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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

Co-dependence: The Guilt that Keeps on Giving

So since tomorrow is the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness month, I considered this subject needed to be revisted…

Better Not Bitter

Today is a day of firsts! The first day of the month and the first day in over 12 years that I’ll dare set foot on the scene of the crime…the one that momentarily left me with the inability to feel I had a reason to smile like this: image

Yet…for no particular reason…I’ve learned to smile often…thankfully it’s no longer to hide pain, but to embrace promise, potential, and every opportunity within reach.

I accept what happened years ago as a learning opportunity…Albeit, physically painful and emotionally jarring I can finally agree that by God’s grace, I’ve thrived beyond domestic abuse…today is also the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month…so I pray every post going forward encourage a lifestyle a little freer than the day before…whether you consider yourself a victim of abuse…a former perpetrator of it, or someone stuck in between…I hope this post is a…

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NOT Again! Black Lives Still Matter

Hmmm…now I intentionally removed myself from social media for a while to refresh and to focus on my books and other business ventures…yet, in the last few days I’ve allowed myself to  indulge for maybe 30 minutes a day or so to play catch up. I wish I could say that it were not more of the same…yet, with one scroll the other day, I saw what I wish I hadn’t:

The shooting of another unarmed black man!

I said I wouldn’t write about it. Yet, as I attempted to reflect on what it meant to be God’showed beloved. As assigned, I relected on my reading of Tattoos on the Heart, meditate on Jeremiah 31, and spiritually discipline myself to explore one of many specific prayer approaches as assigned, I found fingers vomiting my pain on the keys annyway..so I wrote…I shared…surprisingly, I didn’t cry this time…

As I perused section seven, I was tempted to attach myself to the Breath Prayer again. It was familiar and comfortable.  The labyrinth prayer seemed too complicated while the conversational prayer seemed far less intimate. I’d been a part of an intercessory prayer group a few years ago at my former church. We would meet once a week at 6 am and pray for our neighborhood, the members, the country, specific prayer requests, and the like.  It had been a while since I felt comfortable enough to join a group like that since my move. Yet, a few months ago, I was confronted with a situation that unfortunately mirrors the events of this week to my dismay. I joined hands in prayer during our bible study with those who didn’t look like me for the sake of intercession.

Another unarmed black man was gunned down by police and freedom of speech allowed the world to see it unfold. I wish I hadn’t been privy, but I and millions more were immediately embedded at the scene of the crime.  Crime, yes, it seems a suitable ploy to use deadly force, but since when is having a stalled car a crime? I remarked once before that God knew exactly when to allow me to live because had I lived during slavery, my outspoken butt would have surely been lynched.  I joked about the prospect of something like that happening now at the time, but the eyes in the sky depicted all too well that at least in some people’s minds nooses have all but taken on a different guise; one smaller, faster, and more potent. A bullet is a tiny thing, yet when fired in the wrong direction, it promises to do the heinous job…Hmm the job…Some say the officer was just doing her job, but I wonder when her job description morphed from serving and protecting to killing and neglecting. I wonder whether the bullets that escaped her resolver had merely been in safety mode in her heart for years prior to the moment she killed an unarmed father of four.  

Anger… No, I believe I’m beyond that phase now. I’m numb. I don’t know what’s worse: that I heard about it or that I saw it.  Perhaps it’s the fact that this father was slain quite possibly in front of his own four children…considering how quickly the news spread online I mean. I can only imagine the pain that gripped them.  So do we still have the right to remain silent? Do we have the right to remain aloof? Do we have rights at all in this country who replied “no” so long ago to the chains slavery promised? Oh of course not.  At least I can say that I wouldn’t because as an inevitable consequence, my blackness reminds me daily of the cries of my ancestors slain for just being. So I find myself wondering where I fit into this.  Why I fit into this? How can I get out of this? Where would I escape if I could? I have a son who likes to play basketball at the church near his high school.  There games usually last until after nightfall. I covered him yesterday morning because nightfall and blackness don’t mesh well nowadays. I even found myself smiling in relief that even at 18 he seemed more engulfed with video games than being outside. At least on video games the guns and blood spilled won’t require a eulogy when the game is over. Yet, Terrance was executed in broad daylight wasn’t he? So while I originally thought my prayer would be a breath prayer, I found myself breathless when I saw the footage. There were no words save, “My God!” I cringe at the thought that one day I could get that call or worse that I wouldn’t have to get the call because it would be plastered online and on the news.  My daughter said a while ago that if she had a loved one to die in some public and horrible way that she would not want to hear about it every time the same thing happens to another person.  She mentioned that those mourning the loss are inevitably trapped in a vicious cycle of perpetual grief because when Terrance was killed so was Alton.  And still when Sterling was murdered so was Philando and the list goes on. Oh wow, I almost forgot, the latest was Keith.  So my prayers this week have reluctantly transformed from breathless sighs to heart-piercing cries for intervention! I am sickened by the reality of which I live when I see direct evidence proving that Boyle’s pages are perhaps futile attempts to change that “lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.” Yet, I find safety in the knowledge that despite the carnage and disruption of culture and character in our nation, God’s word in Jeremiah 31 gave me hope that we would know Him intimately in the aftermath; that He would not punish us for the sins of our forefathers.

So with mercy that has been afforded me by my loving Heavenly Father I digress and choose to not do the same to those who do not share my skin’s hue. I recall the time when God first arrested my attention with the word that gave meaning to my last name. Beloved. When it was posed initially, it was a question. Will you be loved? In time I learned to receive and I agreed to be loved.  Now my prayer is how to show my nation to do the same.

 

 

Embrace what’s Right with you!

I’ve always been one to find errors immediately…on signs…in books…on television…in speech…I’ve had a knack for correcting things since I was seven…always considering other, better, and more efficient ways of doing most things I’ve observed. In fact, I have to purposely make myself not read my posts at times because I can’t help making the corrections (I know there are errors- for now😇)…so if you have eagle eye for errors…you’ll notice some…at least for the last year I’ve been intentional that way…I use ellipses often so I’m not bound to the tight writing in most things I prefer to read…I attempt to use slang…it started because of a meeting of minds I experienced just over a year ago…I was told to stop editing myself…I’ve tried…for months I failed…I hadn’t fully surrendered then…

Fast foward to my now…I realize what I used to call a curse a blessing…that my keen attention to detail…about something being slightly off center…or the use of words like “lie” instead of “lay” when a reference is made to an object an obvious error to me a plus…how even when I was a child I boldly corrected my teacher for telling us there had been only seven types of dinosaurs…I was seven…she should have known better and since she didn’t act like it, I raised my hand and told her so. I was respectful still…unconvinced she got my drift when she insisted I was wrong in front of the class, I brought to school the encyclopedia I’d become fascinated with by age four to show her how wrong she had been indeed…expecting an apology Mrs. Turner just refused to like anything else about me that year…I suppose then as I do now…I expect honesty…to me her excuse that she lied to us was because our grade level would not have been able to understand that much didn’t make sense… I did…so I suppose that’s when the lie that I shouldn’t be so smart was planted…shortly thereafter I was told to be shy…called shy, but God made me to be bold…

I understand now how much of a disservice I’ve done myself and those I’ve met over the years because I chose to dumb myself down for fear of rejection…

I’m not speaking from a place of regret, but of awareness. I understand that a well-rounded education requires pits in the process so I’m grateful for the transition now that I’m seeing it from the other side…

Necessary Evils they are...those lies planted by the enemy in the guise of well-meaning elders or not so well-meaning bullies…those who might have called you fat or ugly because of the beauty others saw in you or that you once saw in yourself was too much for them to compete with so they chose to beat you up because they wouldn’t dare fathom the insurmountable task of perhaps asking instead, “where do you get that joy? How can I be like you?” I know all too well that bullying doesn’t stop with high school or even college…that if you believe the lie that you’re weird, stupid, not good enough…it doesn’t take long for one to find you.

Bet you didn’t consider yourself your own bully, huh? Yep, too often do we become our own biggest critic because someone in our lives posted something…said something or perhaps didn’t say something we thought they should have…regardless of how the seed was planted…we still have a choice…

All are the result of choices…my wholeness is one choice I had to make myself…no input of naysayers or any others…I had to decide to be me…to love me…to receive all God designated for me…to embrace everything right with me...I wouldn’t say I’m a genius, but I truly believe God’s blessed me with the ability to do anything well…He gifted me with the ability to see the errors because He knew I’d be instrumental in changing the scope of His world…attention to the details of the forgotten ones has always been my draw…I was the one to befriend the new kid…to still speak kindly to the one everyone talked about…I was the one wondering the why behind their condition…

I can laugh now because even then God had been forming my heart of compassion for the broken…for the unchurched…for those in church, but feeling shunned…even those so weakened by church hurt they refuse to go back…I used to think I was too sensitive…that I shouldnt care so much…

I’m so glad Ive shattered that depiction of me…that I realize my love for others is a gift from God…and how the pain of who I was pretending to be was what was really hurting me all along. Being who you are is the only way you will ever be truly whole.

I understand while people may murmur about the things I do for others when at times I have nothing to spare but time is just part of who I am. 

So when I consider all the things that I observe other ladies and gents doing to adapt to “societal”norms, I have to wonder whether the only change necessary is one’s perspective of said society. Rather, perhaps what needs to be adapted is the minds of those individuals…then they will see themselves as God sees them…No, not as those who “say” they represent Christ sees them, but they will know they’re seen with mercy and compassion…seen as His beloved.

That said, focusing on what’s wrong is overrated…from now on do yourself a favor and embrace what’s right with you!

Reconstructed for Purpose

I’m sure I’d heard of the term “reconstruction” before, but when the gentlemen I spoke with the other day mentioned it referring to several home remodeling projects in the area, I understood things intimately. I began writing a post some time ago about being under construction.

However, if I’m honest, it was completely cliche and I just couldn’t bring myself to post it because I simply don’t fit the bill of “ordinary” by any sense of the word.  So I scrapped it. Nonetheless, the word struck me still.  I had been receiving words for a few weeks that I would be building my next home.  Yet, really, I was receiving confirmation of the remodeling project that has already taken place in my life I suppose.

God reminded me in those few minutes of conversation  about the wall around Jerusalem that had been torn down by years of attacks and neglect both from within and without…how even those who belonged there were forced into bondage because over time, there was little or no attention paid to the One who alone was able to protect them.

Life had torn me down physically, mentally, emotionally, and most recently financially.  I sit here typing and I can’t help but smile at the finished product unfolds.  I am beautiful inside and out. I am incredibly intelligent and gifted. I always had been, but my walls were broken down and I was robbed of my true self before. I could blame so many people including myself for some of the things I’ve endured, but who I won’t blame is God.  He has truly never left me nor forsaken me.  I, however, time and time again have turned my back on Him.  Even within this year I have.  I had no idea how many idols I’d built in His place: bills, men, loneliness, marriage, relationships, friendships, and even my children…

Still, today’s sermon reminded me that I, like Peter, needed to learn how to receive His grace for the mistakes I’d made…that in doing so I would then be able to strengthen my “brothers”…in my case…my sisters…

Had I possibly considered that what He showed me in a vision nearly eight years ago was coming to pass now, I would like to say I would not have failed Him.  However, all the pain was necessary after all. How else would I be able to teach anyone else how to fish if I refused to take my own rod and reel to the lake.

Like the rebuilding process involved in literal reconstruction, what I witnessed was how an older and smaller house had been torn down, but in it’s place stood a grand structure fit for a kingdom.  I realize now I’m fit just fine as I am now and even as I was then.

So no I’m not under construction anymore people, I’ve been reconstructed for purpose.

©2016 Nadia Davis. All rights Reserved.

 

An Ear to Listen

I had no reservations about revealing my past before that moment in class yesterday.  Perhaps it was hearing words I’d never written before…I’d never even thought of before sent me to a place I hadn’t visited either. I remembered.

I revealed my disconnection with self…why I was drawn to being “needed” by others…why it was so easy for me to allow people to drain me without much protest. The silence between my mother’s rants taught me to embrace my own version of peace.  The peace in my head…I shut out the world when I couldn’t flee literally. Now I see how I could be present, but still not there.

I needed someone to listen to me then, but I didn’t know what to say when I actually received it.

Now I know why God had allowed me to meet a the young lady in Walmart the other day. She’d just lost her husband and her words, “I just loss my husband and it’s been hard,” broke my heart.

I offered to pray for her before she revealed the reason she appeared so torn between working and giving up. I offered to wait, but I ended up just writing my phone number and a my disclaimer: “I’m not expert on grief, but if you need an ear to listen…”

I left there with a concern, but content that in a small way I’d lived up to my name.

I entered my first class yesterday morning and noticed my friend was absent.  My professor revealed the reason was that she too had experienced loss.  Her mother passed the night before. Immediately, I took out my phone to send a message.

I composed and erased.

I tapped and before sending placed the phone in my purse instead.

I said to myself I would wait until break. At break I erased again and thought about calling her, but I considered I didn’t want that before.

So I was honest.

After typing “I don’t know what to say. If you need an ear to listen call anytime.  Love you,” I hit send.

I needed someone to listen to me when my mother passed, but I didn’t know what to say.  So before God’s ear alone was the chosen receptacle.

Perhaps, allowing me to tell my story aloud was the first time I really felt heard by people. Maybe that was the reason for my tears.

Regardless, if nothing else, in that moment I realized my frailty.  Though I forgave her nearly two years ago, became whole mere months ago, I still have places in my heart to be mended. She loved me the best she could. I’m learning to love a little better with each passing day and I know I have a ways to go, but it’s still nice to have an ear to listen.

©2016 Nadia Davis. All rights Reserved.

It was Never Rejection

I cried in class today. I hadn’t planned to do so. I didn’t even cry when writing the piece I was required to read aloud. The assignment was to tell our story.  As a writer I almost did the paper before even reading the assigned chapters because I thought it would be that easy.

I mean what’s two pages of me? I’ve had this blog for three years and I have shared bits and pieces since the beginning…

Hmm…beginnings…

Beginnings can be so subjective.

Well, when I considered the topic from the week’s sermon and the topic from my life for the past few months, I should not have been shocked by the topic for the assignment bearing a name akin to both:

How has God redirected your life?

I had planned to write something totally different…yet, God saw fit to use this educational assignment as a means of confirming my spiritual one. It was also proven to be His opportunity to “right” mother’s story.

I found myself sharing how I was affectionately dubbed her shadow. I realized how much I missed her despite the diagnosis…Borderline Personality Disorder is not as fashionable as Bi-Polar or Schizophrenia I suppose. Yet, everything this week has led me back to her.  Redirected yet again from “me time” to develop an understanding of “her time.”

Before I had already been conflicted as to whether a dedication page was enough room to convey a daughter’s love, and then I recalled God whispering, “make room for Daddy.”  He alone would have to support me in this leg of the journey even more than He had before.  As tears fell against my heart’s demand, I understood

So while the dialogue of my life’s script seems riddled with unfortunate events, I’m no victim.  I was loved and for the first time in a long time, I sure it was never rejection, just redirection.

©2016 Nadia Davis. All rights Reserved.

Change the Course!!!

I came across this I wrote four years ago, but it is more prevalent in my life today than ever…read and share…

Change the Course! Something struck me as incredibly odd the other day. I’d come to a railroad crossing and there had been about five cars in front of me waiting in line for a supposed train. The lights were flashing and the rail arm had been down, but, there was no train. After a few minutes, the impatience of four of the five cars took the chance of crossing the tracks despite the warning. Shortly after those few cars bypassed, the other side began doing the same thing narrowly missing each other. The first car that had been waiting, now sat directly in front of me and though he was in full view of either side of the tracks he didn’t budge. Well, after hearing about all the derailments and train/car matchups that didn’t really match up, I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t budging either. I was okay with waiting. Well, apparently the cars behind me didn’t feel the same way and then began swinging out and doing just as the other cars had before, taking their chances with the tracks. Shortly thereafter, the car who’d been sitting there cautiosly eyeing the track in both directions slowly inched out and across the tracks to the other side as well. Now ten mins had gone by and yes, normally I probably would have been a bit impatient myself, but I decided another alternative. I backed up and turned around. Now, perhaps had my children not been in the car, I would have done that a lot sooner or I may have even dared to to the same thing that I’d seen instead of daring to be different. Yet, the funny thing is that when I stepped out and changed the course in my direction, everyone who was behind me, did the same thing.

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The point to this little anecdote is not to get you paranoid about the railroad crossings (though–true story–a girl I met last night had actually been hit by a train in a car and survived–note of caution), but to push you to have the courage to do something different to benefit you and those you love instead of sticking to what seems like the quickest and most popular route. It would have been an awful mess had the train plowed over those vehicles. Yet, I had sense enough to “examine the situation for what it is (dangerous and foolish), back up(hindsight does not have to be 20/20 when the obvious is right in front of you), and take a new course of action( I still made it to my destination—and sooner than some of the other cars because they’d been backed up in traffic from following the others). Remember,changing your course is not just about you, but about everyone who’s behind you.

©2012-2016.  Nadia Davis.  All rights Reserved.

Rehearse Your Greatness

I remember a while back when I worked in corporate America, we would have weekly team meetings to discuss our progress. There was only one issue… Though the company as a whole was #2 in the country..rarely were we ever told of our progress in these meetings! It was more of a bash session…completely depressing and not something to look forward to at all.  At one meeting in particular my manager was going down the laundry list of what we did wrong and I had to say something!

So like all good little employees, I raised my hand and waited to be acknowledged..”ugh did we do anything right?” Of course some of my team laughed, but the rest kind of nodded in agreement. I can’t really recall much after that, but not too long afterwards when we had one on one meetings, management began using the good, better, and best technique…you know talking about what we did well, what we could have done to improve, and the best thing we did. I can’t say that my comment sparked that change definitely, however, the same something inside of me that refused to listen to all the negativity someone else tried to bash me with then is the same person I am now…only wiser..I say wiser because now I have sense enough to know what NOT to allow into my atmosphere. That said, though you cannot control what people say about you, you can decide on what you will say to yourself. It makes absolutely no sense for you to be against you!

Ask yourself: Am I the deterrent to my own destiny?

Be honest and consider this message your wake up call because God has already told you you’re fearfully and wonderfully made…you are His beloved…you CAN DO all things through Christ who strengthens you.

So are you the one mishandling your mouth and speaking death into a situation where God has promised life? 

Singles…Maybe the time has come for God to send you “the one” but instead of rehearsing your greatness, you are muttering lies instead…

Let me give you a few toxic thoughts that poison your path to purpose with regards to relationships….

LIES YOU TELL YOURSELF:

         “This always happens to me, no one will ever treat me right” 

          “I’ll never find the love of my life!”

          “No one ever listens to me!”

REMEDIES YOU NEED TO EMPLOY:

How about “YOU” START TREATING “YOU” RIGHT FIRST! When you begin to treat “YOU” right, you set a precedent! You will not settle for less and your outlook of others will be more positive. You’ll understand that if someone tries to do wrong by you, that it is his or her loss, you will be able to forgive quickly, and you will be able to leave a bad situation with your head and heart intact.

How about you realize that as a child of God you already have the love of your life through Christ! God loves you so much, He died to prove it! Understand that another human being IS NOT MEANT TO COMPLETE YOU!!! In fact, two halves make a whole only in math…when God inspired the text saying, “and the two become one,” He means TWO WHOLE people come together and be as one unit with time and effort…husbands and wives are meant to complement one another while only God can complete either of them.

God left nothing out when He created you…

In fact, two halves in marriage equal He’ll not Holiness…trust I’ve lived through it…not once, but twice! I simply refuse to allow myself to be unequally yoked and you shouldn’t either…whether friend or man…real talk!

How about you take the time to listen to others first! As a speaker, this is something I have had to learn. I’m still learning this. Just Listen! When you listen to others, you are being intentional and that subconsciously gives others permission to do the same.

The bottom line is that if you don’t take the time to rehearse to yourself all the good about you,the alternative is relying on others to mislabel you…labels are sticky and hard to come off, but oil can remove anything and yes will make you shine.

Just being healed is not enough…you must be whole…Allow the Holy Spirit to show you the root of your bitterness and help up dig it up. Ask Him to guide you in ways to allow the good seed sown in you through the hearing and studying of His word to germinate and grow.

Know that God created a wonderful being when He created you…He told you…I’m telling…Now try telling yourself.

Fix that Door and Move On!

Laughter is my best medicine. I must find the funny in everything to function and no, I’m not mental!

So…basically, I planned to go to bowling the other day…was dressed and for a change would have actually been on time (the Lord is yet working on me in this area)

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Anyway…I go to open the door to leave and there I am all dolled up (yep, I’m a bit girlie girl)…purse and keys in one hand, the door knob in the other…considering my options…

So I decided to break out my tools…yes and I know how to use them.SwaggerGirl_Cape

So finally I get to the point of my title…I couldn’t leave until I fixed the door…

It made me consider my current relational status…I don’t consider being single who I am…which was further confirmed by Sunday’s message…I know my purpose as a follower of Christ and I still consider myself a wife…I just know I’m meant to be one to the right one.

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I just happen to be in “transition”…yeah…that has a nice little ring to it.

You see…though I was heading bowling that night, I was still trying to wrap my head around what was to transpire the next day.

My ex-husband had planned to visit my daughter from Little Rock, and because I’m not allowing my daughter out of my sight for any reason, I had to go as well…

It wasn’t unforgiveness, but definitely uneasiness…

I had been sort of dreading the reunion because I didn’t want what usually happened to happen again… there were always “misunderstandings!”

I thought…I want him to know that I have no hard feelings, but I also don’t want him to think I have “other feelings” either.

See my dilemma?

It was always a catch 22…if I rejected speaking to him, I was thought to hate him…if I was nice…I was expected to remarry him…

I had been praying about our interaction all week and asking God to reveal to me if I had any unforgiveness lurking in my heart that went unchecked…God confirmed that I had forgiven him, however, that I needed to still endure this test.

 

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Well, prayer works…the Lord showed me that just as I’d left alcoholism alone nearly 8 years ago and since had several tests…and yes…though I’ve drank a little…like 3 times within that time…He showed me how I have no taste for that life or the liquor itself anymore…in essence, I had to be exposed to it to know I’m completely done…

Hey, I’m not knocking anyone who drinks, I just know my boundaries now…that’s something I never really had before…for drinking or relationships…

Just pass me a Green Tea and the one God has chosen for me!

I guess you really know that you have forgiven and closed the door to the hurt of your past when you find yourself praying for that person and not in one of those, “God get ’em prayers!”

My point in all this is that God showed me that I had to fix the broken places in this past relationship to properly close the door before I would truly have my heart free enough to receive the man God has for me.  I did what I needed to do.  Maybe it’s time you do the same.

 

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