BLOG

Featured

I CHOOSE HAPPY….

The 2010’s were bananas and downright disrespectful. Let me give you some context on why I’m saying this. 2010-2019 was the most painful decade of my life. The whole decade? Yes, the whole decade! It started in 2010 with the death of my marriage. My ex-husband and I separated in April 2010. After battling lung cancer, my grandfather passed away in November of that year.  I divorced in 2011. I lost my home later that year. Each of my parents lost a sibling to lung cancer, one in 2011 and one in 2013. A couple of months after we laid my mother’s sister to rest, I lost a cousin to pancreatic cancer. My mother was treated for breast cancer and had to endure radiation therapy shortly thereafter. In May 2014, my oldest daughter almost died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Yes, my daughter almost died! My godmother, one of my grandmother’s sisters, lost her battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer in October 2014. Did I mention that my godmother is the mother of the cousin we lost to pancreatic cancer? And that my ex-husband passed away in 2015 after battling sarcoidosis for years. I know….unbelievable. But it doesn’t stop there.

Before my godmother passed away, she insisted that I undergo genetics testing to determine if I carried the same gene mutation that she and my grandmother carried. Well, in 2016, I tested positive for the gene mutation that is linked to breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. I had a double mastectomy and had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in December of that year. In December 2017, my grandmother’s remaining sister passed away after battling cancer. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that shortly thereafter, I lost my grandmother in April 2018.  To say that her loss has been difficult is an understatement. It’s been a little over 2.5 years since I watched her take her last breath and I am still navigating through the waves of grief. So, this gives you context for the decade; but let me tell you….there is stuff that happened that I didn’t even include. Events that rocked me to my core. More loss, more pain. As you can see…the 2010’s sucked!

Needless to say, I was beyond excited to enter into a new decade. Then COVID-19 happened. The nerve of 2020 to try to thwart my intentions for entering into a new decade in pure bliss and happiness. We’ve just entered into the 11th month of the year and I want to throw the whole year away. But here’s the thing…I’m here. I am alive and healthy.

My intention at the beginning of the year was to choose HAPPY. That’s what I’ve been doing throughout 2020 and that’s exactly what I intend to continue doing. Yes, I said it! I will continue to call forth happiness. Why? Because both the 2010’s and this year have been the most transformative times of my life. I realize that the pain I experienced in the 2010’s had a purpose. That decade shaped me into the beautiful, authentic soul that I am today. The 2010’s exposed my junk and baggage and literally knocked me to my knees. If I am honest, there were times that this past decade almost took me clean out. It is only by the grace of God that I am here and in my right mind and able to withstand all that 2020 has thrown my way. It was in the depths of pain that I found true relationship with God and found ME. Moreover, the 2010’s and 2020 have taught me some great lessons. Therefore, I’m sharing 10 lessons that I learned throughout this last decade and this year. Here goes!

  1. God IS!.  This is my biggest lesson. During this past decade, I learned who God is for myself! I no longer need to rely on the testimony of momma and them. When my back was pressed against the wall, He’s shown himself to be a way maker. I know that He is a provider. He is Jehovah Shammah! Even though I was hundreds of miles away, He was there when my daughter was shot. He’s shown me countless times that He’s a doctor in the sick room. He is a comforter. He is peace and love. The bottom line is that I know that God IS!
  2. Boundaries are not an option.  Those you love will hurt you sometimes. Whether their actions are intentional or not, my job is to continue to love them; but set clear boundaries. Because what you will not do is continue to hurt me, breed toxicity or disrupt my peace! I learned to love some people from afar.
  3. Authenticity is my key to walking in freedom.  This decade has taught me how to stand flat-footed and bow-legged in my truth and own it.
  4. Rest is sacred and is a beautiful gift created by God.  I’ve learned the power of just being and not doing. I reject the notion that busyness and constant activity speaks to my value or worth. This year has taught me the importance of balance, proper rest, and being grounded. Throughout the year, I need to stop, sit and put my feet in the sand or grass to reconnect with Mother Earth and get grounded.
  5. Every healthy relationship begins with a healthy individual.  I must be healthy standing alone. Soul work (i.e., counseling, journaling, and self-reflection) is critical to my individual health. There is no healthy we without a healthy me.
  6. I cannot control the way someone loves me.  I was listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast earlier this year. Iyanla Vanzant was her guest on this particular episode. Here’s what I caught in my soul from that conversation: “You cannot control the way someone loves you. You can observe and learn how they love you. Then, you have a choice regarding whether or not how he or she loves you works for you. You have a choice! You don’t have to stay and try to get him or her to love you the way you want to be loved. Go! Do something different, do what’s best for you. You have a choice!”  I don’t know about you…but that little tidbit set me all the way free!
  7. My thoughts determine the trajectory of my life.  Any over-thinkers out there that resonate with this lesson? Learning to manage my thoughts and not allow certain thoughts to control me has been one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned this year.
  8. I need community for this journey of life.  I was not designed to do life alone. Even though I’m aware of this, I also learned that not everyone deserves to be a part of my inner circle. Wisdom is necessary to discern who is safe and deserves backstage access to my life.
  9. I have a choice. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do and neither do you. I am done living my life in accordance with the expectations of others. Gone are the days when I dance to the beat of another’s drum. I trust the knowing within me and dance to the rhythm of my own heartbeat!
  10. I am ENOUGH.  Point. Blank. Period.

I release all the residue of pain that still resides in my soul from this past decade and will not allow the foolishness of 2020 to deposit wounds in my soul. The pain had a purpose and I have learned great lessons throughout the years. I am letting go of what was and I’m choosing happy. Every day that God allows me to rise, I will call forth happiness from the universe. I CHOOSE HAPPY!

Many blessings to you ~ Nephateria

365 DAYS

One year ago today, I watched you take your last breath. April 7, 2018 was a day that forever changed my life. I woke up this morning in our home, in your bed, in tears. Although tears are streaming down my face as I write, they aren’t sad tears. Momma, I recognize that they are tears of joy. Psalm 126:5 (KJV) says “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” I have sown countless tears of sorrow, anger and frustration over the past year. But today, I woke up in such a state of peace. 

Today, I am rejoicing and thanking God for healing! God has kept me!! He has kept my mind!! There were points along the journey when I felt like grief was going to take me out. Days when she kept me confined to the bed wallowing in sorrow. Days when I could barely function because of the weight of her. Days when I longed to walk in the house and see you sitting on the sofa watching your favorite shows. Days when I reached for the phone to call you, only to realize that you are no longer here. 

But today is not one of those days. Why?? I’m glad you asked. Let me explain. Over the past year, I learned to surrender to grief. I learned to let her have her way and do what she came to do. I learned that I had a choice. I literally had two choices: 

  1. I could open myself up to the healing process, do the soul work (i.e., counseling , journaling, attending REAL Women, learning to manage my thoughts, etc.) that is necessary and not suffer for the rest of my life; or 
  2. I could resist and fight the healing process, numb my pain with my drug(s) of choice (i.e., food, withdrawal from people, suppression of feelings, etc.), and suffer for the rest of my life. 

I chose to do #1. And because of that intentional choice, I am not suffering today. Momma, I am settled in the fact that you are good. You are no longer suffering. You are no longer tired. You ran your race and you did it well. Yes, I miss you!!! But because I am settled on those facts; it is well with my soul. So today, here I stand! One year later! By the grace of God, I am completely transformed from the inside out because I am focusing on truth and chose to open up to and not fight the healing process. 

Momma! Do you hear me?!? I am completely transformed! Completely!! I have grown exponentially! The last 365 days have been a roller coaster ride; but I wouldn’t change a thing.

The woman I am today was birthed through the pain of the healing process. Today, I am a woman who loves deep. A catalyst for change in the lives of those to whom I speak. A woman who is authentic, beautiful and peace. Perfectly imperfect but one who is learning from every broken piece. A woman who is light. One who is blessed with the gift to understand someone’s plight. A warrior… one who’s not going down without a fight. 

Momma…the loss of you helped me meet ME. And because of that, today….365 days later…I can declare that I am FREE. I am ME and I am at PEACE.

I SURRENDER…

Today has been a humbling experience for me.  I had to leave work early today. I was sitting in my office in tears. As I tried to respond to emails, I noticed that my hands were shaking uncontrollably. The more that I tried to pull myself together, the more I seemed to unravel. Even when one of my staff members stood in the doorway of my office discussing a project, my eyes continually filled with tears. I couldn’t stop crying.

Grief had come suddenly and snatched me, gripping me firmly and refusing to let me go. My Momma has been gone for 304 days. I’ve been doing better. Why today? Yes, there are things going on within my family.  But why has grief come to visit me in such a face-slapping, pain-wrenching way today?

Over the last 304 days, I had gained an understanding of grief bursts and had endured a few. I had learned how to make room for the bursts. I was becoming adept at giving myself space to grieve. But this burst was different, she was disrespectful. She gripped me so tightly that I felt like I was back at Ground Zero…April 7, 2018. The day that Momma passed. My heart felt like it had broken into tiny pieces all over again. 

How dare she do me like that?? Doesn’t she understand that I’ve been making progress. I’ve been good. I got my strength back! I’m not stuck in my pain. I’m doing the work necessary to process through my grief in a healthy manner. Who does grief think she is? I cried myself to sleep last night!! Wasn’t that enough?? No!! She had the audacity to show up at my job today and snatch me up in the most public, humiliating way!! Doesn’t she understand that I’m in a space now where I feel like I got this?!? 

Oh, wait!?! There it is!! I understand why she has come in today like an F5 tornado. I think I got this.  You see…I have worn strength as a badge of honor. I have fearlessly worn the Superwoman cape and made myself available to those in need…sometimes at the expense of my own health and well-being. I have praised God for giving me the ability to take a licking and keep on ticking. I have proclaimed that I am a warrior, ready to fight any battle!  Truth be told, I don’t have this. At. All. This grief burst almost took me out today. Something has to give…. 

After sitting in quiet by the water for a couple of hours this afternoon, this is what I know. The healthier part of me (we’ll call her Tasha) has been growing and flourishing since my Momma passed away. She is not down with the Superwoman Syndrome and she’s aware of her limitations. She believes in practicing self care and setting boundaries. She understands that she can’t be everything to everybody. She knows that “No!” is a complete sentence and is capable of using it when necessary. 

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO SIT BY THE WATER….

Neph…on the other hand, is Superwoman personified. Neph senses that we were doing better and decided to put her cape back on.  She began relaxing boundaries and has been giving, giving, giving.  Giving to the point where I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted to tap out.  Tasha has grown so much in the last 304 days that she refuses to let Neph keep running us ragged and carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.  She’s been quietly raising awareness that we were headed back down an unhealthy path.

But Neph was straight in “Save the World” mode.  Therefore, I was experiencing inner conflict. So, when this current grief burst hit…it knocked me to my knees because I was not aligned internally.  In the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been truly living from my core…the healthiest part of me.  When I am living from my core and operating in my most authentic self, I know that I no longer have the capacity to be nor do I want to be Superwoman. 

So, today, I surrender. I surrender my Superwoman cape. I surrender the idea that I have to be strong for everyone. I surrender the idea that I am obligated to say yes to family all of the time. I surrender the idea that I have to be the one that everyone leans on in their time of need. I surrender pride and acknowledge that I am absolutely nothing without God. It is only because of His grace and mercy that I am in my right mind today.

I surrender the idea that I’m less valuable if someone doesn’t need me. I surrender to grief for she has been one of the most transformative teachers that I have experienced to date. I empty myself of pride. I cast off the weight of the burden associated with trying to be Superwoman. I surrender to gratitude and thank God for my sister who let me know that it was okay for Neph to take off her cape. 

As I surrender, I open up to freedom, peace and joy and make room for the healthier part of me to come forth and thrive!!

Blessings and Love ~ Nephateria 

293 DAYS….

Wow!  Acknowledging that it’s been 293 days sent chills through my body.  Momma, it’s been 9 months and 18 days since we watched you take your last breath.  We will hit the one-year mark in 72 days.  Wow!  That’s the only word that comes to mind right now.  Saying that I miss you is a misrepresentation of how I feel right now.  I am saddened by the massive hole that your passing has left in my life; but I’m also grateful.  I’m grateful because I am keenly aware that God has kept my mind and has been healing the broken pieces of my heart.  It hasn’t been easy; but by the grace of God…here I stand 293 days later.

Momma!!  I have so much to tell you.  The last 293 days have included a lot of “firsts” for us.  I celebrated my 1st birthday without you.  I sobbed that morning until I had no tears left as I realized that my birthday card from you would not arrive in the mail.  One of my girlfriends was gracious enough to give me a card with $42 in it.  It didn’t replace your card; but it let me know that I was seen, heard, and loved.  I’m beyond grateful for friends like her.  She made that day easier for me.

We celebrated our 1st Thanksgiving without you.  I can sit and laugh today; but let me tell you…I was a mess that day.  I woke up in tears.  The thought of going downstairs without you that morning was too much for me to bear.  I had a complete meltdown in the kitchen; but we all supported one another and made it through the day together.  We did our best to make you proud!  And then came Christmas….

Christmas was your favorite holiday.  I vacillated between wanting to celebrate because it’s your favorite holiday and wanting to completely skip the day because you weren’t there.  Honestly, I just wanted to stay in the bed that day.  But the “true” reason for the season and the love for family that you instilled in me made me get up and help prepare dinner for our family.

It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences without you here.  But I’ve learned a couple things over the last 293 days.  One of the most important lessons is that my grief process is my grief process.  My daughter’s process is her process.  My siblings process is their process.  And no one process looks, sounds, or feels the same.  I learned to honor my process, how I was feeling and not compare my process to others.  I learned that comparing my grief to others or trying to grieve according to society’s timeline was keeping me in a dark place.  Learning to offer myself compassion, love, and space to grieve was a pivotal point in the journey.

Momma, I also learned that gratitude is a balm.  I don’t know when it happened; but I realize that the more I intentionally practiced gratitude (looking for and reflecting on the good all around me), the more I experienced joy and peace.  The more that I experienced joy and peace, the more I was strengthened and comforted.  For example, the more that I reflected upon the fact that although you are physically absent, all that you poured into me remains; the more grateful I became for the deposits of love and wisdom that you left embedded in my soul.  And the more grateful I become, the more I was able to withstand the bursts and waves of grief that continue to come.  Gratitude become a restorative agent and began transforming me from the inside out.

So, here I stand 293 days later.  Missing you; but full of gratitude and completely transformed by the grief process…

90 DAYS….

July 6, 2018

Momma….it’s been 90 days!! 90 whole days! The last 90 days have been a roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences. During the first couple of weeks, I barely slept and lacked the motivation and strength to do anything. I don’t even remember my first week back at work after your home going service. I only recall praying for the strength to get out of bed and get dressed. The rest of the days are a blur. I realize now that I stopped living during the first couple of weeks…I was merely existing.

In actuality, I was walking around in a perpetual fog for at least the first 45 days.  My attention span wasn’t short; it was almost nonexistent. I found myself asking people to repeat themselves because I was having trouble focusing on what they were saying. I would sit and stare off into space…futilely trying to get my mind to grasp this new reality. I would be driving and forget where I was going. I can’t count the number of times I blew past my exit on the Beltway. I felt like I was losing my mind. My counselor explained that this “fog” was my brain’s way of helping me cope with your loss. Because your loss was so significant, my mind was consumed with disbelief and the struggle to accept this new reality.  Therefore, this “fog” was my brain’s way of recovering from the trauma of your loss and was, in essence, preventing me from losing my mind.

We all miss you so much and have been doing our best to cope without you here. Jason picked up the phone to call you on Mother’s Day. At Tavion’s graduation, Zaz turned around to look for you when the family was taking pictures after the ceremony. Where’s Ma?were the words that escaped from her lips before her soul processed the painful reality that you’re no longer here.  My Mom still rides out to your house after work some days. She desperately wants to walk in the house and see you sitting there on the sofa as she was accustomed to doing every day after work. Momma, Dee is doing her best to keep us all connected; but doing so without you here is literally breaking her heart. Dee and I have already started talking about Thanksgiving. We’re going to make sure we put it down in the kitchen just like you taught us!! We’re determined to keep the family together and make you proud.

Momma, the outpouring of love and support shown after your passing spoke to the caliber of woman you were and the positive impact that you had on the community and in the lives of others. However, at 90 days, the calls have stopped and there are no more knocks on the door. It is now that intentionally choosing to embark on the journey of healing is more important than ever.

Because I have opened myself up to the healing process and am allowing grief to do what it came to do, I am a bit more focused at 90 days. My heart still hurts but I’m continually creating space to process my emotions. I find peace in the memories I hold dear in my heart.  And when I feel like crying, I cry….as long and as hard as I want to.  I still don’t sleep through the night most days; but it’s getting better. I’m slowly finding my way out of the darkness that enshrouded me after you took your last breath. Momma, at 90 Days, I’m no longer just existing. I’m starting to live again…

60 DAYS…

It’s been a week since I poured out how I was feeling in my last blog post.  Today is June 7, 2018 and today marks 60 days since you’ve been gone. Someone reading this blog post may wonder why I’m writing to you.  I’m writing because I realized that journaling how I’m feeling is helping me process my grief.  I’ve been going to counseling every other week; but something shifted in me when I put aside time to actually sit and write out my thoughts and feelings.  Although the pain is still there and I miss you like crazy….my heart doesn’t feel as overwhelmed as it did 7 days ago.

Momma, I had convinced myself that reaching a certain number of days would help the pain dissipate or lessen.  However, I have learned in the past week that it’s not the number of days elapsed that will make me feel better, it’s what I do in the space and time given that will facilitate my healing.   I have learned that each day I have a choice.  I have the option of wallowing in my sorrow and not processing my feelings.  Or I can choose to do something different.  Instead of stuffing my feelings down, I have the option of opening myself up to the healing process and allowing grief to do what only it can do.  In essence, I’ve learned over the last 7 days that there are times in our lives when healing is an intentional choice.

I’m not talking about the kind of healing that occurs when you cut your finger or bruise a part of your body.  The body is designed to initiate that type of healing on it’s own.  I’m talking about emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, house, job, or dream….this type of work often requires us to make an intentional choice to embark on the journey of healing.  For example, while visiting our family home a few days ago, I walked into your bedroom to get a t-shirt out of the drawer.  As I have done in the past many times, I didn’t want to wear the pajamas that I had packed and chose instead to wear one of your t-shirts to bed.  Well, I forgot that they had packed up your clothes.  I opened the drawer and it was empty.  I opened up several other drawers and they were empty too.  I walked over to your closet and pulled back the curtain. All your clothes were gone!  In that moment, I felt like my chest was going to explode.  However, in that moment, I realized that I had a choice to make.  

I could either act like seeing the empty drawers in your bedroom didn’t bother me or I could honor how I was feeling and give myself room and space to process the grief.  I chose to honor how I was feeling. I walked slowly back into my room and acknowledged how I was feeling.  I was hurt, numb, and unprepared for that moment.  It was as if reality had once again slapped me in the face.  And man, did it sting!  However, I simultaneously realized that honoring how I was feeling allowed me to survive the moment.  You see Momma….I’m learning that grief has a place in our lives.  It’s God’s way of helping us cope with and ultimately live with the loss in a healthy way.  So many of us don’t allow ourselves to grieve and we get stuck in that place of pain or we stop living healthy, productive lives.  We just stuff our feelings down and try to move on as if we’re okay. 

Momma…at 60 days, I understand that healing is indeed a choice and I am determined each day to open myself up to the healing process and let grief do what it came to do.

53 DAYS…

Today is May 30, 2018 and it’s been 53 days since I sat in the hospital room and watched you take your last breath. I know how many days it’s been because I count them. I have somehow convinced myself that when I get to a certain number of days, it won’t hurt as bad. So, I keep counting. I find myself hoping that once I reach 60, 75 or maybe 100….that the pain will somehow lessen or magically disappear. But as I sit and think about April 7, 2018….all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry until there are no more tears left in my tear ducts to cry. April 7, 2018 is the day that you went home to be with the LORD. It is the day that pain, sorrow and weariness ceased to exist for you; but it is also the day that my heart completely broke into a million pieces.

Yes, I know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD. I know that to live is Christ and to die is gain. I know that you are no longer tired or suffering. I know!! I am present to these truths. And I praise God every day because I know where you are and I know that you are resting. But listen here! I loved me some Janice Delcine McBride! And being present to the truth and the promises of God does not erase the immense aching that overwhelms my heart.

Momma….I miss you so much! I miss your presence, your smile and your laughter. I miss our conversations. I miss being able to come home to you sitting in the living room watching your shows. I miss eating Candy Pepper Wings with you. I feel so lost and empty without you here. Our family has certainly endured a lot of pain and loss over the years. But this here….the pain and grief that I am experiencing right now is indescribable.


You’ve always been there. My Mother was 16 when I was born. The 1st home that I lived in was your home. I lived with you the first few years of my life. Once we moved out of the family home, I still spent many weekends and summers with you as a young child. When I was in the 7th grade, I began living with you again. You helped raise me. You helped raise my own children. For the first four to five years of their lives, you were their primary caretaker. While I attended classes full-time and worked part-time, they were with you. When I graduated from college and moved to VA, you wouldn’t let me take them with me. You kept them the entire 1st year that I was in VA so I could get established. You wanted to ensure that I had a firm foundation here. I still remember the tears that poured from your eyes when I came to pick up the girls. You let them leave; but had them every summer after that.

When I traveled for work, you came to VA to be with the girls. When we went on family vacations, we made sure you were with us. You flew to Las Vegas to watch me get married. You took my girls on their 1st trip to Disney World. You came to MD to watch me receive my Master’s Degree. You were front and center when I preached my initial sermon. You were always there without fail. That’s the kind of Momma you were to me. Now, what am I supposed to do without you??

People say that time heals all wounds. It’s been 53 days and time is doing nothing for me but making me miss you more. Maybe 60, 75 or 100 days will make a difference….I guess we’ll see.

My Scars are Beautiful….

If you look on the bridge of my nose, there is a small dark circle. There is a similar scar on my right forearm. Each circle is a scar caused by the chickenpox. Lol, my chickenpox scars remind me that I disobeyed my Mother and scratched those places when I wasn’t supposed to! There is a faint mark on my left leg near my ankle. I was running down a hill one day and failed to notice a small pipe with a jagged edge sticking out of the ground. Needless to say, that one hurt! I ran screaming to my Grandmother’s house after tumbling down the rest of the hill. A bigger scar sits on my left knee…I skidded on rocks one day while riding my bike and skinned my knee. As painful as the wounds were at that time, the scars remind me of happy days as a little girl….days when I played hard outside and went in the house smelling like a little puppy.

Then there are the most recent scars…the three scars on my belly that mark the incision points for the surgeon who removed my ovaries and Fallopian tubes in December 2016. And then there are the scars around my breasts.  As I stood in the mirror this morning, my finger traced the scars that completely outline the bottom curve of each of my breasts. These scars are a reminder of the bilateral mastectomy and immediate breast reconstructive surgery that I also endured in December 2016. The scars around my breasts also remind me of the courageous decision I made last year to reduce my risk of breast and ovarian cancer after testing positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.

BRCA2 gene mutations account for about half of all cases of inherited breast cancer. As my Mother, Grandmother, Aunt (Grandmother’s sister), Great-Grandmother, and Great Great-Grandmother have all had breast cancer, I made the life-changing decision to get ahead of the disease and reduce my risk. And I have the scars to prove it! Although it was a life-changing, courageous decision, I was sad as I looked in the mirror this morning. You see…my nipples were removed too during the surgery. No nipples there…just another scar to mark another incision point made by the surgeon last year.

But I was only sad for a faint moment!! As I continued to look in the mirror, a sweet smile spread across my face. Yep, I’m forever marked with scars. But my scars are beautiful because they are a sign that healing has taken place! The wound has been healed!! Did you catch that?? If not, catch this! My scars are a glorious reminder of the things that I have survived! My scars tell my history. Essentially, my scars are history written all over my body. They are a reminder that I’m still here. My scars are my battle wounds…beautiful in every way. But there’s more to the story….

I also have scars that can’t be seen with the physical eye…scars from the loss of loved ones, disappointments, heartache and pain. The scars that cause your heart to look like this…stitched and bandaged up. The scars that cause your eyes to fill with tears when you ponder all you have endured. I believe that these are the scars that hurt the most because we sometimes get stuck in the pain from the wound that caused the scar. Therefore, I want to challenge your perception of these invisible scars. You may not think it; but these scars are beautiful too! They are a reminder that God has kept you. They are a reminder that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). They are a reminder that what was designed to destroy you didn’t prosper. Just as your physical scars tell your history, these scars tell your history too. They are your spiritual battle wounds!! Instead of being ashamed or nursing the pain that’s associated with them, it’s time to embrace these scars and declare that they’re beautiful in every way!!

My scars helped to mold me into the woman I am today. Therefore, I am embracing every one and declaring that they are beautiful to me and beautiful to God. Will you do the same regarding your own scars? Your scars have made you who you are today. Embrace them for they are truly beautiful. Peace and blessings to you! ~ The Warrior Princess

My soul is crying out for FREEDOM…

freedom

Earlier this year, I made a tough decision to end a relationship.  It was tough but I knew it was a decision that was in my best interest.  I decided that it was time for me to let go of an unhealthy relationship that I had been in and out of for years.  So, in July 2016, I boldly and confidently closed the door on that relationship.  Although I experienced the normal painful emotions associated with ending a relationship, I felt such a sense of peace and FREEDOM when I finally made the decision to do what was best for me.

Well, it’s November now…and I have become entangled in that same relationship again.  I know!  I know!  I’m shaking my head at myself.  I was doing so well.  I was going to counseling.  I had accountability partners in place.  I was checking all the right boxes.  But here I am again, locked up in chains…struggling in the same area…falling prey to the same scheme of the enemy.  And all the while…my soul is crying out for FREEDOM.

This man is familiar to me.  So, my flesh wants to hold onto him.  My flesh wants to continue to believe that things will work out.  My flesh wants to live in the land of fantasies, love conquers all, and happily ever after’s.  On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is nudging me and constantly reminding me:

  • You are on different pages. You don’t want the same thing.
  • You’ve been putting too much energy into him.
  • He’s not healthy for you. You’ve stopped taking care of yourself.
  • You’re losing sight of yourself again.

The war waging within me is real!!  The flesh and spirit man have been battling.  And all the while…my soul is crying out for FREEDOM.  My soul is crying out…set me free!!  Choose me over him!  Love me more than you love him!  Set me free!

key

Listen!  And I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you!  God has already given us the key to unlock the chains of bondage.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He gave us victory over sin and any tactics or schemes that Satan may use to try to keep us in bondage.  Why then are we still locked up in chains?  Why do we continue to struggle in the same areas?  Why do we continue to fall prey to the same schemes over and over again?  Why??  Let me tell you why!

I have come to realize that we keep ourselves locked up in bondage.  We either forget that we have the key to unlock the chains or we have become comfortable in that place of bondage.  Or better yet, we refuse or are reluctant to do the soul work necessary to walk in FREEDOM because we don’t want to deal with the pain.  The truth is that slowly, but surely…I locked myself back up in the chains of that unhealthy relationship because he is familiar to me.  Even though we weren’t going in the same direction, I would rather be with him than be alone.  Are you feeling me?  My flesh wants to stay in that place but who I am at the core won’t allow me to stay!!  The warrior in me is crying out for FREEDOM!  And she won’t allow me to stay in this place!

I’m writing to tell you that I’m fighting for my FREEDOM!!  I’m making a conscious choice today to set myself free!!  I am choosing FREEDOM!  I refuse to let fear of the future keep me locked up in chains.  I’m fighting!  I’m refocusing and I’m going to do the work necessary to be and stay free.  What about you?  Will you embark on this journey with me to be free?  If so, I challenge you to stop what you’re doing, find a mirror, and tell yourself “If you love me, set ME free!”

After that, I want you to begin to think about what FREEDOM means to you.  Do you need to do soul work (i.e. / daily affirmations, counseling, etc.) to redefine how you see yourself?  Do you need to take steps to remove yourself from an unhealthy relationship?  Do you need to be healthy physically?  Love yourself enough to take out some time to develop a plan to move toward FREEDOM.  And remember, we already have the key.  John 8:36 says “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”  Don’t let anything or anyone (including yourself) keep you locked up in chains.  I’m fighting for my FREEDOM!  Are you ready and willing to do the same??

~ The Warrior Princess

From One Relationship to Another…

In June 2011, my marriage ended in divorce.  After 10 years of marriage, I was alone.  Broken.  Angry.  Hurt.  Anxious and afraid as I began to face the world as a single parent of two teenage girls.  As I sit and reflect on that time in my life, my eyes fill with tears and I grimace when I think of the decisions I made in my relentless pursuit of love.

When I left the courthouse in June, I declared to my parents that I was going to spend time alone to heal.  Well…things didn’t exactly go that way!  I wanted so desperately to fill the hole in my soul that all I could think about was getting back out there and finding NEW love!  By the time October arrived, I was smitten with a handsome brown-eyed soldier.

He was fun and exciting!  He spoke my love language!  He spent time with me and cared about my interests.  We talked for hours at a time.  He was well-educated and had a successful career.  Who needs to spend time alone healing when you encounter a package like this??  Not this girl!  After being divorced for only three months, I jumped into another relationship.  And I mean I jumped!

Not only did I jump, but I jumped into an unhealthy relationship.  He was a great guy with great qualities but he was also an alcoholic.  He was involved with other women.  He was a compulsive gambler.  I was so desperate to be loved and to be in a “relationship” that I was trying to convince myself that none of the bad habits mattered.  In a sense, I believed that I could love his bad habits away and we would live happily ever after.

The reality is that I endured pain…disrespect…and infidelity for months.  Why?  I was in a broken state and didn’t take the time to properly heal before I jumped into another relationship.  Here’s what I learned after jumping into that relationship:

  1. Time alone is crucial to the healing process. – Let’s admit it!  It’s easier to jump from one relationship to another than it is to spend time doing the work necessary to be healthy standing alone.  Society has convinced us that the new love will fill the hole in our souls…NOT!!  The truth is that my failure to spend time alone caused me more heartache and pain.  Taking the time to go through the healing process would have saved me countless nights of tears.  I’m so glad that weeping endures for a night and joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)!
  2. You must love yourself first. – John 8:32 says “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  The truth is that I didn’t love myself.  I shared that handsome soldier with other women and endured his disrespect and infidelity because I didn’t love and respect myself.  Facing that truth was painful but was necessary to move forward and walk in freedom.
  3. You must know your worth. – In the process of searching for love, I forgot who I was.  I forgot that I belong to a God who loves me so much that He sent His only son to die on the cross for me.  I forgot that I am God’s masterpiece, that I was created anew in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10).  I forgot that I was fearfully and wonderfully made in His image (Psalm139:14).  This painful experience was necessary to help me realize my worth in Jesus Christ.  Today, I can declare that I am a woman of worth because God loves me.  Point. Blank. Period.

Jumping from one relationship to another may seem easier but the reality is that you’re just carrying baggage from one person to the next.  If I have learned nothing else, I have learned that spending adequate time alone in between relationships is crucial to our growth and well-being.  If we don’t take the time to deal with our stuff, the baggage doesn’t go away…it accumulates!  Slow down and take the time to heal.

~ The Warrior Princess