Can’t buy me wisdom

Inner-knowing

Don't ever discount your intuition. It's too valuable. (2)

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

My apologies, diamonds. Sorry, dogs. Your days as girls’ and man’s respective best friends are over…at least, for those of us who desire a higher quality and pedigree of partnership.

In this ephemeral, microwavable society, it makes sense that we want loyalty that actually lasts. But with people being people, many people have bought into the ideas of having to either buy loyalty through lifetime-guarantees of goods or command it from animals who are trained to be “good boys” and “good girls”.

Now, before you give me the Care Bear Stare, I am a happy consumer with a heart. I just prefer to consume companionship that is freely given and that can see the goodness of my heart without the immediate expectation of a ‘treat’. (Hello, somebody.)

Q: So, where does that leave me?

A: I have a standing date with a free Bible every morning, and I experience the sweet companionship of the Holy Spirit every second, minute, and hour of the day.

As a result of all of this holy quality-time, my relationship with God is one that I have grown to love and cherish. The more I learn about Him, the more I want to learn about Him. So, of course, the Bible is a key component in our courtship. And for the past few days, King Solomon has been at the forefront of our conversations.

As the third king of Israel, Solomon holds the distinction of being the wisest person–ever. Hence, it stands to reason that I reason from Solomon’s understanding in my pursuit of better understanding God.

“Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.” ~ Proverbs 4:6-9, NKJV

First of all, I love how Solomon likens wisdom to a person with purpose and prestige as opposed to a prized possession. Secondly, I love that Solomon assigns wisdom’s personhood a feminine identity. Sure, there are plenty of boats and cars named after women, but Solomon notes that wisdom is a driving force of life, as women truly are.

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting to everlasting. From the beginning, before there was ever an earth…When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned the sea its limit, so the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.” ~Proverbs 8:22-23, 27-31, NKJV

Well.

It seems that God and wisdom are a match made in heaven–literally. And as their earthling-offspring, we can certainly revel in their ethereal romance if we attune our ethereal ears to wisdom’s Divinely Feminine frequency and act on her messages with faith in God the Father.

“The way of the Lord is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.” ~Proverbs 10:29, NKJV

So, maybe we’ve never experienced afternoon showers of fire and brimstone, but you and I have surely been burned by our choices to take routes that differ from those suggested by our internal GPS. If you’re as hardheaded and Heart-Dumb as I can be, then you too saw the “Wrong Way”, “Do Not Enter”, and “Dead End” signs on your ignorant journeys and blissfully passed them by as well.

“Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” ~Proverbs 12:1, NKJV

Yes, Solomon called us stupid. Yet, as we continue reading his sagacious soliloquy, we can also see that Solomon is calling us Higher–to “a higher quality and pedigree of [life] partnership,” if you will. I don’t know about you, but I want to go Higher. Commodities are pretty and pets are cute, but I want to partner with life on a Heavenly level wherein wisdom is my constant companion and my faith in God my confidant.

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Affirm Yo’ Self

Positivity
mirror

Roar.

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

As I was dreaming up this post, I could hear Parks and Recreation’s Donna and Tom exclaim, from within a luxury retailer dressing room, “Treat yo’ self…to an affirmation!” While I can hear and heed this imaginative advice today, prior to 2013, I couldn’t have imagined it nor did I have any idea what an affirmation was.

That year was a huge turning point in my life. I turned 30. I turned into an author and life coach. And I turned my Christian upbringing on its ear by turning my attention to a trio of celebrated New Thought teachers: Alan Cohen, Doreen Virtue, and Louise Hay.

Well, they weren’t celebrated by me – not at the beginning of that year, anyway – because I really didn’t know who they were. But honey, by year’s end, what I didn’t know was how I had made it that far in life without them.

Alan taught me the essence of God and the metaphysical quintessence of Jesus Christ. Doreen taught me that I wasn’t crazy for believing in signs, angels and other mystical and ‘mythical’ beings. And Louise, well, Louise taught me love.

louise

In the Bible, God the Father and God the Son are noted several times as commanding those who believe to “love your neighbor as you love yourself“. As one who believed church to be a second home – as I was there all the time – I heard this commandment all the time as well.

But that doesn’t mean I followed it, and I didn’t, to be honest. I went to church religiously and was just as spiteful and unforgiving as I wanted to be. I tried to be nice to people and, really, I was – and am – a nice person. Nevertheless, despite my nicest efforts along with those times when I didn’t give a flying effort, there were just some “neighbors” who I believed were just too hard for me to love.

And so, because I couldn’t locate the loophole to this ‘impossible’ command to love, I eventually left the idea of church at the open door in hopes of opening a window to a world where love was always on my side.

Ha!

What I actually walked into was a brick wall of self-loathing, which was illuminated by my lack of self-love. Enter Louise…

“If you have had experiences in your life that are not comfortable, on some level, they’re mirrors of you. We don’t always like to hear that, but everything in our life is a mirror of us. So if something’s happening out there that’s not comfortable, we have to look inside and say ‘How are we creating it?’ ‘What is it about me or what is it within me that believes that I deserve this experience?’ ‘Cause otherwise, we wouldn’t bring it to us. So, perhaps, I would say a little more loving yourself would help because when you get that flowing, you won’t bring in uncomfortable experiences.”

~Louise Hay on “Receiving Prosperity”

In my errant search for a loophole to Universal love, I stumbled upon the wisdom of Louise Hay and was thrown for a loop. When I finally came to, I saw that the bitterness I felt toward my ‘unloveable’ neighbors was really just a reflection of how bitterly I viewed myself. Moreover, I learned that my lack of love for others was in direct response to a lack of love within me for me.

Well, in the years since first stepping foot into Alan’s, Doreen’s, and Louise’s classrooms, I’ve had plenty of occasions to put this theory to the test. Upon concluding each experiment, I’ve confirmed that while it can be trippy, it’s always true: Only love for ourselves equals love for others, not vice versa.

This consistent result has since resulted in my constant use of affirmations–a domain in which many ‘New Thinkers’ deem Louise its queen. Though I, too, hold Louise in this high regard, I admittedly regard my paraphrased version of Alan’s definition of an affirmation as my favorite:

An affirmation is a statement about yourself that just reminds you of who you are.

In other words, an affirmation isn’t aspirational, it’s actual. Of course, an affirmation that states “I spend money wisely…I always have what I need” can seem a little far-fetched when we seem to have only a little amount of money to spend. But if we can suspend our belief in what we seem to see long enough to really remember that the Source of our abundance is infinite and owns “the cattle on a thousand hills“, then we will really start to see that abundance materialize in our lives. (Amen to that.)

And amen to the teachings of Alan, Doreen, and Louise, which have all had such profound impacts on my life. As good teachers do, their teachings have also taught me to prize the profundity within. So, I bring this post to a close with five of my personal affirmations that I use to remind me of who I am.

1. “I am a sexual being. I fully embrace and express my sexuality in ways that are fully aligned with my Higher self. I am free from sexual guilt and shame. My sexuality is a gift from God and I love and enjoy my God-given sexuality. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

2. “I am abundant in all areas of my life. I trust God easily and follow where He leads me. I fully trust God to take care of me, my finances, my material needs and wants. I am rich in love, peace, beauty, and emotional strength. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

3. “I am healed. My mind and my body are at ease. I am free from all distressing thoughts and my body is free from all forms of distress. I love my body and my body loves me back. I love my mind and my mind loves me back. My mind and my body are united as one in love. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

4. “I am whole. I lack nothing. Everything that God says I am, I am. Everything that God has for me is mine. I am a child of the King. Only good is my inheritance. I walk in God’s goodness now and I see it everywhere I go. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

5. “I am pure and as innocent as the day I was born. My purity is not earned, it is already mine. I am light in the darkness. I am warmth in the coldness. I am love in the midst of fear. I am kindred with God. I bless others and receive others’ blessings. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

 

Facebook-icon th If you’ve forgotten who you are and you’d like some help in reclaiming your identity, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. I know your name.💖

Don’t quit your day job…unless God tells you to

Trust

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

With trust comes knowing and not knowing.

I know in whom I trust – no doubt, that is God – but I do doubt how well the things I trust Him with will turn out. I mean, I know they’ll turn out for my good; Romans 8:28 tells me that. I just don’t know what God’s idea of “good” looks like when what I’m feeling as I’m ‘trusting’ Him does not feel good to me.

Of course, now that I’ve written that, it appears ridiculous to me that I am not only comparing my and God’s ideas of good but, actually, second-guessing the goodness of God. However, as ridiculous as that may be, I do it more times than I care to admit, especially when it comes to my idea of money.

When God told me to quit my job last year and set sail on SS Entrepreneurship, I thought that meant He would provide for me, mainly, by providing me with a lot of money. (Besides my fantasies of luxuries, the fact is that I live on Maui, and there’s nothing fictitious about this island’s cost of living.) But don’t get me wrong, “all I have needed, Thy hand hath provided…just not in the way I hath expected.

God fed Elijah with the use of ravens. God has fed me with the use of food stamps.

Jesus said that He would prepare a place for me in His Father’s house, which contains many mansions. To date – and for two years – I’ve dwelt in a neatly-prepared bunk…in a dorm…in a hostel. (Albeit, a pleasant hostel.)

God said “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Y’all, the only reason that I’ve made it this long upon this (is)land is because of my honorable father and mother and the financial support which they’ve given me.

Now, let’s review:
Have I gone hungry? No.
Have I gone without shelter? No.
Have I gone broke? Close, but no.

When I feel worn and weary, and wonder whether or not I heard God correctly, these are questions I ask myself to help me put God’s goodness in my life in perspective. Here are some others:

Do you have a family that loves you? Yes.
Do you have friends that love you like family? Yes.
Do you have a vehicle and daily access to a hot shower and Netflix? YES.

Man, I’m starting to feel better already. While I know – in my head – that gratitude is an important ingredient in manifesting God’s promises, it can be hard for me to be grateful – in my heart – about what I have when I’m so focused on what I’m without. (Well that’s an epiphany if I ever wrote one. )

So, to round out this epiphanic post – it’s a word, I checked – here’s something else for me and you to ponder when we consider God’s promise to provide His goodness, in various forms, in our lives:

“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
~Numbers 23:19, NKJV

Facebook-iconth If God made you some promises that you know He will keep, but you would like some company to help you keep your sanity in the meantime, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t stop believing!

Late bloomers rejoice!

Truth
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Snoopy (Facebook)

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

I love a good underdog story.

Whether it’s the Philadelphia Eagles flying high in the Super Bowl or the Houston Astros soaring to victory in the World Series, you can generally find me cheering in the corner of the one who’s been counted out. That’s why – in case you were looking – you could’ve found me at the ProArts Theater on Maui a couple nights ago, championing the greatest underdog of all time–Charlie Brown.

 

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Growing up, I was hooked on primarily three things: Oreos, chocolate milk, and movies about Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Every weekend, my parents would take me to the video store to rent movies…on VHS tapes. (Yes, Millennials, it’s true.) And every weekend, I’d choose movies from Charles Schulz’s vast array of Charlie Brown’s misadventures.

There was something about Charlie Brown with which I identified. Or maybe it was Lucy and her self-assured and self-obsessed attitude that I detested yet somewhat admired that struck a chord with me. Or maybe it was Linus and his way of positing thought-provoking philosophies while posing firmly with his blankie that held my attention. Or maybe it was Sally and her unbridled passion for Linus which she expressed again and again and again that I, as a kid, gagged over but I, as a romantic, fell head over heels for that caught my fancy.

Nope. It was Charlie Brown.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we’ve all felt like Charlie Brown at some point(s) in our lives–or, for much of our lives. Counted out of the in-crowd. Cast down by the higher-ups. Bullied, belittled and bested by ‘the best’. We all know what it feels like to be an underdog. So, too, we all have the opportunity to rise.

No, we may never win a Super Bowl or a World Series championship, but we can win the game of life by simply being the best versions of ourselves. That doesn’t mean to strive for ‘perfection’ though; it means to strive for truth.

“The truth is the mirror that never breaks. We can hold it up to anything or anyone and it will always reveal itself. Our individual truths are reflections of this universal truth; they embody the same principle, just in different frames to meet our individual specifications.” ~ Chapter 2: “Self-Compassion”, Part 3: How to Love Yourself by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

We are guaranteed winners when we are being our true selves, as God created and intended us to be. Talking with truth from our hearts. Walking in truth with our faith. Seeing ourselves and others as we and they truly are with the loving eyes of God. This is better than Wheaties for breakfast, folks. Living in truth is the life of champions!

While it took the Peanuts crew about two hours – plus intermission – to see through Charlie Brown’s shortcomings and value the truth of his goodness, we don’t have to wait that long, nor do we need others’ validation. We can choose, right now, to see our own true goodness – in all its unique glory – and talk it and walk it in ways that only we uniquely can.

super power

MAKERS

th Facebook-icon If you’ve made the choice to talk and walk in your true goodness, and you’d like some truly good company to talk and walk with, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. Do you boo!

 

Food–it’s an honor

Power

Temples

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Not to brag, but my vehicle is a high-quality brand. I noted this again the other day as I pulled into my favorite gas station – i.e. the cheapest gas station nearest me – to fill up my tank.

While I am price-conscious, I am also conscious of valuing value. That’s why, despite my high interest in low prices, I still fill up my gas tank with the highest grade of fuel.

Nowadays, I hold the same high-grade philosophy toward my body’s fuel–food. However, this wasn’t always the case. It took the Divine, numerous times, to intervene and direct my dining habits Higher.

Some people have prayer closets in which they seek God’s voice; I have prayer cards, two decks, in fact.

cards

The two cards on the left are part of Doreen Virtue’s “Magical Messages from the Fairies Oracle Cards” deck and the one on the right is from her “Angel Therapy Oracle Cards”.

In any case, all three cards gave me a mighty fright when I began pulling them repeatedly about two years ago.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!”

That was my repeated response to their Higher guidance.

In a past decade, I was a vegetarian for approximately six years. Moreover, I was a well-intentioned but naïve college student for much of said decade; so, suffice to say, I was a naïve vegetarian as well.

Potato chips? Check.
French fries? Check.
Refined sweets and cheese galore? Double check.
Actual fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that didn’t come in aluminum, plastic, or Styrofoam containers? (((Crickets)))

Not only was my view of vegetarianism askew, but my health, as a result, was too. Therefore, when I got the Supernatural call to eat on a Higher plane a couple years ago, naturally, my mind revisited my past wayward attempt and I immediately hung up the phone. Not to mention that my intention for originally traveling that wayward way was for a guy. (Please send Gloria Steinem my regrets.)

So, how is it that nearly a decade later I am a happy, informed, feminist, plant-based vegan and have been for 10 months? Well, there are only so many times that you can hang up on God before you begin sensing the threat of a real disconnection–you know what I mean?

After the umpteenth time of receiving the Higher eating-call circa January 2017, I finally answered it in the affirmative. God, through my cards, promised me greater power in my life if I surrendered to His power in my life through my diet, or my “live-it” as I now like to call it.

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Though I accepted the call in one day, I didn’t make the powerful change from flesh to fresh overnight. It took time – a lot of it – blocked into several stages: Pescatarian; vegetarian; junk-food vegan; and finally, plant-based, gluten-free, no-salt vegan.

And I have to tell you that I feel more powerful now than I ever have before. Of course, it’s not my personal power that’s driving me but the power of God vested in me via veggies, fruits and other natural delights, especially the delight of His powerful love coursing through my digestive tract and my heart.

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” ~Luke 22:19, NKJV

thFacebook-iconIf you want to experience God’s wonder-working power in your life by exploring a live-it that works natural and Supernatural wonders, click the links to find and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Live! Love! Learn! (And bon appetit!)

Virtual reality

Faith
pexels-photo-193349.jpeg

Welcome to the Jungle Matrix

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Chances are my reality is not your reality.

Yes, I see “skies of blue and clouds of white” – especially living in Hawai’i – but, as of late, my wonderful world has drastically diverged into two distinct though directly-linked spheres: Non-physical and physical.

Of course, the two have always existed, well, at least since the non-physical spoke the physical into existence.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” ~Genesis 1:1-3, NKJV

As its eternal guide, the physical can’t help but follow the non-physical’s lead. Therefore, what I see with my two eyes is really a figment of my third eye’s vision.

But vision is tricky, isn’t it?

While – as Habakkuk heralds – vision can be plainly written, it is dang hard and downright exhausting to make vision plain to those who either can’t or won’t see things as you do.

Just ask Moses

and Joseph

and Noah

and me.

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This is how I define a visionary. This is also how I define myself.

I don’t remember when it all started, but I’ve long since felt ‘touched by an angel,’ even before Della Reese and Roma Downey premiered during primetime. Signs have always seemed to speak to me, more than “Merge,” “Stop” and “Yield”; instead, I hear them give more specific directions like:

“Move to Maui!”

“Quit your job!”

“Be a friggin’ BOSS!”

And though I can hear and see these and other signs quite clearly, it’s quite clear to me that not everyone shares my perspective–actually, hardly anyone. (Cue Harry Nilsson.)

Thank God it only takes the power of The One to make non-physical vision physical reality. (Cue Donald Lawrence.)

Nevertheless, a visionary holds a powerful position as well.

As the projector of God’s promise, a visionary is given the harrowing task of walking a fine line between multiple versions of reality. But I guess it’s only “harrowing” in one dimension; if I care more about others’ thoughts of my vision than the vision itself, then it’s a death-defying trip. In another dimension, however, being a visionary is a breeze–as long as I sway in God’s direction.

That’s not to say that seeing through the haze of physical 3-D ‘reality’ is always easy because it ain’t, believe me. But it does help when I attune my sixth sense to the non-physical signs that God sends me. It also helps – a lot – when I surrender my entire self to God, period.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.” ~Psalm 24:1-2, NKJV

Here’s how I see it: You and I belong to God, whether we acknowledge our relationship with Him or not. In addition to being All and creating all that there is, God created all of us in His Divine image; therefore, we are Divinely His.

Yet, to reap all of the benefits of belonging to God means to acknowledge Him, not just as our Divine Designer, but as our Father and ourselves as His children. Ideally, children obey their fathers and mothers, and show themselves worthy of receiving the gifts of their parents by heeding the instruction of their parents.

Though there does come a time when God’s vision for our lives supersedes our earthly parents’ sight, and we must choose the view in which we will direct our gaze. Even Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and the son of Mary and Joseph, saw the gap between His Father’s and His parents’ lines of vision. And because Jesus is the master visionary, He clearly chose the better view, even at the age of 12.

“And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” ~Luke 2:49-50, NKJV

Dang. Notwithstanding His parents’ misunderstanding, preteen-Jesus didn’t mince words, did He?

Well, as for 30-something-Stephanie, this is my current version of the vision that the Father gave me:

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No, my Father’s business doesn’t physically look like much, but trust me – and the Father – when I write that there’s more here non-physically than meets the eye.

Of course and understandably, like Mother Mary and Papa Joe, there are loving and caring people in my life who don’t understand the statement that I am making with this business. Unlike preteen-Jesus, however, I am not the Savior. So, I will save my rebuke and, instead, supply God’s reassurance to me and my fellow visionaries, as well as to those who fear for our lives love and care for us dearly:

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations.'” ~Jeremiah 1:4-5, NKJV

Dang. Not only does God’s knowledge of who we are pass all others’ understanding, but His non-physical vision of who He called us to be surpasses any and all limitations that we and others can physically perceive.

Therefore, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills” – and the mountains – and set my sights on what God has for me. Further, I will visualize my laptop and cup of tea non-physically as a slingshot and stone that will launch me in the direction of my vision. Finally, I’ll see you when I get there.

 

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The F word

Forgiveness
Forgive

Grapevine Church

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Free food.

These are my favorite “F” words. I love them individually and together, though I do prefer the latter.

free food

See?

I also prefer peace to war, love to hatred, and happiness to sadness. However, living in this world mandates the latter in each ratio if its opposite is to also exist. So, what is this existing neo-flower child to do?

Well, after I finish picketing ‘The Man’ and hugging my fair share of trees, I must then pick the man that hurt me the most and hug him–namely, forgive.

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'”

~Matthew 18:21, NKJV

To live harmoniously in a world of hurt is one hell of a feat. As such, I completely understand Peter tallying the toil others’ hellish behavior had taken on him.

Over the years, I kept my own tally of the injustices others committed against me. My tally-taking, however, was much less forgiving than cut-your-ear-off-Peter’s. (Imagine that.) Rather than seven times, it just took several strikes against me, and you – and your ear – were outta there.

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Boom.

Fortunately, I’m a nice person, overall, so not too many people have experienced the full measure of my displeasure.  Unfortunately, for a small group of people who have witnessed my wrath firsthand – a few dozen students, one or two guys, and one family guy, in particular – let’s just say that Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, would’ve been proud.

I’m not proud, though, looking back on those fiery events. Yes, there was a lot of pride involved, but it was of the ego variety. And where there is ego – a lot of ego, in my case – there is also a lot of room for forgiveness, even though it may not feel like it and we may not feel like forgiving.

Admittedly, I didn’t feel like forgiving for much of my life. More accurately, I hated the word “forgive” and any variation of it with a volcanic passion.

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I felt forgiveness was wrong because I thought it made those who hurt me right. Of course, it was perfectly fine for others to forgive me in the very – very – rare cases where I hurt them. (Ahem.)

Clearly, my sense of justice was warped, with the odds of me being the victim almost always being in my favor. But in my defense – You saw that coming, right? – I was actually a victim for a significant period of my life–childhood.

Yes, I hear you:

“Well, who wasn’t traumatized as a child?”

Sadly, that is one question with too many replies. Yet, there is only one answer that I’ve found that has allowed me to triumph over my trauma: Forgiveness.

I know, I know.

“How can someone who once hated the very word now show it so much love?”

Well, when “someone” is increasingly showing herself love, the ease of showing love to other things – and people – increases in kind, even when that “someone” was very unkind to those things – and people – before.

While my glasses are not rose-colored, these days they are tinted with love, particularly of the self variety, which allows me to look back on my past with love as well. That is not to say that I am looking pass my past trauma, but I am seeing it in a way that makes me revere God and respect myself for getting through it.

This is me at 3.

me at 3

Isn’t she lovely?

This little girl, like many small children, are often called “resilient”–meaning that they can take a whipping licking and keep on ticking. However, there are only so many of life’s lickings that a person, let alone a child, can take until their heart’s ticking loses momentum and eventually comes to a screeching halt.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men [and women].”

~Frederick Douglass [and Stephanie Rochelle Redd]

In my past, things were done and words were said that I thought were unforgivable. And in reserving my right to forgive those who trespassed against me, I also restricted my ability to receive forgiveness–from myself. But why would a person, a child, a three-year-old cherub need to forgive him- or herself if they were the victim?

Well, I can’t write for you, but I needed to forgive myself for just being a victim, period–for not having the serenity, courage, wisdom, or wherewithal to see, understand, or stop what the hell was happening around me and to me in the first place. In retrospect, it was that hell that I could not fathom as a child that I fired upon others as an adult. Thankfully, though brutally, I have been brought to a place in my adulthood where I am forced to grow the hell up.

growing
In the magical land of Actual Adulthood, there is no blame, only mirrors. These mirrors are other people who appear to be different from us, yet are able to magically show us ourselves by the ways we respond to them and they to us. Also in Actual Adulthood, there is nowhere to go but within.

It was only when I began intently searching myself for the panacea to my pain did I find it in love. In other words, self-love helps me accept my past and myself presently. Further, my increased love and acceptance of myself increases my love and acceptance of other people, especially the people who hurt me. (What? That’s the magic of actual adulting and actual love.)

This “magic” has also transformed my idea of forgiveness. Rather than seeing it as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for my persecutors, I now understand forgiveness as the freedom for which I am given. Forgiveness frees me from the weighty job of passing judgement on myself and others, and gives that responsibility to whom it rightly belongs: God.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'”

~Matthew 18:22, NKJV

No, Jesus did not want Peter to keep a tally of the 490 times his brother mistreated him, neither does Jesus want us to count our brothers’ and sisters’ wrongs against them. Instead, He wants us to count on God the Father to mete out justice as He sees fit, trusting that God’s rulership in our lives means fair rulings for us as well as others.

Now that I am armed with my new definition of forgiveness and deeper faith in God, I willingly surrender my victimhood – and my addiction to it – to His Higher Power in exchange for a victorious life for me and for generations to come. I am also willing to make room on my “Favorite ‘F’ Words” list for at least two more.

robert

 

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