Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

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 beautiful I’ve become!download

I remember when I was in 9th grade, we had some of the upperclassmen 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 acknowledgment 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 is what defines 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!

I heard for years that less is more. Yet, there are times when I can’t help but overdo stuff for no particular reason. I suppose I can’t really say there’s no reason. I mean considering the title of this post for instance…It was just an observation  I made while looking in the mirror one day last week. I suppose that passing thought could have happened today had something not changed.

So today I don my faithful ponytail and no mascara. Yes, I lined my eyes with this really cool iridescent blue just because I like it.  I can say it’s been a while since I’d done something  just because I wanted to…yes I know I shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition fellow grammarians …that’s why I love ellipses so much…so there…

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When I made the comment it was just a passing thought… I thought I needed to add to one area of myself  to distract another I felt self conscious about…

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I guess that’s why so many girls plaster half naked pics on Instagram and Facebook…hoping that someone will notice…anyone  will notice…never realizing that by taking it all off they’re only trying to covering it all up…the hurt, the abuse, the low self-esteem, the feelings of worthlessness, the depression…all of which I’ve danced with…Until the other night I thought I could dismantle  my own strongholds …

Yet, I loathed that me…the me that thought such random foolishness as “When my hair isn’t done, I should wear more make-up.” I did because I knew it never was me, but in my own strength I was powerless against what I wanted to hear people say.

A shell…

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I wanted the compliments for my outward appearance so I could deny the things in me that needed to change.

Yet somewhere between midnight and morning of yesterday, I changed my mind…my heart…my attitude… I admitted the fears I’d had and I woke up free.  I can’t really explain the confidence I have right now…I just know I’m different.  I know I’ll never be in that place again.  I just know  who I am.

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©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

I expected that I would because there have been times when the silliest things get me emotional, but I didn’t.

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As I rolled onto the parking lot and observed the familiar scene I wondered how long had the apartment community had that name.  It had since changed, but the address remained the same. I saw cars parked in front of the dwelling I once shared with a man who broke more than my nose when he punched me.

I’d hoped the area was condemned somehow…I didn’t want to think that another soul could possibly live comfortably in a place that I’d known only as hell on earth.  Then I imagined the place where I live now and wondered had there too been “incidents” that were merely covered up with fresh paint and new carpets.  Flashes of the scene remained vivid as I considered parking there.  I kept going.  I drove further around back surveying the area…attempting to gather if there were any possible way I could have been able to escape it had I just moved faster that night.

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There would have been nowhere to hide with a 4 year old and 6 month old in tow.  I was trapped and considering the what ifs and maybes are pointless now.  Still, I tried to do just that. Minutes later I was in front of the old mail center.  That night I had actually considered that place an option.  Still it was wide open, but I considered perhaps he was not smart enough to look there because it was in the opposite direction.  So I parked again and snapped a picture.  Perhaps the dark of night would have covered me and my children then after all.  No, how could it have done so?  That night started for us before the clock made night evident….Daylight Savings Time worked against us all that evening.  Night came too late to hide. Yet, when it arrived finally, that was the time when I longed for daylight…any light.  Even the blue lights failed me.  Six rings the 2nd call to 911 before bloodshed.  Less than 2 miles from the police precinct, yet he arrived before they did.  I could be angry with law enforcement and in retrospect, I suppose for a long while I was, but…

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Even as I type these words, I still haven’t shed a tear…I’m actually sitting here smiling.  And no it’s not because I know that the perpetrator is behind bars.  In fact, that was only a recent development and discovery.  He was never convicted for my assault.  It actually makes my heart ache for his soul.  He’s in jail for a separate crime.  Aggravated rape and assault.  I suppose old habits die hard for some indeed.

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I could take this time to cry for the other victims that came after my attack, but I won’t.  My run for my life was for my life…so no I did not testify…I disappeared and started over with the clothes on my back…I surmised at the time that I had a right to be selfish with my testimony…God was patient with me.

He allowed me the time to hold my testimony to myself for 12 years…I bled long enough so as He leads…I’ll share…as He prepares I’ll bear…

I have no reason to cry anymore…I’m not wounded…It doesn’t hurt, but not because I’m numb…I haven’t cried because I forgave

©2015 Nadia Davis.  All Rights Reserved.

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 start to the healing process…I actually penned the latter part of this post yesterday so it’s tone is a bit random, but no less from the heart of one who’s been there…done that…a free to be the me I was meant to be…
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Warning, this is one of those spur of the moment posts that are bound to have typos and run-ons and stuff.  It’s random and off the cuff…I came, I typed and there you have it….but I’m learning to at least get this stuff out…I leave the editing for later.

Do you consider yourself an agreeable person?

If you answered yes to that question, you probably are thinking pretty well of yourself, huh?

Well, time to bust your bubble.  If you are or better yet if those who interact with you consider you an agreeable person, you might be susceptible to a certain danger than has claimed the lives of millions.  Yep, you just might be co-dependent!

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I know I know.  Isn’t it good to be “agreeable?” In certain situations it might me a fitting trait, but there comes a time when you simply must have and USE a mind of your own. And before you think that I’m pointing the finger here…let’s just say I, like many of you reading this post, have had the unfortunate displeasure of being codependent before.  Whew!!! Glad I got that over.

First, let me explain for those who might not know what codependency is.
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It would seem that the wording alone should be enough but then it could easily get misconstrued that co-dependence suggests that there is a healthy level of dependence on another individual of which you are in a relationship with….Wow…didn’t that sound all important and stuff…Anyway…it’s actually the exact opposite…

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For those who could care less about the scientific definition or application….it basically means you’re a people-pleaser or “agreeable.”  It even almost suggests that you don’t allow yourself to have a single thought without considering the impact that it will have on another individual…oh and then abruptly changing that thought to make sure it’s what they want even if you dont… AWWW…I know again you’re probably thinking…isn’t that just being thoughtful or compassionate.  Don’t all relationships require sacrifices? Yes and No….of course the purpose of this post is leaning on the “no” of it so follow me…

People pleasing to the extent that you lose your own say is not healthy.  I know because I lived it for far too long…You might say….I felt like busting loose and I’ve been slowly trying to get my “no” as tactful as possible lately.

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Codependency is not just in romantic relationships either….it can even be at work!!!!   Yep, I admit, the first step towards my escape of co-dependence started on 05/15/15.  the day I gave my 2 week notice to my former employer.  Now I’m not bad mouthing them or anything….the ministry is great and the coworkers were really like family….but I knew I had to go….There was no growth there for me and while parting was indeed sweet sorrow….my right now gives me joy in spite of the irregularity of a pay check!
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I really hope somebody gets this for real….download (1)

Yes, there have been some things that I had originally committed to that I have since recanted because I have to be mindful of my own well-being first.  Now, I am not advocating that you trot off thinking that it’s all about “you” because it’s not.  I am, however, suggesting that you seriously consider your options before you make any rash decisions.

And oh but the bible says….Yes, about that…Blessed are the peace-makers for they are the children of God…yes, Mathew 5:9 of the Beattitudes….Yes, Jesus said it and that settles it…..

Don’t get it twisted please….being a peace maker in no way means that you surrender the very mind, actions, and soul that God gave you to please another when you’re slowly dying on the inside.  I know that might seem a bit drastic, but obviously this subject is dear to me…consider this scripture instead if you find your self stuck in between all the time:

James 1:8 New Living Translation

Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Yes, there are times when it is going to be necessary that you bear one another’s burdens, but there must be balance.  And that my friend is exactly what a co-dependency lacks.  There is no balance because for that to occur there would have to be two sides holding equal weight.

That’s why I emphasize so much the importance of wholeness before you enter into a relationship.  You’ve simply got to know your limits…have some boundaries…and understand the consequences of YOUR decisions.

So people, this is not some expert moment about being delivered from co-dependence overnight or even in a few months….It’s really about choosing the best option for you and your family.  Yes, compromise is sometimes needed, but at some point you should develop and stick to your convictions as God allows.

There is absolutely no way that I would have been able to get this far in my mini analysis had I not began to defer many of my decisions to the Lord for direction. That said, I’ve made some drastic changes and it has been daunting, but in the long run I know I’m getting better. So yes, I’m learning to just say no to things that aren’t in my best interest…I want to encourage you to choose to do the same.

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

The abuse I endured just over 14 years ago left me with more than a broken nose and bruised ego.  I had a broken spirit.

That same broken spirit morphed into a mindset of resentment and callousness that I only recently disowned.

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Not long ago, I shared my pain with a stranger.  When I worked in customer service, a young lady called to talk about how messed up her marriage was and explained the details of abuse and self-loathing she’d experienced before I could barely say ” I am not a counselor.”

However, when she asked me, “I mean what would you do in my shoes?” I found myself saying, “I wore your shoes…I walked in them for years.”  I was supposed to have been gone for the day but she was my last call.  It was my wake up…

Before that call I’d still had unforgiveness in my heart.  But revealing myself helped me more than it did she because that’s when the shell began to break.  I surrendered.

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When she mentioned how she’d been cursed out and cheated on and constantly berated by her husband…how her mother seemed to make her feel worse for marrying him instead of helping her…again I allowed the Holy spirit to breathe on my wounds to heal them…they were no longer festering and oozing beneath the masks I’d perfected over the years.  For 23 minutes, I explained to that lady how God delivered me from being unequally yoked…I found myself explaining how I’m not an advocate of divorce and how God hates divorce…how divorce is an easy out and that’s why God admonishes us to carefully consider the cost of marriage before we enter into it…how even in an emotionally abusive marriage God gave me joy and how my children and I were thriving…how my husband left after I’d finally surrendered for God’s will to be done…thCAL4RJTH

I recalled the prayer as if it had just been uttered, “Lord, just make him leave!  I can’t raise my children to believe it’s okay to be treated like this…that it’s okay for my daughter to believe it’s okay to be called a “B” and have my son believe it’s okay for him to do it to another woman”  That night tears soaked my daughter’s bed as I’d knelt to pray there for some reason…I wonder even now if she understood what I was going through…she was five…ready for bed…was supposed to have been praying with me but felt the need to stand beside me instead.

I shared with that anonymous lady that after my prayer, the next Tuesday my now ex-husband left.  I explained to her further that she must consult God first…I explained that even after he left…I remained married to him for three years because I condemned myself for “failing God again” given it was my second divorce.

Her response was one of gratitude but still more self-hatred.  I was shattered not because I felt like she wasn’t listening, but because she wasn’t hearing…she was blocking out what God was trying to tell her just as I’d been blocking out what He’d been trying to teach me through my trials with these people I mentioned.  However, her next words made it clear to me why.

She said, “Well, what would you do differently if you were given the chance again?”

“Nothing!!!”  I said to her almost before she finished the question.

I then began to recount why I wouldn’t change a thing…

I would not know God like I know Him…that I am worthy of His best…I would not have prayed and been able to minister to you today…I explained to her that the beauty of God’s love is that while He is fully capable of “making everyone” follow Him, He allows us the choice to do so.  Had everything gone perfectly in my life by the world’s standards, I wouldn’t know I need a savior in Christ…

I know this is post is a bit all over the place, but I figure God wouldn’t give it to me if at least one person out there didn’t need the reminder that the only true remedy for wholeness is in Christ.  Without Him, I’d still be just a bunch of broken pieces.

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

If I remained in complete denial of my condition, I could easily chop up my excessive coughing lately to spring fever.  I mean things are in bloom now so that would be a great excuse.

But I know better and hopefully after reading this post, you will too!

I really thought I was over this unforgiveness thing…especially given the gracious nature of God towards me.  Yet, like Peter, I often find myself asking, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother/sister who has wronged me?”

For those who might be a tad fuzzy on the text…basically Peter requests this answer of Jesus considering that 7 times is enough based on the Jewish customs of the time. Jesus’ response was basically seventy times 7 and for those who take things literally, I warn you…please don’t in this instance. (more…)

Just say no…to the promotion????  So the other day I declined a promotion I’d been vying for since last September.
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I prayed about my decision that morning and the days prior.  I knew the extra money would help considering the financial struggles I faced last year, but I just didn’t have peace with saying yes.
I suppose I’ve always known I was meant to be a leader so opting to follow again is starting to get old.
I planned to request a meeting with those involved so that I could clarify my intentions face to face, yet the moment the issue came across my mind last Thursday, I received an email from the trainer wondering why I had abruptly stopped my training a few weeks prior.
Immediately I began this response:
 
Thank you for checking in with me. I was just about to get in touch with you in person.  However, since you’ve contacted me I suppose I should share this via email instead.  It pains me to tell you that I will not be able to complete the training as I don’t have peace with the transition.
 
While I love the prospect of helping people and even mentoring people, at heart I’m a writer and advocate for those torn by domestic violence so while I am working in ministry here, I know that God has called me to do more with my gifts.
 
While I will continue to do my duties here for now, I can no longer allow my time to be divided from what I vowed to God long ago.  I am currently working on other projects related to my ministry that demand my immediate attention.  I’m sorry for not letting you know sooner, but I wanted to be sure I was making the right decision.  I’ve prayed about it and I am very sure that this decision is God’s will.
 
Please know that I am eternally grateful for your consideration, but I must respectfully decline the opportunity and be obedient to the Father.
Blessings, 
Nadia Davis

That response sat in my inbox as a draft for the entire weekend.  I pressed send Monday morning after receiving confirmation from my pastor’s sermon as well as the following scriptures I came across the other morning:

1 Kings 19:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria.

Until I’d read those words, I hadn’t consciously decided that my time at this ministry would come to a close so soon.  Yet, the more I thought of the assignments I’d be given and the tasks that would be required of me, the more out of place I felt.

I pondered whether I would state in that email that I would not be there much longer, but I didn’t include it.  I wasn’t being honest with myself or with my employer.  Yet, a mere day after sending it, there I was in my one on one meeting spouting it off without warning.

“This time next year, I will not be here.  I’m working on four books!”

My immediate supervisor acknowledged that he wasn’t surprised by my email and was glad that I could focus on one thing…then reiterated the need to prioritize appropriately. I’m grateful to have encountered such Godly people at work considering the wireless inferno I had been imprisoned in before being blessed to work at the ministry.

I admit, I’m nervous about where God is taking me.  I truly feel like Abraham…going to an unknown place with faith as my guide.  Yet, since He designed my destiny before I was formed in my mother’s womb,  I’m sure I can trust Him to get me there. Regardless from now on I’m determined to be decisive about my destiny!