4 Reasons Not To Live with Regret.

So… I remember a time in my life when I was really  indecisive.

I remember I was trying to please others so much, I forgot about myself.  In that process, I  made  a lot of decisions that  didn’t give much regard to my life, or  emotional safety. What I wanted out of life, was on the back burner.  I basically lived for the enjoyment and delight of someone else, because I thought that was how you show you love someone. I was so wrong. I had love all confused. And because of that, I had so much inner conflict, insecurity and so much doubt inside of myself. Discord was often in my relationships, and I just had no peace with anyone, so I stayed away from people, mostly. As long as they were not talking about my life, then I was okay with them. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do and if they offered without my asking, then I was ready to run from them, even those close to me, and who mean a lot to me.

When you don’t have peace inside, everything you do or don’t do, feels like a mistake. You second guess yourself all the time, and you cannot trust your instincts. And when you ignore your instincts, man… you are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I operated in this way so often, I didn’t know who I was , or whether I was coming or going. That means I was lost. After a while, I became so hopeless, I just lost hope altogether. I was just existing. I apologized for everything, I had many qualms with people and the places where I was in life. I carried resentments and as a result, I was just plain miserable. I was annoyed to the point that accepting annoyance was how I lived. But I was so blind to this fact, I simply endured it. It became the norm. I was living with regret. When I looked up the word regret, I found in the thesaurus these words: ” to prey on the mind…have a weight on the mind; leave an aching void.” That’s what regrets feels like. Sorrow, pain, hurt – all the time, and guilt.

Growing up in an alcoholic family, I realized this was the norm for me, ( living with annoyances) which is why I didn’t recognize it when it occurred in a daily basis in my life and relationships. (I know, crazy… right?) But we  do this, because we tend to go with what’s familiar and yet become so comfortable with it, we consider it to be  normal?  How does this happen? You recognize you were annoyed and miserable, yet every single day you find comfort with it? I think deep down inside I knew I was miserable, but I didn’t want to admit it.  I was living with a denial and a numbness that honestly, felt very good, because if I didn’t have to acknowledge it, then  I thought  it was not bothering me. But then, after 11 years of depression, it finally caught up  with me. I was at my wits end. My mental health took a toll on me and I knew I had to change something.

One day my spirit cried out to God, and revealed I was  living with sorrow. I had much so much REGRET about the  situations I found myself in life, the  decisions I had made and  I was suffering from so much sorrow. I was  sad about my life  and I felt trapped. I felt responsible for things I wasn’t even responsible for. The adults in my life blamed me and I took on their issues and their grief to the point, I had no resolve, no contentment and no harmony in my life. It took a lot to admit I was sad. I was really depressed and I had chosen to live like that for  several years. Living in regret.

I remember one morning I spent the entire morning with God in prayer on my back porch.  I was angry, bitter and I was hurting. I was also very stubborn and God used a lot of my grief to help me to recognize  some of the things I held on to were because of pride. I remember  crying out to God with so much pain and  telling God I was  ‘fed up’ and I wanted a new life, and new hope, and a new way of being and doing. As I sat there,  I had a vision in my head of the  image of the woman in the  Bible with whom they  cast stones . (John 8)   These people brought her to Jesus to be condemned. Jesus response  to her accusers was to write on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote. But her accusers all left after Jesus  wrote on the ground. He then said : “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”  I envisioned Jesus as I sat on my porch (with my eyes closed);  write in the ground for me.  As He  wrote, He basically wrote some things  that only I saw, of course.  But what he wrote reminded me of what He desired for me to have. His promises.  I saw that He had much greater intention for me to have good, in my life. I believe it was like that with her accusers, as well. What was important was not what He wrote, but what He said and how what he said, made me feel.  I didn’t feel sorrowful any longer, I was no longer troubled, I was no longer hurting and burdened deeply with regret, and  I  became decisive. I knew instantly that I deserved more, I wanted more and  that I could have more; and I made the decision to do it.

 John 8:7, 10,11 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” NASB

Jesus dealt with this woman with such tenderness and grace, that she was in awe.  All the accusers surrounding her also  were also surprised, but they must have understood, because they left too. If we condemn ourselves, with LIVE WITH REGRET.  My relationship with God has taught me I am not worthy of punishment for the  decisions I have made.That’s why he died for us. Once I repent, ask God for help, receive it, then move on. then  comes release. Just like it did for the woman in John 8. This is very important. It’s necessary for living with a clear conscious.

That day on my back porch, I contended with Jesus, in my soul . But I learned three things after my wrangling with God:

1. I had to let go of my past.

2., I couldn’t live in the condemnation, because if I did, I would accept the guilt and regret from my past.

3. I learned I had to move on, because HE didn’t condemn me, and so I had to stop condemning myself.

4. I had to forgive myself.

When you cannot forgive yourself, you don’t remember to be kind, nurturing and self-loving. You forget to forgive yourself. It took years for me to forgive myself for things in my past, even after I made a decision to live a better life and leave those things behind, I knew I was worth more, I knew I deserved more, but it didn’t make me leave the situation or change anything. Here’s what made the difference: accepting God’s forgiveness and allowing His love for me to redeem me.  For me, this was what unraveled the love confusionI learned that if I accepted God’s love first and allowed this to be my foundation for loving others and BEING LOVED… then I would be alright.  Once I was certain God has forgiven me and wanted more for me, I began to move towards freedom, and I never looked back. I fond resolve. But I have to give God my regrets. 

People are often amazed by how much peace I seem to have.  Let me tell you, I am not perfect. I still struggle, even. And although I have peace , now…  It took a very long time to get here. After I  got through the muck and the mess of my own regrets, I was able to stand again on my own two feet.   Of course,  some of the way, God carried me to be honest. But I made it to the other side. Now that I am here, it ‘s pertinent I tell the story of how I made it here, so others could be set free as well.

Amen & Selah.reflection

New Doors, Open Landscapes

Today, I spent time in my mind. Making a creative space. A room to where I could go and create.

That my dream.

Have you ever had a vision for something, and created a lace your min made it comfy with all you could ever place in that space, then just spent time there, creating?

Well I had it in reality before I came to Rochester. Now, I return in my mind because it helps me to relax, and envision.

Keeps my creative juices flowing.

This picture above was taken in Bend, Oregon. I’ve never been there. Just asked my husband to send a picture from there, while he visited on business. (I may not have captured this vision had he not sent it .) But I’m glad I have it. It helped me envision.

My room I created is creatively mauve, soft, warm, inviting, sunny & bright. With floor to ceiling windows. And it smells like lemon. That’s my place . Kindness dwells there.

It’s Refreshing. Open. Free.

I’m not sure what your room looks like, but envision it, and leave every worry, hurt, disgruntlement and grudge behind . It’s your room.

No one else’s.

Create your space.

You’re the Painter… 🧑🏽‍🎨

Selah.

Taking Care of My Soul.

img_9604-1It’s so  very interesting how patience plays into our care of the soul. Almost two months ago, I left Tulsa Oklahoma, tense and overwhelmed and anxious. Across country moves just seem to impact me in that way. I’ve done two of them, in my lifetime. And as much as I plan to be calm and take time off in advance, it just doesn’t work out that way. There’s always something to be concerned about:

Will there be enough income  for the transition ?

Will we like where we are going?

Will totally dislike  the cold?

Wil I make friends easily?

Will I enjoy my job?

So I’ve been out of work now for almost two months. I didn’t plan on that. Just took them a month to have me approved. It’s like, really?  (They don’t manage  job contracts as smooth as  they used to .)

Okay, so now I’m in this place of much more calm and grace and gratefulness. It seems like no matter the amount of time it took, it took this ‘much needed ‘ time to  rest and rejuvenate and re- order my steps.

Everyday I’ve tried to stop and be grateful for at least one thing, then I’d acquiesce ll over again . And breathe. When I’m anxious and uptight , I tend to forget to breathe , and I tend to forget to express thanks for where I am.

Perspective matters.

I really didn’t think I  needed this, but apparently my soul knew I needed it. I’m currently in central NY in a beautiful hotel for the past few days – soaking up sunny days and  breathing in fresh fall air.  Enjoying time as the trees change into their beautiful autumn hues. And I have time to do this, so I’m thankful.

So the next time you’re complaining about how long something takes, just stop and think about where’s the grace in it. What are you grateful for?

Where does your soul align with the process?

And how much are you frustrating grace in the process?

Receive the good, and abandon the eat that isn’t quite helpful.

My soul aligning with “the process”.Receive your new beginning.

Selah.

Cultivating Motivation.

What keeps you motivated? I remember grappling with this question over a period of time- maybe ten years. I didn’t realize I was ‘grappling’ because I was sincerely depressed in my life. it’s extremely hard to be happy when life sucks.

I was so discouraged with myself. I couldn’t remain motivated. But I was also depressed, in a long marriage that had run its course, and I need a new take on life.

With motivation, it seemed as though I’d start, feel good about myself & my life, , then I’d lose motivation . Couldn’t seem to figure out why, though .

I didn’t connect my love life, my relationship, and my sadness to my motivation. My love life was not loving. My peace had been invaded. I was living life out of desperation and dependence- not in faith and with resolve.

I needed an encouraging partner, I needed to value myself and my friendships and have friends that helped motivate me and kept me accountable, and I needed self-care. Once I began to prioritize these values, my life began to change.

Once I had had a friend who was willing to help keep me accountable and kind of tutored me in this area, it seemed to help. I would keep her accountable for a few things, and she’s do the same for me.

For a while, we realized we weren’t using our time right. So we’d study a few things about developing margin in our lives and that helped immensely. It helped to have a friend who cared. We even prayed together about what our goals were and what we wanted to change.

I made the connection as i gained wisdom, that motivation comes from within. It’s a discipline of the heart and soul. It’s being specific about what you desire, then finding the courage within, and the support to pursue it. I didn’t come to this realization until the age of 38 years old . Wish I did. I might have been more focused, much sooner.

Made it to the beach last week!

Sometimes we live thinking there’s so much more out there than what we’re living. The truth is, we haven’t really lived until we’ve possessed what our soul really desires.

For instance, my soul wanted the best visit to a beach, last weekend. And I sought it out until I got it . Small choice… yet very meaningful for me. I had the best experience and memories on that beach… because I was ‘open’ to receiving it.

And … of course, I went with my best friend …(He enjoyed it too, after I asked a few times. Check out that smile.)

So here’s some questions to ask yourself about Motivation:

The first question is:

1.”What does your soul (your mind, will and emotions) desire?”

The second question is:

2. How important is it to you? Is it really something your soul needs?

The third question is:

3. How do you make room in your life to do it? ( I highly recommend getting a partner.) ☺️

And sometimes you have to just try several ways of meeting the needs of your soul, before you find out. Pull out some paper and brainstorm some tactics that might work.

Do you need to go to that special place ‘right after work’ so it really happens? Do you need to get a babysitter on Saturday morning while your kid is still in bed – for a few hours to make it happen ? Join a club similar to http://www.MeetUp.com? Find and accountability partner?

Or do you simply need to just be spontaneous ? Spontaneity was my focus word this year- guess I made it happen.)

Just remember: How ‘you possess your soul‘ and how someone else ‘possesses’ their own soul , may be totally different.

But do possess your soul.

It’s so worth it..

A Psalm For Refuge

I wrote a psalm .

My first psalm ever.

I thought psalm writers had all died and gone to heaven. 🤷🏽‍♀️ I never knew I could be one of them. Psalmists don’t usually know they’re psalmists until they lamented and sorrowed about something mighty weighty.

This was me after we lost our mother in law , father in law and I’d gone through various transitions with life and work.

A Psalm unto My Lord

I love the Lord because He heard my heart.

God listens to my heart like none other.

He loves me because He made me before the foundations of the earth.

Before I even existed, God ordained me to be a Healer.

I am His confidant, marked by His presence and His purpose. When life becomes unmanageable for me,

Oh God, you bring me into a very still place and say: Listen.”

In the hearkening of my ears Lord, You allow me to find peace. You wanted me to understand that

In Stillness,

In Your Rest.

In Your Purpose.

In Your Love.

In Your steadfast love – that reaches far beyond the Sun, the Moon, and Galaxies, and Stars.

Be very near And in Your nearness I shall have

Direction, Purpose, & Strength.

When my friends mocked me and thought I was disillusioned they said:

“What are you doing with your life? You seem confused!”

Even the silent mocking – I still heard them, Lord.

When I wandered…seemingly purposeless and without direction, they said:

“Where is God in that?”

Even the ones closest to me questioned my ability to understand You, Oh God

Yet You held me close.

Speak Your love over me in waves

Waves that allow me to love You with quiet and soft music – rocking me to sleep.

Rein me into the silence of Your love,

To love You with Sabbath simplicity, listening for what is dear in Your heart;

Not mine.

Searching for You in the silence and resting in You, with my whole heart.

I love You, Lord. It’s because of You I have a new sense of direction.

I have a befitting and determined course.

Because of You, my heart sings praises for a new occupation That has set me in the land of opportunity.

One without limitation, that speaks from praise and purpose; Healing and leadership and longing.

I thank You.

Selah.

My conclusion is this:

Although there will be times in your life when you don’t quite understand Your God,

Remain grateful to Him.

Remain in a state of peace and contemplation on what He said last.

Remain Hidden in that word He gave you,

And write it on your heart of remembrance

And on the walls of your living space, so it is easily read.

Trust that God has given you a vision and adhere – because the vision defines your future.

Celebrate in the quietness of God’s love.

Rest Assured He will answer in the end.

The Lord loves a faithful contemplator of His word.

Selah.

I love writing love letters unto God. They help me focus and remain sustained. They give me clarity and help me to stay on task.

It’s my hope this psalm I wrote shall encourage you as well.

Chaplain Contemplations: Freedom.

I was trying to think of what walking in my calling looks like. So I began to think about for the first time in my life, my ” heart feels full.”

I mean, I get this full feeling sometimes to the point I cannot even explain the emotion, and then I emotionally feel as if I’m about to explode …with sheer joy.

It’s happened more than once. It really has.

And just recently I looked up the definition of heart”; in the Vines dictionary and found this which so explicitly explains my feelings…

Heart is referred to as:

  1. The seat of physical life
  2. The seat of moral nature and spiritual life
  3. The seat of grief
  4. The seat of the affections
  5. The seat of perceptions
  6. The seat of the thoughts
  7. The seat of the understanding
  8. The seat of reasoning powers
  9. The seat of the imagination
  10. The seat of conscience
  11. The seat of the intentions
  12. The seat of purpose
  13. The seat of the will
  14. The seat of faith

ALL of this.. is in our hearts!! No wonder “out of it flows the issues of life!”

Of our sense of purpose , decision-making , our faith and intentions are all tied up in our heart- even our sorrows – that means everything meaningful flows out of the heart!

That why in that same scripture we ask you to “guard it with all diligence”.

What does it look like for you to guard your heart? It means you watch over everything that concerns your purpose and your sense of well-being. All your hope, all your destiny and all your exchanges in life- with people, friends, family and your children .

What’s in your heart is meaningful and should be kept secured in faith.

Because faith has substance you know. It can take root in your soul and change your lifestyle and change your outlook and perspective in life. It can encourage all those around you and help you to become a more rooted and grounded person.

Selah.

#chaplaincy #chaplainlife #lifeofachaplain

New Occupation, New Name.

Chaplain Jennifer. That’s what they call me. I’m still getting used to calling myself that. I’m learning everyone that’s in the hospital is not here just for physical healing. Mental, emotional, spiritual and other kinds of healings exist, as well. There is in forgiveness, emotional pain, and other kinds of relief we need to deal with, in order to maintain the proper perspective. It’s all important.

Before you wind up in a medical facility bedridden , take care of yourself and get some daily and weekly self-care. Invest in yourself. It’s important for y’all.

It’s your legacy. If you teach yourself how to do this, you leave a healthy and lengthy  legacy  for your children.

Chaplain Life

Supplication. /Chaplain Contemplations 3

I had chapel yesterday at work , and I shared on the power of supplication. I shared from my book, Red Sea a Situations.

Supplication is that Dee prayer that sets your hearts desire before a living God. That deep, earnest sincere and affectionate prayer that brings you close to Gods heart. Taking our cares and concerns to God when we are burdened in a very intentional heartfelt manner, and rolling those concerns over with every fiber of your being is important. God reaches back when you take the time. I’m a witness.☺️God longs to hear your voice and your feelings about your life & even more, He longs to comfort you. God peace is supreme it passes all understanding. Don’t worry about having the rt thing to say; just say it,& talk it out with Him. He longs to hear your heart.

#supplication #thepowerofsupplication #prayer #chaplainlife

Intuition & Love… How Did I Get Here?

How did I  get here?

Ever ask yourself that  question?

I once  thought  about writing on  Intuition and Love a while  ago.  But I  wasn’t ready.  I had to decide how transparent I wanted to be.

Then I realized that I needed to see how the two overlap. I didn’t have enough knowledge.  Or so I thought…  but I DID have the experience.  I mean, this is hard  writing, I thought…  where is my capacity to   speak on this? 

How  can  I speak on this without  true experience?

Then I thought  about it. I guess true experience is the BEST  teacher, sometimes.  I  had to go deep within myself to find answers,  but  I think mostly  I had to  ask myself, first – how  did I get here?  When we ask ourselves  honest  questions,  sometimes we  get  honest answers.

I was in a relationship  that went  south. I mean  all the way south.  Like worse than cheating.  It was humiliating.  And I had to pick myself up with all   of the dignity I had left and determine within myself  and ask myself:

Did I ever want to be in relationship with this person  again?

Did I trust   ever again  being able to trust this person with my  well-being, my life, my friendship?

And the answer was a resounding “No.”

Not to  say that person  couldn’t change one day,  but I had been in hell with them, and they basically let me sink to the bottom of the pit.  People like  that  don’t deserve my trust.  That’s what I determined in side.  Even my dreams  spoke to it.  I mean, I asked God:

“Show me his heart.”

So  check this out –  Spirit showed me this – once I was still enough:

This was the answer to my request:

I had a very vivid dream I was in a car ,  and my  significant  other was driving the car…. (this was before all of the  stuff went down –  and you  know I didn’t want to say stuff,  right ? I’m  just being polite.) –   and so in the dream he drove both of  over a cliff, he got out of the car and saved himself, and I kept  drowning.  In the back  seat though, was the most kindest and  most  beautiful person I had ever known – my brother- and he represented for me: GOODNESS in my life. 

I  found out through this dream, God was speaking to me.  Because Goodness  saved me.  And  Goodness was  what I had been neglecting in my life, all along.

jen

So now here’s what’s true: Without introspective  questions, I would have never  kept my life so sacred. This sacred act of self-inspiration SAVED me.

And sacredness was what I was all about, in that season of my life.  I had to find myself again.  And in the true essence of who I was, I had to determine where had I lost my soul.  My mind – where was it? My will  –  why did I  give it away?  And my  emotions  – why did they numb out ?

That’s  what  I did when I lost my soul, My ability to decide… I lost my thought life. I gave away  what was most sacred – my own personal opinion and thoughts  – to  someone else.  And THAT  was NOT OK.

My whole life had been  turned upside down because I put all my trust in one person.  And I thought: ” How had he become my God?

I had not been intuitive. I had not  thought about  the love I was   NOT  experiencing.  I  just wanted to  be with him.  Not  in love, not loved,  settling for less, and   not living up to my own expectations.  Not , I wasn’t perfect,  but I sure was using my best wisdom, sure wasn’t’  seeking advice from my smart sisters,  and I sure was isolating myself from every one I lived.  How did I get here?

I know. I ignored myself, my needs, and I didn’t listen to  not determine what I wanted, and  GO after it.  Yet this perceived ‘failure’ was  teaching me to respect myself in the future. To ask myself what was important first, then LOVE that, And only that, because it was God’s life first,  and then my own, to decide.

Selah.

This is  a writing on the  “12 Gems” stories .. this one is on Intuition, and I am taking all year to focus on what it means to “”Receive” and  basically,  take a look within.  To think about how I got to the other side of life’s circumstance, and really began living. 

And so here am I. 

Settling.

Greener Pastures: (My post on Better Self-Worth& Esteem)

Psalm 23:1

The Lord is My Shepherd. I lack nothing.”

I’m learning to appreciate everything these days….. And I am blessed to be able to be living in a place where I’ve been for seven years. It’s been a journey of acceptance; yet also esteem.

Approximately 13 or 14 years ago I was in a flux… trying to decide whether or not I should relocate to a new state, (D.C.) -and begin all over again. I decided I would begin there again …and get a new start. That has been one of the biggest and grandest decisions of my life. It has matured me. Encouraged me to be a grown-up! And to learn how to “live life” again after deep sorrows. Once I mastered living in DC; My husband found me. Only problem was…(He lived in Texas!!) I remember his words before he got out of my car and few back to TX that long weekend we shared at the African Heritage conference: “What would it take to get you to move to Texas?”

I paused, thought about it and said: ” I’d have to be getting married or have a really GOOD job.” He said: Okay… I’ll work on that.” I smiled. But had no huge hopes….heck, I’d just finished another trip down ‘marriage lane’ , and was not in any rush to do it again.

Can I say this man mapped out a really good plan? I believe that’s how I knew he was the one. He sent for me a month later.. & within six months I was in Texas with my own apartment! One year later, we were married.

Texas was home for for 4 years… and then we shifted to our destined place; Tulsa, OK. – & I fought being a mid-westerner with all my being….”Ole Okie” kinda grew on me.

I can truly say Oklahoma has brought me greener pastures and as been a beautiful journey to better esteem. ❤️

I’m not a cliche’ person who believes that esteem comes via a mans influence on a woman… but I’d venture to say , if he is truly the one.. and he ‘models’ excellent esteem, he can sure make a woman feel quite worthy.

Worth comes from loving yourself and cherishing what you bring to the table. This man and his long talks had me convinced he’d found his ” good thing”. Since being married to Tim, I’ve invested in my self-worth and delighted in being encouraged by a husband who encourages this as a lifestyle.

Everything from giving me books to read on self-care; feeding the ‘goodness’ with my personality; encouraging positive friendships; being creative with my hobbies; starting women’s groups; exercising; going on trips; encouraging my spirituality… the list goes on.

I feel worthy today.

And “settling” was not in the plan. It wasn’t always my dream. God changed that. He had to make me feel worthy of this kind of settling, then changed my heart, my soul and my mind.

And now I’m on a journey to feeling complete . And a healthy marriage encourages this lifestyle.❤️

I have committed this year in 2018 to writing about 💎 Diamonds my online course and writing about the gems therein. To make it even more exciting, I’m challenging myself to write a book on how I got to the “Other Side” of pursuing me.” Stay tuned as I share more on this journey, & shall eventually provide links to this course.