10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Day 4 – Decisions

Day 4 – Decisions

God will give you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, the peace that surpasses understanding….

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting GOD know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of GOD’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when CHRIST displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4: 6-7 MSG)

This 4th Day 3 years ago, was overwhelming with FINAL decisions, choices, conclusions, and resolutions. Who, What, Why, When, and How were questions that had to be asked and answered.  Every tough, painful, agonizing, gut-wrenching decision made was made with GODLY wisdom, counsel, and much prayer. My future, our daughter’s future, my in-Loves (in-laws) future, our family, and friend’s futures were all at stake in our decisions. 

I had to consider and wonder about what that we were robbed of and things that will never happen. Future graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries that would be missing a heart.  Walks down the aisles, grandbabies being held and spoiled, days sitting and watching grandbabies play, futures were forever altered, and alternate realities were becoming real.

Day 4 was marked with suffering…

Yet, I was reminded not to fret or worry, and instead of worrying, pray. When I would look at this scripture over the years, I never thought it meant in a difficult circumstance like this. But you know our LORD, HE meant in all circumstances even the painful and agonizing circumstances! 

It was not easy, but I had to give it over GOD and lay it at the foot of the Cross.  I knew whatever happened. He was in control. 

This decision at this moment later saved my life…

Day 1-10 Day Walk Out Of The Valley of Darkness!

Day 1

I woke up this morning with such a heaviness in my spirit…

I remember…

This Day three years ago, I had entered into what I call my 10 day walk into the darkness…

This is the day three years ago, my hope was fading fast, and my walk with grief and depression started…

This is the day three years ago when the tears would not stop…

This is the day three years ago when the anger was uncompromising …

This is the day three years ago when prayers were needed the most…

This is the day three years ago when a beautiful life was coming to an end…

This is the day three years ago when we had to make the toughest decision of our lives..

This is the day three years ago when I had to put all my hope, faith, and trust in GOD.

This is the day three years ago when I had to accept HIS will…

I knew then, as I STILL know now that..

HE is STILL my GOOD and PERFECT SHEPHERD , MY LORD,

I STILL lack for nothing!

HE STILL makes me lie down in green pastures,

HE STILL leads me beside the quiet waters

HE STILL refreshes my soul!

HE is STILL guiding me along the right paths, for HIS namesake

LORD as I enter into this 10 day walk into the valley and shadow of death…

I am STILL NOT afraid

Because YOU are STILL with me

YOU STILL protect and comfort me!

YOU STILL prepare a table before me in the presence of those who wish to see harm come to my family and me.

YOU STILL anoint and refresh my head and my life with oil,

My cup STILL continues to run over.

YOUR goodness

YOUR mercy

YOUR agape love STILL follows my family and me

All of OUR lives, so that we can dwell in YOUR house forever and ever.

I Praise YOU, FATHER, STILL today!

YOU are GOOD

YOUR grace and mercies towards me are everlasting!

In JESUS name…

AMEN!

Forgiveness

 October 3, 2019

Okay, I know this won’t be the most popular opinion, but…

I try not to divulge into controversial issues on social media, but I felt I needed to speak out in support of a member of the Jean Family.

First…

Amber Guyger is definitely guilty of Murder and should have gotten a longer sentence.  There are black and brown people in prison that have received more time for selling drugs than she received for killing another human.  Both offenses are wrong, but the punishment should match the crime. 

Secondly, Now… Forgiveness….

I look at this from a Christian perspective, because that is what I am first and foremost a child of GOD.  You can say I am looking at things through rose-colored glasses, but I am just trying to see people the way Jesus does. 

The bottom line as Christians, the Bible tells us, “The Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 

We forgive because God forgives. If He can do it, so can any of us. Right?

I know it is hard because I have had to forgive people for some horrendous things in my life. But you know what? I felt better because once I let that burden go, I left it at the foot of the cross and the feet of Jesus.  Until I forgave, I was bitter and consumed with what happened to me and the hate I was embracing.  It was eating at me from the inside. It was affecting my family and me. You have no idea how hard it is to grieve and forgive. Once I truly forgave, I was at peace in my heart, my mind, and my soul. 

Now with that being said, I have not forgotten because I won’t allow myself to be hurt again, but I am at peace to move on with my life without harboring hate in my heart. I refused to be held hostage or give the power of my thoughts, feelings, life, and soul to anyone, but Christ.  When my time comes, and I stand before God, I don’t want to have any hate or unforgiveness in my heart for anyone.

You cannot have hate in your heart and say that you love God.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) 

I chose to forgive mostly for me, and other people benefited from my obedience.

The Jean family are a Christian family, and I am sure that Botham’s brother, Brandt, prayed and received enough peace and understanding from God to forgive.  It was reported that he carried a Bible into court with him most days, and he was seen reading during court.  He will never forget, and yes, there is still hurt, questions, and some anger. He is not weak, as some have said, but he is strong because he forgave.

He has decided to have the peace of knowing that because God has forgiven him many times over, he chose to forgive. 

Amber has received an amazing gift of grace from Brandt, and the last thing she heard from him was, “I pray you find Jesus Christ” Brandt has done his job and planted a seed for Christ to cultivate it and cause it to grow.  We don’t repay evil with evil. If she does not receive the grace and mercy that has been afforded to her and make a change, then that is between her and God. 

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)

Botham’s mother said that she is not ready for forgiveness, but she is getting closer to it.  This is okay and perfectly normal.  Forgiveness is a process that we have to go through to get to the point where we can forgive. BUT we must forgive! I can’t stress that enough; from my own experience, we must forgive. 

I am not sure if they are going to appeal (I imagine they will), but just the pure act of grace that Brandt showed is not a sign of weakness, but it is an excellent sign of faith in God and the strength he has drawn from Him. 

“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter, forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” (Anonymous) 

May we all continue to pray for everyone involved.

Okay I am off my soapbox

I love you all with the love of Christ in me!

Have a blessed rest of your day!

 

 

Sleep Won’t Come

August 23, 2019, 2:51 AM

I tried to close my eyes,
I tried to shut down but my mind is still humming,
but sleep won’t come.

My mind wonders and worries about things that I can’t control
I give them to God, but I keep picking them like my soul can’t be consoled
Because sleep won’t come.

When I close my eyes, the images from the day’s events won’t let my mind shut down
There is a soundtrack in my head that plays a familiar sound
But sleep won’t come.

Most of the time it is that God loves me, and I am enough
But the voice of doubt that keeps me awake at night tries to rebuff
It makes sure that sleep won’t come.

Even though I know that God will see me through and Jesus is on my side,
I sometimes feel as if I am going through the motions and my mind is misapplied
Because sleep won’t come.

Even though I feel botched, bungled, mishandle, misunderstood, I still go on
I don’t give up no matter what the enemy throws at me, my mind is tired
Yet sleep still won’t come.

HIS light, that’s the light of the world, is always shining upon me.
I am a light in the midst of the darkness,
But still…sleep won’t come.

Rest is fleeting, and I am fatigued.,
But still… sleep won’t come, but nevertheless, I am intrigued.

Because I remember… “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

DUu2o40X4AUvpZs

I will come to you Lord and seek the rest that you give.
I will go on, and I will continue to live the life that you want me to live.

I will rest in you LORD, and I will continue to seek YOUR face.
I won’t grow weary because I am covered my YOUR amazing grace.

I have prayed, and now I will close my eyes and trust in Your Lord

Finally, my sleep will be restored

And yes, REST will finally come.

Purging my Life 5.1 Purging the House: Making my House into a Home “Taking the Plunge”

August 9, 2019

After all, that I have mentioned in previous posts, you would not believe that my home was my toughest area to purge. I would please ask that this become a no-judgment zone because you can’t imagine what we were going through to function every day.  This area is tough for me to write about, probably because for me, it brought me the most shame. I was embarrassed that I let my home get into this condition. However, I did learn through my therapist that this is normal when you are grieving such a significant loss. There was no need for shame and condemnation, and I was taking action!

Purging and organizing was a huge deal and a significant overhaul for us, so I will break this up into parts, showing before and after going room by room after I introduce you to our Dream Team.

A House vs. A Home

There is a big difference between a house and a home.  Merriam –Webster stats the proper definition for a house is, “a building that serves living quarters for one or a few families.” The description for home is, “one’s place of residence, a social unit formed by a family living together.”  Those are excellent definitions, but, I believe that a house is somewhere you live, you sleep there, but it feels like a residence, dwelling, domicile, somewhere you exist. A home is a family.  It is warm, inviting, and it is your refuge, your oasis.  It should be your escape from the real world.  When you walk into your home, you should feel joy, love, and warmth.  My house was nothing like that.  I knew I had to make a change in my home life when I wanted to spend more time at work or more time away instead of going home.

I would come home every evening and sigh.  This house was not my haven, and it was not my escape. It was my prison. There was a room in my home that we called the “Man Cave” that looked like Michael had just left and was going to return any day.  He kept that room immaculate and always told us when he left to go TDY to keep his room together.  We all loved to hang out down there.   At first, that room was comforting, and we all felt closer to him when we were in there, then it became overwhelming.  Other areas of our home were disorganized, nothing had a place, and we needed a change, and we needed to purge.

Before: Man Cave Pictures

Turning Point

I started by deciding that it was time for me to do something with all of Michael’s things.  I held on for two years, trying time after time to clean out my closet.  Deep down, I knew that he was not coming back, but when I decided to start, I would get overwhelmed, start crying, and then walk out of the room. I knew It had to be done but, I was paralyzed, and I could not do it.  No matter how much I wanted to or how hard I tried to do this, I could not! I needed help.

One-day months later, I was finally able to pack up all of most of Michael’s clothes and donate them.  We have a free garage sale in our town called “God’s Open Closet,” ran by the Fortress of Faith Church,

GodsCloset
2700 Wilson Ave, Leavenworth, Kansas
If you live in my area…
The ministry of God’s Open Closet is to provide clothes, coats, household items, and furniture to anyone who has a need. Individuals who come are never asked for personal or financial information.

Items are donated by local families, churches and from area garage sales. Tax-deductible receipts are available upon request. To donate: bring items Saturday mornings or call (913) 683-3953, (913) 682-6779, or (913) 704-6033.   Hours: Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon. Closed the 3rd Saturday of each month and Holiday weekends. Subject to weather conditions January to March.

You can donate what you do not need (in good conditions), and they give them away to the community.  I know that Michael is pleased to know that someone in need was able to use his clothes and shoes; this made it easier for me.  That was a big step in moving forward for me, but there was still more to be done.

Moving Forward

For me to move forward, I needed not to let go but discover MY way to embrace my new normal, and I knew that this was one of the areas I needed to conquer.  It is not about erasing what was it is about remembering all that was, what I have learned, how I have grown and built upon the strength that the Lord has given me to stand in my current life.  I had no choice but to move forward because time was not waiting for me.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that God has things planned for me, for my future, and I needed to learn how to embrace my past and also embrace my future.
I love you all

Have a blessed and Amazing Day

Yes, I Have Changed, Wouldn’t You?

July 23, 2019

 

Yep, I sure have changed.  

You cannot go through and experience what I have experienced without changing.  Change can be good and I think that my changes are wonderful, but some may think otherwise. Guess what… Not my problem.  I will continue to love you, but I must continue to live for me.  Those who truly love me understand that and continue to stand in my corner and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  

You must understand that deep grief and depression will change you and challenge your existence in this world.  When you have to fight the enemy so hard just to exist… you change. You do not come out of the battle the same.  There are some scars.  

When I say that I have changed, I mean that God has made me stronger, resilient, and I realize that I can do more than survive.  I can live! By any means necessary I will live. 

Let me tell you this if I continue to not only get up out of my bed every morning but also have pure joy in my heart and my soul, those days are all very good days.  I am happy to report the most days are now very good days! 

08acc946466df455040f11447dd0b69a

You see I have to change to adapt to the world I am living in, in my present state.  Now before you say, “You do not suppose to change to fit into the world.”  I am not changing to fit the world I am adjusting to my circumstances.  I can no longer afford to be the Lolita I used to be. Financially, physically, or emotionally, my points of views have changed.  Let me explain:  I wear glasses, so it is as if I am looking through my eyes and everything is blurry and unclear, but I have worn this same prescription for years. However, now since my vision as changed so does my prescription.  My prescription had to be adjusted to adapt to the new changes in my eyes. My vision is very different than it was this time three years ago. This time three years ago I lived with a different set of circumstances, responsibilities, and hopes, which I still have but they are now different because I am different.  

I am continually evolving into something new. God is doing something wonderful in me!  God is leading me down a new and different direction, a new path, and I am trying to follow his lead.  The Lord knows His daughter, and I may not do everything to his specifications but I am trying.  I am still a beautiful masterpiece, yet I am still a work in progress, God is not through with me yet.  

I love you all!!
Have a Wonderful and Amazing Morning!

7a5ff4f620de51cdb0b3be5b4f58326c

There was an old song we used to sing in the choir when I was younger, by the Rev. James Cleveland;

Please be patient with me, 
God is not through with me yet.

Please be patient with me, 
God is not through with me yet.

When God gets through with me,
when God gets through with me,
I shall come forth,
I shall come forth like pure gold.

If you should see me and 
I’m not walking right,
and if you should hear me 
and I’m not talking right;
Please remember what God has done for me,
When He goes through with me, 
I’ll be what He wants me to be.

 

Please Be Patient With Me “God Is Not Through with Me Yet”

 

Okay, I had one of those white blouses with the ruffles in the video!! It was a choir requirement! LOL

***Video and Picture courtesy of Youtube[Merlin] The Malaco Music Group (on behalf of Malaco Records); Peermusic, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., and 2 Music Rights Societies

(James Clevland and Albertina Walker)

Purging my Life 4: Physically Purging the house and the body Body Purge/ Heart Matters

July 18, 2019

The Body

I am still developing this area; it is a work in progress.  This is a two-step process for me.  One involves the heart the other involves the physical body. There will be more to come on the physical body.  I am working on my plan to become physically healthy.  My daughter and I are adopting the Keto Diet and an exercising program.  I am doing the meal prep and she is coordinating our exercise program.  I will make sure to keep you updated on our progress and what we are doing, and how we are doing.  Y’all keep praying for me! (lol)

The Heart

Now the matters of the heart are different altogether.  Shortly after Michael’s transition in 2016, I had a talk with my Pop, (Pop Skipp), and he told me not to close off my heart. I asked him what did he mean by that because surely he did not mean what I was thinking.  He did.  He said that Michael would not want me to be alone and that he would want me to be happy. I told him I know but that would never happen, ever! It was the furthest thing from my mind.  Actually, I told one of my brothers at church that God would have to put someone right in front of me for that to happen. This will have to wait for another blog post discussion at a later date. (Smile)

Matters of the heart involve more than just the love of another person.  Yes, that is very important; because we all desire the need to be wanted and loved but matters of the heart also include your passions.  What you are passionate about should fuel your heart, encourage you, and stimulate you to move forward.  This was a time that I used to work on myself.

Life-Long Goal #1: Bachelor’s Degree

Despite the enemy’s rude accusations and intrusion in my life, in 2017 I DID finish a lifelong dream that he said I could never accomplish!

I completed my Undergraduate Degree!

From the time that I had to leave school in the ’80s, I have always had the desire to finish my degree.  I grew up in Highland Park Michigan in a small town surrounded by the Detroit Metro area, with my cousins, the Heaths.  My Grandmother’s married last name was Shaw, but she was born in Warrington GA. Yes, she is the one who taught me how to cook.

I had been in school from 2008 to 2017!  So yes, I was discouraged and especially then because I seriously doubted myself.  I was very close in In May of 2016, but due to Michael declining health, I decided to take a break. This was important for me because I wanted to be there fully for him as his caregiver.

In January 2017 a few months after his transition, I thought I was ready. You know the enemy was waiting on me! I enrolled in classes and I started getting anxious, and the thoughts came that I was not ready, I could not do this, and I was going to fail. I dropped the classes I and I had succumbed to defeat. Nevertheless, we serve an awesome GOD that does not give up on us that easily!

A few weeks later, my academic advisor called me, and he noticed that I had dropped out of classes for this session.  His exact words were, “I know you are having a rough time and dealing with many things right now. But I wanted you to know that you only need 3 elective classes to graduate” I said “What!” He said, “Yes ma’am you only need three classes and they are electives to receive your diploma” Let me tell you taking two online classes in an 8-week period is not an easy task and I needed to take three!  However, was determined to finish!

One of the last conversations I had with Michael was about school, and how much it was costing and how long I had been going. He said “Lita, I don’t care about all of that, I just want you to finish” I pushed and prayed through those 8 weeks and on May 15, 2017, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies!

 

I am finally a college graduate!! GOD IS GOOD!!

Life-Long Goal #2: Membership

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a part of a Sorority, but not just any sorority.  I admired different women in my life that were members of this organization for years.  I knew to be a part of a group of strong, extraordinary, educated women; I needed to step up my game. I did not just watch from the shadows, I continued life.  I worked in my church and my community among many of these women.  They are already my friends and sisters.

On January 13, 2018, I went to a meeting to gather more information and to let it be known that I was interested in starting the application process for membership into their organization.  After receiving all of the necessary information, I began to gather my own documents and information needed for the application.  Once I completed the application process, I waited and prayed hoping that I was among those selected to be granted the opportunity to seek membership into this illustrious organization.  I finally received a call that I was selected, and I was ecstatic!!  My 13 line sisters and I entered into an exhilarating, enlightening, and knowledgeable process, and on April 15, one day shy of what would have been my 30th wedding anniversary; I fulfilled a lifelong dream we were granted membership into the greatest sorority on the planet, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Even though it was the day before what was our wedding anniversary, this day turned out remarkable!  Here I was still healing and dealing with my grief, anger, sadness, and depression.  Thinking about what could have been and once again, God showed up and gave me a new reason to celebrate during this period.  It could have been a week before or a week earlier, but it was the same week.  (God’s divine plan) From that day on this time from in April will NOT be a source of sorrow and regret it will be a time of reflection, remembrance, and celebration.  I will always remember April 16th but I will celebrate the time that I gain not only 13 new sisters, but I also became a part of a worldwide sisterhood.

I was doing more than learning to survive in this new phase, this new chapter of my life, I was learning to live.  I am stepping out into new horizons and experiencing things I have never experienced before. I have people who love and encourage me to be myself and not to fear what God has in store for me.

Someone very special told me “I could do anything I put my mind to do.”

 

I am stepping out on faith and giving this new chapter in my life a try. Does it terrify me to think about putting my heart and myself out there after 30 years? YES, it does.  Nevertheless, it is all a part of the process of moving forward.

FAITH OVER FEARimg_1181

I am activating God’s plan for the rest of my life.  I am plugging into what he has already instilled in me.  I may not have known what the future holds but God did, and HE has prepared me for it, and I am ready for whatever HE has in store for me next. Chapter 2 is underway.

I love you all!

Be at peace & Have a Beautifully & Blessed Day!