What a Pain…

There are some moments in life that are going to really really really hurt.

what a pain

And I don’t just mean hurt like that moment when you break your freshly manicured nail, or when your favorite garment is destroyed by a negligent attendant at the dry cleaners. I’m talking about a moment more gut wrenching than breaking up with a lover, or having a heated argument with a friend that forces you into ‘silent treatment’ mode. If you are even remotely meticulous or sensitive – you know how excruciating each of those examples can be. But this pain is deeper.

My friend, I am talking about the moments in life when things get so dark… so bleak… so heavy… so confusing… so…bad… that the only thing you will able to do is crumble cry. I am talking about moments when you will actually hear and feel your heart break and ricochet against your chest cavity. There are points along this walk where you will get tired of being the strong one. You will get tired of being brave and keeping on a stern and convincing poker face. You will get tired of being the leaning post for everyone, and all you will want to do is drop everything and let yourself have a moment of weakness. I’ve been there. (And truthfully, in some ways, I am there)… It is inevitable. The promise of life is that there will be some bountiful, beautiful, rolling hills…. and conversely, there will be some deep, dark, scary, seemingly eternal valleys. We must experience both – and there is no way around it. Because, lets be honest… We would never EVER truly appreciate sunny days if we had not longed for them during the rainy ones. I can remember being a little girl, and the devastation I would feel sitting at the window while it rained. It wasn’t that there weren’t fun things to do inside, but I wanted SUNSHINE! But on the days when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, chances are I would never truly be grateful… until, of course, the next time it rained. And such is the cycle of our life. WE love the sunshine when it rains – but we forget that RAIN MAY NOT BE FUN, BUT IT’S FUNDAMENTAL! We need it, even though it’s inconvenient and messy.

BUT! I came across a scripture that reminds me of the temporal nature of these painful moments, and it helped me to remember why resilience is key.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

You may face a lot of things in life, but as a child of God you will NEVER face destruction. Yes you will be hurt. Yes you will suffer. Yes you will cry. But you know what else you will do… you will triumph in ways that will blow your natural mind. Focus your sights on things above, and do your best to work through the bad days. There is a miracle coming your way that will make every tear, every rain drop and every painful moment ALL worth it!

It’s raining now, but Here’s the Truth: Your sun is about to shine.

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Talk to yourself.

You have the God Given ability to talk yourself INTO and OUT OF absolutely ANYTHING! I don’t care if it’s depression, oppression, sadness or guilt. The power is in your mouth!

Whenever you are feeling beaten down or discouraged, find the nearest mirror and TALK TO YOURSELF! Tell yourself that you know exactly who you are…. And how valuable you know you are to yourself AND those around you. Don’t get locked up in external validation…. Don’t wait for accolades from anyone. Be your own cheerleader, and holler your way into winning the game.

I’m not telling you to do something that I haven’t done. It’s written on my bathroom mirror – and I say it to myself everyday… Steph, you’re amazing and priceless. Replace my name with your own and REALLY BELIEVE IT! It will become second nature, and soon… No one will be able to convince you of anything less.

It may seem crazy to others but
Here’s the Truth: Sometimes you have to talk to YOURSELF!

With love.
Stephanie

A Worm With Wings

Since my childhood, I have had a major affinity for butterflies. My heart would skip a beat if suddenly one fluttered by. However, I was never driven to disrupt it’s travels because I knew somewhere inside that it was better off being admired and not confined. As I have grown into adulthood, that love for them has also grown – and now not only do I admire their beauty, but I admire their irreversible process; from the unpopular caterpillar to the captivating butterfly.

Read this very carefully: If they do not appreciate you as a WORM, they cannot truly appreciate your WINGS!

These types of messages are often misread as bitter or unforgiving but that is not the case. By all means, if you have I’ll feelings in your heart toward someone, release the feelings AND THEM IF NEED BE! This is about knowing your worth, and being brutally honest with yourself about the fact that not everyone around you truly does. And that’s ok….. Because it doesn’t take away from your plan to fly!

You may have had people walk out of the caterpillar stages of your life. You may have been cast aside because you had to crawl before you could soar. You may feel less appealing because you’re not showing pretty colors yet. It’s all ok, my friend. Allow God to build a cocoon around you and begin the metamorphosis!!! That cocoon may be a circle of supportive friends. It may be a romantic interest. It may be Gods love all by itself. Whatever the case may be, be open to it so that you can spring forth! And when you do, be nice to those who forgot you – your beauty will be a better revenge than anything else. You made your mark as a caterpillar … It’s time for you to take flight!!

Here’s the truth: If they cannot appreciate you as a WORM, they cannot truly appreciate your WINGS!

With love.
Stephanie

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Faith to FOCUS

Pounce: (of an animal or bird of prey); spring or swoops suddenly so as to catch prey.

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Take note of the look in her eyes… Her posture… She is gorgeous, sleek, mysterious – and completely unbothered by whatever could possibly be going on around her. As a feline, he reflexes are quick and precise…. her eyesight is sharp and clear… She misses no movement and is aware of every sound. But she only sees one thing, and that one thing – her prey – outweighs anything else happening in her space. She doesn’t have to think about being focused, she just does it. Sometime for us, it takes a little more.

It takes faith to focus! When your eyes are fixed on something in front of you, and you hear a rustling somewhere else in your vicinity, it takes faith to believe that what you’re focused on will be worth ignoring what else you hear/feel.
If you are walking home late at night, typically you are focused on getting safely to your door. If you hear bushes moving or a noise from behind a trash can, being distracted can significantly increase the danger. It takes faith to believe that though something can STARTLE you, it cannot STOP you!

Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Here’s the Truth: It takes FAITH to FOCUS!

With love.
Stephanie

A New Sheriff In Town

I have never been really big on country western movies… The whole boots and spurs thing has always been slightly entertaining, but not enough to make me an actual fan. But! I would always love to see that one scene – you know the one I’m taking about… The handsome sheriff dismounts his shiny, strong horse. His clothes are perfect, clean and starched. The brim of his hat casts just enough of a shadow over his eyes to make him mysterious, yet shows enough of his face to make you feel safe. The sun hits his star shaped badge just right and it glares like a flame…. Everything stops, and you know (even in his silence) that he mean business. And in the midst of whatever chaos was brewing before he stepped on the scene, with his arrival alone – he demands respect. And it is given to him!

That same authority has been given to us concerning our own lives! Backed by the authority of Jesus Christ, we are able to ride into ANY circumstance, no matter how chaotic it might seem, and DEMAND that all things come subject to the power of God in our lives! Philippians 4:13 states clearly that “I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ that strengthens me”…. Meaning that THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING THAT YOU CAN FACE THAT YOU CANNOT ALSO OVERCOME!

If it’s addiction, arrest it! Abuse? Arrest it! Low self esteem? Arrest it! Anger? Hatred? Malice? Gossip? Debt? Frustration? Stagnation? Confusion? Lust? Bitterness? Laziness? Procrastination? ARREST IT!! Flash your badge of salvation, read your situation it’s rights which can be found in the word of God and PLACE YOUR PROBLEMS UNDER ARREST!!! It has no authority over you!

I don’t know who was running things before but HERE’S THE TRUTH: There’s a NEW SHERIFF in town!

With love.
Stephanie

Live it UP!

“You just won’t let me live that down!”

This is the phrase that “guilty” people often use when someone consistently brings up a mistake that they made, or a portion of their reputation that is unsavory. Like that time you got really drunk on that night out with your friends, or that span of time when all you did was make impulsive and foolish decisions just because you felt like it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean guilty as in condemned. I mean guilty as in, you actually did what people are talking about – but you never fully became it. Sure you told some lies, but you’re not a liar….. Stuff like that. Make sense? Good!

You all are reading this because you trust that these words are going to be honest, true and transparent. And they will be. There are SEVERAL THINGS that I have yet to live down. And though most of them are wrong, I am not condemned because I have repented to God for my actions and by way of scripture I’ve been redeemed. Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. To simplify, I was caught, charged and I went to trial – but didn’t have to serve any time. God as the ultimate judge was merciful and acquitted me. And my friend, He can do that for you…. No matter WHAT you’re guilty of. All you have to do is accept Him into your heart, believe without a doubt that He can redeem you and confess verbally that He’s your savior. Simple. And yet the most important decision you will ever make!! And if you know Jesus as your personal savior, but you’ve fallen away – there’s hope for you too! Repent and ask Him to help you turn from whatever vices have come between your relationship. He will. Ask me how I know.

Listen. There are going to be LOTS OF MISTAKES MADE ALONG THE WAY. Salvation doesn’t mean perfection. It means having faith, as imperfect people, in a perfect God. Here’s the Truth: Don’t worry about living it DOWN. You have been redeemed… So Live It UP!!

With love.
Stephanie

The Help

We are selfish by nature. I know that’s a but harsh and blunt, and I’m sorry……. You know what? Eh, not really. Because it’s true… Our needs take precedence in our minds, and we want them met by any means necessary. What makes us “good people” though, is that most times we do not reach those extremes where we demolish everything in our way to get what we want. Instead, we find ways to deal with specific means going unmet; with the hopes that at least some sort of happy medium is achieved. However – there comes a time when we must cast our own needs aside FULLY and be “The Help”.

From time to time, we have to pick up our trusty phones and dial the phone number of those around us to check in on them. Not because we want something, but because we genuinely care. We must send those emails, text messages, and make those house calls to show the people we love that it’s more than just words. <em>Love is a verb. Actions have to follow at some point.

We take our heroes for granted because we only see them strong. They always appear with their cape on, so we assume that their strength is impenetrable. It isn’t. Some of the strongest people in the WORLD have given up hope on life… They’ve drowned in their misery and sadly, some have left us to live without them. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP! CHECK ON YOUR HEROES.

You can change someone’s day, or even their life just by showing a little concern. You can impact someone by letting them know that they were worth your thoughts. You can be the reason why someone decides to keep going….. Yes. You. It doesn’t take much…. Just a moment.

You may feel like you’re not qualified to make a difference but Here’s the truth (say it to yourself): I can’t HELP but to help you. It’s in my DNA.

With Love.
Stephanie

To my Readers

Hello my wonderful readers. Please forgive my absence. I was afforded an amazing opportunity recently to be a part of a stage play and it was a rigorous schedule. I have to be honest – it was a dream come true for me and I had a great time. I’ll be back to my schedule by tomorrow once I handle a few more things, but I wanted to let you all know I haven’t forgotten about you all.

With ALL my love.
Stephanie

You’re so EXTRA

I have the worst road rage of many people that I know. Seriously. I yell, gesture, and I’ve even been known as the girl to jump out at a red light and confront whatever driver I’m upset with. Dangerous and dumb, I know. Don’t judge me. Most times I don’t care (very much) if people are contentious drivers and choose to drive at a glacial pace. But the people who are aggressive? The ones who cut me off to catch a light, or swerve around me in the fast lane? Those are the ones that grind my gears. But why? They saw an opportunity to get ahead of me, and because I was not quite as aggressive, I was left at the red light watching them drive off to whatever destination beckoned to them.

In life when we do MORE or BETTER than those around us, it can make for some sore feelings. If you are multitalented amongst a group of friends/relatives/coworkers who do not see a need to hone any of the crafts that they have been given, it can make you seem “extra” or over the top. Especially if you are confident in those talents and display them at will.

I am giving you permission to be extra……ordinary. That’s right. You’re not a show off. You’re not being “extra” or obnoxious. You are extraordinary and you need not feel bad about that. It’s hard being good at a lot of things. But you know what’s harder? Denying that you’re a wonderful creation with considerable gifts and abilities. God made you this way – do not ever apologize for it. Especially if you’re apologizing to anyone who is sitting on their own potential.

Here’s the truth: Never let someone who doing NOTHING make you feel like you’re doing TOO MUCH!

With love.
Stephanie

Spilled Milk

Today’s post will be short and sweet because the point I’m trying to make is incredibly concise.

Take responsibility for what you do!

If you have hurt someone or damaged a relationship, take the responsibility. You don’t have to be condemned for the rest of your life, especially if you’ve asked God AND the victim for forgiveness. However, do not allow your pride to make you victimize yourself unlawfully.

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean that people will take you back or rekindle the connection. That is a consequence, and we have all had to face them from time to time. But if it was our fault, we don’t get to be angry at them for deciding to love without us. I’ve been there – feeling like because I was sorry, I deserved chances. It doesn’t alway work that way unfortunately… And that’s ok. Why? Because people have a right to protect their own heart. All we can do is hope to do better as we go forward in life.

Here’s the Truth: There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Especially if YOU spilled it. #OwnIt