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Who is telling your story?

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

My therapist and I could not stop belly laughing as I lamented about how terrible I have been with making decisions. You definitely had to be there, but if you know me, then you know I can be a bit dramatic in my responses. It’s not that I’m incapable of making decisions, it’s more so that I was not always confident in the decisions I chose. Growing up I was often faced with backlash and threats regarding my decisions. As a result I would say ‘yes’ to things that I did not want or agree with just to keep the peace. I also had a strong sense of unhealthy obligation attached to the ‘yes’ which prevented me even more from saying what was really in my heart such as: 

“This hurts me.”

“I’m uncomfortable with what you’re asking of me.”

“You no longer have permission to talk to me like that.”

“Thanks for thinking of me but I am not interested.”

“No.”

“No!”

Things I should have said…

Living this way for years created a flourishing environment for anxiety, insecurity, depression and shame that stayed with me for many years. 

Over the last year and a half, I have been on an evolving journey. The more I gain understanding, the more the lesson opens up and graciously gives me something else to learn.  The lesson of this season is learning to give myself permission to say yes and stop denying what I really want.

I have been so insecure in my abilities and fearful of my dreams that I would start and then not finish or was afraid that my dreams weren’t big enough or visible enough. This led to me tying myself to the vision of others because of their excitement! 

Do you remember the first time you felt insecure? I can remember, fourteen year old me. Someone broke my trust and I was sexually abused. At the time the adults in my life lacked the wisdom and knowledge on how to support me. Their decisions regarding the abuse and what they said to me produced doubt in my core beliefs and left me feeling confused. As a form of protection I learned to stay quiet and agree. I hid in layers of clothes (and shame), did not allow myself to get too excited about opportunities and struggled to accept compliments. I wanted validation so badly that I said ‘yes’ more than saying no.

Tears are welling up as I write this except this time I am crying tears of joy, relief and gratitude. I am grateful for being on a journey of trial and error, learning how to say yes to what matters and becoming more aware of what I actually want. 

I am proud to say that I am confidently putting myself back into the narrative of my own life. 

I am making decisions based on what gets me excited and pulls at my heart!

I am finishing projects! 

I am being creative! 

I am outlining experiences that I want to have! 

I am resting! 

I am living! 

What is being produced now is a beautiful outpouring of joy, grace and gratitude that I hope to continuously share with you!  My Brave Sisters, extend grace where you need it. This journey is not an easy one, but as you actively take steps towards self awareness, you will clearly see the opportunities that have been reserved especially for you. They have not passed you by!

Candy

Let’s reflect: 

  • What limiting story are you telling yourself? 
  • What experience or person robbed you of your confidence? 
  • What do you really believe about yourself?  
  • Now think about the limiting story and replace the limitation with empowering words. For example: “I always make terrible decisions,” to “I confidently make good decisions that I am satisfied with.” 
  • What evidence supports your new narrative? 

Featured post

Keeping the Faith after Divorce

Quarantine Diary featuring Nikita Davis

 

My life has been full of failed relationships in regards to men since childhood. Therefore, from the beginning I had a very skewed perspective on what a healthy female to male relationship should look like. The “best” relationship I ever had was a 5 year relationship with a married man. When we met I didn’t know that he was married and actually didn’t find out until about 7 months later and by then I was very pregnant and very in love.  We stayed together until he was murdered in 2011. I will never forget the feeling I felt when I knew it was all over.

His Wife’s forgiveness and kindness towards me was pivotal in me being able to move forward. I ended up joining a church and built a strong relationship with God.

God really helped me to understand that I was worth more than what I had been settling for.

At this point in my relationship with God, I decided to be celibate. During those 7 years I learned a lot about myself and who I truly was outside of relationships. I found out that I was really a nerd-kind of –and that I enjoyed the outdoors which was a far stretch from the times past of selling drugs, partying, drinking & smoking and moving from one relationship to the next.

In October 2018, I met my soon to be ex husband. On our first date I told him my testimony in great detail. I also told him what I would and would not settle for and at the top of that list was cheating. From my previous experience, I don’t believe that cheating is a mistake. I think cheating takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of thought and the time that you put into cheating could be put into either fixing or bettering your existing relationship It could also be put into ending the relationship and moving on. Either way I made it clear that I would not settle for this. Ever.

He proposed Aug 2019 and we got married Nov 18, 2019 in a small ceremony with plans to have a bigger ceremony on July 26, 2020. After we married we moved in together and blended our families. Almost immediately, it became evident that I had been deceived. He was a completely different person. He was not nice. He would go out of his way to try and say things to hurt my feelings and he avoided spending time with me at all costs. It was unhealthy and went against how I saw myself.

June 6th, 2020 while I was supposed to be away with my bridesmaids I found out that he had cheated on me.  In that moment, I had a decision to make. On June 10, 2020 I filed for divorce and I refused to look back. One month before my big wedding I pulled the plug because I know for a fact that I deserve better.

Today, I am well and I think that surprises people. I kept the matters of our marriage very private therefore no one knew that I had basically been crying the entire 7 months that I was married to him. His attempts to break me didn’t work, they only made walking away that much easier. I put everything I had into my marriage until it was over. Several people have told me to keep the faith and not give up on love because there is someone out there who will love me the way I deserve to be loved. Even after all of this I believe that whole heartedly! The air he slowly took from me is now mine again and I am breathing-DEEP!!

Bio:

My name is Nikita Jenell Davis. I am 34 years old. I have an 18 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. I work full time for the Omaha Public Power District. I run a small business named Whip’d By Kita that specializes in all natural hair/skin care products. I am also a loctician.

LFB: Nikita J Davis
FB: Business Whipd By Kita
IG: Whip_bykita

Growing Through It

Quarantine Diary featuring Maritza Mateo Asboe

I’ve been growing through this COVID times instead of just going through it. I say that because I’ve had some time to read more personal growth on leadership, marriage and parenting when I have some me time. I originally had the opportunity to stay home with my kids and do things from home but what changed is that we can’t go out and do our adventures like we normally do. Since things are all closed. The Black Lives Matter movement has for sure changed my heart and mind, I’ve been more aware of what’s really going on in our world. 

This season has changed the way I parent just a bit, I’ve been enjoying my kids even more, since things are all closed. I have been practicing patience, grace and teaching moments with my kids. I have explained to my older child that there’s a virus and people are getting sick so we need to be careful and stay home, be praying for our world. I’ve been helping my older son to cope and or thrive  with this season by talking to him and expressing to him that we are here for him. He can freely talk to us also by going outside our backyard, reading books and utilizing technology to FaceTime family so that he can see them and know they are doing okay. 

What has surprised me about how I’m handling this is that I am at peace and know things will be okay.

One of the reasons is my faith and the wisdom I’ve implemented prior to the pandemic.

I think as people we can lean into the current challenges in life with effectiveness and enthusiasm by being there for each other in many ways. By praying, giving, being an example in our community, speaking up for others, taking leadership roles in our families first and then community. Knowing that you are not alone in this time! Change will happen and good will win. Everyday choose to have joy and be glad in it no matter what’s going on. And making others aware of what others are going through and not being blind to it. Be the change you want to see. 

Bio:

Maritza is a proud Wife and Mommy of two boys, Micah and Augustine. In 2016 she launched Itza & Eta, a childrens clothing line that offers the softest handmade clothing for your little ones. Every purchase made they give back locally. Follow her on Instagram: itza_and_etaand Facebook: Martiza Mateo Asboe

 

What if we were real?

We all love to share stories of our good news. We tweet, snapchat, and update our statuses with good news everyday. This is especially true for pregnancy announcements. We search on Pinterest for the best way to share the good news- Prego bottles, ultrasound pics, family photo (that’s what I did). On the flip side, bad news is not always easy or fun to share. I didn’t search Pinterest to figure out the best DIY craft to announce our miscarriage. In fact, I was too ashamed to go back and tell everyone after posting our good news. But, what if we were real?

I remember lying on the exam table waiting expectantly while the ultrasound tech prepared to show us our next little Zollicoffer. I was so excited to have another baby and it appeared to be the perfect timing. We decided after our daughter was born that waiting two years would be ideal for our next child. My husband and I watched the screen as the tech moved the tool all over my growing belly. “Let’s try another way.” She prepared the other option to view our baby and then silence….”I’m sorry but I think you may have miscarried.” My heart sank. I didn’t prepare to hear bad news. Her words remained with me for the next four days after I was told to come back the following week to check again, maybe it was too early to tell. Needless to say that was the longest week of my life. The firefighter term ” hurry up and wait” fit perfectly with what I was experiencing.

Have you ever been excited about something and then told you have to wait for it? It’s like when your friend tells you, “Ooo remind me to tell you something later.” You’re just left thinking, okay why did you even bring it up?? [GUILTY]

The next four days were difficult. I cried a lot but remained hopeful that everything was okay. When I woke up the day before our scheduled appointment, I immediately noticed that I wasn’t nauseous and the sharp cramping was no longer there. At that moment, I knew that Baby Zollicoffer would not be joining us in December. I heard the Lord whisper “restore” and that was it. I woke up my husband and cried the rest of the day.

We often tell God what we’re going to do with our lives. We create our vision boards, and write our goals for the year, which are all good things and have their purpose. In our planning, I believe we forget that the process to obtain what we desire is not always as easy and exciting as it looks in the picture or the words we write down. Yet, the wonderful thing about process is that God prepares us for it. Oftentimes we don’t recognize His preparation until after it happens. On May 23rd, my doctor told us that we officially miscarried. On the same day, a former mentor shared a Facebook memory about her first child who was born on May 23rd. She had an eptopic pregnancy. This year her son would have been in the 6th grade! To date, she’s had eight pregnancies total with three of those children still living. I gained so much hope and strength from her story as I endured 11 hours of intense labor pains to deliver my baby at home.

I am no expert when it comes to loss but I have learned a few things with this experience that I hope will encourage you.

1. Lean into the pain.

“Pain is a growth opportunity. Lean into pain, that’s where bravery lies.” Navy Seal Denver Rourke.

At LeaderCast 2015 Denver shared the inspiring story of his wife delivering their baby. She wanted to delivery naturally without pain medication. As you can imagine this was very painful, but it’s what she wanted. In order to see that precious baby she had to lean into the pain.  We often set up our lives to avoid pain, but pain is absolutely necessary for growth.
2. Seek out support. 

“I am on your team, be on mine.” Emily Lanphier, Lanphiers Remember

We have to remember that women are powerful when we come together. We need each other . When I started sharing with other women, I discovered that so many women in my circle had experienced loss during their pregnancies and wanted to support me. It helped a great deal to know that I wasn’t alone in this. I had a team.

3. Let go and embrace hope. The word “quah” is Hebrew for hope and means “To look eagerly for, to lie in wait for.” Oftentimes when disappointment shows up, my first response is to figure out why it happened. Sometimes God’s answers come swiftly, and other times I’m wondering did He even hear me. Trust me-He hears us and in time He will reveal what we need to know. In order to embrace hope we have to eagerly apply patience.

4. Choose JOY! Laughter was sooo good for me this week! It allowed me to be present and reminded me that God is present with me. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says “So be truly glad.[a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

So, what if we were real?? What if we stopped hiding our pain and invited each other in?  We truly have nothing to lose and so much to gain when we let go. Where do you need to release the power of shame in your life? Find someone you can connect with this week. I believe our stories of brokenness will be used just as powerfully as our stories of joy.

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