My Surprise Discovery in Relationships

I’ve been single (again) for a while; in fact, I’m approaching 10 years of separation and almost 9 years of being divorced. This journey has been by far the most rewarding aspect of my life, because the level of personal growth has amazed me. I must emphasize though that it isn’t “fun” being a divorcee or being the participant in a failed marriage. That feeling intensifies when I look at my now towering son, wishing things were otherwise. (Thankfully, he and his dad have a good relationship.)

So, I’ve recently made a startling discovery as I begin the journey to “not be single” – and that discovery is buried pain. Because I came from an emotionally abusive situation, I realized I needed to have a way (or two) to let the pain out and to begin the journey to heal. I signed up for counseling and went religiously for a few years. I started to blog (which is why this blog exists). I started sharing some of my lessons learned in convos with family members and friends.

As time went on, I had the strength to get back out and become active again; I started singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, volunteering on the dental van for the company I used to work for, traveling, and so on. I even signed up the lil guy for sports. I felt I was doing well.

Now, as I’ve opened up my heart to someone new, some of the pain that I thought was resolved started rearing its ugly head. Things that I thought I’d never see again, reappeared. I was not ready for that, and wondered what happened to all the time of counseling, journaling, praying, crying, fasting and so on.

I think I know what happened: I am still on a journey towards healing, but without being in that situation, you won’t know how complete the healing is.

Think of someone playing a sport and spraining or breaking an ankle. They are carried off the field or court and to the ER. X-rays find the extent of the damage; they receive a cast or a wrap, and they are given instructions on how to manage the injury. They may also receive pain meds to take the edge off. In about 6 weeks they return to remove the cast. X-rays show that the bone or ligament is mended. The X-rays may show this fact (the healing), but the true test occurs when that athlete goes back out there and attempts to run, jump, kick or whatever they need to do. Pain may occur. Does it mean that the X-rays were telling lies? Was the machine faulty in what it displayed to the doctor or X-ray technician? No! Healing did take place, but now the ankle needs to be strengthened and conditioned to get it back to where it was (or stronger)! So the next step needs to be some type of physical therapy, and strengthening exercises. Once the athlete has completed required conditioning for their ankle, they will be able to run, kick, jump and do whatever else they need to do, and probably even better than before.

So here’s my heart; I have gone through the process of healing. My spirit is no longer hostile towards my ex-spouse. I can honestly say that I care what happens to him as the father of our son. So these feelings that resurfaced may just mean that my heart needs some conditioning and possibly more therapy as I adjust to changes.

I can also say this: anyone who has been through a traumatic situation must consider the importance of continued counseling. Get things off your mind, heart and spirit so that you can grow and become all that you need to be. Also, if you are dating seriously, talk through your fears or issues with that person so they can begin to understand your response to things. Here is another important point: Do not neglect or ignore pre-marital counseling. In fact, I highly recommend pre-engagement counseling as well so you are assured that you are heading in the right direction with your intended. This is highly recommended for people who want to marry again.

So that’s all, until next time!

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Here are Reviews for my New Book for Singles!

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Two of these reviewers are husbands, and one is a single young man, yet all of them have indicated a need for this book.

I am thankful for this moment. Get ready to read a book that will enhance and possibly change your life!

Stay tuned! #July2014 #BookRelease 

To view a sample of the new book, click here to sign up! >>> http://eepurl.com/KpNkb

The Memories…..

This weekend will be forever treasured in my heart. I am thankful for family members and friends who traveled from near and far to celebrate the life of my heart, Mother Nelson. I will never forget her care & concern, her stern conversations with me when I was out of line, or her light, cheerful laughter.

Grandma, we (my dad, my sisters, nieces, nephew & son) will always love you. You left an indelible mark on this world. Your legacy will always live on in the lives that you changed forever.

Here’s a photo of us singing “Precious Memories”.

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Celibacy – Why I Live That Life

I haven’t yet written about my celibate life and why I’m on this journey for eight years so far. So here’s why.

1. I am a Christian, and I firmly believe in the Bible. Hebrews 13:4, NKJV states: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” I know it’s considered ancient, outdated and very “Cleaverish” to believe in or to practice celibacy based on the Bible, but I also have other reasons which are listed below.

2. I don’t have to live in fear of picking up a STD or getting pregnant unexpectedly. I know there are “precautions” that we can use and many of them work well when used properly, but there are MANY people who thought they were safe and were still “caught”. As one of my social media friends pointed out recently, we save a LOT of money when we don’t have to purchase birth control or condoms or take frequent tests to ensure that we did not pick up a disease. I don’t think the 15 minutes of pleasure is worth the angst that follows thereafter.

3. My heart is free. The issue of soul ties where we are intimately connected to everyone we’ve ever slept with is REAL. Having to untangle my heart and my soul from several men is, thankfully, something I am not struggling with at this time. I had to work through that issue when my divorce was finalized, which was a tough situation. With healing comes the realization that I don’t want to go down that path again unnecessarily (or EVER).

4. My conscience is clear. It is human nature to rationalize what we want to accept, whether it is the right thing to do or not. I’m very hard on myself in many areas of life because I want to reach higher and grow wiser and stronger in Christ. If I need to justify my behavior to feel good about myself even at the expense of my testimony and my relationship with God, I think I would lose that fight.  Because God created marriage as the context for intimacy and procreation, as a single woman I have asked Him to help me honor my vow to live out His Word.

5. I’m setting an example for my son and for others to follow. We can live fulfilled, pleasurable and productive lives without sex (which includes masturbation and viewing pornography). We are free to pursue our purpose when we are not focusing all our energies on satiating our feelings and desires.

Are there challenges in maintaining celibacy? Of course! I’m human and I was married before, so I know what intimacy is like. Even before I was married (I was a virgin on my wedding day) I still struggled to maintain my virginity up to the age of 25.

Some of us have asked why has God given us these urges if we weren’t supposed to act on them. I think of it in this way: We are given appetites for food, for sex and for other things. If we act on our appetites inappropriately, we reap the consequences of those actions. If we eat at the wrong times (e.g. too late at night) or if we eat the wrong foods OR too much food, we will experience weight and health issues. If we eat in the proper context (eating to live versus living to eat), we maintain a healthy weight with fewer health issues. In that same way, practicing restraint in sexual activities and keeping it within the context that God created it for (which is marriage) makes it fun and a GOOD thing! When children are conceived in a healthy marriage there is a secure nuclear unit, which is the ideal home environment for them.

I am determined to keep the big picture always in the forefront. I am willing to sacrifice a momentary pleasure that has the ability to derail the rest of my life and I am choosing instead to WAIT until God sends Mr. Right in my direction.

I recommend these pages for more information and encouragement on your journey to celibacy:

http://celibacyissexy.com

http://www.pinkypromisemovement.com

https://twitter.com/NoSexMovement

https://www.facebook.com/WorthTheWaitMinistries

https://www.facebook.com/DatingandWaiting

http://abstinencematters.com/

Loving ME: The Mental War

I’m an introvert; I admit it.

I spend a lot of time thinking and rationalizing things. My latest thoughts center around our perceptions of ourselves vs. the world in which we live. I’ll just get right to it so you’ll be able to see where I’m going with this.

Many of us see ourselves in a totally different light from how others view us. We may think we’re “the best of the best” but others may not agree with our assessment. The opposite is also true, and may be more common. Many of us think of ourselves in lesser terms than others think of us.

Recently I went out with a girlfriend for a late lunch and to talk. As I spoke and shared a few things about me to her, I realized that my self-awareness and personal level of impact was VERY different from what I had imagined. She shared with me how much she felt that she needed to get to know me from the first time she saw me. I sat there, quietly ashamed of the tirade on myself that I had just subjected her to a few minutes before.

You see, I’ve never seen myself as some “grand” person, wanting to be with the “in” crowd or fitting in. When I was a child I learned the hard way that I was too different to blend in, and honestly none of that has changed.  But in my quest to be “me” yet remain likable there were things about myself that I had started nitpicking at, all in an effort to “self-improve”. I think it had the opposite effect on me, as my heart and mind turned into a war zone. It was like a mental debate event where each side tries to prove that the other side is wrong.  I would look at things I didn’t like about myself and either criticize it in an effort to justify doing something about it (or to beat myself up over), or ignore or downplay GOOD things that others may mention that should make me feel better about who I am.

This ongoing mental war has had a profound effect on many aspects of my life. Whenever you tell yourself that there are limits on what you can achieve, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve told myself that I “didn’t belong” in certain circles, or in the company of certain individuals because I felt odd, and honestly I told myself that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to offer them. The discomfort in breaking away from these self-imposed limits has made the mental debate now a center-stage event, as now I fight consciously against the limiting lies I’ve fed myself for years. I would look at my background (my family, etc) and my personal past and automatically disqualify myself from levels of success that I’ve never experienced before.

Being genuinely happy for others’ success has always been the fuel to my fire. Others’ hurts and celebrations always became mine because of my high level of empathy and caring for others. But here are some questions I’ve had to ask myself lately: What about my opinions on things? How do I truly feel? What about my desires and wants? Do I know what those are, or have I talked myself into saying “Whatever makes (others) happy, makes me happy.” Is that REALLY TRUE???

After my marriage failed, I purposely pushed the world away from me for a couple years in an effort to reconnect with my inner voice. I’d forgotten what I sounded like. Before that period of self-imposed isolation & reflection, there were always people calling to offer unsolicited advice or to rehash the last 3 things my ex-spouse did or said before I moved out. After a while, I realized that the baggage others were placing on me prevented me from living my new life on my terms. I even had people trying to get me to reconnect with an ex-boyfriend after they heard that my marriage had ended! (Really???) Living my life on my terms is in no way meant to minimize my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s just that I loved Jesus and I loved others but did not love ME enough! I felt that others were more important than me, that their desires and opinions were more important than mine – even if they affected the quality of my life. I gave in to demanding friends and their requests. There were no boundaries. My phone rang any time of the day or night and I answered it, fully anticipating the draining conversation I was about to have.

The pain of burying my heart’s dreams and desires continued for years after until I was tired of living vicariously through everyone else. I decided to step out and go after one dream at a time, one day at a time. Some of my desires I kept to myself because others became so used to me “being there” that I saw the uselessness of informing them that things were about to change – until they changed! I published my first book in 2011, and when that happened, I started to see flickers of who I am on the inside. As I read reader reviews and as people stopped to tell me how they were impacted by its contents, it was difficult to receive at first. After a while, I graciously accepted their compliments with a simple “Thank you”.

Graduating with my MBA was definitely a HUGE life-goal for me, one that I felt to give up on many times. As I walked across the stage with my head held high, I realized that there was so much in me that was yet untapped or untouched. Even with that enormous highlight, the mental wars continued.

Now I am at the threshold of another series of changes and challenges, and I’m facing myself and saying “STOP! You CAN’T keep pushing success away just because it’s different from everything you’ve always known!” So I’m saying this to you as well. STOP saying you can’t be a success. Don’t ever say you don’t deserve recognition for a job well-done or for achieving a life goal. NEVER embrace staying where you are because it’s safe, or because that’s what others expect of you.

Expect MORE! Be MORE! Live your life passionately and to the fullest! You are unique, so your life-story is yours to tell. It won’t sound exactly like anyone else’s, and no-one else is more qualified to tell your story than YOU are. If you have a passion, a dream, a desire – GO AFTER IT!

I’m thankful to be surrounded by my great cloud of witnesses. They’re in the form of friends (who are also pursuing greatness) and mentors. My Dad is one of my main cheerleaders, and I’m thankful for that.

Find friends who are also pushing to live productive lives. You can encourage each other as you go. Allow people to offer sincere compliments to you. ACCEPT them as well! You’ve worked hard, so you deserve it!

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Proudly being hooded Sept 23 2012

“There’s more to come, ’cause I’m not done!” ~Michelle Cameron. How about YOU?

Merry Christmas!!!!

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year! I LOVE the songs, the movies, the food, the laughter and happy memories that the season brings. People also seem to be kinder and more patient during this time.

As the years have gone by and different circumstances have occurred, my level of celebration has changed, but I haven’t forgotten what Christmas really means. When I cannot taste the wonderful dishes (because I’m sick at home this year), or hear laughter, I treasure the beautiful memories that were created many years ago that still make my heart shine.

I watched my son open his gifts last night, and the wonder and excitement (and his gratefulness) made it all worthwhile. Are we as thankful today for what God did for us on that first Christmas? Jesus was sent here on earth in the form of a baby, a human! That aspect alone is a miracle, something that our finite minds cannot grasp.

The fact that Jesus willingly chose to go through what we go through (natural birth, growth from a baby into an adult) and went as far as dying like a common criminal on a cross is enough for me. All that gives meaning to my life has already happened before today. I am a believer in Jesus Christ because of what God did at Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you and your families. Enjoy the special times and memories with your children and other family members. Hug and love on them as much as possible.
Also remember those who are not as privileged; some are incarcerated, others are in hospitals, nursing homes or hospice. Some buried loved ones recently. Many are lonely today. If you know any of these people, please stop by and let them know that you care. It means a LOT when others know how much they mean to you.

Blessings to all,

Michelle Cameron