Take the lead

Do you trust God? If your anything like me, this is a very difficult task to do! I am very open and honest about my journey in developing my relationship with God. My curiosity started when I was a little girl. I remember going to Sunday school and learning about bible characters and what God did through them. There was more emphasis placed on the characters than God (from perception). Like one of my favorite characters in the bible was Joseph! Now Joseph reminded me of myself in him. First off he came from a huge family! He was a dreamer! And all he wanted to do was share his dreams with his family! After doing so, his older brothers felt intimidated by him not only because of his dreams but because he was clearly his dad’s favorite.

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Empty Nest

I can’t believe it is the month of February! I actually started the year off with great intentions with being consistent with blogging, Unfortunately every plan I had (coupled with fear) was crushed by life’s demands. Being organized has never been my strong suite, However I am learning new ways to plan and execute daily agendas that works for me.

I didn’t realize that I had become accustomed to choas! Let me explain, I am a mother of 3, so most days were filled with making breakfast, getting them up(which most days was a difficult task..lol) and dressed, walking them to bus stops, seeing them off, then coming back home to get myself ready for the day! And that was just the mornings. After years past and they began to grow up, they didn’t rely on me as much, which was a little relief, or so I thought. I still had the mind set of being busy.

After a while, I realized that I had forgotten who I was. I lost touch with me! For years, I lived life to accommodate and please others. I couldn’t imagine a life that I didn’t have to. Being the oldest of 6 (Yes 6) children I was taught to take care of my younger siblings, and then I became a mother and then a wife (now divorced). I never really had times where I had to think and do for myself. So, now that I am in this space it feel awkward! I mean really awkward! I feel like a lost puppy, or fish out of water! Honestly I knew this day would come but it seems like it came so quick! I remember thinking at times “I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL I CAN DO WHAT I WANT”. At the time I thought those words were symbolic for me being free, boy was I wrong! Because, honestly I had no idea of what I wanted without including my children…😞

Both my daughter’s have graduated and are living their lives and my son now lives with his father in another state(which was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make). I am now trying to figure out what’s best for me! What is it that I like to do? What is my passion? Who am I? I began asking myself questions that honestly made me take a deeper look at myself. Which made me realize that I had to go back to the basics. I took it way back…. I began to remember when I was a little girl, sitting in Mrs. Wright’s class and watching a video with Les Brown talking about having faith in yourself! I recall thinking, I want to do what he’s doing! I want to be on T.V! At that time I had no idea that what he was doing was called “Motivational Speaking ” I just knew that was definitely what I wanted to do! I started reading his books and started to keep journals. As time and years past that dream became a distant desire. Although, I would still find ways to give an encouraging word or extend a helping hand to those around me.

One afternoon after having a very difficult day, I sat on my bed hopeless. Thinking how did I end up in this place. A place of worry, defeat, loneliness ( my children don’t really need me anymore)and being so overwhelmed! Out of no where I recieved a text from a person that I had taken a class from saying “How are you?” I thought to myself “If You only knew!” I texted back “I’m Well, and yourself?” What I really wanted to say was “I’m lost and I am ready to walk away from everything!” We exchanged a few more texts, but then the questions came…. What have you always dreamed of doing? Like what did you want to be when you grew up? I sat there and closed my eyes and began to pray…. Lord, what did I dream about being when I was little? Then it hit me, Motivational Speaker! I texted back and told him that and from there came a series of questions and solutions that would get me out of that funk! Needless to say, I am now walking towards being a Motivational Speaker!

Life has a way of redirecting you. We can dream, plan and believe that we will become whatever our little hearts desires. But the truth of the matter is that life can and will knock you flat on your face! What do you do after your dreams are so far from you, that you can’t even remember what they were? The first thing I did was connected with a person/people that could see past my inner negative thoughts, frustrations, and self doubt! Sometimes you just need someone that can see things from a clearer stand point. Someone who will trigger healthy thoughts towards attaining your goals/dreams. I also connected to a local church and established a community of believers around me. Then, you actually have to sit and right out a plan (Consistency is the key to this part of your journey) and then do the work!

Becoming an empty nester is scary, and uncomfortable! But there is a beauty that comes from it as well. I challenge you (If your experiencing empty nest syndrome) Dream again! Believe again! Remember who you were before life happened and before Responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to live boldly and take risks. Take a class that you’ve always wanted to take, go hiking, bungie jump, go dancing or even travel! Adventure awaits you! Go for it! You deserve it!

~True Freedom

A Father’s love pt. 2

Studies show that the most important and impressionable years of a childs life are from birth to five years old. This is powerful! Can you remember when you were that young? If so, what do you remember? As I stated in my previous posts, my mother was a teen mom and my biological father was not in the picture (at that time in my life anyway). My family was as dysfunctional as they come! But, it was my normal! I learned a lot of my bad habits i.e anger, resentment and fighting from those around me. Every male figure in my life ( with the exception of maybe 2 or 3) expressed themselves through anger and fighting! It was their defense mechanism. When my father finally did come into my life he was no different from any of the other father figures in my life in regards to anger and abusive behavior! I now realize that you react in ways that is familiar to you. They didn’t know any better! They may have known that type of behavior was inappropriate but because they didn’t know how to respond in a healthy way, they did what came naturally. As I got older I began to display these same behaviors, in my opinion I actually feel as though I was worse because I was a girl! Girls are suppose to be gentle, loving and nurturing, Right? I felt as though, if I displayed these characteristics I would be weak!

In my mind, I had an idea of what a father’s role is in a girls life! Someone who protects her, validates her, wipes away her tears, kisses her on her forehead, and gives endless wisdom about life! And his hugs would be the best! A father’s absence (physically and mentally) can cause so much damage! I never realized how much I needed my father! Because I grew accustomed to living without him. They say you never miss your water until your well runs dry….. right? Well, If you never knew a well existed with water you wouldn’t miss it at all!

After having my first child, I decided to get to know God for myself. I lived many years off of others faith and relationship with God. I began to pray and read the word of God. Of course none of it made sense to me. I noticed when I prayed, I would pray from a place of intimidation and fear!

Many times we praise God from a broken and fearful place….. I was in worship one day, and I noticed that I had been worshiping God from a fearful place and not a place of freedom, meaning I saw myself as a scared little girl who had been violated and not a person who had been set free! I realized that I was scared because I didn’t really understand him (God) and why didn’t he stop what happened to me when I was younger … fast forward to my adult years, I went to church like a good Christian and read his word, sang praises to him but never got the chance to develop a relationship with him! I realized that I had begun to treat God like my earthen father. I would only talk to him when I felt the need to get things off my chest, but for the most part I disconnected myself from him. Sounds crazy right seeing that I am a Christian and we are suppose to be connected with God. Because my innocence was taken from me at a young age! I never learned how to build trust with anyone. I never learned how to deal/handle situations in my life in a healthy way. It was hard for me to trust God when I never met him. I was aware and had experienced his presence, but how could I truly trust someone that I never seen or touched. As I stated earlier I had an idea of what a father’s role was, my expectations of God was pretty much the same with the exception I really looked at God as a genie…. Sounds strange huh? But isn’t this how we treat him. We want what we want when we want it. Making demands when we feel we are in need! And even bargaining with him when we put our selves in unlikely circumstances. But, That’s not who he is.

I do recognize that each one of us has to develop our own relationships with God the father and that everyone’s journey will be different. As I stated before, it took me a while to change my perspective from viewing him a dictator! But as a loving, protective, compassionate, understanding, forgiving and most of all (to me) patient father! As any good father he has been there when I have been sad, angry (throwing temper tantrums) and even with me patting his legs (my imagination…lol) asking WHY? With tears in my eyes(So dramatic)! And each time whether it was through his word, a song of praise or worship, or through a person, he always corrected and then comforted me. This journey has been nothing but amazing!

I challenge you to take time to develop a deeper relationship with him. He never disappoints!

~True Freedom

A Father’s love (Part 1)

There is nothing like the love of a father! Unfortunately many of us never experienced this type of love. In 2017, It became my mission to get to know both my earthen father and my heavenly Father. As a child, My father wasn’t present in my life until I was 13! Up until that time, I believed that another man was my father (although he wasn’t present either). I come from a big family! So I was surrounded by male figures. Although, my uncles and cousins were in my life I still longed for my father! I had an imagine in my mind about what a father’s love looked like. I longed to rest my head on my father’s chest as I cried, or if I had a problem or concern, he would be there to give me advice and comfort me. Unfortunately I never got that! My mother was a teen mom so she did what she could to the best of her ability. My grandmother helped raise me. I remember the day that I officially met my father. I was standing in my grandmother’s front door and this man was walking up to the door, the closer he got I kept thinking to myself “this man looks like me! Because I have a large family, I actually thought that he may have been a long lost family member. My mom walked pass me and greeted him and they talked for a while and then she came and got me and explained that he was my father and introduced us. Everything on the inside yelled with excitement! But of course I had to have a poker face ( lol ). Everything isn’t always what it seems, if I had known what was about to happen I would have been a little more reserved. My father had his own demons that he was dealing with like most adults. He never learned how to handle issues in a healthy manner. So, he handled things in a manner in which was familiar to him which was in anger and rage! We all have heard the saying ” Hurt People, Hurt People” , this is a very true statement! There were alot of things done that shouldn’t have took place. This blog is not to bash him in any way but to express my experience with building a relationship with my father. Most of my adult years I didn’t speak to him because of resentment, unforgiveness and anger in my heart!

Going to church was not an option in my grandmother’s house! So, I was familiar with God, but I didn’t know him for myself. For many years I was always taught that if you keep God’s commandments that he would bless and keep you. I remember sitting in church wondering if God is so good and he loves me then why did I go through the things I went through? Why would God allow me to be molested? Where is GOD? My faith was centered around my grandmother and mother. I lived off of thier faith for many years. I didn’t begin to experience God for myself until my mid to late 20’s. I began to read the word of God for my self. Often times we treat God the way we treat our earthen father! Think about it, if you received love, affection and attention from your father then when you are taught about the Father’s love (God) you can truly comprehend. On the other hand if your father was absent (unless you had a strong father figure in your life) then most likely when you are taught about God, there are many questions, and you can’t relate to the love of the father.

I had to first ask God to show me how to forgive my father for things he’s done and the things I thought he did! The word of God says:

Bear with each other and forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone forgive as the Lord forgave you ( Colossians 3:13) I must admit that This was the most difficult part of my journey. One of my defense mechanism was to hold things in (grudgingly). The downside to holding things in is that when I finally decided to release it, it was explosive!! And my natural reaction was to react in violence!

The Hidden Truth

Have you ever been in a relationship and you found yourself relying on someone more than you should? Or vice versa… maybe there is someone in your life that depends on you a little more than they should. I am talking about the type of Dependency/ codependency that is dangerous/toxic or even deadly. One of my favorite shows is ” Intervention “.  For those of you who has never seen the show let me explain; It’s  about families seeking help for loved ones who struggle with drug, alcohol, or subtance abuse. The person who is the addict has to agree to allow a camera crew to follow them around to see exactly how they live( the good, bad and the ugly). While filming; the addict typically  shares how they were introduced to their lifestyle. Often times it is from some form of abuse or one of the parents walking out on them. Most of the time their habits are so bad that do anything for a hit (such as steal).  The interesting thing is;  they have no idea that the family has arranged for them to go to rehab, but before they are presented with the opportunity,  they have what is called an “Intervention”.  During the intervention the family members have to write a letter explaining why they would like for them to get help or else they will cut them off completely! The most intriguing part of the intervention is when the family begin to share with the addict’s  life before the drugs and alcohol and how they’ve played a part in enabling them with thier habits; and now they (family member) have made the decision to stop aiding them in thier habits.

Enablers are people who think that they are helping but in reality they are hurting an individual by giving into thier wants and “needs”.  Often times enablers “help” because the feel a sense of guilt do to something that may have caused the person to end up where they are, which make the addict/ codependent person use manipulation to get what they want. In the book ‘Sleeping with my inner me by Dr. Glenda Brown-Akiens’  she actually explains the dynamics of relationships. The book quotes:

 •We are responsible for our own choices and actions. We cannot change other people, but we are responsible for our own       behavior. We must remember in any relationship, whether it’s marriage, family, church or work, that if there’s a conflict,     it is never just about the other person. The problem you have is with yourself. All relationships involve choice or will.  When we do realize, we will often find things that we need to change, and then we must choose to change them, even when the change is scary.”

We must realize that we are responsible for our actions in any relationship! It is easy to put the blame on someone else, diverting all the attention off of us as an individual. We must grow to the point in our lives when we admit our negative behaviors and take action for them. Discover the deeper issues that causes the behavior in which we behave, In other words, what appears to be the issue or problem is often not the problem, but just the trigger at that moment or instance. Fear is normally the root cause of negative behavior! The mind is so powerful; for example if you have ever experienced trauma your mind can either block you from remembering or you tend to make a promise to yourself that you will never put yourself in a situation again and begin to take the necessary precautions to build traits that causes you to react in anger, hostility etc. 

The first step to healing/freedom  is to own/ admit where you are and make a conscious  decision to change! Without identifying our own core fear and understanding how we tend to react when our fear buttons gets pushed, then our relationships will suffer every time! (Sleeping with my inner me). You have a choice! You don’t have to stay in sadness, hurt, pain and depression! Sometime you need help with identifying certain triggers therefore seek help. Just because you seek help doesn’t mean your crazy!! It simply mean that you are growing. 

~True Freedom 

The Monster Within

Have you ever witnessed a child throwing a temper tantrum? If so, what were your thoughts? Did you feel compassion for the parent? Or, did you blame the mother or father for the behavior? Did you take into consideration that the child may have a mental disorder? Or, could it be a lack of discipline at home! Many of us come to some conclusion on how to handle it right? Well, If that child never learns coping skills then guess what?! He/She grows up to become an adult who throws temper tantrums!!! Saddly, when we think of temper tantrums we think of falling out in the floor kicking and screaming, or maybe even throwing things, Well, Most adults ( key word, most!) do not use these methods, instead they use the silent treatment (mostly women) or the push away! Or, I don’t need no one! (attitude)! I can do it (life) on my own!!! silence is a weapon. It can be used to punish, control, disempower, or run away from a person or problem. People who use silence as a weapon often have the following characteristics:

They never learned to express themselves assertively.
They have strong narcissistic tendencies.
They know that silence is an effective way to emotionally manipulate someone, maybe because they’ve been victims of emotional manipulation themselves.
If you know someone who displays these characteristics, and that person gives you the silent treatment on a regular basis, remember you don’t deserve this on a daily!

For many years; I would behave in this manner because I had never properly learned how to express myself, I realized that no one deserved this treatment ( even though I could some times justify my actions). This was a learned behavior! The funny thing is when someone else treats me in this manner my reaction is to respond out of anger!!! Ridiculous right? How can I get mad at someone when they treat me like I treat them; It sounds crazy! but millions do it! As a child, we mimic the adults in our lives because that’s the only behavior we know until we enter into our school years; then we begin to pick up habits ( in most cases) that our friends display.

Have you ever wondered why are there so many adults that act like a children? I know I have! I have been reading a book called “Sleeping With My Inner Me” by Dr. Glenda Brown-Akiens, Ph.D and she actually described and explained these behaviors. Dr. Akiens explains how our minds responds to trauma. She gives this examples:

” If a girl was raped by a man when she was 12 years old, unless she forgives that man and allows Christ to heal her heart and allay her fears, in that particular area of her life, (sexuality with a man) her emotional growth will stop. Even when she reaches her later years, she may still have the emotional maturity of a 12 year-old”.
Wow! Did you catch that? Basically whatever age you experience trauma most likely if forgiveness has taken place than your decisions and choices are influenced by your trauma! We have all heard the saying “Hurt people, Hurt people”? Right? Well my friend, it is true! Here are a few examples that Dr. Akiens describes how “Hurt people Hurt people”.

The following are common traits hurt people display in their interactions with others:

I. Hurt people often transfer their inner anger onto their family and close friends.

*Often those around them become the recipients of harsh tones and fits of rage because they have unknowingly become the vicarious recipients of transferred rage.

II. Hurt people interpret every word spoken to them through the prism of their pain.

* Because of their pain, ordinary words are often misinterpreted to mean something negative towards them. * Because of this, they are extremely sensitive and act out of pain instead of reality.

III. Hurt people interpret every action through the prism of their pain.

* Their emotional pain causes them to suspect wrong motives or evil intent behind other people’s actions towards them.

IV. Hurt people often portray themselves as victims and carry a “victim spirit”.

* Often hurt people can cry sexism, homophobia, or often use the words unjust and unfair to describe the way they are being treated, even if there is no truth to this. (That is not to say that sometimes there really is sexism in some instances. This is just used as an example.) * Hurt people have a hard time entering into a trusting relationship. * Hurt people often carry around a suspicious spirit.

V. Hurt people often alienate others and wonder why no one is there for them.

* They often continually hurt the ones they love and need the most with their self-destructive behavior.

VI. Hurt people have the emotional maturity of the age they received their (un-dealt with).

Wow! Unfortunately so many people that behave in this manner rarely see anything wrong with thier actions. I once behaved like this and would get mad/offended when someone tried to tell me that I did. I would hold a grudge against them for a long time ( in some cases YEARS)! Once I began to seek counseling, I realized that I was severely dysfunctional and began doing the work to start living a life of freedom.

In September of 2013, I struggled the most with being honest about having these traits! I have been very transparent about my journey of divorce and the abuse I endured as a child. Well one day, when I was truly in a terrible mind space, I heard God tell me to change my name to “True Freedom” I was baffled that he chose this two words…seeing that I didn’t want anyone to know my truth, and there was nothing about my life that was free! Needless to say I did and to my surprise he began to heal me in ways I never imagined. I began to share my story with others and the response I received was amazing! I still have a ways to go but I am no where near who I used to be! I pray that if you are battling with these behaviors; please don’t allow your pride to stop you from reaching out for help ( professional and spiritual). Don’t allow your behavior to keep those who truly love you out! The first step is being honest with yourself! Which is the most challenging part.

There is hope! Trust me I know! Until next time….

~True Freedom

We are Family!

It`s “Thanksgiving”!!!!! and when I tell you that I am so excited! because I truly haven’t been in the mood in years! Granted I know that we are to be thankful everyday! This is a day set aside for family!!! Depending on what type of family your from determines your feelings towards this holiday! or any holiday! Let’s Talk and be transparent for a moment…… Family gatherings as a child would go something like this….. We would all meet at Big Momma’s house(which was my house)! I remember being so excited to see all of my cousins!  Now let me explain;  My family is Huge! My grandmother had 13 children and each one of her children had children! My mother had 6 children of her own(I am the oldest)! This is just the immediate family not including her brothers and sisters (extended family). Can you imagine the house we were in?! Now you see why I was excited! There was never a dull moment! Seriously! 

Over the years many of us (relatatives) have experienced life in ways that has damaged our relationship with one another. From wrong done to us and/or us doing wrong to others (whether you admit it or not)!  Coming from a big family we can get loud and aggressive! Often times we really don’t mean any harm we just get very excited in expressing our truths! I am not condoning this behavior now;  I am firm believer of when you know better you do better. I am writing this for my family! Because, I understand that we have been hurt beyond measure! As I sit here writing this my heart break because I know of some of the challenges we have all endured!  And even those family members who have suffered in silence and haven’t told a soul! Many would look at behavior and say Omg! she/he is difficult to deal with, Have you ever thought of what they’ve been through! The abuse(sexual,physical,mental,verbal)? Depression? Suicidal thought? feeling inadequate? you get the picture! So before you judge other until you have truly walked in thier shoes. There reason behind our actions. 

You can’t pick your family. God placed you exactly where you were suppose to be! Contrary to difficulties and the challenges we face! Family can be difficult and family can hurt you more than someone on the streets who doesn’t know you from the man in the moon!   Trust me I have experienced this!  I am a advocate for Healing!  I am praying for my family that we all experience True Healing! and True Freedom! It’s time for healing! So here is my challenge; Start with yourselves! Seek counsel from God and from a professional (if it’s needed) Remember it’s your process! No one can tell you how to heal! Respect your process. This is going to hurt! but it’s necessary!! You are going to have to face some issues that you have buried deep inside! Begin to speak peace and God’s love in your life and watch him change your vision and your life! 

I love you!!!! I miss you so!! I pray for you all more than you know!!