2020 was the last time my mom would wish me a Happy New Year. To say that processing the grief has been difficult is an understatement; she was larger than life for those of us who knew her. The kindest heart, but wouldn’t take junk from anyone😏. She was a mighty force, God’s gift to our family.
The last few years taught me:
I don’t have to be who she was, no matter who tries to put me in her place
those of us who remain are her legacy, and we should definitely continue to carry out the things that she’s taught us
grief is not a one size fit all process. No one can tell you how to do it or how long to do it. It’s OK to get help and work your way back to wholeness; emotionally and mentally.
Sometimes a part of your tribe will be made up of people who God strategically places in your life to help you through this part of your journey.
the memory of your love ones continue to live in you. Think of good times often, and remember the amazing impact they made while they were here.
Happy New Year Fam. I pray that you manage your time well with the people who are left. And I pray that wonderful memories of loved ones who have passed continually overwhelm you, and that your cycle of grief is one of positivity, love, peace and healing. 💜
There have been so many heartbreaking reports of death by suicide in recent news. My heart hurts for the loved ones left behind. The people who have so many questions and didn’t have any clue that their loved one was suffering. I pray for the souls that have departed.
During the journey to who I am now, I too thought suicide was the best solution to my issues. I was 28, a single mother, my dad died that year, I lost a great job and despair was my daily mentality. I felt like I was worthless failure and no one would want me. As a result of this, I prematurely had my tubes tied. Nothing seemed to be good in my life. I couldn’t see the good because I magnified any issues I had.
How did the people around me miss it? I didn’t tell anyone. I put on a good front when I was with family and friends. I would go home and wallow in depression. I’ve always encouraged others and did anything I could to help people. But I couldn’t help myself. I had a therapist and was even taking antidepressants. Those things were only a band-aid for the wounds (some self inflicted) I’d collected over a period of time.
On a weekday not long after I lost the job, I dressed as if I were going to work, and set out to take my youngest son to daycare (he was 3 at the time). I came back home and carefully and strategically wrote death notes to a few key people. I had instructions on how to get my son to my mom, what to do with my stuff and other information. I then got my newly prescribed bottle of antidepressants and a 1/5th of gin to wash them down and I lay down for my forever nap.
Plan interrupted. One of my son’s cousins knocked on every door, window, and wall. I heard the knocking and thought I was dreaming. But I slowly woke up, looked around and remembered what I was trying to do. In the moment, I asked God why I was still here. I was disappointed, because the same things that plagued me before were still there.
How did I move past that? It’s a great question. I pressed. I considered who was left in my life in spite of the problems in my life. I had weak, but new resolve to be better. Work has to be done in order to change your mindset.
Pray. Accept the issues you have. Ask God to heal your heart.
Do something about the things YOU can fix.
Dwell on the good things in your life. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Philippians 4:8
Socialize. Isolation keeps you from a strong network and people that love you.
Be kind to yourself. Show yourself grace and compassion. Stay away from self depreciating talk.
If possible, make plans to do something fun; take a road trip, go to the movies, plan a weekend trip.
If you find yourself suffering with depression, anxiety, or anything that could cause you to think about suicide, I pray that you get the help you need. You’re not alone nor do you have to struggle alone. You are loved, cherished and valuable. Don’t ever forget that!
*Disclaimer: This post contains sensitive content and may be offensive or traumatizing to some audiences.
I cringe when I think about some of the things I’ve suffered and endured; things that I thought disqualified me from being loved by God or anyone else. I know we’ve all been there. Sometimes it feels like ‘God, I don’t even deserve to get through this thing I did, this decision I made. It shouldn’t have been this way…’ The self depreciating goes on and on after we feel like we have failed and no longer have the capacity to do anything good.
I was in such a desperate place in 1997. I had to move from my apartment because of a roommate situation. Although I have 2 brothers I could have stayed with, I found myself ashamed at all that was going on and found myself in a familiar place: with the abusive ex-boyfriend from college. It’s funny how we say ‘I’ll never do this or that’, but we sometimes end up in that Lifetime movie anyway. Such was my life. While I was there, I also started seeing another guy and I ended up pregnant. This couldn’t be life! I already had 1 child out of wedlock and my parents were taking care of him while I get my life together after graduating from college! OMG, I couldn’t do it. I collected money from both men and had an abortion. Till this day, I can’t even tell you details about it. By now I was starting to get numb and hard hearted because of life anyway, so I didn’t think it would ever affect me. I didn’t tell anyone about it. The guilt was there, chipping away at whoever I was at that time.
Fast forward to 2001, I thought I was living a better life. I had my youngest son 2 years prior and his abusive father was not in our lives and I felt freer than I had in a long while. I was involved with someone I worked with at the time and we agreed it would just be a sexual relationship, no commitment required. At that point in my life, I thought I wasn’t good enough for a committed relationship anyway. After a while, I found myself pregnant again! What would people at my job and in my family think? I was a manager! I had some things going for me. And I also had a tough decision to make. At this point, I was actively being a mother to a child and knew the love that motherhood could bring. I fought with the decision, the stress and strain of it was agonizing. I couldn’t possible share this with anyone. The guy I was dealing with said he’d support whatever I chose to do….
I made another bad choice. While I still don’t remember everything about abortion #1, I remember every step of the second one, yes, an unbelievable second one. I was so distraught, depressed and guilty before even getting there. And although my friend drove me and stayed the entire time and even made sure I was ok afterwards; I’d never felt as alone as I did that day. Through the already jaded view of my life, I thought about all the choices I could have made and felt like this was the lesser of all other evils. I’d already been super judged as a teen mother. Although my parents supported me and pushed me to continue with my education, I still felt like a major failure. I didn’t want to face another round of judgement from the good people of Smalltown USA now that I had a second child out of wedlock and this baby would make 3.
It’s so easy to judge something you’ve never been faced with. Or caught in. No one can ever say they understand the effects of having an abortion if they’ve never lived it. Rather than think, oh this is another selfish irresponsible woman, it’s good to consider the background of why she thought that was her only choice. And that desperate choice took 30-45 minutes or less. Most of that time I was left alone while the valium took effect, and also a moment to make a final decision. It was literally the worst 30-45 minutes I’d ever lived through at that time, and at the ripe age of 27, I’d been through more than you’d think.
Afterwards, there was an emptiness I can’t even put into words; the feeling used to haunt me EVERYDAY up until a few years ago. I felt that I was a murderer, plain and simple. I couldn’t hold babies or be around people with babies. The guilt hurt so bad. Could anything else come from my life? The kicker – just prior to getting pregnant with my youngest son, I’d rededicated my life to Christ. I just knew God would leave me.
But he never did.
I felt led to share this, because someone out there is in this desperate place. I come not through the eyes of judgement, but to state facts from my perspective while IN this situation. It took me YEARS to even think about allowing God to heal me from the shame of all the desperate things I’ve done. I wasn’t being punished, I just felt like I should be. A few lessons I gained from this:
Pride will cause you to think you’re dealing with this alone, that it will be worse if someone else knows. Being desperate to keep a situation covered causes you to make quick, rash decisions. It took me YEARS to forgive myself for the two abortions. I made additional poor choices stemming from this that caused a domino effect in my life for years.
Because of the self esteem issues I already faced after the shame of a teen pregnancy, the abusive relationship I chose to stay in during college, the two abortions added to the cycle of shame and guilt in my life.
How do we break out of a cycle of desperation, bad decisions, then shame and guilt?
Acknowledge feeling out of control. This is where desperation stems from. There is a situation that seems insurmountable and we’re trying to figure out a way to resolve it. Praying and surrendering the issue or situation to God is always a great first step. I was basically a ‘Babe in Christ’ during these years of my life. So I didn’t have the same knowledge or wisdom I have today to apply this. Also confiding in someone you trust and sharing the issue is a good way to reduce the initial panic. They may of may not be able to resolve the issue, but they may offer better perspective.
If you feel you’ve failed morally, accept God’s forgiveness. Every failure is not sin, but guilt is definitely not far behind what we consider failure. Shame is the by-product of guilt. The enemy loves to pull us back into guilt and shame after God has wiped our slate clear. Apostle Paul gives us a clear image of God’s forgiveness in the first chapter of Ephesians verses 6 & 7. When God forgives, the slate is wiped clean Colossians 2:13-15.
Change the way you process decision making. Although you may not be able to control various situations in life, control what you can and always be mindful of the decisions you make before making them. A mindset change is necessary. Biblically, shame is an imagination that can be cast down, as stated in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Admit it, submit it, receive it (forgiveness) and forget it. Repeat.
Remember my statement earlier? That I thought God would have nothing more to do with me? Well, as I stated, he never left me and He never will. (Hebrews 13:5) We have to know this truth. Whether we choose to live a life as believers or not, He loves us and is always here for us.
Desperation IS a place. But it’s not a place in which you are doomed to stay. Remember other times you were desperate and things worked out for your good. If you can’t think of one time, contact me, I’ll be happy to be your ambassador to the place of grace.
You’d have to be living on another planet to state the claim that you haven’t been affected in this year. We all came into this year proclaiming ‘It’s the year of perfect vision’, not knowing that we would definitely see some things that we’ve never seen. Everything started well…. But before the first quarter was over… A sucker punch we weren’t expecting: Corona. It made its way into our lives and changed everything. It nearly shut down the economy; closed almost everything, hindered travel and changed the way we do life… I’m sure you don’t need the reminder.
On the eve of New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but reflect on all of the loss that permeated our lives this year. Relationships ended, I watched people in my circle suffer because of CoCoRona (I have to make light of it somehow), whether economic loss or loss of family or friends. Then my own world was completely shattered on July 11th, when my superhero, my prototype of the Proverbs 31 woman – My mom – passed away. I struggled looking back and saw moments that I regret not traveling (against public policies) to see her a few more times; taking for granted that she’d be around when the smoke cleared. It’s been so hard. I’m struggling right now as I type to share these thoughts with you.
I can’t begin to tell you how taken aback I was when my son Chris called me with the news. In that moment, I couldn’t think about anything else that had ever happened in my life. I could only think about the fact that the very first person who ever loved me was gone. And even though it was NOT Covid related, it was a shock nonetheless. If I’d never been sucker punched, (And I have, but that’s a blog for a different day), this punch nearly wiped me out. I was driving when the call came through and literally don’t even remember getting home, let alone having the strength to call my siblings and other family members. If I didn’t know about the grace of God, I definitely got a fully intimate reminder that day and weeks to come.
For whoever didn’t know, a sucker punch is a to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation. I was definitely provoked. I wasn’t mad at God. I was just overwhelmed. Death is a part of life, but I’m fairly certain that at some point in my life, I prayed that all of my family died together so none of us would feel the sting of grief. Unrealistic, I know. But have we really been taught how to deal with grief, regardless of where it stems from?
How exactly do you recover from blow after blow in a year like this? In my time of study, meditation and begging God to tell me why why why this year has been filled with so much anguish, I found some interesting information about dealing with grief. Grief is universal. There’s not one formula for how to deal with it. The stages of grief have been listed as Denial* Anger* Bargaining* Depression* and Acceptance. But real life doesn’t follow a certain timeline or order; it’s just not that neat. Even Jesus chose to grieve when he knew the final outcome of Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). These are just a few ways that could help with grief as we ‘forget those things which are behind and reach for the things that are ahead‘:
Change your perspective about grief: It’s a natural response to pain and loss. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or how long YOUR grieving process should take. Just don’t get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of grief and depression. Seek help if you do. Counseling is NOT TABOO!
Grief can serve as a purpose to refresh our outlook on life, to stop taking life and the people in it for granted. Ecclesiastes 7:2 implies this principle.
The feelings of grief are temporary. It may seem that we hurt and long for what we lost forever, but the Word declares in Psalm 30:5 that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning’. As with anything that God allows, grief has a LIMIT.
The greatest thing to remember that God never abandons us during grief. He always provides love, hope and GRACE. When my sis-in-love told me that God would give me a special grace to handle the events leading up to Mom’s funeral, I believed her, but didn’t know how it would play out. I thought I’d fall apart when initially viewing her at the funeral home, BUT GOD. I thought I wouldn’t make it through her funeral… But my shy self was able to address everyone… Only by the Grace of God.
My prayer for you (And me) is that we allow God to continue working in and THROUGH us. I pray that you give all of your sorrow to God. Let him manage all of your pain and everything that seems insurmountable. I’ve said it before and I’ll add more to it before I take it back: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE STRONG. That’s what God is for. It’s a real thing to cast your cares on Him. I didn’t think I’d survive the long week in Smithfield, NC. A lot of us didn’t know how we’d get through 2020. This has been a LONG year in terms of the drama and foolery of life during the pandemic. But if you’re reading this, guess what? WE’RE STILL HERE. If that’s not a reason to give God praise, I don’t know what is.
Go into 2021 knowing that God has gone before us, and He is able to keep us.
When my kids were young, they’d sometimes come home with less than I sent with them to school – especially in the winter. New jacket, coat, etc… “Where’s your…..?” I’m sure if you’re a parent, you’ve asked this question many times! And kids RARELY know where they left something. So the parent then tries to ‘help’ them remember: “Where was the last place you had it? Inside/Outside?” Finally, the child is told to look in the Lost and Found area when they return to school.
/ˌlɑːst.ənˈfaʊnd/ The term ‘Lost and found’ defined: an office in a public building or area where people can go to retrieve lost articles that may have been found by others; practically all will either sell, give away, or discard items after a certain period has passed to clear their storage.
Why are you telling us this TT, we know what Lost and found means.
I’m glad you asked! It’s important to know where you are; where life and its experiences have taken you. What course are you presently on and whether or not it lead you to your God ordained destiny? This year has thrown so many for a loop. Sickness, Death, family drama and family destruction, catastrophe, pandemic, repeat… and not all of us have landed in the right places. I literally got the downloaded reminder from God today that I was rescued from Lost and found! I’m no longer in that place! The cycle that previously sucked me in was no longer holding me. I was reminded that the curse was broken back on Calvary… I just had to return (or be returned in this case) to my proper place…. GOD FOUND ME!
Just like the shepherd in Luke 15, he left the 99 to search for the one (us) when we stepped out of place and got lost. Who else searched for you when you were lost? Who selflessly left everyone else to make sure you made it back safely and didn’t get thrown away by the world?
Let this be your reminder that you are recklessly loved by God; he made you in his image; nothing can separate you from his love, He cares about everything concerning you; he has promised you a secure future, he rejoices over you with singing; His love for you will never change or end; He sacrificed his ONLY son to secure your connection to him; He called you righteous. I could go on and on about how much he loves you and me!
Be encouraged my friend. When you feel like you’re no longer necessary, that life has chewed you up and spit you out, when you think you can no longer hold on, GOD IS LOOKING TO RESCUE YOU!!! You don’t have to remain lost. You don’t have to be strong; I love the way Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me”The Passion Translation.
In DJ Khaled’s song ‘Wild Thoughts’ featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, there’s an obvious attraction between two people. They both agree when they are around each other, all they get is Wild Thoughts.
Have you ever been there? In a season of life when focusing on what you knew you should be doing was hard? Even when getting confirmation that what you were doing was timely and on point, it was just hard to focus… Everything seems to be a distraction. Maybe it’s the past, a situation that still haunts you; the loss of a loved one; loss of income; a struggle you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle; a heart that seemingly wont heal… Your mind is everywhere, EXCEPT where it should be.
I feel like I’m in such season. I should be writing, but while researching, I’m looking at other things. While journaling, I’m venting more than being inspired. My dreams are sometimes chaotic, like someone changing channels on TV, when you’re really just trying to watch your favorite movie.
What’s going on with your thoughts today? How are you managing distractions? How we think directly affects our actions, how we feel about things, people and ourselves. And if our thoughts aren’t managed well, they can lead us into places we never should have gone. We can develop a reality that is not supportive of our destiny. The struggle is real.
God, calm my thoughts… Bring my focus back to the unfinished, the things I should have started a LONG time ago; the things that align me to your plan for my life. God I pray for the person reading this, that they think on the great things described in your Word. I pray that anxiety, confusion and chaos not be a part of their everyday life and that they focus on you, our source, our guide and the one who loved us first. I pray our wild thoughts transform into ones that bring love, hope, peace, healing and wholeness. In Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN!
Have you ever asked God when he was going to move in a situation that seems to be going on and on and on?
You know, I’ve been so focused on the fact that God has not moved in my life like I’ve prayed for him to; so aware of the dead situations in my life that I’ve forgotten to LIVE. I failed to be attentive to the things I should be doing in the midst of the process. I’ve procrastinated, been unfocused, been slothful; have given my time and attention to the wrong things… and people. I’ve allowed myself to be drained by unnecessary hindrances.
AND MOST OF ALL…. I sometimes forget that God is not slack concerning his promises. And you shouldn’t either. Even though some situations seem hopeless, I’m reminded of the death of Lazarus and reactions of his sisters Mary and Martha when Jesus finally reached Bethany. They were quick to let Jesus know if he had been there, Lazarus would be alive.
But Jesus reminded them that if they believed, they would see the glory of God. The miracle served the purpose of showing the timing of God. Lazarus was allowed to die so that Jesus’ power over death could be made known.
‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. ‘
Bottom line, God is there, Even in the midst of whatever you’re dealing with. Even though the prayer hasn’t been answered; even though you’re tired of wondering when ‘it’ will happen. (Trust me, I’m reminding myself as well.) We have a promise that we should chase, more than looking at the situation… that he will never leave us, nor forsake us. If we shift our focus to HIM, sudden miracles will have room to manifest!
What are you believing God for? What has he told you to do that you have yet to complete? What are you waiting for? Get to it!
One of the greatest take-aways from Genesis 1 is that God didn’t wonder what could be possible; He spoke it into existence and it was. We see several instances where He or Jesus told someone to speak to something to get a specific result.
Yesterday, I spoke to Hurricane Michael, to lights in the area, and truly believed that the power that works within me would produce. We didn’t lose power, but lights in our immediate area were restored shortly after the storm passed through. This morning, I spoke out loud while getting ready for work about having fruit with my breakfast. I stopped at Food Lion and brought said fruit but as I got off the elevator at the office, was told that ‘there is fruit in the kitchen’. Coincidental? Of course the naysayers will say it was. But the way my faith is set up…. Nah…
I said all that to say, our words have always had power. If you don’t believe it, start speaking life to your situation… Or look back at times where you have spoken death or negativity in your life and look at the pattern that produced…
IF you’re going to be bold enough to speak something into manifestation, believe that you will see it.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue AND they that love it (whichever you chose) shall eat the fruit thereof.” Prov 18:21
Recently, a friend of mine joked at a comment I made about a blemish on my face.. I said I wanted my skin to look perfect, we laughed and I was told “You’re so conceited”. Although the statement was made as a joke, it took me back to a time where I really WAS conceited.
While I was growing up, I was super spoiled, the only girl and the youngest. My dad placed me up on a pedestal and set me up to believe I was very important, a princess, black royalty; all things that a father should do; until you think you’re better than everyone else and come to expect that treatment from everyone, all the time. I got away with a lot, until my mom got fed up. 🙄 I played sides and did what I had to do to get my way. But when I was a teen mom, feeling disgraced, the sting of shame (See a previous blog (Black Sheep); When I was in college in an abusive relationship, or when I’ve gone through some of my hardest challenges as an adult in recent years, I used conceit as a blanket to disguise pain, grief and fear. I fronted as if all was well.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that the mask started coming off. I was tired of cycles in my life. As with any deep issue, the symptoms show before the root of the issue is exposed. I asked God to reveal some things about myself to me… It was not cute. But it helped me to face the things that kept me hiding behind masks of who I thought I had to be. I wanted people to think I had it together and that I was ok. I wanted people to think the very best of me, and looked for affirmation from others. I didn’t even consider that I was dealing with other broken people and that they could never affirm me. I presented myself well, but as we all know, all that glitters isn’t gold. Makeup only conceals the top layer of our skin. .
So how do you come back down from your pedestal? The bible says in Romans 12:16 ‘Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend (to come down from, submit) to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits.’ ESV. Pride is a major issue for so many of us. We think we are able to deal with whatever we’re going through, because we are selfishly dealing with things on our own terms. But pride and conceit, makes you forget that you have a perfect God who can deal with any issue you face. You ultimately have to change the way you think. If we are admonished to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, It must be the key to every change that we need to make.
Trusting God, making him a priority and honoring him as number one in your life allows you to see things from His perspective. The Holy Spirit can open your eyes and help you get down from that high place.
Do you need to examine Pride in your life? Are you conceited?
The worst thing in the world is to be a part of a family that you feel like you’ve failed. That’s exactly where I found myself 28 years ago when I finally had to fess up to being pregnant. I was 16, a junior in High School. I had a plan, dreams, goals and in just a few months, those would be altered. I tried everything to make all of it go away. I met with someone from The Children’s Home Society, I tried abortion – couldn’t, I was told I was too close to the 20 week mark… I was a baby having a baby. Everyday all I could see was the utter disgust and disappointment of my biggest fan club, my parents. When you’re the only girl and youngest of a family with 3 boys, you likely have had life handed to you, the spoilage was REAL. But this was something I wasn’t cute enough to get out of; something I couldn’t pout my way out of. I messed up bad. I was absolutely the Black Sheep of the family.
The shame of my pregnancy nearly crushed me, so for a long time, I hid it from whomever I could. I continued to march in the band, work at Walmart Snack Bar (Hey.. this was the early 90’s). I even thought I would still have my ‘coming out’ and participate in the Debutante Ball… Not a chance. This and the rejection of family, friends and church people that had known me all my life was like the nail in a coffin. I felt like life was over. The thing about being a Black Sheep, is that you kinda stand out without really trying. You are either someone that people run from, or someone that people tried to get close to… Somehow, I was neither. I just didn’t fit, period. I’ve ALWAYS struggled with rejection and this was a beginning point, the root of it all.
Fast forward to present day, our oldest, the son of my youth is an awesome 27 year old young man, who wows me everyday with his words of wisdom, his weekly new music drops (He’s a rapper y’all: Check Him Out.) I’m so proud of who he is becoming. My parents, though disappointed, supported me through college and just life in general and I’m so grateful for that. But because I never dealt with the rejection and self hate, those things continued to plague me as time went on.
The Spirit of Rejection has destroyed so many lives and hold so many people captive. Until we realize that our worth is not about the things we’ve done, the challenges we’ve endured, not what people think of us, but WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE, we will not be able to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. I didn’t have a healthy grasp of this growing up. So It took me years to forgive myself and allow God to change my perception of myself. My being set apart was preparation for what God is currently doing in my life. I still feel left out at times; not chosen, not invited, not mentioned, overlooked… BUT GOD. I know there’s someone reading this that feels the exact same way. Don’t despair; He’s kept us hidden for such a time as this.
Romans 8: 15-16 says “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” The Strongman of Rejection can no longer overpower us! We no longer have to succumb to that dark power. God has accepted us through the blood of Jesus and we are HIS! Join me in casting down the lies the Spirit of Rejection tells us by:
Renouncing rejection. Know your identity. Study the Word of God for the Truth of who you are.
Asking God to help you get over the need to be accepted by people.
Stop seeking revenge on the people who have rejected you. God is our vindicator and he allows some rejection to keep you away from things and people you don’t need in your life. Every NO isn’t rejection!
I pray all Black Sheep will rise and be the incredible people that God created you to be. Be encouraged: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18