Saved

May 2015

I sat in church with Munch. It was first Sunday. We baptize on the first Sunday of every month in my church. Much had just turned 7 a few days before. We watched the members of the congregation who had chosen to dedicate their lives to Christ enter the baptismal pool. Munch looks at me and asks “Mommy, why am I not baptized?” I sat there stunned. I assumed that he would make the decision to follow Christ on his own one day.

I replied “Munch, getting baptized is not about getting in a pool and swimming, but agreeing to follow Christ much like you have to follow your parents. God is our heavenly father and you have to agree to follow Him.” He replied “But, I love God and Jesus and I want to follow Him. I will obey.” I sat there overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know how to explain this feeling that my child had expressed. Shocked. That sounds about right?

He had just turned 7 a few days before. Who decides at 7 that they want to follow Christ? Apparently Munch. I whispered to my mom and her friend that Munch wanted to follow Christ and get baptized. Mom whispered that we should wait until Youth Sunday. The last Sunday of the month. Her friend said “No, let him go now. He’s made the choice.” I did.

Munch made his choice. I had to listen. He got up and I held his hand as he walked forward and chose to accept Christ as his Savior. It was a feeling like no other that I had ever experienced. The church had been a bedrock to many blacks throughout history. It was still a bedrock to my family and I. Munch had listened and learned that God hears all and will provide. He chose to serve Him.

He got saved. He was baptized the following month. His choice to be a follower of Christ.
Dear God – Let it be you who He follows for the rest of his life. Protect him O’Lord. Let him not be ashamed to tell others that he knows where his help comes from. Be a fence around him all the days of his life.

S

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “S” is for Saved. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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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Monday Motivation – 11.6.17

Today I struggled to find ways to motivate you. To inspire you. To help you get through this week. This world… This world is tiring. I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing about tragedies and I’m tired of thinking that we will be better. That we can be better.

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Hearing about the tragedy that took place in a church in Texas yesterday had me wondering what the hell is going on? How can we be dealing with this again? Wasn’t it just last month that a shooter killed 58 people in Las Vegas? Now we have Sutherland Spring, Texas. Another place of worship. Another lone gunman killing innocent people.

When would this end?

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I prayed. I went to God for help. I needed peace. I was afraid. Afraid of not being able to to go anywhere. Church is no longer safe. I mean we could rationalize and say Charleston was a one time tragedy, but no. More people. More worshipers. No where was safe.

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God reminded me that He has the whole world in his hands. That I need to lean on His word and know that it would be okay. That I am supposed to trust.  That was what he wanted to remind me. Like it says in Psalm 56:3…

Psalm 56:3 (NRSV)

when I am afraid,

I put my trust in you.

My Motivational Monday Moment is about trust. Trusting in God when it seems you can’t see what’s in front of you. Trust in Him.

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Trust doesn’t mean that you won’t fear. We all do. I am afraid. I am afraid of what is going on in this world. I am heartbroken at the fact that people had to endure gunfire in a house of worship. But, I trust God. I do. In the midst of all this tragedy and heartbreak, I trust Him.

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I trust him when all hell is breaking loose around me. I trust God. Please trust Him.

Let’s pray for those that are hurting. Let’s pray for those that are in power and let’s pray for each other. We need it.

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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/.

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.

Church Folks and Divorce

I am a Christian. I go to church. I believe in God. I am a lover of all people. I am a sinner. I am saved by grace. I am an optimist. I am divorced.

Here’s my story…

Divorce is hard. No one wants to go through a divorce. No one wants to feel like they failed at marriage. A marriage that they wanted and hopefully tried to work at. It was especially  hard for me because my ex husband and I grew up in the church and married there. Neither one of us wanted to give up our church home.

My divorce took many people by surprise. My family had no idea. My friends didn’t know either. Why? Because we didn’t let people into our marriage. They didn’t know all the intricacies of our marriage and they didn’t need too. It was our marriage.

So, because of that decision it caught some people off guard. Some said that they predicted the end. Others acted like I’m the worst person in the world for getting a divorce and not working on my marriage. Really? Was it really any of your business?

Yep, I said it. Take that to the bank. Cash that check written out to busybody (you) and give that money to charity. I already felt like crap that I was having to redesign my life and I didn’t need the negative opinions of others. I heard it all…

I’ll pray for your marriage.

Maybe if you went to some marriage ministry activities your marriage could have worked.

Really? Don’t give up on your marriage. It’s hard once you approach that 13th year and you can work through it.

Here were my responses to that advice…

Why are you praying for my marriage? You don’t know if he’s abusive to me and you want what? Me to stay in that house. 

So, that would have saved my marriage?  Really? Get a clue.

Maybe for you. But, it takes two people who want to work through a marriage for it to be effective right? Do you think badgering me is going to make it somehow better?

I had to stop. I was feeling the need to explain myself to people that I didn’t have to. Why? Because they were entitled to their opinion. Did it make it right? Nope, but why waste my breath?

If you weren’t at my wedding, ever been in my house or spent any substantial time with me and my spouse, why offer an opinion now? It’s too little too late. You’re not a professional therapist. Nor have you counseled us. You just feel the need to say something.

Many women (I can only speak for us) divorce a man for two reasons: abuse or infidelity. Now, abuse comes in all forms. Not just physical. It could be physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, cultural, financial, etc. The fact of the matter is just because you can’t see the signs of someone’s abuse doesn’t mean that there was none. So, are you praying that someone stays in that situation?

I woke up from a dream almost 4 years ago when I decided that I had enough. I wanted no more. No more drama. No more children. No more arguing. No more. I wanted out. You don’t have to understand it, accept it or believe it, but know that I did what I thought was best for my health (mental) and my child. I endured months of back and forth pain because of my choice.

He was angry. I was angry. He was hurt. I was hurt. But, the lashing out was the worst. My anguish was so real and agonizing.  I got up every day and went to work trying to keep the face of normal on. I hid behind make-up and fake smiles to make those around me feel comfortable. I was dying inside. I didn’t go crying at everyone’s doorsteps about the things that were wrong in my marriage. I didn’t seek solace when I was in the midst of hell because I didn’t want to mess up my friend’s marriage. But, that didn’t change the fact that I was in hell.

So, how can you tell me that you feel sorry for me? Sorry for what? That I valued myself enough to get a divorce from the person that I once loved? That I chose me and my son’s health and happiness over a relationship that we had tried for years to fix?

Don’t feel sorry for me. The church is for the broken and sick so why am I supposed to be treated differently? No judgement should ever be made against me. You are a sinner too. We all are.

If you really want to help people that go through a divorce and attend church, stop pretending you care when it’s too late to do something. Show them you care in the beginning. Be that light of reason and truth. Give them encouragement before the marriage, during the marriage and just tell someone that you love them and you are praying that God gives them what they need. Not, what you think they need. What God believes they need.

You are bound to make a difference.

New Woman? Possible Wife?

My ex-husband and I attend the same church. I know it’s weird, but we both grew up in that church, met at church, dated, married, had a baby, blessed the baby and then said baby (aka Munch) got baptized at the church. Munch sings in the church choir, attends church school and wants to join the dance ministry (which I don’t know how he’ll do because we don’t have time).

But, the point is that my life is a big part of the church that I met my ex-husband in. I love my church. Great people, great pastor and great ministries. It’s definitely home. Have I thought about leaving? Umm, not really. I told Mr. C that if we got married and he wanted to attend another church that I would respect that but we would be members of both churches. I didn’t want Munch to feel like he couldn’t attend the only church he’s known. He said that he understood.

Now, a couple of weeks ago my ex bought his new girlfriend to church. I was shocked, not that she attended but that he hadn’t introduced her and that he was now bringing her to worship. But, the service was so amazing and I had a colleague that was attending and Lord knows that the holy spirit was filling that house of worship that I was literally crying out “Great is thy faithfulness”.

Well, after the altar call my ex’s new girlfriend comes over and gives me a hug and says “Hi Mom, I’m Y.” I’m shocked and I give her a big hug back and said hi. Well, we really didn’t get a chance to talk because I had my colleague there and it wasn’t the time or place to have a real conversation. But, I realized that I should let her know that.

I called my ex to let him know that I was very happy that his girlfriend came over and introduced herself but I would love the opportunity to sit down and have a face to face. We can meet at the local Starbucks if that’s convenient but that I had a colleague there and it wasn’t really the place to talk like we should. He said he understood and would let me know when’s a good time for them both.

Now, the reason that I’m pushing a sit down is because my ex wants her to drive Munch around without him or just be there. My ex explained that barring something traumatic that he would most likely be in it for the long haul which means marriage. I said “Well, I definitely think we need to talk then.”

Uh huh. But, I’m not worrying about my ex-husband because let me tell ya’ll that God has been so good to me that I just have to say thank you and release him to God. I’ll share more about my blessings later on, but let’s just say that God is moving all over and up and through my life ya’ll. You need to try him.

Here are some topics that I want to discuss with her:

  • Running her through CJIS for any records
  • Her parenting philosophy (she’s a mother)
  • Our roles and responsibilities

However, before I forget I wanted to let you know that I am looking forward to sitting down with the beautiful woman that my ex is dating. Yes, she’s got it going on and seems to be genuinely a nice young woman. I say that to say that I will never hate on another woman unless she disrespects me or my Munch. Anything shy of that “I’m all about sisterhood. Women rock!”

 

What do you think of my topics? Would you add any?

 

Confused

What? Where am I? What is the place?

I feel the damp and dank smell of a basement. Unwashed clothes and mold attack my senses. My hands are tied. Breathe.

I keep telling myself to breathe. I was confused.

In and out. Breathe. Focus. I need to focus.

Remember what you can.

How did you get here? What were you doing last?

Breathe and remember.

I remember being at the church mixer. The singles group had an event for all singles looking to make a Christian connection. It was boring. I remember standing by the punch bowl wishing it had vodka in it.

A handsome young man came over and introduced himself. He said his name. What was his name? Focus. What was his name?

Greg!

Greg, that was his name!

He made me laugh by echoing my thoughts exactly. Don’t you wish you had some vodka for this punch? It would truly lighten up the party. Do you know where they keep the communion wine?

I laughed. He was funny. He talked to me about why he came here. His family. His dreams. The only child of a retired preacher. He was an avid missionary. He went on missions all the time and had only been back in town a week. His dad was a member of the church. He had told him about tonight’s mixer.

He laughed when he said that his parents supported his missionary work,but wanted him to settle down with a nice girl and give them some grandchildren. He loved building houses in Haiti, teaching children how to read in Guatemala or digging water wells throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

I liked him. I smiled. He asked me about my boring life. I was an only child too. My parents thought me an old maid. Were harassing me to get married too. I just finished my Master’s degree and was a teacher. I loved teaching. I loved children.

He smiled. He invited me out for drinks at the restaurant around the corner. I agreed. He was gorgeous. Nice suit. Nice smell.

His scent. What was that scent? I love that scent.

It was Sandalwood. I loved that scent on a man.

I remember the restaurant was lively. We sat and talked for hours. We ordered our last drink. I remember having to go to the restroom. I came back and finished up my drink. He walked me to the car.

We talked. We laughed. We exchanged numbers. We made plans for dinner the next night.

He opened my car door. I got inside. He closed the door.

What happened next?

Oh God! I can’t remember. 

I start to panic. Tears are streaming from my face. The door at the top of the stairs opens. I hear footsteps. I can’t see who it is yet.

It was Greg!

Greg walks down the stairs. Slowly. He’s naked.

What is that in his hands?

A knife. He’s holding a knife. Oh my God!

Help me God! I silently pray.

He climbs on top of me and whispers in my ear. “You think you’re so pretty. So smart.”

Tears continue to roll down my face.

The tip of the blade punctures my side.

I’m no longer confused.

I know that I’m going to die.

 

 

 

This post was written as part of the Daily Prompt. The word is confused

 

My Journal Entry

Here’s an excerpt of my journal entry from over 3 years ago when I was still in the newness of my failed marriage. Before custody and lawyers. We sought help from our pastor that married us. I wanted to share it with you as encouragement for someone. I know that my story is not unique, but I don’t want you to think that you can never overcome the pain.

Where was God in your marriage? That was the question that my Pastor had asked he and I last night when he met with us regarding our upcoming divorce.  Where was God in your marriage? I stopped and put my head down.  I was ashamed to admit that God wasn’t in our marriage.

He and I started out on the right track.  Pre-marital counseling, praying together and reading our Bible together each night was how we had started off, but something changed.  Life changed and we became easily broken.  It was in that moment that I knew that we had pushed God out the door of our home and said, “God, we got this.”  This was against what we were taught in pre-marital and what we knew from all of our years in the Church and our faith.  We let the devil destroy us when we chose to put God out of our house and not lead us.

Wow! How could we do that?  How could we sit here and say we had tried everything when the one thing we didn’t try was to bring God back to the head of our house?  We spent our life trying to do it on our own.  We can’t do it on our own.  We can only do what God has us to do when HE is in our house and leading our lives.

You see for me if God had been the head all along, we may not have had as many struggles in our marriage.  Not that it would have been perfect, but God would have always been there not giving up on us, but we gave up on Him.  And in giving up on Him, we failed Him and each other.  Trust was lost.  Infidelity happened. Words destroyed. We became irreparably broken.

Now, I’m not going to say that I nor he was blameless, but if God had been in our home, couldn’t we have survived and not broken each other down to the core?

I learned something else…I am maniac in relationships.  I spent the entire time of my marriage with one foot out the door and it was either all great or all bad, but never just a happy medium.  I was scared.  I was scared that he would wake up one day and realize that I wasn’t that great or worthy of him.  I was scared if he knew how bad I felt about myself he wouldn’t love or want me anymore.  I treated him like I knew he would always leave me.  And he did.  But, I realize that I was a major contributing factor to that.  I can only accept what I’ve learned and try to work on me.

It was in my breakthrough last night that I realized he was never given a fair chance to love me because I was so busy destroying his ability to love me completely.  I was afraid.  I couldn’t do or be anything or everything he wanted me to be. I was afraid he would get too close and see all the flaws and run for the hills because it was too much to bear.  I realized I needed help for my insecurities and I need to get to the root cause of my issues.  I was afraid to be abandoned.

Wow, I’m fucked up!

Coffee Share – 3/27/16

Happy Easter Dear Reader!

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If you’re interested in doing the weekend coffee share, just link up at Part-Time Monster’s site with your weekend coffee share posts. It’s a virtual coffee catch up that allows us to tell you what’s happening in our lives. So, what’s been going on with me?

If you and I were having coffee, I would tell you how exhausted I am. I attended sunrise service at my church this morning and it was awesome. Church started at 6:00 am and they served breakfast right after. I had a caramel frappe at McDonald’s. It wasn’t hot, but it hit the spot. I starved myself for the rest of the day. Why? Do you know how many calories are in that thing?  I know, I know, but I needed the sweetness to bring me strength. I’m not a morning person.

If you and I were having coffee, I would tell you that I miss my Munch. He’s been with his dad since Thursday morning spending time in Danville, Virginia with his Godmother (aka Munch’s grandmother). They go every year and his Godmother is absolutely wonderful and constantly tells me that we’re still family even though we’re divorced. She wants me to come down there and spend some time with her. Munch will then be going to spend time with my mother (his nana) and her other grandchildren at Massanutten beginning tomorrow evening.

If you and I were having coffee, I would tell you how overwhelmed I am about moving. I still have so much stuff to pack and with Munch’s birthday party at the end of next month I’m feeling stressed. I probably should switch to a calming tea to help me get over this impending move, but I’m a coffee addict. I did pack up a few bags of clothes for my best friend to take to Green drop for me.

If you and I were having coffee, I would tell you that I met with a wonderful, psychologist who will be doing my Munch’s psychological assessment. God has truly had his hand in me finding this man and finding someone who senses my angst and desire to help my son. We’ve scheduled it for Monday, April 4th. I’m still working with the original therapist and I’ve been updating him as well.

If you and I were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m truly happy you stopped by to chat. You don’t know how much your visit means to me. I’m constantly in awe of each and every one of you and I couldn’t be happier you chose to stop by and have a cup with me. Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

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Grandma’s Love

One of my favorite songs is Bill Wither’s “Grandma’s Hands”. It’s the perfect song that reminds me of my own relationship with my grandma and how wonderful she is. My grandma is one of the most beautiful, compassionate and strongest women I’ve ever known. She’s comforted me, disciplined, cooked for me and loved me all my 41 years on this earth. Her love is immeasurable.

Having been blessed to be loved by my grandma I have to tell you that there is no better relationship. I learned how to be a grandma from her so that someday (far, far, far away) when my munch grows up and gets married and decides to make me a grandma I would have learned from the best. What makes her so wonderful?

Everything.

She mixes discipline with love and that good old country wisdom. It always has God at the core of everything. Because that is what my grandma believes. She taught us that. I remember sitting next to her in church and falling asleep on her breasts. She rocked me. She hugged me. She taught me how to be a young woman.

She only had a third grade education. But, my grandma believes in education and was so proud of me when I graduated college. She birthed 11 children and raised some grandchildren too, but she didn’t mind. She loved us. Each of us. Individually and collectively.

My grandma’s love endures and wraps my spirit in faith when I fall short. I am because of her. I will always love my grandma and there’s nothing like my grandma’s love. Trust me.

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Let Me Motivate You

Sigh! I had a rough yesterday. Some days start off so good and then someone does and/or says something that sours your mood. Has that ever happened to you? What do you do?

I hate when people tell me to not let it bother me. What? How do you do that? It’s human nature. One of the things that I’ve done though is to not allow myself to be pulled into foolishness. It still bothers me though. I just won’t engage.

Even though I want to. But, I am a work in progress. I am a learning to live in the light, walk in the light and appreciate the darkness because I know that trouble don’t last always and that joy does come in the morning. One step. One day at a time. That’s all I can do some days.

Find joy in the things that I seemingly take for granted like…

  • Waking up this morning with reasonable portions of strength and health. I mean I take this for granted. Someone didn’t wake up today. Someone couldn’t get out of bed because they are bedridden. I can get up, pack my gym bag and make a plan to work out later today. See, I’m blessed. Let me rejoice.
  • Being blessed with some amazing people who encourage my spirit. Do you know how wonderful it is to be able to call upon friends when I’m angry or upset? People who will listen and encourage my spirit with positive words. People who motivate me to keep moving on. Keep putting forth my best effort. Some people don’t have that. I need to remember that it’s awesome that I do and I’m blessed. I’m finding the joy in that.
  • Being employed and actually loving what I do. There are many people who woke up this morning who don’t have a job. People who are faithfully looking for employment and not being able to find it. What about those that are underemployed or hate what they do? I need to rejoice because I’m blessed. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad work days (everyone does) but it means that I can find joy in knowing that I’m blessed in spite of those bad days.
  • Being able to afford to provide for my son. Being employed allows me the ability to provide for my son. I can walk into a store and buy my son some tennis shoes without thinking about or saving for a pair of shoes. Which is what happened this weekend. I went to the store and bought him some new tennis shoes. I then went to another store and bought him some new church shoes. I’m Blessed. That is what it is. I didn’t have that luxury growing up. My mother was robbing Peter to pay Paul and there was nothing left. I learned to take care of my stuff early and to only complain if they didn’t fit. I know people today that couldn’t afford to do that. But, I can. If my son were to break his glasses today (knock on wood that he doesn’t), I could go and buy him a new pair and not have to choose between food being short, not enough gas money or utilities being cut off because of the unexpected expense. I’m rejoicing in the fact that God has allowed me the ability to be able to provide for him on my own.

So, I counted my blessings. Realizing that I need to encourage myself to be faithful in my joys and understanding that I can survive the darkness. Rejoice. I have survived worse. If you only knew my testimony. Be encouraged today and know that it will get better.

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