Posted in Faith, Life, Motherhood, Religion

Forgetting What is Behind…

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

-Phil 3:7-14

I’m transparent when I feel it’s necessary to help someone else. So here we go…

I am not the greatest at letting things go. I’ve held on to certain hurts, certain mistakes and regrets for YEARS now, some of them dating back to 10 years ago.

Something happens when you are weighed down by those things. It paralyzes you. It makes it harder to move forward.

Ever try to run with weights on your ankles? Or try to get somewhere dragging a bunch of bags? You might move forward, but at a MUCH slower pace. You won’t make as much progress. And if there’s a small window of time to make it towards your destination, you may not make it in time.

I’ve made mistakes. Hurt people. Some people hurt me. I made unwise choices and decisions. I’ve allowed it to slow me down, distract me, sometimes paralyzing me altogether and causing me to change direction.

I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately, because I’m not where I want to be or where I think I should be. Not because I’ve been comparing myself to others, but because I’ve always had this ‘timeline’ in my head of where I should be and when. People have been telling me to let it go, before it makes me sick. And they’re right. Yet, I’ve still been struggling.

Then I realized-I’ve been so focused on the regrets, the mistakes, bad decisions that I didn’t even notice what I gained. I was focused on what I’d lost. I didn’t even notice that I’d grown stronger, wiser, and gained more knowledge from everything I’ve done WRONG. Trust, I’ll need that knowledge in the days ahead, to pass along to my son and to others, to write about in spaces like this, and for my own personal journey that will make use of all the experiences I’ve had up to this point.

Everything around me is changing. Friends I swore would be lifelong friends, are now just people that I know and share fond memories with, nothing more. My career is in flux, not going exactly the way I planned. And anybody who’s a parent knows that things never stay the same with a kid, just like those who are married know that you and your spouse and your marriage never remain the same-change is ever constant.

People who REALLY know me, know I don’t do well with change. And, I have to do something about that. Because it’s causing me to miss out on some really great moments.

I was so focused on what I’d lost that I failed to notice the lifelong friends I’ve gained in the midst of missteps. I failed to realize that because of these mistakes and regrets, I know myself better enough to know how to handle certain situations, things vital to my future. I now have lessons to pass along to my son, to others, because of the mistakes and regrets that I have made. I know now what I don’t want, and what not to do. I know when God is speaking, and I’m learning when to speak up and when to shut up. I’m learning when to ask for help, and when I must do things without help. I’m learning to place my trust in God and follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense…and when I do make mistakes, to lift up my head and look at what has been gained.

Most of all, I’m beginning to feel lighter and look at my mistakes and regrets in a whole new light, in a way that gives me life and propels me forward towards my destiny. I can move on, knowing the past isn’t holding me back, it isn’t weighing me down…instead I can shake off the feelings that slowed my progress, and know that today is as good as day as any to turn over a new leaf, have a fresh new start but have wisdom, knowledge, a better understanding of myself and God and keep moving!

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Posted in Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Life, Love, Married Life, Motherhood, NFL, Ray Rice, Relationships

Love Doesn’t Hurt

***Part of my new mission with this blog involves encouraging, empowering, and enlightening. I hope to do all three within this post***

 

Ray Rice was cut by the Ravens today.

I know I know, players get cut all the time in the NFL. But today was different. His was due to a domestic violence incident involving his now-wife, Janay.

There were two videos that surfaced of the incident in Atlantic City…the first video showed Ray dragging his then-fiancee’ ‘s unconscious, limp body out of the elevator. What went on inside the elevator was just implied that he had knocked her out, many suggesting that Janay instigated the situation (and I will get to that in just a minute). The second video however, shows Ray & Janay in the elevator, with delivering a serious punch to Janay, knocking her unconscious.

I’m not here to argue about his punishment. I think I’ve done that enough today.

I am here to talk to the ladies and gentlemen who have been affected by domestic violence. Or will be affected by domestic violence.

I am here to tell you that love does not hurt.

You may disagree with a significant other or annoy them, make them mad. It happens. They may make you mad. It happens. You don’t, however, place your hands on someone for ANY reason. You don’t call them out of their name, for ANY reason.

Women, I know we have a mouth on us, We can sometimes take things further than they need to. HOWEVER, make no mistake, this is NEVER a reason for a man to hit you, call you out of your name, spit on you, or cause you harm.

Women, we have the power to bring LIFE into a situation. If a man brings you to a place where you feel the need to demean him, place your hands on him, call him out of his name, or exhibit any behavior that is deemed abusive?

WALK AWAY. Go cool off. Seek professional help  or a third party/mediator to solve a conflict if necessary. But there’s NOTHING in your actions that should cause you to provoke or exhibit violent behavior. You have purpose. You matter. You, woman, are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE. Use that power for good. And remember, you cannot make a man change. You can pray for change. You can encourage change, but ultimately…your words can build up or tear down. And your words should NEVER justify violence towards you in ANY relationship.

Men. Fellas. Many of you have witnessed domestic violence, or were a victim of it yourself. You are a KING. WALK LIKE ONE. TALK LIKE ONE. ACT LIKE ONE.

This doesn’t mean cracking your whip to ‘get her in line.’ Leadership is servanthood. Serve her. Love her. KNOW her. Cherish her. Protect her. That doesn’t involve placing your hands on her in any way, spitting on her, calling her out of her name. Violence is NEVER okay, even if/when she is provoking you. And if she is?

WALK AWAY.

You have SO much to lose if you become violent towards her.

I’m raising a black boy. I will have to let him know that fair or not fair, the legal system is not on his side. Fair or not fair, he will be viewed and punished more harshly. So he will be held to a different standard. And he will know that. He will know to NEVER put his hand on a woman aside from restraining her.

Love encourages. It is patient. It celebrates. It protects. It is kind. It speaks life. It doesn’t boast or isn’t easily angered. It is not self seeking.

Not only does never fail, but it also doesn’t hurt.

***For more information on domestic violence, the signs, and where to go/who to call if you have experienced or are experienced domestic violence, visit thehotline.org, or call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). You can also visit http://www.domesticviolence.org/ ***