Over 40 & Motherless: “Divorced, Dateless, & Over 40-The Series!”

This blog may not have the weeded humor that I normally would add but it is one of sensitive yet humble nature to me. It’s not meant to solicit sympathy nor to offend. Wait! Riiiight! This is my story! Just bringing you into my reality. So here goes…I often overhear conversations between mothers that go a little something like this: “I’m glad I had my kids when I was young because no one wants to be an old lady with a baby. I don’t know what’s wrong with these women waiting later to have children. ^insert their laughter^ Not me! I don’t know how they do it. Crazy I tell ya!” I find absolutely nothing funny about this! Not in the least. As I listen, I don’t know whether to defend the motherless or just break down and cry. When I was in my twenties it was praised upon to be so young and no babies. When I was in my thirties I was asked what was I waiting for and that I better go ahead and have one before I become an old lady. So now that I’m in my fabulous forties, I’m crazy for not having a child by now. What gives? Yes, I’ve been married and I suppose that would seem ideal to have one during that time, however; it did not. Now if I have a conversation with mothers and I usually add that the chances of me becoming a mother are becoming slimmer and slimmer…As you continue to read, nowhere have I ever stated that it was impossible! Riddle me this: why is it that the mothers that think the way the women mentioned above think then turn around and encourage me that God is able and I would make a great mother…and let God be God…with God all is possible! THEN turn around and say, “Leave those children where they are!” And then turn around AGAIN and talk about how blessed they are to have their children (somebody should be dizzy by now)! Should I not want to experience that too?! (I’m literally all up in my feelings about this one.) If I sound a little salty it’s because…well, I am! However, I can’t be too up in arms about it because years ago I used to been on the other side of the fence involved in conversations about women/young girls having kids so young. I wanted to add this because we sometimes find ourselves on the opposite side of the streets at one time or another when it’s something that hits close to home. *If you’re honest with yourselves.*

If I may be completely open and naked before you, it’s grievous at times when I consider things like would I have a family of my own one day…will I live long enough to see my son/daughter have a family of their own and see my generation extended? I do consider while everyone is enjoying their empty nest I’ll be just getting started. Then I considered…soooo what! When I’m asked why I haven’t had any children, I respond back by saying, “I’m not married.” You would think I’ve said something foreign or spoke in gibberish or something. Hold on…now before someone jumps on the defense…I get it to a certain degree and again I totally believe people mean well. My story isn’t completely different from the woman that can’t have children (because someone else says it’s impossible) and I understand! It’s not easy…I’m just asking for a little grace be shown towards those that are patiently waiting their turn and the wait seems endless. What if this is a part of God’s will for my life? I trust His plan even when I don’t understand. I don’t have time to reason with what I feel is fair or not…my resolve is He is still sovereign and He chose me for this! 

I no longer walk around apologetic and embarrassed about not being a mother. Shame used to grip me like a vice grip because I’ve had to consider thoughts like “Am I barren? What man is going to want to marry me and I can’t give him a child? Am I tainted? No good? Used up?” Yes, all that! Will I be able to put money under the pillow for a lost tooth? Will I kiss boo-boos away because of scraped knees and elbows? Will I sit in the hot sun cheering at little league baseball or football games? Scream at graduations? Cry at their wedding? I don’t know! Wait! Before you go there…yes, I remember how old Abraham and Sarah were before they had their first child. I remember how hard Hannah prayed. Yes, James 4:2 says, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” Let me not forget, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). 

This is the journey that’s before me and I’ve learned to have and to have not…

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Magnetized? (Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40…The Series) 

Magnetized? *scratches head* Ok, let me explain. After settling back into life as a single woman (at the time) approaching forty I begin to look at things a little differently. Not only did I consider some things about myself but the type of men that were drawn or maybe I should say “magnetized” to me. I had to go all the way in and ask questions like, “Why am I so trusting?” “Do I come across as too passive or a ‘nice girl’?” You know what I mean my ‘nice girl’ right? No? Oh! Pleeeeeease allow me to enlighten you! See there’s a difference in being pleasant or cordial and nice. Some people may view nice as being gullible or they can get you to do almost anything because you won’t like saying, “no”. That ‘nice girl’ wants to feel accepted, needed, and wanted and the more you request of her the more valuable she feels not knowing that Joe Blow could care two rats and an artichoke (AHHH…but you thought it!) The ‘nice girl’ begins to feel appreciated all the while being depreciated but won’t know how much until there’s a fender bender of the heart. Was I THAT ‘nice girl’?
In many ways, yes! I was her but very much so blinded to that notion because I was distracted by the schedule of events that took place versus WHO was orchestrating these events. Now I could easily insert here, “oh that ole devil was busy! You know satan doesn’t like marriage!” Yeah, yeah let me spare you the things you ALREADY know! Yes, I went through those phrases of “I didn’t see it coming!” Girl, please have several seats! BULL-LONEY (bring it back in Ms. Gina ya cutting it too close). This wasn’t my first rodeo and I have enough familiar scars to know when I’m being cut in the same place…AGAIN! 
To magnetize, simply means to attract or have influence. Seems to be a good thing, right? Of course! Who doesn’t want that?! If you think back to physics, magnetics basically deals with energy, light, & transmission (just to put it in laymen terms without the explanation of science theories and stuff. I can’t swim so I’ll stay on the shallow end…but I digress). I begin on this quest of what in the world was going on inside of me that has this certain type of “energy” that was producing this magnetic force to attract these ____________________ men?!? (Line left blank on purpose because the line isn’t long enough!!) Ok, ok, ok…this is about ME! *literally exhaling* 

In this season of “Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40”, I’ve chosen to DE-magnetize some areas in my life because I’m able to take a moment and feel the energy from within. Basically, I’m allowing my discerning spirit to be a “meter”…when I see it moving in those yellow/red zones I’m chunking deuces! Now hold on…I’m not trying to weed out a person with no faults or the perfect guy because I’m not faultless and far from perfect. But I refuse to fall into what has always been. How do I know I won’t? I don’t know! I do NOT trust myself to do it on my own. The main attraction I need is for the Light of Christ to be so evident and so bright in my life that “those” that might try would flee like roaches when the light comes on! I’m finding it easier to shut off and walk away quickly and be at peace with the unknown of “what if this time I’m wrong?” Well…what if I’m right?

“What if”…is the hamster wheel of the mind!!

©2016


Rediscovering Myself…AGAIN: “Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40-The Series”

Wait! Wait! Waiiiiiit! Hold on! Did you think this blog series was only about being “Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40?” Oh…no…it’s not quite that simple but let’s continue on. So, I’m looking in the mirror one day and thought to myself, “You mean to tell me I’m back at square one…AGAIN! Who does that!?” *raises both hands and left foot* I thought I’d already had this life altering moment before and vowed I wouldn’t be back at that place again…or so I thought. When I realized my marriage was coming to a screeching halt, I had neither a safety net nor a plan of action in place (I mean, seriously! I’m married, why would I be considering an Underground Railroad escape?!) I stood there staring fear and faith right in the face! What am I going to do? When I say it was fast I mean faster than an egg hitting the floor, “SPLAT!” Everything was out of order. I literally lost everything and my mind wasn’t far behind. When I say everything…I mean everything and I wondered, “Where is God?” If it wasn’t for the morning text messages I received daily checking up on me I might have just dissolved into a mass of nothingness. Confidant: “How are we today?” Me: “Can I run away today?” Confidant: “I’m praying for you. Don’t you give up! Ruuuuuuun!” Me: “I can’t believe this is happening!” I mean day after day…after day and the day after that.

Then one day…this happened. I rested.

In reflection, I asked myself, “How do I get up and start again?” I had no idea what was waiting for me beyond the horizon. I had to sift through the murky waters of depression, oppression and repression of a sweltering failed marriage accompanied by darts of poisoned words and smoldering coils of anger coming at me like bees on a honeycomb. (Whoa!) When the enemy of your inner thoughts are entangled with retaliation of an angered spirit adorned in flesh you GOT to be (not must be but GOT to be) prepared for battle! I had to go back to basic boot camp and go back through the rules of engagement:

  • “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rules of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV).
  • “Pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).
  • “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV).

Keep in mind praying, fasting, and reading the Bible were eons away from me! Can I just be honest with y’all? But even in the midst of all of that I had to be reminded that the best defense in spiritual warfare, which certainly can permeate and affect you physically if access is gained, is on your knees. As I remember, the old saints would say, “If there ain’t been any rain in your life, wait awhile!” See I don’t say all of this to be deep or super spiritual (Wait! What exactly is super spiritual?? Right! You don’t get it either, huh? Anyway, I digress!)

Rediscovering who I was and who I desired to be took me going back to the drawing board of who I am in Christ! I took a long hard look at the pattern that I had developed and decided I just can’t live like this. How is it that I was coming into agreement with the opposite of the life that Christ said He came for me to have…an abundant life! Let me pump some muscle into this word for you: liberal, generous, bountiful, prolific, overflowing, lavish…Who me…this clump of clay with all these cracks, puncture wounds, and unappealing shell? I was appalled that this was happening to me. (Ha! Girl you are not that special!) Oh, let me tell you that nasty little spirit of self-righteousness will have you thinking that your prayers are dripping with golden honey and you sit on the left hand of the Almighty God Himself! I began to go down my spiritual resume of all the things I felt I knew and that I did well but the other things were covered under, “God forgives my sins”…while He does do that He also loves me enough to bring correction and trust me you will discover a “heap” of things about yourself! I wanted to be angry and I wanted to be pissed off (wait…can I say “pissed off” or does that demote me from “super spiritual”? LOL! Okkkk…ok…) and I wanted to evoke anger and expose this emotional toothache because I figured since I had lost everything why the hell not! My humbled journey left me broke and broken…to the point of living out of my laundry baskets, an oversized duffle bag, and a comfortable couch for quite a long time! HOWEVER, when I tell you God provided a Ram in the bush! I might not have had what I was once used to but I have never, NEVER been without a good night’s sleep even if it was between tears! It was the best move of God that ever happened in my life to date!

So rediscovering me…AGAIN may not have come in the form of finding a new job, (which I did) stumbling upon the love of my life, (which I’m still hopeful for) or anything of the sort (I still believe GOD) but discovered and rediscovered that the beauty of growing does not exempt me from pain. If there isn’t pain then I need to check my growth meter. The decisions I made cost me a lot but nothing in comparison to what I could have lost and that was hope…

Stay tuned as I share the journey and why I’m…dateless. It might get a little bumpy!

ME2


My Greatest History Lesson-Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40…The Series! My Greatest History Lesson #DD40

DD40-The Series: My Greatest History Lesson
So by now you know that I’m divorced, dateless, and over 40! That sounds pretty…grim, huh? Well, allow me to bring your mind at ease…I love the simplicity of my life. I have a family that adores me (I’d like to think I’m a little spoiled), the greatest of friends that any one person could have, a part of a loving and growing church family that assists in my spiritual nourishment and God is and has been good to me even when I’m not as faithful to Him. I really am undeserving of His grace and I don’t take that lightly. And the list goes on and on…and on. So, why am I single???

Hopefully, I’m able to explain and while this series is about me I’m sure there are others that can relate. If this is not you, then all being well, this will make for a good read! We’ve all heard from time-to-time, “Girl, don’t settle for less than God’s best!” Somewhere along the way I must’ve blunked because I totally missed the memo! (Don’t act like this has never happened to you.) I reached a place in my life where I felt like everyone around me was either in relationships, getting married, or having children and there I was bogged down in writing academic papers and online assignments. Then as life happened…I met someone. “It was all a dream. Last night I had a dream. Thoughts was racin’ through my head. It was all a dream. Felt so real to me. This is what was said…” (Dreams by Biggie Smalls) What’cha know about that Biggie? Ok, ok, ok…focus Gina!  So, I met someone and I thought “THIS IS IT!” I’m on a natural high…feeling wiggly and giggly, goose bumps, staying up late talking and getting up early talking, and sharing how great this is with my bestest of girlfriends (yeah, so…I felt like I was back in high school). Little did I know I was about to experience the ride of my life and I was buckled down like a crash car dummy. (See, it sounds better coming from me than you.)

So I’m putting in all this time trying to get to “know” this person and the sirens, bullhorns, flashing red lights, caution signs, the flip flopping of my stomach, and discerning spirit was showing and telling me otherwise. But what did I do??? Closed my eyes, turned a deaf ear, and told myself it was my nerves. Worst than that…I’d convinced myself that God positioned me in this place. (Oh! He positioned me alright!) I considered everyone and everything else but myself, so it seemed. “What would my friends think? They’re so happy for me!” “What IF I’m wrong?” (Never considered, GIRL WHAT IF YOU’RE RIGHT!?!) See, there was a pattern I was starting to recognize and it was staring me right in my face. The pattern was: ME! Why in the hell was I allowing these things to keep happening? I wasn’t in it for sex and there was a sense of pride I had for upholding my celibacy. It wasn’t for money. (Don’t get me wrong…the extra support is welcomed! Say what’cha want! But I digress..)! I just figured that it was now my turn. I’ve heard many times “Be careful what you pray for.” (Ummmm, I’m thinking be more SPECIFIC of what you pray for!!) But that’s neither here nor there. God isn’t some mystical genie where you rub a few eloquent words or speech and recite scriptures to Him in hopes He would deliver. Oh yeah! I’ve been there “Lord, you said you would give me the desires of my heart.” Well, you better think about it because what’s on the surface of what you think you want is not in comparison to what’s deep down in your heart. I chuckle as I reminisce on the things I was so sure I heard God say. You know, kinda like during those times when God was actually silent! (Aha!)

I will spare you all the juicy, eye-bulging, gasping details of my catastrophic journey but I will share my greatest lessons learned: As the late, great Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” It’s ok to take your time and allow things to settle. My dear friend and mentor, Tekoa Pouerie once told me, “You need to see a person in all seasons.” That statement has never been more truer! Don’t just pray to God but also wait to hear from Him. What do you have to lose?! Ladies, what you allow you also come into agreement with it. If he’s in a tight position or times are hard, don’t try to be his “saving grace”! Sit back and observe how he handle things and more importantly how he RESPONDS to those things when it happens! A man that doesn’t work is not your place to feed. (Use that however you see fit!) Observe how he treats his parents…there’s your peep into your future. Disobedience is like maxing out your credit card acting like its free money: Not having the money to pay it off will lead to bad credit, late fees, and high interest rates. You will pay MORE…LATER!

Stay tuned…Divorced, Dateless, & Over 40…The Series! There’s more!


 


Divorced, Dateless, and Over 40…The Series!

Waaait! Before all the happily 40+ and dating population start chiming in about how great their dating life is…this blog isn’t for YOU! Enjoy yourself and guard your heart. Actually, I’m going to turn in and be a little transparent and share my story. Wheeew! Hopefully, I dodged a bullet there! 🙂

I am single (as in un-married…or rather, no longer married) twice removed. Yep, you read it right! Not a big part of my life that I openly and readily discuss because people usually respond by saying, “I didn’t know that!” and let’s not forget the “ghost whispers” some may call them gossipers. *sips tea* But I digress, that story is for another day! After that short-lived, regrettable season of my life I learned a lot about myself and I GREW UP in many ways as a young woman (after all, 40 is the new 25, right)? Now I say regrettable only because of what I had to endure during the process not the process in its entirety because I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for that experience. Later, I tried dating someone for a while but there was a major roadblock that prevented it from going further and I’m right back where I started…trying to figure out “how” to get back in the dating scene. I mean, let me keep it all the way real…I lovvvvve my girlfriends/besties/sisters and they have held me up during the toughest of times and still do…HOWEVER; there are times I want to go out on a date with a gentlemen! (Shocking?!?!) Yes, I would like to sit across from dinner (with my dainty self) and laugh at his corny jokes as we ask one another those weird questions, like…”what do you like to do?” *side-eye*

I’ve been asked often, “Why aren’t you dating?” Well, my answer is pretty short and sweet…”I don’t know!” Am I too picky? Nooooo, of course not (insert smirk) but I am SELECTIVE! Look, I often glance back over my dating/relationship portfolio as a reminder of what NOT to do again! Now I know some may say, “Ms. Gina, you gotta give people a chance. Everyone’s not the same.” Yeah…yeah I know. I’m not reflecting back because of someone else but because of “ME”! I, first and foremost, MUST know what it is I want. I’m not talking about superficial stuff. I need to BE the person I want to meet, date, marry, & start a family with too! For the deep thinkers, I don’t mean literally in every sense of the word but those that understand me…*fist bump*! I’ve understood in more ways than some that what you speak out of your mouth you literally give life to…for instance, when I hear a woman say, “Ain’t no good men out there…they’re all taken.” Well, prepare yourself to get what’s left out there if all of the good ones are taken. Does that even make sense? Three things you ever won’t hear me say: 1) “All men are dogs!” 2) “All men are no good!” 3) “I can’t meet a decent guy to save my life!” I just can’t bring myself to believe such nonsense. What would be the point?! Seriously, I can’t base my past life choices on the entire population of men just like I would NOT want men to think certain things about women (especially black women)! Although I know both sides do anyway…there is still a population of us that’s holding it down! *fist bump*

OK, let me get back on track here…because I’m divorced, dateless, and over 40 does not mean my life is at a standstill. It doesn’t mean I’m unproductive, not praying, have stopped believing God for this part of my life to be fulfilled AND I totally enjoy my freedom and liberation as it stands as a single woman. Probably lately now more than prior years, I do think about how it would be starting a family at this stage in my life (I mean like actually getting married again and having a baby…LIFE)! While most people in my span of years are going to their children’s high school graduations, sending them off to college or attending college graduations, becoming grandparents, helping their child(ren) prepare to move into their first place and even some heading towards marriage. *Insert pause* Please…I know what you might be thinking. “God gave Abraham and Sarah a baby at their old age!” STOP! Com’on, can we keep the main thing the main thing…of course, my saying this has notttthing to do with God’s infinite capabilities. He’s sovereign! I’m not wavering in my faith but what I am doing is releasing my truth of “Divorce and Dateless after 40…” Some may look at this as a negative but the truth is this is a good thing because while I’ve embraced my singleness. I’m able to share some of my journey with other women that have gone through, going through, and/or will experience to some degree what I’ve already encountered and it affords me the opportunity to minister and coach them through to a place of healing and restoration that only GOD can do once they’re in a willing place to receive it. Always pointing in the direction of betterment not bitterment (yes, I made that word up and it makes sense).

Now this is just the prelude to the series and I have no idea what’s gonna come up next. You’ll just have to follow-up with the next one…but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting. It’s a tell-all…well maybe not all. *snickers* I candidly use slight humor in my stories to help me tap into that memory without revisiting the emotions that kept me bound for so long. Although I remember I’m now in a place of perpetual healing that reminds me that God is still with me!

laughter


Give Yourself PERMISSION to be GREAT! 

Hello ‘mPowered Leading Ladies! It’s been awhile but guess what!!! I’M BACK…and better than ever! A couple of weeks ago this phrase has been wringing in my spirit every single day, “Give Yourself Permission to be GREAT!” The Word of God supports this, “YOU, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (NIV 1 John 4:4, emphasis added). This scripture starts off talking specifically to YOU…yes, YOU and ME! I am reminded of who I belong to and that I AM an overcomer and “the one” (JESUS) is greater in ME…therefore, greatness is ALREADY inside of me by default of who I belong to and I did nothing, absolutely nothing to deserve such prestige, such honor, such favor…and grandeur success! Our only position is to walk in it! It’s a way of life in how we choose to live it. Success is not limited to tangible assets but what’s more valuable on the inside and in our servitude. Everything else is a bonus and what is more grand than to honor God with our talents (that He’s given us) as a gift back to Him! In addition to that God is like, “Look, I own cattle on a thousand hills…the earth is Mine and the fullness there of…it’s mine anyway but what I want you to do is leave an inheritance to your children’s children!” Ok, you can go ahead and shout right there! Your future is already blessed and and waiting to come to past! Whether you biologically have children on your own or not, it’s all about leaving a legacy!

‘mPowered Leading Ladies, we have already been endorsed to go forth and do great things, overcome obstacles, and do it in the attitude and aptitude of greatness! Go ahead and give yourselves permission to be GREAT!!

#MsGinaSpeaks #iMotivateSolutions Twitter: @TheRealMsGina / Instagram: @TheRealMsGina Periscope: @TheRealMsGina FB: ReginaACotton 

I Motivate Solutions 

I am permitted!


#DearMarriedWoman

This blog is for some of the #DearSingleLadies writers. I hope this blog encourages you in one way or another. As I too am single…as in not married. Rather in my case, no longer married. I stand as a defense for those that’s never been married or are divorced and patiently waiting. I’ve seen my fair share of #DearSingleLadies Facebook and Twitter posts that comes across rather strong and some down right harsh. I see very few share how hard it was for some of you when you were single and dating. No one shares how hard it was to not have sex before marriage or better yet how some struggled WITH having sex before marriage and everything else in between! See this posts isn’t in regards to EVERYBODY but just the far and in between that tell you “how hard marriage is”, “don’t be in a rush to be married”, and “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be”…however, these are the same ones that share all the wisdom-ologies of #TeamMarriage, #PowerCouple, #MarriageRocks, and #Marriage101. I’ll be the first to tell you that marriage DOES indeed take work, much prayer, and a roll of duct tape! Yes, duct tape because sometimes it takes everything in you to not say EVERYTHING you want to say! (I’m just saying ;))

Let me share on behalf of myself and other #DearSingleLadies that are hopeful of sharing in the beautiful unity of marriage that GOD created. See before every woman got married she was single…so what was your journey like? Now for those that didn’t date, gave herself wholly to the Lord, had no struggles with sex or the curiosity of sex and of the sort…I truly applaud you and YES…you were definitely a “KEPT” woman so this exempts you. But for those that strrrrrruggled, you had to fan yourself when you were flushed with heat and realized it was thirty-five degrees outside, you had one conversation going on in your head but your body was having another one of its own…tell the #DearSingleLadies how you “pressed through”! Tell us how you slipped and slid into places because you were too close to the edge with nothing to grab ahold of but that six foot frame. (Hmmm…) Please tell the #DearSingleLadies how he broke your heart, rejected you, manipulated you, and deceived you and then you discovered what brokenness felt like so you could understand what wholeness felt like. Please tell the #DearSingleLadies that you understand how frustrating it is, how tiring it is standing at the alter praying God sends you a good, faithful man and all its “benefits”. Feel me?

See, #DearMarriedWoman, some of my #DearSingleLadies need to know that we’re not damaged goods. It would be GREAT to see a post that reads, #DearSingleLadies “I’m praying for you today!” Help encourage one of these #DearSingleLadies that has given up and her heart has turned to stone and her body has betrayed her to take refuge in an illusion. Please tell the #DearSingleLadies how God can make all things new and ALLOW the process as God is building character, integrity, and smoothing out the rough places. I would try to fit it all in here but I might as well save it for my next blog…my own personal letter to my #DearSingleLadies!

#DearMarriedWoman, I know you probably mean well and your heart may be in the right place but please try and remember that words are better spoken from the hearts than from the lips.

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Little Did I Know…

I remember ten years ago when I was saying goodbye to my twenties and preparing to embark upon my thirties…little did I know what was lying ahead of me. I felt like this was my turn to take life by the horns and ride it hard and mightily…but little did I know. My dear friends near and far came to celebrate this momentous occasion with me as I begin to shift in life, but little did I know. I had racked up some miles in my twenties, mostly of going around and around in circles, not knowing what I was going to do with this thing called life but little did I know. 

As the decade turned and I excitedly embraced entering my thirties, I prided myself with the notion that Jesus the Son of God and the son of man who walked the earth didn’t start his ministry until He was thirty. (As I chuckle). I just knew life was going to open up and the plan was going to be laid out in front of me and I, too, would seize the moment that it was time for me to walk in the ministry that God assigned to me (say it with me) “but little did I know!” Don’t get me wrong, God has shown Himself Great & Mighty in my life. I am proud of the accomplishments He’s favored upon me in my thirties. I successfully finished my education receiving both a Bachelor’s & Master’s degree  as I quit several times in my head. I have grown spiritually in leaps and bounds yet more room for growth. A wonderful family and great friends, undoubtedly surrounded by love. He poured His mercy and grace upon me and spared my life and kept me out of harms way even after being hit by two drunk drivers. Not only that but has been gracious EVERYDAY. Can I say that again? EVERYDAY! The list goes on and on. God gave me insight on what I was designed to do through some of the most painful times in my life. The operational tool that He set before me to use was my ability to speak. However, because of shame, guilt, lack of confidence, and insecurities “I’ just knew God made a mistake but little did I know. After my long and tiresome stroll through the “wilderness” God reminds me even now as I write this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Little did I know, that through all of that God has NOT forgotten me even when times seemed tumultuous He was closer to me than I realized. I know what it’s like to have lost everything and also be left with nothing to spare, little did I know that He used even that to do what I’m doing RIGHT NOW…writing to tell about it. Yes, it’s my story but when I tell you that it’s all for His glory and He reigns in my life because all I can say is, “but God!” When I said “Lord, teach me how to evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” little did I know there were some lessons I had to learn along the way:  

**I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. (Psalms 86:7 NLT); 

**I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psalms 121:1 KJV);

**Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:8 NLT);

**Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 KJV);

**But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 NLT);

**Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. (Psalms 51:1-4 NLT).

As you have read over the few scriptures above and many more in God’s word, the greatest motivation for me to be used by God is through my personal relationship with Him. I had to personally know Him as my Helper, that He responds when I call Him (even when I can’t HEAR Him), that He’s my Comforter, He teaches me HOW to forgive others, and that when I sin that I can go to Him in prayer and seek His face for mercy. It’s all about relationship. Little did I know that He would use me…Regina, born July 14, 1974 in a hospital in Cleveland, OH but it all began before I even entered the womb! How GREAT is His love for me? As I graciously look forward to what lies before me as I enter into my forties…my prayer is simply this, “Father, may my life bear FRUIT and even through those difficult producing seasons that you strengthen me from on high, that daily my heart is renewed…my words are seasoned with grace…and the saltiness of who I am bring the flavor of Jesus Christ everywhere I go. Replenish me when my heart feels like it’s in a drought…when I feel insignificant at times, disregarded, you know…the least of these! Oh, that YOU will be exalted…Preserve every gift, calling, and dream and may it reach it’s FULL maturity and be a blessing to others and grant me favor.  Gina is the one who is praying to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!”… And God granted her request. (1 Chronicles 4:10 NLT) In Jesus Name!

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The Power of Transition – Severing Relationships (Part 1)

Ms. Gina

Time and time again you may have heard “let it go”! I have always wondered why does it seem so hard to let go of toxic relationships. Albeit, whether its friendships, business partners, or dating relationships, when it’s over, it’s over. Sadly to admit, even in some cases where marriages have ended in divorce (even my own) but I digress.

Time is the most valuable asset that we are given because it means we’re alive and we can either maximize it or waste it. The same as with the company we keep. Evaluate your “circle” and see what is it producing, how is it adding to your life or subtracting from it, and are you moving forward or not moving at all? Does your circle of friends motivate, encourage, support, or challenge you to be great? Or are they time snatchers that just want to “shoot the breeze”, always do…

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The Prologue – Everybody Has a Story

Oftentimes there is so much I would like to share but I then remember that everything that wants to be said doesn’t need to be said…at least not right now. Not everybody will understand where you’re coming from and will likely draw their own conclusions. But that’s to be expected, right? We don’t all share the same experiences. How one would choose to handle a situation they have never encountered is totally different from the individual that is actually in the situation chooses to handle it. One is speculative and the other is relative.

The majority of the blogs I have written were while I was in the midst of one of the most disappointing times in my life. I couldn’t understand how I was able to write from a place of pain that was a place of healing for someone else. I could not understand how God was going to cause all these ingredients of disappointment, heartbreak, heartache, rejection, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness, turmoil, shame, lack of wisdom, disobedience, helplessness, selfishness, desperation, unloving, blame, victimization, and pain…ALL work together for the good! That’s why He’s God and I’m not! Most people say, “I just want to be happy!” I feel you! As you may know by now, happiness is the result of something happening that charges your emotions and you wish the moment would last forever. Again, I feel you! One day I had an “Ah Ha!” moment and I said out loud “I want to live a fulfilling life!” Simply meaning, no matter what is going on in my life it is fulfilled because 1) my hope is in Jesus, 2) this too shall pass, 3) live in the moment, 4) take nothing for granted but be GRATEFUL for it all, and 5) forgive offenses quickly and let go. Does that sound too unrealistic? Easier said than done? Do I think this way every single day? Certainly not, but moments like this gently reminds me that I am not in control. Release…

Some of you will be able to relate while others may find it surprising, obnoxious, or cumbersome but that’s the beauty of each of us having our OWN life’s story! I sometimes still deal with the afterthoughts of “What will people think?” “What will people say?” “How accepting would people be?” People…people…people…will be…people! You will always have “the Naysayers, the Oooh-Childs, and the Ummm…umm…ummm…No she didn’t!” that really are your cheerleaders! They’re the ones that will help share your story! So don’t count it all a lost!

God still has the final say in my life’s story…after all, He’s the Author and Finisher of my faith. You, too, have a “Pit to Palace” story and if you don’t (as my granddad used to say) “keep living”! I’m a bit hard on myself at times because I think about precious time I’ve wasted and the grand mantra of, “If I knew then what I know now…!” I dare not compare my story to others because I may not have survived what most have gone through but I respect it! I can minister to the married because I’ve been there. I can minister to the divorced because I’ve been there. I can minister to the forgotten, left behind, disregarded, heartbroken, rejected, taken for granted, misused, abused, neglected, and broken because I’ve been there. I can minister to the hopeful, the survivor, the fighter because I’ve been there. I can minister to the dream chaser, the intercessor, the faithful, the faithless, the undeserving, the one that stands alone because I’ve been there. I can minister to the poor decision maker, the flesh, the wise and unwise, the one who’s afraid, the sinner and the saint, the backslider, the joyful, the humble, the proud…because I’ve been there. I can minister to the homeless, the unvalued, the hungry, the one who has plenty and the one who doesn’t have enough because I’ve been there.

Although I’m able to encourage you from all those places and then some it’s because I need you to know you’re not alone! I don’t have all the answers or solutions but I know One who does and can heal you just by the bare mention of His Name, Jesus! Being able to minister to you from my story is not about me but an opportunity to share Jesus Christ. Not to preach at you or to you but to SHARE His Light in your dark place. I make no apologies and totally unashamed but drenched in humility…image