That's the reason you're here anyway, right?
You can spend your life attempting to make everyone around you happy. You can try so hard to turn yourself down so that others are comfortable in their own mediocrity. You've been called out...called forth. You have been chosen to be great.
1 Peter 2:9 (GW)
However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light
So regardless of whose light is dim, TURN UP! Be who you have been called to be. Shine. We get one earthly life, so live it in a way the God and you can be proud of. People will never be satisfied anyway. Your greatness should make such an impact that you cause changes in others. Just live OUT LOUD!
I remember having a conversation with one of my young (underage) family members. He had been caught smoking marijuana, which is illegal in GA.
I had an issue with this. I called him and pleaded with him... "Find something else to do. Do something different. Everybody around you smokes weed, drink, and party all the time. Do something different please. Read a book. Go to college, get out of the hood (truth is, the hood can be a trap), move away and make a GOOD name for yourself. Get new friends and do something different. Get your passport and travel the world son. Do something different. Please!"
Most of my life, I watched people grow physically but remain the same mentally and spiritually. I watched people exist above ground but never live. I watched some go to church Sunday after Sunday without change. Religion with no relationship. The thought of publishing this makes me nervous. This is not intended to be offensive but to spark ideas, movement, and change. If it's offensive, check yourself, not me.
I have heard over and over again that if you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done. Sadly, we often believe that what we see is our destiny. We believe that where we were produced is where we must produce. That we must also bare the fruit of the trees around us. We believe that our circumstances determine who we are and who we are to be forever. That is NOT so!
So on THIS day, I speak healing, deliverance from harsh circumstances, and peace over the life of the person reading this. I speak life and that BY FAITH your feet will move FORWARD, no matter how tough life seems to be right now. KEEP WALKING! Crawl if you have to BUT COME OUT! I declare that you won't stay the same, that whatever God has in store for you that your faith won't just "believe" but it will cause you to WORK towards healing, work towards restoration, work towards better, work towards more, work towards relationship with the Father! IT WILL WORK!!! Faith doesn't just sit, faith MOVES!! By faith, MOVE; while knowing that God is with you, ordering your every foot step, protecting you and making provisions for you. I pray a spirit of boldness and faith into your spirit. So that you may do what God has called you to do because SURELY HE has not called you to be mediocre! In JESUS name! Be free!
STAND UP AND STAND OUT, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
Let's talk about my grief counseling experience.
After months of grieving, I just couldn't recover from it. I found the thought of death frightening and every phone call from Georgia terrifying. I cried often. I looked exactly like what I was going through.
I finally decided in August 2015 to get help. I waited so long because I thought as a Christian, God-fearing woman I didn't need a stranger to fix my brokenness because I have Jesus. The truth of the matter is that God placed gifted people on Earth to be his eyes, hands, ears, shoulders, lips, etc. He put people in place to help. So I went to a grief counselor. She asked why I was there. I told her. My cousin and grandmother (both in the same family) died 3 days apart, 2 months after I had my baby. I was just getting back to work like two weeks prior. Life was moving on but I wasn’t. After a few sessions things got deeper and I found myself bawling through each one. I told her I felt guilty because Derrick died and then Granny; but it was like I just hurried Derrick away, buried him (in my mind) and then just grieved over Grandma. I also couldn't get the image of my Grandma's lifeless body lying in her bed out of my head. I remembered my aunt calling my phone when she couldn't reach my Mom. She yelled, "Get here NOW!" My mom lived down the street from Grandma. So I barely got dressed, woke my husband, grabbed my baby, and wrapped him up. I ran from Mom’s rear house to her main house and woke her and we jumped in the car to ride there. We pulled up and one cousin was in the yard crying, another I could hear screaming when I walked in the house. I slowly walked to Grandma's room and I remember screaming "NO!!" as I doubled over when I walked into her bedroom. I had been praying a selfish prayer that God would keep her here a little longer. I needed more time, more of her wisdom. I wanted her to spoil my baby rotten like she did my cousins'. She was the matriarch of the family and the big yellow house on the corner of Elm and Gillespie would never be the same. I cried out to God over and over in that moment, until I was numb.
Any who, back to therapy... The therapist told me that she wanted to try a treatment called EMDR because the reason I couldn't heal from the hurt was because I tried to push it to the back of my mind without dealing with what actually happened. She asked me to choose what I felt from a list. I chose "helpless" and then what I wanted to feel after our sessions. I chose "empowered." I felt like I should have been able to control these emotions and thoughts.
So what is EMDR?
It’s Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Most therapists use a finger, asking you to follow with your eyes as they move it side to side. She used a light instead, that moved in a side to side motion. She could remotely speed it up or slow it down. While I followed the light, she would ask me about the most painful memories. It brought out many emotions. She then asked me about good memories of my cousin and grandma. I did. My cousin was a jokester and Granny was the sweetest person I knew. I had great memories of them.
“At first glance, EMDR appears to approach psychological issues in an unusual way. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead, EMDR uses a patient's own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.” –WebMD
So before being treated, I had to sign a form agreeing that I had no upcoming court dates in which I would have to recall specific events. I was concerned. "I don't want to forget them or forget what happened! I want to heal from it." She said I had nothing to worry about and I wouldn't forget. She was right. I didn't forget a single detail but I can admit that the EMDR treatments weakened the effects of the negative emotions.
I needed help. The grief was starting to affect the way I functioned daily and then I started to feel like people were tired of me grieving; but the truth is that there is not a time-limit for grief. Not to mention, I had to learn how to live with a new baby and how to live without those family members who left so abruptly. Grandma had been sick for a while but I really believed God for her healing. He is sovereign and had a different plan for her. Derrick was 35 and had just visited Grandma the night before he had a heart attack. Gosh...
I was able to move forward and grief no longer had that strong hold on me. I still miss them every single day and sometimes even cry on their special days but I have recovered and healed. I would highly recommend EMDR for anyone dealing with grief, PTSD, addictions, anxiety, or any type of psych issue.
P.S. It’s okay to get help. It doesn’t make you weak. Christian or not, there are people whose sole purpose in life is to help you when you need it.
1. The people there should have it all together.
Honey, if we had it all together we wouldn't have much of a need to be there. We all are there for growth... for change.
2. People who go to church are fake, hypocritical, and judgmental.
The reason overweight people are in the gym is because they have a goal or a need to be healthier and better. Every person in church is not the same; but there are hypocrites where ever you go and church is not excluded. I, personally, just love to worship and fellowship with other believers.
3. Church people can do no wrong.
You've heard people do this: "She's supposed to be so saved and doing this or that."
Salvation didn't make anyone perfect. Salvation is when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior because you are NO GOOD on your own. Salvation is a daily walk and the goal is HOLINESS; HOWEVER, The flesh is still weak and will rise up when tempted if you're not prayerful and watchful. When we do have "fleshly" moments, we should repent, dust off, and move on. God knows I'm not perfect.
4. I need to give up my sin before I go to church.
Not true. You can't handle changing you alone. You will never go to church if you're waiting for the right time. We are all there for some reason. You are no different.
5. Pastors are just trying to get rich, they don't care about the people.
This may be true for some pastors, who use their power/callings (if actually called) for their own motives. That's where your own discernment comes in. Find a church that is preaching the WORD, abides in the WORD, and lives by THE WORD. No church will be perfect because, again, NO person is perfect.
6. I can have my own church at home.
Most of us, without the proper training/teaching, misinterpret the bible when we read it. Not to mention, we are all a part of God's body and we should assemble together; although we can assemble in places other than church buildings, EVEN JESUS could be found in the temple back in His earthly days. Fellowship is a part of the Christian walk.
There are some things that happened to me and things that I saw that I couldn't believe were happening to ME! I willingly went to church every Sunday; I was obedient to my parents. They raised me right. Why was I going through so much turmoil?? For over 16 years my parents were together, they would never get a divorce. My family is tough and healthy; they'll live for a long time! God provides so I'll never get behind on bills. I'm Deaundra; bad things don't happen to me.
Who did I think I was? What made me think that I was exempt from trials, pain, losses, and disappointments? God sure showed me. Right around 16, my cushy little life shifted! My parents divorced after 17 years and I could not believe it. If someone asked me what was my first heartbreak. My parents' divorce would be it. I was 15 and I was on Summer Break. I thought my life was over. I would stay in my room and cry all day. I called friends on the phone but they didn't understand because either they grew up in a single-parent home or their parents were still together. No one wanted to hear about my parents getting a divorce so as soon as they hit me with a "I'll call you back." I would hang up and cry some more. I remember going into my room one day and seeing yellow Kleenex tissues everywhere. One song in particular encouraged me during my roughest days. It was, "Peace in the Midst of the Storm" performed by Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson. It was like someone had died. I felt resentment, anger, and depression. I needed peace. I hated leaving my house... my room... my bed! At 15! I placed blame on my parents, but never understanding that life happens. I prayed and prayed.
It was after midnight on 06/22/2005, my mom and I were riding to pick up my cousin to help her move some things into her new apartment and we got a call from my Aunt Deedee and all I could hear was screaming in the background. My aunt said that our 14-year-old friend had been shot and killed in front of his house. He had been stabbed a year prior. She was trying to console his older sister. We arrived to the scene and there he was with a hole in his head and blood all around him. Who did this? Why wasn't he covered? Why are the paramedics just standing around? Do something!! Save him! Those were the thoughts that ran through my 15 year old brain. He was only 14. He was my cousin's best friend and we all would hang out at my grandma's. Why is this happening? I couldn't rid my brain of the visual. Along with the grief from the divorce, I had nightmares for months; eventually, I would just stop sleeping.
I started the 10th grade in the fall as a totally different teenager. The summer took me through a bit of a BEATING and my teachers who knew me prior to that didn't like it. My attitude was different. I joined the Dougherty High Chorale and got a job and they gave me plenty to do. I grew and I slowly healed. That was the school year my dad got me a car and taught me how to drive. I had a good school year. I was just a kid but I knew in my heart to reverence God for the healing. I triumphed over the enemy who wanted to devour me with depression!
Maybe a week before my 18th birthday, I was getting off work and I wanted to visit my grandma's house like I would do sometimes after work, but I was tired so I went home instead. I was on the phone and my best friend started to beep in on the other end. I answered. She said,
"Please tell me it's not true that Pig was shot!"
"Wait, what? Girl no, they must be talking about someone else."
I called my mom to be sure although I just knew it wasn't true. She was panicking telling me to meet her at the hospital. I woke my dad screaming, “DAD, Pig was shot!” We got dressed, picked up my best friend and drove to the hospital. They had us in one of those rooms in which they delivered bad news to families. We were terrified. He was shot 5 times in my grandma's yard. Of course, here we go again... "Who did this? My cousin doesn't bother people. He goes to school, he's in the band, he's a great student and everyone loves him. Why would they do this to him?" My family is dear to me and when they hurt, I hurt. My cousin was in pain and I couldn't even see him. Pig and I are two weeks a part. Only a couple of years prior my Aunt Deedee was holding our friend's sister and now we're holding her and praying that Pig would pull through this. We left the hospital when he was stable. I woke up the next morning to visit him but they wouldn't let me in saying that too many people were back already. I went to school bombed. It was senior year and I needed to be there. You know how when you're barely holding it together and that one person hears the news and comes and put a hand on your shoulder and the complete bottom falls from under your emotions? Yeah, that happened. She said, "OMG Dee, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened. Is he okay?" I lost it and broke in the middle of the hall way. One of my close friends walked me to the restroom and she tried to help saying, "Dee please... I don't know what to do. I've never seen you like his before." I could not stop crying because I honestly didn't know if he was okay. I just needed to see him. So, of course, I left school that day and went to my grandma's, my best friend met me there. The news reporter was there too. I eventually got to visit him. He was in good spirits but he could barely move. The bullets barely missed vital organs. I remember my grandma praying the alter call that following Sunday and she was pleading with God to heal him and to strengthen him. She thanked God for his life. He recovered quicker than expected. I praise God for him often, even now, over 10 years later. God is good.
I graduated high school and everything seemed to be going perfectly in my life after a few years of ups and downs. I was in love and achieving goals. I started a new job at the end of 2008. I was 19. So of course, I figured it was only right that I moved out of my dad's house and get an apartment with my boyfriend of two years. We were happy for a hot 5 months before things changed. We were young, he wasn't done partying and I wasn't having that. I moved out and got an apartment with my nieces. That lasted for less than a year. Things just couldn't get right. My sister had a stroke at 29 and her health began to fail rapidly and the doctors were shaking their heads regarding her.
Year after year, disappointment after disappointment, issue after issue... WHAT NEXT? I decided to move in with my mommy because I was done adulting. I was 20-years-old and life was not treating me right. I thought I was an adult because I had passed 18. I had no clue. My priorities were not in line. By this time, Daddy has passed the torch and I was paying my own car note and I preferred shopping over that bill. One night, my then "dude" was visiting me and called and said, "Man, they got your car." I jumped out of my bed like a whole ninja. Lol. I was probably about 2 months behind. What was I thinking? I needed a couple of grand including fees to get my car back. I was ALMOST done paying it off, how could I have been so stupid? Where was I going to get over $2000? I tried everything. Loans, DENIED. I tried borrowing from people I knew, DENIED. I finally broke down and called my brother (who's a US Airman) to tell him. I knew I would hear how dumb it was for me to not pay my car note. He didn't beat me up about it. He said he would check and call me back. He sent me $1300! I couldn't believe it. I got my car back and started paying my brother back immediately until I lost my job due to attendance issues. Now that I'm telling this story, I realize just how immature I really was. I'm reading it back as if someone else did these things and having to remind me that "No fool, that's ALL you!" LOL. Anyway, I was barely going to work and would just leave whenever I felt like it. So here I am, right before Christmas of 2011. Unemployed. Hmmm... So how am I going to finish paying this car off, put in gas, and pay the insurance? My brother was not looking for the money back but I wanted to be sure to pay him back but how will I do that now? These are all things that I didn't consider until it was too late. The guy I was seeing at the time and I barely got along most times but he helped by paying my car note and phone bill when he could, my mom and dad would help me with gas and food. I was unemployed for 5 months. I received rejection after rejection. I slept most days, Pandora radio played. I did have time to get to know Jesus better and I was able to build my relationship with Him. A fellow church member introduced me to the owner of a small car dealer who needed a receptionist. I was hired on there. I had to grow up. I grew tired of the same cycles and going through trials that I created for myself. I caught my bills up and found my purpose. I was tired of living for everyone else and trying to fit in with what everyone else was doing. I began breaking the soul-ties that had me bound. A few months prior I had written a prayer list and I started praying on it every day, it included finding my soulmate. I misplaced it after a couple of months.
I began a friendship with a drummer I met at my mom's back in March of 2012. He seemed interesting and I was intrigued so I sent him my number in May. I didn't want anything from him other than friendship but previously we were both in relationships. At first, we would talk here and there. Then, you couldn't keep us off the phone. He understood me and he let me talk. It wasn't all about him. We started praying together and then he told me he loved me. I was in love but I WAS SCARED OUT OF MY MIND OF LOVE. I honestly feared love. I was a tad bit broken and he knew that. He was so gentle and so patient with me. We both had done it wrong so many times and for so long that we handled this new thing with much care. I'm falling in love all over again just writing about it. We decided on July 17, 2012 to take a chance on each other. The best decision I have ever made was marrying Antonio D. Bonner on 12/31/2012. I gave birth to our son on 10/23/2014. Life was just beautiful.
Along the way, I have lost people I love. I have experienced disappoints and some amazing triumphs! Regardless of what I have done or experienced, I've grown and loved harder. My relationship with Christ is stronger. He has sustained me. I realize that I am not exempt from trials and life's turmoil. As a matter of fact, who am I not to go through? Why not me? I am now grown enough to give God glory for my story.