Present. Presents. Presence.

2 Jan

Happy new year, one and all! I genuinely hope you all were able to celebrate with loved ones and joy-filled hearts. For those of you who are normally filled with dread during the holidays (like I sometimes am) I pray that you find peace with whatever may be hurting your hearts still. For others, you may have had family in the hospital, or someone passed away unexpectedly. I pray for healing for you and your families as well. May you all find joy in knowing your loved ones are called  home or will be healed.

I must say, what a year it has been. I’ve gone from stressed to blessed. I have had quite the year of growth spiritually, which has helped me emotionally.

Let me just be honest, but my year was rough! Nothing I couldn’t handle, but I can tell you I was ready to give up and just quit it all.

First, there was too much stress in the beginning of last year. My boyfriend almost left us and almost took a job in another city. I almost killed myself. My son almost committed suicide, and was hospitalized for intervention. My daughters struggled emotionally. Work was unbearable because my coworkers tried to keep me miserable. Stuff was rough!

So, I broke down. Asked for help. Cried for days… Weeks… Even months…

I received the gift of Jesus. The present that only someone who truly loves beyond all the dysfunction and doubt you might have in your mind can give. I received prayer and love and support and things began to change.

My boyfriend chose to stay home and grow with us spiritually. My kids began to behave for the most part. I began to feel the depression slip away from me and no longer felt hopeless. Life became tolerable and then it became enjoyable.

Now, I can presently say that my life is better than it has ever been.

Why? Because of God’s presence in my life.

This new year is going to be better than last. I expect that I will have tests of faith. It comes with the territory. I expect to be blessed in ways that people will know that we have been by our Most High God. This year, I expect to be right with God in such a way that there will be no denying that I will be a walking testimony of how the love of God can change people to be even more amazing than they could have imagined.

My past? Gone. Dead. That woman is no more. That woman was not who I am today. Let’s just say, I’m glad I still have people I’ve know for many years (when they knew that other woman) so they can testify that I’ve changed. They can see the transformation.

All these people and their “new year, new me” resolutions are small steps to a bigger picture. Getting right in life for me was getting right with God. I wouldn’t be here today had it not been for someone caring enough for my life, my soul, and the status of my family by introducing me to Jesus Christ.

This new year is the precursor to the greater life I expect to have. My expectations are through the roof into the heavens of what my family is about to accomplish.

I expect financial stability. I expect an engagement in my relationship. I expect children who are on the honor roll. I expect my home will be stocked with food, light, and most of all God and all the joy He can bring. I expect to build a deeper relationship with God which will connect me to my future spouse and my children. My expectations are at an all time high. I expect my health is going to be at 100% at all times. No time for settling for a worst-case scenario. Time to expect greatness and blessings so rich you have to carry it all over in 2016!!!

What is your present like? What are you going to change this year? What do you expect to happen for you?

I expect blessings in all your lives. From the small to the very large. God will bless you! Believe that. Declare it. Claim it for yourselves, your family and friends.

I expect you all to take a moment and say goodbye to last year and all the bad that died with it. I want you all to claim victory in your lives and believe it so you can walk with that pep in your step. You got that million dollar check waiting to be cashed at the end of the year. You have it already just gotta keep doing the right thing and making plans to make use of it!

Happy New Year everyone. May your year be so blessed you can only stop and say, “That’s God.”

Taking the Good with the Bad

24 Oct

It seems I rarely get on to blog and pour out my soul anymore. I’ve been living. Praying. Reading. Observing. Working on myself and the things in my life that can always be improved.

Lately, it seems like it has been a true roller coaster of different things. My big-headed son, J, has been on a very up and down mix of emotions, frustrations, accomplishments, and failures. I do not love him any less, but my patience is truly being tested. I am constantly working on my approach of how to conquer my frustrations with his instability. I realize his ADHD creates these moods that are so easily confusing to both him and myself, but it is hard to put that in context when you see improvement and then the sudden crash of emotions which cause him to act irrationally.

I see phone calls from the school consistently… Last week, was a rare one, where I didn’t receive any negative news. What an accomplishment! A week of absolutely peace, and at least ONE day where he actually did bring home homework was a huge deal. And you better believe I praised the living daylights outta him just so he knew how great he was doing…

Come to this week and of course, all that praise turned to disappointment. A fight. A phone call. Consequences. It’s hard for him to be consistent, and I know it is just part of his ADHD… but I tell you, it sometimes seems like he is afraid of setting that bar, that standard, higher because then we would expect more of him… I told him, my expectations aren’t that high, but for him they must still seem almost impossible to reach. We take the good with the bad. We pray and hope.

Sometimes, it’s the little accomplishments that make him feel better. Then there are the bad days. The really bad days. The ones where he wants to give up because he feels like such a failure. The days where he feels like no matter what, he will never be better. Those days are hard, on both of us, because it feels like the deep hole he throws himself into has no ladder. It can take days to get out of the slump. Sometimes, it can take minutes (and the tricky part about these days is we feel like he doesn’t care about what just happened).

Apparently, this is all normal. And that is the hardest part about all this: Realizing this is all normal for him.

So, on the good days we praise what we can. Any simple accomplishment, from doing dishes to picking up his clothes off the floor. On the bad days, we discuss what might have triggered any behavior and what we can do to work on it. Once in a while I’m not the reasonable and I yell, but that is where I’m working on myself. Then we realize tomorrow is a new day and it is another chance.

So, here is to taking the good with the bad, and allowing tomorrow to be a new day to start again.

God bless.

-Athena

That Rough Patch

8 Oct

“It’s just a rough patch.”

Why is it that when everyone has problems everyone says “it’s just a rough patch”? Like there is some kind of field we cross through towards the paradise of happiness?

It’s that weird place in the relationship where there are thorns among the roses and the fields are filled with weeds. Where the grass looks dull and dried out and you see open the horizon the open field of greener pastures and bright flowers glistening in morning dew like a fresh spring morning.

It is that defining period of your relationship when you either trudge through the “rough patch” to find the beauty again in the place you once was, or you choose to travel in another direction because it seems one way won’t get you towards that happiness.

People always say, fight for it. You would know if it’s worth fighting for… but relationships should not have to be battles. All relationships are worth fighting for… but you should not have to or want to fight for something that should already be yours…

I guess, overall, everyone has to go through them. They’re essential to a healthy relationship. Conflicts drive resolution. Issues bring conversation. Sometimes having a few little things to bicker about brings a reason to discuss and resolve and compromise.

So as much as rough patches are no fun, they can make a relationship stronger. So embrace the struggle of having a few times when things get tough because it only means that once you make it through, the relationship can withstand a little bit more than before.

Have a blessed day, everyone!
-Athena

Spotlight on Domestic Violence

8 Sep

Domestic violence is one of those things that tends to get swept under the rug but today the NFL made a major victory for women everywhere. Thanks Ray Rice! Although, it is not one of those subjects you can really sugar coat, many people tend to find excuses for those who hit women.

“She hit him first.” “She provoked him.” What? You didn’t see her lunge at him?” “If she wanna go at him like a man, then she should accept getting hit like one.”

First of all, he is a football player. Men that are bigger than him hit him much harder than that woman could have. Secondly, how does any person justify a man hitting a woman? So, should he hit his mother, as well? Should he smack the living daylights out of his daughter?

Men, get a grip. 

I have experienced domestic violence on a personal level. Both receiving it and dishing it out. I have been guilty of provoking drawn out physical battles with my ex on many an occasion. I always lost. It was always because he disrespected me in some way, shape, or form. I did not know how to control my anger, thus lashing out physically because there was no other way to stop being angry… but it never helped. Our relationship remained stagnant due to the blatant disrespect we exhibited for each other’s physical being. It is any wonder how we lasted twelve years.

Anyway…

For those out there who believe that she should have kept her hands to herself, you’re right. For those who said he should have never hit her (or that men should never hit a woman) you are also right. Men should never, ever, hit a woman. Regardless of provocation, rage, or because “she wanted to act like a man”, no man should ever hit a woman. Women should respect their partner enough to communicate effectively, rather than resorting to physical violence.

I remember being told it was my fault. I remember being told I was the bad guy. Sadly, for a long time I believed that. I knew I was the bad guy. I was wrong. Forever I was blamed and told I deserved to get what I got from him.

But that was never true.

Then I hear that people believe that his now-wife is an idiot for marrying him… Let me say this, to an extent, No. She is not an idiot. That is to say that all women who stay in abusive relationships are idiots. Sure, it isn’t the best situation but many women stay for the same reasons.

  • Love: or the idea that what they have is real love.
  • Hope: that things will change, that he will get help, that things will get better.
  • Fear: that he will follow her, that no one will take her, that she is damaged.
  • Children: the kids need their family whole, the kids will be devastated.
  • Desperation: there is nowhere else to go and they have “everything” in the home.
  • Money: In the case of a divorce, a financial settlement will be large for some.

Sometimes it is this uncanny ability of the woman to believe that she somehow is loved because he won’t let her go. The man has made her believe that his love is the only kind of pure love that is so strong that his anger is derived from the purity of it. It does not always make sense, but for the woman, she is so broken and desperate in some situations that she just feels that this is the best option. I do believe that she still married him for the sake of the money he is bound to earn, even after being released from the team, as well as the sake of the children. Hey, in the event of another situation (which is almost inevitable in abuse cases) she is bound to get some pretty decent money for her suffering… so maybe she is playing that game. In any case, the abuse is not acceptable and her choice to stay, no matter the reason is between her and her husband and their higher power.

This is the society we live in today. We have been raised in a society where physical violence is normal. Where disrespecting your partner is normal and what is portrayed on so many shows. No. It is not normal. It is not right. It is not acceptable. Or the more money you have, the more you get away with.

Women do not deserve respect. Our music, our television shows, our movies… they all show women portrayed as objects, and our daughters are beginning to believe it is okay to allow themselves to be sexualized and scantily clad. Too many women are being called “bad bitches” and are expected to allow men to walk all over us because we are their property. We are watching shows and listening to music where women embarrass themselves by singing about and acting without class, violent, drunk, openly sexual, and just downright unladylike. We are allowing our children to believe this is okay. That woman are supposed to act like divas instead of like godly women that have a unique gift to a special man who will value us.

God made woman from man to be his helper, not his slave. We were made to complement men, not compliment them as trophies. We were made to respect men and obey them, but men were expected to treat us with respect and protect us. God never intended for woman to be abused because He made us to be mothers, homemakers, and followers of him to raise godly children. We need to show our children that such behavior is not acceptable, because only then can we raise a new generation of good humans who treat each other with respect.

The NF- excuse me, the Ravens’ No Tolerance take on this case has put domestic violence above drug use and drunk driving, where the penalties for such behavior merited much harsher punishments. This has brought women back to a place where they should be respected, no matter how much money someone makes. No matter whether you’re having a lover’s spat. Drunk or not. There is no excuse. The slap on the wrist they initially gave Rice was an insult to women and respectable men everywhere and showed society that women are not worth the respect or safety from such abuse.

Thank you, Baltimore Ravens for helping put women back in that light, that we are deserving of better treatment and that that type of behavior towards us is unacceptable. In any light, domestic violence is terrible, but no one gets to really see it and today was an eye-opener for so many. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new movement towards women’s rights to show young men, and other men in the sports community, that no one is exempt and that it is a punishable offense.

Let this be an eye-opener to us all, that it is time for change. It is time for us to explain to our children that this is not okay. That we deserve better. Men and women alike, we deserve better in our relationships and we should be seeking respect and love and throw a lot of Jesus in the mix for healthy lives and spirits.

I really wish I would have found Jesus a long time ago… it could have spared me a lot of heartache and pain. Even if this is not a matter of God being needed in this situation, everyone should seek out Jesus to have a better quality of life.

Colossians 3:19 [ESV] Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

1 Peter 3:1 [ESV] Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

Love one another as Jesus and God love you. God bless you all.

Watch “Salvation Challenge” on YouTube

9 Aug

Salvation Challenge: http://youtu.be/ptqserksY6c

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