You gave me life.

I was struggling trying to figure out what I wanted to write about next. Then I was driving home from work the other day and had the most AMAZING worship session I’ve had in a long time. Sometimes just being in the car on your own, just you, God, and the music, it’s wonderful. No distractions, no worries, just singing along and thinking about all the things you have to praise God for.  And then you get THAT FEELING. Do you know what I’m talking about? That overwhelming, deep down in your soul, GOD feeling. It takes over and you are so overcome with peace and strength and joy. When you feel that you realize just how much more often you are STRESSED than calm. The world will do that to you…so just remember where you came from and remember that YOU HAVE A PURPOSE. Don’t worry if you’ve made some wrong decisions in the past…You do not have the power to ruin God’s plan for your life. You may make decisions that take you a little off course from time to time but understand that you will always reach your destination in the end. Have you ever been using GPS and made a wrong turn? What happened? “Re-routing…” and you were one your way again! So never fear…He is still working in your life.

With that being said, I know what I want to write about today!

Lyric Cole…the one who changed my life.

For those of you who don’t know, I got pregnant outside of wedlock. I was not married and as I stated in my pregnancy blog, by the time my son was born I was a full-on single mother. I didn’t even know what it was to have a relationship with God nor did I really know much about God at all. I would pray from time to time but it was more like an afterthought and I didn’t really ever think anything would result from it. I didn’t know I was supposed to have faith…honestly I felt that if you were a good person, you were going to heaven. Boy, how wrong I was.

Bear with me because this may sound cliché but when my son was born, when they placed that little baby on my chest, something inside me changed and I just cried. It didn’t just move ME either…there was a medical student who had requested to be in the room and this was her first time seeing a baby be born…when I looked up, she was standing a few feet away with tears streaming down her face, too. She walked forward and thanked me for allowing her to be a part of such a special moment and left. There was just SOMETHING that happened that day…it was the first time I felt THAT feeling and I didn’t even know how to describe it or what it was. I just remember being flooded with one overwhelming thought: GOD… and the feeling of love that washed over me was like no other feeling I had ever had before. I looked up at my mom with tears in my eyes and said, “Mom, I feel like God has touched my baby.” Like I said, I had no prior connection to God, I was just a “send up an occasional prayer request” type person. But God knew what he was doing and that day…a seed was planted.

Lyric

Fast forward about 6 months…the first time I ever took Lyric to church. I don’t know what made me go that day but I’m glad that I did. I went with my (now) mother-in-law (who has always shown such a strong faith and obedience to God and has also been an instrumental part of guiding me back to God). She is my witness…when we carried Lyric into the church that day, before we could even see the people, Lyric heard that music and immediately got so still, lifted his hand and looked upward. He stayed there so still for so long I was able to take a picture. When I looked at that picture, there was a light that seemed to focus on his upturned face and that sweet little baby hand. How he knew to do that, I still have no idea…but the awe on his innocent baby face told me all I needed to know…

He was HOME.

Lyric - God

And another seed was planted. I am so thankful that the seeds were GODLY this time!

Skip ahead another 6 months or so, Lyric was a little over one year old. He was now sleeping his own room…well TECHNICALLY…but both of us were on the couch together pretty much ALL NIGHT every night. Lyric woke up every single hour every night to eat. He had been like this since he was born. Needless to say, it had been one of the most EXHAUSTING years of my life. I used to look at my friends with older kids and wonder how they ever survived this.

One night out of nowhere, Lyric did not wake up for several hours…I remember waking up once, checking the clock and thinking “Oh THANK GOD, sleep!” After the second time I woke up, I sat up quickly, all grogginess washed away in an instant by a mother’s fear! OMG what if something was wrong?! So I rushed into his room to check on him but there he was, in his bed sleeping like an angel baby. 🙂

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So I kissed his forehead and went back to bed. A few more hours passed with both of us sleeping peacefully. Lyric only woke up one time that night. In the morning I felt so rested and thought wow…what a lucky night! But it proved to be something so much more than luck.

From that night forward, Lyric woke up only once a night, AT THE SAME EXACT TIME every night. 3:11 am. This went on for MONTHS. I just remember thinking about how crazy it was that it was at the same time every night…I racked my brain for months trying to think of what this could mean and one night, as he slept, I was overwhelmed once again by only one thought: GOD. The next day I text my mother-in-law and asked her if she could look up all the 3:11 scriptures in the Bible and tell me what they said. Her response: “Umm…do you know how many books are in the Bible?” Obviously, as I was not an avid reader of the Bible and, though I was more aware of God, I still didn’t really have a relationship with Him. So I did NOT know how many books were in the Bible. Instead of looking them up for me, she bought me my own Bible. As soon as I got it, I set to work looking up all the 3:11s…not all of them made sense or were relevant but there were a few that stuck out to me!

The first one was Ruth 3:11“And now, my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.” With everything that I had been through by that time, this scripture brought tears to my eyes. It just showed me that no matter what anyone tried to say about me, the people would know the truth. 🙂 And it gave me such excitement about what else I would find it I kept looking. So on into the Bible I went.

The next one was it…the one that made this whole thing so amazing. It was 1 Samuel 3:11…before I tell you the scripture, I want to give you some background on the story of Samuel. In this story there was a older couple that had always wanted to have a child but never seemed to be able to. The mother, Hannah, prayed to God and begged for a son, saying that if she could just conceive one, then when he was old enough, she would send him to the church in service as a child of God. So God sent the couple a son, Samuel, and when he was old enough, Hannah stuck to her promise and sent him to live in the church. There, he had a mentor named Eli. One night, Samuel was woken from a sound sleep when he heard his name being called. So he ran into Eli’s room and said, “Here I am. You called me.” Eli said, “I did not call you. Go back and lie down.” This happened for the next two nights as well. On the third night, Eli realized that it was GOD calling to Samuel. He told Samuel to go back and lie down and if the Lord called him again, to say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

So to the important part…1 Samuel 3:11 was the moment that THE LORD SPOKE TO THE CHILD and the child knew it was God. And what did God say to him? – “And then the Lord spoke to Samuel: “See I am about to do something that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.” All I could think was, God is speaking to my son! And Lyric could hear Him! This was the moment I knew that God was reaching out to me. And He was waiting for me to hear and answer Him. I don’t know if you believe in signs but I feel like they are all around us and sometimes we just don’t see them because we are not opening our hearts to God. Open up…look and LISTEN, for He is trying to tell you something.

Of course this was the most important scripture I found that day…the game changer…the candle that lit my path to a growing relationship with God. This was the final seed from which the plant burst forth…and so began my journey 🙂

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But there is one other scripture I found that was also really interesting to me during this research.

Job 3:11: “Why did I not perish in the womb?” Story time again!

In January 2008, I discovered that I was pregnant…within those first two weeks, I went through the crazy whirlwind of emotions about having a baby and finally rested on “this is going to be one wild ride to a amazing end.” And I was happy 🙂 Then one morning, I woke up and went into the bathroom where I realized there was so much blood. My heart fell into my stomach and we went to the emergency room. I cried all the way there and the entire time we waited for the doctor. I just knew that there was no way the baby could still be okay. And I was devastated. Even after such a short time, a mother’s heart FEELS and the thought of losing that feeling was a blow that almost knocked me off my feet. After several hours of the doctors taking blood, searching for a heartbeat, and doing ultrasounds they could find nothing. They even told me I didn’t need a DNC because it looked like my body had already cleared everything out. I just sat there, feeling nothing. I was numb. I barely heard them tell me to come back in two days for follow up blood tests.

In two days, I came back and did more blood work. The nurse told me they would call me within 48 hours to come get my test results and the doctor would explain the findings. Longest 48 hours of my life. When I came back, the nurse gave me my results and she pointed at the paper next to a number: 11. She said, “I’m not supposed to tell you what your results say, the doctor will call and talk to you about it later, but this 11 next to HCG means that you are pregnant! :)” OMG WHAT?! Of course, this nurse didn’t know everything that had been going on so she didn’t understand the immediate excitement and tears at her news! But she was happy that I was so happy…so I left and called my family and let them know what she said and I thanked God so many times.

A couple hours later the doctor called me to tell me what my results said. I didn’t want to get the nurse in trouble so I just waited and let him explain it. But the words that followed hurt me that much more because of what the nurse had told me.

The baby was gone.

But how could this be true? The paper said there was HCG in my blood. But the doctor explained it to me as my heart broke all over again. Two days before, during my initial trip to the hospital, my HCG level had been up over 100, and now it was only 11. If it had stayed the same or gone up, that meant the baby was okay, but it was going down…the baby was gone.Teary eyed I hung up the phone and cried for weeks. It was a level of depression I had never felt before, like the whole world had come crashing down on me and I had no strength or desire to pick it back up.

8 weeks later, I was still bleeding (like a never-ending cycle) and I was experiencing nausea and fatigue and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and went back to the hospital. I explained to the doctor what had happened 2 months ago and that I thought maybe I was still pregnant and something was wrong. The doctor looked at me incredulously and told me that my medical records showed the baby had been miscarried (I’m sure he thought I was a complete crazy person). He said “if you were still pregnant, you would have to be at least 11 weeks pregnant and we would be able to hear a heartbeat.” “Ok,” I said, “let’s check for it then.” Again, he looked at me like I was a mad woman but he humored me and pulled out the equipment. He moved that little probe around on my stomach for what felt like forever…and THEN THERE IT WAS! A tiny little heartbeat!!! The doctor looked at me in amazement! Then he pulled out some paperwork and started to fill it out explaining that we needed to schedule an emergency ultrasound as soon as possible to see how far along I was and check on the baby. The ultrasound was scheduled for the following week and it was determined that I was 12 and a half weeks pregnant! 🙂 What a blessing…later we found out that I had been pregnant with TWINS and I had lost one of the babies that day. The doctor explained that because I had lost one that threw off the HCG balance in my blood during the testing.

So this scripture had a whole new meaning for me. Although both beautiful babies didn’t make it into the world, for some reason, God still gave me my miracle baby boy…the one who changed my whole path…redirected me…opened my eyes…

The one who gave me life

Lyric Cole

October 16, 2008

7 lbs 9 oz

21 and a quarter inches long

Lyric & Me

Lesson Learned: LISTEN…For He IS talking to you.

My sweet angel baby…

…who continues to touch the world…

…one act of love at a time!

Thank You God for blessings.

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Well that sucks.

We’re here today to talk about one of my least favorite things in life: INSECURITY.

It’s ugly…it hurts…it causes anxiety…and it can tear a relationship apart faster than anything else!

So first, let’s get into the causes: It can start as young as a few years old, from that moment that Daddy walked out and left the family and that little girl couldn’t understand what she did to make him go.

Or that day that a classmate called her fat and ugly when she was 13 and she wondered if maybe she really was…

or it can be caused by a cheating boyfriend or a two-faced girl friend when you’re 20 years old.

There is a range of things that can cause these issues but no matter the cause, the result is still just as ugly.

You’ll learn to live alone in a world of walls and darkness.

Luckily, I had an awesome daddy who made many sacrifices for me and my sisters and loved us and our mother! So no issues there…but as you read in one of my earlier blog posts, I was very shy and insecure girl in middle school. I was always afraid I would say something stupid and it was because I was made fun of! Add others pointing and laughing to your own doubts about your appearance and lack of knowledge on “how to be cool,” and you get one truly SILENT little girl. Then years later, add in cheating boyfriends, backstabbing girl friends and that silent girl becomes a very outspoken DON’T-MESS-WITH-ME girl! (which is not always a good thing)

I have an ex that was the mental abuse type…and actually it just started out with small things. One thing I will never forget early on in the relationship – He introduced me to some guys and girls that he’d been friends with for a long time. Me being the person I am, I was friendly and just chatted with them all the time when we would hang out with them. Then one day, when we got back home, he told me that the girls in the group were NOT my friends and that they didn’t even really like me that much. I kinda waved it off and I was like “they always talk to me, I’m sure it’s fine.” But he was persistent and moved to “they make fun of you when you’re not there, Brandi.” OUCH.

So I finally learn to come out of my shell and be myself…and then this happens.

Here is the part where I started to distance myself from others. I never confronted anyone about it, I just pulled back a little from the group and kinda stayed quiet when I was around them, really only giving input when someone said something to me. And it was fine. Everyone acted the same around me and didn’t really notice that I never really talked much with them.

 Sad, but hey, at least I wasn’t giving them anything extra to talk about. That was the first little seed he planted in the “let me tear down this girl’s self-esteem” flower pot.

Fast forward a few months, one day I came home to our apartment and he had left his Facebook account open on my laptop. UGH WHYYYYYY?! This situation almost NEVER results in anything good. And this was definitely NOT a reassuring experience. Of course, he had several conversations in his inbox with other women. It ranged from “Hey beautiful…thanks for the add. How are you?” (Yea…he was THAT guy) all the way to full blown sexual conversations that included comments like “So when will I get to meet you to make this happen?” REALLY, DUDE? On MY computer?? Yep. And the messages just went on and on…like are you just trying with ANY girl you see? Not to mention the few EX-GIRLFRIENDS that were mixed in amongst these convos. I guess he just wanted to increase his odds. Good Lord. It just made me wonder, if you could have ME easily (since I was constantly sitting at home waiting for you) then why was it that you would rather put in all this work to get THOSE females. Am I below THAT level of female? Really? Another seed…

And my heart became a little harder, a little colder, a little more closed off.

After that we broke up…but of course when you have that type of broken down mindset, you don’t stay away for long. So here I came, back again at the first sign that he “wanted to try.” And I thought, okay he gets it now…I’m not playing and he’ll be better this time. Right? WRONG.

We were back together and doing fine….a couple months in, I was just watching some tv, folding laundry…and a condom falls out of his pocket. First let me say, I was about 6 months pregnant around this time so obviously we were not in the business of safe sex. Apparently, we should’ve been. When I walked myself upstairs, condom in hand, he waved it off nonchalantly saying “That was from when we broke up.” umm…the breakup that lasted about TWO WEEKS! You wasted no time in moving on, did you?! Seed. He realized his mistake and covered it with a “I bought them just in case…I didn’t use any of them.” Okay…fine. I backed off because we’re supposed to be rebuilding now, right? I have to have some trust, right? And I can’t hold it against him if we weren’t even together…right?

So, a few more months in…

After so many accounts “accidentally left open,” (seed) phones left lying around, (seed) females approaching me with stories of his betrayal (seed, seed, SEED!) you start to wonder if it’s really an accident. He couldn’t possibly be THAT stupid. Or did he just want out? You start to spend all of your time wondering what he’s doing, what he’s thinking, how he feels, if he still loves you…It’ll drive you CRAZY. And of course, ask him about it and YOU’RE PSYCHO, you’re being paranoid, he doesn’t know if he wants to be with someone who can’t trust him. At this point you should just say “OK FINE. PLEASE GO!” but of course, we never do. It’s strange how quickly our anger turns to fear when a guy starts talking about leaving. And then all you can think is “what can I do to make him stay?” You start making excuses for yourself “I just love you so much, I’m afraid of what I’d do if I lost you.” “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, it’s just these crazy pregnancy hormones.” And making excuses for him, lying to yourself… “He would never cheat on me, he loves me.” “We were fighting, it’s not his fault…I drove him to this.” “Maybe if I would’ve been more attentive, he wouldn’t have been going somewhere else for attention.” etc etc ETC! Ridiculous. smh. All that does is give him more ammo to use against you the next time. And he knows he has the upper hand so he just rubs your “paranoia” in your face a little longer, just to make sure you realize how close you were to losing him this time. That way, you’ll spend the next few days or months or YEARS trying to make it up to him and you will be much more hesitant to question him the next time a situation like this comes up. Hello, insecurity flower…he has succeeded.

  And yet we stay…

And you really allow him to convince you that YOU are the one that is wrong.

So move on down the line, issue after issue, the insecurity piled up, I was juggling school and work and pregnancy…the due date was closing in on me and my relationship was crumbling down around me. Finally, it was just too much for him…FOR HIM? lol…smh…yes. He decided to “end it.” Three weeks before the baby. To me, it was almost a sigh of relief (because I’ve never been good at breaking up with anyone). I’m just not the “I give up” type of girl. I always see so much potential in a person. But understand that potential is not always achieved. Especially if he doesn’t WANT to do better…and you don’t make him. So now came the time to find a new place to stay (since we lived together) so my very pregnant self started looking…while he was planning a trip with his friends (did anyone ever hear the story of the ants and the grasshopper?).

Whatever…his well being was no longer my problem. I found a few places but they had application fees to put down before you could be approved. So after about a week of looking, I finally narrowed it down to one. I had put a little money aside in the house for the baby so I went to get some for the application fee…and it was gone. GONE?! No answer to my call. How surprising. Did I mention that there are several things that go into immense insecurity and distrust?  He took MY money that was supposed to be for the BABY and used it to go on a trip with his friends? And that was it. The icing on the cake. Things would never be the same. He had now shown me that not only did he not care about me, but he also didn’t care about this baby growing inside of me.

Sadly, this is not the end of this horrible story. After the change, he realized I wasn’t going to be walked over anymore and he tried even harder to break me down any time he saw me. Long story short, the mental abuse continued and turned physical. And looking back at it all, I kept trying to figure out where I went wrong (yep, I was still blaming myself). What had I done to make him treat me this way? I wondered when I had lost his heart. How he could be so cold and uncaring and selfish. I became so angry and BITTER that one day I woke up and I didn’t even recognize myself. It was to the point that I didn’t do anything except go to work and school and come back home with my son. I didn’t have friends, I didn’t talk to family, I didn’t want anyone to see me like this. I had nothing nice to say so I just said nothing…

After a LONG while, I became so embarrassed that I had allowed him to affect my life so greatly. I allowed him to COMPLETELY change who I was as a person. I allowed him to take my smile. I had no life. And he was off somewhere living happily. He felt nothing like what I was feeling. At that moment I realized that his heart was never mine to lose.

Luckily for me.

 

It could’ve been a lot worse. Thankfully I never married him, I never had another child with him, and I was finally able to walk away and piece myself together. It took a long time…and a lot of heart work. It took that baby smiling up at me every morning, it took God and sooo much faith, it took me learning to trust the unknown, to carry my head high and keep going. God blessed me and my family with so many amazing things after that. Strength, stability, LOVE.

You can learn to overcome insecurity. Number one…do not stay with a person that is continuously doing things to make you feel insecure. Take some time for YOURSELF. Learn to love YOU and figure out what it is that YOU need. Open up to God…let Him heal you…let Him mold you…allow Him to make you into the WIFE that you will be for the right man. After that…yes, insecurity will still rear it’s ugly head from time to time, that’s just human nature. You can step outside and scream if you need to. But then pull yourself together. Don’t take your past and allow it to affect your present and future. When you see his phone sitting there, don’t pick it up. When he has to go somewhere without you, don’t spend your time wondering where he is or what he’s doing. When he doesn’t answer, don’t jump to conclusions. TRUST HIM.

I’m not saying to be stupid. When there is proof in your face, investigate. But don’t allow insecurity to drive you crazy! If you think about it, do you trust him? Do you feel like your heart is safe with him? Then let him LIVE. Don’t question his every move. And TALK TO HIM. Let him know what you’re worried about (without accusing him of all your fears and completely fabricated scenarios). Explain to him what he’s doing that makes you feel this way (or realize that he’s NOT doing ANYTHING to make you feel this way and maybe, just maybe it IS your past). Trust me, it’s a lot better to just ask him and talk about it then to allow your WILD imagination to dwell on it. The results will be much more like this

And a lot less like this

(which is what’s going to happen if you’re steady talking about how ugly, inadequate, worthless you are, checking his phone, questioning him, accusing him of cheating all the time, NEED I GO ON?!)

Also, stop posting all your problems on Facebook (because we all know that’s where the hoes are checking to see if there’s an opening for them to slide into your spot), love him…love YOURSELF…and stop WORRYING so much. If you respect and love yourself, you give others the opportunity to do the same. If it’s that hard to trust him, maybe you’re not supposed to be there. If that’s the case, then LET IT GO and move on! Happiness is out there waiting for you.

Lessons Learned: LOVE YOURSELF enough to know when it’s time to go. Do not allow someone to make you feel anything but beautiful.

And don’t bring your past into your present. Let that man LOVE YOU. He will…if you let him.

Hello World :)

So here goes…a glimpse inside my head. I just want a space to write freely! I want whatever is on my mind at that moment to flow out into the world because, hey, we all need someone to talk to sometimes. I plan to write about all types of things though…sometimes we will laugh together…other times it won’t be so funny. Try to hang in there with me while I try to work out the kinks and get the hang of this! But yep, we’re doing it, let’s go!

hello world