Monday, May 15, 2017

Silencing It All

Hello Everyone,

Tonight I found it befitting to discuss the "ugly truth" about living life in silence and fear.

 For several years now, I have been surrounded by some individuals who on the surface seemed to be courageous and outspoken; yet inside they were trembling and terrified. I am not talking about just a moment or two of feeling this way, I am talking about the quiet, confining, squeezing the life out of you type of terror. You know that feeling where you want to progress in your life yet everything around you suggests that you remain stagnant and hide under the bed covers?

Just recently I had the big task of coaching a young lady through some very intense situations she was up against and boy was it challenging! Allow me to paint the picture for you. This young lady was beautiful, educated, successful, loving, and the type of woman other women envy. For her privacy, we will call her Rose. Rose was the kind of woman who had set boundaries for her life and tended to stick to the plan of what she thought her life should look like. She grew up in a blue collar family, worked as the typical teens do during high school all while juggling straight A's, cheer leading, and being captain of the swim team. Rose graduated high school and immediately threw herself into conquering college and all the stress that comes along with a freshman. Before long she had found her rhythm and was excelling just as she and her parents had hoped. Semester after semester, test after test, party after party had gone by and now it was time to walk across the stage and receive her B.S. in Psychology. The very things that once seemed to be near impossible had just become possible and now Rose was basking in her achievements.

Several years had passed and Rose was considered by all accounts, an expert in her field. She was serving her community, mentoring those who sought out her wisdom, and had even fallen in love. Yet even in all this, Rose lacked dissatisfaction within her life. Here she was  at 30 in the middle of a tumultuous marriage with a man who lacked discipline,ambition, and romance. The only thing between Rose and Jeff were 6 years of coldness, deceit, jealousy, and miscarriages. You see, she had given more than her soul could bear without anything to show for it. Life had seemed to be everything but kind over the last few years and everything seemed questionable!

"How did I end up here?" she asked me, as she gave me a look of fear and frustration. "I have worked hard all my life and now none of it seems to matter anymore, I am so unhappy." I understand, I interjected....but have you asked yourself what you believe you are missing or are unhappy about? She gazed at me through tear-stained eyes and whispered "I am missing my life, this is not what I'd pictured for myself. Michelle I am too young to feel so incomplete." The moment she allowed that statement to escape her lips, my heart began to crumble for her because I knew all too well the pain and weight of her words.

I had been where she was, walked down that same  road that was filled with so many questions and not enough answers. I too had uttered those words to someone once in my life, hoping and praying that they would know how to console me or talk me out of that place. Those prayers had gone unanswered for months, years even...before I realized that the answer was not meant to come from anyone or anything other than God and myself. There was never a magic wand that had been waved over my life to ease the pain and relieve the discomfort, and neither would it be the case for Rose. I had noticed that as the memories of myself came rushing back to me, Rose was searching my face, watching my mouth, and her holding her breath.She was nearly on the edge of her seat yet at the time, it felt more like a cliff to both of us....waiting on my response. Finally I boldly yet lovingly proclaimed to her this statement "Together, with the help of God, we are going to get through this and discover a new you". While that statement might seem cliche', unnerving, or even too simple; it was the truth that needed to be spoken. Rose did not seek me out to talk about the weather or discuss the latest fashions, she came pouring out her heart in expectations that I'd understand or at least guide her to the right path. There was no way I could allow her to leave my presence and not give her something to ponder on and work towards.

It had helped that during our 3 hour long talk, she shared with me her fears about herself,her marriage, and her life as she had known it. This woman was terrified to be herself and explore her passions of traveling to that quaint cafe' in Paris she had always dreamed about, to simply standing in front of her own mirror and learning to love who she saw looking back at her. Jeff had done so well with forcing her into bouts of silence and submitting to his lifestyle, that she had never challenged herself to speak up anymore. He had controlled what she wore in public all the way down to the undergarments she wore, and the conversations they shared in their bedroom. How difficult that had to have been for someone who was so vibrant and full of life and laughter to slowly wither and become despondent to the things that should have fed her soul.

I share Rose's story with her permission as a way to remind us of how close and how deadly silence and fear can be to any of us. While Rose's story has some abuse suffered at the hands of her husband, maybe your abuse comes directly from your hands. Maybe you have been the only "bad monster" in your path lately, that has silenced you and caused you to feel afraid to live life. Or maybe you have been weighted down by the pain of your past and it has stripped you of the power of your voice. Let me assure you, I understand. I have been there, broken and discouraged, ashamed and afraid. Life has not always been easy for me and there were plenty of days when I wanted to take my own life because I was certain that life was not worth living anymore. The truth is, life can and will be difficult and pain and problems will surely come, however, the irony is so will the joy, laughter, love, and triumphs. You are more than what your story has been in the past, you are stronger than you allow yourself to believe, and yes you are more worthy than those who have devalued your very existence.

Will you believe the lies that were told to you all those years ago or will you move forward in the power of the truth, even if it has appeared to be ugly and unacceptable?! The beauty of the "ugly truth"is that its yours and yours alone, no matter how it comes packaged. Do not dare continue to live life in silence and fear of what could be or even what was. Pick up, pack up, and move forward!

God's got you so smile and live today!
                                                                   
                                                                         With Love,
                                                                          MiMi

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Something to Think About

 Good morning everyone,

So...today  I woke up this morning and it hit me that the greatest thing we can do is usually what appears to be a small step. There are so many things happening in the world today and so many people who need to see what true hope and love looks like. Just ask around, look around, and then look up and you will see that we are all starving to see a glimpse of light in the darkness.

The funny thing is, we do not have to starve anymore, we can become the hope we desire to see if we are just willing to let the hope of God in. Psalm 31:24 reads, "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." This is the very reminder that we need in a world of hurt, shame, loss, disappointment, and fear.I know its rough and it seems like things are getting so bad that nothing can be done to change it, however, please do not fall into that trap. God has not and will not forget about His children, nor will He abandon His word and cease being the Savior of the world. Family, just continue holding on and hoping, things have to get better. God has to remain true to who He is and show us His power, if we believe and open our hearts to Him.

 Brothers and sisters our God cares about we face and HE is right there with us, willing to embrace and mend us. Today I encourage everyone of us to rest in His hope and then go and exemplify that hope to those around us; after all you just may be the only sign of it that they see. Give love even when you feel like you have none to give, smile even when it pangs you to do so, and encourage someone else even when you feel discouraged. Try being a sign of hope and love; you may find that you feel better in the process.

Have a great day and always remember that "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world."


With Love,

MiMi

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Quick Hello

Hello family,

I have been a while for far too long, however, I am vowing to you all that I am back to stay this time. Life has been blowing some heavy storms my way and sometimes it has felt like I would not make it! But rest assured I AM STILL HERE! There will be new posts to inspire, encourage, influence, and maybe implore you to go beyond the surface and dig deeper into your souls. It will be worth it.

God Bless you

Michelle

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

OUR WORSE CRITIC

Did you know that the greatest critic in your life is not someone else, but rather, it is YOU!!! Literally everyday we are all critical of ourselves in some kind of way about something. Society has taught us that we are not stylish enough if we are not driving the newest, latest, car or rocking the newest, hottest hairstyle and wardrobe...we are not good enough if we are not going to the greatest colleges, or entertaining the likes of the hottest celebrities out there. There are billboards all around us that tell us how to get the thinnest body possible because if we are not a size 2, 4, 6, or 8 then we are simply too heavy! Seriously, that along is enough pressure on us but then we come along and put more pressure on ourselves to actually meet the expectations of this cruel, cold society we live in. Think about it...how many times a day have you sat and wondered how you would look if you were maybe 4 or even 14 dress sizes smaller, or how much prettier would you be if you looked more like a super model and less like the nameless, faceless female that everyone tends to overlook?!! Ladies and even gentleman we have got to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be what society says and work with what we got. What are we teaching our young girls and boys by daily trying to fit into a mode that practically condemns having even one imperfection?

So often we hear so much about embracing who we are and loving the skin we are in and then somewhere else, someone else is telling us that "there is no need to have imperfections and flaws" all you have to do is fix this, cut that, change this, change that....and like so many folks around, we end up giving in to the pressure and we begin to question God about why He created us the way He did! Come on, let's stop this epidemic, this perilous disease that is killing us each and every day. Parents have you ever thought about how many times your child goes to school and is laughed at, looked at, and teased just because they are not skinny enough, tall enough, pretty enough,smart enough, dark or light enough? Have you ever thought about the things that they go through that is destroying their self worth and self esteem. We cannot sit by and continue down this path! If we as adults struggle and criticize ourselves, how much worse is it for our children out there? How do we stop being our own worse critic and get back to loving what we see when we look in the mirror? I am not saying that we have to embrace obesity or not try to promote a healthy lifestyle in every area, however,  I am saying we teach people how to love and accept us...but how can that happen if we do not love and accept ourselves? Who can we turn to if we stand in the mirror and hate who we are, what we are, and where we are? Let's make a decision today that we shall NO LONGER BE OUR OWN WORSE CRITIC ever again!

Friday, June 7, 2013

WORDS, (THEY HAVE POWER!!)

No matter how many times someone tells you that you are not good enough, keep telling yourself just how good you are! Someday you will either believe the lies of others or the truth of your OWN words. There is a stupendous amount of power that we use to create and form our thoughts and the world....never think or speak that which you do not want to create. Envision yourself as an artist or a painter, your words give life to the canvass on which you are painting. A great artist or painter knows that in order for their work of art to become a Masterpiece there must be time and attention given to it. The Masterpiece is an expression of the artist and it must portray this true fact.

Someone once told me, " your words have color to them, they can paint a broad beautiful picture of warmth for everyone, or they can paint a broad cloud of darkness for everyone. You get to decide how others see you and the world you live in and invite them to partake in." I say the same thing to you that was said to me, and then I challenge you, whomever you may be, to paint your world with your words. Here is an example: Each and everyday there are many opportunities for us to paint a world that will be full of sunshine or full of clouds and gloom and doom. There is always a chance that we will encounter something that will cause us pain, anger, frustration, and other numerous emotions; however, there is a way to change the outlook of whatever may lie before us. Words have the ability to move all of us in ways that we cannot begin to fathom and it also has that same ability to make or break us. Whoever said that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," tidbit, clearly had no clue of the power of words...or they walked and lived in heavy denial of it! Think of all those who have been torn apart by the hurtful words of friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers! Think about times in your own life when someone has mishandled your heart, mind, or emotions with the words they allowed to escape their lips. Who has the time to constantly be cut up by negativity, rudeness, resentment, unforgiveness, or just blatant hatred of another human being? What kind of life is that for anyone to live, especially when words are forever going to be a part of verbal communication! HERE IS A POINT TO PONDER: IF THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK TODAY WILL CAUSE ME REGRET TOMORROW, THEN I HAD BETTER CHOOSE TO PAINT USING A DIFFERENT COLOR AND BRUSH! SOMEONE ELSE' LIFE IS YOUR CANVASS! REMEMBER THIS SCRIPTURE, LIFE AND DEATH IS IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE AND THEY THAT LOVE IT, WILL EAT THE FRUIT THEREOF....PLAINLY PUT,BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SPEAK OVER YOURSELF AND OTHERS, OTHERWISE YOU MAY FIND THAT YOU HAVE THE BITTER TASTE OF DEATH LEFT IN YOUR MOUTH AND YOUR LIFE.

Death's Reality

Death,

It has a grip like no other, the magnitude of it hurts on many levels, and the harshness of it can sometimes shatter even the toughest soul. Why, is the simple, yet complex question that we all find ourselves asking. Why does it have to cut so deep, hurt so bad, eat away at us, and then leave an open wound that seems impossible to heal?! Although we know it is a part of the process of life; it is never any easier to let a loved one go. It will never get easier to say goodbye to someone who has come into your life and blessed it! Have you ever sat back and thought about how precious it is when someone touches your heart. Have you ever noticed how their smile, their words of kindness, generous acts of love, and moments of harsh truth has made your life beautiful? I have and if truth be told, you have too. Begin to look back over the memories you have created with loved ones and friends, think back to the very day they entered your heart.... What do you see, pay attention to how you feel, breathe in the scent of their spirit, and then smile. God has given us the ability to hold onto the ones that we love through those precious memories we have created with them. The bond that we share is so powerful, so surreal, and yet so strong that nothing can break it. As much as it hurts when death hits, as much as it knocks the breath out of our lungs, and punches us in the guts, it still has no power over life! While you may read this and think " how is that even possible?" Imagine this one thing for me and yourself, if death was so powerful..every life that has crossed over from life to death, would have taken with it, all the memories that we have ever created. Every single moment of happiness, joy, anger, frustration, fear, peace, hope, and love would have been laid to rest with our loved one! Without denial; death is indeed very painful to face, yet it is what helps to make life so much more meaningful. Life and Death go hand- in- hand and while many will never admit that fact; it still never changes the reality of it.

One cannot celebrate the joys of life without mourning the sadness of death and one cannot mourn death without celebrating the joys of life. Hold those dear to you; so close to your heart, embrace them, love on them, and always celebrate them, and then when they are gone from here; embrace the memories that have been created, always thanking God for the opportunity to have been touched by an angel! After all...you never know when they will be taken away from here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

This Is My Truth...What Is Yours?

Tell me what do you see when you look at me? What comes to mind when I walk into a room? What words do you use to express your opinion of me? Am I just some lost face in the crowd of thousands, or do you see my soul and wonder what is in the depths of my heart? Like so many before you and even, after you, along the way there will be someone else who will deem me insignificant. Ha! Its okay because at one point and time, I tried hard to live my life without being noticed. I was once the girl who tried to hide way back in the corner and stay to myself, trying desperately not to draw attention to me. Go ahead, let the question that your mind has formed; escape your lips.."Was it because you were ugly, fat, geeky looking, etc?" My answer to that is simple: No! I was none of those things and yet there was a part of me that did not feel good enough. You see, I have always had a curvaceous body and very good looks.. plenty of guys wanted to get close to me, but most for the WRONG reasons! It had started to seem like what was supposed to be a gift from God was quickly becoming a nuisance. At some point and time in life every girl wants a guy to look at her and drool over her,praise her for her intelligence and star quality, she wants to know the feeling of walking into a room and having all eyes instantly on her, she wants to be envied by others as having a shape that had to be God given! Every female wants to know what its like to have guys call her name just trying to get a few moments of her attention while others look on, waiting and wondering when their time will come...Let me just say that I had all of these things at one point and time and while I should have been enjoying it, I was finding myself questioning why it had to be me; why did I have to be that girl that many other people wish they could be and have? It wasn't until one day while looking in the mirror crying and asking God to know why He made me like He had, that He began to speak to me. I remember standing with tears staining my cheeks and my shirt; I began to hear clearly these words, " I created you and I made you special and beautiful. When will you believe that you are a beautiful masterpiece?" Now...for some of you, this may not hold any special value or significance, but to others it may mean the world. Smile! Now go with me for a moment to a space in your mind, did you ever feel like you were in a dark hole? Like the world did not see you as you truly were or more importantly; you did not see yourself as God sees you? Be it as it may....today I can now say that this was once"My Truth!" Ladies, I do not know where you may be in life:young, middle aged, older, white, black, Hispanic, Latina, Asian, etc. The point is this: NEVER LET yourself or anyone distort the beauty of who God created you to be! It has not been until I began to own my Truth and live and love me for me, that things started to change! I began to embrace and enjoy all of me and yes, that includes my flaws and all. I look in the mirror today and I smile and thank our Creator for His "Infinite Wisdom" to create such a beautiful work of art...you know the kind that can only be enjoyed by those who truly know the value and worth of Timeless Masterpieces? That...