An Open Letter to the Brokenhearted on Mother’s Day

My Dear Sweet Friend,

What I have to say isn’t for those on a sentimental high of celebratory accolades and recognition. This isn’t your typical Mother’s Day blog post full of ironic humor and adorable pictures of frazzled moms and food smeared chubby toddlers. I’m pretty sure you won’t have a hard time finding something like that elsewhere, if that’s what you’re looking for. But, you won’t find it here.

This is an open letter to the brokenhearted. An acknowledgment of those who may feel as though they reside on the outskirts of society on days like today. Who think that they are alone in their pain. This is for those whose mothers have passed, and the only way they can give them flowers today is to lay them on their graves. This is for the women who have made their homes in the valley of barrenness. This is for those who look into the beautiful faces of their children and still see the ghosts of what could have been, what they feel should have been. This is for those whose arms ache with the emptiness of loss and hope. This is for those who have piles of home pregnancy tests stashed all over their homes, waiting for that confirmation of life. This is for those who are haunted by the guilt of choices that can’t be undone and wonder, what if? This is for those who gave their children away long ago and wonder what became of them. This is for the children of mothers who gave less than they needed and are still left with the void. This is even for those who shrug and think, it’s just another day when, in the space of truth that lies beneath, they know that it’s not. This is for the woman who puts on a brave face and smiles until her cheeks hurt, only to steal moments alone with her head tilted back, fingers gently patting away tears before her concealer breaks and her mascara runs.

I’ve carried a burden for you. Yes, you. I thought of you and your pain and laid it along side my own burden of brokenness, before hoisting it onto my back and wearing it for the last week. I counted down the days till Sunday, sadness tinging each moment, sighs escaping my mouth at will and without conscious provocation.  As I sit here snuggled up on my couch in a velvety soft blanket, my stomach is in knots at the thought of going against the grain and speaking to a population that many people would rather pretend don’t exist. I guess I’m unique in that I belong to both groups. There have been times when I would rather not deal with the messiness of sadness and loss. When I found it easier to pretend. But that’s exhausting and tiresome and debilitating and any other number of words you can think of to explain that it’s no longer worth my time.

I am the mother of a stillborn. An oxymoron of an existence. Do I count as a mother? Do I ignore the pain that fills me like air on days like this? Do I pretend that I don’t feel the undercurrent of pain that my eyes were opened to the moment tragedy struck?

I won’t do that. I won’t pretend that I don’t see you. I see you, I feel you and I care for you. For lack of a better way to put it; it sucks to be us right now. The truth is that if we’d had a choice, none of us would have joined this club.

But we’re here now and I found myself asking God, “What do I say to them, Lord?” I didn’t feel that I had anything to offer until I remembered that we don’t have to keep carrying our burdens . It’s a choice we make. I’m not going to give you a Christian cliche and advise you to lay your burdens down. I prefer to think of it as simply letting go. That’s what I did.

I gave birth to my deceased daughter, and had her cremated. Then, I had no choice but to learn how to live in The After. Some things forever change you, without fanfare, quietly and totally. This was one of those things. I railed against God. I was consumed with a simmering rage that only seemed to grow as, even in my grief stricken state, I realized that I needed Him. And the whole time, He was right there. Through my rage, my numbness and my years of insidious resentment. He was right there.

Because you see, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted* and binds up all their wounds**.
I know this, not because I read it, but because I lived it. He was faithful to walk with me through sorrow, and I came to know Him in the fellowship oLetting Gof His suffering. My point is that I never had to lay my burden down. I eventually let it go because it’s hard to hang on to your stuff when you’re constantly in the presence of the Almighty. It really is darn near impossible. Trust me, I tried.

He bound up my wounds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still hurt. Pain is a part of the healing process. I had surgery months ago, and I still hurt at the site of the wound when it’s going to rain. I’m still healing, and those twinges are part of that healing. I might feel those twinges for the rest of my life, but that’s OK. The pain that led me to the surgical table was far more excruciating than the twinges I feel now. The same is true for the emotional and spiritual trauma we can’t see. Over time, you will still feel sadness. You will still shed tears.

But, you won’t be broken forever.

When the pain is overwhelming, when you can’t see past it and wonder how you’ll go on, just remind yourself that it won’t be like this forever. Shed your tears, remember the good, take a few deep breaths and know that you can go on.

He said, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

XoXo,

Faith

*Psalm 34:18, **Psalm 147:3

This Weekend…

What’s up, beautiful people?! It’s been more than a minute since I actually wrote something, rather than posting random videos. I’ve missed y’all!

I’ve been on kind of a total self-care journey. It’s been challenging, to say the least. I’m the sort of person who likes to believe that I’m superhuman. You know, that basic things like proper nutrition, rest and taking time for myself, are optional. It took a series of health issues to make me come to the realization that I’m far from a super hero. I’ve retired my cape and put on my glasses. Which is why I can finally clearly see that I’ve got to take care of me, because no one else is in line for the job. And that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than just ok. It’s a privilege I’ve been given by virtue of simply being alive and grown!

With that privilege comes choices. The choice to do things that feed my mind, body, spirit and soul.  I invite you all to do the same and to that effect, here’s a list of things you can do this weekend to remind yourself that YOU MATTER. I hope you find something that resonates with you and decide to gift yourself with it. You deserve it!


Do you, Boo:

  • Pick flowers in your backyard and display them around your home.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers and put them on your nightstand. They’ll be the first thing you see when you wake up!
  • Binge watch your favorite T.V. series or find a new one to fall in love with.
  • Go for a walk that’s purely for pleasure.
  • Paint your toenails an obnoxious color.
  • Create a spa in your bathroom. Spend the evening soaking in a tub and reading a book by candlelight.
  • Sleep in without guilt.
  • Send your kids to a family member or friends’s house and do whatever you want this weekend.
  • Go to a matinee with a friend or by yourself!
  • Light a scented candle a do a breathing mediation.
  • Go get a pedicure or massage.
  • Experiment with a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try.
  • Invite friends of family over for game night.
  • Eat something decadent without feeling guilty.
  • Make it a Staycation weekend and explore your city/town.
  • Go for a scenic drive/bus ride and allow your mind to wander.
  • Go for a nature walk at your nearest national park.
  • Sit outside and look at the Sunset or count stars.
  • Read your daily devotional outdoors and take time afterwards to reflect on it while sitting in the sun.
  • Make a picnic and take it to the park.
  • Participate in a group sport or exercise class.
  • Find a yoga practice online and try it out.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and talk for hours.
  • Get your hair done.
  • Try a new hobby you’ve been putting off.
  • Go to a fancy restaurant and only order dessert.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Spend some time talking to a five year old. They know everything.
  • Write a letter to your younger self. Then write one to your future self. Pick any ages.
  • Write a letter to a loved one who has passed on.
  • Allow yourself to have a good hard cry if you feel like it.
  • Allow yourself to laugh ’til it hurts if you feel like it.
  • Allow yourself time to dream.
  • Allow yourself time to plan for those dreams and convert them to goals.
  • Play in your own make-up.
  • Snuggle up with someone you love and watch a tearjerker or rom-com.
  • Read a book cover to cover in one sitting ( and don’t dare think about the laundry, dishes, etc)
  • Organize something, if that floats your boat.
  • Tell someone you love them.
  • Make a list of your best qualities and refer to it every time you feel like you’re not good enough.
  • Write an affirmation to yourself in lipstick on your bathroom mirror. ( Don’t worry, it wipes right off!)
  • Dance like everyone’s watching and you got all the moves, even if you don’t.
  • Sing at the top of your lungs.
  • Lay on your couch and just listen to music.
  • Put your phone on silent and take a much needed break.

This list could go on and on, but you guys get the picture. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or even any money, to take time for yourself. Remember, if your tank is empty you don’t have anything to give. Now, I’m off to binge watch Parenthood. I’m on a mission to find out if there’s a single episode where nobody cries. I’m halfway through season 2 and it hasn’t happened yet. See y’all next time!

What’s your favorite self-care act? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

Ummm, So I’m Kinda Really Feeling This YouTube Thang…

What’s up, y’all? Your girl has been slacking. I haven’t been sharing my thoughts and encouragement here lately, but it’s not for lack of the desire to do so. I’ve just been dealing with a lot of things related to my health, and one of the side effects of that is brain fog. Like, serious “what’s my mama’s name, again?” brain fog. I send text messages that need Google Translations to decipher. Writing this post alone is taking me longer than I care to admit.

Me being me, I decided to make an effort to connect with you all, no matter what. If I can’t write like I want to (at least for right now), I can still flap my gums! So, that’s what my YouTube channel is all about. In some ways, connecting with you on that platform provides a unique opportunity for me to share my life with you in a far more intimate manner than this blog. I think that’s a good thing, and I hope you guys do, too.

But, don’t worry. This blog is my baby and I’ll definitely get back to going hard on it again once I get my health in order. If you’re curious as to what kind of health issues I’m dealing with, check out my videos. I’m not shy about operating in full disclosure (as you might have noticed by now, lol) but I go a little deeper on my YT channel.

My goals there will be the same as my goals are here: to transparently share my life and thoughts for the purpose of encouragement. I promise to keep it all the way real (like FO’REAL) because I’m learning that perfection has no place in my life. Plus, if I can continue to put one foot in front of the other, despite the hardships of life, someone watching will see that they can, too.

You all are my people. My tribe. My fam. It is my hope that the community I eventually discover on YouTube is as awesome and inspiring as the community that I’ve found here. I have a feeling that adding that platform to my repertoire is going to result in a wild ride. A beautiful mess that I can’t wait to share with you! The blessing that is our future is waiting.

Let’s get it.

XoXo,

Faith

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1: 1-4

Oh and before I go, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, so you won’t miss a thing. I’ll continue doing my Conversations with Faith, but I’m adding weekly vlogs as well. Plus, soon there’ll be a series called Confessions of Faith, where I talk about the MANY mistakes I’ve made in the past and explain how God’s grace brought me through. Don’t be a stranger, come holla at me over there. 🙂

Conversation with Faith: No Weapon Formed Shall Prosper

What’s up, Fam? I hope all of you are living the dream and walking out your purpose! I know I’ve been missing in action lately, but I’ve got a lot going on physically. For now, it’s easier for me to make videos than write. So I’m vlogging!

In this video, I’m just venting on some things. I hope that something I say encourages you and if nothing else, makes you smile! By the way, I open up with song, LOL. You don’t want to miss this!

 

 

Hugs and kisses to you all! What do you do when life starts going bananas? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

How To Overcome Heartbreak

Hey, lovely people! Long time, no “see”. When I say that 2016 has done a number on me, I ain’t lying. From my cancer scare, to the hysterectomy, to complete healing in my body, I have been on an emotional and physical roller coaster. But I’ll tell you something that’s been solid as a rock; my faith. I could preach a sermon and tell a testimony that would have a non-believer giving God thanks, but I won’t do that today. Just know that God is good, and He is oh, so faithful!

20161214_005257

I’m starting to get back in the swing of things. I’ll be returning to work, after a 6 month leave, at the start of 2017. Hopefully, my life will be back to normal. With ALL that being said, I’m finally back to blogging! And I couldn’t wait to share one of the latest projects I’m participating in.

One of my author friends, Ms. Nicole Miller, was on a broadcast with me earlier this year about the challenges of living a celibate lifestyle. What I shared on that call about a previous relationship must have resonated with Nicole, because she contacted me to collaborate on a book project with her about overcoming heartbreak. I was only too pleased to oblige, and we spent about 30 minutes on the phone taking a heart wrenching walk down memory lane.

I shared some intimate things, y’all. Like some stuff I haven’t even shared on this blog and you guys know I be letting you all up in my business. Things like being in a totally dysfunctional foul jacked up relationship and not thinking that I deserved better. Things like losing my daughter when I was 7 and a half months pregnant. I’m telling y’all, we went in.

Then, through the magic of publishing, a wonderful book appeared in my mailbox yesterday. It’s entitled How to Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal and it’s absolutely overflowing with genuine stories of men and women who have experienced heartbreak AND how they overcame that heartbreak. Let me assure you that Nicole knows exactly what she’s doing. I was all over the place in my interview and she put it together in a way that truly allowed my story to shine. She did the same with every single person interviewed for this project.

The truth is that most of us have experienced heartbreak in some capacity or another. The key is to move past that heartbreak and to do so with grace. To not allow bitterness to set up residence in your heart, and to transition into a place where you are once again open, and ready to receive and give love.

So that’s all for now, folks. I had to share How to Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal with you because I really feel like it will touch a lot of people and bring them to a heart space of peace. Get a copy for yourself, some friends or anyone you think would benefit from reading it!*

Until next time…

Get real with your girl and tell me about your own story of heartbreak and how you overcame it. Let’s have our own little therapy session together. 😉

*I am not receiving any compensation for participating in this project. I am simply doing it because I truly believe in the healing power of words.*

Let’s Talk About Sex…

Yep, you read that right. I want to talk about sex: the good, the bad and the ugly. Only I want to do it in real-time, over the phone. With you. And I want to bring God in the mix as well. Because He created sex, after all, so I think it’s important that we consider His take on it. Won’t you join me?

The Wait

My girl Simone, over at My Family Fantastic is coordinating this thing, and I’m just along for the ride. There will also be some other amazing Christian authors on the line giving their take on celibacy and waiting for the right one. More on that here. We’ll discuss the book The Wait (No worries if you haven’t read it. We’ll give plenty of reference to the material, so you won’t be lost). Then we’ll move on to celibacy in all its strugglistic glory. Did I just make up a word? Yes, I think I did. But you get my drift!

Honestly, I feel like I’m the last somebody that needs to give a presentation on celibacy, seeing as how I’ve barely got a grip on it myself. But hey, He delights in using the weak to confound the strong. I’m a willing vessel, so I guess I’ll get the job done.

I hope you’ll join the call!

XoXo,

Faith

What are you waiting for? Put a reminder in your phone right now! Go ahead. I’ll wait. 

 

 

 

Committed to Love

You probably read the title of this and thought, “Oh, she’s going to regale us with tales of romance.” Or, “She’s going to rhapsodize about choosing love for others over all else.” Oh, you weren’t thinking that? I’m the only one who uses words like regale and rhapsodize on the regular? It’s cool. I’m at peace with my nerdiness.

Anyway, I do want to talk about love, but not totally in the traditional sense or expected way. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of love and commitment. What does it look like? Can you have one without the other? And which one comes first?

Concrete answers elude me, but what I’ve managed to figure out is that the two go hand in hand. I can’t think of a single instance of love that doesn’t involve commitment and vice versa. The love a parent has for a child is cemented by the parent’s commitment to care and provide for the child. Later in life, hopefully the chEveryday-Self-Love-Imageild does the same for the parent. Two people choose to do life together and perform a ceremony before friends and family, sign legal documents and share a mutual last name to celebrate their love by showing commitment. My faith dictates that God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son for my sins. He’s so committed to me that He made the ultimate sacrifice.

All of these observations have led me to a revelation  of sorts: If I love myself, why aren’t I committed to doing what I know is good for me? Or is it that I have to commit to doing what’s good for me as an action of love? Isn’t love in its simplest form merely a series of choices made over and over again? A choice to do what’s best for the one you love?

This whole summation may seem basic enough, but the truth of it all settled into me slowly, like rays of sun on a Spring day. The coldness of neglect, putting me last, not acknowledging my worth, were absorbed by the warmth of this knowledge. I’m worth committing to. I’m worth choosing. I’m worth the action of better choices each day.

What does this mean practically? It means going to bed at a decent hour, despite how much is left on my to-do list. It means going to Zumba class twice a week because I love shaking my rump-shaker. It means taking a walk even when I don’t feel like it, because it’s what’s best for me. It means taking time to cook delicious nutritious food. It means watching a movie and letting myself get swept away in the fantasy, because I need a mental break every once in a while as much as the next person.

I don’t know where we learned the lesson that self-care is optionaSelf lovel. And it seems like women are determined to ace this unnecessary class, for whatever asinine reason. But whatever is erroneously learned can be re-taught in a more enlightened and compassionate way. I’m learning to love me more and more. It’s manifesting itself by my commitment to treating myself well. I’m really starting to think that’s way it’s supposed to be.

If you’re already on your own journey of self-care, I commend you. On the other hand, if you’ve allowed yourself to fall by the wayside in a misguided belief that you’re supposed to be last on your list, I implore you to start with one small act of kindness for yourself. Don’t allow anything to distract you from it. Make a pledge to yourself not to neglect it. Once you see that the world keeps right on turning, add another act of kindness, and another one. Commit to it. You deserve it. You’re worth it.

Have you ever fallen into the trap of neglecting yourself?  How do you deal with unwarranted guilt when you take time to do things that only benefit you? In what ways do you regularly commit to showing yourself love through action?