Nov 12, 2013

You Don't Deserve My Forgiveness...But I'm Giving It To You Anyway

It's been a really long time since I posted.  I've missed it.  Maybe that has something to do with why I've been having a difficult time handling certain situations that have come up in my life over the past couple of months.  Blogging is my therapy and I've been missing my appointments.

One word sums up the last 6 months of my life.  Drama.  Something I pride myself on steering well clear of.  I mean really, who has time for drama?  I guess there are some people who thrive on having drama in their lives.  I'm just not one of them.  I prefer mine on TV and in movies where it belongs.

So what's been going on?  I'm glad you asked!  Let's start with a man I'll refer to here as "CP".  He swooped in with talk of love and relationships, marriage and kids.  Once I bought into the idea, he backed off.  He felt we should take things slowly, no need to rush into a commitment with titles and expectations.  At the same time, he thought he could put me on hold while he spent time with female friends because they're "just friends"!  I'm sure they were but really, who has time for that?  I decided we were better off as friends.  Like Ne-Yo said, I just don't get down like that.

Soon after that happened, my ex JI re-entered the picture.  OK, I admit I contacted him.  But only because it was his birthday!  A happy birthday text turned into "let me buy you a birthday drink" and next thing I know we're talking about getting back together.  How did that happen??  I have no idea.  But alas, the happy reunion was short-lived.  He stopped communicating with me.  No calls, no texts...no response when I called or text him...he just shut down on me.  I eventually got somewhat of an explanation from him but by that time I was past caring.  I will always love him...always...but I cannot continue to make him a priority in my life when I am merely an option...no, an afterthought in his.  I'm worth more than that.

As if all of that wasn't enough, in the midst of JI's disappearing act, one of my closest friends decided she didn't want to be my friend anymore.  Let's call her CJ.  We have been friends for several years.  We shared everything with each other.  We hung out all of the time.  She was very caring towards my kids and would do anything she could for them, even without me asking.  A few months ago I started to notice something changing.  She didn't text as much as she used to.  Then I realized we hadn't hung out in a while.  She was stand-offish whenever I tried to speak to her.  I called her to try to find out what the problem was more than once and never really got an answer.  Finally, she told me she felt I hadn't supported her when she was going through a difficult period in her life and rather than talk to me about it she chose to distance herself from me instead.  When I suggested that maybe talking about it with me would have been the better route for her to take considering how long we'd been friends, she told me the length of time we had been friends was irrelevant.  The fact I wasn't there for her was all that mattered.  I felt I'd supported her to the best of my ability at the time.  I asked her what I could have done differently, and she couldn't give me an answer.  That was the way she felt and that was the end of it.

So here I stand without three people I once considered very important to me.  CP and I remain friends but we are nowhere near as close as we used to be.  JI just needs to be alone right now.  He admitted it and I respect that.  I hate I had to find that out the hard way, but maybe that's what I needed.  And as for CJ?  Let her tell it, everything is great!  But we both know the truth.  We barely speak to each other unless there are mutual friends close by and anyone who knows me knows I cannot switch on and off like that.  Either I'm cool with you or I'm not.  There's no grey area over here.

So where do I go from here?  Again, I'm glad you asked!  Tonight I just happened to stumble across a video posted by Bianca Olthoff.  Watch it here, I promise it will bless you.  I had never heard of her before tonight but I will be following her blog from now.  She talks about forgiveness, the difficulty of offering it to someone who has hurt you, and the release we experience when we forgive others whether we feel they deserve it or not.

What does it really mean to forgive?  One definition says it is "to cease to feel resentment against" a person who has wronged you.  But what if the person has not apologized, or they feel they have done nothing wrong?  In those situations, feeling resentment is all I want to do!  And I feel justified in doing so because they did me so wrong!

I have forgiven CP and JI because they have both apologized to me for hurting me.  Even though I was hurt by what they did, it was easier to forgive them and move on because they acknowledged the hurt they had caused.  But to be honest, the thought of forgiving CJ never even crossed my mind!  I mean, why would I need to forgive her?  She has never apologized, or even acknowledged the hurt I feel she has caused me.  She doesn't deserve my forgiveness, does she?

Ms. Bianca changed that mindset real quick.  CJ doesn't have to deserve my forgiveness.  I still have to give it to her because that is what I am called to do.  Matthew 6:14-15 says "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."  Lord knows I need my sins to be forgiven!  Thing is, they were already covered before I even knew I was doing wrong.  So obviously, an apology is not required to show someone forgiveness.  If God didn't need an apology, I certainly don't.

Starting today I will let go of any resentment I feel towards all 3, but especially CJ.  I can feel the burden of the situation changing my mood and my behavior and it bothers me that I have allowed it to affect me to that extent.  It takes a lot of energy to resent someone.  I choose now to redirect that energy into something more productive.  God is still doing a work in my life and all of these things are preparing me for whatever is to come.  I don't want to be stuck in the rut of resentment when I should be experiencing freedom and using my experiences to empower others, which is the whole reason why I started my blog in the first place.  I may have lost focus for a while but I'm back now!

Have you ever had to forgive someone you felt didn't deserve your forgiveness?  How were you able to move past the hurt?  Leave a comment with your experiences if you feel led to.  You never know how it might help someone else.

Feb 8, 2013

And He Wonders Why He's Single...

I don't get hit on very often, but when I do it's usually a blog-worthy experience whether for good or for bad.  This past Tuesday was no exception.
 
So I'm watching J and his basketball team at practice when all of a sudden I hear a voice behind me say "Where do you work?"  I turn and see an average looking brotha staring at me waiting for an answer.  I give him one.  "Hmmmm...you look familiar", he says.  "Trying to figure out where I know you from."
 
Dude, please.  You know you don't know me from Adam.
 
Predictably, the conversation turns to my accent, which leads to the "Is your husband from England too?" question I've heard more than a few times before.
 
He proceeds to suggest we go for drinks some time. When he notices I'm not jumping at the idea, he reassures me "Look, I'm not trying to be your man. I'm trying to be your kick it buddy."  He holds his hand out for a fist pump with a huge grin on his face.  I leave him hangin.
 
First of all, what the heck is a "kick it buddy" and why would he feel the need to make the distinction?  Second, why is a 30+ year old man making such a proposition?  At his son's basketball practice, no less!  I asked him why he felt the need to make the distinction between being my man and being my kick it buddy.  He was unable to provide an answer that I could consider satisfactory.
 
There are a few other issues I had with this dude's approach, including but not limited to the fact that I'm 99.9999% sure I saw him sporting a wedding ring the first time I saw him at practice a few weeks ago.  He claims he and his wife have been separated for two years.  I'm not buying it.
 
At this stage in life, kick it buddies should not be an option.  We're too grown for that, especially if we have kids of our own.  I have plenty of great friends, male and female, I can call up to go see a movie, get something to eat and just talk with.  What would be the purpose of having a kick it buddy at this point?
 
Needless to say, I did not take homeboy up on his offer.  A word to all the single men out there...don't ever make such a suggestion to a grown woman with kids.  And women, don't let a man come at you like that, no matter how fine he might be!  Your time is valuable and he needs to respect that from day one if he's going to be a part of your life. 

Feb 6, 2013

On Being Content

A few weeks ago, along with the wonderful women in my church life group "Virtuous View", I began an amazing journey.  We started reading and discussing together Priscilla Shirer's book "The Resolution For Women".  If, like me, you have never read a Priscilla Shirer book, I encourage you to check out her website at www.goingbeyond.com.  She's full of great words of wisdom...and she's funny too!

The first part of the book calls us to make a resolution to be content.  Content with who we are right now, warts and all.  Content with our circumstances.  Content with our status, be it related to family, finances, career, age or all of the above.  In the first chapter, "Every Bite Counts", Ms. Shirer speaks about how, right before her 36th birthday, she realized she had been rushing from one milestone in her life to the next she thought she was expected  to achieve, without really stopping to enjoy life at any particular moment.

That's when it hit me that for most of my adult life, I have done the exact same thing.  I rushed to get married at the tender age of 21.  3 months after I said I do, I was pregnant with my first child.  5 months after the birth of my beautiful little girl, I discovered I was pregnant with my little man.  When he was only 2 years old, I became a single mother.  When I look back now, I can barely remember my children being toddlers.  Not just because I have a terrible memory, but because I was in a rush.  Life as a single mother to 2 young children while working a full-time job and living thousands of miles away from my family was tough, even though my kids were amazingly well-behaved.  We were constantly on the go and I was always exhausted.  I would find myself wishing they were older, more independent and able to help me to help them a little more...as well as sleep through the night!

Well now that they are a little more independent, I catch myself looking back on their younger years thinking "where did the years go??"  The simple answer?  I wished them away.  I was so busy looking ahead to a time in my life and theirs when I thought things would be so much easier, I didn't take the time to enjoy them as the beautiful little babies they were.  So if you are a single parent or in some other stage of your life that has caused you to become discontent, I encourage you to take a second and really consider the many blessings in your life.  From waking up this morning healthy enough to get out of bed to having enough money in the bank to keep the debt collectors away...these are all reasons to be content with your life as it is right now.

Personally, I'm choosing to savor every single moment I spend with my children from now on.  From J's incessant question asking, to the randomness of almost everything K says...I will never take any moment for granted any more because we all know how fast time flies.  I don't want to wake up 10 years from now to an empty nest and no memories of the way things were.  As for the years that have already passed by, thank God I took a lot of pictures!  Weren't they adorable??!



 

 



Jan 27, 2013

RIP Betsy


Anyone that really knows me knows who Betsy is.  To many she was just a 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser base model, vanilla in color.  But to me she was one of the first symbols of my independence.  The first car with the title in my name only.  The first car I was completely responsible for maintaining.  Although over the last year or so I may have put more money into her than she was worth, the thought of saying goodbye almost brought me to tears.  Betsy was a part of me and I felt she reflected my personality in some ways...quirky, fun and full of her own personal style.  You'd never see a PT Cruiser and think "hey that kinda looks like a (insert random car name here)".  I like to think the same about myself.

Betsy and I have been through all kinds together.  From road trips, soccer/basketball/tee ball/softball/tae kwon do practices/games, moving from apartment to apartment to house, first dates and broken relationships.  Flat tires and batteries, worn out brakes, multiple warning lights and random beeping...Betsy and I have been through it all.

Unfortunately, last Thursday the time came for Betsy and I to part ways.  Although I traded her in for a newer model (literally), she will forever be in my heart.

Now I have to think of a name for my new car...any suggestions???

Jan 24, 2013

Statistics on Domestic Violence

Last night I attended a training session to begin volunteering with the YWCA domestic violence program.  They told us some statistics that were pretty eye-opening for me and I would like to share them with you:

A woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the U.S.

1 out of every 4 women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  There were 3 survivors in the training session, including me.

Females aged 20-24 are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence.

85% of women murdered in TN are killed by men.  That makes TN 3rd in the country; a statistic we most definitely should not be proud of.  However, these murders are usually not reported as domestic-violence related.  In fact, the media often adds a "romantic" element to these types of stories, calling them love triangles or crimes of passion.

I am really excited that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women affected by this terrible epidemic.  If you were touched by these statistics, I encourage you to consider donating your time and/or money to further the mission of the YWCA to empower the women of Davidson County and beyond.  Visit their website at www.ywcanashville.com.