Note to Self

As you know I love to write, I love it so much that I write to myself sometimes in my journal. I want to ask you a question this Friday. If you were to ever write a letter to yourself, future self or past self, what would you say?

Would you give your future self advice, or would you lavish yourself with praise and tell yourself to go with flow because you’re doing a great job?

They say looking back is always clear to see why something happen or didn’t happen, but what about the here and now? I think if I could tell my future self anything, I would say stop moving so fast. I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy each and every moment with my children and my husband. I would admonish myself to live out my memories and stop rushing through everyday racing into the future. I would encourage myself to enjoy my life more.

I would love it if you all could play along and leave something in the comments that you would tell your future self.

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Defeat, Death, and Victory

Happy Resurrection Day!!! I hope that everyone reading this had a wonderful Easter weekend!

This evening at the dinner table we were discussing when it was that Jesus actually defeated the devil. I told my children what I know to be true, when he died on the cross. That confused them because they wanted to know how it was possible for Jesus to die on the cross if He was God in the flesh and He could just get down and kill the bad people that were trying to hurt him. Of course that set us down the path of talking about what qualified Jesus to win by dying. You guys probably already know the deal, Jesus was able to be the lamb without sin because He was the only perfect man to ever live. Therefore He was the only one who could take our place on the cross. Because of His death, we can now have access to the Father.

What I want to talk about with you all today is the times it look like we loss, but we really won. When you look back over your life how many times did you have to go to the cross, allow yourself to be crucified, even though you may have had the power to stop it? How many times did you humble yourself even when you had the ability to win? Perhaps, you thought that you had lost, and didn’t realize until after the fact that in that low moment that was your place of victory?

I want to encourage anyone who may be reading this and you’re having a really rough time, or you’re in the heat of the battle and you think that you’re losing the war. Be of good cheer! The places that we struggle the hardest and sometimes the very spot where we fail, is our most important victory. I have felt like a failure and failed many times at many different things; however, I have come to realize that the times when I thought I had failed so badly that a piece of me had died, those where the places of my greatest victories.

As much as dying to the flesh, or losing the things that we want so badly may hurt, we need those losses and we need to die to our flesh. We absolutely can not grow without experiencing death, or should I say separation. Without Judas’s betrayal Jesus would not have completed his destiny. Of course you can present the argument that God could have used someone else, and you would be right. Nevertheless, my point is the same there would still be a need for pain, hurt, betrayal, loss, or death. In order for us to truly be all that God has called us to be we have to experience defeat and sometimes even death.

The Bible tells us, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (Jh.12:24KJV).

Friends the difference between fruit and much fruit is the seed. Jesus was the seed for all man kind and the reason He did not get down when they teased him is because He knew that if he would be willing to endure the pain of death, that in a short three days he would be ascending to heaven with all power in his hand, to take his place at the right hand of the Father in victory.

Don’t fear defeat or loss, it’s in those moments that we truly win! Have a blessed day!

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

I really don’t like going to the doctor! I feel like every time I go the doctor tells me something crazy, or I get the rudest doctor available. This recent time was no different. With the military your doctors change so much, I use to have a great doctor. He was professional, but he had great people skills too! Unfortunately, this time I walked in and I had a new doctor, she was a female and that is the only thing good that I can say about her. The short explanation is she was just rude and cold! There was one particular moment when I was talking to her about my weight and I was asking her for some tips on nutrition and things that I could do to help facilitate the process of losing weight for me.  Instead of telling me some helpful tips or discussing how I could schedule something with a nutritionist she looked at me and said, “Why don’t you just have surgery. I mean you look like you could stand to lose a 100 pounds.”

Friends, when she said that to me I just looked at her baffled. I was stunned that a doctor would say skip the process and get surgery! I mean I do need to lose weight, but I don’t need surgery! After about thirty seconds of me just staring at her and wrestling with my wicked thoughts, I said, “No thank you, I would prefer to lose weight naturally. I will never consider weight loss surgery just to lose a few pounds.” She then had to leave the room for something and when she came back in she apologized for, “if” she sounded rude and offensive. I simply nodded my head and took my leave.

After I left I replayed the conversation over and over again in my head. I thought of at least a million things that I wish I would have said. The amazing part is the real reason I didn’t let her have it is that I am not a reflection of people, I’m a reflection of God. That means that I will not treat people the way they treat me, because I am not created in the image of this world. I was created in the image of God, and the Holy Spirit won’t let me do to others what they do to me. This does not mean that I don’t sometimes mess up, or speak out of turn, because I am not perfect.

I am however, God’s child and I do not return with a rude comment simply because I am offended by someone else’s rude comment.  1Pet.2:23 says in reference to Jesus”Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again…”  Matthew5:46-48 talks about only loving those who love us, and only being kind to our friends, what reward is there for that? If I’m only nice to people who are nice to me and rude to people who are rude to me then who is my Lord and Master? Who am I emulating?

What image will we reflect when we encounter rude people? Will we throw away our love for God and get nasty with someone who gets nasty with us? Or will we remember who our Lord is and still reflect his image in the face of offense? You know, I could have lost my cool and told her what I really wanted to say.  Sadly, that would have only made me feel good for a short time. I know that later on I would have felt guilty about losing my cool and allowing someone to drag me down to their level.

The real me is just not comfortable allowing someone else to have control over my actions, my thoughts and my emotions. if someone can make you change who you are or respond to them in a way that is outside of their character then they can rule over you. If we’re not careful instead of reflecting God’s image we’ll be reflecting the image of the person who wronged us.

I want to leave you all with this, “Who is your Lord, and do you project that image in the earth to the people around you friends and foes alike?

Decisions, Decisions

I’m one of the most indecisive people that I’ve ever met! I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to make a decision, but it’s something that I really need to work on this year.  I feel like I can make some decisions quickly, but others take much more time for me to decide on, and even then I may go back and forth.

I’m curious to know how do you all make decisions? If you find this struggle to be present in your own life let me know.

I feel like one of the reasons that I get so paralyzed when it’s time for me to make a decision is because I hate making mistakes! I always feel like if I make the wrong choice something bad might happen to me. Another reason why I feel like it’s so hard for me to make a decision is because I fear that I might miss out on a better option! Even after I make a selection I always wonder what would have happened if I chose differently.

One thing that I have mentioned here on my blog before, is my constant tug of war with satisfaction and the desire to see what’s next. I’m constantly looking forward to the next thing, or anticipating the joy that comes with tomorrow.  Perhaps there is a link between my indecisive tendencies and my touch of destination disease. Maybe I should work to strike the proper balance between enjoying where I am in life and looking forward to the future.

Tell me what you think in the comments!

The Black Educated Stay-At-Home Mom

This is a topic that I had been wanting to address for a while, but I honestly wasn’t sure how. I hate to talk about things that make me feel angry or divided, so I really wasn’t going to talk about it on my blog. However, I just can’t not talk about something that is so real and present in my everyday life.

Growing up I remember my mother always worked, and she encouraged my sister and I to get a good education so that we could have a great career. My mother was a great example of a woman who helped to provide for her family. She stressed to my sister and I that if we wanted something that we should work hard to have it.  I got my very first job at the tender age of fifteen and I worked all of my teenage years in some way. After my mom died I quit my job at Taco Bell because I wanted to be at home at night with my younger sister. I didn’t want her to be at home alone. My dad worked night shift and he never changed his schedule, so I thought it was important that I change mine. I was blessed to get a job as a regular babysitter for one of my teachers, and that helped us out so much. After high school I went to college, and I worked several different jobs in college.

I would have never thought that upon graduating from college I would ever become a SAHM(stay-at-home Mom). It wasn’t apart of my five year or ten year plan. I wanted to be a teacher for five years and then I wanted to become an principal.  God had other plans for me though! I took one look at my first born son and I knew that I didn’t want to leave him with anyone! For me that was the moment that I decided to stay at home with him.  Because we are a military family, this was normal where I lived(on a military base), and yet my family and friends did not see it as normal.

I was questioned relentlessly, about when I was going to get a real job, or what did I possibly do all day? I was criticized for having gone to college and not, “using my degree.” It seemed that no matter where I went or who I talked to, everyone wanted me to know that Black women didn’t stay at home. I was told that black women work hard to help their husband and support their children. “How could I help my husband if I didn’t put my children into daycare and get a, “real job?”

The funny thing was, I met several women black and white who were SAHM’s and I noticed a disparaging trend. All of us had similar stories of being criticized or berated for choosing to stay at home with our children instead of having a career. It seems like we all had this thought that one day we would go back to work and then we would be acceptable to everyone. It was like we always had to justify ourselves to others to prove that we had value and meaning.

I will never forget when a family member made the comment, “Torre can do it since she doesn’t do anything all day.” At that time I had two children under two at home and both of them were still in diapers! Are you kidding me? I was in the trenches at the time, between breastfeeding, diapers, potty-training, and laundry, I was constantly busy. Not to mention that I was a young wife, and my husband who was working long hours and we were still technically newlyweds! Needless to say, I was very offended by that comment, and the woman who said that was a working mother of four herself!  Yet, she had this air of superiority because she worked all day and then came home to her family, whereas I was already at home because I did not have a job.

For many years I allowed those little nit-picky comments to influence the way that I felt about myself and my worth. I always feel like I wasn’t as good as a mother who worked outside the home and that feeling started to bleed into other areas of my life. I started to internalize who I was and if I was living up to my full potential and all because I had listened to one to many negative comments about who I should be and what I should really be doing with MY life.

Pretty soon it got to the point where I was so defensive about not working or being a SAHM that I was just snapping on people before they could even tell me what they thought about it. I had one woman tell me, “You must think you’re a white woman girl! Black women don’t do that.” And yes her nose was turned up and her face was twisted into an ugly mask. I thought how can you say that it’s okay for a white woman to go to an Ivey League College, only to get married and become a SAHM and that is considered honorable for her but not for me because I’m Black? No, I reject that.

While I know that I can never go back and give my younger self advice, I wish I could have told myself what I now believe which is this; Your sacrifice is vital to your family life. Your unwavering presence and unyielding commitment is worth every hard day and nasty comment. Your family would not function without you. Your job is to be the very best wife, mother, and  homemaker so that your work to help raise productive, law abiding citizen, who will make positive, lasting contributions to this world. I want my children to be proud of me. I also want them to know that I chose to focus on just raising them for a while, and that I never regretted it, and I never felt bitter because of it.

Every time I look at the news  I see a stories about broken black families, or one of the well documented missteps of young black males, I am convinced that my contributions are important to my family. I feel so strongly that when children are loved and supported that they are given the perfect conditions for success. Now of course there are exceptions to every thing that I have said, but as for me and my house, I know my role is very valuable and I am convinced that this is the way for me right now.

I do struggle sometimes with the consequences of my choice. There are times when I get sick of being on a budget, and I just want to buy what I want and not worry about the cost. I have many moments when I want to be more than just a housewife, but what I’ve learned is that I can be many things and never diminish any of the things that I am. It’s possible to wear many different hats and still do what I believe God called me to do.

I ask you this question ladies, why did you choose to be a SAHM or a WM (working mom)? This is a judgement free zone so please feel comfortable sharing with me. I’m not here to critic you or point out why one is better than the other. I just want to hear from you guys about this topic.

Thanks for reading my blog!