RESTORATION 

Now, I’m not in any way bashing my ex-husband at all, so please do not gather that assumption. He’s a great man, and I have no doubt that he will be a great husband if he decides to marry again. I wasn’t the best wife, and he wasn’t the best husband. We didn’t understand what a wife and husband were then, and we couldn’t love and give of ourselves because for one, we did not have God’s permission to marry in the first place. Then, we were so broken and had not fully healed from past relationships, things that had happened in our childhood, and we were trying our best to show and give each other something we did not have to give- LOVE. See, before you can love anyone, you have to love yourself. 
When I decided to leave my husband and move after being instructed to and fighting against it for a whole year and hoping God would change his mind, I went through the toughest and darkest season of my life. Not only was a divorce standing before me, but everything that could possibly go left, did. I lost friendships, things on my job were not going well, family members who I thought should’ve been there were not, my finances were terrible, and debt was growing- everything went wrong.

I literally cried myself to sleep every night. I tossed and turned every night. It had gotten to the point where I would be crying on the inside, but tears weren’t falling. I had become so numb to the pain. Then I started turning to things to feel the void- sex, meaningless relationships, alcohol, shopping, excessive traveling, etc. I was trying to escape the pain by any means necessary. Then what was all the more agonizing was the fact that I had, well at least I thought I had, to get up each day and face the world like everything was okay. I was the youngest of my parents’ children and had two older brothers, and they indirectly taught me to show no emotions and to be tough. So I dared not to let the “world” know I was going through.

….but it does not have to be that way. You don’t have to suffer in silence and suffer as long as I did. 

One night in that quiet, dark apartment, I was doing my usual- drowning in pity, crying, and sobbing. Then, I heard God say, “Let it ALL go and trust me.”

…and I did. I was desperate for a change. Now, let me say this. It was difficult. It wasn’t an easy letting go, but I trusted God. I trusted that He had a plan for my life.

In letting go, God took me into this period of isolation, dryness, and darkness. He broke me even more than I already was. He ridded and stripped me of everything and everyone even more because He needed my full attention. At that time, I thought He was punishing me and could not in no way see how all of this loneliness, struggling, and suffering were working together for my good, but later I realized that I was being prepared for the best days of my life. 
During this dark season, the enemy told me all kinds of lies. He told me I’d never get through it. He told me to go back to my husband and settle because I wasn’t worthy, and no man will ever love me the way I deserve….and I won’t lie, I believed those lies. In fact, I did go back to my husband once or twice, but each time God showed us why we would never work.

 

On today, May 19, 2015 , I want to testify that God heals!!! God restores!!!! Everything I lost during that season of my life, God has given back… plus more. This peace that I have now makes everything I had to endure worth it. I love Erica for who she is and sees myself the way God sees me. I have overcome the insecurity, the depression, and the low self-esteem. No longer do I have to “dress up” and pretend like I am happy. I have a job in my career that does not rob me of my joy and peace. My finances are growing. I’m in tears while I’m writing this because God is simply amazing. Everything did work for my good- even those trying times. 

I said all of that to say this- GO THROUGH IT. ALLOW GOD TO BREAK YOU! ALLOW GOD TO STRIP YOU OF IT ALL! It may feel like it is punishment, but it is preparation. The brokenness, the crying, the lack, the suffering, and the loneliness are preparing you for the best days of your life. 
  

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Take Off The Mask

After 28 years, I can finally say that I have really come to terms with myself. I have come to terms with the fact that I’m different from most. I don’t think the way that most think. I don’t see things the  way most see them, and usually, everything about me is misunderstood…. and you know what, finally, I’m okay with that. 

I left my last job because I did not “fit in” and the friction and conflict I received as a result of. On the day I submitted my resignation letter, an older lady who had only said “Hi and Bye” to me in passing stopped me and told me, “You’re different, Sweetheart. You won’t ‘fit in’ anywhere you go.  If that’s the reason you’re leaving, you’ll be leaving a many places. It’s okay though. It’s okay to be ‘your kind’ of different.”

Puzzled, I didn’t say anything. I just looked at her and smiled, hugged her, and thought, “Wow!”

And now that I look back, I have realized that God started showing me as early as 6th grade that I was different and that I did not “fit in.”  I did not make friends as easily as others, weren’t liked as easily as others were liked, weren’t a teacher’s choice of a teacher’s pet, and often judged and misunderstood before I had even spoken a word.  With the few friends I had, I still felt like an outsider and felt that they only tolerated me because we had been together since babies. It seemed like my presence itself brought conflict and enemies. I can remember thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not accepted as easily as my peers? What have I done to cause these things?” I remember feeling I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t talented enough,  and I didn’t  come from the “right” family. And even around family, I felt isolated and felt that I didn’t “fit.”

So, as a result, I tore myself down and apart. I grew to not like me because others did not. I grew to doubt everything about me because I had convinced myself that I was the problem.  

I changed and tweaked who I really was so that people would accept me, so that people would like me, so that people would find me more desirable. 

And now, I realized that I am not the problem. Being different is a self-definition I struggled with for years, which I now deeply appreciate. My differences have gotten me to where I am and are a result of who I am today. Although it is not always an easy path and it gets lonely, I view my differences as a blessing rather than a curse. Conformity would be stifling. I want to be me, not some mythical “normal”. Desiring to “fit in” requires you to be the opposite of yourself. 

My advice to those who are DIFFERENT- Be you!  It’s okay. I mean, it’s really okay! 

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

“When you try so hard to be someone you’re not, you lose sight of yourself. You end up doing things to please other people, resulting in living by their expectations. In the end, you become what they want you to be, which can lead anyone down the wrong path to self-destruction.”

Take off the mask. Stop pretending. 

 Those who won’t like you, won’t . Those who will like you, will.

…..for who you really are. 

 Though your differences may never escape judgement and discrimination, but you can learn to love you and realize that there is value hidden…even in your “abnormality.”