Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I have to admit...I've been in a dark place the last few months. Pain is a powerful thing. I happen to suffer from physical pain but I recognize that emotional and mental pain can be just as powerful (if not more)...Pain paralyzes you and limits you from moving forward...it keeps you stuck...trapped in a cloud.  It consumes you, plays tricks on your mind, it haunts you, and keeps you from being your best.

As a woman, how do you push through the pain? Like I've said many times before in this blog...nothing against my brothers, but I'm a woman and I can really only speak from a woman's perspective. Women are generally the backbone of the family ... They keep things humming along... Every woman is different. Some women are mothers, they care for the children...some are daughters they care for aging parents...some women are wives...they support their husbands... Some women are single... They support themselves. Regardless they all have a major role to play...so when pain comes in...there is no time to stop, because if you do...who is gonna do all that stuff? Plus, guilt sets in because women (in my opinion) are naturally nurturers...so if you have to "attend" to your pain (by you I mean me) you feel like you are neglecting something else. 

Slowly but surely I'm beginning to free my self from the death grip pain has on me...I'm realizing that my pain is telling me something. Things are out of alignment. For me it's my left hip that is causing me excruciating pain...it has literally brought me to an almost complete stop...it causes me to be a slave to my bed. I don't sleep well, I fight back tears as I limp around  at work, my social life is pretty much nil, and my self esteem is suffering. I'm sure at this point you are like, "but I thought you said you were getting free?" See that's the beauty of suffering...if you open your spirit enough...you find the purpose for your pain. Trust me, there's always a purpose. Remember you ARE Gods design...he already knew what you would go through, so this is your assignment. Accepting my assignment and listening to the spirit, I was able to see the seed God has planted. What I haven't quite been able to see is exactly how he wants me to sow the seed...that's okay....that is where my faith is being activated. For now, I'm gonna keep pushing and pressing my way. My pain has taught me a few things...1) I'm stronger than I ever knew 2) how to sit still 3) how to RECEIVE unconditional love 4) to share my story 5) God continues to keep me by His power, strength, grace, and mercy 6) recognition of what is most important 7) how to rest 8) that it's okay to take care of myself 9) I am not alone 10) how to move in faith

These are daily lessons...I haven't passed the test yet...but I'm listening and I'm learning...Pressing...Pushing...Praying...through my pain.

If you are suffering from pain, I pray you open your spirit to discover its purpose...

"So if you see me cry it's just a sign that I'm still alive...I've got some scars but I'm still alive. In spite of calamity, He still has a plan for me..And it's working for my good...And it's building my testimony." ~Marvin Sapp

Friday, January 17, 2014

Are your ready to accept the challenge?

Today I pushed myself and decided to try out chair yoga. I thought with my current physical limitations, this would be a good fit for me. I arrived at the studio, explained my physical limitations to the instructor, and spoke of how excited I was to try some gentle yoga. The first thing out of her mouth was, "well we don't really use the chair that much, except for support...can you get down on the mat?" Instantly, I felt the anxiety monster rising up. I started thinking "I can't even do this stupid gentle yoga...no I can't get on the stupid floor" but I just said, "all I can do is try my best." Then she said and "we will just modify what you can't do." So we began, there were lots of movements I couldn't do, but with the modifications I was able to participate the entire hour. Instead of getting in the mat, I did modified movements in the chair.  At the end she gave us a quote to meditate on (paraphrased): 

No one said life would be free of difficulty, but I am free to accept the challenge of this life. The challenge to change or adjust with difficulty or the challenge to remain and accept the way things are at the present moment.

It seems like I'm having a great deal of difficulties right now, my difficulties are health related, but maybe yours are something else. Whatever they are we are all free to accept the challenge. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to accept the "challenge" just that you accept it. 

I ended last year so excited about what the future would hold. What new lessons awaited? It has started off a little bumpy. It seems like this year is definitely going to be about acceptance and trust. Trusting God  despite what it looks like. Accepting his will for my life. Trusting that if he plants a seed in me, that he has a way for it to grow. Accepting that it's okay for me to make and accept modifications to achieve goals. Accepting and asking for help when I need it. Most importantly, accepting the challenge and not giving up. 

Today was a huge victory for me...I overcame emotional and physical obstacles and accomplished a goal...chair yoga.

If like me, life is seeming overwhelming right now, my prayer is that you will find a way to break it up in bite size pieces, set small goals, and celebrate every victory and accomplishment (no matter how small it may seem). Most importantly, my prayer for you and me is that we know and believe in the power of God, that we trust him, and know that nothing is too hard for our Lord.

"Behold, I am The Lord, the God of all living flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27 (Amplified)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A lesson in Acceptance

As most of you know by now, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I've been pretty transparent about it but I still struggle with shame and fear related to my diagnosis. As a 39 year old ambitious woman I have gone through a long, painful journey of acceptance. I definitely feel that I am more accepting of my condition now as I approach 40. This is probably because I've struggled with the diagnosis for 22 years or perhaps because of an overall growth in confidence, spirituality, and submission to God's will for my life. Still, like any human I struggle with insecurities, anger, sadness, and even self-pity at times. I've learned not to beat myself up about it anymore because like I said "I'm human!" 

Recently, after years of hip pain and a recent decline in my mobility I made the decision to have a total hip replacement. It was a tough decision because of the financial impact, work responsibilities, fear, and all of the many reasons/excuses we use to not take care of ourselves, but ultimately I HAD to get the operation because I wasn't living anymore, the pain was literally killing me. I'm not the type of person who looks at anything in isolation. I'm very introspective and I'm always trying to see the purpose of what is happening. It's funny that 22 years ago when I was diagnosed I recall going to a support group for people with RA. I just sat there and cried and cried because I was the youngest person in the group and everyone was talking about various joint replacement surgeries, disability, and all kinds of depressing things. It was the guts! Fast forward to a week ago and I was in a class for individuals about to have joint replacement surgery, again I was the youngest person in the class. Again I began to think about how unfair it was, but this time I didn't cry. At 17, some 22 years ago I felt like I had lost control of my life...now at 39, I felt like I was taking control of my life. I had made the decision to do what I could to get my life back. 

Some people may not think it's a big deal, it's not like I have Cancer. However, this is my BiG deal and it's my cross to bear. Having a chronic condition is not only debilitating physically but it is draining emotionally and mentally. And despite ALL of that I have managed to live in spite of it. Ive had a successful professional life, great friends, wonderful experiences, and finally a special love. I have rough days, but I've managed to remain positive and face life with a smile, even when that smile is a mask. Along this journey I've met amazing people and read amazing stories about other young folks who have shown amazing perseverance and determination dealing with chronic conditions. I've seen faces of babies, children, adolescents, young and old adults who have faced their condition with such grace and courage. Their stories have inspired me and reminded me that I'm not alone. It also reminded me that the first step to freedom of any kind is acceptance. With acceptance, shame loses it's power. With acceptance, you learn to take control of what you can and let go of what you can't. It helps you identify what you need in your life and what and whom you have to eliminate from your life. For me acceptance  taught me to stop comparing myself to others, how to say no, to be comfortable in my own skin, to educate others about RA, to take care of myself, and most importantly to love myself in spite of my imperfections. Having RA had been a major roller coaster, but I thank God for my journey. It has made me more humble, compassionate, and empathetic. It's helping to define my purpose. It reminds me everyday that without God I can not function. He is the source of my strength. The last 6 weeks I have had to function without my medication as I prepared for surgery. I know it was God that sustained me because the amount of pain I was in was indescribable. The closer I got to surgery, the more the pain intensified. I literally felt like I was not going to survive. Just then, God spoke to me and said, "who will you believe. Me or the enemy?" I knew in that moment I was just on the other side of my breakthrough. Still, I'm human so I was in a spiritual battle all the way up until I was about to be put to sleep. Right before being sedated, I said, "God it's in your hands." Due to my RA I couldn't have general anesthesia, therefore I was aware of everything happening around me. I could feel my body being tugged, I could hear the saws cutting through bone, the hammers banging in new parts, I could hear the surgeon becoming frustrated because things weren't going perfectly. I felt the oxygen burning my nose, I felt like I couldn't breathe and at one point I even became nauseated. I was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down...this could have been scary stuff but I was at such peace. Within hours of the surgery, I felt like a new person. Everyone said I looked great, the doctors and nurses were surprised and my family and friends were enthusiastic. They expected me to be groggy, in pain,lethargic. Instead I was vibrant, happy, alert, and in minor pain. I didn't look like what I had been through.  Now I'm on the road to recovery. I'm taking an even more introspective look at my life. I'm a little less fearful and a lot more determined. I plan to get my other hip replaced in the near future. I don't plan to waste any more of my life in denial. I've submitted to God's will for my life. At 40, I still have a lot of life yet to live but I refuse to live it just existing, I plan to LIVE. 

At 17, I was diagnosed with RA right as I was supposed to start college and begin my life. I allowed RA to steal alot of time. I wasn't mentally or spiritually prepared or experienced to deal with what was happening. At 39, I've had a lot of experiences which have prepared me for this very moment. It's no coincidence that I had to have a hip replacement right before turning 40. This is my time. I feel it. Not only am I on the verge of a breakthrough,but I'm on the cusp of total restoration. It all started with acceptance.

What are you not accepting in your life? How is it holding you back? Are you living or existing?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HE gives me Courage....

Last night I watched a popular movie, one that I have seen many times. However, this time a particular scene really struck me. In the scene one of the main characters performed a spoken word piece about the courage to love. As she said the words, tears filled my eyes.

It takes courage to love again. When you've been hurt.
It takes pain and strength again
to pack it all away.
Somewhere, in all the pain,
someone has to have the courage
to be okay.
He gives me courage
to Love. (Excerpt, Madea's Family Reunion)

I know all too well about this courage it takes to love...again. Actually, I probably know more about the fear that exists which summons the courage. Like many women (I speak from the perspective of a woman because I am one) I've been hurt, abused, misused, and tossed aside at some point in my life. Four years ago, I went through a divorce. I must admit it was one of the hardest things I've been through in my adult life. Despite all of my professional accomplishments that were occurring simultaneously, I felt like a failure. People like to compare a breakup to a divorce but there is something different when you make a covenant with another and GOD. When it ended I felt such a huge sense of disappointment, loss, and shame. I felt like I let myself, my family, and more importantly God down when it ended. It took many years and lots of prayer, but today I'm much stronger. It is a daily walk, but I thank God for the lessons. Often in the midst of pain we focus on the pain or the tragedy and not the lesson or the grace of God. We often look at life through our human eyes and not our spiritual eyes. God says, there is nothing the believer can do to separate themselves from His love. God says in your weakness, I am made strong. God says, all things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to his purpose. God says, I love those who love me. There is NO greater love than the love of our God. Yet, I also believe God placed us on earth, in relationship with one another, to be an EXTENSION of HIS love. Despite all the pain, mistakes, and shame of the past I was blessed most recently with a love, that I once believed was out of my reach. A love that I once believed I didn't deserve, couldn't happen for me, or was unrealistic. Through introspection, prayer, faith, family, and friends the dark veil of shame lifted and I began to see myself how God sees me. Despite it all, HE loved me. Who was I not to love myself or to feel unworthy of love?

When watching the movie, hearing the poem, my initial response was to think of my Love, my man. Because yes, he does give me courage to love. His patience, kindness, compassion, and unconditional love have given me courage. Why? He is an extension of God's love. "love is patient, love is kind..." When I really reflected on the poem, the "HE" that gives me courage to love is my Father, my Redeemer, the first to ever love me...God.

If you are going through, have gone through, or if you eventually experience heart break, I pray you know God's love. Let it strengthen you to maintain the Courage to love AND be loved.

LOVE..."...it always protects, always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails"

When in doubt, I encourage you to reflect on these scriptures:
1 Cor 13:5-8, Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 4:7-8, 1 Peter 5:6-7

Be Blessed!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

signing off

I think this will be the last blog I write in this format. I guess I am just a little exhausted with sharing myself, opinions, and emotions with others, because no one really seems to care. I have spent a lot of my life considering others, trying to find right word, worrying about others, thinking of their feelings all to just get smacked in the face a lot of time when I need them the most. I used to think I was a person that was pretty transparent with my feelings, but I realize I hold a lot in. That is my fault and my issue. I read a status from a friend and it basically said stop playing the victim, there is responsibility in victimization. I was like wow, what a light bulb moment. This exhaustion I feel is self-imposed. The anger I feel is self-imposed, because I allow people to treat me certain ways. I am the queen of letting stuff burn and not saying anything. Well, I cant do that much longer. However, I am also a believer in words hurt, so you have to be careful what you say. At any rate, I am at a point in my life where I can only speak the truth. There so much energy that I need to pour in myself, that is where my focus needs to be. I am determined to get to a place where I am physically, mentally, and emotionally well. I wish you all the same......

Monday, August 1, 2011


Well I finally made the big move and let's just say, things have not gone exactly as planned. This seems to be the story of my life. Thankfully time and experience have taught me not to expect things to go smoothly, so I wasn't shaken (too badly anyway) by the chain of events I've experienced. At the end of the day, I am happy to be home. Coming home is a strange thing, the familiarity is comforting, but returning to somewhere where life kept going with out you can also be very isolating. People are happy you are here, but don't expect a big homecoming celebration.. Life just keeps on ticking...Whether you go home or to an unfamiliar land, you still have to create your own life. Whatever conflicts you had internally or otherwise will still be with you when you unpack all the boxes and settle in. The people that were your support system before will probably be the same people who are your support system now (at least in the beginning). You are still YOU, just in a different place. Hopefully, the change you make in your life will present new opportunities to learn something new about yourself or about those in your family or even the city you are in. Hopefully, reconciliation will take place where it needs to, bonds will be strengthened, and goals will be achieved. My point is each chapter of life presents a new set of challenges but also many great benefits. When I reflect on the last chapter of my life, it is a story filled with many highs and many lows, but I know each of those experiences have made me who I am today. The last few years, were especially instrumental in the woman I am. I learned how to live and be alone, and how to really depend on God. I learned how to trust him, in the midst of the wilderness, and my faith was strengthened by that "wilderness experience." Having an unshakeable faith helped me to maintain through a crazy week last week. The old me, would have thrown up my hands and cried out "Why Lord? Why Me?" but the transformed me, cried out "Thank you Lord! I trust you!" The transformed me, sought to find the lesson that God was teaching me in my adversity...the transformed me turned to God for my answers and my peace. I'm so thankful, that He continues to work on me and that my heart continues to remain open so that I may draw nearer and nearer to Him. My best friend informed me that 8 is the number of new beginning, so I am very excited about this 8th month of the year. I realize now that last week had to happen to shake me up some, to cause me to reflect, refocus, and re-energize to prepare for my New Beginning. Whatever may go on in my life, I pray that I embrace my adversity because I know that it is just another opportunity for me to commune with my Creator and knowing that He only wants the best for me, is all the comfort I need. I thank you Lord, for the opportunity to praise your name!

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake I do this. ISA 48:10,11

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:11-13

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Judge Not

If you have been watching the news lately, you have seen two stories of powerful men who had great falls. As a result of these stories there have been lots of debate about the judgement of these men. Judgement is something I hate, as a matter of fact I've gotten into many discussions with friends about judgement. I hate being judged, but after reading these stories it made me start to think more about judgement and what it really means. I, like these men, have had some great failures. Luckily for me, it wasn't broadcast for the world to see, but it still felt like the world was judging me. Does anyone have the right to judge? If you are a "believer" then you probably believe that judgement should be left to God. I agree with this too, but I also think that as believers or friends for that matter we should be able to call people out on their wrongdoing. Especially when it might prevent them from making the same mistake twice. I think we often learn, unfortunately, from our mistakes and the consequences we suffer as a result of these mistakes. The next thing I've been battling is forgiveness. If you forgive someone and choose not to associate with them anymore or in the same way, does that mean you haven't really forgiven or that you are judging them or their behavior? I don't think so. Sometimes, when you forgive, you forgive and move on. Sometimes when you disapprove of someone's behavior it doesn't mean that you are sentencing them to judgement, sometimes it means you have turned them over to the universe. Sometimes you recognize that the battle is not yours. Like, I said earlier I have had some great failures, and I am thankful for God's forgiveness, but I also know that I have to be and will be held accountable for my actions. I am a survivor of abuse, most of my friends know this, because it is not a source of shame for me. I have forgiven my abuser, but I still find it very hard to associate with this person. The biggest reason is because they have not acknowledged their wrongdoing. The other reason is because it doesnt make me feel good and makes me feel unsafe when I am around this person. The judgement for their actions will be left to God. However, I am free because I have forgiven them and moved on. When people tell you how to forgive and that you shouldn't judge, aren't they essentially judging you? My point is, we all judge in some form or another, but the ultimate judgement is left to God. Back to the two men in the news...we in society should not forget that we are all guilty of sin and we all have fallen short, but these men must acknowledge that they abused trust and power. If we choose to not hold them in a position of power anymore, that is our right. We shouldn't throw rocks but we definitely don't have to continue to shower them with praise, especially when they are blatantly wrong. Just as I had to suffer consequences for my behavior, so must these men. Just as I have been restored so can these men. My biggest prayer is that these failures cause these men to turn their eyes completely towards God, because clearly they took their eye off the prize. God has a way of making us acknowledge who He is and that He is he all powerful. He will humble us in our weakness and sin. If we are smart, we will get the lesson and repent to sin no more. Isn't it a blessing that God is our ultimate judge and that the Blood of Jesus is here to save us? Thank God we don't have to rely on man for that. Personally, I have learned to forgive because it frees me, most importantly I forgive because I want to be forgiven. I try not to judge because I don't want to be judged. I remove myself from situations because the battle is not mine, and it is not my load to bear. I pray because I want to hear from God and do what He would have me to do, not what you would have me to do. My level of forgiveness is between me and God, so judge not, lest ye be judged.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2Corinthians 5:10