Have you ever tried to bypass acknowledging your pain? I mean the kind of pain that comes from betrayal, or grief of losing someone or maybe you experienced a loss of a job. Any type of loss creates pain. The key is to acknowledge your pain to help you heal. If you don’t allow yourself to feel your pain and be in touch with your emotions, you will bypass the season all together. Trust me, you don’t want to do that at all. Why? It will show up in another season creating havoc. I’ve learned all to well from my personal experiences that unaddressed pain can create anger, loneliness, and even depression. You think you have everything under control, and everything seems to be going well on the surface. But internally, you are hurting. Then out of nowhere, “Bang! Pain like no other shows up!” You begin to wonder what’s going on and why am I feeling this way. If you’re anything like me, I run to Jesus if something seems off in my life. I ask Him to help me understand so I can pinpoint and address the problem appropriately. I wasn’t always this way, but over time I learned that He has the key to all of my questions. If I needed anything, all I had to do was ask Jesus.
I recall one time when I was working for this company, and I didn’t comply with the CEO’s personal request, things began to get uncomfortable for me at work. I was no longer what they called a “team player.” I didn’t fit the requirement for the position any longer. They even had the Director of Human Resources fly into town to tell me that I should reconsider my position with the company. Why? Because I wouldn’t comply with the CEO’s personal request one evening. I was devastated. Why was this happening to me? I was young, talented, and I worked hard to get this promotion. Here I was being propositioned and because I didn’t comply, I was no longer of any use to the company. Talk about feeling hurt, I was devasted, which turned into deep pain. My career with this company was ending because I chose not to compromise my self-worth for a job. I eventually moved on and had several jobs that were unsuccessful. I carried this pain into every other organization. I was unable to thrive because I was hurt and suspicious of leadership.
It wasn’t until I was working with an employee of mine who lost their husband. They had been married for over 30 years. She continued to work without taking additional time off. Her reason was that she needed to provide for her two daughters. The girls were in high school now, and she needed to be strong. Overall, she wasn’t handling the loss of her husband well. She would come into the office angry, yelling at employees and customers. It got to the point where I had to get involved. I remember recommending that she take a few weeks off or take as much time as she needed to address her grief. I recall telling her that she could not avoid this season or bypass the pain she was feeling, or it will show back up later.
After leaving the office, The Lord said to me: have you addressed your pain from the hurt you experienced from your previous company? Wow! Talk about a slap in the face. I had not addressed my pain. I wasn’t getting the full enjoyment of working with my team. I was still suspicious of leadership, and it seemed like everyone else too. I didn’t realize why my suspicions occasionally would pop up. It all stemmed from the unaddressed pain from my previous employer.
After taking a hard look at myself I began to heal through the support of prayer, mentors, and close friends. I first had to acknowledge that I didn’t like what happened to me and that it hurt. I believe if I would have just dealt with my pain at that moment, it wouldn’t have carried into my next season. For my employee, she refused to take the time to heal properly and eventually separated from the organization. She carried her pain and lashed out at others, and I was closing myself off from others. I am thankful that God saw fit to challenge me to look at myself. He challenged me to self-examine and address an area that could have potentially damaged my career. I had to allow myself to heal from the hurt of being rejected and betrayed. I challenge you that if you’re going through a season of loss, deal with it and don’t try to bypass the season. Allow yourself to heal with the help of Christ. Step into your next season stronger. Remember each season serves a purpose.
Have you ever felt, too tall, or too short? What about too dark or not dark enough? As women we have all felt insecure at one time or another. Maybe we weigh too much or not enough (believe it or not, that’s a thing too). Do you ever look in the mirror and wish you were someone else? We all have our insecurities about ourselves. Many of us have these insecurities in the early years of our womanhood. And as we get older, we begin thinking about our health and longevity. Whatever the reason is for our securities, or concerns the fact remains, we all have them.
When these thoughts cross our minds, the scriptures about how fearfully and wonderfully made we are seems to be forgotten. The scriptures about how intricately formed we are as woman, escapes us. Isn’t it strange how the enemy whispers to us and we hear it loud and clear? But when scripture yell at us we can’t hear it at all. We find ourselves starved for validation or always looking for someone to say, “You look nice today, or Did you change your hair?” Did I hear someone say, “Did you lose weight?” Ohhhh Sis, that’s the one! That question makes the sparkle come alive in our eyes, it puts a bounce in our step, and a smile on our faces. We have no problem believing the compliments of others. We say, “Flatter me why don’t you, I’ll take it.”
What would happen if we reacted the same way when we heard what God says about us? You know that body that you don’t like that body that’s too big, or too small. That body that’s too dark or too light, that same body that we wished belonged to someone else; yeah, that’s the one. It is a part of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”. 1 Peter calls you “ God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Yes, Sis! That body of yours, that hair of yours, it’s His. And He thinks good thoughts of you. He is in love with that body of yours. He wants to tell you that you look nice today, and that hair, guess what, He knows the number of those hairs on your head. Oh yeah Sis. He sees you and He wants me to tell you that its ok to put that bounce in your step, that sparkle in your eyes and that smile on your face. He asks you this, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?”
Go ahead. Do you Sis. Be confident today. Wear that outfit that makes you feel good. Let those natural coils show or even straighten those coils, it’s all up to you. Maybe you’re not a kinky chick, that’s fine, flaunt those beautiful tresses and laugh out loud! Yes, I said laugh out loud, it’s good for the soul. Better yet get with a few of your SisterFriends and laugh out loud together. There is nothing better than getting with your SisterFriends and building each other up. Why, because you are WONDERFUL and so is, she. Your authenticity is what makes you, you. And it’s ok to be you. It’s ok to be comfortable in your own skin. If you were not you, there would be no you, and I would miss YOU! Guess what, you would miss you too. So, don’t change a thing to please others. Let the authenticity flow! Try loving you just the way you are. Then, any changes that occur will be natural, it will be changes that you approve of and changes that you welcome. It’s ok to change if those changes are changes you want and you feel good about. But learn to live, love, and laugh with your authentic self!
Are you one of those people whose face expressions tell those around you exactly what you’re thinking? Same. Let me share a specific encounter with one of my readable face expressions…
Kelly*, a classmate in high school, shared with me her faith during history class one day. I remember overhearing another classmate brag about how he had read the whole Bible front-to-back. He wasn’t a nice person. My facial expression must have revealed my judgmental thoughts because Kelly leaned over to me and said, “Just because you read the Bible, doesn’t mean you know God.” She shared that God wanted a relationship with me. This unshakable truth buried deep in my memory.
Before I came to know God, I was a “believer”. I believed He existed; that He created the universe. I also believed He was detached from humanity; ever watchful, but in a condemning way. I was not, however, a “follower” or child of God. I hadn’t surrendered my heart to Him; I hadn’t been adopted into His family. I did not understand that I was created for a personal relationship with the Almighty.
Recently, I came across disturbing social media content stating that relational connection with God is not possible. Statements, like these, aren’t rare in our post-modern society. However, the statements were made from those who profess Christianity, and I found myself deeply troubled. I hope to encourage anyone seeking God to know that relationship with Him is not only possible, it’s everything.
Fast forward three years from my encounter with Kelly… I was 17 and kneeling in my parents’ damp, cold basement preparing to end my life. I had my journal where I would write my “goodbye” letter. A random thought came to me, “Why don’t I write to God?” So I did. I told Him how much my soul hurt. I told Him I wanted so badly to be loved… that I would live for Him if He proved to me He was real and He cared for me.
The next morning, I woke up a completely changed person. Suddenly, I wanted to live. A remarkable change occurred within me; the empty feeling was replaced with hope and peace. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew God did something. After that, my new faith journey continued with reading my Bible every night. I wanted to know more about this Jesus who did this incredible work within me and gave me hope when there was none. I went after Him and found friendship in Him. I have been walking in relationship with Almighty God for over half my life now.
He whispered to me through Kelly. He had whispered to me with a “random” thought to write to Him. All before I even knew Him personally. He is always speaking.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) The Greek word for know is ginóskó which means to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance). Knowledge of God should go beyond your intellect, it should be experienced.
Faith is the beginning of walking in relationship with God. The book of Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, for He is the rewarder of those who earnestly/diligently seek Him. After you believe, you should be “seeking after Him” seriously, and you will continue to find Him, experience Him and hear Him.
The Bible is more than a textbook. It’s alive and active. It’s His words that continue to speak to your heart and situations. Relationship with God is more than just one-sided prayers. He speaks too. He’s active and alive in your daily life. His supernatural presence is at work in our natural world. If you only believe in God, but have not also supernaturally experienced Him, you are just touching the surface.
He speaks to me in many different ways, always confirmed from His Word: In dreams, through other people, through random movie scenes and books, through my journal writing… even, at times, through those who hate Him.
I wish I had more time to write the many ways and times God saved my life and intervened lovingly just by being in relationship with Him. If a wave of doubt comes, or I witness others living out Christianity inauthentic, I always think back to those real moments with him because I know Him.
If you have yet to experience real relationship with God, it’s time to stop renting your faith from your friends, pastors, podcasts or parents.
Here is how you can position yourself to hear Him:
Above all try to remain soft hearted toward God. The Bible is clear with so many examples of people being hard-hearted and it being impossible to hear from Him.
Are you angry with Him? Be honest with Him. Are you hurting? Let Him know. When you turn toward Him, you open yourself up to hear from Him. He is always speaking. He loves you and wants a personal relationship with you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you as I did so many years ago. I bet my life on it that He will. If you are unable to hear Him, position your heart and your actions to listen intently. I pray you know Him too, friends.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Guest Blogger, Chantal Small
“Do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do later.” (Quoted by Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington)
This was recently my response when I was asked about my many achievements and why I continue to push for more. It is with the simple thought that, I’m not doing everything I want to do just yet.
I remember sitting in conferences listening to women talk about their achievements and thinking “I want to be like her!” or “I want what she has!”. It wasn’t until my later twenties that I really realized that achievement takes work! It takes dedication and the experience of some losses. I wasn’t prepared for that! The many tears cried when I didn’t get a job, when I didn’t pass a class, when relationships I thought would last forever came to an end. I wasn’t prepared for the “Have to do” part of life.
I spent most of my childhood “not feeling seen”. I didn’t feel like I was the smartest or the prettiest. I was an average student in High school. There was no special talent or accolade I had. I went to community college because rather than apply myself to get into the best schools, I chose to work. I didn’t obtain one scholarship or award. I got by, by flying under the radar, as some would say.
I went through my community college campus with my head down, didn’t make any friends and worked a full-time job at times two jobs. Even in obtaining all of my degrees, Associates, Bachelors and Masters, I remained an average student.
Often times, I find myself sitting with people just like me, encouraging and coaching them while they try to find their way through life. It is easy for me to sit and talk to people who are in this place because I have been there before. Everyone has. And whether we believe it or not, we may come to this place on our journey more than once.
I remember starting out on a program I created. I would volunteer my services just to get my foot in the door. I did this for years, until one day someone bought what I was selling. They saw I believed in myself enough to put myself out there and they believed in me too. Someone who had never met me before. Not only did this happen for my personal ventures, this happened in my career as well. It’s like one day everything just clicked. All things felt like they were really working for me (Romans 8:28). The job, the home, my passion…everything just came together (We’re still waiting on the husband God. LOL).
So If you are at the place in life where you are just trying to make things happen for yourself, I want you to remember these 3 things.
Remember God’s Will is greater than our own.
My most common phrase within the past 2 years has been, “If God doesn’t do it, it won’t be done”. I believe this to my core. What it says is that, everything that happens in my life is God ordained and he will get the glory out of it. Does this mean I make all of the right decisions? Absolutely Not. What it DOES mean is, from my mistakes, I give them to God and learn from them. From my successes, I honor God and continue to move forward. Know that he will not lead you to a place he can’t keep you. That being said. One of my favorite scriptures is
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
See yourself Successful
Everyone has their own version of success. I dream big. Not only for myself but for those who are connected to me because I want to see everyone win! When you can seek the Lord and his will, you provide yourself the space to dream big. Whatever that dream may be. Often times, we put ourselves in a box by limiting God and his capabilities. Matthew 17:20 says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed!
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
That’s the kind of faith that can move a mountain. So start there. Dream of your success! Move like you are already there. Dress like you are the business owner. Talk like you are ready to make a business deal! Save like you are about to buy a home. Yes you may be starting little in the natural but dream big in the spirit! God won’t let you down and honestly, he will leave you astounded!
Commit to the Process
Everything does not happen in our own time. Commitment says that even when things aren’t great, I’m here. Show up for yourself because we already know that God is showing up for you. Don’t turn your back on the most important person, YOU! You are paving the way for someone like you. So dig your heels in and let’s get to it.
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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:13-14
This journey of life is so beautiful! We often travel with caution when we should be taking in all of the amazing scenery. Looking at the outline of what the future holds. Not really seeing it in person but oh the beauty of what it could be! Don’t give up my Sister Friend! It could happen for you today, tomorrow or years from now. All this does is create a more colorful testimony of this journey we have traveled! Enjoy the ride!
Until next time,
Guest Blogger, Brittany N. Ware
Pastor Teresa actively travels throughout the country imparting the Word of God in a candid and refreshing way. Teresa is the host and creator of SisterFriends Cups and Conversations, an Internet Talk Show providing a platform for women to engage. www.newcreationfamilychurch.com to learn more.