The Truth About Custody

Today’s post was inspired by news of Pillar Sander’s middle son finally getting to live with her. Not sure if you remember their divorce or not, but in a nutshell Deion Sanders got primary custody of his two boys and she got shared custody of their daughter who was the youngest at the time. Here’s what his middle son just shared:

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The children are caught in the middle of a divorce. I want to share a story with you. I want you to think about something before you go to war in custody…

I have a lot of friends who have gone through a divorce and custody battle with their children. All but two have had to battle it out in the courts for custody. As sad as it is, it didn’t have to be that way.

Marriages start off great. You fall in love. You create a life. You have children. Your career changes. Life changes. You have children. You raise your children. Life goes on. Then there is a shift in your marriage. It could be mental health, infidelity, loss of love and/or communication. But, something is wrong.

You try to fix it. You try counseling. You try to make your marriage work. You didn’t get married to get divorced. Sex becomes non-existent. You don’t understand what is happening. Why can’t you get back on track?

But, you can’t.

Months pass. Sometimes years. You grow distant. You become roommates. You live separate lives. You even fake it for family in friends. You begin to lose yourself in the hell that is your marriage.

Until one day.

One of you decides that you can’t go on like this. You can’t live this fake life for everyone including your children. You want them to see two happy people than grow up with a false sense of family. You decide it would be best to split and divorce.

What happens to the children?

You believe that your children need both parents. You’ve read the stories of children that do better with both parents in their lives. You will make it work. They will have two homes with two beds, but they will have two active parents. 

Then one person changes their mind. They want to take their chances in court. Battle it out. It could be for a number of reasons, but money or vengeance are probably the top. They don’t want to share. They want the children in their homes and in their lives full-time. You can see them occasionally.

You struggle to breathe. You’ve lived with your children 365 days. You’ve woken up with them. You’ve fed them breakfast, bathed them and taken them to school. You’re a full-time parent. They are the most important people in your life.

You look up at the person that claimed to love you and see that this person doesn’t care. They don’t care about what you did or who you are to the children. They are grieving. You fight it out and go to court.

Your children may be old enough to talk to the judge, but no one is listening. Lawyers, courts and money spent becomes your life. You didn’t plan this. You can’t understand how one person is being given your children and you are being regulated to seeing your child 48 days a year with two weeks vacation in the summer.

It’s not fair. 

But, you accept it. You accept the terms you were given determined to make the best of it. You show up at every recital, baseball game and school program. You are going to be an active parent no matter the circumstances dealt.

Your ex who got the kids can’t let it go. They play games. Wreak havoc in your life. Destroy you with their lies. But, you make it a point to keep your head in the game. Live your life above water. This divorce has already cost you too much. You move on.

Then something happens. Your ex is blocking your visitation. Back and forth to court you go. The system doesn’t budge. They tell her/him to stop and they continue. They tell her/him they can’t deny your visitation and they do it anyway. The courts do nothing.

The light in your children’s eyes diminish. They miss you. You miss them. You get another lawyer. Back to court you’ll go. You request a modification to the child custody. You want a 50% shared custody schedule with a 50% schedule. 

Your lawyers try to advise you both in mediation to split up the children. You can get the boys and she can get the girls. You are both shocked. You both are adamant that the children not be split up. They are siblings. They need each other. You need them.

Your lawyer advises you separately saying that you could win custody of your sons based off your ex’s antics. You get to have them the majority of the time. No more blocked visitations. But, what about your daughter?

You agree to move forward believing something is better than nothing. You can’t be without your children anymore. They need you. Your daughter will be fine you think.

You win.

You smile. You thank God. You thank your lawyers. You’ve finally won.

But, your daughter loss.

Your children are now split between two homes. She has no brothers there to defend her. She is now alone. 

Note: This is the reality in many broken families. Going through a divorce and custody can be both brutal and painful for the children. If you’re battling it out with your former partner, think about the children. Don’t split them up. They need both of you. Let them decide who they want to live with. Listen to them. Respect their decision or let them go. Don’t separate them. Remember the story from the Bible of King Solomon who wanted to split the child in half because both women were fighting over him? The real mother said “Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.” She was willing to lose her son than see him die. Which woman are you?

 

 

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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Tired

I’m tired.

Weary.

My heart aches.

My mind is racing.

My patience is low.

I don’t want to fight no more.

Fighting is exhausting.

Fighting is distracting.

I can’t be distracted.

No time.

No time for games.

No time for distractions.

No time for the fake ones.

Time matters.

This hell I find myself in is one I chose.

The moment I said yes.

I chose it.

I have to remember it.

But, I have to remember that I can change my mind.

To recognize my choices and accept my fate.

To move beyond the bullshit and give my all

To the people that matter.

To the situations that require my attention.

To the friends that love without judgement.

To the family that supports without knowledge.

To the man who promises me a healthy love.

To the job that pays my salary.

To the readers who support my talent.

To the charitable organizations that benefit from my service.

To those that inspire.

To those that encourage.

To those that believe.

Believe in me.

Even when I don’t believe in myself.

I will close my eyes tonight.

No more tears.

With praise on my tongue

I will cry out…

Can you hear me Lord?

Can you hear the pain in my heart?

Can you see the destruction of those that seek to hurt me?

Can you see that I am your faithful servant Lord?

And I will give it to Him.

I will leave it on the altar.

I will say…

I trust you Lord.

I know that you’re watching.

Intercede Lord.

Intercede.

 

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/.

Can You Submit?

I told ya’ll about how Mr. C had this white horse moment in my post last week entitled A White Horse Moment and how it made  me feel. Well, in that same therapy session my therapist asked this question…

Can you submit to Mr. C?

I was like huh? She repeated the question “Can you  submit to Mr. C?” I responded. “Yes.” I began to explain to her that I learned in pre-marital counseling how women are supposed to submit and men are supposed to love their wives like Christ loved the church.

Ephesians 5:25-30 (NRSV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

I told her that I believed that was my problem in my last marriage. That I didn’t submit, partly because I’m stubborn, but partly because I didn’t feel like he loved me like Christ loved the church. I told her that I really meditated and prayed over that verse to understand how I’m supposed to be loved and I never felt that. I said, “I mean Jesus died for the church. He died for us. So, what men are willing to die for their spouses?”

Now, I’m not expecting a man to die literally (I think I’m not expecting this) but the point of it is that loving a wife, your wife, should be as easy and flawless as your love of Christ and self. But, that doesn’t always happen. In that case, could you really submit to a man that didn’t love you with ease?

Please don’t think that I’m saying that I was flawless in my marriage. I wasn’t. I wasn’t a perfect wife nor anywhere near it. I was struggling because I didn’t know what the heck a wife’s real role was. What did it mean to be a wife? I mean I knew the same passage in Ephesians that stated…

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NRSV)

22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

But how do you submit? How do you submit and give yourself truly to your spouse when you spend so much of your life being independent? It was hard. No one told me how to submit. I tried to run the household and so did he. So, you know what happened right? There can’t be two heads of household.

The thing that I learned about myself (because you really can only control yourself) is that tragedies in my life and how I grew up made me the way that I am. I have to believe that I have control over my life. I know that I really don’t have control over my life. I know that, but I try to control a lot of things in my life to feel some sort of normalcy. Mr. C showed up in that moment to “rescue me”.

That meant that he would be there for me and my son. That I could trust that he would protect and look after us. That was a huge shift in my life because I didn’t think that I could trust anyone outside of my two best friends. But, Mr. C was always there showing me that he had my back.

When I moved in April, my two best friends literally packed up my house and were there moving me with the movers. They did it all. They’ve always had my back. When I couldn’t afford the cleaning staff to clean the apartment because of all the expenses with the move and Munch’s birthday party I was in there cleaning every single night. Scrubbing and sweeping.

Mr. C said to me “Why haven’t you asked me to help you?” I told him that he wasn’t my boyfriend so I didn’t think I could ask for his help. He said “I’m your friend and you could”. He was.

He showed up after work and helped me clean my refrigerator and sweep and mop the kitchen floor with his work clothes on. He carried trash to the dumpsters and packed the last few things in my car making sure that everything was done. He had protected me.

Even in the early stages of us dating I realized that he had my back and I just had to let him. He’s learning to butt in and let me know that he’s there to help me when I’m being too stubborn or independent to ask for it and I’m learning to let my guard down and know that I could submit to a man.

I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m trusting.

Baggage Check: Racism

So, the other day I received a comment on my post Dear White People that needed to be approved. I read the comment and sent that garbage to spam. Why? Because this is my blog and I don’t allow your BS or baggage on it. Writer’s prerogative.

I go check out the page of the person and was shocked that WordPress even allows this foolishness here:  https://vikingstrongman.wordpress.com/. This person is a white supremacist talking that racist BS that will destroy America and allow you the anonymity that you can claim in cyber world. Let me be clear, I don’t do racism or white supremacy. Not in real life or in cyberspace.

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He’s referring to blacks as niggers. Really? So, it takes a real man to hide in cyberspace and try to fuel the hate in so many people. Be authentic in your hate. Show your face. Spread your hate without a white robe.

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Let me be clear…I am about the inclusiveness of all people and no race is better than another. We were all created by one God and are descendants of Adam and Eve. I don’t care who you voted for (because I serve a Heavenly Father) and I will not allow people to disrespect me or my space. If you want to blame everything going on in the world on everyone else then check yourself.

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I don’t fear terrorists from other countries when we raise more terrorists in America than those that enter our borders. The face of terrorism to me is not brown. Take your hatred of all those that seek peace and kick rocks. We will not go quietly in the night.

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This election has allowed those white supremacists to show their true colors and think that it is acceptable to disrespect people of color. It is not. I will not allow you to come for me or my family. I will not allow you to disrespect any group that I support (women, children, men, veteran’s, the LGBQT family, people of color or any other group). We are one. United we stand.

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Motivational Monday Moment – 12/12/16

My Motivational Monday Moment is about survival.

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Survival as a noun is the state or fact of continuing to live or exist in spite of your circumstances. In other words, your circumstances may be horrific, your journey may be treacherous, your path may be blocked, but you are still surviving. Survival is key to it all. You must survive it.

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I started thinking about this on Saturday when I went to the hairdressers. Remember, I told you that my hair salon is like free therapy? It really is. Well, we women were in there talking about our lives and dating.

I was speaking to a woman that I hadn’t seen in over 3 years. Last time we saw each other, I was married. Now, I’m divorced. She explained that she’s separated and divorcing her husband. She spoke about her circumstances and even though she left, she has peace of mind. I smiled.

I told her that my mom told me a long time ago that…

You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. – my mommy

She said that she agreed. I told her that sometimes the hardest things we can do is to walk away from the things and/or people that cause us pain. She told me that her pastor’s wife had told her not to worry about the process, but to worry about the promise. God’s promise.

Whew! That was it right there!

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We spend so much time worrying about the process and not the promise that joy comes in the morning that we continue to live in a state of never ending darkness. But, when we push forth through the process and begin to shift our mindset from the process to the promise we start to remember what it says in the Bible:

Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

For His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for life;

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

We begin to see morning as a breakthrough. We begin to push through and fight. Fight for our survival. Fight to survive the bull that we’ve endured. The pain, the heartache, the struggles are only temporary.

There is a shift in the atmosophere. Our pain becomes bearable. Trust me. I know what it is like to have a thorn in your side that doesn’t seem to move. You pray for peace.

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My prayers are simple:

Lord, give me the strength to endure.

He does.

That’s why I’m able to tell you that survival is possible. That you too can get through the process by knowing that the promise is to see you survive. God says so. He says that he knows the plans He has for you.

But, we forget.

We think that our situation is unmanageable. We can’t see a way out. It seems impossible. But, it’s not. Nothing is too impossible.

And when you survive…know that your scars serve as your testimony to someone else. Tell them how you survived. Tell them how you felt during that time. You are showing them that they can get through it too.

Be the inspiration that they need to know that survival is possible. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, you will have scars, but you will survive. The scars show that you survived your situation.

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How Do You Define a Good Woman?

Growing up, I’ve always known about the Proverbs woman. She was thought of as a mysterious and unattainable goal. She was without a doubt perfect. But, we mere women could never be perfect. Even with all our achievements and our humble hearts we could never really be a Proverbs woman right?

In my posts about dating and men this week I asked the question of what is a good man. I wanted to be able to define what I think are some key characteristics of good men. I asked my male friends on Facebook to define what a good man is to them. They did and I was challenged by another blogger, Davina over at Davina Lyons to do the same with women.

I did.

Crickets.

Women didn’t respond. Now, I don’t know if it was because they didn’t see the post appear in their timeline or the fact that they didn’t want to answer and face ridicule, but I thought that I would try to define for both men and women some key characteristics of a good woman.

Let’s start with the ideal woman by many standards. The Proverbs woman. The Bible defines what a good wife should be in the book of Proverbs. That is why we call it the Proverbs woman. For sake of time, I will just tell you that she is perfect. We, mere women are not perfect. But, I want to break down some of her characteristics for you.

Proverbs 31:10-12 (NRSV)

A capable wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Although the Proverbs woman is the wife, we are going to look at dating as a process of finding a wife to marry. So, in essence the woman that you are dating should have some key characteristics. She should be someone that you could see yourself marrying.

In the passage above she is defined as capable. Capable would be that she is skilled and competent. Let’s apply these in modern terms. She should have a job. Whether her job is to take care of the children or the home or go to work she is by all means capable to do something to make a man’s life easier. She is his partner.

“She is far more precious than jewels.” That means that her worth is more than jewels. The Hope Diamond, Bugatti or Warren Buffett’s billions can’t touch her. She is precious. How do you treat precious items? You take care of them.

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” In layman terms she is never out here scheming on her husband. She is not unfaithful. She is loyal in deeds and actions so he has no reason to doubt that she is true and honest.

“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” You see that huh? She’s not spiteful or malicious. She loves her husband and does him good all her life. How many of us get mad and take it out (whether fairly or not) on our spouses? It’s hard. Our tongues can be wicked.

The Proverbs woman is described in much more detail as someone who makes her own clothes, rises when it is dark to take care of the house, etc. She’s pretty amazing. But, if you know that you’re not the Proverbs woman but a good woman then you should definitely have some of these characteristics:

  • Loves God
  • Faithful 
  • Supportive
  • Follows her husband (i.e. submits because he’s being led by God)
  • Knows her worth
  • Takes care of herself (physically, mentally, spiritually and financially)
  • Is his help mate

So, there you have it. The details/characteristics of a good woman. This is by all means not an inclusive list. There are many more things to add. We all can’t be the “Proverbs woman” which seems impossible because she is exceptional, but being a good woman means knowing your worth and bringing more than a big booty and a smile to the table.

Motivational Monday Moment – 9/19/16

Happy Monday Folks!

Today’s Motivational Monday Moment is meant to inspire you to pray. I’ve had an exhausting 24 hours. It was stressful and I allowed some things to stress me when I shouldn’t have. I know.

It’s my fault.

I was disturbed in my spirit and trying to get my emotions under control. I wish I could tell you that I have all the answers and that I’m not easily stressed, but I don’t. I’m human. I make MANY mistakes.  One of the many mistakes is getting sucked into the drama and issues of others.

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I’m emotional. I need to learn to not get sucked into drama and just pray. It’s hard though. I want to fight and argue and make a case for my side when you know what? It really doesn’t matter. I can’t change someone’s mind. I can only control my actions and me.

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I don’t owe anyone anything. I just need to be the best person that I can be. I need to keep my head in the game and stop feeling the need to validate who I am and what I am doing. I owe nothing to no one.

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When I am stressed beyond belief I forget how to pray sometimes. Has that ever happened to you? When there is so much noise in your head that your head is pounding and you forget that the only way out is to pray?

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I do. Been there. Done that. Multiple times. Even when I was alone, I knew that I was truly not alone. He was right there with me. Waiting patiently for me to come to him.

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However, I want to remind each of us how easy it is to pray through our problems. You are never alone. Just call on Him. How do you call on Him? Just by doing this…

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Call on the name of Jesus. Sometimes all you can do is just say “Jesus” and you can start to feel His power working in you. He wants us to call Him. Why? Because there is power in the name of Jesus.

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Trust me when I tell you that all you have to do is call on His name because there is power there. I know because this morning I was all out of sorts…angry, defensive and frustrated. I felt alone and I needed to get my mind right before coming into work.

You know what it was? I broke my normal routine. I usually wake up and pray and read devotionals and have prayer with Mr. C. We didn’t do it this morning. He changed his work hours and I got Munch into before and after care at school so our schedules were off. When he called me I was trying to finish up and get out of the door.

I got in the car and told him about a situation that frustrated the heck out of me. I was angry, perturbed and frankly stressed out this morning. He tried to calm me down. He said “Babe, you need to pray”. I responded “Yeah, I need to pray.” It was in a snarky town because I was in a snarky mood. We were not getting along well this morning.

But, you know what? He was right. I needed to pray. My mind was out of sorts and I was not being as I should be. I owned it. I allowed outside things to change me. I needed Jesus. I needed to pray. I needed to have my spirit renewed and refreshed. And you know what it worked.

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I started to feel better. What did I do? Nothing. I just went before the throne this morning. I owned my mood and said  a prayer…

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Dear Father,

Hallowed be thy Name

Help me this morning Lord.

I’m coming to you asking for help

You know what I’m going through

You know the pains that are disturbing my spirit

Help me to erase the pain and know that all things

work according to Your will.

That if it is in your will it will be fine.

Allow my spirit to find peace in your words and my mind to be anchored in you

Let me remember that you are sovereign and that no weapon formed

against me shall prosper

Jesus.

There’s nothing like calling the sweet name of Jesus.

Dear Lord please give my weary spirit rest. Help me to forgive those that mean me harm

Teach me how to seek peace and understanding for those who trespass against me.

Teach me how to pray for those that wish me harm.

Dear Lord you are the only true God

so it is in you will that I want to humbly reside.

Bear with me Lord.

I am weak.

I am human.

Renew my mind and renew my spirit.

Amen.