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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

Month

September 2016

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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The Satisfaction of Suffering

Yes Lovely Ladies, suffering is necessary. It is part of the refinement process. Some refinement takes longer than others dependent upon how tough the material being polished is before the process began.  Trials and disappointment have a tendency to give us thick skin…we get tough when we’re meant to be delicate.  That is by no means equated to weakness. In fact, a woman is most beautiful when she displays her strength by her reliance on the source of it…The One and Only God, Our Creator!

That said, despite the harshness of the process, the results are awesome! Ladies, we are simply better off yielding to the process of God’s discipline so we can learn to receive His grace and His uncommon love. In doing so, we release the essence of our most attractive self. Why? Because there is nothing more attractive than the real you! In fact, it is the best gift you can give to your significant other. However, you must submit to the process first.

 Suffering is but a momentary inconvenience in God’s eyes so do yourself a favor and adopt Your Daddy’s perspective! He’s a good, good Father and He will not allow you to suffer for longer than necessary.

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 forward 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 un-churched, 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 shouldn’t care so much…

I’m so glad I’ve 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!

©2017 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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.

 

He Responds with Silence

In the past three days, like Paul, my scales have been removed. I understand more because I hear God’s voice more. I once thought God only speaks ever so often, but I was wrong. He not only hears me, but God responds.

Responding is something I’m learning to do more often myself. I used to react, but now I actually take my time and try to consider what I am going to say before I open my mouth. Of course, there are times when I have to remind myself the best way to handle things is sometimes to remain silent.  I simply refuse to argue.  I will simply choose to disagree. I’ve learned to appreciate the silence in My Father’s responses.

To feel the warmth of His reply without audible words is baffling, but comforting all the same. I used to wake up with a prayer on my lips.  Yet, lately I commune with Him in silence. I believe my prayers have been more intimate now…

He doesn’t react as I had become so accustomed to doing when confronted with a situation I’d rather not have to experience. He responds. That means He takes the time to consider my feelings, what is best for me, and the consequences of such before He says a word.

He’s teaching me to treat others with the same consideration.

Finally Thawed

For the last month or more, my daughter has been somewhat “re-obsessed” with Frozen’s Soundtrack . I admit I used to like the song myself, but only when I heard Demi Lovato sing it. Yesterday morning on the way to church she decided to belt out the lyrics of which I’d heard enough of…or so I thought.  I’d never considered the lyrics until this morning. When I walked into bible study, I had no idea how the words of that song would dictate that I’d finally been able to accept God’s permission to receive. The message “The Gift of Letting Go “ preached by Danny Cosby coupled with the reality of the churning that had gone on in my heart for at least two months were all that was needed to actually have me speechless for a change. I couldn’t stop crying.

It wasn’t a bitter cry. More of a battle cry after the victory has been accomplished if you will. I realized I too had built walls around my heart and mind over the years. And my heart was still frozen so there was another surface to penetrate after  the walls of my mind and heart had been diminished. A few months ago I began to understand the necessity of allowing God to tear those walls down so that my future husband wouldn’t have to do so. I realized that every time I’d said to myself, “I believe” and set out to do an outlandish deed in line with God’s direction, fear would have me reconsidering whether I was as in times past “doing too much.” I was taking the very bricks God pulled down and trying to replace them myself. So for the last few weeks I’ve been considering and reconsidering my motives.

It’s Time for a New Set of Bricks…and A New Partner to Build together…The Plans have changed…The Wall is not to be around our hearts, but around our union…The purpose already mirrored one another…

It’s melting…It’s melting!!!

I can’t help the way I feel now and I’ve tried. I tried to rationalize whether he would be capable of loving me like I asked God of my future husband in journals years ago. Over and over again I made excuses. I considered the exposure…I considered the danger of vulnerability…I considered my purpose…I didn’t want to make a “relationship” an idol…but the more I think about it, I realize it will only bring more glory to God as His hand has directed out paths to intersect as it has…so today I surrender…

To the desires of my heart…the desires of God’s heart as I understand now why my urge to pray for him is so urgent at times…Even still until yesterday, I had been praying amiss at times too…praying that God prevent me from loving him…that He prevent me from caring…that I not get distracted by trivial things like loving a man or marriage…Fear led those petitions.

Prayer works definitely, however, when God flatly tells you, “Why are you pushing away what you asked for?” you realize that you can’t exactly “undo” a prayer inline with His will. I’ve been forced to answer that question regardless. For a time, my answer had been a long list of what if’s and reminders of how wrong I’d been before. Time and time again God has revealed how love at first sight doesn’t exist, but that the spirit of the one He has chosen as your partner in purpose is what draws you…that is, I admit what drew me…what still draws me…as if I’m a magnet and he iron…time…distance…attitudes…words…for whatever reason…I’m still drawn…perhaps the draw is so we sharpen one another…I’ve tried to disconnect myself, but denial that his words and deeds are intricately connected to the passions God placed in my heart long before we ever met is useless. I can’t be in God’s will and continue to deny the possibility of expanded purpose with him by my side.

I’m still afraid. Yet, my Father reminds me that though He did not give me the spirit of fear, He provides me courage in spite of the fear. For a recovering control freak, chartering unknown territory can seem daunting, but I know God has led me back to Memphis for a reason…that I had to experience the bad so that when good arrives I would be able to welcome him with open arms and an open heart. So I’ve avoided the possibility of something filling the space…I’d learned to be okay without. As a whole woman, I surmised I’ll be okay without him whomever he is, but my heart knew better even in its weakened state at the time of our first real encounter.

For a time I thought that maybe I had never loved the others and that I merely assumed it was love and it all was infatuation. I was okay with that lie for a while, but in the last week God has revealed in more ways than one that I had indeed loved before…that my only mistake was that I love those who didn’t have the capacity to receive the love I desired and tried to give. I used to think that because at the time I didn’t actually love myself so perhaps I had been unable to love another. Yet, again God has shown me how wrong my assumption had been…that my love for them had been pure, but malnourished. That because I’d allowed myself to lead with my heart and because I left my head before… tossed my pearls before swine  that I was unable to make the “right choice.” I even found myself resorting to old methods of applying who I know now God has promised for me to another.  Genuinely happy for what I considered their union would be, secretly later I felt some kind of way…did not want to know why…

And God has revealed to me the heart of one worthy of my presence. I’m drawn to him though I’ve tried for at least a year to remove myself from the scenario. God still has a sense of humor. I can’t deny how God has re-written my story. When I consider the many transitions I have endured within the last two years, I have learned that my obedience to the voice of God is best. I had to learn the hard way in many ways. I’d carried baggage for years and though I’d heard the voice telling me to “leave it there,” I was almost conditioned to drag it anyway. Thankfully, that’s not my stance now. I realize the additional baggage stalled my progress, kept me unorganized, and weighed me down…

It has taken me a long time to unpack…confronting the reality of “me” has been every bit the daunting task I expected. Still, I regret nothing. It’s easier to walk now. I have perfect peace with God’s decision and finally even with my own. The surgery God performed on my heart and head was delicate and time-consuming, but so necessary. Now that the walls are down, my heart is finally thawed enough to receive the love I desire.

finally-thawed

©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.

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