Your spirit. Let it guide you and you will never go wrong. Look at situations and people for who they are and be thankful that you can see things clearly.

Day 12 in my #23daysofthankfulness has me happy and thankful for clarity.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Truth Tuesday – 4/5/2016

One of the things that I try to do is be open and honest in my blogging, heck in my life. I tell you the truth. I’m human. I’ve had failures. I’ve had successes. I’ve suffered. I’ve survived. I’ve learned. I’m still learning.

But, is it important that we be open and honest when we write? That we share pieces of our lives, our soul and our truths? Or should we just write what we want whether real or imagined to gain followers? I don’t have the answer to those questions. I think it depends on the type of blogger you want to be.

I chose to be open. It is when I’m open about my life both good and bad that I feel like I can see the growth. That I can see the changes that can and need to take place. Being open allows me to know that whatever the circumstance, it is only temporary. Why? Because look how far I’ve come. My life is a testimony.

A testimony that I readily share with others because you need to know that I’m just like you. Or that I’m different from you and that what I’ve overcome and continue to learn about myself is only the beginning. I’m a work in progress.

When you see me crying, smiling, laughing or just living you need to know that there is a story there. That I have been broken and thought I was dying, but I survived. You can and will too. No matter what the circumstance may be.

I strive to be better each and every day. I know that by sharing my testimony that I am hoping to encourage someone to know that this situation is temporary. You can’t get to better days by not enduring some rough nights. When you endure those painful, gut wrenching and emotional nights…write. Write about the pain. The story needs to be told.

Share your testimony with others. Be the link that they need to grasp onto when they feel like all hope is gone. Minister to their spirit. Preach to their soul.  We all have a story. We all have a testimony. Let them see how you overcame. We all can be the change that someone needs.

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This post is a part of Jacqueline’s Tuesday Trickles.

 

Yes Lawdy…I’m Psyched!

As many of you know from my post last year that my car insurance raised 117%. I was officially depressed. I cried, had a breakdown, thought about medication. Thought about alternate employment offers (none that were Christian like if you get what I’m saying) to get the money to pay what I needed in order to be able to drive. I felt as though the world was closing in on me and I was in perpetual hell.

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My car insurance was more than my car note. My co-workers were the first to console me and they were so sweet and encouraging. My friends cried with me and were like “Dang, that’s serious.” No one offered me money. Moolah. Cold hard cash.

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So, I prayed. I limited activities. Didn’t go to Dubai with my girlfriends last December. Forget Dominican Republic for my 40th birthday celebration. What? I can’t afford Brazil in January for my 41st birthday. I have to pay my car insurance. I couldn’t continue to wallow in self-pity and feeling hopeless. I just tightened expenses and created a plan.

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I prayed. I wanted to go to all those places, but it was now time that I grew up. Made adult decisions and created plans to get back on track. You know the same things that I did when I was in college. I worked 3 jobs my senior year in college and took 21 credits. I could do this. I just needed to work the plan. Get my goals aligned with my finances. Make better decisions.

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Much like my decision to practice mindful eating, I had to watch my finances. Cut expenses where I could and decrease spending. Small steps. I cooked more. Ate out less. Entertained less. I saw two lights at the end of the tunnel…

I got a pre-approval to reduce my APR on my car by 50%. Talking to my financial savvy friends about my options which I saw as two:

  • Pay off my current loan in less time keeping the same monthly note or
  • Keep the same terms but lower the monthly payment

Both were good ideas said my friends. I felt the first surge of hope soar in my heart. All was not lost. Even though I’m leaning towards the first option, there was something new…hope.  It was on the horizon.

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Then I got this insurance renewal notice in the mail. I prayed before opening it. I knew that they were going to drop me. My friend borrowed my car in May and got into an accident. He hit a police car. “Jesus” was all I could say. I opened up the documents and saw this…

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It was less expensive than my current rate. How much? It was $85.00 a month cheaper than my current rate. I could breathe. They didn’t drop me after all. They even reduced the rate. I wouldn’t be destitute and twerking in some dark and dank club for some change to pay the car insurance.

I was officially in praise mode and yelled, “Thank you Jesus” and did my praise dance all up and through my office.

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Won’t HE do it? Thankful for every blessing!

Not Bound By My Background

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou

 

I entitled my post today based off a sermon my pastor preached a few weeks ago entitled “But By the Grace of God I am what I am”. One of the points that he was making in his sermon was about not being bound by my background. He spoke about this in relation to Paul and how Paul is not the only one with a shady background. But, he said that the favor of God is significant in the life of the believer. The message had been resonating in my spirit for the last few weeks and I can’t seem to get it out. I guess that means I need to focus on it right?

So, I did. I started thinking about my past and how I’m not bound my background no matter who tries to hold me hostage to my past. Like Paul and I suppose many of you reading this now, I had to remember that I have God’s favor and he is not holding my past hostage and using it to destroy me in my future. That’s what I had to remember because I’ve been having a heck of a time “co-parenting” with my son’s father lately and I realized that one of the things he was doing was trying to bound me to my background.

Have you ever had someone try to use your past as a weapon against you in your future? By using your fears, insecurities, experiences and/or bad decisions in your face as fact of the person you are and who’ve you become? I have and you know what? I ain’t worried. I know that’s not grammatically correct, but in this instance I need you to understand where I’m coming from because it is about to get real.

No one is perfect. No one. Only one man was perfect and none of us have ever come close so we need to stop worrying about being perfect and just live our best lives. Seeking to do His will. The bible is full of situations in which Jesus used the undesirable to spread the word. He showed favor and these people realized it. I realize it.

You know when I realized it? When I had suffered abuse at the hands of man and all my walls were built up to protect my heart, God protected my spirit. The enemy didn’t win. Was my life rough? Yes. Am I better having lived and survived the experiences. Yes. Is God through with me? No.

I have often spoke of how we need to encourage ourselves in order to get through difficult situations where people are trying to persecute you. Sometimes that is all you can do is to pray, submit and give it to God. I won’t let those who don’t believe in God’s favor persecute me for my past. Because those persecutors are not perfect. They have a past like me and many times it is worse. The great thing I want you to remember is that your past is just that…your past.

You can’t erase it. You can’t forget it. You may have had no control over the events that happened in your past. But, you can choose not to relive it. Don’t be bound by your background. Know that you are blessed and highly favored.

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Broken And Wounded

I have to tell you that sometimes I don’t pray. Not that I don’t know how to pray. It’s not that. It’s that I am embarrassed because I hadn’t done it in so long. I hadn’t just had a conversation with God and meditated on His word. I was so busy being me and living life that I put God in the corner. I put the almighty in a box. – Journal entry

Sigh.

As I started writing my #wednesdaywisdom message, I re-read my journal post and realized that I was fumbling with my faith. That I was not praying like I should. Actually, I hadn’t prayed in almost a month when I wrote that journal entry. I was trying to handle my own stuff.

I bet I’m also not alone on this. I think we all get in the mindset that we can handle it on our own and that things are going well we don’t need to check-in with God because He can see us right? I became a fair weather Christian. Calling on Him only in my time of need. Making decisions without seeking God’s counsel.

You know what happened next right? Tragedy. I found myself in the worse pain of my life. My marriage had ended and I was brokenhearted and distraught at the pain I was going through. It was brutal. It was like a never-ending cycle of hell. I was so wounded by the words that were thrown around, the sides people I loved were taking and the inability to stop the noise in my head.

I was on my knees praying and crying for a peace that I felt like would never come. How could it? How could I get the peace I was praying for when I couldn’t stop the noise?

By submitting. I needed to submit. I needed to submit to the will of the situation and allow God to come in and do His will.

He did.

It was done.

I want to encourage you on this #wisdomwednesday with this message:

Psalm 147:3 (NRSV)

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

No matter what you’re going through know that God heals the brokenhearted and will bind your wounds. Give it to God! Pray. Sometimes it will seem that you can’t hear God’s word because of the noise in your head and here’s how you can clear the noise:

Write a list of three things you’re thankful for on that day!

That’s it. It’s that simple. Make it a part of your daily prayer and meditation process. This writing your blessings and acknowledging His gratitude and grace over your life will help clear the noise out of your life. It will start to diminish the chaos in your mind and spirit. You are then able to see visually all that you have in spite of what you have going on in your spirit.

It is easy. It won’t happen overnight though. You have to keep with it. You know you “have to go through it to get to it” right? Peace will come. Your spirit will heal and your wounds will be bound. You will have a testimony once you’ve gone through the test. Just be patient my love.

Be blessed!

Order My Steps

One of my favorite songs is this old gospel song called “Order My Steps”. Every time I hear it, my eyes well with tears because it reminds me that I need God to order my steps. My tongue can sometimes be used to do harm instead of good. So, I’m constantly asking for Him to lead me.  I want to walk worthy. Don’t you?

Here are the lyrics:

Order my steps in Your word dear Lord,
lead me, guide me everyday,
send Your anointing, Father I pray;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Humbly, I ask Thee to teach me Your will,
while You are working, help me be still,
Satan is busy, God is real;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Bridle my tongue let my words edify,
let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight,
take charge of my thoughts both day and night;
order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Order my steps in Your word.
Order my tongue in Your word.
Guide my feet in Your word.
Wash my heart in Your word.
Show me how to walk in Your word.
Show me how to talk in Your word.
When I need a brand new song to sing,
show me how to let Your praises ring,
in your word (2x),

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

Let’s ask God to order our steps in our decisions. No matter how inconsequential they may seem. Let’s ask for His will to be done.

Be blessed loves!

Don’t Let Go

For those of you who may be going through it, I wanted to encourage you today. I have to tell you that I feel your pain. As I was listening to Pandora earlier this week, Kurt Carr’s “I Almost Let Go” came on and I started to cry. I was having a come to Jesus, full on testimony experience. I’ve been going through some things and I tell you when God is working on me and through me HE gets inside of my spirit and I am transformed and renewed knowing that HE knows what is going on with me. How wonderful is that?

I Almost let go
I felt like I just couldn’t take life any more
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down
But God held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me
So I wouldn’t let go

– Kurt Carr “I Almost Let Go”

Kurt’s words above are simple yet poignant. Depression weighs you down. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I feel like I’m still there, but you know what? This too shall pass. God’s mercy will keep you when you feel that there is no way out. When your back is against the wall and you feel like everything you touch is crumbling and you can’t see through pain, trust me that God’s got you.

I have to remind myself of this and I want to remind you to be encouraged because it could be worse. WE WILL OVERCOME. There is strength in numbers and you need to remember that we serve a faithful God. Always.

Proverbs 4:25 (MSG)

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

Be blessed loves!

Emailing that Dang Death to Love Man

Okay, so here’s the deal…

You can’t treat me like I’ve stolen your puppy or run over your foot in my car. Why are you acting like I destroyed you? I told you how I felt when we last spoke and my world forever changed. Without any thought to how I feel or what I’m going through, you act like you’re hurt. Are you really going to say that you are the victim here? Do you know or even care how I feel? I told you that I needed space and time because I knew the rules of this situationship when we met. I knew. But, somehow I couldn’t stay within my lane and I caught feelings. I wasn’t trying too. I was trying to take it for what it was. Casual dating.

I told you last week that my spirit was in turmoil and that I wasn’t sleeping or eating because I knew it was time I got off this merry go round. I was a wreck this weekend and I kept breathing and saying, “I need to take this one day at a time”. One second becomes one minute which becomes one hour until I can make it through the day. I told my friends that I did the impossible and ended it with you. I told them that it hurts. They replied, “I know, but I love you and it will get easier.”

I told my family that I had fallen in love with someone who I wasn’t ready to introduce to them but we broke up. I said, “He doesn’t love me and I can’t breathe because it hurts like hell.” My sister replied for me to repeat after her “We don’t love them ho*s”. I laughed with tears in my eyes and sighed, “But, I do.” My mother told me, “Baby, I’m sorry, but I never thought I would survive your break up at 15 when you overdosed on pills and slit your wrists. Hell, I never thought you would survive it. But, you did. If you could survive that you can survive anything.” I told her, “I know I will survive. It just hurts like hell.”

Again, I wallowed in my pain and bathed in my heartache praying for peace. My plea to you to stop calling me wasn’t because I don’t want to be your friend or be in your life. It was because I don’t have the strength to stop talking to you. Because I’m weak. I want to know how you’re doing. I want to hear your voice and know that you are okay. I want to laugh about stupid stuff or whatever. It’s my problem. I know. I’m not blaming you. I just need time to get my head on straight and be able to truly be your friend without having these feelings for you. I owe it to myself to choose me first.

So, I will do what I do best and journal my pain. I wish only the best for you and know that you are in my prayers and thoughts always. Only time can heal this chasm of pain.

A Brutally Honest Lesson

As someone who has had their fair share of heartbreaks and love gone wrong I wanted to share this piece that I read on The Huffington Post  by author, Michelle Horton, “8 Brutally Honest Lessons I Learned About Love From My Therapist”. I read this list and breathed a sigh of relief. There are so many lessons that I could relate too and some that were new. I wanted to scream “Preach girl!” I love this list and I think number 7 is my favorite.

So, here are Ms. Horton’s 8 Lessons that she learned from her therapist:

1. Love is about reciprocity.

On the surface, one might scoff at such a statement. Love isn’t contingent on what we get back, right? Love doesn’t keep score, doesn’t need anything in return, isn’t needy. Yet the very basic definition of love — caring about the health, happiness, and well-being of someone over ourselves — should be reciprocal. If you’re in a relationship where you’re always giving, giving, giving to the point of depletion, and if you aren’t feeling important, cared for, even considered, then there’s something else going on besides love. Even though the scales won’t always be balanced, the love in a marriage should be reciprocal. It’s such a basic concept but really helped to put things into perspective as to what I’m giving vs. what I’m receiving.

2. “This is an abusive relationship.”

A blunt statement that changed my life. I spent over 5 years in a marriage that was abusive and I had absolutely no idea. He never hit me, never yelled, never called me hurtful names — and yet the abuse was there, hidden beneath my excuses and justifications for his behavior. Sometimes it takes an objective, outside perspective to shine a light on a truth you didn’t want to see.

3. You can’t be the supporter and the enforcer at the same time.

This was in the context of my husband’s addiction and my enabler tendencies, but it applies to my marriage and parenting, too. Enforcing boundaries and rules isn’t easy (especially for someone like me, who wants to perpetually support and love everyone in my life), but it’s important. And, no, it’s impossible to be the enforcer and the support system at the same time.

4. Not all relationships are meant to last.

Here’s a hard truth that transcends every “’til death do us part” vow. My therapist has a rolodex of examples, some personal, some professional, of relationships that needed to end. Some relationships are toxic and damaging and sometimes a relationship reaches a point where there’s nothing left to learn from, no way left to grow together, and has to be let go. That doesn’t make the relationship a failure — we learned something from it — it simply makes the relationship over.

5. Sexual attraction isn’t everything.

Just because I’ve historically been most attracted to damaged, baggage-carrying men doesn’t mean I’m meant to be with them; it just means I might not be as healthy as I assumed. When my therapist told me that his healthiest relationship is the one that started with little to no “spark,” I initially felt sad. How could you be in a relationship where there’s no heat, no fireworks? But from a wiser perspective, a “spark” isn’t always a green light. In fact, in many cases, it can be a red flag. In future relationships, I’ll ask myself why I’m attracted to a certain man before trusting my sex organs.

6. You can never love anyone until you love yourself.

This was phrased more like, “Have you reached the realization that you really can’t love anyone until you love yourself first?” As if loving myself was a marker on the way to true healthy thinking, a marker I’d eventually pass. Of course I nodded, given the very familiar cliché that everyone thinks they understand. I’ll be honest, it took a good six months of consciously practicing self-love before I realized the depths of that statement. After finding a more tender, compassionate attitude toward myself, I was able to understand how other people need to be loved. Beyond romantic love, contractual love, tough love, I-love-you-but-I-don’t-like-you love, there’s the true essence of pure LOVE — in all its warmth and softness, a love that can only be understood through experiencing it from ourselves to ourselves.

7. “He might not be capable of loving you.”

“Is he capable of loving you?” my therapist asked one day. It was a question I’d wondered many times, as I mulled over his damaged past, his abusive tendencies, his disease that makes him self-centered and manipulative. Maybe he’s loving me the best way he can, but is it enough? After asking myself this question in the quiet stillness, the answer was something I always knew, deep down. Maybe we should stop asking our partners, “Do you love me?” and start questioning if they can love us the way that we define love. Just because he understands love differently, and just because he has certain walls in place that prevent real love from seeping through, doesn’t make him a bad person. It’s not personal, but it’s also not my problem to fix.

8. The best thing you can do for your family is to be healthy.

My therapist doesn’t define “healthy” with a BMI number or a specific diet. Healthiness, rather, is having a clear mind, strong boundaries, and a pulled-back perspective on life. And being healthy, from that definition, gives us the ability to offer our best selves to our partner and children.

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Love 2K15

Sometimes a little heartbreak is a lesson, and the best thing to do is just learn the lesson. – Jon Voight

We have entered a new year and a new month where you will be bombarded with images of love and happy people, but what if you’re not happy? Should you fake being happy and in love for social media, your family and friends? Should you pretend that you are in a healthy functioning relationship when you’re not until Valentine’s Day is over? Do you just run to the hills screaming until February 15th comes?

Nope. You love you. You focus on what is in your best interest. You read. You relate to others in whatever way you feel. You give of yourself to do something positive. February 14th is around the corner and you need to honor yourself in whatever positive way you choose.

Don’t let society tell you that you are lonely and you should just die because you dont’ have a valentine. There are lessons you need to learn in 2k15. The first lesson is simply to love yourself. Why? Because until you can learn to love yourself, you won’t be able to appreciate the love someone else wants to give you. I learned this lesson in my therapy and it was at that point that I truly learned what the Serenity Prayer meant:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

I can’t change the past. I get no do overs in my relationships. I just have to figure out the best way to live my new normal life. This means, creating new traditions. Whatever they may be.

I think last year, I hid until Valentine’s Day passed me by. This year, I’m not hiding. I’m going to wake up and fix my son breakfast. Give him his gifts (candy, card and balloons) and go to church school and teach my Senior High Class. I will bring cookies, donuts and juice. I will design a lesson plan about the greatest gift of love we’ve ever received from God.

I will not be victim of the “Oh, I have no one for Valentine’s Day”. Why? Because I have me. Because I had to learn that life is not fair, but you will get through it. Because I had to learn that no one can love me more than I love me. Because I learned to love me and I wish you the same.