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God Forgives You and So Do I

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I'm learning that sometimes we aren't dealing with issues with other people, we are really dealing with issues within ourselves. We haven't forgiven ourselves of past mistakes and the unforgiveness keeps us trapped in our pasts so we aren't fully living in the present & don't have hope for the future. God forgives you now forgive yourself!

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Strive for Success, not Perfection

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I can be honest and say that I suffer from "trying" to be perfect. I say "trying" because the truth is I'll never be perfect. But I know that I can be successful in whatever way I define that to be. Don't box yourself in trying to achieve perfection. It'll only slow or halt the progress you're trying to make. 

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(Black) Mental Health Matters: My Mental Health Matters

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For the last five years, I have worked in the mental health field.  Being young and new in the field, it was hard for me to understand how people could be seeking “treatment” for their mental health while not really accepting the fact that they had an “issue.”  I just didn’t make sense.

That is….until I had to confront my own mental health issues. 

Let me set the stage:  February 11, 2013 I went in for what I thought would be a normal 4 week check up with my ob-gyn but this appointment wasn’t so normal.  The words, “I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat” fell off her lips so effortlessly.  After multiple attempts with the Doppler and multiple ultrasounds, she confirmed my worst fears; my baby was no longer alive.

The next week was hard, as I had to prepare myself for surgery.  The surgery came and went and I quickly made my life return to normal.  The doctor wrote me off of work for four weeks, I went back in two.  I thought I could force myself back to normalcy.

But I couldn’t. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I found myself battling tears almost daily, I felt worthless, hopeless, some days I just felt like giving completely up.

And it wasn’t until I was meeting with a pastor for another situation that I was encouraged to seek counseling.  But how could the person giving help to people with mental health issues need help for her own mental health issues?

Something that I struggled with then, that I still sometimes struggle with now, is that I have to take care of myself first.  But I was so fearful of the stigma that comes with mental health that I was slowly killing myself mentally and emotionally.

All too often, it seems that mental health is the forbidden topic, especially in the black community.  We feel that if we don’t talk about then just maybe it doesn’t seem to exist. And even if we do talk about it, it’s just a temporary situation and “eventually” it will go away. And for some it will, but for many others it won’t and it will take things like counseling/therapy, medication, but most importantly acceptance of your issue along with the support of family and friends for things to get better.

It took a long time to realize that my mental health matters.  I had to realize I can’t others if I can’t help myself.  Recognize that your mental health matters.  Don’t let stigma and fear keep you from being the best you you’re supposed to be.  Your mental health matters, too.

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Youth & the (Black) Church: Are We Saving or Sinking Our Youth

Youth & the (Black) Church: Are We Saving or Sinking Our Youth

I recently heard a pastor say that youth/millennials are not invested in the church like those of the older generations.  They would rather either attend church online or don’t feel like they need the church at all.  What has caused this shift in the church?

Today, Pastor Angela Johnson (One Sister 2 Another/Greater Lover Greater Works Outreach International) hosted a leadership forum entitled “Saving Our Youth: Being the Change You Seek” where a panel of community leaders from the greater Chicago area discussed the issues our youth are facing today.  Many of the issues our youth are facing are not new to this time, but there is a difference in the support that our youth have and it was very evident that there seems to be a lack of support for our youth, specifically in the black church.

Our youth are crying for our help but is the church providing the help, support, encouragement, and empowerment that they need?  One of the panelist pointed out that the youth of today are tired of clichés.  They are tired of being talked about, talked at, and talked down upon.  But most notably, they are tired of hearing “just pray about it.”  Are our youth turning away from the church because they are continually being force fed religion and not really being given the tools and resources they need to survive in this world?  As the young lady stated, “I can pray all day but that may not help me when I am going home and being molested every day.”  Our youth are crying out for people who will listen to them and show real concern about the things that they are facing in today’s society.

Pastor Johnson read a quote from Michael Carson which stated, “We often tell our youth that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, yet we discard them.”  Our youth are valuable assets and the future of the church.  However, they may never see the success they can have if we shun then and ultimately push them away.  So what can be done to ensure that our youth don’t feel pushed to the side, unheard, and forgotten?

The African-American community has always be a strong force of change in the community.  Just look at the Civil Rights Movement.  As the consensus of the panel showed, it is time for us to so stop making excuses and get to work.  It’s time to pull our resources together and stop looking for handouts.  It’s time to bring our youth to the table, hear their concerns, and show them the way.  A key phrase that Pastor Johnson used throughout the forum is “I cannot do everything, but I can do something and that which I can, I will.  One person cannot do it all, but if we come together, network and collaborate, we can impact our youth and our communities and be the change we wish to see.

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Celebrate Yourself

Celebrate Yourself

Today is the day I’m supposed to be walking across the stage to (officially) celebrate my accomplishment of receiving my Master of Science in Social Administration degree from the Case Western Reserve University. But, I’m not there. I’m home preparing for my typical Sunday routine. The tickets are on the shelf of my bookcase and I could just get in my car and drive to Cleveland, but I’m not. Why, you might ask? Because I lost sight of what this degree really represents. I took the focus off of myself and put it on every other obligation I have in my life.

Today should have been about me. Celebrating being a young black woman obtaining her 2nd Masters degree, being an overcomer, surviving in the face of adversity, achieving when failure tried to overtake me. But, instead it became about everyone else and everything else. Who wasn’t going to be there, who needed me to do something, what obligations needed to be fulfilled.

I forgot about me. I forgot that it is really ok to celebrate your accomplishments and achievements. And even if no one else wants to celebrate you, it is important that you celebrate yourself.

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Don't Allow Anyone to Assign Death To Your Destiny

Don't Allow Anyone to Assign Death To Your Destiny

About a week ago, social media was set ablaze after Remy Ma released her diss track to Nicki Minaj. Many people believed that this was the end to Nicki's career because they couldn't see how she could come back from this. How many times do we allow people to speak death into our destinies because their limited perceptions could only see defeat? Just because they would accept defeat doesn't mean you have to. When people want to speak defeat that just means turn your ear to God and He will guide you to victory!

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Don’t Allow Cold Feet To Stop God from Delivering Your Destiny

Don’t Allow Cold Feet To Stop God from Delivering Your Destiny

A few months ago, my pastor taught on the scripture Mark 11:24 which states, “Therefore I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Immediately after hearing this word, I began praying for one thing in particular and I believed that God was going to give me the desires of my heart. I prayed and waited.  I trusted God when everything seemed to be going right.  And I even trusted Him in the times it seemed like I wasn’t going to get what I had been asking for.  I was keeping the faith and believing that God was going to answer my prayers. 

My prayers weren’t answered when I thought they would be but finally the moment came.  God was showing me that He was answering my prayer.  But then, I got nervous.  I stumbled upon fear telling me I couldn’t really handle this assignment.  And doubt slapped me in the face telling me I wasn’t qualified for what I was asking for.  And insecurities knocked the wind out of me and said if you were good enough in the first place then you wouldn’t have had to go through all of this to get what you've been asking for.  And for a moment I was stuck because I wasn’t so sure if I wanted what I had been praying for anymore.

If the enemy can get you to think you’ve got cold feet, he will keep you frozen in your current position and thinking that you can’t move forward to obtain purpose, destiny, and the blessings that God has in store for you.  Don’t stop, and don’t retreat.  Keep going and get what God has in store for you! 

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When You Miss Your Mother's Prayers

When You Miss Your Mother's Prayers

"There's nothing like a praying mother."  Like me, I'm sure you've heard that saying over and over again, right?  But I never really understood what that meant.  There's another saying that says you never miss your water until your well runs dry.  My water happened to be my mother's prayers.

Don't get me wrong, I know that there are other people who prayed and are still praying for me, but they can't replace your mother. The woman who birthed you. The woman who you stood next to in the mirror wearing her heels and said, "I want to be like you some day."  The woman that even when you didn't see eye to eye there was a love that continually drew you closer to each other.  The woman who went into her War Room before War Room was even popular and got on her knees and prayed for you in spite of what she was going through.  In spite of the pain you might have caused her. In spite of the unintentional neglect you may have shown her when she needed you the most.

I miss her.  I miss her prayers that got me through even when I didn't pray for myself.  Because I believe that's what God needed-He needed to hear from me and He wants to hear from you, too.  The Bible says you can pray to Him and He will hear you.  So while the prayers of my mother and your mother are great, God still desires to hear from you.  

Momma, thank you for your prayers

RIP Tracey Lynn Sterling

 

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Save The Statistical Analysis For The Mathematician

Save The Statistical Analysis For The Mathematician

Because of the majors that I chose, I was required to take statistics. The basis of these courses were to analyze and interpret data in a mathematical form. Well, somewhere along the lines I started applying these principles to my life thinking that I needed to interpret and analyze every situation that occurred. What I ended up doing was causing myself more stress and headaches than I needed. Every situation doesn't need to be over analyzed, critically evaluated, and then interpreted. Some situations you just need to grasp the lesson you learned, move forward, and not repeat the same mistake again.

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Your Purpose Will Never Leave You

Your Purpose Will Never Leave You

Two years ago today, I released my first lesson from #BlessingsInDisguiZe and though I saw how much it impacted people, I let fear, doubt, and others negativity overtake me and I stopped. But even though I stopped, God never stopped working on me and through me. Some of you may have let these same things stop you, too. But know that your purpose has to be fulfilled and God will make sure you do just what He's made you to do! #BlessingsInDisguiZe

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Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow What God Told You To Do Today

Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow What God Told You To Do Today

Yesterday I was out at an event and a woman asked for my contact information for one thing but as we continued to talk we realized we could connect on other things. God told me a while ago to get my business cards done and of course being me I hadn't done it. Maybe it's not your business cards but opening that business? Finishing that job/school application? Reading your word? Everything God tells us to do is for a purpose and for an appointed time. Don't miss your opportunity because you want to be on your own time schedule and not God's.

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Fear can't live where faith is!

Fear can't live where faith is!

The fear of failure. The fear of never being good enough. Fear that you just may not that job or go to school. Fear of Success. We have all been there, right? But did you know that if you operate in the spirit of fear then you are saying you doubt that God can fulfill purpose and bring greatness out of your life. 2 Timothy 1:7 says God has not given us the spirit of fear so if God doesn't give it then you know that it comes from the enemy! Satan doesn't want to see purpose fulfilled in you because he knows you will change lives and bring glory to God. Today, kick fear out of your heart and make faith its only resident!

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Are Your Mature Enough To Handle What You've Been Asking God For?

Are Your Mature Enough To Handle What You've Been Asking God For?

My 7 year old REALLY wants a cell phone.  As her mother, I know that she is not ready for that.  Not because of her age, but because she is not prepared for the responsibility that comes with having a cell phone.  As it is in the natural so it is in the spiritual.  God hasn't answered your prayers because He knows you can't handle what comes with fulfilling your purpose, getting that job, starting that business.  Maturity has nothing to do with age or how long you have been saved but more to do with a state of readiness and a capacity to handle the responsibilities of what you're asking for.  So sit back and think are you really ready for what you've been asking for?

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Opportunities Don't Always Come Perfectly Packaged

Opportunities Don't Always Come Perfectly Packaged

When I graduated UT in 2012, I just knew that opportunities were going to be coming my way. I thought that I would get this awesome salary, a cute little office, and the job of my dreams. What I ended up with wasn't exactly that. See I had to learn that opportunity comes with struggles, pain, setbacks, and even some mistakes. I had to see that what I wanted wouldn't just be handed to me perfectly packaged. But all that taught me so much more about who I am and what my purpose in life is. Don't let opportunities miss you because it doesn't come how you wanted it to.

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Fight to the Finish

Fight to the Finish

Don't give up. Don't let anyone stop you from getting what's yours.  From achieving your goals.  It's not going to be easy.  You may lose some friends along the way.  People won't understand why you're fighting so hard, but it's not for them to understand.  it's about you and you've got to see this thing through.  Don't stop fighting until you get what you desire.

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Cancerous Faith

Cancerous Faith

I can remember the day that I got the call from my mom.  The way she hesitated, the way her tone changed, I knew there wasn’t good news on the other side of the pause.  She spoke two words, “It’s back.”  The “it” that she was referring to was cancer.  The cancer had come out of remission and had spread further than it had before.

I remember asking God why? Why my mom? Why right now?   You see I couldn’t see the true purpose in all of this because my faith had been depleted by recent events in my life.  I had no faith, I had no hope, I had no trust in God at that time.

I remember my mom saying, “I’m going to fight.”  And it was then that I noticed a change in how she responded to things.  It seemed that no matter what happened, my mom had such joy and peace.  When the doctors didn’t provide the answers she had hoped for-joy and peace.  When financial troubles came- joy and peace.  When people turned their backs on her- joy and peace.

I remember wondering how could my mom have such joy and peace in spite of what she was going through and then I came across Romans 15: 13 which says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It was then that I realized that my mom had cancerous faith.  Even as the cancer was spreading in her body, so was her faith.  Her faith was growing and multiplying uncontrollably to the point where all she could do was trust in God.  What would happen if we got to the point that even when we weren’t sick in our bodies or having financial troubles or worrying about what tomorrow may bring, that we just let faith overtake us and increase our faith so much in God that when those times do come we wouldn’t worry or wonder about what was next because our faith had already covered every area of our lives?

As I write this, I am reminded of the strength of my mother and the faith she maintained even until her last breath.  And I, too, want to be a woman with cancerous faith.

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Learn To Love Yourself First

Learn To Love Yourself First

Lesson 3: You have to love yourself before you can expect someone else to love you: there have been times where I hated who I was. I didn't feel like I was good enough and in turn I allowed other people to treat me as if I wasn't worth a thing. But once I began to love me, I wouldn't allow anyone to treat me any type of way. You set the standard for how people treat you and when you love yourself you won't settle for less!

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Live With The Choices You Made

Live With The Choices You Made

Lesson 4: You made the choice now you have to accept the consequences: I've made some pretty dumb choices in my life and when the end result wasn't how I thought it would be, I found a way to blame everyone and everything else for the choices that I made. But once I learned how to accept responsibility for my actions, even when they were bad, I was able to grow and become a better person so I didn't continue to make the same bad choices.

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There's Purpose In Your Pain

There's Purpose In Your Pain

Lesson 2: There's purpose in your pain...I have had multiple situations occur where I was like "God, why me...why did I have to go through this...why do I keep ending up hurt?" But there's a purpose in EVERYTHING, including the bad things that happen. Instead of focusing on the negative, what you've lost, and being in a "woe is me" state, sit back and reflect and listen to God to understand what He was trying to get you to see

 

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Get Past The Past

Get Past The Past

Lesson 5: you've got to get past the past. If you keep looking back, you'll never move forward. If you stay stuck in the past, you'll never make it to the greatness that the future holds. You'll miss the opportunity to develop great relationships and experience the fullness of life. get healing from the hurt, disappointments, unforgiveness, and discouragement of your past

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