How I See Myself

The other day I woke up at 2:30 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I started perusing FaceBook. I decided to look for a particular person (the aunt of my ex-husband) who I knew I hadn’t seen on my timeline in a while, but she was expecting her first grand baby and I wanted to see if her joy had made it’s debut.

Low and behold I discovered that she had “unfriended” me on FaceBook. It was a shock. Why? Because she had sent me a friend request years ago and then decided she wanted to unfriend me without saying anything. I was kind of hurt. Wow! I rolled over and tried to get back into a fitful sleep.

I woke up later and talked to Mr. C about the situation and he said “Don’t worry about it babe.” I explained to him that I’m not really worried about it, I just was shocked. I couldn’t understand the motive behind it. It was disturbing.

I told Mr. C that many of my exes friends and now family had unfriended me on Facebook, but none of the 30 plus of my friends and family had done that to him. I said “I guess it speaks to the caliber of friends and family that God has allowed in my life. My people didn’t take sides and just existed and loved us both.” He said, “Yeah, but you don’t need to let that bother you.”

We followed our normal morning process by reading the devotional and having prayer. But, when I tell you that God was speaking to me through that devotional I started to have a holy ghost fit. His word was:

Beware of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes. There are several dangers with this practice. First of all, it is nearly impossible to discern what other’s actually think of you. Moreover, their views of you are variable subject to each viewer’s spiritual, emotional and physical condition. The major problem of letting others define you is that it borders idolatry. Your concern to please others dampens your desire to please your Creator. 

It is much more real to see yourself through God’s eyes. God’s gaze upon you is steady and sure, untainted by sin. Through God’s eyes you can see yourself as one who is deeply and eternally loved. Rest in God’s loving gaze and you will receive deep peace. Respond to God’s loving presence by worshiping in spirit and in truth.

-Sarah Young “Jesus Calling”

I had my Aha moment! You see that right? God was telling me to stop worrying about how other’s see me and to focus on Him. He was blessing me where I stood and I was worried about someone that I shouldn’t be. But, God.

God, has a way of smacking me in my face with His word when he realizes that I’m concentrating on the wrong things. I was getting smacked ya’ll. He was telling me why are you worrying about man when your eyes should be on me? Your heart, your mind and your spirit should be focused on what I’m doing for you so that you can feel the peace of me.

Good God!

I said “I got it God” and got off the phone. I got showered and dressed and headed to work. I turned my radio to the local gospel station Praise 104.1 and was listening to Erica Campbell say how she saw this great post on her friend’s Instagram page and she wanted to share it. You know what it was that she read?

The same exact piece.

I just said “Thank you God. I get it!” He is blessing me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to explain. He’s increasing my territory and removing people and things out of my life that are not of Him. He is working on me and through me. I just need to get out of my own way.

I was being vain worrying about someone else’s motives behind what they did to me. People have the right to follow, unfollow and unfriend who they want. I need to stop worrying or caring about those trivial things and focus on what His will is for me. Man is fickle, but ya’ll God is forever and unmoved by the shadiness of folks.

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Restoration Stories – Tikeetha Thomas 

So, here is my restoration story that was featured on one of my favorite blogs, “Restored Ministries” over the weekend. Please read it, share it and comment. It is an awesome blog and I was thankful to be able to share my story.

Restored Ministries Blog


Just email me your story how God has restored you with your life verse. That was all they were asking.

Wow! Too many times. Too many situations. God had restored me on so many occasions could I possibly just tell one story that would make people understand?

Nope. Not the way that you needed to hear. Not the way you needed to understand the grace and mercy that God has shown to me. So, here’s my story…

I was molested at 13. I was sexually assaulted at 13 and I was raped at 14. Three traumatic events that shaped my belief in men. Men took from you. Men didn’t value you. You were nothing more than eye candy for men. Those were all the things that ran through my mind.

At 14 my boyfriend and I broke up. He blamed me for my rape. I was devastated. I felt unloved…

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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.

 

It’s Not Really Free

Last week I’m sitting in this dang timeshare presentation in Alexandria, VA. I was lured by the 4 free airline tickets that I was offered. Oh, yeah I wasn’t under any obligation to buy. It’s a couple of days before the 4th and I’m just trying to save money wherever I can so it seemed like a good idea in the beginning.

Here’s what happened, so I filled out to win some free crap like $25,000 or a free car because I’m a sucker for a sweepstakes and they called to offer for me to attend this dang presentation. They stressed I’m under no obligation to buy. Um, sure why not?

Now for my confession. I have been in a perpetual funk for the last couple of weeks. Dealing with my ex and co-parenting drama were overwhelming me. I felt as though I was drowning. It didn’t help that I had a funeral in the midst of this and a crying munch who was upset that he was going back to his dad who felt he was strong enough to resume visitation. That’s another story that I will share later.

So, as you can see I was going through it. I cried every night. Felt overwhelmed by the thought that I was just like I was two years ago. Depressed and wanting this nightmare to end because I didn’t deserve it. I was praying constantly and telling my close friends and family that I wasn’t strong enough. That I wasn’t prepared for this battle. They would say, “Yes, you are. You’re stronger than you think.” What did they know right?

I would pray to God why me? Why do I have to keep enduring? Why do I have to keep pushing on? I needed help. As you can see, I was going through a rough storm on a billowy sea in a sinking ship and I felt as though no one could help me. I mean God was ignoring me right?

Wrong!

I attended the timeshare presentation amidst torrential rains and I invited my best friend  along to stop me from doing anything foolish. Like buying something I can’t afford at the moment. She of course came with me. The man who did my presentation introduced himself as Troy and started to sell me on the plan. He was different though. I had been in timeshare presentations before, but he was personable and engaging and not pushy. Uh oh. I’m in trouble I thought.

We talked about the money and he kept presenting lower options. He asked, “What can I do to get you into one?” “Nothing right now” was my reply. I explained that I don’t want to get too personal, but some things I can foresee are coming down the pike and I need to prepare for the inevitable and can’t afford to buy a timeshare.” I explained I was there for the free gifts only. I told him how this is so hard and I feel like I’m not strong enough to navigate some of my issues when it comes to my co-parenting struggles. He looked at me and said, “You are strong enough. Let me tell you why.” He then explains that his children have been missing since September of last year and he gets up everyday to go to work because he has to provide for his other child and pay investigators to find his children. He said he believes they will be found.

With tears in my eyes I said “I’m trying not to cry. But, I am a woman of faith. I believe that God put me here in this place tonight to hear your testimony. To see your strength. To know that even though the road seems rocky I can do it.” I thanked him and admired his strength because I wouldn’t be able to move if my munch were missing. I told him that I would pray and share the kids information. I did pray. I am praying and I thank God for bringing this stranger in my life to remind me that he has not forgotten me. That he can see the pain that I am in and hear the despair in my weary cries but he’s not forgotten. He sent me a witness to remind me that I can go through it because this man is going through it.

And you know what? I can. This presentation wasn’t really free because I received so much by sitting in this man’s presence. To realize that he wakes up everyday not seeing his children in their beds. He has God’s grace and mercy all over him. His testimony reminds us that God is still in the blessing business. He blessed me. So, please pass and share the message of #FindSarahFindJacob with everyone. This wonderful father, Troy, and the children’s family need them home. He hasn’t given up hope that his children are alive and neither should we. Let’s be a blessing to him by sharing the message and getting the word out. Police believe the children are dead. But, I ask you this…would you give up on finding your missing children? Would you want me to share information about them?

Please re-blog, repost and share on Facebook. Let’s find his children.

Here’s the story that ran locally about the missing children: FindSarahFindJacob

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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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Run Your Race

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance;

James 1:2-3 NRSV

Today’s post is a short one. I was really going through some things this weekend. Some good and some bad, but I was really wondering, “Why me?” I’m a good person. I’m nice. I’m courteous. I’m dependable. Why do I keep getting in these situations with folks that should know better but refuse to do better. Why do I keep getting frustrated by foolishness and distracted by dishonesty? You know, I was in a “Woe is me” type of mood.

So, this quote today from my daily devotionals was right on time. Why? Because I needed to be reminded that even when it seems like my back is against the wall that I will persevere and endure. Everyone is going through something right now. No one is immune to trials or tribulations. We all have that in common.

My ex and I had an acrimonious dispute this weekend that affected our ability to co-parent effectively. I endure things on my job or in my personal life, but I keep on keeping on. Pushing forward. Why? Because I have faith that I will see this situation through to the end and I will be victorious. My faith is being tested.

If you’re going through a trial, tribulation or a storm know that it is only temporary. You are destined for greatness and your steps have been ordered. I was reminded of that this weekend when I was talking to a friend of mine. He said that if you are a woman of faith, you know that your life has already been scripted. You are just walking through it trying to determine the path where God wants you to be.

Wow! Yep. It’s already written. So, I’m going to get my mind right and my tennis shoes on because I want to walk the path that HE tells me too. It’s not an easy path, but I know that the race I run is a marathon and not a sprint. I will endure. I will keep a positive attitude and I will share my motivational moments and testimonies to keep inspiring you to do the same.

Be blessed my loves!

Struggling with Infertility

I have a confession…I never wanted children. I liked them well enough. I thought they were cute creatures who should be birthed and reared by other people, but never me. I wanted to be free. Free to do what I want when I want. Children would complicate that. I never wanted to get married either. I wasn’t the marrying type. I wasn’t the mothering type. So, what type was I?

The partying type. I craved three things: freedom, privacy and peace of mind. I was also very self-absorbed and selfish. Not in a mean way, but I didn’t concern myself with things that didn’t directly affect me. Sound bad? Nope, not at all. I was just me. No other way to describe it.

It was year 5 of my marriage and my OB/GYN said “You need to think about whether or not you want children.” I sat there on the table in shock. I didn’t want to have this conversation. My marriage was in a bad place and my cousin was dying. I didn’t need anymore to think about. My womb would have to wait. I didn’t need anymore stress. She said, “I know Hollywood makes you think that you can wait until your 40’s to start having children, but that’s not reality. It becomes more dangerous and your chances of fertility are diminishing with each passing year.” I was 32. I told her that I can’t. I had already tried IVF and it failed. I was a failure. She responded, “Which doctor did you see?” I told her. She replied, “What did he say after your first attempt?” I told her that he called me and told me, “I think you should try again because I know I can get you pregnant.” I hung my head in shame and said, “I don’t know. It was too much.” She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Sweetie, I know Art. If he said he can get you pregnant, he means it.” Three months later I was pregnant.

My struggle with infertility was heartbreaking. For someone who didn’t want children, the very thought of not being able to have children was excruciating. My womb literally ached from the children that I would not be able to birth. Unexplained infertility was the cause. No medical explanation on why I couldn’t get pregnant. I was broken. Why God was my constant cry? Why me? Why couldn’t I be a mother? I cried all the way home filled with the dread of telling everyone that I was a barren woman. Would my marriage survive? I didn’t know. I went home and crawled into bed feeling defeated. Feeling overwhelmed.

We decided to go through a second round of IVF. It was hard. It was painful. The injections, the mood swings, the tests, all of it over again. This time I prayed. I asked God to make me a mother. To fill my womb with a baby. I changed my attitude. I decided that whatever God did for me it was His wish and I would accept it because I vowed to not go through another round. I would refocus my energy on being there for my cousin who was dying. I couldn’t change his fate or mine, but I could change my attitude and the way I chose to deal with things. I would have an attitude of gratitude. Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be.

It was a beautiful day in September when we went back to the doctor to do the egg implantation. I was nervous. What was I going to do if it didn’t work? Could I accept that the one thing I didn’t know I wanted wasn’t going to happen? I had so many thoughts running through my mind. The doctor comes in and smiles and says, “We have two beautiful 2AA eggs that we want to transplant. However, the chances of having twins would be 52%, but the chances of one of them implanting would be 63%. If we do one single egg, it would be 47%.” I asked her what she would do and she said, “I would transplant two.” I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” The implantation phase is the last stage on the journey before the dreaded two week wait before you can take a pregnancy test to determine if you’re pregnant. I had gone through this before and decided that I wouldn’t worry about it. I would stay busy and occupied and just go through the motions that I was stronger than my womb and if it didn’t work, I could always adopt.

Two weeks later, I went in and took the test. I had multiple meetings afterwards and I got the call in the afternoon. My nurse said that I was pregnant. I tested positive. I smiled, “I said, thank you God.” I hung up the phone and began to pray. I wanted this and now a baby was growing in my womb. I was going to be someone’s mom. I literally got up and went into the bathroom to cry tears of joy. When we went in to have my 6 week look at the baby, I cried again. A baby. Wow! I thanked God and the nurse told me the due date and I cried and said, I get it God. My baby’s due date was the same as my cousin’s birth date. I knew at that moment that I was having a boy and God was letting me know He was in control. My cousin would not live to see my son being born. I needed to let go of him, but trust that everything happens according to God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

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God’s plan can sometimes take you on a journey, you didn’t even know you were equipped to handle which was the case with me. I was about 7 weeks pregnant (2.5 weeks after my positive response) when I felt this horrific pain in my abdomen and rushed to the bathroom. There was blood everywhere. I was in so much pain. I cried. I wanted my baby and there was so much blood that I knew that I was losing the one thing that I had only got to love for a brief minute. I went to the hospital and the incompetence of the admission staff made my pain more unbearable. I explained what happened and he said to me, “You probably already lost the baby.” Wow, I couldn’t control my tears.

My girlfriend Nikki came back to be with me during the examination as I screamed at the pain and the fact that the doctor was doing a pelvic exam while I’m bleeding. Nikki assured me that I needed to calm down. She reminded me that she had gone through the same thing and she delivered her healthy baby boy earlier that year. I smiled and held on to her hands and words as though they were the life line I needed. I needed to calm down. I was in chaos. I was being rolled into the sonogram room and I prayed and didn’t look at the screen or the woman as she tried to talk to me. I was in pain. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to pray. I wanted God to fix it and fix me. I needed my baby.

The sonographer inserted the trans-vaginal probe into my uterus and I laid there feeling helpless with tears running down my face and the sound of the machine in the background. I was praying hard. She said, “I don’t see the problem. There’s the fetus and there’s the heartbeat.” I couldn’t believe it. I asked, “Are you saying that my baby is still there?” She said, “Yes, look at the screen. The fluttering is the heartbeat. It’s strong.” I couldn’t stop crying and smiling and thanking God. As I was being rolled back into my room, I promised one thing. I would be like Hannah in the Bible and I would dedicate my son to God as long as He promised to protect his life and let me give birth. This was my vow.

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I had many more things that tried to derail God’s wish for me to deliver, but I prayed. My family prayed and my son’s father prayed. I am not as wise as Hannah, but I am a woman of my word. I teach and talk to my son about God all the time. We read his Bible stories and we take him to church. I gave him to God the minute He saved him in my womb and each day I wake up I promise to keep giving him to God. My faith helped me get through this horrific time, but it was not easy. Many things will try to derail you on your road to faithfulness, but you have to remain steadfast and unmovable in the chaos.