It’s Never Okay!

ImageToday I have the privilege to speak at an event entitled “Girls & Golf.” They topic is dating violence.

This subject is not easy to talk about but it’s definitely necessary. Unfortunately our girls are engaging in dating and other things much younger than their mothers and grandmothers did.

I played with dolls until I was 14 years old and loved every minute of it.

 But these days, dolls are traded for boyfriends. That’s not all bad as long as we take time to educate our girls and consequences of rushing into relationships with boys when neither of them are ready.

 I was 15 when I met my boyfriend. It started off great, just kids hanging out playing and chasing the ice cream truck down the street.

Unfortunately it turned into something that I could not have imagined.

I remember the first time it turned into a physically abusive relationship. His mom and friends were there but no one did anything to stop him from putting his hands on me. It was an unfortunate incident and as soon as it occurred I knew it was wrong. I picked myself up out of the grass and went home. I didn’t speak with him for a couple of days and eventually he had one of his friends call me. I told him how wrong he was and that I wouldn’t be with someone who put their hands on me. I sounded convincing and even believed what I said but what was lacking in my life allowed me to forget the words I had just uttered.

Once I spoke with him, his charm kicked in and convenient amnesia took over and I was right back at his house.  Little did I know that that one act would send me down a spiral for the next 10 years.

We have to know our worth. We need to know we are not a punching bag for someone to work out their frustration. We are not garbage who can be treated, talked to and mocked. We need to recognize what love looks like and that a closed fist or open hand doesn’t constitute love. Love does not come with black eyes, emotional abuse or self doubt.

Today I know my worth but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the past that has occurred. However, instead of letting my past defeat me, I choose to share my story so that others may identify and know that something better is out there.

I had to learn that it was better to be alone than to be hurt physically and mentally. There is more to me than that and I desire more.  I also learned that it’s okay to say you love that person but it’s best to love them from afar.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, seek help today. There are so many organizations out there. I volunteer at CHOICES domestic violence shelter. They are an awesome organization making a difference in the community by protecting and educating women.

Resources:

http://choicescolumbus.org/

http://www.ohiolegalservices.org/public/domestic-violence/ohio_domestic_violence_resource_center/

http://www.feminist.org/911/crisis.html   

NMB! is built with tears, pain, loss, bruises and frustration but stands firm on the promises and foundation of Jesus Christ.

If you desire to be around like minded individuals who are just trying to make it just like you,  join us at No More Bandages! women’s ministry. We meet the first Wednesday of each month, 6-7pm, Refuge Temple Church, 555 Moler St, Columbus, Oh 43207

We also have “Breakfast Chat” on the first Saturday of the month, 10-11:30 am, Franklinton Library, 1061 W. Town Street, Columbus, Oh 43222. Bring your breakfast with you and let’s talk about today’s issues that you may be facing.

For more information visit us at http://www.nomorebandages.com

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Better Days ARE Ahead!

All of us have a teImagendency to hang on to things we don’t need; and things we don’t need tend to hang on to us. Whether it’s bad relationships, depression, stress, worry, anxiety or toxic friends, we have a hard time letting go.

On No More Bandages! Facebook page I started “Claim It Monday.”

We put God’s word to the test and begin speaking and claiming what we need in our lives. We make the declarative statement of “whatever I need, I will get it today.”

Last Monday our claim was “letting it go.”

For me it’s my past. Last week’s blog I spoke about how my past and present continue to collide and I have to let it go. I can’t change the past so what’s the point in worrying myself to death over it.   

God’s word promises so much but we have to stand on it and put it into practice.

Claim it Monday gets us thinking about what we need/desire/want and allows us to stand on faith and speak it.

We want to put on a happy face and pretend that all is right in our little world. But the reality is, we are broken and shattered. But remember, you being shattered is exactly why we have Jesus. His word says we are to cast our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7). So instead of faking it, we can go to him in a real way.

Tears in our eyes

Every hair out of place

No makeup

 Just the REAL you standing before your REAL father

 He already knows what we’re going through but we have to step out on faith and come to him just as we are. Watch what he will do with those shattered and broken pieces. He is the healer, deliverer, doctor and everything in between.

I am a living witness to his power of healing and deliverance. It doesn’t mean I don’t have struggles, it just means that I do my best to run straight to him when those struggles decide they wanna take over.

I know I say it often but, don’t give up. Please don’t give up. Some may think they are fine and have no worries and if that is you then that’s awesome. But maybe there is someone around you who may be down. Maybe they have reached out to you but you don’t know how to respond. It’s your responsibility to intercede on their behalf. Maybe they’re not strong enough so it’s up to you to take them to God in prayer.  Do your part so they may find the same peace and happiness as you have found. 

If you are still struggling, I touch and agree with you this morning. I pray for you and you pray for me. That’s the only way we can become victorious.

There are better days ahead, you just have to endure the storm a little longer. But remember you are not alone in this storm. God is right beside you every step of the way.

So again I say don’t give up. Those better days are just around the corner.

NMB! is built with tears, pain, loss, bruises and frustration but stands firm on the promises and foundation of Jesus Christ.

If you desire to be around like minded individuals who are just trying to make it just like you,  join us at No More Bandages! women’s ministry. We meet the first Wednesday of each month, 6-7pm, Refuge Temple Church, 555 Moler St, Columbus, Oh 43207

We also have “Breakfast Chat” on the first Saturday of the month, 10-11:30 am, Franklinton Library, 1061 W. Town Street, Columbus, Oh 43222. Bring your breakfast with you and let’s talk about today’s issues that you may be facing.

For more information visit us at http://www.nomorebandages.com

 

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Head On Collision!

ImageIt’s amazing to me how my past and present continue to collide with one another.

I’m going along living in my present and my past will creep around the corners of my mind and attempt to drag me back there.

No matter how hard I try to ignore the past it still has some sort of hold on me. It affects my attitude, my feelings and my day as if it were my present condition.

I think I know how Mr. Scrooge felt when you’re just trying to go about your business and the ghost of Christmas past says, “hey remember me, come look at this!”

I turn my back on it and it grabs me and spins me around until I am out of control.

So, how far do I need to run to get away? How much present can I get before my past has no say so or fades away?

I’m thinking if I had amnesia then I wouldn’t be able to remember any of it. If I couldn’t remember my past, my present would be so much better. I think over and over again that I just need to write my past that Dear John letter to let it know we’re breaking up. I don’t like you or want you around me anymore.

Or perhaps a nice big iron skillet! You know the one your grandmother used to cook with. I could have someone sneak up behind me and give my head a swift pounding. I bet that would do it. Although just my luck I would wake up with a headache and more memories resurfacing.

So I’m doomed to live out my present while remembering my past.

Perhaps my past isn’t all bad.

I do have an awesome testimony. I can speak on the deliverance power of God. I can walk stronger and taller than ever before.

Maybe that’s the point of it all. Maybe I keep getting those invasions of memories to remind me just how far I’ve come. I suppose instead of fighting against my past I can just embrace it and be thankful that I am no longer there.

My present is beautiful. My past is experience.

My present is remarkable. My past is deliverance.

I will never embrace my past but I will embrace what I’ve learned. I will embrace the scars that made me the person today. I will embrace the fact that although I may have a few bandages left to be removed, I will never allow my past to interfere with my today.  I will learn from it but will never relinquish my joy, strength and happiness to it.

If you have something in your past that continues to haunt you, remember that you aren’t there anymore. God delivered you and now your past is simply a reminder of how awesome God really is.

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Can I really forgive?

Image

Why is forgiveness so important?

Do I have it in me to forgive?

They don’t deserve my forgiveness!

 

Have these questions ever come across your mind? If you are like most, they have.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting an awesome woman with a powerful testimony. We had a one on one No More Bandages! session about her struggle to forgive. It was a power conversation that God orchestrated.

We know that forgiveness is never easy and it often appears as something so impossible to accomplish. The Bible says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25). We must forgive in order to be forgiven. We come to God on a daily basis asking for forgiveness, but it’s much harder to forgive those who have hurt us. Some have been hurt so deep that it feels as though there is no coming back from it.

When you are hurt by someone you may wonder why they did what they did to you. Or you may want them to understand how bad they hurt you. Others may desire vengeance.

One thing I’ve realized is, that person may never care or even acknowledge what they did to you. That’s a tough fact, but it’s true. However, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. Forgiveness releases you from the pain and suffering of those tragic events.

Sometimes we think if we forgive then we are saying what they did was okay. But really what it says is, you hurt me but I am not going to give this thing any more power or control over me.  Remember, forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process and it starts with a desire to forgive. Once you have that desire, God can take care of the rest.

If you are struggling with forgiveness today, that’s okay. If you have been struggling for 5, 10, or even 20 years, that’s okay too. Just continue to do all you can to find forgiveness because it’s important to forgive, if nothing else, for your own sanity. Go to God and tell him you have a desire to forgive. Tell him you don’t know how to forgive but you want to. That basic desire alone will start the process in you. God knows your heart and he also knows the hurt. Allow him to get inside to work on your healing.  In the meantime, do your part as well. Take some time to be selfish so you can work on you. If you have to separate yourself from this person for a season then do so. If you need to find a counselor so you can talk, do it today. Do whatever you have to do to heal completely.

Trust me, one day you will wake up and see that it’s all behind you and you are free. It’s a long road ahead but God can do anything if you let him.

If it’s forgiveness or other areas you are struggling with, join us at No More Bandages! women’s ministry. We meet the first Wednesday of each month, 6-7pm, Refuge Temple Church, 555 Moler St, Columbus, Oh 43207

We also have “Breakfast Chat” on the first Saturday of the month, 10-11:30 am, Franklinton Library, 1061 W. Town Street, Columbus, Oh 43222. Bring your breakfast with you and let’s talk about today’s issues that women are facing.

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It’s Time to Turn the Page

ImageDay after day…month after month…year after year…

I’m so tired of the routine of life. I need something to change. It’s time out for mundane, I’m ready for awesome!

So who do I complain to? My husband? Friends? God?

How about none of the above. After all, my complacency has nothing to do with them.

Some days I think I’m on the right track, and then there are other days where I feel as though I’m stuck in quicksand. I think it’s because the vision I see and the purpose I know God has set before me is occurring way too slowly. I guess I must admit I’m still in a microwave mentality.

One thing I’m ahead of is I do know my purpose. However even outside of my Godly purpose, I desire more from myself and this life I’m living. Is it school or a hobby or maybe I should take up yoga…at any rate, I won’t find completeness until I step out of my comfort zone and begin to see what’s possible on the next page. If I don’t have the courage to turn the page, I’m stuck reliving the same story over and over without ever seeing the happy ending.

I know I’m not the only one who thinks about this. There is a big world out there and it’s okay to have a desire for more than what’s in front of you.

I suppose the advice I would give to myself and others who may feel the same way I do is to make a decision to get up off your butt and start making things happen. Sitting here wishing won’t get you any farther than it did yesterday.   

Maybe you feel as though what you desire is too hard to obtain.

 Maybe it’s happiness, love, or peace of mind you desire? Please know that these things are attainable just like anything else. It all starts within. It’s about having a made up mind. No one can “make” you happy but you. You are the controller of your destiny, moods, etc.  It’s up to you to take the reins and steer into the direction you want it to go.

I’ve found that it’s pointless to complain about something if I’m not doing anything to change it. Today let’s be determined to reach out for the next rung on the ladder so we can go higher. It’s time to turn the page to the next chapter of your life.

Don’t look back and ask, “Why?” Look ahead and ask, “Why not?”  When it comes to your dreams and goals, be too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated. –Unknown

I have confidence that you (and I) will get exactly where we need to be. I’m claiming it for each one of us.

Our declaration: I’m taking that first step today and I won’t look back!

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You Are A Conqueror

ImageAt one time or another we have been in a place that felt like hell or very close to it. We go through each day doing what we need to do all the while hanging on to a shred of hope that things will get better.

The bible teaches us to be content in whatever state we are in. While that is definitely true and God’s word, it’s important to remember that being content doesn’t mean you are satisfied with what is going on around you. It simply means you are not accepting or giving in to the situation.

 Never accept or become comfortable in any situation that you know is not your final destination. Although God is in the fire with us, he doesn’t want to see us there any more than we want to be in there. However, while he is in there with us, he is rooting for us to make it out with our faith intact. Remember, you are in hell but hell is not in you.

 Bottom line, you are in your refining period. You are being transformed and all the impurities from your life are being removed. You will emerge better than you ever thought. Don’t let hell control your faith, mood or trust in God. Be and do all you can be. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish in hell. Its just a further testament to how awesome God is.

 When you emerge victorious, be sure go back and thank Jesus for all he has done.

You are more than a conqueror!

 Stacey P. Wilson

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It’s Gratefulness

ImageI woke up this morning feeling so grateful. This life that’s been afforded to me has had many ups and downs but I’m still here. I’ve endured happiness and pain but I know each and every experience has brought me to this life I have today.

Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

I’m always quick to say that I am thankful for the hardship in my past because it has made me the person I am today. My past experiences taught me two things. First, God has a plan for me so all I can do is trust him. Secondly, I was and am stronger than I ever thought.

We never know why we are going through a particular situation, but we have to stand firm knowing that God is in control. It can be hard to relinquish control and give that power to someone else. But if you want to go higher and see your plan come to pass, then you must believe and trust that God has everything already worked out.

Early in my walk with God this scripture has been my foundation. It’s Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

All I can do is trust him completely. Since he knows the whole plan and I don’t, I trust him to lead and guide me exactly where I should go.

As you go throughout the day, weeks and months, remember to be grateful to God because he is working everything for your good. He knows the plans he has set in motion for your life so look at each day as a stepping stone to get you to your end result.

Don’t focus too much on the journey; just keep your eyes on the destination. There is something awesome for you to do. Each day, each smile and even the tears are preparing you for tomorrow.

Continue to focus on all the love and happiness that’s around you. Smile bigger, laugh harder, love deeply. Embrace today for what it is. It’s getting you one step closer to fulfilling your destiny.

Set an example to those around you and walk with your head held high knowing that nothing can stop you and the purpose that has been set just for you.

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I Just Wanna Be Free…

PadlockFor everything living there is a natural instinct for freedom. We have no desire to be bound up and confined to four walls. Even the animals in the zoo, if given the opportunity, would jump fences and dig tunnels to be free.  There are many of us with the same thought today, we will kick, scream and fight back just to obtain our freedom.

I often think of the three women who were held captive for over ten years. Even in all those years, you will hear them say they never gave up hope. They wanted to be free. One day they saw an opportunity to be free. Even though they were fearful of the consequences, should they be caught by their capture while trying to escape, they knew freedom lied just on the other side of that door and they took it. I suppose they thought it was better to try than to sit there for one more second.

Most of us may not be in that dire of a situation, but regardless, we are still searching for our freedom.

It could be freedom from a bad relationship, freedom from past situations or circumstances or just to be free from the pain, worry and stress of life.

Revelations 21:4 says He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

God promises this eventually but how do we get that today?

Honestly we will never totally be free from everything we don’t want. As you know, life can be a trip sometimes. What I’m learning these days is that even through all the stress we may be going through, it’s up to us how we deal with it. Life doesn’t go away but how you deal with it makes all the difference.

Unfortunately, some choose the easy way out and commit the ultimate act of suicide. Yes it frees you from life, but that act becomes a burden on family and friends. By committing that act, stress and worry has been passed on to those who loved you.

One quote I’m reminded of is, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except bills and taxes.”

The majority of us will die with some sort of bills, debt, etc. Even those who have all the money in the world, still have to deal with life issues.

So how do I get my freedom? One way to be free is to stop allowing those life issues to be in the forefront of your mind. That may be easier said than done but you can take steps to minimize the focus you put on those areas of your life. Some things come to keep you in bondage but trust me, you can still be free. That freedom simply means you have taken back control. You become free from the grasp it has on you and your life. It’s all in how you look and react to current situations.

A few months ago I felt as though I would die. Stress and anxiety were eating me alive. I couldn’t focus on anything else. I got to a point where all I could do was ask for prayer. No one could free me but God. Some of those things I worry about are still there but I’m free from the havoc it was wreaking in my life. I gained strength.

You hold the key to being free. Whatever you have to do to be free is up to you. Take walks, pray, meditate, breathe, talk to a counselor and sometimes just saying no will give you all the freedom in the world.

You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of you first. If there are stressors you are causing in your life, step back and look at the big picture. Sometimes that includes asking the hard questions:

  • Does this person belong in my life? Do they encourage or hinder my well-being?
  • Is this the only job out there?
  • Do I really have to…?

And you may even have to point the finger at yourself:

  • Am I uplifting myself or allowing negative thoughts to enter my mind?
  • What can I be doing differently so I don’t allow the pressures of life to take its toll on me?

Throw negativity right out the window – negative people, thoughts, etc. Take your freedom into your own hands. Sometimes you have to grab it and run. I finally had a made up mind. I refused to spend one more day in misery. Plus stress can kill you and I just wasn’t ready to be taken out of here.

Please do whatever you can to be free. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Fight for your freedom, whatever it may be. You’re worth it and once you realize it, no person or anything else will stop you.

You’re blessed! spw

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Where do you want to go today?

If you had a choice of wheImagere you would go today, what would you choose?

A nice beach…a far away island…somewhere/anywhere far away from here.

Some of us sit and dream of better days. We are tired of the day to day life and long for something more fulfilling and happier. We long for more.

Did you know that all you desire is right out there waiting for you?

So instead of sitting and dreaming about what you wish you had or what you thought you wanted, get up and go get it. Nike has it right with its “just do it” slogan. And you will hear others say “don’t talk about it be about it.”

It’s time to take your life into your own hands. God’s purpose for us is that we prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). He not only wants you spiritually connected to him, but he wants you to have all that you desire in life. You deserve the world but it’s not going to come and drop right into your lap. You have to go out there and get it.

 Perhaps you are unhappy right now. Things aren’t going exactly as you would like them to. So what do you do? Do you moan and complain OR are you taking your happiness into your own hands. Happiness is an emotion and we can be happy and sad within the same minute. But if happiness is what you seek, then it’s up to you. It is no one’s responsibility but yours to make you happy. Plus that’s a pretty big weight to put on someone else’s shoulders.

If you are broken then fix you. Don’t wait on the next great preacher to come lay hands on you. Lay hands on yourself! You have the same God within you.

If you need more money, then go get it. Trust me when I say it is rare that you will win the lottery or even open the mailbox and a check will be there to wipe away all your worries. If your job isn’t paying enough then apply for a new job, go back to school, get a trade or degree and work your way up.

 If you are hurting and in pain, it’s time to speak to that pain. It’s time to acknowledge it, accept it and do whatever you can to put it behind you. If you need to speak with a counselor, then do it. But it’s up to you to take your life back and take control of your healing and deliverance. God can do anything and he also gave us people who can assist us in getting where we need and want to be.  Just like a travel agent can get you to that island, so can a doctor, counselor, and God himself get you to where you need/want to be emotionally.

Life is not easy.

Let me say it again…

Life is not easy!

It wasn’t meant to be. BUT you have the power and the same God within you to pull you out of whatever you may be going through. He can pull you out of depression, sadness, loneliness and everything else in between. But it all begins with you. You have to want it. You have to believe it and then you have to get up and do it. Do something, anything. Take your life into your own hands and make it better.

 Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

 Helen Keller was blind and deaf and even she realized that her trial and suffering is what strengthened and inspired her. Take your suffering and use it for good. If I had never suffered, I certainly wouldn’t be writing this to you today. I am thankful for everything, good and bad, because it strengthened me and made me an effective witness to God’s deliverance.

 You can do anything you set your mind to. Do you believe that?

So I ask you again, “Where do you want to go today?”

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Stop forcing it!

ImageHave you ever seen the perfect pair of pants hanging on the rack but they were out of your size? What about the cutest pair of shoes? What do you do; do you starve yourself for two days just to be able to button the pants? Do you shove your foot in them anyway and strut through the pain?

What about life? Do you force your way into situations and places that clearly don’t fit you and what you are all about? I know these are a lot of questions, but most of us do just that. Why do we force situations and people instead of allowing things to occur naturally? We begin to rush, push, pull and drag the situation and do our best to make it conform and appear to be just what we want or desire.  If there is even an inkling that it looks like what we want, we don’t weigh the options or look at the whole picture, we just grab on and hold on tight and in the process fooling ourselves that it is just what we want.

God has instilled in us a voice to lead and guide us. However, silent or screaming, we ignore that voice even when it is trying to get us to stop and even run from something that’s not best.

I was dating a guy once and because he was a man and I was a woman, I thought we were suppose to be together. There was signal after signal that clearly this was not the man for me. However, I continued to push and even brought up the possibility of marriage. Was I crazy or just plain nuts? Either way, I was forcing something that had nothing to do with God’s plan. Again, he was a guy and I was a girl. End of story. Time to get married and live “whatever” ever after. I say whatever because it was clear it would not have been “happily” ever after.

Some people are so full of themselves that there will never be enough room for you. There was no way this guy was going to live up to what I needed or desired. First of all, he was not the one selected for me by God. Secondly, he was so full of himself and everything else, that there would never have been enough room for me.

We meet someone and pour out our heart and soul to them. We give them every intimate part of us and yet we get nothing in return. We attempt to force our way into their life and heart even though neither one of those things has any room for us. We cry, whine and complain because this person isn’t being our everything, when in reality, they were never meant to be.

There are varying reasons as to why we do this. Self-esteem, loneliness, insecurities, etc. Each one of them adds up to chaos in our lives. While in the pursuit of someone to fill the void, we lose sight of what is important. That small voice in our mind continues to scream at us but we do so well tuning it out that it becomes a dull whisper and ultimately silent.

Never let your feelings get you stuck in a losing cycle. Never sacrifice your soul and who you are for a cause that, clearly, won’t last. In my quest for companionship I was spirally downward into unhappiness and it cost me my heart and sanity. My only purpose was to avoid being lonely. I would accept mess and call it my boo.  It’s not longer necessary to settle for less.  Enjoy being with you; treat yourself; get to know you. Get all that you desire from life. You deserve the world. If you don’t believe it and strive for it, you will always end up settling for second best.

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