Dealing With Painful Thanksgiving Memories

This morning while preparing a cake to take to my godmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, I started to feel sad. Noticing my mood change, I sat down to journal and explore my emotions to figure out what was going on. As I journaled I saw that memories started to surface from my childhood. I thought about the house I grew up in and how much fun we had during the holidays. We would eat, dance, laugh, and just enjoy each other. Since then, my mom has moved out of that house and remarried, so those times are long gone. I also thought about the years in my marriage where I spent Thanksgiving alone, due to my ex-husband suddenly needing to go back to his hometown by himself. I remember the rejection, abandonment, and loneliness I felt during those times.

So all of those memories created feelings of sadness. I allowed myself to get out how I felt and then I began to pray. I took my good and painful memories to God and asked Him for comfort. After praying, God reminded me of how He’s delivered me and that I needed to start creating new memories. Although I can’t be home with my family for Thanksgiving, I have extended family that I can celebrate with. I also felt thankful that I have peace and no longer have to experience any more painful memories from an unhealthy marriage and can continue to celebrate new beginnings and a fresh start. Now my sad feelings have subsided and I’m looking forward to having a great Thanksgiving holiday filled with new memories.

I share my truth with you today to let you know that if you have moments of sadness today, you’re not alone. It’s normal to have triggers that remind you of the past, but the key is dealing with them in a healthy way so that your past doesn’t ruin your present and future. The worse thing you could do is ignore how you feel and act like your sadness or pain doesn’t exist. That will only lead to unhealthy expressions of your emotions (i.e. anger, lashing out at others, isolating yourself, reaching out to someone you don’t need to be contacting, etc). Instead of ignoring your emotions, take a moment and allow yourself to feel. Express to God or a loved one how you feel and then pray for God to fill you with comfort, strength, and peace so you can enjoy your day. Take this day as an opportunity to create new, happy, and joyous memories. You have so much to be thankful for. Choose to live!

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New Beginnings (My testimony)

Last night I had a new beginnings party with some of my close family and friends and it was amazing! I wanted to celebrate the next chapter of my life, thank God for what He has done, and thank those who supported me during my separation and divorce. Here’s what I shared with them last night:

My testimony

These two years have been a journey. I think back to October 6, 2012 when I left to go to dinner to celebrate with my godmother and sisters not knowing that when I got back home I would find that life as I knew it was about to change. I remember that night my friend had texted a few of us telling us to watch an episode of Iyanla Fix My Life with the Six Brown Chicks who was a group of black women who had come together to start a blog and promote friendship and unity among women. Well they were having discord amongst them so they called Iyanla to help. When I got home I noticed my ex-husband wasn’t there but the car was outside so I thought maybe he had rode somewhere with a friend. I texted him but he didn’t respond so I sat on the couch and started watching Iyanla. It was a good show and at the end there was a moment when one of the women found out that her husband had cancer and she had been trying to deal with it on her own. So they all surrounded her and loved on her. Little did I know the same thing was about to happen to me. My ex-husband finally texted me back and said “You deserve better, you deserve so much better.” I was confused. Then something told me to go look around in the closet and that’s when I saw that he had packed all his stuff and left. I was numb. Up until that point I was very guarded and private and was used to handling things on my own. But that night I couldn’t do it. I needed help. I needed my friends. I texted a few of my close friends and they called back in shock like I was. It was around 11pm at night but they agreed to come over. That night they sat with me and allowed me to cry and process my emotions. Then they surrounded me just like on the show and prayed for me. That moment was the start of me letting my guard down and getting closer to my friends.

Although my ex-husband had left, I was still willing to work things out so for 10 months I held on to hope that he would come back home. I prayed, fasted, and sought God for comfort through the scriptures and wisdom on what to do. In August of last year after completing a fast, God gave me my answer. I found out shortly after the truth of what my ex-husband was doing and had to face the reality that our marriage was over. When I found out, I was once again surrounded by my friends. They helped me to process and just comforted and supported me during that time. At that point I realized that I needed to go to counseling to get help. I realized that my brokenness had caused me to select an unhealthy mate and enter into an unhealthy marriage. I was tired of being in unhealthy relationships so I chose to heal. My counselor is amazing and anointed and God has used him to help me peel back the layers of my wounds that I had suppressed for so long. We’ve worked through my daddy issues, mommy issues, being molested at a young age, abandonment issues, rejection issues, and now we’re working on the negative beliefs I have about myself which has been running my life up until this point. I’m going through an extreme makeover and blossoming from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly.

So when I look back over all that God has done, my ex-husband leaving was the best gift he could have ever given me. Yes, I went through moments of feeling angry, bitter, sad, hurt, confused and all that. But the life that I’ve gained is far greater than what I lost. I have deeper friendship connections, I’m more open and transparent, I’m walking in truth with myself, I’ve discovered a strength that I didn’t know I had and I’ve become a fighter and more bold (which my friends can attest to. Lol), I’m clearing the clutter and feel more at peace within, I’m learning how to love myself, I’m not so defensive and guarded like I used to be, my relationship with God has been strengthened, my purpose has been defined. I’ve started a blog site to share my truth during this process and to help other women break the cycle of unhealthy relationships and learn to become healthier individuals and love on themselves so they can have healthy relationships with others. I’m thankful because my latter days will be greater than my former days. The best is yet to come! That’s why I can forgive my ex-husband and wish him nothing but the best. I’m thankful for every tear I cried and every pain I felt because God was with me just like He said He would be.

I share my testimony with you to show you what God can do and to encourage you to do the work on yourself. Get healed from the past things you’ve gone through. Do what you have to do to release the bitterness, hurts, pains, anger, unforgiveness, etc. so you can walk in freedom. I’ll be the first to admit that doing the work isn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable, challenging, humbling and some days you may just want to quit the process. But it’s so worth it and God will send you other women who are doing their work too to encourage you, just like He did for me. It’s time for us to be free and walk in new beginnings so we can reach back and help other women make it through. Everything I’ve been through was worth it because of what I’ve gained.

So that’s why I wanted to celebrate this season of new beginnings. I want to celebrate you for being there and just walking with me through all of this and praise God for all that He has done. God has great things in store for me and for you too. I’m looking forward to it all.

Note To Self…

A man is just a man. Not the answer to all your hopes and dreams. Not the solution to all your problems. Not the one to calm all your fears and wipe every tear. Not the one to read your mind and come packaged with every requirement you ever desired. Not your savior, riding in on a white horse ready to whisk you away into paradise. Not the one equipped to give you an overwhelming supply of himself without expecting anything in return.

A man is just an imperfect being who desires the same type of unconditional love that you do. Take him off the pedestal and see him as equal. Remove this storybook fantasy from your mind and accept what’s real. Realize that a man needs to be worked on just like you do. A man is not perfect. Having a man is not the end all, be all. What you’re really asking and searching for is God…

Unfamiliar Territory

I have to be honest and share that just focusing on myself is unfamiliar territory for me. Majority of my life has been spent thinking about and trying to win the affection and attention of a man. So now that I’m single again and not in a relationship, the temptation is to shift my focus to a man because that’s what I’m used to. But in this season of life, I have to learn how to focus on me. Just because I’ve never been here before is not an excuse to run back to the familiar. So I have to stay focused and learn to be content with me, and me alone.

How about you? Can you relate? Have you ever been by yourself for a season? If not, I know it’s uncomfortable but resist the temptation to go back to what’s comfortable. There are some things that God wants to do in us during this time. There’s some lessons we need to learn. There’s purpose that needs to be fulfilled in this single state. Endure the discomfort and learn to be content with just focusing on you. You can do this!