Be kinder to yourself.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
My last post was supposed to be the start of me sharing my journey to Islam. I spoke about how conversations and examination of how I dressed and carried myself led me to question what was best for my life, and sparked my curiosity about a religion that I was so ignorant about. You can probably guess by the title of this post that I have some regret…
I do not regret my decision to revert, however I deeply regret sharing it with my social media followers. I know that anytime we choose to share personal information via the internet that we should be braced for all kinds of responses. However, I wasn’t ready for this. I always tell my daughter, if you don’t have anything nice to say--don’t say anything at all…
Like when I shared that I was going through depression, and you said nothing at all…
Like when I invited you to my birthday party, and you said nothing at all…
Like when I said I’m starting a business, and you said nothing at all...
Or like when I really needed a friend--you called yourself a friend right--but you said nothing at all…
So this time of transition has been lonely, and it’s been hard. When I needed folks to ask questions and reach out--they weren’t there. No love lost... But when I decided to share this news, suddenly folks are concerned about Martina. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this.
Some of my friends and followers have become curious too and have asked questions--some of the same questions I was asking at first. And I really wanted to address those in a follow-up post because I think it’s really important that we be informed before we give unsolicited advice or share our opinions. It’s also important that people of other religions realize that casting judgement on people for their religious choices is wrong. Unfortunately though, I will not be addressing those questions. I encourage anyone who wants to learn to seek the information on their own. My energy is shot.
To The One Who Hurt Me Way Back When,
They say that new levels bring new devils. They say that testing and trials are preparation for elevation and blessing. And they say when this happens that God is developing us in the areas we’ll need to be strong in for the conditions on those new levels. I subscribe to these beliefs and I thank God for making time to develop my character before blessing me, so that I may properly receive the blessings and operate on new levels responsibly with gratitude and humility…
But what about old pain? Why does it sometimes come up again in a new form?
I'm asking: Lord, why is he acting this way toward me when it took me years to forgive him from the old hurt he caused?
The pain was deep. It left all kinds of scars and trauma. On the surface I was seemingly okay, but there was insecurity, doubt, and that feeling that I wasn’t worthy--that nothing I could do would ever be good enough.
Eventually, I identified the source of the hurt (words/actions), pinpointed the habits that caused the hurt to linger and have lasting effects, and I prayed for help forgiving you. And our relationship was manageable--positive even. Done. Cool… (though not that quick or simple)
But now… Now you act like you don’t even like me (Ha!). You have a judgement and a criticism for every decision I make. You assume things... You resent my progress and my process. You won’t take the time to get to know me. Maybe you want me to be the same person I was when I was weak, totally dependent on you, and silent about everything.
Now I’m wondering… why is this pain being recycled? What happened to us moving forward in love?
They say that everyone in your life isn’t there for every season. They say you can’t take everyone in your life with you to your next level. And they say that even those who you thought were close to you often don’t have your best interest at heart.
But we are stuck with each other and maybe this is your process as much as it is mine.
The Lord has been teaching me about honor recently, and I’ve been convicted about the ways in which I’ve dishonored people in my life with my words when I felt like I was wronged. I would indulge in the opportunity to defame anyone who I felt had hurt or offended me. This was damaging because of the picture I created of those I spoke negatively about (even if there was truth to the narrative), and it was a poor/ugly reflection of my own character and development. So instead of allowing what feels like unfair treatment to influence how I react to you, I will honor your position in my life even if it hurts. I will respond in love and let the Lord fight for me. Since He is teaching me this lesson in honor, I am confident that He will strengthen and empower me to take reminders of old pain and recycle them in ways that reflect His love. Though I am guarding my heart, I will not allow myself to become cold. I will not allow my hurt to hurt others. I will honor my Father in heaven as I honor you.
The One You Hurt Way Back When
David Spares Saul’s Life
'After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.
At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!
“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord ’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.
Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord ’s anointed one.’ Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.
“May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”
When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”
So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.'
1 Samuel 24:1-22
This was the phrase I kept repeating to my 5th graders this week as we took practice tests all week to prepare for the upcoming New York state English exam. The thought of doing the same thing over and over each day, while they were tired and wanted to do something else made it difficult for them to always give their best effort… The Lord showed me how I was similar them in my daily fight to overcome discontentment, doubt, and other negative emotions that I just can’t seem to shake.
Although this season is a new challenge--harder than any I’ve ever had, I hold fast to the belief that God will never give me more than I can bear. He, Himself comforts me so that I may comfort others. What I go through isn’t just to build me up and prepare me for the next level; What I go through qualifies me right now to relate to another Sister and to encourage and empower young women to keep fighting for their God-given identity. What’s amazing and delightful is that His comfort comes in many forms. This week it came in the form of a friendly reminder--words of encouragement with action items from more than one voice, and an answered prayer.
I recently got connected to an amazingly beautiful woman of God (Channing B.) who ministers to women to through her vlogs. Her content includes a range of topics--relationships, identity, and true beauty--all grounded in the Word of the God. I felt comfortable sharing with her that this past week or so wasn’t the best… God used her voice to encourage me and give me action items to implement to help me grapple with and overcome the negative feelings. She told me to journal how I felt daily for a week, cry out to God, and worship Him. Well… I am stubborn, and sometimes when I’m feeling funky I resent God using people to tell me what I already heard and tried. I said I would do it though, but it didn’t happen quite like that. Nevertheless, God is a faithful father and He knows exactly how to raise His children.
The second voice God used to tell me essentially the same thing was my own. He allowed me to hear myself tell others what He used my new acquaintance to tell me earlier in the week. My daughter has been having a challenging week also. Her behavior at school and at home has been contrary to my expectations. She was simply being disobedient and blatantly disrespectful, and it was back to back! And she just got off punishment last week! Naturally, I started to blame myself and what I wasn’t doing for her and I beat myself up a bit. But I quickly thought of a way to help her make better choices and be her best self every day. I told her she would start keeping a behavior journal, in which she would reflect on her behavior each day and write out her next steps for the next day. Sound familiar? When I presented the journal to her I explained my rationale and that this was a tool not a punishment. It was during that conversation that I was convicted for not heeding the advice of my Sister to keep the journal of my emotions…
The other revelation was the replay of my own voice to my 5th graders: “Push yourself!” Lately I am sick of feeling the same way over and over, repeating unhealthy, unhelpful behaviors, and continuing to fight when I am tired. However, the Holy Spirit convicted me with my own voice replaying in my head… “Push yourself!”
What more could I say except Hallelujah and Yes, Lord!?
Although convicted, I was also comforted knowing God was tending to me in my stubborness. He also answered a very specific prayer that I said this week. I was tired of sharing about my depression (yet here we are) and so I asked God to tell me what He wants His daughters to know right now in whatever season they currently find themselves in. I also asked that it would be relevant to me so that I may share from a personal perspective. Lastly, I asked that it be grounded in the truth of His Word… As I was driving home Friday evening, and thinking about my little girl’s recent behavior He answered that prayer.
My thoughts included: Why does she feel that she needs to act out? Does she not get enough attention? Is she trying to be accepted by people? Does she not know who she is? Did she forget who I am?!
The Lord answered: And you? Did you forget who you are? Did you forget who I am?
Me: (Yikes! and Ouch!) What are you trying to say Lord? (I knew exactly.)
The Spirit of the Lord: My daughters need to be reminded of who I am and of who I say they are.
So from God’s heart to all his daughters reading this (thanks for sticking with me) please be reminded of who God is. He is a good good father. And just as important--be reminded of who He declares you to be. Here are the resources straight from the Word of God, and the action items from me and Channing B.
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