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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Another Black and Married with Kids.com Article: “Does Real Love Hurt?”

Hi again,

Here is another newly featured article on Black and Married with Kids.com! Feel free to visit and comment!

http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2013/09/does-real-love-hurt/

Grieving…..

One of my close friends lost her grandmother earlier this week. They were very close and created many wonderful memories together. Coincidentally, this past weekend another friend released her first book where she shared her journey after losing her 3 year old son in a terrible nursery school accident 23 years ago. The theme that played in my mind after hearing and observing these two situations back-to-back was that of grieving.

If you’ve read my book “It’s My Life and I Live Here: One Woman’s Story” you know that I know grief only TOO well. Last night I felt prompted to post some thoughts on social media on grief and allowing others to grieve. I’ve decided to share them here as well.

When we are close to someone who lost a loved one, our first instinct is to bombard them with phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, Twitter feed comments, visits, food, cards, flowers, and the list goes on and on. Before you bring it on with bells and whistles, please take a moment and think about it before you do anything.

Immediately after the person has passed, the family members are typically in shock and deep sadness. Many may cry (as in shoulders shaking, hysterical cries), and others may just want to be secluded someplace without interruptions so they can think. In either instance, few want to be in a crowd of spectators saying a lot of words that CANNOT bring back their loved one. The words we say are typically meant to help, but let’s remember that this person played a significant role in their lives and they didn’t want to see them go.

There are a few things we must consider: Will they want to hear Scriptures RIGHT NOW? Listen to hymns of the Faith? Hear assurances that their loved one is in heaven? Do they need to hear that they’ll soon “get over it”? Do they want excessive hugs, lots of talking, and people hanging around all day and night?

These questions apply even to God-fearing preacher families. Sometimes quoting a Scripture sounds hollow and meaningless. Sometimes hearing the words of even a favorite hymn becomes irritating. The excessive hugs that last for 5 minutes may be too much right now. Give them SPACE to grieve.

Allow people to grieve in their own way, at their own pace. Not everyone can grieve in public, or with their homes filled with well-meaning visitors. Sometimes visitors must be there as they are part of the family that has lost the loved one. But some visitors are “extras” at this time. Sometimes just saying “I love you” or NOTHING at all, staying for a few minutes then leaving is all that the person truly needs. Then there are other times that company is welcomed, especially if the person lost a spouse and may now be faced with living alone as their new normal. Even if that is the case, be moderate and considerate. Don’t feel the need to fill every awkward pause or still moment with noise, talk or music. Sometimes quiet reflection and a chance to breathe is all they may truly need.

I remember when one of my childhood friends tragically lost his father. It was unexpected, and he was horrified by it. Because I had lost my mom just a few years before this happened to him, I was very sensitive to what he probably needed at that time. On the day of the viewing, I pushed myself to get dressed to visit the funeral home. It was tough to go since I had just recently visited one for my mom. I found him in the room standing in front of the casket just staring at his dad….. He had a hand in one pocket, and he tried to hold in the tears. I went over to him and stood right next to him. I said NOTHING. He then turned and laid his head on my shoulder and cried, and cried, and cried…..I stood there and waited for him to finish. After he composed himself, I left. I just wanted to be THERE for him, and that’s all he needed. If I were to ask him if he remembers, he would probably say no. Grief does that to you; you don’t recall half of what happened during that time of sorrow. But I know I made a difference without burdening him and that’s all that really mattered.

Please remember that when someone loses a dear loved one, they may never fully “get over it”. My mom has been gone for almost 25 years, and I am not fully over her being gone. She left at a very vulnerable time in my life; I was a teen. I remember standing by the edge of the graveside and dropping my last rose on top of her casket. I felt rooted to the spot where I stood. That was my best friend they just lowered into the ground! She was gone. I turned around to walk away and was almost suffocated by a woman’s bear hug. She meant well, but I didn’t need that then….. I just wanted to be alone in my thoughts at that time. Even today I do not visit the cemetery often. I can’t. My dad has to go with me, and then it’s a quick look, turn around and leave. It’s too much for me because all the memories come flooding back when I’m there. I remember everything all over again. I’m not fully over it, and I don’t think that day will ever come. I’ll always cherish the memories I shared with my mom.

And after the services end, and all the visitors are gone, and the calls stop coming and cards stop coming, will you still be there for your grieving friends? When they want to talk about what they remember about their loved one, will you try to change the subject or say they’re dwelling in the past? Sometimes people need professional help to move on, but understand that grieving takes time. Sometimes years. Even decades, sometimes…..

Make up your mind that when you’re faced with this scenario, you will promise just to BE THERE. Nothing else is needed, really. They just want to know that when they’re ready to talk or just to sit with someone that you’re ready too.

Another Black and Married with Kids Article!

Here is my newest post on Black and Married with Kids.com. I pray it encourages all who read it. http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2013/08/the-pain-was-unbearable-my-journey-to-healing-after-divorce/

Turn Your Pain Into Ministry (Aug 2007)

Lucinda Moore, one of my Facebook & Twitter friends, sings “Turn Your Pressure Into Praise” and is actually writing a book on her life at this moment. (Blessings, Lucinda!)

My theme in this blog is turning my pain into a place of ministering into the lives of others. As I’ve written over the past several months, I’ve received many encouraging messages via email and even via phone saying “You should write a book.” I believe I shall, eventually, but I don’t think the time has yet come for that to happen. There is so much more that I need to experience and work through, so much so that I know the book would be considered unfinished if I attempted to take that on now. (Update: My manuscript is being edited now!)

But anyway, my reason for writing again is I wanted to share this: I am beginning to understand the reason for my pain. This is why I’ve written publicly and sharing it with anyone who will listen. Why, because my pain is not just for me to endure. My pain is meant to help someone else. I strongly believe that, and in fact, nothing else makes sense to me than other than that. This is why I stated in an earlier blog that it is useless to hide our pain, our past and our mistakes, because others are watching and learning (or if we’re hiding it they’re not learning) from those of us who walk this Christian pathway. I know my fellow employees, family members and friends are seeing these crazy things happening to me and are wondering “Why?” but my attitude and my thankfulness to God in spite of it all makes all the difference.

I remember speaking with a friend of mine several years ago. She went through an abusive marriage, a horrendous divorce and even has repercussions from that divorce until this day. As she was being publicly humiliated by her ex-husband and as many people sided with him because he was such a slick person, a couple sat on the sidelines then eventually turned against her without a proper explanation. Later on when the truth came out that she had not fabricated any of what she was experiencing, they came to her and apologized. Then they made a confession. Years before, their marriage had many bumps as well, but they worked through their issues and today there are no visible reminders of their past experiences. Immediately my friend lashed out at them (and I couldn’t blame her). Why? Because they stood by and watched her suffer, knowing that they had the tools and the experience that could have helped her through her pain, but because they labeled it “their” pain, they did not step forward to help her. I felt badly while I listened to her recount the story and I made a promise to myself never to do that to anyone else.

This is why I write.

Many times we say to ourselves when we experience pain, humiliation or some other situation, “Why me?” But do you know what we should really be saying? “Why NOT me?” I’ve found myself telling God on several occasions, “Thank You for the vote of confidence, but I wish You’d stop putting so many of these burdens on my shoulders!” But then I reflect on Job, a man discussed in the Bible, who lived an upright life and who tried to do the right thing every day and still lost it all.

But who remembers the last chapter of Job? He received double after it was all over! His last 10 children were the most handsome and the most beautiful in all the land, even more than the first 10 who died, and if he was rich at the beginning of the book of Job, he was FILTHY rich by the end! Now I don’t dwell too much on riches as I believe it’s going to happen for me based on the fact that I have to help people, and I must be free to help as many people as I can in any way that I can. Financial prosperity is the only way I’ll be able to do so unhindered. But that’s really not the point in all of this. Job was tested, tried and stretched in ways unimaginable for any human, yet he passed the test.

I too will pass this test, because I must be able to recount to the world how God healed my body, delivered my son from his issues, placed us in a new, wonderful family and how He is actively using our lives to minister in His name. What better testimony is there?

So as I go through my time of forced solitude, I must reflect on where I am in life, where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m getting there. I’m already there in the supernatural; I am just waiting to see it manifested in the natural.

I’m so excited, I can hardly contain it. Will I be healed completely in every way? I absolutely believe it, and I will believe nothing else. God’s plans for me need complete healing, or how else will He be effectively glorified through my life?

So I turn over all my disappointments, my painful moments and memories and even this current physical situation over to God, Who has every situation in His hands. Let’s all stand back, and see God work wonders as He turns my pain (and yours too, if you allow Him) into effective ministry for His glory!

Healing: The Prerequisite to Complete Deliverance

As I prepare for the next phase of my life, I realize that many wounds still exist from earlier personal experiences. The past has an uncanny knack of showing up at the most inopportune moments – like when you are trying to focus on something very important (like work, for example), or while praying (that’s important too), or even when you’re trying to relax. Old memories that seem like they occurred only yesterday impose their presence with little warning.

Continue reading “Healing: The Prerequisite to Complete Deliverance”

The Journey Begins, One Step At A Time (Oct 2009)

I started on a new journey 4 years exactly, almost to the date. I remember my nervousness as I packed my things and those of my son and made a quick exit on a rainy fall night. I was nervous because it seemed crazy to those who were outsiders looking in that I would leave what seemed like a perfect situation. But those who lived inside knew that it was only a facade. Very little was real aside from the fact that we were human beings using our correct (“government”) names.

Continue reading “The Journey Begins, One Step At A Time (Oct 2009)”