Self Love: Is It Achievable If You’ve Been Hurt?

Resisting the urge to be extremely lazy today, I put on my running sneakers to go for a run. It is just too beautiful outside to pass up the opportunity. You may be wondering, “What does running have to do with self-love?” Just stick with me, I promise, I’m getting there. Lol. Just around the corner from my home, there is really beautiful park. The minute my Nike running sneakers touches the track, I plugged my ear-phones into my ears and select Wiz Khalifa’s “Work Hard Play Hard” on iTunes. Then my jog begins. Before I could make my second lap around the track, a ton of emotions, in full swing, began pouring in. These emotions were so familiar, taking me back to my very first heartbreak.  

Now, I do not have any idea why the worst emotions always present themselves to me when I’m running. It is as if those emotions are rising to the top like the dough of the delicious cakes I bake. Which is the very reason I need to run. My first heartbreak came at the hands of the man who I loved more than anything in this world. He was my sky and I was his star; my daddy. Unfortunately, my dad had other stars in his sky that had nothing to do with our family. His stars came in the form of rocks. My star began fading as the other rocks’ light shined brighter for him. Eventually, somewhere along the line, he forgot that he placed me in his sky. My dad had such a dangerous addiction that it faded the lines between family and trust, wrong and right, and abuse and love. I quickly realized that my dad was far from perfect and nothing could compare to the love he had for his new star. At the age of 14, he abused me for a week, plotting on exactly how he could execute his plan. This is the moment where my identity with my love of self was shattered. I began thinking that the only way that I could be loved was through a physical action of being with a man. From that moment, I got in the unhealthiest relationship for protection because I needed someone to lean on. I needed an ear to hear me. I wanted protection so that no would ever hurt me again but in this relationship, I did not know who I was. All that I knew was that I was angry all the time and angry at the world.

Fast forward 10 years, I had just given birth to my 4th daughter. I was left broken hearted and I was in one of the worst depressions I had ever faced. I was in a relationship where I thought that I had fixed my anger issues. I thought that if I had done everything that he wanted, that he and I would work out. However, not even an engagement ring, a wedding dress, or new born baby could change our relationship. This left me feeling worthless, unlovable, and undeserving of love. To make matters worse, around this same time, my favorite person in the world passed away. My brother reached out to me. He wanted to put me in contact with some women in his life that attended a church he went to.

For the first time in a long time, I felt genuinely loved by the women my brother introduced me to. I thought to myself, “Why did I not meet these people sooner?” They loved on me as if they knew me forever. My insecurities disguised as a beautiful young woman soon came back up. The need to feel “loved” again arose and the way that I knew “love” was through physical contact. So I left the church and tried to find my own way. I had not noticed that doing things my own way just kept me going in circles. After I realized that if I did not get it myself together soon that I would probably end up in a situation regretting every decision I made to get there. I really needed to evaluate the root of my issues. My issues had all started with my father. I had to forgive him and most importantly, I had to forgive myself. Forgiving myself meant, forgiving myself for the self-blaming and for the feeling that all so familiar that, “No good man is going to want me.” I started with positive affirmations every morning. It was the first thing I would do when woke up. Meditation help me whenever I felt super emotional. I, now, actually acknowledge, accept, and move past the emotions that can hinder me.  

As women, we tend to look in other places, outside of ourselves for answers or some kind of savior when it comes to men. If we are not careful, we could automatically go into thinking that we have to please or be with a man in order to be happy whether it is from a lack of money, love or security. We can love ourselves, be secure, and financially stabled. We do all of this before setting any expectations for men.

I hope this wasn’t too long for you to read I just wanted you to understand where I came from. To understand who I am now. I work everyday on my happiness and self love, and I wish nothing but love peace and acceptance of oneself for my sisters.

Peace x blessing Mo

Blog written by Cherelle E.

The Truthful Lie: How One Man Found the Truth Inside of the Lie

One thing that I have learned in life is that many may claim to be one thing yet in reality they are not.

Seeing as how this was the way of life I learned to always keep up the appearances everything was perfect even at times when I was not. To show others that I was a man on top of the world even when I was struggling and to never let anyone see me when I wasn’t at my best. My name is Ricardo Petitfond and for a period of time I was a former disciple for over 7 years.  I say former because like I said before, I’m 100 to myself and I know the difference between a follower of Christ and a believer of Christ. I once was a follower.

As the son of a pastor I always knew that I needed a relationship with GOD. It was the step that I was supposed to take and the path I was meant to follow based on my upbringing. It took life-changing events to bring me to the Lord back then and even though I felt as if I had found my way, I know that I am lost still

My journey begins about 10 years ago. My life was simple, no deep story. I was just a kid in the world chasing worldly pleasures of fast money, flash and women.  I’m not even sure; I would have considered myself a true man at that stage. My days were focused on how to get the things I want. My approach was “You first get the money and the women will come”. It was as simple as that. Basic math and I was ok at it.

Even though I lived life in the fast lane, I knew better. Being the son of a pastor and growing in church most of my life I always felt I should have Christ in my life.

So I somewhat decided to give my life to Christ. I decided to “try out” the lord and failed miserably.  I was a part time living a double life Christian

I made the decision that I wanted to be a disciple and get baptized. I was baptized May 28,2007. There was this joy and happiness that washed over me. I honestly felt that it couldn’t get any better. However, I was a partial Christian so this feeling of happiness and euphoria couldn’t last. I did worse and sinned more in my first 2 years of my discipleship than how I was in the world. During that time, I slept with more women, hustled and made money that God would not approve of. The comprehension of God’s grace was above me. I couldn’t understand and frankly didn’t care.  I continued to live the life that the bible had instructed me not to follow

Sex was and continues to be my vice so it was no bother to me. Drugs and alcohol didn’t really do it for me like sex does. Every time I went to church I put on the act and Sunday night and during the week, I was with a different girl. My life of hypocrisy was in full effect. I was so flawed that I convinced my girlfriend to get baptized while we continued to sin together. Yup, that’s who I was and who I struggle everyday not to be. At the end of the day I only cared about myself. My selfishness cost me the woman that I was supposed to marry. I couldn’t be the man she needed. I let her go because I wanted to have it all. I now live with the fact that she married someone who gave her everything I was too self-centered to provide

The loss of the love of my life didn’t change my ways. I continued to live Christianity on my own terms. 2 years passed and I came to a halt.

Something was bothering me. I went to church and I felt weird.  It was like a loud ringing that you want to stop but can’t find it to turn off. I know now it was my conscious; or spirit begging me to do the ring thing. The more I read the word the more I knew I couldn’t hide how I was living. For a good month or two, I fought the ringing and tried to ignore it. However the sins had piled up more than I could bear. I felt numb. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. My part time Christianity had gotten the best of me. I confessed, everything! I confessed to it all, the women, to the money, the lies; EVERYTHING. I just couldn’t mentally take it anymore. Afterwards the tears flowed and I cried. It finally hit that I was a FRAUD. There was no other way to describe how I was.  Knowing that I was nothing more than a fraud showed me how ugly I really was.

From every breakdown comes a breakthrough and the tears that I cried were at my breaking point. I was ready for a change. I went through a healing process. God provided me with a council of accountability. I met a group of trustworthy brothers that really helped me to see who I was and how to really repent. God equipped me with the people to help me on my journey to encourage me through the fall and to help me with humility. That period of my life was truly rough. It was life change that was like no other. Constantly confessing, praying, talking, reading, yet I really wanted it. I was convinced that I was given a second chance.

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I had never realized until that moment had God’s grace still covered me during my “part-time” Christian days. Consider the fact that I didn’t catch a disease or have a child. Not to mention I dodged a bullet when the Feds rushed a location I used to do business in. At the time, I believed the only reason I wasn’t there is because I woke up feeling tired and decided to stay home. Looking back on it, I know that it was God

Getting back into my faith was a journey. I had to learn how to let the easy, wrong and fast things go. Letting the quick cash go was one of them. Going broke is one of the things that hurt the most to go through. It was painful not because of the loss of money but it was a crack in my façade. I wasn’t the man that had it all together. I had nothing, for me someone who had their self worth tied directly to possessions; I was by my standards a bum. I had to depend on my spiritual brothers for aid. They moved me into their household, fed me, and helped me financially and spiritually. I made the decision to go back to school and my brothers would provide bus fare for me to catch the bus. The level of love that was shown to me was unreal. My immediate family loved me yet this was another type of love. Brotherly love. They were genuine, never throwing their actions in my face. I learned so much from them  & looked up to them and we became family.

Those guys were inspirational and made me want to become a great man of God. It was like a recipe that had to be carefully followed to get the food right. I went from part time Christian to full- time believer.  When it came to the word I studied it, questioned, and analyzed it to be sure it was true.  The bible and God’s teaching nurtured and matured me. It would be the exciting part of my day. The more the good book was opened, the more I felt the power it had over me to become great. My attitude changed. Mental maturity grew. My view of the world was renewed. For the next 6 years, my life would continue to show more and more my love for God and his people.

Year 6 comes and starts to feel a spiritual burn out. I believe a portion of that had to do with my new profession. I got a job driving a cab, which would be one of my reasons for leaving God. I went from surrounding myself with people who were about the lord to hanging with those who were seeking out sin. When people come to Miami, you would think it’s just to party a bit, go to the beach and relax… PLEASE. This is the capital for orgies, drugs, and “get lit”, from married women to married men. This is the city to do everything you wouldn’t do back home. After a while it changed my view on women. Though my respect and chivalry for women were incredibly high. Seeing what is happening on South Beach each weekend tainted that. Slowly but surely I went from talking to people about God (which was a perfect position being everyone’s friend the cab driver) to borderline flirting with clients, then it happens… I fall in sin with a beautiful young lady who claims to be a Christian too and as I am undressing her, see that she has scripture tattooed on her leg. I later confessed and got help to heal from that.

A few months go by and I read 1Peter 5:7 and it hit me. All the things I did make me realize how much God hurt from my sin. Never have so many tears flowed from eyes. I thought about the people that were hurt by my actions. My ex who would have made a great wife. Yet because I didn’t lead her to get closer to Christ ended up leaving.  The tears got heavier because it was then it dawned on me that it was my fault she left. I CRIED AND CRIED AND CRIED. The shame of my actions made me feel so low, yet there was no doubt that God loved me and forgave me. I just couldn’t forgive myself. Instead of dealing with the hurt, I went with worldly sorry and met a young woman who I knew in my heart I shouldn’t have dated. Yet against everything in me I dated her and slept with her. Its never one choice that can damage your relationship with God. It’s a series of decisions that lead up to the sin. By then the word became a side chick to this woman. It would be a devastating mistake. 3 month into the relationship, God became non-existent though I was still going to church and talking about God with her. We broke up and I immediately went back to sleeping around. It has been about 2 years.

I am lost. I know that I have strayed from God and my path but I don’t know how to find my way. In my heart and mind I want to come back to God, He loves me. Can’t pinpoint how I got here, yet I know this is not home. I sometimes feel as if the world has corrupted me beyond measure. The blame falls on me. The malice and carelessness of the world has corrupted my thinking. I pray and beg for God to save me. Everyday is the day I’m hoping not to die. Dreams of me coming home to God still bring tears while I sleep. The choices that I have made leave me back in the world and without a relationship from God. That was a crappy deal.

A relationship that doesn’t truly follow God is not worth it, the sin I chose is not worth it. Only God is worth it. The only advice I have as a current lost soul is DRAW CLOSER TO GOD AND DON’T GIVE UP FIGHTING TO BE RIGHTEOUS! 

 

Post by Ricardo P.

 

 

Knowing Your Season

Encouraging Scripture: 

Psalm 105:4Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” (KJV)

Luke 10:38-42As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. He had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NIV)

Psalm 46:1-10 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (KJV)

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Zakia Bee

 

Click here for details about the “Knowing Your Season” video.

Lose The Wait

 

 

Lose The Wait” was the title of my pastor’s sermon this past sunday. When it was first read aloud, we thought he meant, “Lose The Weight.” The congregation had a nice laugh before our pastor brought forth a very powerful message that The Lord had placed on his heart. It was after service when I pondered on the title and the context of the message. I began to think further of the birth of Jesus Christ in how our ancestors anticipated his birth, life and resurrection. Think about it, our ancestors, before Jesus’ life in the body, all heard the prophecies of the Messiah through the prophets and many who believed and in hope they waited for the prophecies to be fulfilled for generations. Our ancestors anticipated The Messiah to be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15.) They expected His birth to take place in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2.) Through the words of the Prophet Isaiah, they knew The Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14.) They knew that He would be beaten, spat on and falsely accused (Isaiah 50:6; Psalm 35:11.)  Our ancestors heard that our Messiah would be crucified and that he would be resurrect from the dead and would ascend to heaven (Psalm 16:10; Psalm 49:15; Psalm 24:7-10.) They heard that the Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:5-12.) Our ancestors heard and they WAITED. No longer do you have to wait. Jesus has lived life in the body, died, raised and distributed His Spirit as gift to His disciples. What are you waiting for? The Messiah still LIVES! He is LIFE, TRUTH and THE WAY. Stop seeking the “truth,” from anything outside of God’s word and lose the wait. 

 

I want to share something with anyone seeking the truth:

A few years ago, I had moved out of my childhood home and into my very first apartment. I had done so because I wanted to “clear my head” but honestly, I believe I did so because I was in search for what I would later find, a relationship with Jesus Christ. I sat on my bed in my empty apartment and I prayed to God. At the time, I was feeling foolish I was not sure how to pray or talk to God. But I wanted badly for there to be change in my life so I did not stop. That night I prayed with tears and asked for a relationship with Christ Jesus. I also prayed for a bible that was closest to what God wanted for me and a church home. Yes, I prayed for specific needs. Before I knew it, I I had a church home, a bible in my hand and I was studying God’s Word with the help of my church family. I sought truth, with an open heart and gained truth. Are you truly seeking truth? Do you really want a relationship with Jesus Christ? 

 

 

 

Zakia Bee

Who’s Lord of Your Life?

Who is Lord of Your life?” has been ringing in my thoughts all week. It was first introduced to my thoughts because of the two young women I had studied the bible with. This week they both were baptized and declared Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. The second time this question popped in my thoughts, I was conversing with a few people on questions like: “How can you tell if a person is a christian?” and “What does it mean to have Jesus as Lord of your life?” So, I will save my thoughts on those topics for another blogging experience. However, I love what my sister in Christ said via Instagram post about truly what it means to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life. Do you want to be a fan or a disciple?

“Saying that you are a fan of Jesus or that you are a believer of Him is not the same as being His follower (Disciple.) Many know of Him but do not know Him. It is levels to Jesus being Lord over your life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When you give Him the Power, Authority and Influence over your life, your world will never be the same. You will not talk the same, walk the same or live the same because of His direction through God’s Word and Spirit (Acts 2:8). Some may say, “well that Christian stuff works for you but it is not for me. I’ll live on my own terms.” Yet Jesus’ parable of houses built on either solid rock or sand offers a different perspective (Matthew 7:24-27).

24 “So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall.”

28 When Jesus had finished [speaking] these words [on the mountain], the crowds were astonished and overwhelmed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one who had authority [to teach entirely of His own volition], and not as their scribes [who relied on others to confirm their authority].

Matthew 7:24-29 AMP

Only those who make their abode in the Lord can withstand the upheavals of this world. Study the bible; search The Word to see if making Him Lord is truly the life you desire. It is not popular but it will produce greatness in you through faith, trust and love for Him. It’s not EASY but it is WORTH it.”

MyBlessedHands

TravelingLampStamp

There is Hope at The Cross

Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake and the gospel’s will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].  For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world [with all its pleasures], and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul and eternal life [in God’s kingdom]?

Mark 8:34-35 AMP

 

Two years ago, I had met an older man on the college campus at work at, who had invited me out to church. It was his church’s annual “Bring Your Neighbor” day service and he had invited a bunch us on campus. After attending the church’s service, I decided to connect with some women there to see how I could learn more about Jesus Christ. Three women decided to help me. They drove long distances to meet with me and they sat with me for hours.  After studying a while, I wanted to become a disciple of Jesus Christ but when I was faced with the scriptures on sin, I struggled. I struggled especially with Mark 8:34-35. So much so that I quit studying the Bible. Initially, I did not know that I would have given up things in my life to follow Jesus before studying the Bible. At that point, I felt that once again God was trying to snatch my life from me. The very life that I had worked very hard to build back up again…

 

See, I grew up in one the most dangerous cities in America and so I grew up a fighter. I am a fighter by nature. I would fight my family, myself and I would even fight God. In high school I had everything planned. Being an elected president of my class, being nominated as most likely to succeed from my peers, being a part of my school’s debate team, ignited a great passion for law. My 7-year plan was fully in effect, the day I received my acceptance letter to the only college that I had applied to. I was set to start during the summer but due to a financial issue, my entry was delayed a few months. Super impatient yet highly determined to keep my 7-year plan on track, I found myself in an interview at a random university. Shortly after, I was living on campus and already in great standing with many of my professors. A month later, I was asked to leave the campus. I grew bitter at watching my friends graduate before me. I felt like my life was snatched away from me. I became rebellious and angry. Attacking those who offended and/or attacked me. I would argue with those who argued with me.

 

As soon as began studying the Bible, I believe that same attitude from my youth came with me. I stopped studying the bible with those three women and decided to take a break. I was finished with God but little did I know God was not finished with me. In the 6 months apart from my God and my studies, God began showing things. I became a foster mother of my two younger cousins and my life started to make sense. The experience of caring for my two beautiful younger cousins, along with much more, shifted my perspective on God. I began to read my bible and to pray. I remember going to one of the women that were in my studies and asking her if she could study the bible with me and she agreed with open arms without hesitation. As I studied for the second, I began to notice this woman’s behavior with me. I would come to her loud, irate and in an aggressive tone, venting of my day. The woman would sit calm and patient right beside me. When I had stopped talking she would show me scripture that would help me with whichever crisis I had at the time. I would get flustered at her response. But I quickly, fell in love with the fact that she did not react the way that I wanted her to. See, what I was looking for was someone to be mad with. In the world (outside of the body of believers), when a member of my family or a friend does not like a person but some unwritten rule, you should not like the person either. That was how I would fight for my family. But my mentor was different. She did fight for me but in a way that was foreign for me. She wrestled in prayer for me. She loved (and still loves) me. She showed me scripture. She showed what Jesus would have done.

When she moved away to another city, I had started searching for scriptures on my own. I started fighting for my relationship with Jesus Christ. Little by little, I began to release my grasp on my old life and things that mattered to me like losing my identity and being called and seen as weak.

I found hope in losing my life. For every friend I lost in the world, I gained more. For the family I lost, in following Christ I gained a family of believers in their place! My life could not have been made new until surrendered my attitude and my life over to Christ Jesus.

 

My encouragement for you, reading, that there is hope at CROSS. What will you have to give up to receive your blessing?

 

Zakia Bee

I Don’t Read

A few months ago, I was shopping at a grocery store near by. I had just gotten finished paying for things, when I realized that I had forgotten to purchase batteries. Just days before, my megaphone from Amazon came in the mail and of course batteries were not included. Excited to use my megaphone for my weekend prayer walks, I rushed back in to find the batteries. I searched aisle after aisle and could not find them. I noticed an employee of the grocery store and I asked for her to point me in the direction of the batteries. The employee pointed to her right and said, “they are right here.” There it was… a huge sign in the center of the store that read: “BATTERIES.” The woman said, “Don’t worry. You’re a customer.” It took me a minute but I believe she meant customers DON’T read. I went home a winner.

Zakia Bee