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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

My Father’s Letter

Excerpted from my upcoming memoir…
I remember when God first bid me to meditate on Corinthians 7:10. It was after the inevitable. Following what had become our norm, I’d chosen my way out.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
This time the verbal assault ensued on a Friday, but the pain of my husband’s perpetual disregard of our vows had burrowed a hole in my heart long before that instance. At its onset, his accusations and obscenities barely pierced the void between us; the aftermath was always his exit. Yet, his departures became a welcomed solace. But this night, my fury held its grip.
I was numb. The thought of forgiving him, of praying for him again was not an option.
Disgusted, all I’d resolved in my heart surfaced. “I don’t have to take this mess! I’ll just get a divorce!” With that, I locked the door to my home and my heart.
I closed my eyes in hopes of a peaceful slumber unwilling to yield my decision only to be haunted by the stark reality of a verse I hadn’t recalled, but avoided all the same.
Steeped in bitterness, my attempt futile. The next morning I lie in bed with that verse invading my ego. He literally spelled it out in my mind’s eye. Against a canvas of complete darkness, He penned:
CORINTHIANS 7:10
The bold white letters embedded themselves in my consciousness after a brief but poignant introduction in what should have been a sweet self-serving dream.
It wasn’t the first time I’d been led to the word. Yet this time, I almost refused to cooperate. Still livid with my husband’s abrupt departure, I had no intention of being the obedient wife another day.
KICKING AND SCREAMING
After wrestling with the cumbersome task of staying in bed with my eyes wide shut most of the night, I relented, grabbed my bible, and opened to I Corinthians 7:10 revealing exactly what I didn’t want to see:
To the married I give this command (not I but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. (NIV)
Naturally, I was not too pleased. All I could think about were the lies he told, how many times he cursed me out in front of my children, and how many other ways he showed me just how much he didn’t love me. I was sleeping with the enemy and I felt like God should’ve cut me some slack. Immediately, I was more angry. This time God was on my hit list.
Oh I know that’s not exactly the response one would expect from a God-fearing woman, but I was pissed and I refused to be the only one to blame!
Yet a quick stint with reality had me more upset with myself. After all hadn’t I been the one who ignored all the signs before I said, ‘I do’? Had I ever had peace about our union period? Hadn’t I told myself to walk-away when we first met? Hadn’t I been too weak to stand with God alone?
Shuddering over the union I created, my anger hissed a certainty I could only wish were so easily removed as mistakes had been on my etch-a-sketch as a child. In that moment I longed even for that time again. At least then I knew to how to erase what didn’t fit my portrait.
Yet, I’d chosen to use oil to seal this canvas now. The ink had long since dried.
BROKEN
In mid-rant, I remembered the second book. Ha! Maybe God meant 2 Corinthians 7:10?
I thought, “God loves me and He sees the pain I’m facing. Of course, He’ll give me a get out of jail free card.”
Yes, God did see my sorrow. He saw the mountains of my frustration and the valleys of my despair. He’d witnessed my tears and felt my shame. His response to my disobedience was simple.
As my eyes rested on the new passage, they met answers to questions I hadn’t the nerve to ask.
Godly sorrow brings about repentance that leads to no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
TEARS
Tears magnified the content as the flames of my ire were extinguished. And through wafts of smoke, I felt my Father’s embrace nudging me to continue.
With these words, “ See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you, what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged,” He loved me.
MORE TEARS
That day I realized my need to surrender. That by doing so I made the choice to love those who persecuted me, to pray for those who despitefully misused me; to feed my enemy when he is hungry.
RENEWED MIND
Later that day I took my son aside in the kitchen. “From now on you’ll see mama doing things differently. I’m not arguing with James* anymore. We will continue to pray for him though.” Recco was nine at the time.

This was the first step of many that would lead to my wholeness.
*name changed

Who am I

​I recorded this the other day for my business clients, but in obedience to the Father, I’m sharing this with whosoever will…it’s only audio and I considered it not done because I hadn’t edited it or added the appropriate video yet… but my Father said it is finished…I finally understand the beauty from ashes My Father so graciously provided me…there is such a power to embracing who you are…until you embrace your story, you will never be whole… God’s allowed our pain for a purpose, don’t allow your story to go unheard…some will never open even one of the 66 books of the Bible….but they will read your life…as a living epistle, I submit. So it is.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5WD-46mBzRCMFNjeU5VWWFOSm8/view?usp=drivesdk

Children, Be Who You Are

​I remember as a child we would sing, “Jesus loves the little children…all the children of the world…red and yellow black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children if the world…. there’s a reason Jesus calls His disciples children so many times in the Bible…that He stresses that we are to be a children…Children are untainted by wrong beliefs…they are innocent by nature and accept and love everybody…they forgive quickly and are eager to play together even if the one they choose to play with just knocked them down on the play ground. Children also aren’t afraid to cry even if someone else is hurt. Children also aren’t afraid to ask questions of their provider… they aren’t afraid to embrace truth and are bold enough to reject a lie in the very face of it. All of the tragedies we’ve experienced is our wake up to again be as children…look to our Provider for understanding…cry for and with those hurting…go boldly before the thrown and ask for understanding….reject the lie that racism is okay and always meant to be here…love all people…forgive quickly and even willing join hands with the very one whom they might have been fighting against yesterday for the joy of today. Love need be our only ammunition for the weapons if our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Business as Usual Is Not an Option 

12 You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
– Jeremiah 29:12–13 (WEB)

Last year at my mother’s homegoing I was pierced by the words her former line sister spewed at the podium. “What now? What are you all going to do now?” I knew what she meant. She didn’t want another funeral to be our only reason to convene again. Our family for the most part had been pretty estranged for years prior to the months before mama passed.. I could say her mental illness was the culprit for our distance, but really ignorance of how to love one another unconditionally  was more to blame. The senseless murders brocasted last week was the mud this country needed I suppose…for it seemed we were so blind to the reality of racism as the beast it is…still alive and well…only before the monster seemed hidden…the corruption is obvious in this country so I grieve…I pray…I cry…I shudder to think of both sides of this coin…I realize that I can no longer push the images in the back of my mind as I had with personal racist attacks…I was called a nigger at a traffic light less than 2 years ago. The one on the other side of that insult was a white teenager. I just shook my head and never really thought about it again… that is until now…racism is taught…embraced…learned…and fed…I raise my hands and bow my head…this time shaking back and forth in disbelief. Alton Sterling’s murder was the first documented killing like these I’ve seen. I imagine it’s the first many white people who aren’t racist have seen too…I don’t blame all white people for this travesty. I’m trying to understand their position in this. I don’t hate white police officers either. I’m trying to understand their grief. I can’t imagine, yet imagination is no longer necessary for those people who aren’t of color. They can no longer say we as blacks are overreacting. I wish we didn’t have to react…I wish we’d understand that even these tragedies are for the good…this is not the time to hate…this is the time to unify regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs, etc…to love unconditionally… Whatever the case, business as usual is not an option.

Do Black Lives Really Matter?

  1. I heard about another shooting and I was again hesitant to look up the details.   I had good reason, but how could I avoid it. Alton Sterling’s picture was plastered everywhere. The video capturing his murder quickly going viral…the outrage escalating…the pain eminating through a people…silently and aloud: Do Black lives really matter? Alas, a notable pastor’s words served as my alarm. His words stung more than salt in an open wound…rather the impact sizzled as if I were one of the thousands of slugs on the sidewalk of our color-blindless society…a culture bred by hate with a motive to search and destroy…but weren’t we found here against our will anyway…were any of us ever really granted permission to dwell here…to work here…to live here…to fear here? To kill or be killed here? We as a people have made due…we’ve climbed latters where rungs were added to impede our ascent…we’ve endured lashings with the tongue and with whips…and this is what we came here for? We aren’t bullet-proof…ad they know it…there’s no superman to deflect a bullet…once released, it adheres to its assignment…it searches and destroys…the heart, the mind, the family, the culture…to a lone bullet..Do black lives really matter?
  2. The words burn because they are true…pictures don’t lie, but the verdict of cases passed tell another story…rather, I suppose even a lie is truth so long as you believe it…Grief has its place, but what happens when grief has no target…in a time where our society should be flooded with supposed upstanding civil servants we are faced with a reality quite the contrary. Does the mere presence of a black man give credence to “the kill or be killed” excuse that so many are claiming after candid camera reveals what really happened? Should a mistake be a large enough bandaid to heal the gaping hole between race relations now? I’m seriously disturbed because just last week my own son was in Baton Rouge. Now I realize why my brother reminded me to ensure he had ID before I sent him to work at the Essence Festival with him. His words make too much sense now but not enough…”yea…you don’t want to be a black dude around New Orleans with no ID.” Would the mere reason be to identify a body? MY GOD!!! How many have to die! I almost wrote about BLUE LIVES MATTER WHEN I HEARD ABOUT THE AMBUSH OF THE OFFICER LAST YEAR…I never got around to it because news of “our” cases took my attention. Now I’m glad I didn’t. It’s not that the lives of officers don’t matter..in fact I have a few friends in law enforcement…it’s just not the same…there’s no invisible system in place to take cops out for any reason out of the blue…Yet, this seems largely the case with black lives. It seems that as once before, those with hatred in their hearts for blacks have traded their sheets, hoods, and horses for titles,badges, and squad cars…news of Alton Sterling’s murder hurts my soul, but sadly I’m not surprised. It makes me wonder what will be said in the new history books of black lives..stories like Emmit Till and Nat Turner missed notoriety when I was in highschool…I only learned of them later…I wonder if that will be the case for my children’s children with Travonne Martin, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling and every other black life taken in between because at least to racist cops, apparently these black lives just didn’t matter. Continue reading “Do Black Lives Really Matter?”

Gated but still not protected

I hadn’t planned to write this…to share this…I hate that I’m now even aware of this at all, but this headline met my gaze any way:

4 Children Stabbed to Death in Memphis, Mother in Custody

I saw the pictures taken…one showing the young lady allegedly responsible for the heinous crime as “normal” and the aftermath.  I wonder just how normal are those who decide to kill.

I deliberately refused to write about the events in Orlando a few weeks ago because sometimes the best thing to do is be silent.  After all, if you’ve not loss someone in that manner, what true comfort could you offer?  It was not a time for what erupted afterwards.  I found myself ashamed for a moment of being a Christian.  I’m glad that moment only lasted a Nano-second. There were just so many stupid and hateful comments made about the “gay community” from those who claimed Christianity as their “religion” I was sickened by them and so I didn’t add a note to combat the drudgery of it all.

However, as I came across this headline in the middle of writing my final paper for a social justice class, I found myself recounting the bout I’d experienced with mental illness, domestic violence, and the residue it creates.

My heart bleeds for the survivor….only 7 years old, but a witness to an evil manifestation. At a time when families were readying to celebrate Independence Day with Barbecue and Fireworks…a child needed to escape to save the only life they could, their own… one can only wonder whether this mother felt she had no choice because her life as she saw it was already over…that for whatever reason perhaps she saw her children as demons…I’ve heard that those who suffer with schizophrenia have those types of delusions…I’m no expert in that respect so I’m just saying what I’ve heard… perhaps she thought it a nightmare…perhaps she was incapable of thought at all as the stabbings continued…

Tell me…to the left, would you suspect this the face of a killer?13512165_10154233067537095_5477815541642010580_n

However, another look at the picture, the right shows the disturbing reality.

Mental Illness is real and needs to be addressed…you never know what a person is enduring…don’t take “I’m fine” at face value…for years before my mother’s diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, I got used to telling people that I’m fine too.  I thank God for His saving grace because without it I could have snapped too…the things I endured weren’t pretty, but I’ve overcome.

Father, I am so grateful for choosing me to thrive beyond what happened to me.  Thank You for reminding me of the gifts You provided me in my children. Thank You for the times we’ve bumped heads. Thank You for the lessons learned and those that I had to take over again. Father, please be with this child who is left.  Help this baby know that You are there.  Please Father, even help this distraught mother.  Help her get the help she needs.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

Unveiled-God had me covered all along

I’ve written about the butterfly’s transition before and I thought I was pretty much done with that analogy, but then I considered the process I’ve experienced and the new territory I’ve been given. That old cocoon of who I used to be was dark and dreary.  I couldn’t see my way and there were times I cried out for help only to be told to “stand up.”

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How on earth could I be expected to stand in such cramped quarters?  Since that directive was given, I get it now. I think I understand a little bit better as to how that butterfly came into just being…that butterfly spun that web around itself for protection and stayed in that dark place while it was a mere worm. I thought about it…how did that worm know it was time to emerge as the butterfly?

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It knew because that dark place became unbearable. It knew because that small place was not enough room for it to spread its wings.  It knew because it decided to stand up and break through that temporary mold that housed it for what seemed like an eternity. A butterfly doesn’t have claws so it couldn’t have escaped that cocoon by clawing its way out.  It doesn’t have fangs as some animals do so it couldn’t have bitten its way through either.  What it did have were legs.

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It had the same thing it went into the cocoon with only, fewer and stronger than before. That’s because before the legs were meant to navigate the ground for a time, but something in that little worm longed for the bigger and better things awaiting it beyond the trees…so the little worm had to climb…that little worm used all the strength it had in all those short legs to reach the top only to have an insatiable urge to isolate itself there.  And so the cocoon was created…this was that little worm’s habitat for a time.  In the expanse of darkness, God still hovered over this “being in transition” just as He had in the beginning.  He allowed it to take the legs it had been used to standing on and use them to create a new structure meant only to direct its future paths.  And so the time came and this butterfly knew it couldn’t stand being cramped a moment longer…at His word, it did what it was told to do.  The butterfly finally broke through the darkness…the shame…the humiliation…the trauma of what was…to emerge into the light of what was to come….a new vantage point…a new perspective…a new destiny…

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And with only a few tries, the blood was flowing in every area that needed it…stronger than ever and so she left the cocoon with slow steps and found herself meandering around the tip of the branch…and flapping one last time she soared…never to see things again from ground level. I am that Blue-Butterfly-butterfly.

 

©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

BeYoutotheFullest

Just a bit of randomness…I’d already had this thought on my mind on the drive to church, but today’s sermon wrapped things up nicely in my mind and heart.  Looking back…oh how grateful I am for my transformation! How BeautiFULL I’ve become!download

I remember when I was in 9th grade, we had some of the upperclassman come over to my junior high school and meet with us to let us know what to expect as part of the “high school” world. I distinctly remember one girl speaking of a course that was required of all honor’s students of which she absolutely hated. She said it was Etymology, the study of words and their origins,  and she warned us to beware of the strict and stoic teacher who loved her job a bit too much. images

Fast forward a few months and there I sat in her class. Mrs. Utley…yes, she was indeed passionate about the work she did and perhaps even more so about the grading.  She had no mercy. However, the odd thing is that while most of my classmates grumbled about memorizing all of those Greek and Latin roots, I was fascinated with them. Immediately, I considered just how I was going to do superb on the English portion of my ACT.  I quickly learned how to break everything down and loved it.  I even began writing in Greek in my journals to keep my mother’s prying eyes at bay.  Even a couple of my friends would pass notes in class written in Greek to confuse other teachers.  images

Fast forward to today, I still love words and I write and dissect them for fun. I’m completely okay with being a book worm, word-nerd, geek, or whatever else people can think of calling me.  And that folks is for one reason only…I love being me. 20160101_121056.jpg

Notice how I skipped a part of my existence between the start of high school and now?

Well, that was intentional because somewhere between the acknowledgement of my gifted mind and today, I decided to intentionally dumb myself down for the sake of say…those folk who just couldn’t get me. Over the years that morphed into a series of co-dependent or abusive relationships.  However, something began to peel off of me within the last year. It was my mask! download (1)

Today’s bible lesson got me to thinking about how for years I was suffering from PTSD-Post-Traumatic Self-Disorder as coined by Pastor ID Curry .   I was constantly getting into relationships trying to “fix” people because I couldn’t “fix” my mother. She had borderline personality disorder.  Mental Illness is real folk! I didn’t even know the root of my own issues until the last few years. In fact, I just accepted that I’m not what happened to me and I am not my mother. I was able to forgive her and myself. I feel so free now that I keep wondering why on earth I allowed the weight of “who I thought I needed to be” bog me down for so long.

Even when I consider myself a few years ago I marvel at the transformation…I actually look younger and better now than I have in years…God was patient with me…He loved me back to my original image…the one He designed…for the purpose He planned…

God reminded me of my name…reminded me of my bloodline…that because of Christ’s sacrifice, I’m no longer bound to other’s expectations or desires…that I can do all things through Christ because He has strengthened me…that I can embrace the fearfully and wonderfully made woman of God I am…images (15)

I’ve  learned to Be Myself and Love Myself…better yet, I learned to receive love!!!  I am the way I was meant to be now. What I do or what I have been through doesn’t define me.  Rather, who I am defines what and how I do things.  To think it took me over 20 years to understand and embrace that!  I guess in all this wordy material I’m asking you to do the same…embrace  who you are…perhaps a little sooner than I did…

…So live the life you were meant to live and please BeYoutotheFullest!

Change is Constant-Get Used to It!

If you really plan to walk in the destiny designed for you, prepare to get uncomfortable!  Prepare to walk into areas that are unfamiliar! Dare to do something great and know that your steps may not be understood by those closest to you. Why? Discomfort is a prerequisite of excellence.

However, this type of discomfort is a good thing. It refines you and doesn’t harm you although at times it may hurt . It is meant to sharpen your sense of God’s presence and His provision. If you are creative, you are meant to be a leader so there’s really no way around it.  You need to get used to being uncomfortable.

Think about it. We are naturally creatures of habit. Change hurts. However, change is necessary to tap into the extent of your greatness. Think of the butterfly’s metamorphosis! download-11.jpg.jpeg

Transformation takes time and is sometimes lonely.  The thing that you must keep in mind is that though the place you are in may seem dark and isolated, as a child of God, you are protected in the process.

God sometimes has to get you shut off to outside influences so that distraction doesn’t have an opportunity to create an underdeveloped blob of what you “could” be…an unfinished product if you will…

Back to that old Butterflyand a bit of etymology behind the word “distract”

from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere “draw in different directions,” from dis- “away” (see dis-) + trahere “to draw”

If you were to cut open a cocoon before the process has been completed, you’ll end up with that blob I mentioned…what’s more…if you see a butterfly struggling to emerge from the cocoon and help it, that same butterfly will still die because it needed the time of isolation and the struggle to allow it to gain the strength it needs to fly!

Don’t allow the little things to get you off track.  Yes, change is constant and you should definitely get used to it.  However, you must understand that though the process is uncomfortable, it’s definitely required to allow the greatness within you to soar above ground level.

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©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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